Wednesday, April 30, 2014

You're Grounded!

Another reminder of how far the US has fallen in world standing was shoved in our faces yesterday.  While most of the media sites were too absorbed in the opinions on race relations of an 81-year old man who somehow manages to appear in public with his wife one night and his girlfriend the next, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozin told us that our manned space program is effectively grounded.

"After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline,"

Rogozin is one of the targets of sanctions approved by the Obama Administration and the European Union in the wake of Russian aggression in Ukraine.  However, due to the termination of the Space Shuttle program--and cuts to NASA's budget for the Orion spacecraft program during the Obama Administration--the US (and really the entire world) is completely reliant upon Russia to get anyone to the International Space Station.  And when you are completely reliant on someone for something--you find yourself in a lot of situations where you need to kiss a lot of butts--even if they are attached to tyrants.

How did this happen?  How did we go from first to the moon, first to have a re-usable spacecraft and plans to be first on Mars to having the Russians mocking us for not being able to get anyone into space--much less exploring new frontiers?  It sort of reminds me of the first dark days of the manned space program--1975 to 1981--when NASA didn't send any Americans went into space--after 20-years of historic success.

There are times when I have to double check the calendar to make sure we aren't back in 1978.  For those of you "groovy" enough to remember, there was high, long-term unemployment, brutally cold winters, high gas prices, everyone was driving ugly little cars, nobody was "making" anything in the US and the powers that be in Washington were completely clueless as to how to get the country out of its "malaise".

Now we all know what eventually turned around that situation--so I guess we just have to wait two more years to make that happen--but in the meantime, we just have to hope that crappy dance music and polyester clothes don't come back into style--and that militant Islamists don't take a bunch of Americans hostage during this nostalgia piece.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Proper Punishment

Later today we'll find out what punishment NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will hand down to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his secretly-recorded comments about how he didn't want his bi-racial mistress to post pictures of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram anymore and how she shouldn't bring black people to Clippers games.  It's expected that the punishment will be similar to what Major League Baseball did to Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott back in the 1990's after she made comments about how Hitler "initially did good things for Germany, like building highways and factories--but then he went a little bit too far".  Schott was suspended indefinitely and eventually was forced to sell the team.

And while the suspension and forced sale may seem like a "harsh" penalty, you need to keep in mind that Sterling paid just 12-million dollars for the Clips back in 1981.  He would likely get more than a half-billion dollars for it now, even as part of a fire sale--as there are already multiple billionaire buyers lining up.  So Donald Sterling stands to get out of this mess an even richer man (well, until he pays off the wife and the mistresses)--that will teach him to say racists things!

Wouldn't it be better to make Sterling have to pay some consequences for his actions?  Why not make him keep the Clippers--but force him to operate under the standards he would actually prefer.  That would mean no African-American players, no minorities fans in a city that is a "majority" of minorities, no employees of color working for minimum wage to sell popcorn and sweep up the arena.  As an added bonus, you can borrow a punishment from the NCAA--ban the Clippers from television--no local tv rights, no share in the ESPN, ABC, Turner Sports or NBA TV revenues.  The all-white Clippers can become franchisa non grata.  Mr Sterling might feel the sting of punishment a bit more when he has to start dipping into his own pocket to cover the millions in losses he would likely incur under that scenario--rather than counting new-found millions.

But the more I think about it, that "punishment" might actually backfire.  You see, the Clippers could likely find some European basketball genius to become General Manager and he would go out and sign all of the best European talent to come play in LA--I mean these residents of the Socialist Democratic Utopias are already used to racism in sports, as Africans in their leagues are taunted with monkey calls from fans and have bananas thrown at them on the fields.  And with a bunch of guys trained in the Euro style of play, the Clips would have the most fundamentally-sound and best-shooting team in the NBA.  They probably wouldn't have any problems finding a coach either.  John Calipari comes to mind immediately as someone with no morals or scruples who would love to coach in LA for big bucks.

Another problem might be that the White Clippers would become the official franchise of a "certain element" of the American population.  I can see parking lots outside of every other NBA arena filled with pickup trucks and RV's flying Confederate flags--and the stands inside reverberating with rebel yells during the game.  And I can imagine entire sports talk show segments dedicated to "can you win an NBA title with just white players--and will this be the new trend in basketball?"

Maybe it might be best to just let the NBA save face as best they can and force Donald Sterling out with a fantastic golden parachute to cushion his fall.  It's not like he's going to feel any guilt or shame for what he has done.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Everything is Political

One of the sidebars to the controversy that erupted over the weekend from the release of audio tape purportedly exposing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racists comments about his mistress posting pictures of herself with Magic Johnson on "the Instagram" was the efforts by political bloggers to tie him to one of the political parties--and to make him the new face of their bigotry.

The initial Twitter traffic pegged Sterling as "another" Republican racist--posting links to campaign donation records showing Sterling giving tens of thousands to GOP candidates.  The only problem was, that was a different Donald Sterling--who lives in Texas--and likely didn't appreciate the controversy that his more-famous namesake was creating for him.  Further research found that THE Donald Sterling had given all of $6000 to Senator Bill Bradley--a Hall of Fame basketball player--and Gray Davis--the Democratic Governor who was recalled in favor of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After that, it was Donald Sterling--the DEMOCRATIC DONOR AND FUNDRAISER RACIST--among everyone on the right.  But what we have no real idea of is what Sterling's political alliances are based on those TWO contributions.  He obviously knew Senator Bradley from his NBA playing days.  And Gray Davis was just as kooky as Sterling is--so they likely spoke a common language.  I don't recall seeing Donald Sterling on MSNBC bashing income inequality from his Beverly Hills mansion.  And the Clippers didn't have "Sign up for ObamaCare Night" at the Forum this past season. 

Why does it surprise people that everything is so partisan in Washington or Madison when everyone outside of politics is still identified by their party affiliation?  It makes you wonder if Jeffrey Dahmer had committed his killing spree today, if every news report would include the line "Dahmer--who had a Scott Walker For Governor sign in his yard--lured his victims in with promises of a good meal."  Another good headline would be the "Cannibal Republican Preys Upon Milwaukee Men".

Here's a shocker for everybody, bigotry knows no political boundaries.  It can be seen on one side that believes minority power is a threat--and on the other side that sees minority populations as totally incapable of taking care of themselves. 

