Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Small Acts of Kindness

After a long weekend up north, I came into work yesterday afternoon to prepare four days worth of stuff for this morning's newscasts.  That's when my wife sent a text message shortly after we got back saying there was no mail in our box--but instead a large cell phone--one of those "phablets" with a screen bigger than most people's first televisions that you are still supposed to carry around in your pocket.

Of course, the phone was dead--and being an IPhone household, I had to scrounge up a charger attachment that would fit an Android phone--thinking that if it was powered up, I might be able to figure out to whom the phone belonged.  Initially, we thought it might be from one of the guys that installed our new fence last week--and the mailman found it lying in the yard and put it in the box?  Or maybe it was just a passerby?

But before we could get the phone charged up, someone rang the doorbell.  There, a young man named Donny--who says he is a WOSH listener--told me he had left the phone in my mailbox.  A bit leery, I asked him for what purpose and he said that he had found it on one of the tanks at Red Arrow Park and thought it belonged to us.  When I asked why he thought that, he replied that when it was charged, there were text messages from someone on the lockscreen and that he had looked up that person's address on the internet--thinking that perhaps they would know to whom the phone belonged.

It turns out that the person who had sent the texts was actually the person from whom we had purchased our house eight years ago (a lesson on don't always trust information you find on the internet).  Fortunately, we know where the old owners now live--as it's just a block away and one street over.

So the wife and I take a little walk over to the former owner's current house and find the front door open and music coming from inside--but no one would answer the doorbell.  Now we have an awkward situation where we could leave the phone in their mailbox--where it would sit for another day and then they would have no idea from where it came--or we could go back home, write a note explaining the phone's journey so far and hoping that they can figure out the rightful owner--or we could just toss it inside the front door and lead them to believe that someone broke into the house and left behind a valuable piece of evidence.

That's when my wife remembered that the parents of one of the former owners lives just a couple more houses down (because their dog used to run over to our house thinking the old owners were still there)--and maybe she could pass along the phone to them (along with the ever-increasingly complex backstory.  Sure enough, she was on the back porch with her dogs and recognized the phone as belonging to her 15-year old grandson.  We shared the story of how we came to possess the phone and she wanted us to thank Donny for finding it and starting the process for getting it back to its rightful owner.

I don't know if Donny listens this early in the morning, but I hope he knows that his act of kindness--he could have very easily just kept the phone for himself or just dumped it in the garbage--was appreciated.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

At Least No One Has Been Offended

When I think of how much the US has spent on "security" since the 9/11 attacks it depresses me.  Entire new bureaucracies were created to deal with the "threat" of multiple hijackings or a dirty bomb or a mass shooting at a public event.  Millions of man-hours are dedicated to screening procedures, billions were spent on new equipment and infrastructure, and everyone is inconvenienced by reduced personal liberties and invasions of our privacy.

You would think that after 15-years, we would have this "additional layers of security" thing down pat.  But instead, waits at airports are longer, the shortage of security personnel is greater and the failure rates of those on the line is growing worse.  It all leads you to wonder: Is the time and expense really worth it?

The single factor driving up the cost of security, slowing down the processes and increasing the need for staffing at all facilities is that we continue to treat every single person in this country as a potential terrorist threat.  As a TSA Pre-Check enrollee, I'm considered slightly less of a threat.  I don't have to take off my shoes or go through the full body scanner when I fly.  And why does the TSA grant me this slight restoration of my rights?  Because I paid them $85. 

But it's about time we ask why I'm even considered a "security threat" in the first place.  The same should be asked about the four kids with the Mickey Mouse ears on at the Orlando Airport, the elderly couple flying to Boca Raton and even the celebrity jetting back to LA from yet another awards show.  How do we justify the time, effort and expense put into making sure that we don't have more than five-ounces of fluids in our carry-ons?

What if the security systems we employ were downsized to handle random checks of flyers instead of each and every one of us having to go through the process.  Or better yet, what if we were honest about who poses the greatest terrorist threat: Saudi, Somali, Pakistani, Afghan and Yemeni nationals.  You know, the men that have actually been involved in terrorist attacks not only here but around the world.

The long lines, the billions of dollars in equipment and personnel and the erosion of our rights have had little to do with making us "more safe".  They have just been an unnecessary expense in a "dog and pony show" that goes out of its way not to "offend" certain groups of people.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Living In Dangerous Times

We are living in dangerous times, my friends.  A time when mere thoughts and words can be treated as "crimes against humanity"--and the "groupthink" envisioned by George Orwell in his novel 1984 is coming closer to reality.

