Friday, March 30, 2012

If I Can't Win....

Obviously, I rooting for myself to win tonight's $540-Million Mega-Millions jackpot.  But if the numbers don't go my way, there are some other people I would like to see win.

First would be a member of Occupy Wall Street.  That would just be awesome, as that malcontent would, in an instant, become the one thing that he hates more than any other: one of the 1%.  I'd be interested to see how much that Occupy protester gives to the IRS as "their fair share".  And no counting the money that you plan to give to charity (which the 1% does) or the donation to establish an endowment for scholarships or research (which the 1% also does) or the money you want to provide to entrepreneurs and start up businesses (which the 1% does as well).  I'm talking about handing that money directly to the government for "proper redistribution" to "those that need it most".  I'm guessing that contribution will not be a single penny above the 35% that is required.

If I can't win, I wouldn't mind seeing a member of WEAC, SEIU or AFCSME win instead.  540-Million bucks would cover a lot of health insurance premiums and retirement contributions.  Remember, these are your Comrades--your Brothers-In-Arms who have been treated unfairly by the government--and this would be your chance to make things "fair" again.  These are the people you faked being sick with so you could go down to Madison to protest last year.  These are folks you chanted obscenities with--the people who gave up their holiday shopping to collect recall petitions so you could exact your "revenge".  The unions themselves should also get a share--since they are going to have to spend a boatload to pay for all Kathleen Falk's TV ads.

And finally, If I can't win the Mega-Millions Jackpot, I hope that President Obama does.  I know this isn't going to happen--as the President's spokesman said yesterday that the First Family is not buying any tickets.  (To his credit, the President has been on record for years with his opposition to the lottery--correctly pointing out that a disproportionate number of low income people play--proving the old adage that a lottery is a tax on the poor and the stupid.)  But if it did, The President could use the $540-Million to pay back 0.000145% of the national debt.  Or, he could pay for 6-hours of the Affordable Care Act.  Or, he could pay for about 60% of his anticipated re-election campaign expenses. 

OR, the President could do like I plan to do if I win, he could quit his job, buy a house on Maui and do nothing but play golf and watch the sunset every day for the rest of our lives.  That might make all of us Mega-Milions winners.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Not the Same

Protesters are trying to equate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida with the shooting death of Bo Morrison in Slinger this month.  Nice try, but the two cases are in no way the same.  Whereas Martin was killed while traveling along a public walkway--and was followed by someone who thought he was "suspicious"--Morrison was killed while committing a crime. 

Actually, Morrison was committing several crimes before and at the time of his death.  First, he had consumed alcohol as a minor durnig a noisy underage drinking party.  Then he was fleeing police by running away from the party.  And finally, he had broken into a house--and was trying to conceal his location in that building.  When discovered by the homeowner, Morrison moved toward the man with an arm raised in the air--and was shot.  We can argue the merits of the "Castle Doctrine" that is now the law of the land in Wisconsin--but homeowners who feel threatened by intruders now have the right to use deadly force against those criminals.

And don't try to downplay the "threat" level involved in the Morrison case.  The homeowner involved in the shooting is the person who called the cops to complain about the party at which Morrison had been drinking.  Anyone who calls 9-1-1 to report a crime always has that fear in the back of their mind that by "getting involved" they will become a target for retribution by those arrested.  I've been in that same situation myself.

While living in Marinette, I was awakened early one morning by the screams for help from a woman--and what sounded like a body hitting the wall again and again--coming from the apartment across the hall from mine.  I called 9-1-1--and buzzed in the officers--who arrested the woman's boyfriend for domestic abuse and felony battery.  As soon as the squad cars finally pulled out of the parking lot I started thinking "What if this guy finds out I'm the one who called the cops on him?"  He lived just a few feet away from me--and obviously, he has violent tendencies.  (In reviewing the arrest report the next day, I also found out that the cops removed a couple of guns from the apartment as well).

So how was that homeowner supposed to feel after hearing someone moving around inside his house shortly after he "got involved"?  Was he supposed to go downstairs without his gun?  Should he have engaged Morrison in a conversation after finding him hiding in his house?  "Hey man, what's going on?"  "Just hiding from the cops, dude."  "Oh, OK, I'll just go back to bed.  Make sure you lock up when you leave."  And should the homeowner have just allowed Morrison to continue toward him in the dark--unsure if Morrison was also armed?