Friday, April 25, 2014


A new poll out this week shows that Americans only tend to believe what they can actually see.  It's why there is not universal belief in the Big Bang Theory (even though the Hubble Telescope has given us a glimpse into the earliest days of the universe on numerous ocassions).  It's why there remains doubt about global warming (just look at the winter and the spring we had in most of the country--and the forecasts that show below normal temps for at least the next month).  And it's why so many doubt Evolution (all of those animals look the same as they did years ago).

Obviously, religion plays a major role in some of that disbelief in science.  If you were like me, you were given the Biblical explanation for creation from your earliest days as a child and then the actual scientific reason for most things was given to you later.  Eventually you had to make a decision--do I go with what I learn in church (which is based on the writings of 14th century monks, or do I go with reasoned explanations provided by modern learning (and risk going to Hell)?

Politics plays a role in disbelief as well.  That is the excuse given for the doubt in MAN-MADE global warming--politicians are interfering with the dissemination of scientific data.  I always laugh at the accusation that I am a "climate change denier" because I will readily admit that the Earth is getting warmer.  I just prefer to begin my "global climate change" graphs at the end of the last Ice Age--which provides a very steady increase in average temperatures--as opposed to the "hockey stick" graph that takes into account a much shorter time period and produces a much "scarier" upturn in temps.  What I also question is how spending trillions of dollars and limiting the growth of human economic evolution is going to fix the problem.

And this "I'll believe it when I see it" mentality is why the Obama Administration is never going to convince people that the Affordable Care Act is "working"--so few of us have actually seen any benefits.  The number 8-million sign ups is celebrated as a victory--but the vast majority of those are people who had insurance but the policies were cancelled due to ACA requirements.  That leaves about 2-million "newly insured" (and nobody can confirm that either).  Millions more were put into Medicaid programs--but we don't know those numbers either.  So that leaves at least 300-million people who only know that the ACA brought them another 8% increase in their insurance premiums this year (which apparently passes for "affordable" nowadays) and that the website that was four years in the making that still didn't work right.

Perhaps we should consider changing our motto from "In God we trust" to "The Show Me Nation."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Little Orphan Arena

This is a great time of year to be a hockey fan.  The NHL Playoffs are on TV every night, showcasing the passion, intensity and speed to an increasing audience.  But there is now a cloud that has settled over the sport here in the Fox Valley--as the Tri-County Ice Arena appears to be on its way to closure.  This week, the Winnebago County Board--which serves as the de facto owner of the facility--stripped County Executive Mark Harris of the power to negotiate the management contract for the arena.  Any agreement will now have to win approval from 36 members of the County Board--the majority of whom have no interest in operating an ice arena.

The fate of Tri-County may have been sealed from the beginning.  The arena was built by a private entity and then "gifted" to Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties for continued operation.  As we point out endlessly in this forum, people (including County Board members) place no real value on something they didn't have to pay for.  Calumet County thought so little of the "gift" that they contributed ZERO dollars to any improvement or maintenance projects.  And because the arena sits in the town of Menasha, Outagamie County officials quickly lost interest and refused to put any money into it either--selling their "share" for a whopping $1 a couple of years ago.

In the vacuum of disinterest from the counties, the Tri-County Recreation Association--made up largely of the user groups--stepped up and kept the place running.  Holding fundraisers to purchase ice-surfacing equipment and furniture.  But they have never been able to get the cash needed for major projects--like fixing the parking lot that looks like a military bombing range--or patching a leaky roof.  Fed up with the lack of help--and the subsequent power play by the County Board, the Recreation Association is throwing in the towel--not submitting a proposal to continue operations this year.  The three companies that did submit offers didn't meet the requirements set out by the County--namely, you run the place and fix all of the problems out of your own pocket.  And really, who in their right mind would stick money into a facility that you don't own?

Despite reassurances (some with smirks) from Supervisors this week that the arena won't close, it almost appears to be a foregone conclusion--since the timeline to find a solution has been pinched so tight by the Board's action this week.  (Ironically, the vote to take that power away from County Executive Harris came the same day he announced he was running for Congress).  Once the arena does close, it will leave three high school teams and several youth hockey and figure skating programs with nowhere to practice and compete.  Knowing hockey parents, they'll still schlep their kids to Green Bay, or Oshkosh or even Waupaca to get ice time--but some families will decide that effort isn't worth it--and their kids will no longer compete.

We talk about how youth sports teaches kids so many life lessons--like sportsmanship, teamwork and the feeling of accomplishment through hard work.  But for kids who have played at Tri-County, they'll get a bonus lesson: If you leave government in control of something long enough--it will end up in complete and total disaster.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Leave the White Hoods at Home, Golfers

It didn't get a lot of attention last week (because CNN remains in 24/7 coverage of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet, FOX News is demanding answers from Hillary Clinton for the deaths in Benghazi, and MSNBC continues to move the goal posts for President Obama to keep spiking the ball on the "success" of the Affordable Care Act), but baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron made waves with some comments comparing Republicans who oppose the President to members of the Ku Klux Klan.

“Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated,” Aaron told USA Today Sports.
Aaron continued: “The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

I'm guessing that Hammerin' Hank thinks those same Republicans were sexist when they opposed government control of health care originally proposed by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in the 1990's.  He must also consider Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale as "racist" as well--since they spent their careers trying to strike him out--instead of just letting him hit the ball out of the park every at bat.

So imagine my surprise when the folks at US Venture announced yesterday that Hank Aaron will be the guest of honor at this year's Golf Open.  When he comes here to the Fox Valley, Hank will be asking hundreds, if not thousands of Republicans who are opposed to the political policies of President Obama to open their wallets and give more money to a number of local community foundations.  That money will go to programs that provide basic needs to people in the area--many of whom are racial minorities.  And by purchasing a foursome in the tournament, those Republicans will be giving more to charity in one day than Vice President Joe Biden did all of last year.

I doubt those small business owners, corporate executives and other fiscal conservatives will be boycotting the US Venture Open in August because of Mr Aaron's comments.  And I am certainly not suggesting that anyone not give to the event--because of all the good it does.  I would suggest that there still be standing ovations for Hank based on his accomplishments in the face of real racism (and without taking steroids)--and forgiveness for the bitterness that apparently still lingers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Well, This Will Be Awkward

It will be interesting to see how seriously the major media outlets in Wisconsin treat State Representative Brett Hulsey's candidacy for Governor.  Yesterday's announcement that he is going to challenge Mary Burke for the Democratic nomination came out of nowhere--which is pretty much par for the course when dealing with Hulsey.