Take for example the incident at a San Diego Padres baseball game last weekend.  The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus was going to sing the national anthem when the man running the public address system instead played a version of the anthem featuring a woman singing.  The chorus issued a statement demanding an investigation into whether the snafu was a "deliberate act of homophobia"--and if a hate crime had been committed.  Playing the wrong version of the national anthem is now considered to be a hate crime.  (That would certainly be true if the version played was the screeching Roseanne Barr edition--which took place in San Diego as well)

Just imagine if a crusading Southern California prosecutor decided to make this case his cause celebre and actually charged the DJ with committing a hate crime--and a bleeding heart jury of Californians convicted the "offender"--and a judge interested only in "social justice" sent him away for a few years to "send a message to homophobes that their views will not be tolerated in this society". 

"What are you in for, pal?"

"I played a woman singing the national anthem instead of a group of gay guys singing it"

"I'd keep an eye over my shoulder in here, pal.  That kinda thing ain't looked upon too good around here."

Meanwhile, the (unelected) New York City Commission on Human Rights is back again with an edict that companies can be fined for failing to use the "pronouns of a person's gender identity".  That means if you were to address a transgender woman as "Mister" or include a "Ms" in the heading of a "gender-fluid" person who is feeling more "male" that week--they could take you to court and you could end up paying a penalty.  The (unelected) Commission has also declared that companies must use whatever pronoun a person requests including "ze" "hir" or the grammatically-incorrect "they" when referring to a single person.  Companies are "encouraged" to develop a protocol of asking every single person they (correct usage here) employ and do business with what pronoun they prefer and then use it every time--of course, under the threat of punishment.

Oh and the fine for violations?  How about $125,000 up to 250-grand.  Like they say, "Free speech ain't so free anymore".

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Further Adventures Of Liberal Man!!

The hottest thing in pop culture today is superheroes.  Comic books are almost cool, every other movie features installments of old and new superheroes and people dressed up like them are no longer treated like the biggest losers on the planet.  Never one to pass up on an opportunity to cash in on a trend, I'm thinking about creating my own superhero: Liberal Man!!

Liberal Man's origin story is that of Todd Thompson--a white man born to an upper middle-class family.  Todd seems to have the perfect life, until he enters the public education system--where he learns that people of his gender and race are exclusively responsible for all of the social ills in the world today.  Then, while attending State University, he asks an Asian-American student where her family is from--and the co-ed goes to the Dean of Students to complain about being made to feel unwelcome in this country.  Todd is kicked out of school for that egregious micro-aggression and creating a hostile environment on campus.  Disgusted by the monster he has become, Todd vows to never hold an actual job--and instead dedicates himself to wiping out social inequality wherever it can be found (or created)--and Liberal Man is born!

In the first edition, Liberal Man heads to North Carolina where a handful of transgender people are not allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.  WHAP!! BOOM!! and Liberal Man punches out the evil Republican Governor and Legislators--and the trans people have bathroom equality!

In the next edition, Liberal Man jets over to Edinburgh, Scotland where women are not allowed to be members of the Muirfield Golf Club.  ZOCK!! PUNCH!! and Liberal Man takes down the stodgy old Scottish men--and just like that, Muirfield has a women's locker room and lounge!!

Then it's back to the US where fast food workers are making just $8 an hour.  SLASH!! CHOP!! Ronald McDonald is brought to his knees and those who mop the floor and take out the garbage are suddenly making $15 an hour!

I notice the biggest movies now feature superheroes fighting each other for no real good reason--so for our big screen blockbuster Liberal Man will battle Conservative Man--taking guns away from law-abiding citizens and blocking Conservative Man's efforts to get guns out of the hands of criminals by calling those efforts "racial targeting".  In the climactic scene, Liberal Man overcomes Conservative Man and his ally Military Man by preventing them from effectively fighting Islamic Terrorism in the Middle East.

The Liberal Man franchise may be limitless, as everyone--except for those like Todd Thompson--are the victims of some sort of injustice in the world today.  And if they aren't, Liberal Man can just make some stuff up--like telling overweight people to diet and exercise is "hate speech".