While it would be absurd to suggest that Trayvon Martin shouldn't have been walking through a neighborhood with a hooded sweatshirt on if he didn't want to get shot--I don't think it's that unrealistic for Bo Morrison to not expect to be shot while illegally breaking into someone else's house.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Isn't Working

When the big labor unions were running those "It's not working" attack ads against Governor Walker earlier this year I was able to pull out my property tax bill and my state income tax return and see that the new budget was indeed "working"  But a new set of numbers show that one provision of the Governor's agenda is definitely not working.  I'm talking about the School Choice Program. 

I have never been a fan of school vouchers--not because of argument from WEAC that it "steals" money from low performing public school districts--but rather because of the First Amendment implications of taxpayer dollars going to religious operations.  Now the latest results from the Wisconsin Student Assessment System show that kids who leave the Milwaukee and Racine public schools for the private schools don't do any better on standardized tests--and in many cases actually do worse!

Overall, 49% of kids in the Milwaukee public schools test as at least "proficient" in math (how pathetic is that?).  Only 40% of School Choice kids test as "proficient".  When it comes to reading comprehension, 58% of MPS students were "proficient" (another depressing number)--while 56% reached the same level in School Choice. 

In Racine the numbers are pretty much the same.  62% of public school kids are "proficient" in math--but just 51% of School Choice students test at that level.  And in reading comprehension the gap is even bigger--with the public school kids testing out at 69% o"proficient" compared to just 56% for the School Choice students.

This is just the second year that School Voucher students in Milwaukee were compared to their public school counterparts on the standardized test results and the first year that Racine kids were compared.  Keep in mind, this is a program that started in Milwaukee in 1990--so we had more than 20-years of non-acountability for a taxpayer-funded program--a fact that should anger all of us who demand the same "proof that it's working" from every other function of state government.

These numbers won't quell the call from those who want to expand School Choice to more districts--or even make it a statewide option.  But it is clear to me, that spending an hour of learning about religion every day isn't helping anyone to read better or add correctly.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Healthy Incentives

I went to the doctor's office last week.  It was something of a combo visit.  I wanted to get checked out for this cold that I have had for five weeks now--and I had to get in my annual physical before April 1st.  You see, my health insurance provider gives me some incentive to get an annual physical--if I was to fail to get one, the low premiums I enjoy with my High Deductible Health Savings Account policy would TRIPLE.  Believe me, when faced with that possibility, you make it a priority to see the doctor--even if you feel great.  As a further incentive, the insurance picks up the entire cost of the physical.

After the examination, I was given a clean bill of health (save for the cold).  Proper blood pressure and heart rate, healthy weight, low bad cholesterol levels, no unusual lumps, spots or internal sounds.  My physician said it was one of the most "boring" examinations she had ever done--as most people who come in are overweight, out-of-shape, borderline-diabetic or at risk for having a heart attack at any minute.

I told her I have incentive to stay healthy, as I'm paying for the first couple thousand dollars for any medical procedure out of my own pocket--having an HD-HSA policy.  She laughed and said she wished more people had that incentive--as most of the people she sees are on Medicare or Badgercare--and they aren't paying much of anything out of pocket.

And there you have it: the number one cause of out-of-control health care costs--when you aren't picking up the tab--or a very small percentage of it--what is your incentive to actually limit that expense?  What would you buy at the grocery store if the bill was sent somewhere else and you paid only a little bit of the actual cost?  What size house would you live in if you only had to pay 5% of the mortgage?  How would you drive if your insurance rates never went up--no matter how many crashes you had?

Besides the over-reaching, unconstitutional requirements of the Affordable Care Act and its budget-crushing deficit-tripling cost, the lack of any incentive to be healthy and ease the crunch on the health care system is my biggest problem with the new law.  Why not allow insurers who are now "required" to cover everyone, to give a cost break to those who cost very little to insure--and put the high risk enrollees cover more of their own expenses? 

That third handful of potato chips might be less tempting if you knew it would be hitting you in the pocketbook-along with the waistline.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Apparently, I was taking my life in my own hands during our recent trip to visit my parents in Florida.  I made the mistake of wearing a hooded sweatshirt inside their gated community.  That is allegedly enough to be considered not only suspicious--but downright dangerous.

Our first night down there, I was grilling burgers on the back patio.  There was a light rain, so I had the hood pulled up over my head.  What if my parents' neighbors had seen me?  Would they have been scared?  Would they have felt threatened?  Would they have called 911?  "Hello, Police?  Yes, there is a man I don't know walking around in my neighbor's yard--and he's wearing a hoodie!"  "Did you say a hoodie, sir?"  "Yes, a hoodie!"  "We'll send over the SWAT team immediately."

