Friday, February 27, 2009

Plastic bag tax

Don't give Doyle any ideas.
A bill that would require Maine retailers to charge 10 cents for each plastic bag distributed to customers would eliminate tons of trash now going into landfills, blowing around in streets and clogging storm drains, supporters of the proposal told a legislative panel Tuesday.

Opponents say state law already addresses shopping-bag waste concerns and it would be unwise to impose a new tax during a recession.

The bill before the Natural Resources Committee is one of many similar measures that have surfaced in state capitols and cities across the country.

San Francisco has banned plastic bags outright. A citizen's group in Seattle is challenging that city's 20-cent bag fee and has collected enough signatures to send the matter to voters later this year. Bag fees also have been considered in New York and Boston.

The sponsor of Maine's bill, Democratic Sen. John Nutting of Leeds, said he was amazed to see how many plastic bags went out the door during a recent trip to a supermarket.

I don't want to pollute the environment, but tell that to all the styrofoam coffee-cup users and people refusing to buy gas blended with ethanol!

I know we're all going green with cloth bags to collect groceries and clothes at department stores and so forth, but there are many uses for plastic bags and I think a 10 cent fee is a little much!

You know, like for recyclables, CDs in your car, kitty litter, etc...

Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Budget Woes

Hey libs, you thought wrong. Obama is actually going to raise taxes, like we all knew:
President Obama's budget proposes $989 billion in new taxes over the course of the next 10 years, starting fiscal year 2011, most of which are tax increases on individuals.
The scariest:
2) Businesses:

$17 billion - Reinstate Superfund taxes
$24 billion - tax carried-interest as income
$5 billion - codify "economic substance doctrine"
$61 billion - repeal LIFO
$210 billion - international enforcement, reform deferral, other tax reform
$4 billion - information reporting for rental payments
$5.3 billion - excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas
$3.4 billion - repeal expensing of tangible drilling costs
$62 million - repeal deduction for tertiary injectants
$49 million - repeal passive loss exception for working interests in oil and natural gas properties
$13 billion - repeal manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies
$1 billion - increase to 7 years geological and geophysical amortization period for independent producers
$882 million - eliminate advanced earned income tax credit

Favorite Sermon line

Jesus is the Bread of life. From Ash Wednesday's sermon, somehow it turned to corn ethanol...
"At least we're not paying money to the Arabs."
Hilarious. Evidently I was a)the only one to catch it, or b)the only one who thought it was funny.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Boehner is right

Too many promises. Too little resources. Big government makes the promises, anyway:
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared a return to “the era of big government” the day after President Obama’s first formal address to Congress.

“From everything I’ve seen, it looks like the era of big government spending is back,” he told reporters at a lunch convened by the Christian Science Monitor. “My question to my Democratic friends is how are you going to pay for it?”

The top Republican leader in the House praised President Obama for making a “compelling” case that the nation can overcome its economic challenges and pledged to work with him when he reaches across the aisle.

He later clarified that Republicans will work with Obama on areas of agreement but would maintain their ideological differences and fight for them. Despite several personal entreaties from Obama to support the stimulus bill, House Republicans illustrated their solid opposition when not one Republican crossed the aisle to support it last week.

Boehner also implied that Obama’s speech attempted to cast his policies as more conservative than they really are, even as government spending skyrockets with the last week’s $787 billion stimulus bill and a $410 billion omnibus appropriations measure, which the House is considering Wednesday.

“With few exceptions, it was a speech I could have given – it was a very conservative speech,” Boehner said. “But actions speak louder than words.”
It was, and it's frightening.

Kenosha teacher remembered as hero

Several hundred people huddled in the cold Tuesday night near the bar in Kenosha where a special education teacher died.

They lit candles to remember 24-year-old Colin Byars. He suffered a fatal injury when he was punched and struck his head on the concrete after trying to stop some men from harassing his female friends. The confrontation happened early Saturday outside Big Shotz bar.

McKinley Middle School eighth-grader Holly Wolf says Byars always had something good to say and that he was a friend to everyone.

Students, parents and others hugged Byars' mother, Danelle Eckert, and offered condolences. Eckert says she was amazed by the number of people who attended the vigil. Byars' uncle, Nick Byars, says that you could tell by the turnout that his nephew was "truly one of the good guys."

