Friday, October 30, 2015

Recognizing Real Talent

The greatest voice in pop music is back.  Adele released her newest single Hello last week and the video has set a new internet record for fastest time to 10-million views--breaking the mark set by Taylor Swift's last single.  And that is giving me some hope for the future of music. 

Adele is quite different from all of the celebrated "artists" of today.  She doesn't wear revealing outfits on-stage or to award shows or while out "clubbing".  She's not making pronouncements about her "fluid sexuality", she doesn't post videos of herself smoking pot and she's not taking naked selfies and putting them up on Instagram.  In fact, her four year hiatus from the music scene was due in large part to having a baby and spending time being a mother.

Another big difference between Adele and most of the other ladies of today's pop music is no AutoTune.  What you hear is what is actually coming out of her mouth in the recording studio.  It's not being filtered and processed through a computer to "magically" hit every note.  And when she performs in concert there is no need for pre-recorded vocals, choreographed dance moves performed by guys in shark costumes.

Adele's last album 21 was a huge international hit--with a bunch of top ten singles and a record number of Grammys for a female artist and widespread critical acclaim.  Based on reaction to Hello, the next album 25 will be just as huge.  And hopefully that continued success will send a message to other aspiring young female singers that you don't have to be a size 2, or show off your enhanced breasts and your rearend, or sell yourself off as some sex object just to be respected as an "artist".

Now if we can just get her to replace all of the wannabes playing halftime of the Super Bowl.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pretty In Pink

I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand the female mind.  I'll never get why you would buy shoes that literally cripple your feet and keep you in constant pain.  I can't comprehend how a two page menu at a restaurant can lead to a ten minute internal debate over what to order.  And I certainly don't comprehend how you don't find Monty Python and Star Wars entertaining.  But I take solace in knowing that I am not alone in my befuddlement.

The latest proof that men have no clue when it comes to women is from the State Legislature, which this week approved the use of blaze pink clothing for gun-deer hunters in Wisconsin.  The argument for this bill is that "it will get more women interested in hunting".  I'm guessing that the research group consulted for this measure consisted of five-year old girls like my niece--for whom anything pink is "cool".

Think about it.  What these lawmakers are saying is that there is a group of women out there that really want to drive three hours to spend a week in a shack without indoor plumbing, cable TV, internet and phone service in order to get up before dawn, put on four layers of clothing and weatherproof hiking boots and trudge through woods in the dark carrying a weapon that could accidentally go off and kill you or one of your friends and then sit exposed to the cold, the wind, the rain and the snow all day to stare at a bunch of trees hoping that something will come walking by--and when something does, firing a high-powered rifle that requires pinpoint accuracy and aim to kill a beautiful and graceful animal--which you then have to cut open and pull out its guts before dragging its 200-pound carcass back through the woods to hang in a tree for a couple of days before driving three hours home with it hanging off of your bumper--but they don't do any of that just because they have to wear blaze orange while doing it.

If we apply that same logic to other avenues of life, can we assume that if the robots, the computers and the numbers on the pages were pink, more women will want to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics?  If their smocks were pink, would you see more female traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange?  If George Lucas used CGI to put Princess Leia in a pink prom dress, would my wife want to watch all six Star Wars movies with me on a snowy winter weekend?
If I was a woman in Wisconsin, I would be offended by this blaze pink bill and the message it sends.  And if I was a legislator's wife, I'd expect an apology and a nice gift.  Just don't bring her pink roses.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Food For Thought

Food is certainly having a big week in the news.

After failing to change people's dietary habits with their "Meat Is Murder" campaign, their hidden videos from slaughterhouses and farms and pretending that tofu isn't disgusting, the Anti-Personal Freedom Movement has decided to use the ultimate scare tactic: claiming meat causes cancer.  The World Health Organization is assisting in the effort claiming that by combining hundreds of independent studies they can show that 34-thousand people worldwide died of cancers that may be linked to consumption of large amounts of processed meats.

Now before you put down that piece of bacon and your Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage please consider that 8.2-MILLION people die of cancer worldwide every year.  That means consumption of processed meats may have accounted for .4% of those deaths.  Compare that to the same World Health Organization findings that link smoking to 5.6-MILLION cancer deaths a year--a whopping 68% of all cancer-related deaths a year.  And yet the WHO is going to list meat as a "carcinogen" like tobacco and asbestos?  Nice try, but I won't be giving up my smoked brisket or Italian sausages anytime soon.

Meanwhile, we found out this week that more and more children are skipping the lunch line at school nowadays.  The latest food service report from the Oshkosh School District shows the number of lunches and breakfasts served to kids has dropped 13% and 6% in the last two years respectively.  That has created a $125-thousand dollar deficit in the hot lunch program--after spending every penny in the reserve fund as well.

In a refreshing bit of honesty from a group that likes to deflect negative attention from anything that educators support, Oshkosh officials are putting the blame for the exodus from the lunchroom on the White House rules on portion sizes, caloric intake and ingredient restrictions.  These rules came, of course, from the self-appointed Queen of the Anti-Personal Freedom Movement: First Lady Michelle Obama.  I was going to post video of Adam Sandler and Chris Farley performing Lunch Lady Land on Saturday Night Live here--but most kids today don't know what a school lunch Sloppy Joe is because--hello--meat causes cancer.

I have to congratulate the students who are turning their backs on the pathetic new school lunches before the lunches turn their stomachs.  If someone told me that cauliflower and cheese is as good as macaroni and cheese, I'd probably tell them to stick their cauliflower in the same place it will be coming out of tomorrow if they ate it.  And if I had a two-hour basketball practice right after school, I'd probably choose somewhere where I could get a couple thousand calories on my plate--instead of portions the First Lady deems acceptable for the 80-pound freshman girl who spends her entire lunch hour texting her friends instead of eating anyway.

Maybe this generation of kids has decided that it's enough for their school to be their educator, nanny, nurse, birth control provider, thought police, political lobbyist, therapist, technology provider and emasculator--and that they don't need it to be a dietician as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Plan is Working to Perfection

Expect plenty of vitriol to be unloaded on Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield today.  That "evil" health insurance provider has decided participating in the Federal health insurance exchange here is Wisconsin makes little financial sense for them.  That is why they are scaling back the number of plans they are offering in 34-counties--including those here in the Fox Valley--and that's why they have decided to not offer any individual plans to people living in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties starting on January 1st.