Or what if one of the private security guards that drives the streets of the community had spotted me out there?  Would he have set up surveillance to monitor my movements?  Would he have pulled out the spotlight and accosted me?  Would he have mistaken my burger flipper for a gun--and fired if I moved toward him unexpectedly?

And would the Lake County Prosecutor tell my wife that there would be no arrests, no criminal charges and no further investigation "Because, Mrs. Kause, he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and really, he was somewhere he didn't belong.  There's a reason we have walls and gates around this community."

We were in the Orlando area the day 17-year old Trayvon Martin was killed while walking through another gated community--armed with nothing more than a bag of Skittles and a bottle of soda.  I can honestly say I don't remember much of the initial local media coverage of the case.  You don't really pay attention to the crime stories of some other city--it doesn't affect you, so what do you care?  As I recall, one of the stations had their top story that week "Are Skinny Jeans Dangerous to Your Health?  This is a special report you don't want to miss!!"

I guess when we go to visit the folks next winter, I'll just pack nothing but Tommy Bahama shirts and Khaki pants--and leave the "dangerous" hoodies at home.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Maybe the Mayans Were Right

I'm beginning to think the Mayans were right in predicting the end of the world is coming up on December 21st of this year.  I mean, how else to explain what is going on around here?

Earthquakes in Clintonville?  Who had that in the natural disaster pool this year?  I fully expect "I survived the Clintonville Earthquake" t-shirts to hit local gas stations and the internet any day now.  And now you've got Montello trying to horn in on the earthquake action--with residents there reporting the ground shaking this week.  If this keeps up, Wisconsin's "Big One" will feature Madison sliding into Lake Mendota--just like California will break off into the Pacific Ocean one of these days.

Another sign of the Apocalypse?  How about 80-degree days in Wisconsin in March?  Usually we have to wait until mid-May to see the parade of pasty white legs and muffin tops make their return to the area.  But this year, half the people in the bars for St Patricks Day were showing way too much skin.  UW Oshkosh students will be able to save hundreds of dollars by getting drunk at the beach in Menominee Park instead of having to go all the way down to Padre Island or Panama City--where it's only a few degrees warmer.

With the end obviously now in sight, it might be a good time to revise some of those predictions for 2012.  You can now put me down for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series.  That should pretty much guarantee the Earth splits in two--with each half hurtling into deep space.  I'm also going to expect President Obama to win re-election as well.  When all the volcanoes on the planet are erupting and spewing red-hot lava and ash into the atmosphere, tripling the federal deficit won't be such a big concern will it?

So we all may as well quit are jobs and get to work on accomplishing all of those things on the "bucket list".  The end is obviously near. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Real Villains

Could those of you who list Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Scott Walker as the most "Evil People in the World" for wanting to rein in the cost of social programs also add Latasha Jackson to your rankings?  Jackson is not a Republican lawmaker, she is not a Billionaire Wall Street businessperson, and she is not a Conservative Talk Show Host with the highest ratings in the country.  She IS a scam artist who was directly stealing money from the working poor.

Latasha Jackson is the Milwaukee County woman who ran fake day care centers in order to collect more than THREE-MILLION DOLLARS in subsidies from a state program designed to help low-income parents pay for babysitting so they could go to work.  For TEN YEARS Jackson billed the state for providing day care to kids that either didn't exist, were actually her relatives or were the kids of the people who basically just sat around at the "day care centers" pretending to be "teachers". 

And Jackson would probably still be running that scam today--if it were not for a series of investigative reporting articles that won the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel a Pulitzer Prize.  Articles that found state regulators had long suspected that Jackson was running a scam--but never did the proper follow up to confirm it.  It was only after the VERY embarrassing J-S articles that her flow of money was cut off.  Why didn't those regulators do anything before that?  Probably because "it's not their money" and secondly, it seemed like there was still plenty of money to go around.

To add insult to injury, the plea agreement filed in Milwaukee Federal Court this week calls for Jackson (who bought a 76-hundred square foot mansion in the suburbs and drove around in a new Jaguar with her ill-gotten gains) will be required to pay just 333-thousand dollars in restitution.  Barely one-tenth of the money she stole from poor parents.

Those Journal-Sentinel articles actually uncovered hundreds of phony and shady operations that were defrauding the day care subsidy program of $45-MILLION DOLLARS--in a program that would annually spend 350-million.  A full 13% of the money that should have been going to help working families was instead being stolen.  But when Congressman Ryan or Governor Walker propose freezing spending on such programs, or cutting the funding by five percent, they are portrayed as being cold, evil, heartless men in a series of press releases, protests and TV ads.