To call Hulsey's behavior "erratic" is to be kind.  This is a man who once took it upon himself to throw then-Mayor Paul Soglin's grandson in a Madison lake because he was splashing some girls at the beach.  This is a guy who once told the Dane County Board that he lived in fear of the Sheriff's Deputies union rigging his car with a bomb set to go off when he started the vehicle.  This is a politician who once commandeered the podium in front of all the cameras at a press conference for Governor Scott Walker to condemn Act Ten.  This is a man who once threatened to bring his muzzleloader rifle to the floor of the Assembly and shoot it at then-Majority Leader Bill Kramer's head (I bet Republican party leaders now wish he had actually done that).  And he is the guy who brought a boxcutter to the Capitol so that he "teach" his twenty-something female aid the art of self-defense.

Hulsey is also a conspiracy theorist.  He accused Mayor Soglin of "political bullying" by charging him with disorderly conduct in what he calls the "beach kerfuffle".  He thought the deputies were trying to kill him because of a contract dispute with the county.  And he accuses Governor Walker of trying to "destroy his political career" by releasing the police report detailing the boxcutter incident and how it drove his aide to quit her job (even though the report was released following a Freedom of Information Act filing).

But Hulsey isn't your run of the mill political crackpot that can be ignored--like the two other Democrats already challenging Mary Burke, can you name them?  He actually holds elected office.  The good people of Madison have elected him to the Assembly twice--after putting him on the Dane County Board for 7-terms.  Further complicating things, Hulsey self-admits to having psychological problems.  He claims to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to physical and emotional abuse by his father while he was a child--and that is why he acts the way he acts.

It will be interesting to see if the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association holds a debate featuring Burke and Hulsey before the primary--as they have in the past when there are two "viable" candidates in the race.  Will the media outlets and assign reporters to follow Hulsey around and blog about his every campaign speech and appearance.  And how will the inevitable bizarre statements and actions be treated in those stories?  Will they be prefaced by "Representative Brett Hulsey--who suffers from PTSD--today promised to throw Governor Scott Walker in prison for life for treason if elected to fill that same position"?  And does Mary Burke actually answer the accusations that she is not "liberal enough" to be the Democratic nominee?

Brett Hulsey's entry into the race for Governor may not make it more competitive or even more interesting.  But it will definitely be more awkward.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Very Tough Sell

I wish the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks the best of luck--because they are going to need it.

First off, they have bought into a franchise that has become directionless and talentless.  They don't have anyone close to All-Star caliber on the roster, their General Manager has been horrible in the draft and their Head Coach appears to have no answers for all but a few of the other teams in the league.  But talent deficiencies and management issues can be fixed through the draft and a changing of the guard in the front office.  And maybe the new owners will be more willing to spend money on that kind of talent than The Senator was,

But the biggest problem the new owners face is building support for construction (largely with taxpayer dollars) of a new Milwaukee arena.  Despite being only 25-years old, the BMO Harris Bradley Center is considered to be inadequate for the "modern" NBA.  New Commisioner Nate Silver toured the facility last year and deemed that it lacked the "back of house space and amenities" that the NBA needs.  I think the Commish means that there isn't an attached nightclub, upscale restaurant, lounge, team store, and kids playland at the BC--because you wouldn't want to just watch basketball at the arena, would you?

A new arena would cost a minimum of a half-a-billion dollars.  Herb Kohl and the new owners have each promised $100-million toward construction--meaning the city will have to come up with the remaining 300-mill.  With zero job growth and economic development prospects under Mayor Tom Barrett, the city doesn't have that kind of money--so you know where they are going to turn: to the rest of Wisconsin to foot the bill.

I can't see Governor Scott Walker including a 300-million dollar line item into the next two year budget--nor can I see Republican majorities in the Assembly and the State Senate approving that either.  They sill remember Senator George Petak who was recalled from office for casting the deciding vote that instituted the 5-county sales tax used to build Miller Park.

Ah yes, the 5-county sales tax.  It was originally scheduled to expire in 2017--which would set up perfectly for a "temporary extension" to fund a new Milwaukee arena.  But the revenues haven't kept pace with projections in recent years--and it may have to run longer than expected.  There is also a school of thought that maybe it should also be used to build a reserve fund for future repairs and improvements to Miller Park--just like what is being done with Lambeau Field and the Brown County sales tax.

The sad reality is that much of Wisconsin couldn't care less about the Bucks and professional basketball in Milwaukee.  If the team is good, we might watch a game or two--but honestly, the product stinks.  Regular season NBA action is boring--which is why it needs to be infused with music during game action, scantily clad dancers every timeout, half-court shot contests, t-shirt guns radio-controlled mini-blimps, and Bango the Buck doing crazy dunk routines.  That means the inevitable threats to move the franchise--and Seattle is desperate for a team with an empty "acceptable" arena just waiting--won't be as effective as when Bud Selig claimed he may have to sell the Brewers to a group is St Petersburg, Florida.  Plus, Joe Smith from Neenah really isn't keen on having to go to downtown Milwaukee for a game.  Which raises the big question (and looming fight) about where to locate the new facility.  You may recall the battle royale between the Pettit family--who was giving the Bradley Center to the city for free and wanted it built adjacent to County Stadium--and Mayor Henry Maier, who insisted that it must be downtown right next to the MECCA.  Because Maier was the undisputed King of Milwaukee--he got his way.

If there was any attachment at all to the Bucks, the idea of a new facility for the team might be a "slam dunk".  But given the ambivalence toward both the team and the city from those of us "outstate"--it appears to be well on its way to an "air ball".

Friday, April 18, 2014

Premature Jocularity

Remember back in the 1980's when the NFL became the "No Fun League"?  Rules were adopted banning on-field celebrations like "The Sack Dance", "The Fun Bunch" and even the simple act of spiking the football.  I think it is time for a similar ban on "celebrating" an accomplishment for politicians.

The term "spiking the football" joined the political vernacular after President George W Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech on the aircraft carrier during the Iraq War.  As it turned out, we had not scored the game-winning touchdown--but rather we had just pushed the ball out of our own end zone to the one-yard line.

Governor Scott Walker has been a good "ball spiker" as well--celebrating a projected budget surplus by immediately spending nearly all of that with a quick package of tax cuts.  As I've mentioned before in this space, I prefer to have my money in my pocket before I think about how to spend it.  Plus, another downturn in the sputtering national economic recovery--and you are right back in the mess you worked so hard to fix.