For starters, Anthem--like most of the other carriers in the exchange--is calling for an average 4% increase in premiums.  That means for another year, the Affordable Care Act will not be lowering the cost of health insurance as had been promised.  Plus, deductibles will be increasing an average of 40% on the most common plans.  I already have press releases in the Newsroom calling those increases "outrageous".  What the advocacy groups don't--or refuse to--understand is that without the increased deductibles, the premiums wouldn't go up just 4% but rather by double digits next year.  And for the person who doesn't require a lot of medical care and who is looking just to meet the IRS requirement to have health insurance--and for whom the Federal Government is paying the subsidy--that means a lower cost throughout the year.

Anthem's choice of counties to no longer offer any individual plans is certain to meet with accusations of racism.  How else to "explain" the three counties with the highest minority populations in the state being cut out of  the exchange?  Personally, I wish Anthem would open the books--which insurance companies never do--and show that those three counties likely had the highest rates of enrollment without payment (and remember, the ACA requires insurance companies to cover claims in the window before payment must be received and up until the day that a person gets dropped from their coverage for non-payment).  They likely have the highest cost per claim as well--given the higher rates of chronic disease among low-income residents.  Both of which make it nearly impossible to provide cost-effective coverage to those that actually do pay their premiums.

Of course, numbers mean nothing to people that don't understand how insurance works.  Those of us who do, know that it is a tool for risk management--and that expenses are controlled by limiting the risk to those in the pool.  Everyone who will be crying foul about Anthem's decisions this week believe health insurance is a subsidy program--where the customer should bear almost none of the risk--or the cost--of medical care.  We like to call those people "Bernie Sanders Voters".

So while the insurance companies are operating the way they are supposed to--so too is the Affordable Care Act.  Opponents may want to jump up and down and claim that what Anthem is doing is proof ObamaCare is failing--but they forget that the ACA was designed to fail from the beginning.  It's shortfalls, lack of providers and continued rising costs are all meant to provide talking points for the next crop of Democratic candidates and for the advocacy groups to say "See, even making things 'fair' for consumers isn't enough--we need to abolish individual health insurance and go to a single-payer, Government-run system."  You might say their nefarious plan is working to perfection.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Glimpse Into the Future

I'll be interested to see what the numbers were for Sunday's "stream only" NFL game from London.  The Bill and the Jaguars played a game that was only available outside of the home markets on a Yahoo video feed.  I watched a little bit of the game just to see what quality of feed we were getting--and it was nice HD and there was no buffering due to lack of broadband capacity.  I stopped at a couple of places yesterday morning and there were computers playing the game there too--so people were definitely interested.

Barring a complete technical failure--or a total tune out--the NFL will declare the "stream only" broadcast a "huge success".  The league will then begin a process to move their broadcast rights away from its four current TV partners and bring it all in house.  It would make sense for the most popular sport in America to take full control of its product and the way that it is provided to the fans.

The infrastructure is already in place.  The NFL has its own networks, production facilities and in-stadium camera systems.  All they would have to do is contract with 16 production crews to provide weekly game broadcasts.  Local play-by-play and color guys could provide "homer" calls for all 32-teams--and we may never have to put up with Joe "Everyone Thinks I Hate Their Team" Buck and Troy "Captain Obvious" Aikman again.

By cutting out the network middle men, the NFL could collect all of the broadcast advertising revenues for themselves.  The only question is whether that would equal the billions the networks are paying now--as for some, the NFL is a loss leader that serves only to boost overall ratings and provide a huge promotional platform for other network programming.  Plus, with wi-fi available in all stadiums--and more fans spending as much time looking at their devices as they do at the action on the field--you could provide special in-stadium content to those fans, including customized advertisements.

To start, the NFL would likely provide all of those streaming broadcasts for free--just like we "technically" get from the networks now.  But as we become more accepting of the new delivery method, the league would likely start charging us.  Either an every game, every week type package like NFL Sunday Ticket--or an ala carte option--for those Steelers fans scattered across the country who really don't need to see the Packers and the Bears game.

If you think the most popular sport in America could never become an internet-only thing, just consider boxing--which was a huge television draw--but now exists almost exclusively in a pay-per-view realm.  And if billions of people worldwide were willing to get up early on a Sunday morning to watch Buffalo and Jacksonville on their smartphones.......

Just ask the 350-people who lost their jobs at ESPN last week because of "cord-cutters" where the future of sports broadcasting lies.

Friday, October 23, 2015

I'll Take Second Place and Some Dignity

Whenever I hear a Badgers fan complain that the school never hires any "Big Name" coaches for its football and men's basketball teams I usually just roll my eyes.  There's been some of that this year as the Badgers haven't looked that great under new football coach Paul Chryst--while Michigan was the national darlings under first year head coach Jim Harbaugh (well until that horribly botched punt that handed Michigan State a win over the Wolverines last Saturday).  And there will no doubt be some high-profile names put on fans' wish list when (or if) Bo Ryan retires at the end of the hoops season.  But everyone should keep in mind that often with the "big name" comes some "big problems".

Take for instance what is unfolding at the University of Louisville, where a book and an ESPN report have uncovered sex parties attended by basketball players for several years--paid for by a now-former member of Head Coach Rick Pitino's staff.  This coach would reportedly contact a woman he knew to provide strippers for parties at the basketball residence hall on campus with some of the dancers also having sex with the players, with underage recruits visiting the school and with the guardians of players and recruits.

Pitino is a Basketball Hall of Famer who won a national championship at Louisville just two years ago.  He is one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport.  In the past, schools and NBA teams have battled it out financially to win his services.  But for all of his success, Pitino is seen by many as something of a sleezeball. 

This is not Pitino's first sex scandal.  In fact, it's not even his first sex scandal while coaching at Louisville.  In 2003, he had an affair with a woman he met in a restaurant who later claimed the Coach raped her and tried to extort $10-million from him.  Pitino went to the police and admitted to consensual sex with the woman and paying for her to have an abortion.  The Catholic University of Louisville kept Pitino as their head coach despite the incident.