I would have to end each issue of Liberal Man with a few panels dedicated to the unintended consequences brought on by Liberal Man's heroic actions--like the women of North Carolina being disgusted by the toilet seat being left up and drops of tinkle all over the rim of the bowl.  Or ladies being bored out of their minds as members of the Golfers Society of Edinburgh sit around eating their soup in the cold, lifeless clubhouse of Muirfield.  And the moving crews wheeling in the self-serve, touch-screen ordering kiosks into the fast food restaurants as the teenage employees fawn all over Liberal Man.  You have to have some sort of reality in these stories--just to keep them grounded.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Real Dose of Reality

For those of you old enough to remember, I want you to think back to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1990's.  Remember how political leaders held press conferences every few days saying the government had to do something to help the people who were addicted to the drug kick the habit and get their lives back together?  Can you recall how state funded treatment programs were set up--and how first responders and even just plain old people on the street were trained to administered anti-overdose drugs?  Remember counties establishing "drug courts" so offenders who were high on crack wouldn't be sent to prison or jail--but instead would receive the counseling they needed while only on probation?

It's okay if you don't remember any of that happening--because none of it did.  The response to the crack epidemic was to make more arrests of those who were not only dealing the drugs--but the users as well.  And the violent and property crimes that increased greatly because of addicts trying to get their next fix and gangs fighting over sales territory were met with longer and longer mandatory prison sentences.  So why are we treating the current heroin and opioid abuse epidemic with kid gloves and so much "concern" for the users?  You need look no further than who is involved in this latest drug wave.

Crack cocaine was the scourge of urban inner cities and the minorities that lived there.  The gangs that ruled the streets and controlled the supplies were everything that scared suburban America.  There were no daughters of state lawmakers committing multiple crimes to pay for her addiction.  It wasn't son of the local business owner who died from an overdose in his home.  It was "those people" who were dying and stealing and seeing their communities decay--and the only proper response was to crack down (no pun intended) hard--and to teach them a lesson.  But now that it's "all of us" who are seeing the effects of opioid abuse, well now it's time for "us" to do something to help these people.

Once again I was disappointed by Attorney General Brad Schimel's "Dose of Reality" program announcement on Tuesday.  Nowhere did the AG say that the time has come to end the "legal" practice of over-prescribing opiate-based painkillers--the leading source of eventual heroin addiction.  There was no suggestion to doctors to stop prescribing those pills to people who are not suffering from debilitating pain.  There wasn't even a recommendation to tell patients "I'm going to give you this prescription for your sore foot--but you will probably end up becoming a heroin addict--so you may want to think about just how much that actually hurts before you fill it".  That would be a real "dose of reality".

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Carpetbaggers

In the days after the Civil War, a number of opportunistic Northerners moved into the defeated states of the Confederacy seeking election to public office--and drawing the support of the newly-freed slaves to win.  Some had lived in their new homes less than a few months before winning positions in statehouses and even Congress.  Some came with the honest intention of helping Reconstruction take place--but many just saw an easy path to political influence.  Those who had lived in the South before then developed a term for their newly-elected officials: Carpetbaggers.  The term came from the cheap luggage the new arrivals used to carry their belongings as they got off the carriages or the trains.

Wisconsin seems to have a new influx of Carpetbaggers in its political ranks.  Much is being made right now of State Senator and Congressional candidate Frank Lasee's actual residency.  Lasee claims an apartment in De Pere is his home.  But his wife lists her residence as being in Racine--and Lasee has claimed that house as both an asset and a residence in legal procedings.  In an expose piece over the weekend, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found Lasee's De Pere "home" listed on the temporary housing website AirBNB as being available for rental any day this year.  Lasee initially claimed that he and his wife only listed the apartment to rent out on Packers home game weekends.  And after the reporter pressed the issue further, the listing came down altogether.

Lasee is not alone in questionable residency.  Congressman Glenn Grothman had to buy or rent a new place when he ran for the 6th Congressional seat in 2014 because he didn't live in the district.  Neither did his Republican primary challenger Duey Strobel.  You may recall that Congressman Reid Ribble had to move a couple of miles because he didn't live in the 8th District the first time he ran for that office.  And there are questions about the residency of State Senate Candidate Mark Elliott here in Oshkosh--as his announcement that he was getting into the race for the 18th District came from Florida--and his Facebook timeline was filled with pictures from the Sunshine State for several previous months.

It should be pointed out that under current state law, a person is not required to live in a district at the time they first run for an office--but they are required to move in before they can begin to serve.  But it seems to me that those already living in an area should make up the pool of candidates to serve that area--even if the Carpetbagger might have a better chance to win.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Entirely My Fault

Allow me to apologize for the horrible weather we have had to endure this spring.  It's entirely my fault that we have had to put up with blizzards in April, snow in May and freeze and frost warnings both months--not to mention use of "wind chills" after Mothers' Day.  It's my fault because I have planned a lot more outdoor activities this year than I usually do.

