Thursday, December 2, 2010

The New US Approach

For some reason, many are wringing their hands over FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the United States.  Couple that with the International Olympic Committee's snub of Chicago for the 2016 Summer Games earlier this year and it is becoming clear that the rest of the world is taking more and more enjoyment in "sticking it" to the US.  (Personally, I think it stems as much from the current Presidential administration's desire to drag down the global standing of our country as it is lingering resentment over the Iraq War.)

I, for one, am glad we missed out on hosting these events.  The Summer Games in Chicago would have been a HUGE taxpayer boondoggle as new venue construction and "infrastructure improvements" would have seen billions of dollars in "cost over-runs" in a city well known for every politician and political machine getting its "fair share" of the taxpayers' money (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).  And speaking of boondoggles, we could have all taken the high speed train to Chicago every day from the Fox Valley to catch the events.

The World Cup?  Just another decade of over-promotion (especially if ESPN gets broadcast rights) and predictions that "this will finally be the event that makes America a 'Soccer Nation'!"  I'm sure Roger Goodell and Bud Selig were quaking in their shoes that World Cup Mania would make their respective sports afterthoughts in the minds of sports fans. 

I think we should just sit out on bidding for these major international events from now on--and wait for the international community to come begging back to us.  Is it any coincidence that the only profitable Olympics and World Cups have been held in the US?  In 2006, Montreal finally retired the debt it incurred hosting the 1976 Summer Games--while London organizers admit their deficit will approach $1 BILLION.  So let Moscow and Qatar and Rio jump into that economic quicksand.

And when FIFA and the IOC are strapped for cash, they can come back to us on their hands and knees--and we can tell them to go pound sand--because here in the United States we have plenty of our own events to enjoy in person:  The Super Bowl, World Series, Final Four, Rose Bowl, Daytona 500, Indy 500--you know, all the stuff people actually care about. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

When the Thing You Hate Ends Up Helping You

Behind debt and Notre Dame, there is nothing I hate more than the Bowl Championship Series.  The BCS continues to make a mockery of college football--leaving it the only sport in the US that doesn't have an on-field playoff to decide its champion.  So imagine the torn feelings I have this week as the BCS provides my beloved Wisconsin Badgers with a path to the Rose Bowl.

Under the current tie-breaker system used by the Big Ten, if Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finish their seasons this Saturday with wins and identical 11-1 records, the Badgers get the automatic bid to Pasadena by being the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings.  Under the old tie-breaker used by the conference, the team that had gone the longest without a Rose Bowl appearance would get the bid.  This year that would have been Michigan State--who hasn't been to The Grand-daddy of Them All since 1988.  Ironically, this is the tie-breaker that sent Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl in 1993 and 1998 when they finished in ties with Ohio State and Michigan.

So after screaming and bashing the BCS for years about it being a joke--it will likely provide me with one of the things I enjoy more than any other--Bucky playing on New Year's Day in the only bowl game that matters.  I'm justifying this "love" for the BCS now by thinking back to 2006--Bret Bielema's first season at the helm in Madison--when a 1 loss Wisconsin team that finished in the top 10 of the BCS standings got screwed out of a BCS bowl because Ohio State was in the National Championship game and Michigan went to the Rose Bowl--and you can't have three teams from one conference in BCS games--even if they are clearly deserving.  So it was back to Orlando for Big Red (a fate that apparently awaits Michigan State this year).

Of course, I'm talking now like the whole "highest ranking in the BCS" thing is in the bag.  All it takes is a couple of computers stored in some college football "experts" mothers' basements to decide that an Ohio State win over Michigan gives them the "strength of schedule" necessary to move them ahead of the Badgers and suddenly the Buckeyes vault Bucky and go to Pasadena while Wisconsin gets screwed again.  On Saturday, I didn't know if I should be rooting for LSU and Nebraska to win or lose because one is ahead of Wisconsin in the computers--while the other is behind them and would that help Ohio State more than the Badgers? 

I do stand resolute in my support for dissolution of the BCS and going to a 16-team playoff--that includes the 11 conference champions (yes even Florida International) and five at-large bids.  In my scenario, the Badgers would be a number 2 seed in the Midwest--and would host a game at Ford Field (site of the Papa Bowl!) against 3-seed Oklahoma State with a matchup against number 1 seed Boise State in Dallas (site of the TicketCity Bowl!) after that.  Then its on to the Football Final Four Semi's in Orlando (home of the Champs Sports Bowl!) and a real National Championship game in Tempe, AZ (home of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl!).

In the meantime, we'll just enjoy our ill-gotten fruits in Pasadena.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We Love Our Bad Boys

You would think that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wouldn't be sleeping very well right now.  He had to start the season by suspending a star quarterback for four games after that player was accused of raping a woman for the second time in his career.  That was followed by another star quarterback being accused of sending suggestive text messages and pictures of his penis to a co-worker.  And now, the leading candidate for league MVP is a convicted dogfighter and animal killer who missed two seasons while sitting in federal prison.

But Commissioner Goodell is probably sleeping soundly--with a smile on his face--because this is the most popular season in NFL history.  TV audiences are up--and we have seen the highest single-game ratings for Sunday night and Monday night games this year.  Apparently, the worse the behavior of its players, the more popular the NFL becomes.

Ben Roethlisberger was given a standing ovation upon his return to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6.  Those highest TV ratings ever came in games involving Brett Favre.  And Michael Vick is now the hottest player in the NFL following his six-touchdown peformance against Philadelphia on Monday night.  Add to that, popular deodorant commercials featuring Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis--who went to trial for being an accessory to murder--and the re-awarding of the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award to the Texans' Brian Cushing--who tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs--and you begin to wonder what behavior is NOT acceptable to NFL fans.

Contrast that to baseball--which has seen its TV ratings drop off a cliff since the "steroid era" was exposed.  The all-time home run leader is a pariah, who has to buy his own tickets to his old team's World Series games.  The single-season home run champion can't get 25% of the votes necessary for induction into the Hall of Fame.  The New York Mets suspended--then released--Francisco Rodriguez after he beat up his girlfriend's father in the team's clubhouse last summer.  Perhaps Fox should have promoted the Giants' Tim Lincecum's citation for marijuana possession or the Rangers' Josh Hamilton's former life as a crack addict to bring in more of the "bad boys" audience currently boosting the NFL ratings.  And remember how the NBA slipped from national prominence after Michael Jordan retired (the second time) because people perceived it as "too thug".

Has anyone ever seen Roger Goodell and Vince McMahon in the same place at the same time?  Perhaps they are one and the same--since the NFL is morphing into the WWE more every week.  It's just a matter of time before players are given microphones to address the crowd before games--playing out their "story lines" just like the wrestlers on Monday Night Raw. Imagine the ratings the night Mike "The Dog Killa" Vick taunts the "Dawg Pound" fans in Cleveland.  And why not let Brad Childress, Brett Favre and Randy Moss call each other out on the Jumbotron--rather than through the media in post-game interviews?  America just can't get enough that stuff.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Once You're Done With the Train...

Despite not being in the news game anymore, I am still on the email list for every political action committee and party in Wisconsin.  Right now, every press release from these groups deal with Governor-elect Scott Walker's effort to kill the not-so-high-speed-train between Madison and Milwaukee.  Liberal groups have given up on selling this project as a "need" and are now exclusively focusing on the "tens of thousands" of jobs that will be "created" by the project--and how Walker is "shipping those jobs to Illinois".

Since building the train line has a finite timeline--it would obviously be the responsible thing for the state to find more "work" for those employees--so we can avoid the spike in unemployment we would see after those "thousands" wrap up work on the rail lines.  Therefore, the state needs to immediately create a new Department of Infrasture Projects We Really Don't Need (DIPWRDN or "dip-worden").  Forming DIPWRDN should create "thousands of jobs" alone--because you can't have a Department down in Madison without a Secretary, an Undersecretary, lawyers, engineers, operators, administrative assistants, pages, an oversight committee, advisors, communications specialists, and outside consultants.

Here are some projects that DIPWRDN can consider for the future:
The Winnebago Bridge.  If you live on the west side of Lake Winnebago, you know what a pain in the butt it is to drive to places like Chilton or Manitowoc.  Having to drive all the way around the lake--wasting time and valuable gas.  Forget those headaches after we build a bridge from Oshkosh to the eastern shore.  If it means we can get Stimulus III funds, we can add a not-so-high-speed rail line between the lanes of traffic.  Bonus "revenue" if we can make it a toll bridge as well.

The Bay Tunnel.  This project tugs at my heartstrings.  My first job in radio was in Marinette--while my girlfriend (now wife) lived in Algoma.  To see each other, we had to drive about two hours around Green Bay.  A tunnel under the Bay would save time and gas--not to mention it would open up Door County to potential tourists from northern Wisconsin and the UP and vice versa.  Think of the economic stimulus that would provide!!  I should also note that there used to be ferry service between Marinette and Sturgeon Bay.