In this latest scandal, Pitino is adopting the Sargeant Schultz mentality--"I know nothing!"--even though the report finds that the sex parties took place for a number of years, continued even after the assistant coach with the connections took a job in Kansas City and they occurred in a building that is named after Pitino's brother-in-law--who died in the 9/11 attacks.  He is adamant in his public statements that he will NOT resign--and there is little talk from school officials about firing him or even punishing him in any other way.

So, Badgers fans keep Coach Pitino and his equally sleezy protégé John Calipari at Kentucky, the originator of the campus recruit sex party--Barry Switzer when he was at Oklahoma--and the various other "big name" coaches that have brought shame and embarrassment to their universities in mind when you dream about having a celebrity on the sideline.  I'll take just shy of a championship and not having to apologize for my coach any day.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Blog Is About You

You didn't think that I would let Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings' suggestion to change the name of the Seniors Center go without comment did you?  Hizzoner raised the issue during the Common Council's budget sessions this week.  Cummings believes Baby Boomers like himself won't go to a "Seniors" center--because they "don't like being called that".  He went on to say that Boomers don't consider themselves to be old and that they "aren't like our parents"--whom he pointed out lived through the Depression and fought in a World War--hence the term "The Greatest Generation".  To be fair to the Mayor, many of his generation do share those same sentiments--hence the term "The Vainest Generation".

We are talking about the group that injects a deadly toxin into their faces to prevent wrinkles.  They are the targets of the endless stream of erectile dysfunction medication ads on TV.  It's why nobody bats an eye when a 60-year old actor is cast as the love interest of a 24-year old actress in a movie or TV series.  And it's why the term "cougar" is met with giggles--instead of revulsion.

But while they may "hate" being called seniors, Baby Boomers seem more than willing to take advantage of the term.  The manager of a local establishment and I shared a laugh about Mayor Cummings' comments yesterday as he pointed out that they aren't afraid to ask for the "Senior Discount"--even if they are still three or four years away from actually qualifying for it.  And they don't seem to pass up the "Senior Parking Only" slots at some of our local stores.  I fully expect Mayor Cummings to be one of the most vocal supporters of expanding "senior transportation programs" in the future and demanding that the Street Department put up signs with bigger letters so "people can actually read them".  It wouldn't surprise me if the Baby Boomers went and elected Bernie Sanders President just so he can jack up the Social Security and Medicare taxes on everyone who is still working and re-instate the Estate Tax so Uncle Sam can rob the next generation of their inheritances.

Mayor Cummings didn't offer any alternative names for the Seniors Center this week.  Based on what I see down in Florida, "Active Retirement Community Center" would be a front-runner.  It even comes with a pleasant sounding acronym: "The ARCC". "We're going to the ARCC today to learn more about all the great things smoking 'medicinal' pot can do for you!"  But allow me to offer up a more accurate title: "The Vanity Center for the Self-Absorbed and Self-Indulgent".

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future

It's coincidental that on the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future in Back To The Future Part II, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan wants to take the position of Speaker of the House back to a simpler--and some would say more effective--time.  In his list of conditions for accepting the Speaker role, Ryan wants to still be able to spend his weekends at home with his wife and kids, go hunting during deer season and attend Badgers and Packers games.  In other words, live a life outside of Washington.

This is not a new or even that radical an idea.  For the first 150-years of our Republic, serving in Congress wasn't really a full time job.  The Founding Fathers continued to oversee plantations and farms, practice law in court and run businesses.  Congress would meet for just a few weeks a year because travel to New York and then Washington DC was arduous and time-consuming enough.  Even as it got easier to travel across the country, Congress still spent months away from the Capitol because in all honesty, there really wasn't much to do--and the pay wasn't all that great.

It wasn't until President Franklin Roosevelt grew the scope of the Federal Government with his New Deal initiatives and dozens of new agencies that being in Congress became a full-time job.  Suddenly, there was a lot more oversight to be done--and a lot more money to spend.  The growth of Congress continued in the 1960's when Lyndon Johnson further expanded entitlement programs in Washington.  Suddenly, those on Capitol Hill needed larger, full-time staffs and there were more committees and sub-committees created all the time to, again, provide proper oversight for everything Government was trying to do.

With the explosion of campaign spending in the 1990's and the 2000's, members of Congress found themselves not just needing to be on Capitol Hill more often--but also meeting with lobbyists on K Street and Third Party Issue Groups in Texas and donation bundlers in California.  Those with serious political ambitions could go the vast majority of a year without returning to their home district--except of course to campaign for re-election every two or six years.

Imagine what life would be like if we made an effort to shrink Government and make serving in Congress the part-time job it was intended to be.  There would be no Benghazi Committee, there would be no 12,000 page Affordable Care Act to pass without reading, there would be no government shutdown threat because of differences over funding Planned Parenthood and there would be no 25-million dollar campaigns for the Senate.  There wouldn't be all of that because those responsible for the layer upon layer upon layer of Government would be too busy living their own lives to try and exert greater control upon ours.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yes, the Numbers Matter

Every home Packers game there is a running debate on social media as to the "newsworthiness" of arrest and ejection numbers at Lambeau Field.  Those opposed to the publishing of those numbers the day after a game like to use the argument that "anytime you get 80-thousand people together in one place, there are bound to be a few bad actors in the mix."  They also wonder why we don't mention the total number of arrests every day in Green Bay and how they compare to what you see at Lambeau on an average gameday.

But what makes Green Bay police taking 13-people into custody last Sunday and telling another 35 to get out and never come back is the context in which these bad acts are taking place.  The 80-thousand at Lambeau are there for the singular purpose of watching a football game.  So beating each other up, consuming alcohol to the point of passing out in the opposite gender bathroom (unless you are "identifying" with that gender that day) and smoking pot in the open are well outside of the norm for behavior at a football game.  And things that happen outside of the norm are what make the news.

Add to that, the fact that those arrested inside the stadium actually paid for the experience of getting hauled downtown.  You don't see a lot of criminals ponying up $125 to commit misdemeanors and ordinance violations on the streets.  Of course, that assumes that our wrong-doers actually get inside the gate.  The Milwaukee County Parks Department Marketing Director didn't even make it that far for the Rams game--getting arrested after being ejected from the Tundra Tailgate Zone three times before getting physical with the security guards and the cops that came to take him away.  Three times is also the level of his blood alcohol concentration compared to what's legal to drive.  And that was for a game that kicked off at noon.