And then you have President Obama, who is becoming the King of End Zone Celebrations with the Affordable Care Act.  You had the Rose Garden speech earlier this month touting the 7-million registrations at  But what we still don't know is how many of the registrants have actually enrolled in a health insurance plan?  And how many are going to keep up on the monthly premiums?  And will the increased claims allow insurers to keep premiums at the "affordable" level that was promised?  This isn't a touchdown--but just like Bush 41 found out--we are just getting out of our own end zone.  Then that celebration was topped by another "We did it!" press conference yesterday celebrating the ball reaching the 2-yard line--with 8-million people having "registered".  Hand me the pom-poms when there is 100% coverage, falling premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs for everyone.

If history is any indication, Presidents will never get to celebrate their own "victories".  It was Truman who ended World War II--not Roosevelt.  George H W Bush marked the fall of the Berlin Wall--not Ronald Reagan.  And who knows what President will be able to talk about what a great ally Iraq is in fostering democracy in the Middle East and fighting the spread of militant Islam as well.

Perhaps our overly exuberant leaders should consider the restraint shown by Winston Churchill after the British defeated the Nazis in the battle of El Alamein in 1942--driving the Germans out of Egypt:

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Every Time That I Plant a Seed.....

I want you to file away in your memory banks a study that came out this week from researchers at Northwestern University.  The study finds that even casual use of marijuana causes brain damage in young adults.  I want you to remember that as the point at which the seeds of a giant lawsuit were sown.

There won't be any claims filed tomorrow, or next week or even later this year.  That's because the focus of pot smokers right now is to expand the legality of their favorite drug.  That means advocacy groups will be denying the impact of the study or using their standby excuse that "alcohol is a lot worse for you than pot and it's legal."  Democratic lawmakers will insist that the "science is not settled yet" on the safety of marijuana use--and that drug laws only exist to put minorities in prison--while Republicans will use the study to call for stricter restrictions on the use of pot because it is "obviously turning our young people into mindless zombies totally incapable of getting or keeping a job."

Eventually, there will be more studies done--some supporting the Northwestern findings, some coming up with completely different results.  More states will legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana use, and maybe even the Federal government will drop its pot laws.  Companies will become comfortable with marijuana as a cash crop and a legitimate retail product and will put their production and marketing might behind it--turning weed into an industry worth billions and perhaps trillions annually.  And THAT is when the lawsuits will begin!  Because who are you going to sue now?  Braden, the college kid that scores you a baggie or two every couple of weeks from some guys that he knows down in Milwaukee?

Attorneys for long-time pot smokers (who by that point will be barely able to function) will file all kinds of claims--targeting those companies (we'll call them "Big Pot").  The arguments will point back to that April 2014 Northwestern study that found smoking weed kills your brain cells as "proof" Big Pot knew for decades that the product they were selling to an "unsuspecting" public was dangerous to their health.  Why weren't there warning labels?  Advocacy groups will demand "justice" for those who smoked away their mental capacity every Friday and Saturday night for years.  Democratic lawmakers will make speeches about how "Corporate greed led to a coverup of clear scientific and medical proof that marijuana use was harmful to your health"--while Republicans will defend the pot-makers against that liability, arguing that they were selling a "completely legal product to customers who were well aware of the risks".

Perhaps PBS Frontline should interview the three Northwestern researchers right now for their expose in 20 to 30 years about how they knew of the dangers of pot smoking--but that they were "silenced" and "publicly discredited" so that Americans could continue their enjoyment of the product.  They can call that episode Bong of Denial. 

So again, just commit this week and this study to memory--unless you enjoy a toke or two every once in awhile--in which case you can just continue in your blissful ignorance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We Don't Want Your Kind Around Here

If you'd like some insight into the chaos that unfettered liberalism can have on a society, check out what is going on in San Francisco right now.  Residents of that city have declared all-out war on tech companies who are trying to bring new jobs to the Bay Area.  At first you might think, "Wow, a city doesn't want new jobs in this economy, what are they stupid?"  Nope, just liberal.

You see, the problem with the jobs coming to San Francisco and surrounding suburbs is that they pay too much.  Now you're probably really confused.  "They don't want high paying jobs?  What is wrong with them?"  What's wrong with them is that they live in fear of "gentrification"--or an increased standard of living within the city. 

San Francisco is already a very expensive place to live--due in large part to high taxes, an artificially high minimum wage, and other regulations on commerce and business (nearly all of which were approved by voters in referenda).  That means to live there, people are dependent upon government programs like rent control--which is supposed to keep housing costs lower than they would be if free market forces were allowed to operate as they should.  The "problem" that has developed in the Bay Area is that companies like Yahoo and Facebook have brought in a bunch of young, well-paid professionals who are also looking for a place to live in such a "cool" city--and they are buying the houses that had previously been available as rent control units for use now as single-family homes--meaning the people who have been getting by "on the cheap" need to find a new place to live.

The easy solution would be to build more houses right?  Well, that isn't so easy in the Liberal Utopia.  Ordinances are in place to limit urban sprawl and decades of efforts to make driving a car as difficult as possible leave city dwellers no choice but to use the limited options available through public transit (which has led to the buying up of former low-rent units close to train stations in outlying areas as well.  Plans to build the types of apartment and condo developments (with more rent-control units as well) within the city are inevitably derailed--as neighborhood associations hold incredible power to limit what can be built in order to "protect the unique character of their area".

Yahoo is particularly hated by the anti-tech crowd.  They are trying to lessen the impact of its employees on the city by offering to build apartments on their campus out of town.  But that effort was derailed when it was found that burrowing owls live near the area and the new development would disrupt their habitat.  Yahoo sought to limit the impact on public transit by setting up their OWN BUS SYSTEM to drive around town and pick up their employees.  But those buses are being stopped in the street by protesters--who even vomit on the vehicles--and the city now wants to charge Yahoo a "per stop fee" for curbside pickup.

So the message is clear to those who want to live stable, well-paid lives in San Francisco: We don't want your type around here.  Maybe those big tech companies (run--ironically enough--by well-known liberals themselves) will eventually get the message and consider moving all of those family-supporting jobs to "less progressive" places like Wisconsin.  We'd be more than happy to take them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Not Much To See (or Hear) Here

During my brief foray into state politics I was subjected to being videotaped just a handful of times.  Once was while walking into a rally for then-Senate candidate Ron Johnson here in Oshkosh where not one--but two people were recording everyone who walked into the building.  My reporter instincts got the better of me and I asked one of the young men what he was doing.  "I'm on public property sir, I am allowed to film this" was the only response he would give me to my three or four questions--so obviously he had been well-trained not to crack while behind enemy lines.