Attach the Hoan Bridge to Something.  Anyone who has visited the east side of Milwaukee has wondered "Why do they have that big bridge over there?"  Originally, the Hoan was going to be part of an Eastside Expressway--that would have been a segment of a proposed "beltway"surrounding the city and making getting places (or bypassing the city entirely) easier.  Instead, John Norquist (before becoming Mayor) worked to kill the project--which voters had approved back in the 1950's.  As Mayor, Norquist then tried to force Light Rail on the city--which also was killed in mid-stream--only after taking much needed money away from improvements to the Marquette and Zoo Interchanges.  Anyway, let's get back to the original "vision" and build the Milwaukee Beltway so you can actually get somewhere down there.

The Dells Dome.  In these difficult economic times, the tourism industry is taking a big hit--as families have less discretionary income for things like trips to the water park or go-kart racing.  Throw in the short season Wisconsin Dells attraction owners face and you can see the need for "stimulating" that economy.  Some have built the indoor water parks--but what about Tommy Bartlett and his water ski show?  Or the Original Ducks?  How do they take their show indoors?  Here's a simple solution: put all of Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton "inside".  Let's build a giant retractable dome that we can close from Labor Day to Memorial Day and keep the interior a balmy 80-degrees all winter long.  It would be the ultimate "job creation" project--as it would require hundreds of thousands of people to build, tens of thousands to operate, and several thousand to staff all those attractions year-round instead of just for four months.  To fund it--we may need to raise the state sales tax to 50%--but that is the price you pay for "job creation".  If successful, we can put domes over Rib Mountain--keeping it cold enough to ski all year round--and Door County.

Estimated price tag on all of these projects?  I'd put it at 10-trillion dollars.  But so long as we are "creating jobs" with it--it's apparently very worthwhile.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Running It Up

As much as I enjoy a big Badger victory, I admit to having a "dirty" feeling leaving Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday afternoon.  Bucky rolled to an 83-20 win over the Indiana Hoosiers.  That ties the modern Big Ten record for the most points scored by a team in a conference game.  (Fortunately, it wasn't the most ever scored by a Wisconsin football team--so the 85-0 BEATDOWN of Marquette in 1915 stays in the record book.  Always nice to have Marquette futility to refer to in the future.)  I hope that I wasn't the only person to feel like the dogs should have been called off a bit earlier than they were.

I admit, I'm being a bit of hypocrite on this issue.  A couple of weeks ago, I was cheering the Badgers going for two while blowing out Minnesota at the Camp.  After now-former-Gopher-Head-Coach Tim Brewster threatened to beat up Bret Bielema at mid-field, I posted on Facebook that I hoped the Badgers would go for two after every touchdown against Minnesota next year.  But that is your most bitter rival--and a school that should be 100-times better at football than they are.  This weekend we were talking about Indiana--where I think they require you to take football season tickets just to get basketball season tickets so someone actually shows up at Memorial Stadium on Saturdays.

I've been on the wrong side of such blowouts--in high school and weekend warrior games--and let me tell you, it isn't a whole lot of fun.  OK, we are not as good as you--no need to continue to prove it over and over again.  And I've been on the good side as well--and I've always advocated sitting on the ball or letting up a bit to show respect for the opponent.  (EXCEPTION: We had a bunch of loudmouth young guys in our basketball league a few years ago who thought they were a lot better than they actually were.  In our first game they talked trash, "guaranteed" they would "kick our asses next time" and generally acted so classlessly that we made it a point to put up 100-points against them in our second game of the year just to teach them a lesson.)

I had to ask the other reporters in the press box why the Badgers were continuing to throw the ball up by 28 in the middle of the third quarter--and why they threw a bomb to the Pride of Wautoma--Jared Abbraderis--up by 49 in the 4th quarter.  The general consensus was that Bret was trying to get "style points" in the BCS by racking up as big a win as possible against an inferior opponent--something Bret denied in his post-game press conference.  If that was the case, it didn't work.  The Badgers' BCS "percentage" went down this week--despite the "impressive victory."

I'd like to think that if we had an actual playoff in college football such results as we saw Saturday in Madison might not be so common any more.  Conference champs or not, Wisconsin would have a spot wrapped up in a 16-team playoff if they win out--by 1 point in each game or by 63.  Look at TCU this weekend.  They beat a pretty good San Diego State team by only five points at home--and now every talking head on ESPN believes they have no right to play in the BCS Championship game.  Conversely, Boise State blows out Idaho Friday night by 38 and all of a sudden, they are the only non-automatic qualifier that should be considered for the big game.

I understand that second and third string players should go as hard as they can when they get on the field--and that if their guys can't stop your guys there really isn't anything you can do about it.  Maybe the NCAA should take a lesson from the high school ranks and institute the "Mercy Rule"--using a rolling clock when a team gets up by 35 points in the second half.  At least we could cut down the amount of time available to roll up 83 points against a lesser opponent.

And let's not forget, things like this tend to come back around in sports.  Hopefully I won't be on hand to witness the Hoosiers running up 83 on Bucky some Saturday in the future.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's your number?

Northeast Wisconsin can rest easy for another two years....the Public Service Commission has decided to delay implementation of a new area code for the region until 2014.  The original plan was to put in place what's called an "overlay" area code of (274) for new numbers issued starting in 2012.  That would have meant a person moving to a new house and getting a new land line would have had a different area code than the rest of the neighborhood--or that if you changed cell providers, you could end up with a different area code than all your friends.

My beef is that we haven't really run out of numbers in the (920).  Our problem comes from cell providers buying up huge blocks of numbers to issue to customers--many of which don't actually get assigned.  According to the US census, there are 1.2 million people living in the (920) area code.  According to the PSC, there are 707 "exchanges" or prefixes--with 9,999 numbers available in each one.  That means there are just over seven million possible phone numbers in the (920).  That equals six numbers for every man, woman and child in Northeast Wisconsin.  And given the declining number of people with land lines, the turnover of numbers is on the increase.

I lived in the Twin Cities at the time Minneapolis and St Paul were divided into separate area codes in the mid 1990's.  You would have thought that Ramsey County was seceeding from the United States and joining Canada the way people reacted.  "How will we remember three more numbers?" and "It's going to be long distance to call across town?" were the most common reactions.  Just think if it had been an overlay and their cell phone had a different area code from their house phone.  Husbands would have been too afraid to call their wives from the grocery store to see if they have enough milk for the rest of the week.  And let's not forget the potential for repetitive motion injury from having to press three more buttons every time you make a call.

All of that being said, I can live with the PSC plan.  I now store all numbers in my cell phone with the area code included--so I can call those people from anywhere and not have to punch in the extra digits.  An overlay also saves businesses money--by not requiring them to change stationery and business cards to account for the new number.  The biggest problem will be getting someone's number in a setting where you can't write it down or enter it into your cell phone right away.  I struggle to remember numbers as I hear them--so I use a mental trick:  famous sports jersey numbers.  For example, my cell phone number is Bobby Orr, Lawrence Taylor, Gordy Howe, Mario Lemieux and another of my favorite Boston Bruins (you didn't think I would give out the whole number did you?) 

The biggest problem with (274) as an area code is that there are no real "memorable" athletes that wore 27 or 74.  Scott Niedermeyer was a pretty good 27--but he certainly doesn't have the iconic stature of my other "numbers guys".  And NO ONE good wore 74--so I'm totally screwed there.  My suggestion to the PSC: let's go with (399) instead.  Babe Ruth-Wayne Gretzky--doesn't get any easier to remember that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's in a Name?

I saw on the Big Ten Network last night that the conference is strug-uh-ling to come up with a name for the two football divisions it will start when Nebraska comes on-board in 2011.  This would have been a no-brainer if officials had just broken up the teams by geographic area--putting all the schools in the Eastern Time Zone in one division (the Big Ten East) and those in the Central Time Zone in the other (the Big Ten West).  But instead, the conference higher-ups decided it was more important to try and jerry-rig an Ohio State-Michigan championship game instead--so the geographic names will make no sense.

The initial idea floated and supported by many fans was to go with the Hayes and Schembechler divisions--honoring the two coaches who dominated the Big Ten for the 60's, 70's and 80's--Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler--each of whom won 13 titles.  According to those on BTN, conference officials are dismissing that idea, claiming it would be a "slight" to the other ten teams whose coaches would not be honored in such a way.  I guess I understand--seeing as how there won't be Don Mor(t)on or Tim Brewster Divisions.  How about if we just put Michigan in the Hayes Division and Ohio State in the Schembechler Division--ensuring that everyone hates the names equally?  (Bonus points for creating a plaque or trophy in the images of the coaches--forcing OSU to put Bo's face in their trophy case!)

So that leaves us with "made up" division names.  One idea that could work would be the Great Lakes Division (Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois and Indiana are all in Great Lakes border states) and the Prairie Division (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State).  Okay--there's not really any prairie in Michigan--but I'm not the one who put them in a division with the western schools for pointless reasons!

Or we could pay homage to the main industries of many of these states by going with the Cow and Pig divisions.  (Wisconsin would obviously be in the Cow Division--Minnesota and Iowa in the Pig Division).  If those names are too "blunt", we could always go with the Milk and Spam Divisions.  You're telling me watching the Cornshucker players hoisting a giant Spam Can after clinching the division title  (Iowa-Minnesota have already stolen the Pig Statue idea) or Wisconsin's offensive linemen chugging 2% like they do in Victory Lane at Indy wouldn't get fans fired up?