Baby bear

Nanuq is gonna make some polar bear babies. Not sure how Mishka feels about that...
Madison's popular polar bear has now arrived in Buffalo, N.Y. to mate up with a female polar bear, object being to make little baby bears.

"We miss Nanuq but are proud that he will help to sustain his species," said Henry Vilas Zoo Director Jim Hubing.

Nanuq, the 21-year-old polar bear at the zoo, left the building Friday, making Mishka, the zoo's female polar bear, the sole occupant of the polar bear lair.

"She seems to be enjoying the time alone, especially in the pool," Hubing said.
Seems like she'll be on her own for a while.

And Nanuq may just put Henry Vilas Zoo on the map! (I gotta get there...)

Fact Check

Obama said quite a few mouth, insert foot:
OBAMA: "We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages. It's a plan that won't help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values."

THE FACTS: If the administration has come up with a way to ensure money only goes to those who got in honest trouble, it hasn't said so.

Defending the program Tuesday at a Senate hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it's important to save those who made bad calls, for the greater good. He likened it to calling the fire department to put out a blaze caused by someone smoking in bed.

"I think the smart way to deal with a situation like that is to put out the fire, save him from his own consequences of his own action but then, going forward, enact penalties and set tougher rules about smoking in bed."

Similarly, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. suggested this month it's not likely aid will be denied to all homeowners who overstated their income or assets to get a mortgage they couldn't afford.

"I think it's just simply impractical to try to do a forensic analysis of each and every one of these delinquent loans," Sheila Bair told National Public Radio.

OBAMA: "Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day."

THE FACTS: This may be so, but it isn't only Republicans who pushed for deregulation of the financial industries. The Clinton administration championed an easing of banking regulations, including legislation that ended the barrier between regular banks and Wall Street banks. That led to a deregulation that kept regular banks under tight federal regulation but extended lax regulation of Wall Street banks. Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, later an economic adviser to candidate Obama, was in the forefront in pushing for this deregulation.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama says...

At his press conference just minutes ago:
"You should be succeeding with a hand FROM Washington."
I don't want a GOVERNMENT HAND. Take away your liberal money!!

Senator talks about Ginsberg

Who gave this guy a mic?
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning predicted over the weekend that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would likely be dead from pancreatic cancer within nine months.

During a wide-ranging 30-minute speech on Saturday at the Hardin County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, Bunning said he supports conservative judges "and that's going to be in place very shortly because Ruth Bader Ginsburg … has cancer."

"Bad cancer. The kind that you don't get better from," he told a crowd of about 100 at the old State Theater.

"Even though she was operated on, usually, nine months is the longest that anybody would live after (being diagnosed) with pancreatic cancer," he said.
Idiot. You don't talk about a sitting Justice that way. Cancer is a very private matter, a battle fought between the person and the disease, hopefully with the help of their family, etc.

As a U.S. Senator, shut your mouth. Talk about the stimulus and what you're doing for jobs and the economy and to keep our taxes low. Do not talk about the ailing Justice who deserves more respect than a 9-month diagnosis from some schlup.

And lastly, I reiterate: What a SCHMUCK!
Bunning, who only has about $150,000 in his campaign account, has been criticized because of his inability to raise money.

"I'm not only asking for your support, but if you have a $25 check somewhere, or whatever, you can send it, I'll cash it," he told the group.
Who says that?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mistele's got a Green theme

Nancy Mistele released her Green agenda for the county last week.
- Save on cars that save at the pump - Eliminate County Sales tax on Hybrid/Electric Cars

· Green Business Czar - Create a business advocate that will help employers with permits so that they follow the rules, but don’t get overwhelmed or scared off with paperwork.

· Green Stamp of Approval - Follow the lead of local communities and streamline permitting and review process for businesses who follow green LEEDS standards which promote environmentally responsible construction and lower energy costs for builder.

· Put the brakes on Falk’s commuter rail - a $250 million amusement ride will pollute the environment with increased congestion, reduce public safety and sink the county in future debt. Instead, comprehensively evaluate extended county bus routes to all surrounding communities. Also explore expanding passenger rail routes from Madison to Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

· Respect our land and taxpayers - Applaud municipalities that protect land within their jurisdiction. Respect taxpayers by not purchasing land that is already protected. Taxpayers don’t need to own land to keep it green.

· Fair Market Value for Land - In today’s economy, taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to pay more for land than the market value. We must use proper comparables and independent appraisals when establishing purchase prices for land we do want to buy.