So where is the TV ad featuring Latasha Jackson?  Where will the protesters be demanding "social justice" when she and others who ran the same scam return to court for their plea and sentencing hearings?  And when will we start hearing the demands for accountability in all of the programs that would provide PLENTY for the less-fortunate--if we would just make sure that those that actually need it are the only ones getting it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Than Any Sane Person Can Handle

I always thought that it would be high taxes or brutal winters or a chance to work for the Golf Channel that would lead me to move out of Wisconsin.  But there is a new threat to my Badger State residency today--rumors that the Green Bay Packers are interested in trading for Tim Tebow.

There is no way that I would be able to handle the media, social media and just general conversation explosion that would result from the most-over-rated player in the NFL coming to the team with the most overly-obsessed fan base.  I mean, I am rooting for the strange rumblings in Clintonville to continue, just so the top story doesn't have to be Donald Driver's performance on "Dancing With the Stars"--or the record local ratings Donald Driver got for "Dancing With the Stars"--or if a long run on "Dancing With the Stars" might keep Donald Driver from attending off-season mini-camp in May.

Now you want to introduce TebowMania into that mix as well?  With the "Tebow is improving his footwork and mechanics" stories--and the "Tebow just wants to help the team in any way he can" stories--and eventually the "When will Mike McCarthy let Tim Tebow play?" stories.  Not to mention the calls to the sports talk shows after a Packers loss: "Yeah, this is Gordy in Oshkosh, do you think the Packers would be better off using Tim Tebow as a third down specialist where he could create confusion for the defense by either running or passing?  I'll hang up and listen, thanks."

They would probably have to open up a whole new wing on the Packers Pro Shop just to sell Tebow-related merchandise.  (Of course, the Annointed One will have to get a new jersey number--I don't think the team is taking Bart Starr's old 15 off the Ring of Honor to give to a guy with a sub 50% career completion percentage.)  I'm guessing demand would be strong for Tebow jerseys, Tebow caps, Tebow T-shirts and new Tim Tebow/Vince Lombardi Bible holders.  Oh, if you are getting a little tired of the "Discount Double Check" move and Aaron Rodgers in a bunch of commercials--just wait until every business is Wisconsin wants "Tebowing" in their ads. 

And this trade makes absolutely no sense from a football standpoint!  The Packers offense is predicated on the quarterback making several reads quickly--and delivering a pass to the right receiver at just the right moment.  Not exactly the type of skills Tim Tebow has shown in his brief stint as an NFL QB.  With Jermichael Finley and Tim Crabtree in the fold, there's no need to shift him to tight end.  And John Kuhn is a cult hero in Green Bay--so Tebow won't be converted to fullback.  Where is he going to play?  Linebacker?

Yet, sources confirm Ted Thompson is interseted in Tim Tebow.  All I know is that if the trade happens, the minute the contract is signed, the "For Sale" sign is going in the front yard.  It's a necessary step just to preserve my sanity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Missing the Point

One of the frustrating elements of the "recall-mania" sweeping Wisconsin is that it distracts everyone from actually focusing on the long-range future of the state.  Rather than looking at ways to ensure we don't have the huge budget deficit again in just another few years, everyone is only concerned about maintaining their current political gains--or overturning everything that was done and going back to the very system that got us in that mess to begin with.

While Republicans are doing plenty of backslapping and self-congratulations over what was done in the last Legislative session, nothing came out of those two years that actually guarantees we won't face massive deficits again--or that local units of government won't be slamming us with ten percent property tax increases.  Sure, there is another 37.5% to go before public sector employees pay as much for their health insurance as we do here in the private sector--and they've got about 90% to go on equalling our retirement contributions--but eventually you will reach that point...and then the argument about making things "fair" is lost.

Meanwhile, Democrats are offering only increases in business taxes as a way to pay for going back to the way things were before Act 10.  Why is so little effort being put into developing a sustainable growth plan for state revenues so that public sector employees can actually get some pay increases now that we are almost back to "net zero" in the budgeting process?  Even the most ardent union haters in the state aren't saying those employees should never get a raise ever again.