All of this talk of division names is not even the top title concern for the conference.  How long are you going to call a conference with 12 teams the Big Ten?  Haven't we "insulted" Minnesota long enough--since they are obviously the "little one" not included in the 11-team conference name?  (SNAP!!)  Until their recent renaissance under Bo Pellini, Nebraska would have fit in nicely as "not-so-big number two".  The Big 12 won't be using that name anymore--feel free to pick it up.  Unfortunately, the Midwest Conference is already taken--as is the Great Lakes conference.  I like the ring of the Heartland Conference--but some division two schools have already taken that one as well.

I guess that leaves us with the obvious "We Ruined Tradition For Money-Grubbing Greed Conference" as our only alternative.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Keep Gas Taxes For Roads

My comments to the Winnebago County Board in advance of their approval of an advisory referendum in November on a State Constitutional Amendment barring the raiding of the Transportation Fund for other purposes.  I've added some links to websites with more info on each factual item:

"I am here tonight to urge you to support Resolution 79--which would place an advisory referendum on the November ballot calling for a Constitutional amendment barring the Governor and the Legislator from raiding the State Transportation Fund.

"It's really kind of pathetic that we would need an amendment to protect such segregated funds--but politicians from both parties have proven that they cannot keep their hands out of the cookie jar.  You may recall, Governor Thompson lost a couple of court cases after trying to raid the state employee pension fund--

and earlier this month, the State Supreme Court ruled Governor Doyle and the Legislature violated the Constitution by taking money from the Patient Compensation Fund.  In all of these cases, taxpayers had to (or will have to) pay back the money taken--plus interest.

"I'm sure the raids on the Transportation Fund would also be ruled illegal if a group was willing to sue the state--like the teachers union and the State Medical Society did in the other cases.  What's worse, is that we have lost 400-million dollars in the transfers out of the fund and the subsequent borrowing to actually fund the projects that we should have had the money for!

On a per capita basis, that would be another 11.6-million dollars that could have been available to Winnebago County.  I'm sure that Highway Commissioner John Haase could put together a pretty good list of bridge and road projects with the money we have "lost".

"While the referendum before you is only advisory in nature, it would still allow voters to send a powerful message to lawmakers that we no longer want such budget "tricks" used to "balance" the budget--and that we want funds collected for a certain purpose to be used for only that purpose!  I don't pay the 10th highest gas taxes in the nation--33-cents a gallon--so the Milwaukee School Board can spend almost seven million dollars on travel expenses.

"Again, I urge you to approve placing this referendum on the ballot in November so that we can send a message to Madison that we want fiscal responsibility in our state government again.  Thank you."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Roundabouts strike again!!

I witnessed my first crash at the Jackson and Murdock roundabout Sunday evening.  I was on the way back home around 7:00 pm after a long day of doing doors on the Northside when I was witness to two women colliding broadside in the Roundabout.

The situation was very similar to one that I was involved in just a week after the roundabout opened.  I was in the left lane heading east on Murdock with plans to continue "straight" through the roundabout.  According to the DOT's roundabout website:

this is an allowable maneuver from the inside lane.  In my situation, a driver in a pickup truck entered from Northbound Jackson Street into the righthand lane--assuming that I was on the inside to make a "left-hand" turn" onto NB Jackson as well.  So he cut me off as I tried to continue along Murdock.  Fortunately, I avoided a crash by locking up the brakes.  Unfortunately for the women on Sunday evening they crashed into each other.

After they both got out of their cars, the argument started as to why someone in the left lane of a two lane roundabout can make a "righthand" turn in front of someone else.  The woman with the right of way pointed to the signs above the roundabout showing the "straight" arrow for that lane--but the other driver wasn't buying it.  I did not stay for the cops to arrive and set everyone straight (I thought they were going to be monitoring that intersection for such situations.)  Apparently, they both missed the "Roundabout School" the DOT held in Oshkosh on Saturday.

Anyway, this crash happened at a time when there was very little traffic at the roundabout--in fact, these were two of just three vehicles at the intersection at the time--yet they still ran into each other.  Would the same thing have occurred if we still had stoplights there?  I highly doubt it--since one of the drivers would have been sitting at a red light.

My wife had the same reaction as the "striking" driver in the crash:  how can the inside lane "turn right"?  I told her that from now on, IF THERE IS ANY OTHER VEHICLE IN THE ROUNDABOUT--NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE AND IN WHAT DIRECTION THEY ARE HEADING--STAY OUT OF THE ROUNDABOUT!!  Yes, the people behind you will start honking and yelling profanities at you--but it's the only way to ensure your safety from now on.

PS:  I hope a permanent Police Field Office is planned next to the roundabouts coming to the 41-21 Interchange in the future.

Friday, July 9, 2010

And It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Looks like the Legislative Audit Bureau just found some more work for those of us promoting fiscal responsiblity down in Madison:

I especially like the last line in the article, "because lawmakers approved some additional spending at the end of the legislative session in the spring."  That "additional spending" was approved with the Majority Democrats in the Legislature knowing full well the deficit was already going to be at least TWO BILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lebron Out-Favres Even Brett

America will be able to sleep again tonight--LeBron James is about to let us know which NBA franchise will have the "honor" of paying him about 100-million dollars over the next six years to dribble a basketball and throw it in an iron hoop.  This has been the only sports story ESPN and the other networks have decided to cover since the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs.  Do we even remember who actually won the NBA Championship last month?  I know LeBron wasn't playing for them.

Football fans have been accustomed to this "one man overshadows the whole legue" scenario for several years now, as the same sports networks have waited breathlessly for Brett Favre to decide if he is going to "retire" or "unretire" every summer.  But LeBron is taking the "Favre-Watch" lunacy one step farther by announcing his decision not at a tearful press conference or through his personal website but as part of an hour-long TV special on ESPN.

Not even the NFL's all-time leading interception thrower was able to turn his "emotional decision" into a made-for-TV event!  Sure, he would tease the people with appearances on Jay Leno or David Letterman "dropping hints" for laughs--but an entire primetime special?  That ups narcissism to a whole 'nother level!

The only thing left for Brett to do now to one-up LeBron is to demand a reality show series every summer.  Episode 1 of "As the Brett Favre Turns":  Brett has his ankle operated on!!  Is this a sign that he is coming back--or is he in too much pain to ride the tractor on the farm?  Episode 2:  Brett spends an afternoon throwing passes to high school kids!!  Is this how he keeps his arm in shape?  Or is he just trying help out his old school?  Episode 3:  The flashing light on Brett's answering machine: Is that Brad Childress or the seed salesman?  Every episode would have to end with a tearful Brett pondering if he "still has it in him" to take that beating and play one more season.  The live finale comes on Opening Sunday of the NFL season--as the audience (and the Vikings) wonder if Purple Number Four is going to run out of the tunnel in time for kickoff.  Who needs Training Camp?

Back to LeBron--a day's pay says a lot of this TV special nonsense is being driven by Nike.  Don't be surprised if there are several Nike commercials in the show featuring LeBron "amazingly" in his new jersey dunking and hitting last second shots and raising the Larry O'Brien Trophy in some kind of dream sequence.  Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will "somehow" be in that commercial as well (all Nike endorsers--coincidence?). 

So enjoy the spotlight tonight LeBron--"As the Brett Favre Turns" debuts tomorrow--check your local listings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking Care of Each Other

More proof today that those in power in Madison right now are only interested in taking care of each other.

Former Administration Secretary Michael Morgan--Governor Doyle's top aide and most trusted advisor--has been appointed a new Vice President for Administration and Fiscal Affairs in the University of Wisconsin System.  I've talked with Michael Morgan in his previous capacity as Revenue Secretary before becoming the Governor's real right-hand man--and I found him to be a very intelligent guy with a track record of bringing economic development to some very blighted areas in the City of Milwaukee before going to Madison.  It doesn't hurt that he was also a running back for the Badgers back in the 1970's.

Is Mr. Morgan qualified to be the new Vice President for Administration and Fiscal Affairs in the University of Wisconsin System?  Maybe.  But we will never know that for sure--because UW System President Kevin Reilly gave him the job before he even turned in a resume or sat down for an interview.  President Reilly says the usual process of posting the job and interviewing several candidates and meeting with the Board of Regents to discuss the hiring was not done to "avoid a protracted and costly search to fill the job at a time when the system is in the midst of major projects".  Reilly adds that everyone knows Morgan is qualified for the job--and that Morgan will be in the position on an "interim" basis--three years at the most.

Now Attorney General JB Van Hollen is weighing in on the hiring process:

However, the AG has no authority to conduct an investigation into why the hiring practices of the UW were not followed in this case.  It turns out, the Board of Regents is the only one allowed to look into hiring practices by the UW--and being all Doyle appointees--I doubt we will see much interest in doing that.

Did you notice that Mr. Morgan will be seeing a 79%  increase in pay?  With zero experience in higher education administration, he will make as much as the person he replaced--who had 30-years in the "business" and who left to become the University of Arizona System President.