· Fair Notice - Establish a policy that requires county notification to property owners (business or residential) of potential zoning changes that may affect their property value or use.

· Cost Analysis - Require a fiscal impact study prior to any land use decisions.

· Public Access for Public Lands – If taxpayers are expected to pay for protecting land, they should have the right to enjoy those properties. Protected public lands must have public access.

· Green Awards - Reward and honor County Employees and citizens who come up with recommendations to streamline permitting process and maintain our high standard for environmental protection.
I'm with her on most all of these. Not so sure about the Czar...

American Express Membership Moments TV Spot

I'm diggin this ad. It's a new use of celebrity. Cool.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Drivers luck out

PHEW. Obama said No to higher taxes, at least this time. And at least for motorists that drive a lot of miles.
President Barack Obama on Friday rejected his transportation secretary's suggestion that the administration consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive instead of how much gasoline they buy.

"It is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, when asked for the president's thoughts about Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's suggestion, raised in an interview with The Associated Press a daily earlier.

Gasoline taxes that for nearly half a century have paid for the federal share of highway and bridge construction can no longer be counted on to raise enough money to keep the nation's transportation system moving, LaHood told the AP.
How absurdly unfair it would be to approve such a policy.

But then again, just give them time to come up with something else.

New authors

I've managed to finish two Curtis Sittenfield novels in the wee hours of the night this week. American Wife, based on Laura Bush (and FICTIONAL) as well as her 2005 hit, Prep.

There's an underlying voice that emerges to make the reader feel partly uncomfortable, and still completely at ease identifying with the main character. I say this for both her books.

They call her a modern-day Sallinger.

I'm on to book three this week, the Man of My Dreams.

Have you ever heard?

The term, "poverty porn"?
“Slumdog Millionaire” is a hit across the world, but in India, protesters have taken to the streets to attack the film.

Some Indians find the word “slumdog” in the movie’s title to be insulting to slum-dwellers. More generally, the rags-to-riches romance has been called “poverty porn” for the way it casts a glowing light on a very poor section of Mumbai society and promotes “slum tourism.”

We asked several experts, with experience in India, to tell us what’s behind the protests.

There has been quite a hullabaloo in India (and among Indians living outside the country) over the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”: people accusing it of being poverty porn, or balking at the fact that Danny Boyle, who is British, has created a film about slum life that ignores India’s recent economic prosperity. One of the more outraged complaints has been that the title of the movie is derogatory to people living in the slums.

Slum dwellers, organized by activists like Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, have led protests with placards that read: “Don’t call us dogs” and “I am not a slumdog.” Mr. Vishwakarma claims that referring to people in the slums as dogs has violated their human rights. He even filed a lawsuit demanding that the title of the movie be changed.

One can understand where the unhappiness over the title comes from. In Indian culture, dog — “kutte” in Hindi — has been deemed a derogatory appellation for centuries. It is often used in the excessive rants of Bollywood villains.

Read the rest.

I still have to see the movie!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Police pulls over anti-Obama car

Excuse me?
An Oklahoma City police officer wrongly pulled over a man last week and confiscated an anti-President Barack Obama sign the man had on his vehicle.

The officer misinterpreted the sign as threatening, said Capt. Steve McCool, of the Oklahoma City Police Department, and took the sign, which read "Abort Obama, not the unborn."

Chip Harrison said he was driving to work when a police car followed him for several miles and then signaled for him to pull over.

''They said, 'It's because of the sign in your window,'" Harrison said.

''It's not meant to be a threat, it's a statement about abortion," Harrison said.

He said he disagrees with the president's position on abortion.

''I asked the officer, 'Do you know what abort means?'" Harrison said. "He said, 'Yeah, it means to kill.' I said, 'No, it means to remove or terminate.'"

Harrison said his sign was to be interpreted as saying something like: Remove Obama from office, not unborn babies from the womb.
Anybody ever get pulled over for the W sticker with a red non-smoking cross over it?

I didn't think so.

Muslim Sheikh warns against ethanol

Alcohol is forbidden in Islam. And now, gasoline I suppose for those believers.
A prominent Saudi scholar warned youths studying abroad of using ethanol or other fuel that contains alcohol in their cars since they could be committing a sin, local press reported Thursday.

Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi, member of the Saudi Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, based his statement on a saying by the prophet that prohibited all kinds of dealings with alcohol including buying, selling, carrying, serving, drinking, and manufacturing, the Saudi newspaper Shams reported Thursday.

Saudi and Muslim youth studying abroad would violate the prohibition if they used bio fuel, he said, since it “is basically made up of alcohol.”

Majimi stressed that his statement should not be considered an official fatwa, but is rather a personal opinion. He noted that this is an important issue that needs to be studied by the relevant religious bodies.
The same story says later
"Bio fuel is becoming increasingly popular in the West for its relatively low price and as an environmentally-friendly source of energy."
Oh, the dreaded "West." It must be stopped.

Perhaps this is an effort by religious bodies in the Middle East to turn its people against the efforts of America.

I will not apologize for supporting an effort that will make our nation less dependent upon the Middle East for oil. Why should we leave our fate in the hands of petro dictators while we have a renewable resource on our homesoil that will create thousands of jobs that cannot be outsourced AND burn a cleaner, greener fuel?

ND is Ballsy

What's the equivalent to "ballsy" for females? Well, either way, North Dakota just passed an abortion ban that has people talking.
Representatives has passed a bill effectively outlawing abortion.

The House voted 51-41 this afternoon to declare that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person.

That means a fetus could not be legally aborted without the procedure being considered murder.
Perhaps they are just trying to protect the state's population numbers? Ouch, LMS, ouch.

In all seriousness, this will probably end up in court...sigh. Are we too ambitious to pinpoint when "life begins"?

More reactions here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On Rose

Rose Fernandez advances, and whips out some big charges:
Virtual school advocate Rose Fernandez wasted no time tonight in getting her campaign going against Deputy Superintendent Tony Evers, accusing him of watching Milwaukee Public Schools fail for the past eight years and being afraid of innovation during his time in office.

With 97 percent of the vote in, Evers had 35 percent, of 88,297 votes, while Fernandez had 31 percent, or 78,308 votes.

Fernandez said voters will have a clear choice in the April 7 general election in who they select to be the next superintendent of Public Instruction, casting herself as an outsider and reformer.

"He has experience doing everything that WEAC tells him to do," Fernandez said.
Go big or go home, right folks?

I love the "afraid of innovation" zinger.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No more metal detectors!

Not exactly.
BTW ... just a lil’ story from my recent air travel.
After exiting the security gate at SEATAC there was a (black) African American gentleman behind me and as we were both collecting our personal belonging from the tub he angrily tells me, I really thought now that we elected Obama we wouldn’t have to go through all this security s*!t!

I looked at him and thought, Good Lord Almighty… and walked away rolling my eyes and shaking my head.
I would have done more than just roll my eyes. Good Lord is right!

Go Vote

It's primary day! And what a day it is to exercise your civic duty!

Go Rose Fernandez for DPI!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Dollars down the drain...
The state has overpaid day care providers at least $13.7 million in recent years - including millions of dollars spent on bogus child care that was never delivered, according to the state's own records.

When regulators have tried to collect the misspent taxpayer-funded money, parents and providers have stiffed the state to the tune of $6.4 million, the Journal Sentinel has found.

A four-month Journal Sentinel investigation published last month detailed a lack of regulatory controls within the $340 million Wisconsin Shares child-care subsidy program - a system prone to abuse and fraud that can go undetected.

Even with lax oversight, state regulators have identified millions of dollars that should not have been paid to providers.
And there's no system in place to collect.

The worst part?
Federal regulators were warned about a lack of oversight within the child-care subsidy program almost five years ago.

The U.S. General Accounting Office cautioned regulators in 2004 that the system was vulnerable to abuse.

About two-thirds of the money spent on Wisconsin Shares comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

The federal Administration for Children and Families "has no oversight activity concerning the issues of improper payments or management of the roughly $8.5 billion in (federal) funds spent on child care," staffers in the Child Care Bureau wrote in 2004.

Driving on thin ice

Three people are dead from driving on thin ice. Literally.
A pickup truck broke through thin ice on Lake Winnebago and sank Saturday morning, leaving two people dead and a young girl in critical condition. A third man died in a similar but separate accident in Superior a few hours earlier.

Calumet County authorities didn't release the names of the man or the 9-year-old girl who died in the Lake Winnebago accident, but relatives identified the man as Dan Kleinhans, 44, of St. Nazianz. He was declared dead at the scene at 2:20 p.m., about three hours after authorities were first alerted about the accident.