Once again, the Legislative session ended last week with any solutions to our long-term challenges being kicked farther down the road.  If anything, the last week or so made things even worse!  The expansion of Familycare will cost millions, Seniorcare will only keep getting more expensive--and with the full implementation of Obamacare coming in 2014, the demand for public health insurance programs like Badgercare will explode.  And where is that cash coming from?  There aren't enough evil billionaires and millionaires in the state to soak dry.  Nor are there enough public employees to nickel and dime to death either. 

Will we hear anything about the solutions to these impending disasters on the campaign trail this summer?  I doubt it.  It's easier to villainize the other side and argue about who "supports working families" more than it is to roll up your sleeves and be honest about what we can and cannot afford.  Better to do some hard work now--than have to accomplish the impossible later.

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Egregious Affront to My Rights

So the other day it was my turn to get the cough and cold medicine from Target--as my wife and I continue to battle that "thing that's going around" for the fourth week now.  Imagine my surprise when the teenage girl working the register asked to see my photo identification to buy that over-the-counter medication.  Fortunately, I had my drivers license along, so I was able to leave the store with my cough syrup.

But as I'm walking to my Jeep, I started thinking what if I was one of the "hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites" we hear about all the time who don't have a photo ID?  How would I be able to buy cold medicine?

And who is Target to think that I'm going to abuse cough medicine?  They have no proof--NO PROOF--that cold medicine abuse is going on in Oshkosh.  Sure, hip-hop artists sing about "purple drank" and yes, Johnny Jolly is sitting in prison for possession of enough of it to kill a horse--but that took place in Houston, Texas--not here in Wisconsin.  This is clearly a problem that DOES NOT EXIST!!  This whole "you have to show photo ID" thing is just another attempt by an evil corporation to keep working families--and women--from getting ahead in society.

And let's not forget--by denying me medicine because I don't have a photo ID, Target is denying me my right to access to health care.  We hear all the time from President Obama that is a right guaranteed by the constitution.  It's right there in the uh. um..........#$#%th Amendment!  You know, the one right after the one that guarantees public sector union employees the right to collective bargaining for their health insurance carrier and retirement benefits contributions!

So I am demanding that some group--maybe multiple groups--file a lawsuit--or multiple lawsuits--in Dane County Court to immediately block Target and all other retailers from requiring photo identification to purchase cold medicine.  We must protect the rights of those "hundreds of thousands" who--for some reason nobody has ever explained--cannot get a photo ID.  Come on League of Women Voters, ACLU, NAACP and Voces de la Frontera--let's be consistant here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Enjoy the Death of the Planet

I'm a bit surprised by the lack of outrage over the weather we've been having the last few days.  I mean, unseasonably mild pre-spring days are what are killing the planet.  As any of the artists formerly known as "Global Warming Alarmists" would tell you, high temperatures nearly double the norms show that we have gone beyond the point of no return in preventing Global Climate Change.  Yesterday alone will probably add 0.00001 of a degree to the mean planetary temperature for 2012--continuing a rising trend that started about 12-thousand years ago when our Cro-Magnon ancestors started campfires that added pollution to the atmosphere and caused the glaciers to recede and melt--freeing Northeast Wisconsin from the 2-mile sheet of ice that had covered it for thousands of years.

What's more, not only were people not concerned about the abnormally warm weather--they seemed to be celebrating it!  Everywhere you went you heard "Wow, what a beautiful day!" or "I'll take this weather in March every year!"  Don't these people know the irreparable damage that was done to the environment yesterday?  Instead of going out to play at recess, our public school students should have been kept inside to watch videos about the loss of ice shelves in the Arctic that threatens the polar bears.  I bet those kids wouldn't be so excited to not have to wear their jackets and hats.

Of course, this warm spell comes at end of a winter that was already among the mildest since guys started keeping track of that stuff in the 1800's.  Sure, it meant lower home heating bills, less demand for low-income assistance and decreased energy use--but somewhere a species of coral disappeared as ocean temps increased one half a degree.  Sure hope that was worth hardly ever having to use the snowblower.

So go out in your shorts and t-shirts, hit the golf courses a month earlier than usual and take a walk in the bright sun in the park.  Just remember your killing the planet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ready For Retirement

One of the things I learned during my recent vacation in Florida is that I will have no problem retiring.  This year we saw the high profile deaths of people like Andy Rooney and Joe Paterno--who worked into their eighties--mostly out of fear that if they didn't work, they would die.  That certainly won't be a problem for me.