Now, James O'Keefe--who masterminded the secret videotaping of State Senator Mike Ellis earlier this year with members of his group Project Veritas--is promising a lot more of these overt and covert operations.  That got me to thinking "what if I had somehow won that race a few years back--and they were doing that to me?"  And I had to chuckle at what they would probably "uncover".  I imagine their "logbook" would look something like this:

Day One: Followed Mr. Krause to the golf course where he hit balls on the range for about an hour and a half and practiced putting for another half hour.  His driving accuracy and short game are top-notch--but he really needs to work on his irons.  I attempted to engage him in a conversation about school vouchers while pretending to be a fellow golfer but he shot me a dirty look and asked if I thought Tiger Woods discussed politics on the practice range.  I thought we might have an opening when Mr Krause ordered an "Arnold Palmer" in the clubhouse--but it turns out that only has iced tea and lemonade in it--and no alcohol.

Day Two: Followed Mr Krause to Festival Foods where he was doing his grocery shopping.  I noticed that he purchased a lot of fresh fruits and dairy products--but not many green vegetables.  He also seemed to buy a lot of red meat.  Attempted to engage him in a conversation about the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage while pretending to be another shopper but he said he had to hurry home to get dinner made on the grill before his wife got home from work.

Day Three: Followed Mr Krause to the YMCA where he worked out for about 90-minutes.  He appears to have good upper body flexability but could really improve the strength in his shoulders and his hamstrings if he's looking to add more distance to his drives.  Attempted to ask him questions about campaign finance reform while pretending to be another runner on the track--but I could not keep up with him.

Day Four: Followed Mr Krause to the gym again--where this time he played basketball with a group of other middle-aged men.  He can't go left anymore with the dribble--but he continues to show great range from the outside.  Tried several times to guard him and get him to talk about his feelings on party leadership--but he kept running me into screens.  Eventually, I became too exhausted after the third game in a row and had to lay down for a little bit.  I did hear him complain to a fellow player about Traevon Jackson not getting the ball to Ben Brust, Frank Kaminsky or Sam Dekker for game winning shots--so perhaps we can use that to paint Mr Krause as a racist.

Maybe our current and future leaders should consider being this "boring" as well--and the whole "secret video" craze will fade away on its own.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Politics as Bloodsport

Mike McCabe at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign likes to decry the drawing of "safe" districts at both the Congressional and State levels as resulting in a lack of competitive races for those seats every year.  He believes that there are now "Republican" seats and "Democratic" seats that will likely never change hands in the next ten years.  But what that practice has also done is bring about ideological warfare--at least on the Republican side--here in 2014.

For the longest time, incumbents were immune from intra-party challenges for fear that it might weaken them for what could be a competitive general election.  It was far better to have an "R" in office--even if he or she wasn't 100% "ideologically pure"--than it was to risk losing that seat.  But now that districts are seen as more secure in terms of party preference, such fear of losing in November is vanishing--bringing with it far more in-fighting. 

And that absence of fear is what led us to Friday--as more than 80-years of political experience was swept out the door without a single vote being cast by the people served by Congressman Tom Petri and State Senator Mike Ellis.  In Petri's case, the Tea Party element of the GOP was promising a bruising primary campaign behind State Senator Glenn Grothman (even though he doesn't live in the 6th Congressional District)--and at 70+ years of age, it was a battle that the Congressman wasn't interested in fighting.  As for Senator Ellis, he has run afoul of the School Voucher/Anti-Common Core crowd--who sent in their hidden camera "reporters" to make him look as bad as possible.  We are "on watch" for State Senator Luther Olsen of Berlin to make a similar decision--as nearly all Republican groups in his district have voted to not support his re-election campaign this year.

In both cases the factions of the Republican Party have succeeded in setting up what they hope will be a "Real Conservative" vs a "Real Conservative" primary race--with the winner sure to triumph over a hapless Democrat in November.

But what if these groups have overplayed their hands?  What if the reason the 6th Congressional District and the 19th State Senate District have been Republican for so long is not because of the "R" on the ballot--but because of the candidates on the ballot?  Who is to say that Joe Sixpack who always had Congressman Petri and Senator Ellis to vote for isn't nearly as interested in voting for "that new guy"?  Is losing majority control of the State Senate and the House of Representatives worth the "ideological purity" that you have achieved within the party?

Based on the results we have seen on the national scale the last 10-years, the GOP is fast becoming the party of Pyrrhic victories--so I guess the immediate answer will be "yes".

Friday, April 11, 2014


While you are watching President Obama's announcement about the resignation and replacement of Kathleen Sebelius as the Secretary of Health and Human Services today, I want you to think back to the day President Bush gave FEMA Chief Michael Brown a vote of confidence following Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.  I'm hoping the President gives us a great one-liner like "Ole Kathy's done a heckuva job implementing the Affordable Care Act".  When you think about it, there are a number of similarities between the two situations.  It was a disaster that we saw coming, yet big government--in its slow, bumbling way--was still totally unprepared for what happened.  Of course, Scott Brown and FEMA had just a week to prepare for hurricane relief efforts while Kathleen Sebelius had FOUR YEARS to get a website operational.


Speaking of "the website", we will hear a lot about "7.1 million people signed up" and what a "huge success" that was (even though it took twice as long as it was supposed to).  But we still don't know how many of those 7.1 million are among the 6 million whose health insurance policies were canceled due to the ACA's "minimum coverage" requirements.  We also still don't know how many of the 7.1 million have actually paid their premiums (which is far more important that just signing up--since that actually puts the policy into effect).  And we still don't know what became of the 23-million other people who were "desperate" for health insurance coming into last year.  More than likely, a good percentage are in expanded Medicaid programs--where the states will soon be stuck with the bill for their coverages.  And let's not forget that all these people were doing is complying with Federal law.  You may as well "congratulate" Eric Holder because 360-million people didn't rob a bank the past six months.


Here's a bit of unsolicited advice for Republican state lawmakers:  STOP GOING TO BARS!!  The Senator Mike Ellis secret video released this week by Project Veritas was shot in a Madison bar.  How many the Senator had before the conversation about forming a political action committee--which he said was meant hypothetically (or was dropped because everyone realized it was illegal, we've heard a couple of versions now)--is not known.  This is actually the second time Ellis has been stung this way.  You may recall Blogging Blue captured Ellis denegrating the student body at Preble High School in a secret recording filmed--you guessed it--at a Madison bar.  That people with hidden cameras know where to find Mike saying things guaranteed to get him into hot water at any time suggests a pattern of behavior that needs to change.