Speaking of BAC, perhaps the next numbers we should include in our news reports are those of people taken away from the stadium with dangerously high levels of intoxication.  Some might argue that it would make the Packers look bad--like it's the concession stands that are over-serving these people.  But given that many of these calls come early in games, it would almost be impossible (and incredibly expensive)  to drink that much beer after kickoff.  And again, many of those calls come outside the stadium gates before gametime.

So we will continue to report on the fighters, the profanity-yellers, the Pro Shop shoplifters and the gender-confused bathroom vomiters after every game at Lambeau--unless you think that type of activity is now to be expected.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Asking the Wrong Questions

For the past few weeks, I've been getting calls from a number in Philadelphia asking if I could answer a few questions for the Harvard School of Medicine/National Public Radio Healcare Survey.  The first dozen calls always caught me at work, driving, eating dinner or already in bed (who calls for a survey at 8:58 pm?).  But finally on Friday afternoon they reached me at a time when I had no real excuse to blow them off--so I agreed to answer the questions.

The focus of the survey is to determine the "effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act".  With NPR and Harvard being the sponsors, I was expecting the options for the answers to be skewed in such a way as to make the ACA look as "effective" as possible.  And the survey did not disappoint.

There were a number of questions about the cost of my health insurance plan over the past couple of years--yet I was not asked what type of insurance I actually have.  Having a High Deductible-Health Savings Account policy, my premiums were never going to be as volatile as someone with a traditional low deductible plan--who tends to use their benefits far more often--at a greater costs to the insurer.  But that will not be factored into the equation when the results show "A majority of Americans have seen no increase in the cost of their health insurance plans!"

There were also several questions about my out-of-pocket costs for health care over the past couple of years--but not once was I asked for any specific numbers (and I could have provided them if they wanted them).  I truthfully answered that I had seen little increase in my out-of-pocket costs--because they went from next-to-nothing to still-next-to-nothing--mainly because I don't get sick or injured.  But again, by not asking for specifics, the survey will find "A majority of Americans have seen no increase in their out-of-pocket costs for health care!"

At the end of the survey I was asked what I felt were the main driving factors of rising health care costs.  Finally, I thought,  a chance to provide some real feedback!  We then went through a list of factors like "large malpractice settlements"--a small factor--"doctors doing too many tests and procedures that may not be necessary"--a moderate factor--and patients not asking the price of procedures and treatments--a HUGE factor.  But when we got to the end of the list, several of the factors I think are most pertinent weren't even in there.

Take for instance, we have a large older population in the US.  Consider the number of nursing home beds we have in our cities compared to the number of hospital beds--yet that is not considered to be a factor?  And where was a question about the average Americans' refusal to stay in shape and practice good health habits?  You don't think obesity and lack of substantial exercise is any kind of factor in the growing number of health issues in this country?  Also not on the list is our demand to take a pill to solve any and all discomforts we may encounter.  Can't go to the bathroom?  Take a pill.  Can't stop going to the bathroom?  Take a pill.  No energy?  Take a pill.  Too much energy? Take a pill.  That explains why when I go in for my annual physical, everyone seems so surprised that I am not on any prescription medications--since that is the "norm" nowadays.  And yet, our pollsters didn't see fit to include all of the money spent on medications to be a factor in rising costs.  Instead we will hear about how "Americans believe Hospitals and Doctors are still charging too much."

So when Harvard and NPR release their survey results--and supporters of the Affordable Care Act trumpet them as being "proof" it's working--just remember, they weren't asking the right questions.

Friday, October 16, 2015

May Madness?

Last week I mentioned how I like to break down winter into segments filled with anticipation for certain events (many of them sports-related) to make the interminable season seem just a little shorter.  Now, the NCAA is considering taking away one of those winter highlights by pushing back the start of the college basketball season.

It's just a discussion point right now.  There are no official plans in place.  But I just want to get out in front of this by saying it's a very bad idea.

The college hoops season would go from its current Thanksgiving week start to a tipoff during the holiday break in December.  Personally, I love those games during Turkey Week--especially the Maui Invitational--with the shots of Ka'anapali Beach, breaching whales and surfers in Kapalua Bay bringing back very good memories.  What's more, the Badgers are scheduled to play out there in 2016 again.

The later start would also mean the conference tournaments and the NCAA Championships would be pushed back a month or so--costing us the perfect marketing phrase: "March Madness".  I love March Madness, in large part because what else is there to do during that time?  The weather is still lousy, so you may as well have 32-basketball games to watch all day.  And as the schedule currently sits, the Final Four and the National Championship game perfectly bracket the start of the Major League Baseball season.  You get the National Semifinals Saturday night, the Sunday Night Baseball opener, a day full of baseball again on Monday and the National Title game that night.  It's a great weekend of sports.  As an added bonus, that is also the start of Masters week--so you transition perfectly into optimism of spring.

Pushing the NCAA tourney into April and May ruins all of that.  By that time, the weather is tolerable and you can spend time outside again.  There goes the excuse for watching hoops from 11:00 AM to Midnight four straight days.  Plus, the NHL and NBA playoffs are getting underway as well--so the sports landscape just keeps getting more and more crowded.

While the NCAA may like to think it will have the final say as to when college hoops will start--and more importantly, when it will end.  The real power here lies with the TV networks that pay billions of dollars to broadcast the tournament.  Will CBS be willing to give up the perfect promotional lead into its lucrative Masters Coverage?  Will TBS agree to delay its Major League Baseball coverage to allow for three weeks to suit NCAA Touranment coverage?  I'm guessing both will take a pass on the later start.

So let us keep March Madness, Feast Week and the best weekend in sports just the way they are.  We have to have something to look forward to when it's five below and the snow is coming down sideways.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

As questions are flying around as to why the people of Oshkosh were not informed of two prison escapees for four days, let me tell you that Public Information Officer Joe Nichols called me on Wednesday morning to take full responsibility for the lack of timely communication.  Joe says their policy is to alert the media and the public immediately upon notification from the Department of Corrections of an escape--but in Friday night's case, that policy was not followed.  It was a human error--and not a deliberate attempt to keep the people of Oshkosh and the Fox Valley in the dark about a potentially dangerous situation.  And I believe Joe when he says the Department will take steps to make sure that a similar mistake does not happen in the future.