I've umpired more girls high school softball games than normal this spring.  In past seasons, a day they I've had to ump has meant a day filled with clouds, light rain, wind and far below average temperatures.  I've even worked some games played with flurries coming down.  Multiply that by over twenty assignments this year and you can see why we've had such a prolonged spell of unseasonably lousy weather.  And then that gets compounded by postponed games being rescheduled a few weeks later--pushing bad weather forward another few days.

I'm also responsible for bad weekend weather by playing in a few more spring golf events.  On Saturday my usual group froze our buns off for the umpteenth year in a row in a scramble event that was held a weekend later than usual and still had horrible weather.  At least we didn't have to come off the course this time because of sleet.  My other tournament so far this year featured no sun, 45-degrees and 20-mile an hour winds.  You're welcome.

Now, you may recall a few seasonably nice days so far this spring--like that week with temps in the 60's back in March.  That was when my wife and I were in Florida--and they had slightly below average temperatures down there.  And then there was that Friday before Mothers' Day that featured a high of 80.  I spent three hours of that day trapped in the Neenah City Hall for press conferences on the Eagle National Cycles shooting--followed by a couple of hours in a restaurant with my parents enjoying the Early Bird Special.

If I had just planned on doing nothing all spring--no softball umpiring, no golf tournaments, no plans for bike rides, just watching TV in the basement or staying at work for 80-hours a week--we would have had the most beautiful spring in the history of Wisconsin.  (Although, that would have contributed to alarm over "global climate change".)  So next year, I'll make an effort to spend as much time as possible during the spring inside being a couch potato so the rest of you can enjoy some decent weather for a change.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Spoiling Them "Sick"

First off, let me commend the Oshkosh high school students who put together the petition drive to demand additional mental health services from the School District.  You have identified what you believe is a need in your school and you are bringing it to the attention of the people you believe are the ones who should be responsible for fixing it.  Unfortunately, this is not something that the schools themselves should be "fixing".

Let me remind you (and everyone else) that the Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance--health insurance that covers mental health counseling and treatment and that cannot deny anyone coverage for a "pre-existing condition".  So your parents should have health insurance to help cover the cost of mental health treatments for you and all of your classmates.  If your parents are low-income, we have a program called BadgerCare intended to cover families with children.  In addition, there are mental health services provided by dozens of private sector providers--some in health networks, some in independent practices.  Just Google it, you should be able to find plenty of options that are not funded by taxpayers.

Coincidentally, the students' demands for more mental health services in schools came the same week that District officials went before the Oshkosh School Board to discuss adding more mental health counselors to the elementary schools.  Merrill Elementary Principal Sara Poquette used an example of the "mental health problems" that teachers face in the classroom as a child throwing a fit because he or she didn't get the color marker they wanted.

Acting up because you got the green marker instead of the blue marker is not a mental health issue--it's being a spoiled brat.  Poquette admitted that most of their behavioral problems in the classroom today are caused by children who expect to get their way all the time.  And who is to blame for that?  PARENTS WHO CANNOT SAY "NO" TO THEIR CHILDREN.  PARENTS WHO REFUSE TO DISCIPLINE THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THEY DISOBEY THE RULES OR ACT OUT IN AN INAPPROPRIATE WAY.

You know what this parenting approach leads to?  Kids like the "Affluenza Teen" in Texas whose drug and alcohol infused crime spree was explained away by never learning the consequences of doing something wrong--because his parents never punished him or denied him any of his wants.  And after getting a slap on the wrist with probation, the kid violates his parole and his Mother helps him escape to Mexico to avoid punishment again.

These children don't need taxpayer-funded "mental health services".  They need actual parenting and discipline in the home.  And to provide this "service" in the schools is just another way to allow those parents to abdicate their duties.  You ever wonder why so many kids are on behavior modification medications nowadays?  It's so much easier to drug your child than to actually discipline them--and "modify their behavior" through punishment or simply not buying them everything they want the second they want it. 

And to expect the rest of us to foot the bill for that?  It sounds like a few adults could use some "behavior modification" as well.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Smoke or Drive?

You know who seems to have all of the answers?  Proponents of legalized marijuana.  They are able to explain away all of the negative effects of both the drug's use and distribution.

Since states like Colorado, Oregon and Washington approved the recreational use and sale of pot, neighboring states--and even some farther away, like Wisconsin--have seen increased trafficking of marijuana.  "Mules" drive out to Colorado--stock up on "legal pot"--and then drive back home to repackage and illegally distribute their purchase to their own network of buyers.  Nebraska could probably drop their income and sales taxes and just get by on drug bust fines and cash seizures if they put enough cops on the interstates leading into and out of Colorado.