Then you have Representative McFeely--I mean Bill Kramer--who is facing criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault of one of Senator Ron Johnson's aides in the parking lot of a Mequon bar.  This goes along with his sexual harassment of a GOP lobbyist at a fundraiser in Washington DC that likely involved more than a little drinking.  The Founding Fathers may have held many of their debates over the structure and purpose of our fledgling democracy in the taverns of their day--but that was before hidden video cameras, Youtube, Twitter and drunk driving laws.  It might be a good idea to work on mixing up your old-fashioneds and your whiskey sours at home from now on, guys.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hello Friends

I was having a conversation this week about why the Masters has become my favorite sporting event to watch on television.  In going through the litany of items that make the Masters broadcasts so unique, I realized that it's not the spectacular setting (made even better by HDTV) or the drama on the back nine on Sunday that I like so much--it's that the Masters is the only broadcast that treats it's viewers like mature, intelligent adults.

The credit for that has to go to the membership of Augusta National Golf Club--which keeps very tight control on the broadcast content.  They wisely provide CBS and ESPN with the rights on a year-to-year basis.  That's means if they see or hear something on the air that they don't like--they can immediately begin to shop the rights around to NBC, ABC, or FOX--all of whom would knock over their own grandmothers to be the first in line to sign that new contract.

The club also limits how many commercials can be shown an hour--and they bring their own sponsors to the table.  IBM, Exxon/Mobil and AT&T will be the only commercials you will see during the four minutes of ads allowed per hour.  That means no ads with hamsters and French girls trying to sell "Framily" plans, there's no "Mayhem" blowing up cars and houses, and there are no ads featuring the father, husband or boyfriend being the butt of every joke.

The production of the broadcast is muted as well.  That means no fighting robots, no Killers song to take us to every break (just the iconic Dave Loggins piano piece "Augusta"), no Gus Johnson screaming at the top of his lungs about a routine shot, no Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision Camera breakdown of everyone's swing and no Fidelity Investments Putting Line superimposed over the perfect greens.  Players aren't interviewed about their front nine performance while the rest of the group waits to tee off on 10.  Jim Nantz and Verne Lundquist don't even have to sound excited about the new episode of "Two Broke Girls" or "Mike and Molly".  And the cast of the "Big Bang Theory" isn't shown sitting behind the 18th green--all on their cell phones and not even paying attention to what is going on in front of them.  The course is the star of this show--and it will be shown just the way it is.

I'm not saying that Masters coverage is perfect.  There is still a bit too much "reverence" paid to the tournament.  But it is the closest thing we have left to the origin of sports broadcasting: here is the game, here's who's playing and here's the score.  You don't really need a lot more than that.  But even if you aren't all that interested in who wins or loses.  It's at least nice to have the TV on for four or five hours and not have your intelligence insulted....constantly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Does Marcellus Wallace Look Like?

In previous years I have used this forum to offer support for the Oshkosh Pub Crawl.  It has always been my position that the downtown bars are just as entitled (man, do I hate having to use that word in this cultural climate) to benefit from a special event as are the boutique shops and restaurants on North Main Street that benefit from Gallery Walk and the Farmers' Market.  It just so happens that those bars sell alcohol--a legal product to both purchase and consume--and that their clientele on the night tends to be young adults--as opposed to "gentrified patrons of the arts" (who are allowed to walk around with their wine on Main Street).

But I cannot offer that support this year.  No, I'm not joining city and UW-Oshkosh officials in becoming righteously indignant about how the event "encourages binge drinking" and how it "gives the city a black eye".  If you have ever been in the Lambeau Field parking lot or in the Ashwaubenon Stadium District after (or even before) a home game you know that  football "encourages binge drinking" as well--yet you don't see anyone calling for the cancellation of Packers games or game day drink specials do you?

What is causing my opposition this year is the refusal of "organizers" to secure and pay for a special event permit from the city.  Unlike certain Presidents, Attorney Generals and candidates for Wisconsin AG, I believe in the rule of law--even if you don't agree with the tenets of the law.  And the law in Oshkosh requires payment for the city services (extra police) that will be provided for Pub Crawl.  And what Joe Kubiak--and others that may be working with him--are attempting to do this year is nothing more than an end run around a law they do not like.

I won't go as far as the Drama Queens on the Common Council last night and claim that Kubiak is "holding the city hostage" (like residents are afraid to come out of their homes Saturday because the Pub Crawlers might transform into flesh-eating zombies unless he is paid 100-BILLION DOLLARS!!) but the man who formed Oshkosh Pub Crawl LLC--and who has informed others trying to make t-shirts and items bearing the "Oshkosh Pub Crawl" name that they will be sued--clearly has taken "ownership of the event".  And as the owner, founder or promoter of said event he should either pony up the permit fee or work with the bar owners who also profit to cover the cost--just like every other event (except for Sawdust Days) has done since the law went into place.

Failing to do so will make you look like the immature, irresponsible little brats that those who detest Pub Crawl and who want to destroy it try to make everyone that takes part in it out to be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Devaluation Solution

As our obsession with what those at the top and the bottom make and keep contines to grow, those of us in the middle continue to suffer all of the collateral damage.  Take for instance a new study by the Brookings Institute that touts what a huge benefit the Affordable Care Act will be for those in the bottom 20% of income earners--possibly increasing their average incomes by 5-7% (if you count the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance premiums as "income").  But what the same study finds is that income across the other 80% of Americans will FALL as a result:

Keep in mind, these income projections do not take into account the expected increase in health insurance rates due to mandatory ACA coverages.  You may notice that the impact on those at the very top is less than that in the middle--showing that "redistribution of wealth" via government involvement is still dependent upon the largest section of the population (the middle class) to finance it.

And now our old Keynsian friend Paul Krugman is back demanding that monetary policy move toward promotion of inflation "in order to get the economy growing again".

Krugman's argument is that the government (and those on the lower end of the income and wealth scale) are saddled with too much debt--which is stifling the spending of more money throughout the economy.  But rather than move out of debt and free up more cash for spending in the future, Krugman and his Keynsian allies in Washington believe that flooding the economy with as much cash as possible now will de-value all of that debt.  And what better way to do that than with increased entitlement spending by the government and raising the minimum wage.  Poof--just like that, everyone is making more money!  Well, except for the majority of us who can't get lawmakers to just vote us a raise.  We end up with the higher prices at the gas pump and the grocery store. 