It should be interesting to see what other "Golden Parachutes" Governor Doyle finds for his supporters on the way out the door this fall.  I think the high speed train probably needs a conductor.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In the Race

Today, I announce my candidacy in the 54th Assembly District race on the Republican ticket. After much careful consideration, I have decided to leave my successful radio career and take up the challenge of representing the people of Oshkosh in Madison.

I believe that we can do a lot better than the representation we have had in the Assembly for the last four years. A nearly 10% increase in state spending, a $2.4 billion dollar deficit, $5 billion dollars in new taxes, last minute reductions in school aids that left the Oshkosh School District to find another million dollars in cuts after they had made their original budget—not to mention, the loss of 163,000 jobs statewide.

For five years now, my wife, Michele, and I have been debt-free except for our mortgage. We have learned to live within our means—and it is that attitude that I will take to Madison.

I look forward to meeting the people of Oshkosh—hearing about their concerns—and providing them with hope that we can return fiscal responsibility to Madison.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Arsonist Firefighters

It looks like Wisconsin is dealing with another incident of arsonist firefighters. That's the term I like to use for politicians whose policies and laws create economic or social "emergencies" and then who come up with "plans" to save the day. Kind of like a fireman who would set a house on fire--then expect awards for heroism after saving the people inside.

Past examples include Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank--who both pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to back high-risk mortgages to people who couldn't afford houses in the early 2000's--then helped to draft the mortgage bailout plan (which is also failing to keep more than a third of enrollees out of foreclosure) and mortgage regulatory reform acts to clean up the mess they helped to create.

Another example would be Governor Doyle and Democrats in the Legislature who raise personal and business taxes and fees by five-billion dollars in the last budget--then come riding to the rescue with tax credits and incentives packages for Mercury Marine when it threatens to move production to more "tax friendly" Oklahoma. Our heroes!

Now today, President Obama is expected to address the mess he has created for the Bucyrus Corporation. The maker of mining equipment is stymied by the refusal of the US Export-Import Bank's to guarantee loans they need to fill a 600-million dollar order for an energy company that runs a coal mine in India. It's not that the bank thinks either of the entitites isn't credit-worthy--the problem is the coal mine project violates the Obama Administration's new limit on "carbon footprint" and expected emissions from the coal-fired power plants that will be fed by the mine. So one-thousand Bucyrus employees are having their jobs put in jeopardy by Green Initiatives supported by the President.

I wish the President would cancel his appearance in Racine today and instead head over to Bucyrus to tell the union workers who likely voted for him two years ago why he thinks keeping the planet one-tenth of one-degree cooler over the next decade is more important than allowing them to keep feeding their families for the next ten years. Maybe he could put out that fire by assuring them that Congress will approve extending their unemployment benefits for up to three years.

But never fear--Mr Obama could announce today during his visit to Racine that he is asking the Export-Import Bank to "reconsider" the rejection of the loan application. Amazingly, that loan will likely breeze right through--especially when you consider the Indian company is about to enter into negotiations with Chinese mine equipment makers. Of course, that would also make him look like a hypocrite to his "Eco-Supporters"--but that is the kind of risk you take when you rely on theoretical economists as your advisors--instead of people who have actually run businesses in the free market.

And all of this heroism could still be for naught. Lurking around the corner is Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan with a tanker full of jet fuel to spray on the glowing embers of the Bucyrus fire. He is already on record as saying that if Democrats retain the majority in the Assembly, he will bring back Governor Doyle's "Clean Energy Jobs Bill" with its arbitrary renewable energy requirements that will force utilities in the state to build more money-losing wind farms and jack up the price of electricity--thereby making it more expensive for Bucyrus to build monster machines--and therefore marking them far less competitive in the global economy.

Almost makes you think about lighting yourself on fire.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Here's To Their Health

I would like Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas to all go to the doctor today. In fact, I would like doctors assigned to monitor those five Justices as all times for the next two years because we need them to stay healthy and lucid enough to stay on the Supreme Court.

Those Justices make up the slim 5-4 majority that yesterday ruled that the Second Amendment of the Constitution does actually apply everywhere in the United States. By that one narrow "vote", law-abiding people living in the cities of Chicago and Washington DC just won back their right to bear arms--as local ordinances banning the ownership of handguns were struck down as an infringement on one of our most basic Constitutional rights.

While the handgun bans did a great job of keeping weapons out of the hands of people who were not looking to commit crimes--they didn't do such a good job at keeping handguns away from people who were looking to commit crimes. Just last weekend, 54 people were shot in the city of Chicago. 175-people have been killed so far this year there in gun-related violence. The perpetrators apparently didn't have much problem arming themselves--likely with guns stolen from shops outside the Chicago city limits--maybe even from the Fox Valley. I'd be willing to bet that few if any of those stolen guns ended up in the hands of Chicago residents hoping to own them for personal security or sportshooting.

To put this ruling in perspective, one of the first press releases we got in the Newsroom yesterday was from Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold applauding the Supreme Court ruling:

"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment applies equally to the states. Although not unexpected, the ruling is welcome confirmation that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Americans that cannot be infringed by the federal or state governments."

So let's take a look at the political spectrum if the four dissenting Justices are put in relation to Senator Feingold:

Four Members of the Supreme Court->->->Senator Russ Feingold->->->95% of all Americans

So here's to the health of the five Justices who believe the words written in the Constitution are to be taken as the law of the land. Maybe Jillian Michaels can move in with them and make sure they lower the blood pressure, the cholesterol levels and eat all their veggies. America needs them now more than ever.

Monday, June 28, 2010

International Financial Peace

I'll give the world leaders who attended the G-20 Summit in Toronto this weekend some credit for talking a good game about debt. For the first time in recent memory, the focus of such high level meetings wasn't about falsely inflating the financial health of the major economic powers--but rather admitting that years and years of short-sighted, politically-popular decisions have shackled those countries with unsustainable austerity and social programs. Now we'll see if all that talk is backed up with actual action.

Most of the nations promised to cut their current national debts in half by 2013--or should I say they promised to cut the "projected" debts in half. Meaning the US debt of 13-trillion dollars won't be cut to 6.5 trillion--instead, President Obama just promised to keep the increases in that debt to just 50-percent of what we are on pace to rack up right now. I know the President and his advisors believe that their increased spending will somehow reduce the federal deficit in the future by "finding savings in Medicare" and other programs.

Speaking of the President, he encouraged the 19 other world leaders to continue to go into debt to "stimulate" their economies. But those who don't subscribe to theoretical Keynesian Economics and who actually live in the real world will likely tell the President to pound sand on that one. I'm pretty sure they realize a small amount of pain now, can go along way toward guaranteeing we don't suffer even greater pain in the future.

We hear all the time about how we "don't have anymore to cut" in public budgets--but one area that can be reduced without actually affecting services is interest on debt. As of June 1st, the country has spent 248-billion dollars in interest payments. That money didn't help seniors buy drugs, it didn't keep illegal aliens from sneaking into the country, it didn't provide free or reduced lunches for school children, it didn't help find Osama Bin Laden. It was merely transferred from the Treasury to banks (likely in China) in a few clicks of a computer keyboard.

Like foregoing spending 15-percent of our current personal income so we can put that into retirement accounts now guaratees our personal financial futures--so too will reducing government spending now guarantee services and jobs tomorrow. I think some world leaders left the G20 summit seeing that light. Others, it appears, may still be in the dark.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Once again, the people have spoken--and their voices have been...........ignored.

The WIAA Board of Control votes to create a new high school football "Superconference"--forcing the Fox Valley Association and the Wisconsin Valley Conference to play each other in football only. That vote comes despite opposition from all of the teams in the FVA who feel they are being "bullied" into the merger. Concerns about late night bus trips during the school week, increased transportation costs for sports programs that are already short on funds and disruption of long-time rivalries have all been ignored. Enjoy those 90-minute each way drives to Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac fans!!

Kind of reminds you of the votes on a certain Health Care Reform Bill in Washington, doesn't it? Although, Board of Control members don't have to go back to their districts to face angry constituents at Town Hall meetings--or campaign challengers at the polls.

While we are ripping on the Board of Control....I'm glad to see we are another step closer to making sure every student-athlete goes home with a trophy. The BOC has also approved adding another division to the high school basketball playoffs. Now, five teams will get to claim State Championships each year. More teams will also be Sectional Champions and Regional Champions.

I know the "Hoosiers"-type, Cinderella story of a small school beating a big school for the title has happened just once--but doesn't having fewer classes make capturing that championship seem a little more special? I remember some Kohler teams with Joe Wolf and Randolph teams with talented big men that could have given the Milwaukee and Madison teams a serious run for their money.

Maybe if I can generate enough opposition to that idea, the Board of Control will approve it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Admission

I have to admit...I watched the USA World Cup soccer game yesterday. And I have to admit I was a little excited when Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal in "stoppage time". The Cardiac Kickers avoid elimination--win their pool--and go on to the "knockout round" (can't soccer come up with more dramatic name for things like THE SUDDEN-DEATH ELIMINATION ROUND!!!)

FIFA may have actually found a way to get Americans passionate about soccer--keep trying to rob them of goals every game. The US wouldn't have even been in the desperate situation they found themselves yesterday if the referee in their game against Slovenia had not wiped out a game-winning goal with a mystery foul. Another goal yesterday was disallowed by a blown offsides call. Apparently, the Third World game features plenty of third-rate officials at its highest level.