And what is the solution to this problem from the legalized pot crowd?  "Well it wouldn't be a problem if you would just legalize marijuana in your state too."

This week, the state of Washington reported that the rate of fatal crashes involving drivers with THC--the active ingredient in marijuana--in their systems has more than doubled since pot was legalized in that state.  Marijuana use was a factor in just eight percent of fatal crashes there in 2013.  But that jumped to 17-percent the next year--right after pot became legal.

And the answer from the dopers?  "That's just because more people are smoking pot now--you can't prove being high caused all of those fatal crashes."

The potheads do have a point--you can't "prove" that being high caused those crashes because there is no legal definition of "being high".  Every state has a "legal limit" for intoxication--usually .08% blood alcohol content.  But there is no "legal limit" for THC in your bloodstream (or any other drug for that matter) because--until recently--having any amount of pot in your system was illegal. 

As we have found with same-sex marriage and family law statutes--if you are going to make something that was formerly not legal, legal--you need to do the work of changing every other statute that may be impacted by that legalization.  But when voters approved recreational marijuana referenda in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, they didn't consider the legal ramifications.

Of course, the stoners have an answer for this legal quandary as well: "You can't have a 'legal limit' 'cuz not everyone gets high at the same level."  Again they have a point, long-time pot smokers build up a tolerance--so more weed needs to be smoked to achieve the same level of effect.  But this same argument was made after blood alcohol limits went into effect--some people can "hold their liquor" better than others--but courts eventually found that a legal standard was constitutional--and no one was going to be able to prove that .08% for them was "not drunk".

Hopefully, the stoner states of Washington, Oregon and Colorado will finally get around to establishing legal limits for marijuana use and driving.  Let's hope they go with 0.0%

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Can I Get Another For You and the Little One?

On Monday, I posted on my personal social media accounts a link to a story in the New York Times on a ruling by the city's (non-elected) Commission on Human Rights that bars cannot refuse to serve alcohol to pregnant women.  I was surprised by some of the responses--especially from people I know are die-hard pro-abortion and yet expressed opposition to this order over concerns about the effects on the baby.

What anyone who is made uncomfortable by the thought of a pregnant woman going to a bar and downing a few is forgetting is that under the law, that is not a baby with a developing brain in there--that is just a "mass of cells"--or as the Affordable Care Act refers to pregnancy, a "pre-existing condition".  "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the accompanying developmental issues that come along with it are none of your business, Mr Bartender--now mix me another margarita."

As the ruling from the (non-elected) Commission on Human Rights states: “While covered entities may attempt to justify certain categorical exclusions based on maternal or fetal safety, using safety as a pretext for discrimination or as a way to reinforce traditional gender norms or stereotypes is unlawful,”  So that is what this is really about!  It's a "man's opinion" that expecting women shouldn't be drinking alcohol.  You, Mr Bartender, are trying to keep women "in their place" by not setting up another round of shots!

The (non-elected) Commission on Human Rights is quick to add that their ruling does not apply to anyone that has already had "too much" to drink and should be cut off by the bar (wouldn't want our pregnant women trying to drive themselves home--they might hit someone and leave them brain-damaged). 

As far as New York City is concerned, bartenders and bar owners uncomfortable with serving booze to pregnant women should find another line of work--just like pharmacists who refuse to dispense the "morning after pill".  To replace them, might I suggest hiring the store clerks that sell cigarettes to the 16% of pregnant women in Winnebago County that continue to smoke?  They don't seem to have any concerns about the health of "masses of cells".

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bring It On!

I'm sure I'm not the only person who laughed when they heard Sarah Palin say she was going to work to defeat House Speaker Paul Ryan in the Republican primary in August.  They say that "pride goeth before a fall" and no one is more prideful than Sarah Palin--who continues to somehow ignore the fact that she is a nobody in politics today--and wields no influence whatsoever.

Palin's "announcement" that she was jumping on the Paul Nehlen bandwagon was typical for her.  She talked about what a great guy Nehlen was--and then admitted that she had never actually talked to the guy.  She didn't even know if Nehlen actually wants her support.  Palin likely heard somewhere that Paul Ryan had a "Tea Party" opponent in the primary and just assumed that he was worth backing--sight unseen.  Although someone who has challenged Ryan to forgo the usual debates and instead just have an arm-wrestling match, sounds like someone who thinks the same way as Sarah Palin.