Everything my wife and I are doing with our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace plan is geared toward bringing that retirement date as soon as possible.  It's nice to get to experience the "retired life" in a small segment right now just re-inforces the confidence we have in making the decisions to put 15% of our pre-tax income toward our 401ks and Roth IRAs, to pay off our house early so that we increase our retirement savings even more after that and to avoid all of the other forms of debt so that we can truly "live like no one else" later on.  Believe me, sometimes you see the performance car ads on TV and you think "Hey, I can afford that monthly payment"--but just looking out the window at the cold and snow (until this week) makes those thoughts go away.

We stayed with my parents on our trip.  They are in one of those gated communities with all of the amenities: a golf course, two pools, a restaurant, an activity hall and clubs for pretty much any interest you might have.  My aunt and uncle live in The Villages--you may remember their ads on TV a few years ago.  That place is even more over the top.  Nobody drives a car--it's all golf carts--some of which have been customized to the tune of 30-thousand dollars.  You never have to leave that place for anything--as they have department stores, groceries, restaurants, bars, salons, gyms and about 50-golf courses on site.  However, the one thing I did notice about these communities: they tend to be a bit--shall we say--homogenous in their populations.  Plus, there are a lot of obnoxious Yankee fans down there.

Nonetheless, I hit 40 this summer--and I think on that day I will start posting the "retirement countdown clock".  It might be a big number now--but it's alarm doesn't go off at 2:30 AM like my current "work clock" does.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What a Joke

As much as the NCAA likes to promote its Women's Basketball Tournament as a major event, it continues to operate the thing like a two-bit circus.  How else to explain the situation the Green Bay Lady Phoenix find themselves in?

Despite a top ten ranking in the polls and a 22nd place standing in the RPI, GB is a 7-seed in the tournament.  That is lower than last year's 5-seed--when the team had a worse RPI.  And to add further insult to injury, the Lady Phoenix will have to play 10-seed Iowa State in the first round....ON IOWA STATE'S HOME FLOOR!!

The NCAA did away with home court advantage in the Men's Tournament back in the 1980's--right around the time it went from the tournament to MARCH MADNESS! (TM).  Yes, teams can still play in their home states--like Duke playing in North Carolina almost EVERY YEAR--but at least its not a real home game, and the teams that get that advantage tend to be one of the top two seeds in a regional.

But in the Women's Tournament, the fear is that if games are played at neutral sites, nobody will show up to watch.  Better to have "rabid hometown fans" attend a couple of the games than to have a bunch of televised contests played in front of thousands of empty seats.  So "big conference" schools like Iowa State get home games in the tournament--no matter how low a seed they are.  Meanwhile, better "mid-major" schools like Green Bay can look forward to a bunch of "road games" against inferior teams.

Perhaps if the NCAA had a football playoff, they could afford to play their women's basketball tournament at truly neutral sites--and not worry about attendance.  And there is no rule that says you can't charge just a couple of bucks for tickets (or make the games free) to boost attendance as well.  Maybe real sports fans would take your tournament seriously then.

PS--I sure hope those "die-hard" Cyclone fans turn out for the second round to watch Green Bay take on Kentucky in that second round game next Monday.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

There is a saying dating back to the 1800's that "Justice delayed is justice denied."  That was proven again in the controversy involving the Appleton Xavier and Little Chute boys basketball teams.  In case you missed it last week, Xavier beat Little Chute in a regional final and was all set to play Fox Valley Lutheran Thursday night when a Little Chute player came forward with proof that a Xavier player was inelligible to play.  The WIAA disqualified Xavier and reinstated Little Chute--who then beat FVL that night.

First off, the Little Chute player is to be commended for coming forward with information of a rules violation--however, by waiting until that information directly benefitted his team--the positives kind of get lost in the resulting controversy.

In golf, we are expected to self-report our rules violations.  But if you witness another player committing a breach of the rules, you are expected to turn him in, in order to "protect the rest of the field".  I've had some experience with this--as I turned in a fellow-competitor for illegally taking relief from a plugged lie in a marked water hazard in the first round of a two-day tournament.  Needless to say, he didn't appreciate that--but I had warned him before he committed the violation--but he insisted he was right.  Anyway, other competitors told me I had done the right thing-regardless of what the guy was yelling in the clubhouse after being disqualified.

But what if I had said nothing after that first round--and the offender beat me by a couple of strokes to win our flight?  How would it have looked to say "Yeah, the guy who beat me cheated--now give me his trophy"?  Would I have earned the same respect from the rest of the field if I "snitched in defeat"--instead of immediately after the infraction occurred?  Probably not.