The Keynsians brag that an added benefit from higher inflation is that it devalues the assets held by those at the top--an extra bit of "revenge", if you will--which will be augmented by higher taxes and cuts to corporate profits.  That will teach them for being successful!!

But for those of us in the middle--with much more modest financial holdings--that devaluation effort will have a much greater impact.  Losing two to four percent of your buying power or asset values causes Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers to frown.  Losing that same two to four percent for Joe Middleclass means retirement is pushed off even further.  It's bad enough that we can't get even one percent on our savings, CD's or money market accounts--now you want to make it even more worthless to save money for the future.

I guess that is the price you pay to make things "fair".

Monday, April 7, 2014

Doomed To Continue Failing

Later this week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Ever's Achievement Gap Task Force will hold its first meeting.  The committee is charged with finding ways to improve school test scores among minority students in Wisconsin--which continue to lag well below those of white students in the state.  (Or at least I hope that is the goal.  You never know, they could adopt the same tactics as those trying to solve "income inequality" by just lowering the standards for those at the top and the middle to get closer to the bottom.)

For those who missed it last week, the Annie Casey Foundation released a report that put Wisconsin at the bottom of all 50 states for the status of African-American children--while white kids in Wisconsin face the tenth best futures.  Graduating more than one third of our African-American males from high school would be a good start toward improving those numbers.

But I am discouraged about what this Achievement Gap Task Force will be able to achieve following an interview the chairman, Mequon Superintendent Demond Means had on Upfront With Mike Gousha this weekend.  Means started out talking a good game, saying we need to expect more from minority students in order to get better results.  But when Gousha (very delicately as you will notice) tried to raise the issue of what I believe is the single largest factor in the failure of minority students in Wisconsin: the lack of accountability on the part of parents--Means insisted that only the school is responsible for a child's education:

Of course, why would a parent think they are responsible for their kids' educations anymore?  The Government steps in as soon as it can to take the child out of home for "preparation to learn".  There's early childhood at three, pre-kindergarten at four, all day kindergarten at five, before-school programs, after-school programs, and summer school programs--all promising to improve student performance.  And yet, the kids who have grown up with all of these "improvement" programs from day one of their lives--are the ones falling farther and farther behind.

I can already tell you what the Achievement Gap Task Force will list as its "solutions"--even before they host their first meeting: more funding for education, more teachers in the classroom, earlier intervention, more alternative learning programs, and moving away from "testing-based" outcomes--all of which will mean more expense for you and me.  While the people most responsible for the failure of their own children continue to think that is what we "owe" them.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Good vs Evil

On Saturday night, the never-ending battle between Good and Evil will play out again on a basketball court in Dallas, Texas.  The Wisconsin Badgers--whom the country has embraced as the representation of what is still good about college athletics--will take on the Kentucky Wildcats--whom many consider to be the embodiment of everything that has gone wrong with the NCAA.

Wisconsin is a team made up of student-athletes who will likely stay in the program for four years and graduate with degrees.  When the New York Times did a story on the demands placed upon players during the NCAA Tournament, they featured the Badgers.  There was Jason Bohannon doing work for his MBA course (the first active athlete ever accepted into Madison's MBA program)--and Ben Brust completing a NASCAR podcast as part of his independent studies program.  And win or lose this weekend in Dallas, by the middle of next week they will be back on campus and in the classroom.

The Badgers are beloved by basketball insiders for their team concept--forged by years of playing together--and for their unselfishness, which means any of their seven or eight regular players could be the leading scorer on any given night.  Sir Charles Barkley has become enamored with Frank Kaminsky for his solid fundamentals and the use of such forgotten skills as the pump fake and the pivot.

Wisconsin is coached by Bo Ryan--who has built championship programs at all levels of basketball--and who is respected by his peers for his integrity and knowledge of the game.  Bo's kids always play hard, improve every year they are on campus and they graduate.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is made up of so-called "One and Done" freshmen.  Players with aspirations to play in the NBA--and who are in the college game only because the rules of the Association bar them from going directly from high school to the pros.  They take just enough credits in the first semester to maintain their eligibility for the second semester--where attendance in class is optional at best--since suspensions for poor grades wouldn't become an issue until after the hoops season is done.  And win or lose this weekend, they won't be seen on campus after this because there will be agents to hire, shoe and clothing contracts to sign, strength and agility coaches to work with and pre-draft combines to attend.

The Wildcats had been labeled as an "under-achiever" this year.  The pre-season Number One has been criticized for selfish play--as potential draft picks worried more about their individual numbers than the team's success.  Their main offense is to use exceptional athleticism to overwhelm opponents--driving past them for dunks in the lane or out-jumping them for put-back baskets.

Kentucky is coached by John Calipari--who is one of only two men to ever take three different schools to the Final Four.  Of course, the first two UMass and Memphis were placed on probation immediately after Calipari jumped ship to another job and those Final Four appearances were actually vacated by the NCAA for recruiting violations, academic scandals and alleged payments to players.  Kentucky, desperate to restore their once-powerful basketball program was willing to overlook Calipari's past transgressions and hired him.  He has returned Big Blue Nation to glory--built on a foundation of "One and Dones"--none of whom have ever graduated.

Now if this was a Hollywood movie--or a scripted "reality" show--the Good would rally past the Evil for a dramatic win.  But this is sports, and that result is never guaranteed--especially when the Bad Guys bring so much more talent to the floor.  However, if Wisconsin does go down to defeat, at least we Badger fans can hold our heads high--knowing that our team is doing it the right way.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Applying the Same "Logic"

the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

As the nation mourns yet another mass shooting at a military installation, we have to ask what will it take for this country to take the steps necessary to get guns out of the hands of our soldiers?  The list continues to grow: Fort Bragg, Fort Hood once before, Quantico Marine Base, the Washington Navy Yard, Naval Station Norfolk and once again Fort Hood this week.  Case after case of military personnel gaining access to weapons to kill innocent people--and our government does nothing to stop it.

There is no need to have the types of weapons used in these assaults even produced.  They are not for hunting or for sport shooting as the NRA claims.  And who could possibly need the high-capacity magazines produced for these weapons?