And then over the weekend, the Trump-Palin supporters got great "news" when a poll appeared to show Nehlen with a lead over Ryan among Republicans in the 1st District.  All over my Twitter feed and Facebook wall were people trumpeting "See? Look at what Sarah Palin is doing to Paul Ryan!!"  The only problem is that poll was completely made up by a website--prntly.com--that posts fake poll numbers all the time--always in support of Donald Trump.  And then, Trump himself gives the site "credibility" by Tweeting the results of the fake polls in capital letter and posting a link so you "see for yourself" how great he is doing. 

The average Donald Trump/Sarah Palin supporter doesn't care that prntly.com is marketing front for the Trump campaign and that the numbers they are being fed as "proof" of their popularity is fake.  If it's on the internet and the Donald says its real, it's real!  I guess they can all be shocked when Ryan gets 75% of the vote in the primary (although Democrats crossing over could certainly skew the numbers slightly in August).  And imagine their surprise when Trump's own fake poll numbers end up about 30% off in his crushing defeat to Hillary Clinton and November--which ironically enough establishes Paul Ryan as the undisputed head of the Republican Party heading into a much brighter future--where the Sarah Palin's of the world are finally marginalized and ignored.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Lessons Learned

As with all tragedies, there are lessons to be learned in the aftermath of the Neenah hostage shooting incident last December.  We heard a lot things we already knew in Attorney Brad Schimel's press conference last Friday--including "officers were just following their training" and that "no jury would have convicted them" of acting negligently in shooting one of the hostages instead of the hostage-taker.

But there were some new elements revealed on Friday that the rest of us should all keep in mind--especially if we ever find ourselves in the same situation.  For starters, if you have a Carry Concealed Weapon permit, you should probably use your gun as soon as you can.  In one of the 911 calls from Eagle Nation Cycles, the owner tells the dispatcher that the eventual shooting victim has a CCW but "must not have his gun, or this would be over already".  On surveillance video you see several instances where the hostage-taker is distracted (especially by police attempting to storm the building while he opens fire on them) but the armed hostage takes no action.  In fact, the only time he is seen drawing his weapon is while he is trying to escape into a back alley--where he is shot once by the suspect and eight times by the police.

Which leads to lesson learned number two: If you have a Carry Concealed Weapon permit, you want to get rid of your gun the second the police show up or they will shoot you.  Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson was asked Friday what the victim should have done to avoid being shot and initially tried to dance around an answer--saying it would be "disrespectful".  But after finally being pinned down to offer advice to anyone else who may be in the same situation some day, Wilkinson could only offer up "Show us your hands"--because if those hands have a gun in them, shots are likely heading your way. 

Which leads us to our third lesson learned: Police don't have to identify their target.  If they are only looking at your hands, how do they know who you are?  Anyone who has ever taken a Hunter Safety Course is told repeatedly: "Know your target and what is beyond it before you pull the trigger".  That doesn't apply to those using deadly force on our streets.  Although to be fair, there is little possibility of animals and waterfowl firing back at you in your blind.

 Once again on Friday we were assured by officials that "the lessons of this tragedy will be learned" so as to ensure it never happens again.  Hopefully the rest of us learn the lessons I just mentioned to avoid being the next "tragic victim".  Although, there will be more "lessons to learn" after the next incident too.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Take Your Parents To Work Day

For the first time in 18-years of broadcasting, my Mother is coming to see me at work today.  She will be joining us later this morning to pick the winner of the Aegis Financial WOSH 75th Anniversary Mother's Day Spa Package Giveaway.  In anticipation of her visit, the Newsroom is the cleanest it has been in 15-years.

I know we've had my Mother on the air over the phone once or twice before.  It might have been for my 30th or 40th birthdays--I can't remember.  It would actually be kind of fun to have her on more often--sort of like David Letterman used to have his mother Dorothy on every few months.  She could tell embarrassing stories from when I was a kid and then appear to be clueless as to the pop culture events going on in society.

In a way, I'm lucky to have the job I have.  When she lived in Green Bay my Mom could listen to me in the morning while driving to work.  She could still listen in Eagle River or Florida over the internet--but that would require mastering the actual working of her tablet computer and installing the 1490 WOSH app--and she doesn't like having apps on her tablet.  She also reads the My Two Cents Blog on a daily basis--although she admits she's not exactly sure what I'm talking about some of the time.  She likes the non-political rants and raves better.