Oh and before we get too carried away with our excitement here--this is still not in the same zip code as The Miracle on Ice in the rankings of important sports victories. Algeria should not have been within two goals of the US--we were heavy favorites in that game. And this was just to get our of pool play--not for the World Cup itself.

But nothing gets Americans fired up more than thinking that they are getting hosed. We would be outraged about the World Cup of Darts if we found out the British team was allowed to use illegal equipment or a game-winning double bullseye for the US was disallowed by a phantom foot foul.

My inner conspiracy theorist worries that all these exciting finishes are part of an evil plot to get Americans to embrace "Football" like the other European garbage that is becoming popular: cars the size of shoeboxes, men carrying purses and socialized medicine. Then I am comforted by the fact that no one will remember any of these games by July 30th--when Packers training camp opens.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Death of a Terrorist

A terrorist died this week.

He died not in a drone attack on a Afghan cave or in a firefight with US troops in Iraq--but intstead in a hospital bed in Madison. Dwight Armstrong--one of the four men responsible for the bombing of Sterling Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus--passed away Sunday at the age of 58.

Armstrong is not as well known as Timothy McVeigh or the Unabomer--and he didn't kill as many people as the Al Quaeda operatives on the planes on 9/11--but he is just as evil and cowardly as any of those listed above. Armstrong, his brother Karl, David Fine and Leo Burt loaded up a stolen van with the terrorist's explosive of choice--one ton of ammonium nitrate and jet fuel--and blew it up outside the school building on August 24th, 1970. Killed in the explosion was graduate student Robert Fassnacht--while three other people were injured.

Armstrong and his co-conspirators targeted Sterling Hall because it housed the Army Math Research Center--which in their minds was some major contributor to the Vietnam War. Fassnacht had nothing to do with the military. He was in the building working on a personal project when he became a victim of the "statement" four anti-war radicals wanted to make. He left behind a wife and two children under the age of three.

Armstrong in classic terrorist form--fled the country to Canada--where he lived on the run for seven years before being arrested in Toronto and finally brought to justice. He offered a half-hearted apology to Fassnacht's family--"we didn't think anyone would be in the building at the time"--but insisted that what he did was right--given what the US was doing in Vietnam. "We just should have done it more responsibly" his brother said. Armstrong served three years of a seven year federal prison term.

Like all "great" radicals, Armstrong found no productive way to serve society even after his stint behind bars. He was arrested again in 1987 for selling amphetimines in Indiana and was sentenced to ten years in prison. If you can't stick to "the man" by blowing up his university buildings--just sell drugs to his kids.

The ultimate irony is that the very institution that Armstrong and his terrorist buddies sought to destroy in 1970 was the institution that tried to save his life at the end. He likely could have seen Sterling Hall from his University Hospital bed less than a mile away. It amazes me the UW would have allowed that criminal within 100-miles of campus. Although it did take the University 37 years to put up a memorial plaque in honor of Robert Fassnacht. It's too bad Armstrong died during the summer break--because the retrospective on his actions would make a great "teachable moment" for today's crop of campus "radicals".

No Surprise There

Some recent headlines should not surprise anyone.

"Borrowers Exit Troubled Obama Mortgage Program". More than one-third of those who enrolled in the $75-billion mortgage bailout program have dropped out--and will see their homes foreclosed upon. It turns out that the people who never should have been given mortgages in the first place never should have been give mortgage bailouts either. The problems include: refusal to turn in the paperwork required by the bailout program, the inability to meet even the lower payments negotiated with the banks and a lack of proof of income. I guess the only surprise here is that the dropout rate is only one-third--although analysts fully expect the vast majority of those enrolled in the program to still go into foreclosure because THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OWN A HOME!!

"Republican Tax Cut Promises Pose Challenge". Independent budget observers believe plans proposed by both of the Gubernatorial candidates--to roll back the five-billion dollars in tax increases approved as part of the last budget cannot be achieved immediately. That would be true, if we continue to increase state spending by ten percent--which was also included in the last budget. I know the idea of actual spending cuts--not reductions in the amount of increases--is a foreign idea in Madison, but it can really be done.

"PETA Wants States to Charge BP With Animal Cruelty". You knew it was just a matter of time before the most media-attention-hungry group in the nation started jumping in front of the news cameras demanding their 15-minutes. PETA's argument is that BP is abusing animals, fish and birds by continuing to spill their oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Good thing for PETA the oil spill didn't take place in Wisconsin--where running over deer with snowmobiles is considered hunting under the law and not animal abuse.

"French Soccer Team Threatens to Quit World Cup". How can anyone be surprised--much less not bust a gut laughing--by the French walking away from a challenge? No wins in your first two games? Time to wave the white flag!! And neither of those games involved Germany. Bonus points for the country choosing a chicken as its mascot for the footballers as well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

That Time Again

I'm trying to imagine what it's going to be like for people trying to get to Country USA this week. In years where there has been little construction, backups along Highway 41 stretched halfway to Neenah and Fond du Lac in each direction. Toss in the amount of road work and overpass closures we have this June and attendees might be better off just camping on the highway and forget about actually getting onto the grounds.

I'd like to tell you that the promoters have made changes in their parking, camping and admissions policies and procedures to ease the congestion on the surrounding highways and streets--but Starshow Presents didn't return our calls for comment last week. So we have no idea if anything has been done to get people into Ford Park any faster than in the past.

I do know that the drinking culture of the event has not changed. A couple of 20-something guys in my golf league look forward to Country USA more than anything else in the year. A week's vacation from work, truck-fulls of beer and drunk women stumbling around the campgrounds. They don't even go inside the gates most of the days--really don't like country music. But Oshkosh is where the par-tay is going on this week, and that makes it the place to be for unattached, beer-lovin' men. In a way, making it impossible to get back out of the concert grounds helps to limit the number of dangerous drunk drivers on the roads. Maybe there is a method to this madness.

As for us locals, we'll avoid the far south side of the city this week, stay off 41 and the frontage roads and remember the "economic impact" our redneck friends bring to town.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Read Up on the Hammer

I don't usually do book reviews--I realize anything I recommend won't immediately jump to the top of the list like Glenn Beck or Oprah picks--but I encourage you to check out a new biography of Hank Aaron written by Howard Bryant--The Last Hero: A Life Of Henry Aaron.

Somehow, the man who held the most sacred record in sports for 33-years is the most under-appreciated American hero in history. A lot of that is due to choices made by Hank himself. He never went for the big-dollar endorsement deals. He was very soft-spoken and tight-lipped during his playing days and never sought to capitilize on his accomplishments by hawking his own line of t-shirts, autographed memorabilia and theme restaurants. I think Hank is more proud of the work he has done off the field trying to raise the African-American community out of the "victim culture" that has kept it behind other racial groups for so long.

When Hank Aaron talks about racism in our culture it carries a lot more weight with me than some others nowadays. He couldn't eat with his teammates in the same restaurant while playing minor league ball in the South Atlantic League, couldn't live in the same apartment buildings as his teammates during Spring Training in Florida and check out some of the death threats he received while chasing Babe Ruth's record. Kind of puts "being the only African-American in a Harvard Law School class" in perspective.

And the fact that Hank played here in Wisconsin for more than a decade--and there is so little honor for him around the state frustrates me. Where is Henry Aaron Drive in our cities? Or the Hank Aaron Little League park? Let's bestow some of those honors while we still have Hank around to receive them. And let's make sure kids know that Hank hit all of his home runs without the help of illegal steroids and in an era where the rules of the game favored the pitchers more than the hitters.

Let's give Henry Aaron the hero's treatment he has gone so long without. He has definitely earned it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's Going On, Jonathan?

Why do I get the feeling my phone will be a little busier than usual today?

For the 85% of Oshkosh residents who don't get the paper, it's reporting today that I am a candidate for the 54th Assembly District this fall:

That is mostly correct. I am certainly interested in running, but this is just the beginning of a process to becoming an official candidate. Think of it as "forming an exploratory committee." Nobody can run for a public office like that without assembling a huge team of volunteers and without raising enough money to drown out the special interest groups and their attack ads. And if I'm going to give up my job (required for broadcasters looking to get into politics), it would behoove me to make sure that I am getting in there with a fighting chance.

Response around town to the mere discussion of a potential run has been very positive--usually preceeded with "Thank God!!" so that is encouraging. Just give me a couple of weeks here to get ducks in a row and there will be some formal announcement of "go" or "no go". If you wake up one morning and you don't hear me on the air you'll know what happened to me.

That or I've figured out my ballstriking problems and have decided to turn pro in golf. It never hurts to have options.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Political Football

These are not good times for the Wisconsin Insterscholastic Athletic Association. The WIAA is under siege from all directions as it tries to foist a very unpopular conference realignment plan on Fox Valley schools, it sues the State Newspaper Association over broadcast fees, and State Legislators try to force it to open up its internal processes.

Obviously, there is zero benefit for FVA teams to get lumped in with schools from the Wisconsin Valley Conference. I especially feel sorry for Kaukauna and Fond du Lac--who will have the longest road trips if the conference merger goes through. If the WIAA wants to flex its muscles on this issue, why don't they just force Rhinelander and Antigo to go back to playing the Wausau and Marshfield schools? Inconvenience just two schools instead of ten.