Friday's snafu is unfortunately a byproduct of communications policies adopted by nearly all law enforcement and emergency departments nowadays that places a strict limit on who can provide information to the media and the public.  Us "old-timers" can remember when you could pull up to the scene of a crash, a fire or a crime and ask the nearest officer what happened and he would share with you what he knew.  Now, we are all directed to Public Information Officers who issue "official statements" only after consulting with ranking officers to determine what should and should not be released at this time.  Such procedures ensure that the flow and content of such information remains in the department's hands.

A growing number of departments are also choosing to circumvent traditional media altogether and to issue their alerts and statements only on their social media accounts--telling us reporters that we should just "monitor their feed".  It sounds simple in theory, but monitoring Twitter and Facebook 24/7/365 is just not feasible.  That also leads to departments having to monitor their own feeds all of the time thanks to trolls who fill the "comments" sections with racist diatribes, false accusations and crude jokes--which all need to be removed.

I will admit, we in the media are making it harder for that information to be disseminated as well.  Newsrooms are no longer staffed 24-hours a day, 365-days a year.  In serious emergencies at odd hours, dispatchers have to call me at home on my cell phone so I can run in to the studios to get breaking news and important information on the air. 

While these concerns may sound a bit self-serving, it's not about being the "first to air with breaking news" or getting "the first Tweet in the timeline"--it's about providing important and accurate information to as many of you the listeners, the viewers and the on-line users in times of danger as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Nirvana of Denmark

First off, let me apologize for suggesting that you should watch the Democratic Presidential debate last night.  You are probably waking up this morning thinking that you live in the worst country on the face of the Earth--and if you are a white guy, it's all your fault.  You are probably giving serious thought to moving to the country that was hailed as a model for all of civilization last night--the nirvana of Denmark.

For as great as living in Denmark was made out to be last night you would think that it's population would be 5.6 Billion people--since everyone would want to live there--instead of 5.6 Million.  Their McDonalds workers make the equivalent of $20 and hour, they have one of the highest rates of college education, universal healthcare and unemployment programs that pay 90% of your previous salary--even if you quit your job instead of getting laid off.

Now if you move to Denmark you should be willing to accept some changes.  For starters, forget about any diversity in the population.  Danes are 95% white and the few people of color are recent immigrants from Middle Eastern countries that have come to do to the service jobs Danes no longer want to do.  Don't worry about having to "press one for the native language" either--as more than 95% of the population speaks Danish.  Denmark has a state church--but don't worry, only 3% of people attend mass regularly and less than half of the population actually believes in God.

Just to warn you, you are going to be in for a real shock when you get that first paycheck.  The minimum income tax rate in Denmark is 40%--and it goes up into the 60% range as you make more money.  And you might be in for sticker shock when you head to Ikea as the Value Added Tax is 25% on all merchandise.  Speaking of sticker shock, just wait until you head to the few car dealerships in the country.  The 25% VAT is dwarfed by the 140% registration tax on all vehicles.  Yes, you will pay more in taxes on your car than you will for the car itself.  And then you will fill up with some of the most expensive petrol in Europe--even though oil and natural gas are major Danish exports.  This explains why most Danes drive beaters brought in from other parts of the Continent and ride bicycles everywhere.

Despite the universal health care, you can expect to live just one year longer than the average American.  It turns out that having so much free time on their hands thanks to the Government providing for their every need, Danes tend to drink and smoke a lot and get fat.  And I hope you weren't planning on buying a house.  Only citizens are allowed to own property in Denmark.  And those who do buy a house do so through Federal mortgage programs that are structured to build up nearly NO home equity over the term of the loan--so in effect you are just renting your house from the government.

Now comes the tricky part--actually being allowed to live in Denmark.  In order to avoid being overrun by freeloaders, the country has very tight immigration laws.  If you are the descendent of a current Danish resident you can probably get it.  If you are coming to work and already have a valid work permit, you can get it.  If you can prove that you are fleeing political persecution in your home country, a limited number of you can get in.  And once you arrive, you can expect the Danish government to tell you where you have to live.  The "Change for Everyone" law allows municipalities to deny housing to applicants from other countries so as to avoid the creation of "ghettos"--so you will have to move on down the road to another town where there are fewer of "your type".

I guess that is why Bernie Sanders and his supporters want to make the US more like Denmark--since the Danes don't really want to spoil their Garden of Eden.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This Could Be Interesting

Unlike the unnecessarily-early debates on the Republican side, tonight's unnecessarily-early Democratic debate may actually be worth watching.  The GOP debates are nothing more than a clown show right now--with a ringleader featuring fake red hair.  But the Democratic race features a contest that could decide if America is going to continue to be a land of free speech, free will and free markets.

It will be interesting to see how Hillary Clinton responds to Bernie Sanders' promises to the "have nots" of turning the "haves" into "have nots" as well.  Will the former First Lady bring up the astronomical costs of free college, free medical care, free day care and all of the other aspects of the proposed Nanny State?  Will Mrs Clinton defend the greater prosperity and retirement security that can be had by consistent and prudent investment in publicly traded corporations?  Will she take the time to explain the dangers of withdrawing from the foreign arena and adopting isolationist policies? 

If she does, the former Senator may end up leading both the Democratic AND Republican polls next week by merely addressing what voters actually care about--and not debating who is "too mean" to be President.

Adding to the drama will be the other three candidates on the stage tonight (it's okay if you have no idea who they are--nobody else does either) and how much they will attack Clinton on the myriad of trust issues for which she will eventually have to answer.  Will email servers come up?  Will there be a question about Benghazi?  What about her husband's bad behavior during his political career?  Or contributions to the Clinton Foundation from countries seeking favor from the Department of State during her tenure there?  Or will higher-ups in the Democratic Party make future promises to those guys if they don't provide the Republicans with a blueprint for attacking Clinton next fall?

If you find entertainment in people hurling personal insults and arguing over who is ugly or boring or weak--continue to enjoy the Republican debates.  But if you would like to hear a discussion about what is actually going to affect your life--albeit with solutions that are totally wrong for the vast majority of Americans--then you may want to tune into the Democrats for a little while.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gameday Traffic

I don't cover home Packers games very often for the radio station--and that's a good thing--because the drivers on Interstate 41 heading to Lambeau Field are idiots.  I actually had to mingle with Packers traffic this past Sunday morning en route to play Brown County Golf Course to play a free round.  I was on I-41 around 8:30--meaning I was in with the folks rushing to get into the parking lot for the full 3-hours of tailgating allowed there.