My Dad will be along with my Mother today in studio--but don't expect to hear from him.  He is a man of few words and less attention.  I definitely got my personality and sense of humor from Mom (along with the premature gray hair).  I doubt Bob Burnell will get more than three words out of Bob Krause if he tries to get him on the air this morning.

So hopefully you'll tune back in at 8:15 this morning to hear from my Mom--and to find out whose to blame for me.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Everyone's Drug Money

Have you ever wondered how much of your money has gone to purchase illegal drugs?  I got to thinking about this yesterday when Governor Scott Walker authorized drug testing for Unemployment benefit recipients.  I'm sure some percentage of the tax dollars we pay to Madison and Washington ends up in drug dealers' hands--but what about the money we spend in everyday situations--how much of that is going to get someone high?

If you give to the many panhandlers that will be popping up all over the Fox Valley now that warmer weather is back, likely every penny of that is going to buy drugs.  You can try to tell yourself that you're sure that "homeless veteran" is really using it to buy food and pay rent--but deep down you know, that guy is actually just a junkie.  (Or at the very least, if the money is used to buy something else--that just leaves more money from another source to buy drugs). 

If you are a parent, some of the cash you give to your teens and college students may end up with the "cool kid" who can score a little weed or some pills on Friday night.  The speculation surrounding the death of Prince last month can lead one to assume that some percentage of that $1.29 ITunes download is going to a drug cartel somewhere.  And what about what you paid for those beers in the bar, the tips you left at the restaurant and the couple hundred bucks you laid out for that really cool tattoo of your future ex-wife's name that you will someday be paying someone else to remove from your skin?  Heck, some of the money Grandma is paying to stay in the nursing home is going to someone stealing her pills to support his or her own addiction.

Conversely, think about how much of the money you make may have come from the sale of illegal drugs.  Dealers and traffickers have to eat and buy gas too.  I would think the auto shops that specialize in ultra-dark window tinting and chrome wheel installation almost have to assume that's where the customer cash is coming from by now, right?  I'd put gun shops on this list too--but thanks to gun control laws, weapons used in the commission of illegal drug crimes are all just stolen nowadays.

You probably want to go wash your hands now, thinking about where the cash you touched today may have been as recently as a few days ago.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Correcting the Historical Record

I've mentioned here before my abhorrence of revisionist history.  It is becoming more common to elevate minor characters in the development of the American nation to some sort of "major figure" status in an effort to appeal to all demographics and modern minority groups.  And then you have the application of today's social mores to historical events and decisions in an effort to create a "right side of history" and a "wrong side of history".  But sometimes you need to revise historical record in order to correct actual factual errors.

That may be the case for one of the most famous images in American history: the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.

Since 1945, it was believed that Appleton resident John Bradley--who was a Navy Medical Corpsman--was one of the six men pictured in this Pulitzer Prize winning photo.  But now, two historians believe the man credited as being Bradley was actually a different Marine--because the clothes worn by Bradley in this photo are slightly different from those worn by him in other pictures taken that same day.

Like many events in history, the details of the Iwo Jima flag raising are...messy.  The iconic picture taken by Joe Rosenthal was actually the second flag raising on Mount Surabachi that day.  Another one had taken place a few hours before involving a few different Marines--and including John Bradley again:

One of the commanders in the battle wanted a bigger flag on the pole, so a company of Marines went up the hill--took down the first flag--and raised the second--which was captured in the famous photo.
Now, the Marine Corps will now review the pictures from that day again and decide if John Bradley retains the honor of being credited as one of the second flag raisers--as well as one of the first.
If the historical record is changed to reflect that Bradley was not involved in the second flag raising does that make him any less of an American hero?  Raising the flag one or two times was probably the least heroic thing John Bradley did on Iwo Jima.  He was awarded the Navy Cross for entering enemy fire to drag out injured Marines at the foot of the mountain and get them medical treatment the same day as the flag raising.  He also received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered when a mortar round exploded near him and other Corpsmen a few days after the flag raisings.
And while Bradley may have mistakenly been included in the publicity (or some would say propaganda) tour following Iwo Jima, he helped raise $27-BILLION in war bond sales--which allowed the troops that continued to fight to have enough guns and ammunition, new ships, new airplanes, bombs, food and medical care to win the war on both fronts.  And to his credit, he never personally cashed in on what certainly could have been a very lucrative story-telling career.
To me, it doesn't matter if John Bradley was in both flag raisings, in just the first one or maybe not in either of them.  It doesn't change the fact that he was one of the finest examples of what it means to be an American.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tardius, Inferior, Debelior

Faced with an increasing number of student-athletes failing their courses and unable to play sports, the Madison School District has taken bold action to rectify the situation.  Did they set up special study halls for failing athletes?  No.  Did the teacher-coaches work with their kids to help them with the subjects in which they are struggling?  No.  Did they establish peer-driven tutoring where academically successful student-athletes help their teammates and serve as accountability partners?  No.  What the Madison School District decided to do was lower the bar for eligibility.