As for the broadcast fees fight, as much as we in the electronic media hate paying them, we understand that without the WIAA, the playoffs wouldn't actually happen. Can you imagine what it would be like if individual schools tried to organize their own tournaments? If the Newspaper Association believes sports in public facilities should be streamed for free, why aren't their cameras in Camp Randall Stadium, Miller Park and Lambeau Field?

And then there was that bill in the State Legislature that would have required the WIAA to reveal their financial documents and open their meetings to the public--just like bodies of government--or have public schools banned from joining. The only problem is, the WIAA is not a government. It is an independent association to which member schools belong. There is no requirement for schools to belong to the WIAA--but then they don't get to participate in the state tournaments--and they don't get WIAA refs and umpires to work their games. So who really wins in that situation? Kids who don't get to pursue state championships and lose qualified officials?

I'll be the first to admit that the WIAA is not perfect--but it's the best organization that we have right now. Would you prefer the state take over interscholastic athletics? You may as well plan on budget deficits, admssion fees that increase by five percent every year and lawmakers demanding that all kids at all levels go home with big trophies at the end of the year--because that is only "fair".

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Failure of Imagination

One of my favorite scenes in the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" is set in a Congressional hearing on the Apollo 1 disaster--where Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died when fire broke out in the capsule while they were conducting a simple radio test with Mission Control. In the scene, Senator Walter Mondale is grilling NASA officials as to how the disaster happened--with the hopes of killing the Moon Mission--since those billions of dollars should have been going to expanding entitlement programs (how did he ever lose in 1984?).

The last person to testify is Frank Borman--who is asked directly by Mondale why he thought his fellow Astronauts died. After a long pause, Borman tells the Congressional panel that the disaster happened because of a "Failure of Imagination." Everyone at NASA was so fixated on the dangers of liftoff and orbit and landing on the Moon and getting back off the surface and back to Earth, that they overlooked the equally great dangers of the most routine things on the ground.

Don't you think that we have suffered that same "Failure of Imagination" leading up to the oil spill in the Gulf? In the decades that we have been doing deep-water drilling no one ever thought "What should we do if one of these wellheads breaks a mile under water?" Or "We should come up with an effective way to trap oil leaking from underwater drilling sites--just in case."

Perhaps the great minds who could have developed solutions to the problems that we now face were busy working on alternative energy projects like more cost-effective solar and wind generators. More likely, they were figuring out how to make cell phones that play games, shoot video, provide wi-fi internet, download songs, text, email, Twitter, Facebook, control the lights in your house, play movies and still don't get any reception in your backyard. You know--the really important stuff.

Hopefully, our latest "surprise" disaster inspires a new focus in the private sector to imagine what is possible--and anticipate what is needed to deal with it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random Thoughts

Republican candidate for Governor Mark Neumann is either very brave--or very foolish. Neumann crashed the Democratic Convention in Madison--holding a press conference Saturday while Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was making his endorsement speech. If you want to get media attention I guess that is one way to do it. But how could his handlers expect to get a positive reaction? Did they think they could find a Republican in Madison? Did Neumann think that his answering questions from the most hardcore Democratic supporters would somehow change their minds on Big Government, higher taxes and more debt? So he ends up with pictures of him all over the internet with dozens of Barrett for Governor signs behind him. Not sure what that campaign gained there.

I feel sorry for today's kids. The Karate Kid and the A-Team are the biggest hits at the box office? Is there anything original anymore? Their songs today steal riffs from past hits, their TV shows are remakes of junk we watched in the '80's and so are the movies now. Can a remake of "Tron" be far away--or the return of "BJ and the Bear". (Heidi Montag for "Stacks" please). Not only will they be the first American generation to have less personal wealth and assets than their parents--they will also be the first to have fewer cultural advancements as well.

You've got to hand it to the South African World Cup fans. They have somehow come up with a way to make soccer even less enjoyable to watch. The constant buzzing of "Vuvuzelas" threatens to drown out the TV announcers in broadcasts. My wife can't stand them--wondering why the fans don't just cheer. "Cheer what?" I asked her, "We are talking about soccer here." It sounds like all of the stadiums have been overrun by swarms of killer bees. Even the players are complaining about the noise--saying it distracts them from not trying to score. World Cup officials are considering a vuvuzela ban--which will likely result in rioting.

I should have made better use of the two weeks of summer we had back in May. I guess someone should have told us that those would be the only warm sunny days we would have for the rest of the year. Good thing I got my farmers tan early--since we haven't seen much of the sun since. Stupid global warming.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wake Me When It's Over

The World Cup gets underway today in South Africa. I'm sure that you are joining the rest of the world in hosting viewing parties over the next month and preparing to pour into the streets to celebrate a Team USA victory over Algeria. You weren't? Oh yeah that's right, we are Americans--and we couldn't care less about soccer.

I am a member of the generation that was going to raise soccer to the level of football, baseball and basketball in the US. We were the ones who were supposed to be inspired by Pele coming to play for the New York Cosmos in the late 1970's. We were the ones who were going to go out for soccer in high school instead of football in the fall. We were the ones who were going to turn out by the millions and stay glued to our TV's when the US hosted the World Cup in 1994. We were the ones who were going to "kick the ball around" with our kids in the back yard instead of "playing catch". We were the ones who were supposed to pack stadiums for Major League Soccer. And we're the ones who are now supposed to be enthralled by David Beckham and his anorexic wife.

Of course, none of that has actually happened. Yes, a lot of kids play youth soccer (due mostly to the fact that parents see it as a socially acceptable way to exhaust their kids so they will actually go to bed) but once they step off the pitch, those kids realize what a boring, unwatchable game it is. And spare me the "You don't understand the intracacies and subtle strategies employed by top level soccer teams." Yeah, there's nothing more beautiful than an overmatched team playing for a nil-nil tie--or one team getting the first goal early and trying to sit on that lead for the rest of the game.

What turns me off on soccer the most is the way the slightest bit of contact results in a player going down like he was shot by a sniper in the crowd. Then the trainers come out and carry him off on a gurney--like he's a Civil War Soldier shot during a charge on the enemy. Did anyone see Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks continue to play in a playoff game against San Jose after having seven teeth knocked out by a puck to the face? He even pulled out a few of the loose teeth himself on the bench before going out for his next shift. Even Tiger Woods played an entire US Open on a broken leg. Yet a scrape of the cleats on the ankle of a soccer forward results in the type of agonized reaction that Joe Thiesmann had when Lawrence Taylor broke his leg on Monday Night Football.

So you can keep the World Cup there rest of the world--along with your appeasment of dictators and despots, your socialized medicine and your crippling national debts. I'm more than happy to be an "ignorant American."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You Can Quote Me On That

This has been a good couple of weeks for really stupid quotes.

Let's start with President Obama and his summary on why he is meeting with experts on the oil spill in the Gulf:

"I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."

We all know that rhetoric is the President's strong suit, so tough talk is all he can really provide during a crisis. We've discussed previously the increadible frustration he must feel in knowing that in yet another case, Big Government is not the solution to the problem. And just whose ass has been kicked? As Florida Senator George LeMieux pointed out, the President hasn't even met with the CEO of BP to discuss how this happened, why fix attempts haven't worked and what the company plans to do clean everything up.

Of course the only thing people are paying attention to is the use of the word "ass". "Not very Presidential" they say. Maybe that's the way he talks to his daughters while sneaking a smoke outside the White House. Or maybe he just wants people distracted from what is really not being done.

Let's move on to now-former White House reporter Helen Thomas and her incredibly enlightened statement on the legitimacy of Israel as a nation:

"They should get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied, and it's their land," and Israelis should "go home [to] Poland and Germany."

This is just the latest in a series of recent incidents that has to have Israeli officials and citizens to wonder if the US still has its back. Condamnation from the White House of new settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, the UN allowing Iran to develop weapons grade nuclear materials and sanctions for raiding the "missionary boats" trying to run the blockade on Gaza.

Is Helen Thomas an anti-Semite? Probably not. I believe that you can criticize the actions of Israel without being a bigot. But to side with terrorists looking to destroy a democracy in a region of the world that is short on the observance of human rights is certainly questionable.

And finally my favorite quote of the week--from Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy:

"I like our training camp schedule."

I would hope that Coach would like the schedule--since he was the one that made it. It's not like the NFL Office released this schedule and the team had no control over it. This is just another example of how over the top we have become in our obsession with football. We're breaking down training camp schedules now?!? I'm surprised one of the reporters yesterday didn't ask Mike to "give us some insight into the decision to go only 'shells' during the second of the two-a-days on August 2nd." To quote Alan Iverson: "We talking about practice.....practice."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Condamning the Condamners

As you might expect, I'm not a big fan of government coming in and taking over private property. That's why I have to raise an eyebrow when I hear about the city of Oshkosh having an independent appraisal done on the Pioneer Inn property. Yes, I understand the frustration in having nothing done on the site for more than four years now--but how is getting government involved in the process really going to move things along?