The next thing you're going to try to tell me is that this could have been avoided if everyone on the military base had been carrying a gun.  Like having every soldier armed is going to make an installation safer.  If anything, that will just lead to more gun violence, accidental shootings and deaths.

And let's not forget the culture of violence within the military.  The weapons training, the field exercises, the books and videos about killing and war--even computer simulations that do nothing but glorify the use of guns and "desenstize" people to the act of killing another.

Sure, all of these shooters (except for the original Fort Hood shooter, Nadal Hassan--who killed in the name of militant Islam) suffered from diagnosed mental health problems and probably should have been institutionalized.  But those people can't just be locked away.  That's "inhumane".  It's far better to have them walking around in society--where we need to trust them to be taking their medications and seeing their counselors to "work out those issues on their own".

So call or email your Congressperson or Senator right now.  Demand that they take immediate action to take away the weapons that these military personnel are using to kill.  Tell them to ignore the "powerful gun lobby in Washington" and to take the steps to make sure that this can never possibly happen again.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Apathy Wins Big....Again

A former member of the Oshkosh School Board once famously said in the wake of an overwhelming defeat of the referendum to build a new Oaklawn Elementary School on Ryf Road (far away from the neighborhood where most of the children who attended Oaklawn lived and in an area with few if any houses) that "Oshkosh obviously doesn't care about education."  Despite last night's operational expenses referendum win, it appears that statement would still hold true.  How else to explain why only about 20% of eligible voters in the District bothered to cast ballots on Tuesday.  (Other than there was no evening early voting, no bus trips from churches to City Hall to cast absentee ballots and everyone wasn't sent an absentee voting application in the mail by both sides of the referendum debate.)

I've always thought that it would make for a more accurate presentation of election results if they were presented as a percentage of possible votes (rather than actual votes cast)--with the "non-turnout" listed as We Don't Care.  That would put last night's Oshkosh School Referendum results as:

We Don't Care--80%

State Senator Mike Ellis floated the idea on WOSH yesterday that perhaps all such referenda should be required to be on the November Presidential/Gubernatorial ballot--so that more people would actually vote.  While is sounds like a great idea (except to those who know smaller turnout favors school referendum votes) apathy would still win the race.  Turnout for the 2012 Presidential election was 58.2%  That means the Possible Voting Percentage breakdown would have been:

We Don't Care 42%
President Obama 30%
Mitt Romney28%

Even the huge turnout in the 2008 Election--with its long lines and polls kept open past the deadline to meet demand--had turnout of just 61.6%.  Those numbers would be:

We Don't Care   38%
Barack Obama 32.5%
John McCain 29.5%

Even those heading to the polls don't seem to be that "tuned in" to what's going on.  That point was driven home in the race for Outagamie County Board yesterday in Kaukauna, where at least 130 voters were given the wrong ballots for the district in which they lived.  The mistake wasn't discovered until one of the candidates himself got his ballot at City Hall and noticed he wasn't on it!  It's possible that the previous 130 citizens didn't even cast a vote in the County Board race and that is why nobody said "Hey, the guy I was planning to vote for isn't on here, what's going on?"  But it's more likely that those 130 didn't even know what County Board district they live in--and had no idea before voting who the candidates should have been.  Now we are likely looking at at least two lawsuits challenging the results of the two affected districts--and the possibility of special elections to determine the real winners (which will likely see 5% turnout--and an even bigger win for We Don't Care).

Perhaps I should change that label of "We Don't Care" for the non-voters to "We Have No Right To Complain"--since you had your chance to determine the path of local government and chose not to take it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Now the Hard Work Begins

Now that the extended, extended deadline to enroll in health insurance plans has passed (except for those who got the "absolute" last extension by simply entering their names on the website--when it was working yesterday) what comes next?  Well believe it or not, this is where actual hard work begins.  Up until now, all we've been doing is trying to convince people to buy something they either didn't want or didn't want unless it was free.  From here on out, all of the effort will go into keeping the system from imploding upon itself.

Let's start with collecting the penalty--I mean tax (for constitutionality purposes)--from those who failed to meet the extended, extended deadline to enroll.  While some steadfastly refused to join in for political reasons, most of the "scofflaws" likely aren't paying any income taxes anyway--so how is the IRS going to collect the "onerous" $95 fee?  And how many agents will be dedicated to checking to make sure that the policies filers claim to have on their 1040's next year are actually active?

Then let's move to making sure that all of those young, healthy people that are the key to keeping the policies in the federal exchange "affordable" (with government subsidies) don't actually use the policies they were just made to purchase.  The "invincibles" are cheap to insure because they don't go to the doctor.  But that doesn't hold true anymore if all those 20 and 30-somethings decide to get their money's worth--instead of just being "subsidizers".  We should expect daily tweets from the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Hollywood celebrities reminding everyone to "buckle up when you drive today--we don't want you to get hurt in an accident!"  We should also start running public service announcements telling young adults to give up mountain biking, wind-surfing, contact sports weightlifting because "you might get hurt and need to see a doctor!"

Our next challenge is to get everybody else to actually use what they just bought, properly.  Just because women of any age (and men) can get free birth control pills doesn't mean they are going to take them every day so they work.  We are talking about people who "forgot" to sign up for insurance until the last minute of the last day.  Maybe First Lady Michelle Obama can create another viral internet video with LeBron James asking those ladies "Have you taken your pill today?"  We also need to ride the Type II diabetics to put down the junk food, and the folks with the high cholesterol to bypass KFC and the drunks to stop drinking and the smokers to stop smoking and the drug users to stop using (except for potheads, of course--because marijuana is medicinal and good for you, man), and the mothers to give their kids carrots instead of Cheetos and couch potatoes to actually go for a walk around the block every few days.  Otherwise, having this "blessing" of mandated health insurance isn't going to do them a lick of good. (Or lower the costs of health care).

And finally, health care providers now have to adapt to their new "customer base".  30-million people "desperate" to see the doctor now can (not that they were barred from doing so before).  Unfortunately, we don't have a glut of health care professionals in the market right now--in fact we are quite short at pretty much all positions (except cosmetic surgery).  So somehow coming up with more hospital and clinic staff out of nowhere suddenly becomes a priority.  And many of these new patients are the same people that we are told can't make it to to polls on Election Day between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm every two or four years--so how can you expect them make it to appointments during "regular" clinic hours? 

If you thought it was tough just getting the Affordable Care Act off the ground, just wait until you see the effort (and expense) put into keeping it from crashing into a giant atomic mushroom cloud.