The truck hit a crack in the ice that had frozen over in a thin layer and was partially obscured by snow, Sheriff Jerry Pagel said.

"If you were not aware of it, you probably wouldn't have known it was there," he said.
They shouldn't have been driving on it, after the warm week we've had. And now a 9 year old girl is dead.

I have little patience for the death of common sense.

It's a sick world out there

Two teenagers in a van attempted to entice two Middleton second-graders to get into the vehicle on Friday afternoon, Middleton police reported.

According to a new release from Middleton police, the children were walking away from Elm Lawn School, 6701 Woodgate Road, about 3 p.m. when a van driven by a woman stopped at the curb across the street from them. A male opened the van's driver's-side sliding door and motioned for the children to get inside. He called out to them, "Hey come on, get in," then repeated it two more times.

The children went back to the school to report the incident, and the van drove away.
The teeens were between 15 and 18. What were they thinking?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Loving Wings

I give to you my loving wings...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cookie delivery man

This may be the greatest brainchild of an empty-nest mom and poor college kid that needs a delivery job late at night on campus.

Why have I never used this service? I bake. Oh, well, still, I'm gonna try it out.

Haven't you ever had a hankering for a big ole' chocolate chip and a glass of milk- w/ an ice cube of course at 1:00 AM? Or better yet, my favorite, M&M cookies!???

Ambassador Green returns

Mark Green is set up in D.C.
"This is what I want to do," said Green, whose ambassadorship ended last month with the departure of the president who appointed him. Green now heads up an office in Washington for a nonprofit group, Malaria No More, whose stated goal is ending malaria deaths worldwide.

In taking that job, Green passed up for now the most conventional moves for someone with his résumé: running for office again, resuming his law career in Wisconsin until the next campaign, or going to work for a Washington law or lobbying firm.

"It's not my world right now," Green, 48, said of elective office. "If there were the right opportunity, would I get back into public life? Sure. (But) I'm not seeking it out. I'm not exploring anything or talking to anybody about it."
We wish him the best.

Oh Brett

It's not news at all. is reporting this morning that New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre plans to retire.

According to the Web site, Favre told his agent, Bus Cook, to tell the Jets of Favre's decision.
He already retired, friends.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Enough already

Stop dwelling on the past and take a look at your new president, Leahy.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday called for a "truth commission" to investigate controversial actions of the Bush administration, including the politically inspired firings of U.S. attorneys, the treatment and torture of terrorism suspects and the authorization of warrantless wiretapping.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said his proposal is meant to launch a fact-finding inquiry into key decisions of George W. Bush's presidency, including intelligence matters before and during the Iraq war and scandals at the Department of Justice. He said such a commission would not seek to prosecute former administration officials but would have the power to subpoena them to testify.

"Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened," Leahy said as he outlined his proposal during a speech at Georgetown University. "Sometimes the best way to move forward is getting to the truth, finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again."
I'm pretty sure you saw first hand exactly what happened. So why obsess with merely "accumulating the facts."

Or is your presence in Congress really so insignificant that the focus of your job revolves around shaming the names of those you simply disagreed with, just to get your name in the history books?
"If every administration started to reexamine what every prior administration did, there would be no end to it," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said last month. "This is not Latin America."

Obama double speaks

OBAMA: "I know that there are a lot of folks out there who've been saying, 'Oh, this is pork, and this is money that's going to be wasted,' and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size. ... There aren't individual pork projects that members of Congress are putting into this bill."

THE FACTS: There are no "earmarks," as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork - tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.

For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other "priority procurements" by the Coast Guard.

Obama told his Elkhart audience that Indiana will benefit from work on "roads like U.S. 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on." He added: "And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart."

U.S. 31 is a north-south highway serving South Bend, 15 miles from Elkhart in the northern part of the state.

OBAMA: "I've appointed hundreds of people, all of whom are outstanding Americans who are doing a great job. There are a couple who had problems before they came into my administration, in terms of their taxes. ... I made a mistake ... I don't want to send the signal that there are two sets of rules."

He added: "Everybody will acknowledge that we have set up the highest standard ever for lobbyists not working in the administration."

THE FACTS: Two of his appointees, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle for secretary of health and human services and Nancy Killefer as his chief compliance officer, dropped out after reports they had not paid a portion of their taxes.
Pork is pork is pork. No matter how you slice it, it's still the other white meat.