Let's play out this process hypothetically. Let's say the appraisal comes in right around the price Decade Properties is asking for the site. What have you accomplished then? Or let's say the appraisal comes in at less than what Decade is seeking. Have you just given them ammunition to request lower property tax payments based on the city's "new valuation" of the site? Maybe they could get a refund like several other commercial properties in the city have been getting the last few months for overinflated property values.

And just how do you force someone to sell an asset? They aren't making any more lakefront property--so even just holding on to what is there is still a viable economic decision for Decade. Sure they should spend a little bit more to get the graffiti off the remaining building walls and maybe do a little more landscaping--but so long as people want to live or recreate around water--the land sitting next to the water will be a golden egg.

My least-favorite idea is for the city to "help market" the property. I've heard this term used around several less-than-successful "marketing" efforts. How long has Oshkosh been "marketing" the Marion Road Redevlelopment area? How about the city of Kaukauna "helping to market" the former greyhound track site? And the village of Kimberly "marketing" the former Newpage paper plant? If people at City Hall were experts in marketing and selling property, they would be in the private sector making money marketing and selling property.

And that brings us to the "nuclear option": condamnation of the Pioneer. Mayor Paul Esslinger and City Manager Mark Rohloff said Monday on WOSH that condamnation was not the main goal of having the appraisal done--and that they would "prefer not to have the city own the property." But if Decade opts to continue sitting on the property and not moving forward with any condo or hotel project, that could be the only way some at City Hall would see "progress" being made there. Decade might get it's fair market value for the property--but would taxpayers? If people who make their living developing property think the market is too bad right now to invest anything in a new project--where would the city find another buyer? And would we go through the cycle of hope and despair that we have seen with Marion Road as proposal after proposal falls through for lack of funding or ability to actually sell units. And I'd be willing to bet that anything done down there would include Tax Incremental Financing and a land sale price of one dollar.

So think long and hard, City Council members before stepping into the real estate development world again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Wooden Pyramid of Success

With the passing of the legendary Coach John Wooden this weekend, I think it's a good time to review his Pyramid of Success. This isn't just for sports--but for every aspect of life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Being a Man

It appears that public opinion is already beginning to turn for Major League Baseball Umpire Jim Joyce. He of course is the umpire that blew a call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday night--costing Tigers pitcher Armando Gallaraga a perfect game. Joyce worked home plate in yesterday's game at Comerica Park in Detroit--and was welcomed to field before the game with a standing ovation from most of the Tigers fans. Sure there were a few boos--but the vast majority of the crowd showed their support for a man that the night before was generally considered to be the stupidest person in the history of mankind (if you listen to talk radio or any of the 13 ESPN channels).

So why the sudden turnaround of public sentiment toward Jim Joyce? Simple--Jim Joyce acted like a man and took responsibility for his actions immediately. It started in the seconds after the initial call Wednesday night. Tigers Manager Jim Leyland came out to argue the call--and Joyce told him "I think I blew it--I'm sorry." And after the game was over Joyce went before the media and again admitted that he had made a big mistake in the biggest single call of his career.

Jim Joyce didn't blame any of the other umpires. He didn't ask why firstbaseman Miguel Cabrera went so far out of position to try and make the play--when staying home would have allowed the second baseman to make a more routine play that would have almost certainly resulted in an out as well. He didn't say Gallaraga should have caught the ball in the pocket of his glove instead of having it bounce off the heel into the webbing--making it look like he bobbled it in real speed.

He didn't issue his admission and apology through MLB's press secretary or post it on his website. He didn't wait to go on Oprah or Larry King or an exclusive interview with MSNBC. Joyce made a mistake and took ownership of it immediately and very publicly. And for that, he wins the respect of those who are fed up with all of the "I'm a victim too" attitude that has poisoned our current culture.

And "big ups" to Commissioner Bud Selig for not bowing to public outcry and issuing a reversal of Joyce's call and giving Gallaraga the perfect game in the ultimate act of revisionist history. I'm sure Whitey Herzog would have been at Selig's office door about five minutes after a reversal ruling asking for Bud to "turn back the clock" and reverse Don Denkinger's blown call at first base in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that allowed the Kansas City Royals to comeback and beat the St Louis Cardinals for the title. And the Baltimore Orioles would probably like Richie Garcia's awarding of a home run to Derek Jeter after Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence to snatch the ball out of Tony Tarasco's glove in the 1996 Divisional Series. (Stop me when you get tired of "we wuz robbed" moments in baseball history).

Now let's all move on to those "suspicious" calls in the NBA Finals.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Curmudgeon Alert!

Today I officially join the ranks of those who believe that "Everything was better when I was a kid." The start of the NBA Finals tonight has me thinking about the Lakers-Celtics series from the 1980's--and how any of the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird teams would mop up the floor with the two title contestants this year.

I was really hoping that NBA TV would have shown all of those classic Finals games featuring Bird and Magic and their three epic duels from that era this week. Unfortunately, we got none of that. Maybe the league-owned network was too embarrassed by what basketball has become today to put up such high quality stuff from its past.

Sure the kids today would laugh at the short-shorts and the mullets and Kurt Rambis's nerd glasses and Kareem's goggles. But maybe they would learn a thing or two about dribbling without carrying the ball every time--and about passing the ball more than twice before putting up a shot--or post moves that aren't limited to just backing down your man and shooting a fall away jumper.

If you ever get a chance to catch some of the Classic NBA games you will likely be reminded of just how great the sport was--when it was actually about the sport. There was no music on the PA system while play was going on. Now, it's almost like the music never stops--lest the fans (or maybe the players) get bored. There was no "High Energy Dance Team" (yes you had the Laker Girls but even their outfits look like 1950's cheerleader stuff compared to today's "Sportsbras are acceptable shirts" attitude) and the players were introduced to the crowd with the lights on and no laser and smoke shows.

I was part of the generation of sports fans that helped elevate the NBA from the second-rate sport that had its Finals shown on tape-delay in the early 80's to the hottest thing in the world by the end of the decade. But the Association lost me and many others when it sold itself out to the marketing of Michael Jordan. No longer was it about the teams or even the quality of the game itself--it was all about selling shoes and Gatorade and movies about basketball in space. Unfortunately, little has changed since then--as we continue to have LeBron James shoved down our throats--despite the fact he has won ZERO championships.

Will I watch the Finals games the next couple of weeks? Sure--even though they start way too late for someone who gets to work at 3:00 in the morning. But don't expect me to think that these two teams are "great" in any way.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What You Call Earmarks, I Call Pork

Wisconsin's Democratic Congressional delegation has posted their annual earmark requests for fiscal year 2011. I say "Democratic" because the Republican members of the delegation are honoring a one-year moratorium proposed by that party. For those who are unfamiliar, "earmarks" are specific spending request tied to larger budget packages--which usually direct federal tax dollars to small local projects in a Congressman's district. You may actually know earmarks by their more common "outside the beltway" name of PORK.

Let's begin today's discussion with a little fact: The national debt just went over 13-trillion dollars. That is $42-thousand dollars for each man, woman and child in the US. You can check it out at this website:

Those numbers apparently mean nothing to the Democrats in Congress--as they have gone about their merry way coming up with billions of dollars of earmarks for next year. Congressman Steve Kagen is requesting an extra 114-million dollars in spending for 73 projects. You can check them all out here:

I won't bore you with going through the entire list--but there are a few that I do want to point out.

Like 3.8 million dollars for "cranberry research" in Wisconsin...3-million dollars for the City of Green Bay to tear down a former mall to build everyone's favorite development: downtown riverside condominiums...720-thousand dollars to find eight to ten housing units for the chronically homeless in Green Bay...339-thousand dollars for something called a "kitchen incubator" at NWTC...a quarter-million dollars for the Native American Indigenous Games in Milwaukee next month....a million dollars for a riverwalk for students in De Pere...and 900-thousand dollars for development of a Specialty Meat Development Center in Madison.

I would encourage you to read through the "purposes" of all these earmarks on Congressman Kagen's website and then ask yourself "Is this the best use of my tax dollars--and worth adding to a 13-trillion dollar debt?" Then remember that there are 256 other Democrats in the House asking for even more of those "necessary funds" and 56 Democrats in the Senate (Russ Feingold is not one of them--to his self-congratulating credit) adding to the debt pile as well.

Until we learn to prioritize in Washington--that National Debt Clock will continue to race faster and faster to a total meltdown.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'd Like to Talk to.........

There are a few people that I would like to talk to today.

First up would be the DOT official or officials that signed off on closing the Witzel and 20th Avenue overpasses at the same time. DID YOU SEE THE TRAFFIC MESS YOU CREATED IN THIS CITY ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON? I had a simple mission on Friday--get a couple of things from the grocery store before we left for the parent's cabin. That simple mission turned into Mission Impossible as traffic on Oshkosh Ave just east of highway 41 was backed up--both lanes--to the Sawyer Street intersection. Westfield Street heading north to Oshkosh Ave was backed up to Red Arrow Park--as no one could turn left. And 9th Ave was backed up--both lanes--to Sawyer as well--as no one could get onto northbound 41.