And that is the problem in the Xavier-Little Chute controversy--the timing.  And I don't just mean that it looks like "sour grapes" coming from the Mustangs.  The infraction occurred on Febraury 25th--meaning the same innelligible player competed in Xavier's first playoff game against Freedom.  Because it wasn't reported until a week later, Freedom is an injured party as well--because the WIAA couldn't re-instate them to play Little Chute in the regional finals (and Freedom beat Little Chute once before this season).  So where is the justice for the Irish?

I say all the time that high school are the best way to teach important life lessons--like life isn't always fair--and there will always be winners and losers in life.  The lesson of this controversy has to be: if you see someone breaking the rules, report it immediately--because waiting only makes the problem worse.

As a post-script, Brillion beat Little Chute in the sectional finals on Saturday.  Some would say that was "karma".  Others (like all of the Little Chute parents standing around my press table after the game complainging about the officiating) believe it was part of a WIAA conspiracy to make sure the Mustangs didn't make it to Madison--further extending the controversy.  I think it was just an underdog team deciding they were going to play in-your-face, shut-down, man-to-man defense to dominate the second half.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Full-Time Waste

This has been another week where I have to wonder if it is really necessary to have a full-time Legislature.  Now that the biennial budget work is done, Legislators are free to tackle the really important designating Aaron Rodgers Day--and honoring the inventor of the Cheesehead.

Like many great pieces of legislation, Aaron Rodgers Day rose up from a "concern" by a citizen.  A woman in Stevens Point started a Facebook page demanding that 12-12-12 honor the Packers quarterback.  A lawmaker was alerted to the Facebook page and thought "Celebrating the jersey number of Aaron Rodgers should create thousands of jobs--we need to do this!!"  Would it be possible to set up a Facebook page demanding a crackdown on Wisconsin Food Share fraud?

By the way, as a Steelers fan, I will celebrate 12-12-12 as Terry Bradshaw Day (four Super Bowl titles to one for Mr Rodgers).

And then because there were no other problems to deal with in the state, the Legislature passed a resolution honoring the inventor of the Cheesehead.  Now I don't know about you--but the Cheesehead as "Symbol of Wisconsin Pride" is actually "Symbol of Wisconsin Embarassment".  Believe me, the people watching sports in other states aren't laughing with us when the TV shows fat, shirtless guys with a cheesehead on.

The most outrageous example of lawmakers with too much time on their hands came from Senator Glenn Grothman who wants to list single parenting as a "cause of child abuse".  Really?  We're going to go there in this political climate?  Alienating about one-third of all Wisconsin households as "child abusers" should make things real easy for Republicans later this year.

As I have mentioned before, there are Legislators that have actual jobs outside of Madison.  And I think you will find that they tend to be the least hard-line in their partisanship--and the most productive in their legislation.  That's probably because they actually are in touch with their constitutents and only have time to concetrate on what is important for Wisconsin--not just things to justify their full-time salaries.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


If you are over the age of 40--you probably remember the advice your Dad gave you when you had to deal with a bully:  "Punch him in the mouth!!  Stand up for yourself!!"  When I was in grade school I was bullied.  I was always one of the smallest kids in my class--and being a brainiac and the teachers' favorite didn't help either.  But all of that came to an end one day during recess in 8th grade.

As it usually did, the football game was divided into the Bullies and the Bullied--and on this day, the Bullies decided to play two-hand shove, rather than two hand touch.  After having been knocked to the blacktop a couple of times (and having a friend popped in the face by a forearm) I had had enough.  On the next play, I let one of the Bullies get within a couple of feet of me--and instead of trying to avoid him, I wound up and fired the ball right into his "family jewels" as hard as I could.  The ball found its target perfectly--and down went the bully.

There were threats of retalliation--but nothing ever really happened after that.  I like to think that it is because I had shown that continuing to bully me would come at a price.  (Ironically, the "recipient" of my perfect throw would become one of my best friends in high school.  And he and his wife have had a couple of kids--so apparently no "permanent damage" was done!)

But that was back in the 1980's--and kids don't have that option to deal with bullies anymore.  If I had done what I had done nowadays, I would have been threatened with expulsion--placed in in-school suspension--and sent to therapy to deal with my "anger issues".  In addition, the teachers and administrators would have held an all-school assembly where some guy with a guitar would sing songs about peace, love and understanding.  And we would have done some cheesey "team building" exercises with "people we wouldn't usually hang out with" to gain "greater understanding of each others feelings".  And, of course, we would all leave the gym feeling "empowered".