Not a good start, Barry.


Did we ever have headlines asking if Bush "threw Cheney under the bus"??
YOU DECIDE: Did Obama Throw Biden Under the Bus?
President Obama’s explanation during his press conference Monday of a comment made last week by Vice President Joe Biden appears to raise that question. Obama had a difficult time answering a question last night about his VP: “You know,” Obama said, “I don’t remember exactly what Joe was referring to … not surprisingly.” Click here to read more.
My favorite has to be the laughable "Poor Joe, diarrhea of the mouth must be the price he pays for being so intelligent" comment. Are you kidding me?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager #1

If you haven't seen the Chad Vader series, I recommend it all.

Language barrier

Waunakee students are learning history in Spanish. Not OK.
Teaching about famous people and events in Wisconsin history in Spanish is not how some Waunakee parents want their fourth-graders learning social studies at school.

"We as parents have been in such an uproar over this," said Keith Wilke about the district’s elementary language program in which social studies is taught in Spanish for 30 minutes three days a week in first through fourth grades. "They’re force-fed Spanish."

This is the third year for the program, which has added one grade a year since 2006 and is designed to continue until fifth grade.

"A fair amount of (social studies instruction) has been in Spanish," said Wilke, who has a daughter in fourth grade. "The kids are to the point where they don’t understand it."
I am all about educating children in multiple languages at a young age, to encourage them to be bi- and multi-lingual, all while their brains are still developing and sponge-like.

HOWEVER, I do not approve of teaching other subjects in a foreign language, especially if they are then learning/retaining less because they can't understand the language their teacher is using.

Teach Spanish as a Spanish class. Don't teach history in spanish, or science, or math for that matter.

Croc attack

No, I'm not talking about the shoes. This is very sad.
An Australian tour guide plunged into a croc-infested swamp in a desperate bid to save his five-year-old son snatched by a 10-foot-long crocodile.

Steve Doble of Queensland, who owns Daintree Rainforest Rivertrain, flung himself into the waist-deep floodwaters Saturday only to find that his youngest boy had vanished.

He was alerted by the screams of his older son Ryan, 7, who had to be treated for shock after witnessing the attack.

Jeremy Doble, 5, is missing and feared dead after he was taken by the crocodile in the swamp behind his family home.

Locals said the "sweet, gentle-natured" child and his older brother were playing on a boogie board as their father fixed a broken boardwalk nearby, The Courier-Mail reported.

The Doble family was too upset to speak publicly about their ordeal Saturday.

"It is just devastating," said long-time local Col Patterson, 44, whose family built and sold the tourist property to the family five years ago.

"Dad jumped in after him, but it was too late," Patterson said. "His older brother saw it all and will, no doubt, be haunted by that image."
But questions. Did the father know it was a croc-infested swamp?

And WHY were they boogie boarding in it?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Obvious cheating of the system

Certain local legislators are sure milkin' it...
Members of the Legislature are entitled to $44 a day in expenses if they live in Dane County and $88 a day if they live elsewhere. Assembly members can claim up to 153 days of expenses for work in Madison. Senate members have no cap.

Expenses are on top of lawmakers' annual salary, which was about $47,000 last year.

Two state representatives tied for the most expense days claimed.

Former state Rep. Terry Musser, R-Black River Falls, and Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, each claimed the maximum 153 days for $13,464 last year. Musser did not run for re-election. Schneider is the longest serving member of the state Assembly in Wisconsin history, first elected in 1970.

Three other Assembly members claimed the maximum 153 days, but received less money ($6,732) because they live in Dane County. They were state Reps. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, Sondy Pope-Roberts, D-Verona, and David Travis, D-Waunakee, who did not seek re-election.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson claimed the most expenses in 2007 and received $16,544.

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Schofield, who took over the leadership post from Robson, collected the most last year of any Senate member. He got $12,760 for 145 days.
What are they even doing?!

Congress' big spenders

Tisk tisk.
Members of Congress were quick to shame corporate executives for over-the-top extravagance during the economic crisis, flying private jets and taking luxury junkets. But some lawmakers are strolling fancy resorts spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars and mingling with lobbyists.

"We're very mindful" of perceptions, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson told reporters Thursday camped outside of the sprawling Kingsmill Resort & Spa in Williamsburg, Va., where House Democrats spent about $100,000 on their three-day annual retreat. "It's serious and it's from morning till night. We've been dwelling, rightfully, on the economy," said Larson, D-Conn.