Until now if a student-athlete was failing three course (THREE!!) they were no longer allowed to practice with their team.  (Fortunately, the WIAA does not allow any students with ANY failing grades to play in games--however, continued practice can occur if that is a school policy.)  When a growing number of kids couldn't meet that eligibility threshold, officials decided to basically do away with any failure limits and allow kids to continue to practice with the team--no matter how poorly they are doing in the classroom.

Supporters of the change do have a convoluted logic for this.  They believe that by allowing failing kids to continue to at least practice with the team it will give them the motivation to improve their grades at least to the point where they can once again play in games.  They also argue that being in sports provides those kids with some structure in their lives.  Studies are rolled out as well showing that participation in sports also leads to higher graduation rates for "at-risk" students.

For starters, the higher graduation rates are due in large part to the fact that there are MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR PASSING YOUR CLASSES TO PLAY SPORTS!!  (This is the same flawed logic that gave us the "people with bachelors degrees earn a million dollars more over their lifetime--so let's give everyone a bachelors degree"--even though the reason people with degree made more is because not everyone had one.)  What's more, how does that make the kids who are actually putting in the effort to pass their classes feel about that effort?  "Gee, I'm doing my homework as soon as I get home from practice while he's playing video games and texting girls all night and he still gets to be a part of the team?"

And remember, this is Madison we are talking about--where the principals of Progressivism and Liberalism are practiced to their fullest extent in all facets of life--and the best thing that can be offered to as much as 5% of the student body is "just keep showing up to school so you can practice with the basketball or football team?"

It's a shame that the tractor has replaced beasts of burden in modern agriculture--otherwise we could send a farmer to the next Madison School Board meeting to tell members what happens with a mule when you take the carrot off the stick and just give it to him for not doing anything.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Throwing It All Away

On Friday night, Miami Marlins pitcher Adam Conley had a no-hitter going against the Brewers at Miller park into the 8th inning when he was removed from the game by his manager Don Mattingly because he his "pitch count was too high".  Conley had thrown 116-pitches with one out in the 8th. A couple of relievers came in after that--not only giving up a hit--but giving up three runs in the 9th to make it much closer than it needed to be.

This was the second time this year that a pitcher with a no-hitter was lifted from a game.  LA Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed Ross Stipling from a no-hitter in the 8th inning against the San Francisco Giants earlier this month due to "too high a pitch count".  He had thrown exactly 100-pitches.  The next batter hit a game-tying home run off the reliever brought in to save the no-no.

Managers and pitching coaches that live and die by pitch counts nowadays are like global warming alarmists.  The don't seem to know what going past their "numbers" would actually mean--and anyone who suggests exceeding those "limits" is scolded for wanting to "destroy the game".  Pitch counts have become such an important part of the game that telecasts now have them posted in the corner of the screen at all times along with the count and the score.

It wasn't always like this.  Nolan Ryan once threw 235-pitches in a 14-inning loss to Luis Tiant--who threw a complete game with 195-pitches.  Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves both went the distance in a 16-inning game--throwing 227 and 201 pitches respectively.  Oh, and Spahn was 42-years old at the time.

Pitch counts start early now in baseball.  Kids in Little League are limited to 75-pitches a game and a certain number per week or weekend tournament.  The argument for that is "it saves their arms".  Yet, the majority of young pitchers in the Major Leagues today have already had Tommy John surgery to repair torn tendons in their pitching arms.  Some baseball insiders have even called it a "step in their careers" and how you "want to get it out of the way as soon as possible".

There is a vocal (but growing) minority that believes kids should be encouraged to throw MORE at younger ages to build up better arm endurance.  The key is to not throw every pitch at absolute maximum velocity.  Pitching today is a power game--with starters throwing 95-miles an hour going six-innings (due to pitch counts) relieved by bullpen guys throwing 97 in the 7th and 8th and a closer who can hit 100.  Mix in a lot more off-speed stuff and well-placed breaking balls, and pitchers would have no problem going more than 100-pitches without looking into the dugout for the manager to come and get them. 

Next, let's debunk the "Tony LaRussa Legacy" that your closer can only come in at the start of the 9th inning with no runners on base........