I would put the average speed for those displaying Packers window flags, rear window stickers and license plates at about 82-miles an hour.  There wasn't much of a reduction in speed heading through the work zones in Neenah and Menasha either.  Beer and brats wait for no one you know.  Indiscriminate lane changing is also common for carloads of people all wearing green and gold apparel.  Everyone must not be aware that all northbound lanes of 41 make it to Green Bay.  Of course, there seemed to be more than a few drivers that were not aware that 41 goes from three lanes to two at Northland Avenue in Appleton--so there was a few last-minute swerves out of the turn lane that caused brake lights to come on suddenly.

And then there was the guy in the Silver Toyota with Packers helmet stickers on both doors who decided to play leapfrog with me for about ten mile-- speeding up to pass me--pulling back into the right lane ahead of me and slowing down again.  It's called cruise control, sir--you may want to employ it.

While I missed the crash that tied up traffic near 55 in Kaukauna yesterday--and likely caused sheer panic for those who try to arrive around Lambeau in the hour before kickoff--I was witness to a chain reaction crash on Family Night.  A series of SUV's couldn't stop in time for the backup in traffic around the Highway 172 interchange and plowed into each other.  Out gets everybody in their Aaron Rodgers jerseys to survey the damage.  That was also the night I saw about two dozen vehicles stuck in traffic on the ramp from 172 to Northbound 41 pull off--drive through a construction zone--and try to get back onto 172 in hopes of taking the next exit and doubling back to Lombardi.

It was actually amazing that all of this stupid driving was going on yesterday--since the State Patrol--along with the Winnebago, Outagamie and Brown County Sheriff's Departments--had squad cars in every other median turnaround between Oshkosh and Green Bay.  Not sure what they were looking for.

Fortunately, my round finished up before post-game traffic let out and I would be left to wonder why we go only 15-miles an hour between Green Bay and Kaukauna--when everyone is heading in the same direction.  Just once I would like to be in one of the first two cars in that long line to see why you go so slow.

Anyway, it was another day to appreciate NFL RedZone channel and the need to never go to the stadium to see the game.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Job Nobody Wants

What if you had a House of Representatives--and nobody wanted to lead it?  That is the scenario shaping up in Congress this week as the assumed front-runners for Speaker of the House drop out of the race--and the most-qualified candidates refuse to get in the running.  If this keep up, Mike Rowe will end up as Speaker as part of his new TV series Somebody's Gotta Do it.

I can see why anyone with serious political aspirations wants to stay as far away from being Speaker as possible.  Just look at the last few holders of the position.  John Boehner has become the scourge of his own party and his portrayed as a wimp.  Nancy Pelosi coined the phrase "We need to pass the bill to find out what's in it" and is generally considered to be a fruitcake.  Dennis Hastert has been indicted on Federal fraud charges not to mention he has been accused of molesting boys and paying them to stay quiet.  And Newt Gingrich is still one of the most reviled people in American politics.  Who wants to join that "Pantheon of Greatness"?

What really concerns me is the full-court press being put on by some in the Republican Party to "draft" Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be the next speaker--despite his repeated and emphatic statements that he has no interest in the position.  Ryan says he can do more good for the country heading up the Ways and Means Committee and controlling the Congressional purse strings.  But the main reason is more likely that Ryan knows that he is far too young to head to the political graveyard already.

Nonetheless, Ryan and those who think they are doing him a favor by demanding that he run will be in the A-segments of all of the Sunday talk shows--right after the hosts tell us about the "crisis in Congress" and the "civil war tearing the GOP apart".  I'm putting the over/under on the number of times being Speaker is compared to "herding cats" at 2.5.

And that is the real problem here.  Right now, you cannot get Republicans to agree on anything.  And it is why--despite all of her problems with trustworthiness, honesty and likeability--Hillary Clinton continues to lead all of the Republican Presidential candidates in head-to-head polling.  Maybe the Republicans in the house could put a scare into those who can't get on the same page by backing a bi-partisan return to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker (there is no law saying a member of the majority has to be Speaker) and remind everyone of what the stakes are in the 2016 elections.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Just Chillax, People

Sometimes I'm a bit embarrassed by what we have to report as "news".  One example the past few days has been the near panicked response of people here in the Fox Valley to routine flights of military aircraft over our cities.

Last Sunday's flyover of four F-16 fighters in Appleton was a pretty cool tribute to a World War II veteran who flew hundreds of missions in the Pacific Theater.  But instead of everyone asking "Wow, who was that guy and what kind of experiences did he have in the war?"  The only question everybody had was "WHY WASN'T I TOLD THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!?!"  To be frank, you weren't told because it's really none of you business.

And then you get Outagamie County Exectutive Tom Nelson jumping in saying that he and all law enforcement must be informed of any such flyovers in the future.  Why?  So they can send out press releases on their official letterhead "warning" people about something that poses no threat to public safety and will not inconvenience them in any way?  For me, the heads up would only be needed to let me know what time to be outside to watch that fantastic tribute.

And then--as luck would have it--the Air National Guard was back a few days later for a training exercise over the Fox Valley--and the phone lines lit up again.  "WHY ARE THERE FIGHTER JETS IN THE SKY?  ARE WE BEING ATTACKED?!?!?!?!"  And again, public safety officials and we in the media have to explain something that is routine.  Air National Guard pilots need to train in their aircraft the techniques that they will use in a real-world threat situation.  And they have been granted permission to use the skies above our cities to do that.  I can still remember the Oshkosh Common Council meeting where the Guard was given permission to use the city as "target practice" for simulated bombing runs.  If you may need to bomb a city somewhere else some day--you need to practice on the cities closer to home.