Republicans and Democrats in the House have passed new rules governing such trips even as lawmaker say the events are useful for negotiating public policy. But with a nation tightening its belt and already fatigued by stories of corporate excess, perceptions matter these days in Washington. Congress risks shattering its glass house throwing stones.
They better be mindful of more than perceptions.

Friday, February 6, 2009

a poem

Day 16 comes in three
a reminder
3 revolutions past the day
she found the
and planned for four
but pappa don't want her

eyes clouds of grey
tunnel vision wrecked up by fear
and sorrow
a past
time can't wipe clean
in his eyes

throw the first stone
she begs and pleads
remember the surprise on I-60
back when she was
and they found the one

under a tree of lights
the special tree he
123 miles from home
that bore his grace and now
it's gone

Day 17 comes in four

Falk hires environment guy

Why doesn't the Cap Times join her staff?
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk could not have found a better addition to her staff than Dave Merritt, the veteran environmental, consumer and clean government advocate who will join the county executive's staff Feb. 16.

Merritt, a former executive director of the Citizens Utility Board and the Dane County Clean Air Coalition, has long been a sought-after adviser and board member for regional and national groups that are developing practical responses to the challenges facing working families and the communities in which they live.

Merritt's responsibilities will be broad. He will advise Falk on strategies for promoting sustainable economic development, strengthening the county's substantial agricultural base, expanding and improving transportation options and protection of natural resources. In particular, he will coordinate the county's pioneering green energy and green jobs initiatives.

That's a lot of responsibility. But Merritt can handle it; in fact, if past is prologue, he will excel in his new position. And he will bring a smart, progressive perspective to the work, in reflection of the fact that he is very much in sync with the values and ideals of Dane County.

Falk, a solid manager with a reputation for attracting able assistants, has done the county a significant service by bringing Merritt on board.
She's also costing us more money, folks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Already screwed up?

Obama admits he's frustrated.
Barack Obama on Tuesday gave up his nomination fight for Tom Daschle and a second high-profile appointee who failed to pay all their taxes, fearing ugly confirmation battles that would undercut his claims to ethical high ground and cripple his presidency in just its second week. “I screwed up,” he declared.

“It’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules – you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes,” Obama said in one of a series of interviews with TV anchors.

“I’m frustrated with myself, with our team. I’m here on television saying I screwed up,” Obama said in an interview on NBC’s “Nightly News with Brian Williams.” He repeated virtually the same words in several other interviews.
We know Obama was obsessed with Bush admitting his mistakes...but I'm not sure it's the best move to just say "you're frustrated and you screwed up" everytime something doesn't go as planned.

Will we just accept that in the future because our new president is all "mod and hip and willing to admit his mistakes" and talk about how he feels? Um, I'm not so sure.

It took only two weeks for the first one...

Monday, February 2, 2009

6 and 8 year olds CRUSH the Anthem!

Makes you proud.

More winter

Looks like Jimmy's gonna see his shadow in SP today. I'm fine with a few more weeks of winter. I do hope we get more snow too.

I love SNOW. Apparently though, it's thrown the UK off their game.
BBC weather forecaster Tomasz Schafernaker said the worst-affected area has been the Thames Valley and Greater London where the transport network is at its most concentrated, which is why there has been such chaos.
A snowman greeted BBC website reader David Shipway on his doorstep

He said some parts of London have seen up to 8 inches (20 cm) of snow and through Monday evening there will be another band of snow.

Overall, some parts of London could see a foot (30cm) of snow, while northern England and the Pennines could see as much as 20 inches (50cm) - made worse by strong winds which will cause snow to drift, he added.

Thousands of school children across England and Wales woke up to the news that their school was closed for the day.

Most Surrey schools are closed, while in Essex, more than 450 shut and 255 Berkshire schools are closed. Leicestershire and Rutland gave pupils at 200 schools the day off.

Thousands more are closed across Wales, London, north-east England, East and West Sussex, Kent, Norfolk Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk, where snow-ploughs were out on the county's roads for the first time in more than 15 years.

Hospitals in London have put out an emergency call to staff to come into work because of a big increase in 999 calls.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mistele for Dane County

Dane County is broken and needs change. Check out Nancy Mistele's website:

But I must say, we could probably use more constables!!