Annnnndd then the bullying would continue.  With the victims left no choice but to go home--listen to their Emo music--and sink into such a dark place that a football to the groin or a punch in the mouth is replaced by running down the bullies with your car--or bringing your Dad's hunting rifles and several hundred rounds of ammo to school to exact your revenge.

Maybe all those generations of fathers really did know best.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No Tears For Peyton

Forget the Galapagos Islands or the plains of the Serengeti, the best place to witness Darwin's pinciple of Natural Selection now is by observing the NFL off-season.  The latest example of that will come today, as the Indianapolis Colts part ways with their future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

Manning is like the bull elephant that has led his herd for years, but has become severely injured and lame--perhaps from bravely fighting off predators or protecting his harem from another interloping male.  As much as the rest of the herd loves that bull elephant and relies upon him for guidance and protection, they innately know that to remain with him in his current condition will jeopardize all of them.  And so they leave their intrepid leader behind--thereby guaranteeing the continued success of the herd.

And that is exactly what the Colts are doing today.  How could they justify a $28-million dollar contract to a quarterback with a degenerative nerve injury in his neck that no one knows is healing properly--and could be reaggravated by another hit or possibly by just another throw?  The beauty of the NFL salary cap and contract structure is that it gives the Colts this freedom to avoid the big risk and to clear cap space to bring in a new--and fully healthy--quarterback through the draft or free agency.  You look at Major League Baseball and the NBA and you see teams starting guys their coaches don't even want on the roster any more because they have to justify big money, guaranteed contracts that can sink an entire franchise for years.

Now you would thinks that fans would revolt against this cold and callous way of doing business--who doesn't love the aging veteran gamely taking to the field for one more shot at glory--but they apparently do not.  Consider that NFL TV ratings set yet another record last season.  And several cable channels and internet sites flourish by providing nothing but NFL coverage.  Even when the Packers dumped Brett Favre you heard how some fans were "never going to games again"--but did you see any empty seats at Lambeau?  And did those fans honestly sit in the corner and pout as Aaron Rodgers--the new leader of the herd--led the Packers to a Super Bowl title just a couple of season later?

So let those Colts fans burn their jerseys in protest and fill owner Jim Irsay's twitter timeline with hatred and threats.  They will be back in the fold after that first perfect pass for a touchdown by Andrew Luck. 

It's part of our nature.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Most Dangerous Man in Radio

I just wanted everyone to know that WOSH Radio will continue to air the most dangerous man in Talk Radio.  The man who for three hours every day repudiates nearly everything the Obama Administration is trying to do.  The host who encourages Americans to take responsibility for what they do--and to not expect (or demand) government handouts or bailouts when they make poor life choices.  And the man who calls those who believe that Big Government is the solution to all of man's problems "lazy" and "selfish".

I'm, of course, talking about Dave Ramsey.

I got the four emails of complaint about Rush Limbaugh over the weekend (three full days after the "comment".  It's funny how it always takes so long for people "offended" by Rush's comments to let us know about it--but when we lose the satellite feed or we preempt the show for a Presidential news conference--the phones immediately start ringing off the hooks here at the station).  And I wonder why those on the left don't have the same vitriol for Dave Ramsey?

Rush is nothing more than entertainer--a guy who says things meant to get people riled up and providing free promotion for his show whenever he can.  DittoHeads get to put their money where their mouths are only one or two election days every other year.  But those engaging in the Total Money Makeover promoted daily on the Dave Ramsey show are subverting the liberal agenda every single day.

While the President tells us all the time about how Americans can no longer afford to send their kids to college--there is Dave showing people how putting away just a litle bit every month can build a substantial college fund for their kids.  As the representatives of Students for Reproductive Justice tell Congressional committees that the government needs to require health care providers to give out free contraceptives--there is Dave touting High Deductible Health Savings Account policies that encourage workers to save for their health expenses and lower the costs to their employers.  And while the Federal Reserve continues to encourage Americans to dig themselves deeper into debt and to not bother saving for the future with artificially low interest rates--Dave Ramsey is helping people to get out of the hole and to build toward a retirement that won't depend on Social Security, Medicare and SeniorCare.

And yet, our liberal "listeners" don't call in or email to complain about that.  A nation of people thinking like Dave Ramsey would be a disaster for the Left--as fewer and fewer people would be reliant on Big Government to provide for their every need.  Maybe the President needs to start calling some of the people Dave tells to "sell the car" or "you won't be going to Disney World for a long time" that they shouldn't listen to what the fiscally responsble crowd tells them what to do--and that they should be "proud" of the mess they are in.