Let me assure you that if something is happening that would require our military fighters and bombers to be used in a live-fire defensive--or heaven forbid, offensive--situation, we here on the radio and the TV stations will almost certainly have information on what's going on.  So you can turn us on before going to the phone to call 911 because there are planes in the air.  If all you hear is routine talk radio or Big Bang Theory reruns, you can probably rest assured that missles will not be raining down upon your city anytime soon.  And you can save your calls for real emergencies--like they got your order wrong in the drive-thru at McDonalds.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Exquisite Torture

Some call it the "Last Great Story In Sports"--the Chicago Cubs ending more than 100-years of futility and finally winning a World Series.  There is great optimism among Cubs fans that this could be the year that the team finally ends all of the curses and gives them their long awaited title.  But all of that optimism is hedged by the knowledge that the more likely result will be yet another post-season collapse and an extension of the agony.

The Cubs have had their chances before.  In 1945 they denied entrance to Billy Sianis and his billy goat to enter Wrigley Field for a Series game--and he put the "Curse of the Billy Goat" upon them.  In 1969 the Cubs had a big lead in the standings in mid-August--but a black cat ran in front of their dugout at Shea Stadium and the team collapsed down the stretch--allowing the Miracle Mets to win it all.  In 1984 they won the first two games of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley and appeared to be on their way to the World Series when Leon Durham allowed a ground ball to go through his legs in Game 5 and San Diego went on to get pounded by Detroit instead.  In 1989, my favorite player--Will Clark--single-handedly destroyed the Cubs in the NLCS--hitting a grand slam off Greg Maddux in Game 1 and driving in the series winning runs against Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams in Game 4.

And then, of course, there is the 2003 National League Championship Series--what I would consider the greatest moment in Cubdom history--as Steve Bartman, a Chicago area little league coach, knocked a foul ball away from Moises Alou in left field (and shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted a routine ground ball) allowing the Florida Marlins to pull off a miracle rally to keep the series alive.  The Marlins pulled off another big rally in Game 7 at Wrigley to win the series the next night.

So it is not so much a question of if the Cubs are going to lose in these playoffs--but how will they lose.  And like the millions of others that revel in the agony of Cubs fans, I hope that it is in a new and particularly soul-crushing fashion.

It might be fun to see Jake Arrietta--who was nearly unhittable for most of the season--give up about eight runs in the first inning against Pittsburgh tonight and have to come out with the bases loaded and nobody out--and then have the Pirates cruise to a 14-3 win.

Or would it be better to have Arrietta be unhittable again tonight and to have the Cubs build a 3-0 lead--despite stranding 12 runners--but then tire late and need to be pulled in the 9th--and then to have the bullpen get two outs before a walk, an error and a broken bat infield single loads the bases for a Pirates pinch hitter that had only two homers all season goes deep for the first walk-off grand slam in post-season baseball history!!

Or should the Cubs win tonight in order to face their hated rivals the St Louis Cardinals in the Division Series--and then curb-stomped in three straight games?  (By the way, Cubs-Cardinals, Dodgers-Mets in the NLDS?  Everyone loses with those fan base matchups.)  Or would it be more frustrating to have the Cubs blow leads in all three losses and the Cardinals grind out those wins like they always do (except against the Giants). Or maybe it would be better to give Cubs fans the thrill of beating their bitter rivals this time only to get four hits total in four losses to the Dodgers and Zach Grienke and Clayton Kershaw? 

I'd come up with some kind of World Series losing scenario for the Cubs--but this isn't fairy tale.  Anyway, if any Cubs fans need a little pick-me-up following the inevitable letdown in the next few days or weeks, I've got 3 San Francisco Giants World Series Championship videos from the past five years you can watch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Worst of the Worst

In "honor" of Matt Williams being fired by the Washington Nationals--and Joe Philbin being let go by the Miami Dolphins--yesterday, The Sporting News posted a list of the worst managers in the history of each Major League Baseball Franchise.  I thought it would be kind of fun to do that for each of the major sports here in Wisconsin.


Let's just say there are plenty of candidates to choose from here.  The Sporting News selected Phil Garner based on the continuous decline the franchise saw during his tenure.  Most of the Wisconsin media folks discussing this on-line last night voted for Davey Lopes.  There were a few nominations for Ken Macha as well.  But for me the worst Brewers Manager of all time is Rene Lachemann.  Lachemann succeeded Harvey Kuenn in 1984 and I can still remember my mother telling me about his hiring when I got home from school one day and thinking "Isn't he the guy that hasn't won anything in Seattle?"  It turned out he didn't win anything in Milwaukee either, being fired with three games left in his only season and losing 94 games.


Bart Starr the coach was always sabotaged by Bart Starr the General Manager.  The Packers under Forrest Gregg were just a bunch of talentless thugs.  Ray Rhodes was one of the least likeable guys in NFL history and Lindy Infante won less than 38% of his games.  But the worst coach in Green Bay history was also a one-year wonder--Ray "Scooter" McLean.  How anyone could think a guy with the nickname "Scooter" was going to lead a franchise to glory is beyond me--but is was 1958.  McLean went 1-10-1 in his only season--and the Packers weren't even competitive in most of those games.  Of course, that disaster led to the hiring of Vince Lombardi the next season--and he won Coach of the Year with many of the same players.


Now this is a dumpster fire of bad coaches.  Frank Hamblen, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Ford, Terry Porter, Terry Stotts, Larry Krystkowiak, and Jim Boylen are among those who were very, very bad on the Milwaukee bench.  But the worst of all-time--so far--has to be Larry Drew, who went an astoundingly pathetic 15-67 in his one season. 


This is the easiest selection on the list: Don Morton.  Most of us Badgers' fans old enough to remember his usually drop the "T" from his last name to make it more accurate (Moron).  Some claim Morton was ahead of his time--as elements of his "Veer" offense are now used in today's Read-Option schemes.  But at the time in the late 80's all the Badgers did was "Veer" into the ditch.  Fortunately, Morton's debacle led to the hiring of Barry Alvarez and like they say--the rest is history.


This is another easy selection: Steve Yoder.  The Badgers never finished higher than tied for sixth in the Big Ten under Yoder and never made the NCAA Tournament--even though it had expanded to 64-teams by that time.  The real frustration was that most of his teams didn't even have real Division I talent most years.  Remind me to tell you about how I helped get Yoder fired--setting the Badgers Basketball program on its way to the heights it enjoyed under Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Think Pink....OR ELSE!!