I'm sure that more than a few of the people stuck in that mess were just looking to get across--not onto--41 that afternoon--but the closure of both non-exit overpasses made that impossible. Eventually I just gave up and went to a northside store just to preserve my sanity. Oh by the way--the highway 45 interchange was just as backed up later that afternoon as people thought they might be able to "jump the line" on the 41 backup by going around the Butte Des Morts Causeway--but that didn't save a minute at all either. Count me out of leaving my house on Friday, July 2nd.

I'd also like to talk to the Police Chiefs of Clintonville and Marion--along with the Langlade County Sheriff. While I can certainly appreciate the "fact" that people driving five miles an hour over the posted speed limit is the greatest threat to our personal security nowadays--is it really necessary to have an officer on each end of town running radar? Two squads along highway 45 in Clintonville and Marion Friday evening and again Monday afternoon. I guess those are two of the safest cities in Wisconsin if half the police force (or perhaps all of it in the case of Marion) can be out trying to catch FIBS speeding through town. And to the Langlade County Sheriff, thanks for posting a deputy to shoot radar at the end of one of the precious few passing lanes along 45 Monday afternoon. Everyone afraid to move around the RV towing the pontoon boat at 54 miles an hour really appreciated that.

And finally, can someone please talk to President Obama's handlers? First you allow him to blow off the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetary to take the family back to Chicago. Then when there is the inevitable public outcry that the President isn't honoring the true meaning of Memorial Day, you cobble together a last-minute appearance at President Lincoln's burial place. (Some historians do consider Lincoln the "final casualty" of the Civil War--so I guess we'll let that selection slide--even though he has his own memorial day). Of course, a severe thunderstorm rolls into the area--sending attendees running for shelter in driving rain and lightning. Weather in Arlington, VA yesterday: partly cloudy and 91. A message from above?? Hmmmmmmm

Friday, May 28, 2010

More Lessons Learned

The more you live--the more you learn.

We've learned yet again that those who portray themselves as "Super Patriots" are more than happy to use bullying techniques and threats to get their way. Officials with Midwest Realty Management are getting death threats this week from people who are upset that tenants were not allowed to display an American flag in their windows. Adding to the "media friendly" nature of this story is the fact the tenant is a veteran.

We could go into the lengthy legal debate about personal property rights--but suffice it to say it is well within Midwest Realty rights to limit what is displayed on its private property. It's not just American flags that are not allowed--but Mexican flags, Nazi flags, Confederate flags, Obama campaign signs and Ron Johnson for Senate signs are also banned. Given today's political climate, we would probably have the same bruhaha if someone was allowed to display a Mexican flag. The same people calling for the death of those banning the Stars and Stripes would be calling for the death of those permitting such an "unpatriotic display" in our country.

We always hear about how soldiers are "dying for our freedoms". Well those freedoms include the right to live without threats of personal injury or death from others and the freedom to live pretty much wherever we want. My advice: find an apartment complex that allows you to put whatever you darn well want in your windows--or save up to buy a house and exercise your right to control what what is displayed on your private property.

President Obama is learning a tough lesson this week: Government cannot fix all problems. We hear every day how the President is "frustrated that nothing can be done to stop the oil leak in the Gulf." Is he frustrated that BP can't fix it--or is he frustrated that there isn't some Government entity that he can send in to "save the day"? You know that there had to be a tense White House briefing where the President learned that there is not an Office of Oil Spill Management in Washington, that there isn't an Oil Spill Management Czar and that we don't have billions of dollars of personnel and equipment just sitting around waiting for major oil spills along our shores.

You know that it is killing him that the private sector is the one who has to fix the oil spill--because we all know the private sector is the problem--not the solution. At least he's able to publicly bash BP at every oppunity he can. What would the President do if BP was to say "Hey, you want to crucify us for what happened here--then you can handle the fix and clean up yourself, 'cause we are out of here." The business management materials I've read usually recommend identifying the problem, making sure there is some accountability and working together on a solution or fix. Not continuing to harp on the mistake and continuing to bash the responsible party every chance you get.

Of course those lessons were learned by people who were successful in the actual business world--not someone who has spent their lives in the worlds of academia and politics.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Best Six Billion Dollars We Have Ever Spent

NASA has released the latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope and they are--as usual--spectacular. The best of the new crop is a yellow dwarf star (much like our own Sol) swallowing a planet that has drifted too close (see left)

Have we as Americans ever spent a better six billion dollars than it cost us to build, launch, repair and service the Hubble? It has already outlasted its life expectancy--has produced images even better than NASA anticipated and has given us a greater understanding of our universe and our origins than any other single piece of scientific equipment ever built by man.

My all-time favorite images from Hubble are the one where you see stars literally being born in the Eagle Nebula (see above right) and the Deep Space shot where there are thousands of galaxies all hurtling from what seems to be a common point (the Big Bang Shot?).

As the Obama Administration considers gutting the US Space Program--scrapping the Moon missions, renting space on Russian rockets for low-earth orbit work on the International Space Station and pushing back the timetable for manned missions to Mars--maybe those in the White House should take another look at the Hubble pictures. Or at least video footage of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. The Manned Space Program continues the evolution of human education and exploration that started with man moving out of the caves--traveling the oceans and taking to the skies. For while pictures from Hubble and other telescopes certainly teach us a lot--man still learns best by seeing things through his or her own eyes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let Them Play at Home!!

Next month, fans in Chicago or Philadelphia, Boston or Los Angeles will get to watch their team capture a league championship in their home arena. If they are season ticketholders, they won't even have to switch their courtside or rinkside seats to witness hisotry. They will be able to work the day of the game--drive a few miles to the arena and then celebrate in their hometown bars and restaurants afterwards. And if they feel good enough, can go right back to work the next day.

But for many fans of the NFL, that is something they will never get to experience. For them, the Super Bowl is hopelessly out of reach--either because of the expense of traveling to the neutral site--or the NFL never considering their city to host the big game.

For decades, the NFL ruled out cities north of a select few states unless they had a domed stadium--and even then, it has been a one-and-done for Minneapolis--and a double shot for Detroit just because they switched domes. "We can't have weather--cold or rain and snow--be a factor in our biggest game of the year" NFL officials would say. That is apparently until now.

Today, NFL owners will likely award the 2014 Super Bowl to the new football stadium outside of New York city. The new stadium--which amazingly doesn't have a corporate title yet--does not have a dome--meaning the weather will be a factor in the game. As was pointed out ad nauseum on ESPN Radio yesterday, in the first week of February this year, New York City saw almost two feet of snow. Unless the NFL has hired Al Gore as their climate expert, you cannot rule out similar weather for the Super Bowl as well.

So if that issue is no longer pertinent to the NFL--why not open up the bidding to host the Super Bowl to all teams in the league? Chicago, Kansas City, Boston and Pittsburgh could certainly handle the crowds--Green Bay--maybe not. But they are just as important a city to the league than any other. Or let's go the route of every other major professional sport in the US and let the teams involved in the title contest play at home--in front of their fans--not just executives from major corporate sponsors and stars of shows of whatever network is broadcasting the game that year.

If the Packers somehow ever make it back to the Super Bowl, you could call it the "Throwback NFL Championship Game". No giant corporate tents, no Super Bowl Saturday Night Concert, no Celebrity Touch Football Classic. Just two teams playing in the biggest game in sports--in front of the most passionate fans in the world.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Professor McGee's Excellent Experiment

At a forum on Federal Stimulus Funding spending last week, UW Oshkosh Professor Kevin McGee proposed selecting residents at random to receive copies of local government budgets and have them work with officials to determine spending for the next year--along with tax rates and levies. Professor McGee's purpose--so he says--is to give people better understanding of how their local taxes are spent--and the effect levy caps and freezes has on the community.

Sounds like the Professors hopes that people would get frustrated by the process and angry that they are allowed to only spend "X" amount of dollars and would become opponents of controls on local spending. Or they would throw up their hands and say "This is too hard--maybe we should just leave government spending to Theoretical Keynsian Economists who believe that governement spending is key to a nation's financial growth." But I think the Prof would be surprised by what would actually happen.

If the budget books went to people who are in control of their personal finances, they would simply employ the same techniques they use to budget their income--which doesn't always see a guaranteed increase at the rate of their property valuation. They would use the good old-fashioned economic technique of "Zero Based Budgeting". They would not say "We can spend 3.5% more this year--so let's add 3.5% to all of our line items--and whatever doesn't fit within those budget parameters we will call a "spending cut". Instead, they would start with the known amount that could be spent--prioritize the items that need to be purchased and the services that must be provided with that money and anything left after we reach zero gets cut.

And as a Public Sector employee himself, I don't think Professor McGee would be a big fan of the questions the average resident would ask about the single greatest expenditures for local governments--employee compensation. "Why are pay raises guaranteed instead of based on merit and performance?" "Why are there so many levels of administration?" I'm sure that most participants in the experiment would also want to bring benefits packages more in line with the costs they themselves incur in the private sector.

So let's take Professor McGee up on his offer to bring the budget process truly outside the walls of City Hall, the Orrin King Building and the District Administration building--and let's see whose eyes are opened to the way government funds would be spent.

Oh by the way, on Wednesday, the Oshkosh School Board will be voting to increase the salary ranges of Executive Directors within the District--and creating a new administrative job: Elementary/Instructural Support Principal.