You may have noticed during the NFL games on Sunday that the league is in its annual "Pink Out" for breast cancer awareness.  Players are wearing pink gloves, pink sweatbands, pink towels and even pink shoes.  There are pink ribbons stamped on the balls and painted on the fields.  National anthems are being sung by breast cancer survivors and banners along the field tell you how you can donate to help the cause.  It is an impressive league-wide effort to benefit a worthy cause.

But what if you are a player who lost someone special to you to prostate cancer?  Or you have a parent or grandparent dealing with Alzheimers Disease?  Or you have a child that has been diagnosed with autism?  How do you show your support on the huge stage provided by the NFL?  You don't--that's how.  While the Green and Gold of the Packers can be "highlighted" by pink this month--any other week anything outside of the standard issue uniform is strictly prohibited.  This is a league that has fined players for writing a friend's initials or uniform number on their ankle tape or gloves.  It's also a league that once barred Peyton Manning from wearing high-top black shoes on the field as a tribute following the death of the greatest quarterback of all time--Johnny Unitas--because they did not fit the approved uniform policy.

The tie to breast cancer awareness benefits the NFL more than any of those other causes.  The growth of male fans for professional football is very limited--so a big push to promote prostate cancer awareness wouldn't drive any extra interest in the game.  (And let's be honest, the last thing guys want to be reminded of when they are watching sports is a prostate exam.)  But there are still a lot of women who don't follow the sport.  If putting some pink on the players and making it look like you are a big backer of women's issues gets a few more eyes on the game--that makes good business sense.  Plus, every team has a full selection of pink apparel stocked in their pro shop and on-line for you to order while you watch!

I would just like to see the NFL use its enormous marketing power to benefit a wider range of causes.  How about all of the teams wear their throwback jerseys for a month to raise money and promote awareness of all of the NFL Alumni who are physically or mentally crippled due to the "entertainment" they provided the fans for all of those years.  Or perhaps all of the players arrested and convicted on domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and weapons charges could don orange jumpsuits with prisoner numbers for a game to promote anti-crime and anti-violence programs.  It wouldn't be as cute as pink shoes--but it would sure make a heck of a statement.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Will This Be the One?

The question many were asking following yesterday's incident in Oregon was "Will this finally be the mass shooting that leads to meaningful gun control legislation?"  It's actually the same question that was asked after the previous mass shooting and the mass shooting before that and the mass shooting before that.  And as always, the answer is: It depends.  It depends on what we learn about the shooter in the Oregon incident and how he acquired the weapons that were used--and how the same old gun control proposals that get rolled out after these incidents would have actually prevented what happened.

Will this finally be the shooting where the gunman would have failed a mandatory background check?  We don't know much about the Oregon shooter yet--but no one is reporting that he was a convicted felon.  There is no information that he was convicted of any previous gun crimes--or domestic violence incidents--or that he was ever committed to a mental institution.  There is no information to lead us to believe that a background check would have prevented him from securing the weapons that he had.

Will this finally be the shooting where the gunman bought all of his weapons at a gun show--where no background check was conducted?  No one has come forward to say that they recall the Oregon suspect going from table to table at a firearms show purchasing all the weapons he could afford--and asking the sellers if they were going to do a check on him.  And remember, even if they had been doing checks at the show, he likely would have passed.

Will this finally be the shooting where the gunman bought all of his weapons from a private seller?  Again, no one is coming out to say that they sold the guns involved on Craigslist or some other personal ad without conducting a background check on the shooter--which again, he likely would have passed.

Will this finally be the shooting where the gunman bought the weapons on the way to the site itself because there was no waiting period?  No gun shop owner has said he saw the Oregon suspect making his purchase a half-hour before the shots started on campus--or the day before or even three days before.  Odds are, this suspect had every one of the weapons involved for some time and had been practicing using them for some time as well so that he would know how they worked and how he should aim and reload them.

Will this finally be the mass shooting that leads to gun control legislation?  Maybe it will.  But it's not going to stop what happened yesterday--no matter how much better it might make us all feel to finally "do something".

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pawn Sacrifice

The next time members of the Oshkosh Common Council want to go on a diatribe about big box retailers and other corporations (and then spend 15-minutes at their next meeting backtracking from those comments by saying that phrases like "they are like boa constrictors" and "I would never do business with Time Warner Cable" were "taken out of context") they could add that those evil businesses have treated the poor people of Oshkosh as pawns in a chess game over market share.

I've had several people ask me why Sam's Club would make an announcement that they planned to build a warehouse store in Oshkosh--but then never even submit a site plan to the city before abandoning the project.  Sports Authority went so far as to accept on-line job application before deciding to back out of their agreement to rent space on Koeller Street.  Residents are now left to wonder "Why wasn't Oshkosh good enough" for these retailers?

When it comes to Sam's Club, I doubt there were ever any plans to build a store in Oshkosh.  The announcement from WalMart came right around the time Costco started snooping around Grand Chute for one of their stores.  Sam's Club knows how many of its members come from Oshkosh--and they can probably figure out how many of those they would lose to the much-better shopping experience at Costco--and how many people in Oshkosh would never buy a Sam's Club membership (like me) but would be more than happy to shop at Costco if it was close enough (again, like me).  So they decided to bluff--with the Oshkosh market being the chips they pushed into the pot.  Fortunately for consumers, Costco called Sam's bluff and WalMart folded.  They may have cut their losses some by suckering some of those Oshkosh area members to renew their memberships for another year on the hope that they would have a much shorter trip to a local store.

As for Sports Authority, it was likely all a matter of timing.  Somewhere there is a market study that found Oshkosh was underserved when it came to sporting goods stores.  That study likely ended up in the hands of executives at both Dick's and Sports Authority and both sets of executives decided to meet that demand by bringing one of their stores to Oshkosh.  But that same study likely found Oshkosh was only going to be able to support one such big box sporting goods store--not two.  It just so happened that Dick's ended up with the better location (right on an Interstate 41 interchange--and next to two of the most popular stores in town)--and they were in the ground with a brand-spanking-new building as well.  Sports Authority was going to end up in a re-purposed building that would require shoppers to backtrack some from the interchange--making it a less desirable location.  Facing the likelihood of being the second choice of shoppers, they decided to drop Oshkosh.

So my tip to Oshkosh consumers is that you probably shouldn't start working on your shopping lists until the doors actually open.