Sunday, December 30, 2012

a problem.....

Call me Scrooge, but I really don't like New Year's Eve parties.  It seems, for some reason, a large portion of our population feels the need to get blasted in the spirit of closing out the old year.

For me, I just don't like getting drinks slopped on me, people leaning over me, and the idea of staying up until midnight to kiss a perfect stranger.

It seems, as a population, if we get an excuse to make fools of ourselves, we are not only ready, but wanting to participate.

With over 100,000 people dying each year due to the effects of alcohol, and over 25,000 finding their demise behind the wheel, this night of chaos only amplifies the problem we have with alcohol.

Why don't we just fire off guns at elementary schools? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

how cool is that???

As many of my friends know, I’m a big fan of “Morning Joe”, a politically based show on MSNBC, starting at 5 a.m. local time. 

If you’ve watched it, it’s conversation based, with people sitting around a table, or checking in on monitors throughout the show.  People move in an out.  And, mostly, people have time to present a point of view.  It’s not a sound bite show

.Slingbox SOLO

Well, I decided I liked it so much, I bought a Slingbox so I could watch it while I traveled.  A Slingbox is a device that puts your cable TV on the internet by some gizmo box, allowing you to watch your TV shows on your computer.  It’s pretty slick.

But, that wasn’t enough, so I decided to get an application (app)  for my phone so I could watch my TV shows at the airport, and other areas where pulling out a computer wouldn’t be practical.2012 Dodge Journey R/T in white

Of course, my office is about a two hour drive from my home, and that drive hits right, smack dab in the middle of “Morning Joe”.  So, I was thinking I’d like to have “Morning Joe” on while I drive, so I bought a car with Bluetooth technology.

So, now I’ve got “Morning Joe” on my cable, streaming through the internet, to my cell phone, and through the speakers of my car via Bluetooth. 

How cool is that?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

public employee unions……

A number of years ago, I was elected to the Fort Atkinson City Council.   While I was on the council, my brother Doug had a lot of projects come up for vote.  In each case, I recused myself from voting due to potential conflict of interest. 

As I think of public employee unions, I’m beginning to feel the conflict between unions and the public administration is palpable.  During the protests last winter, it was obvious the unions were trying to wield their influence with semi-trailers parked around the Capitol Square.  Union members stalked the square with their placards, bullhorns, drums and more. 

While an interesting event, I began to wonder where else an employee could protest, miss work (in some cases with a fraudulent medical excuse), and enlist others to help get their boss fired. 

While I don’t really have anything against unions, the line is crossed when one of the bargainers at the table can essentially influence others to help get their boss fired.  Obviously, this position creates an atmosphere of conflict of interest, with the promise of campaign donations and public support for anyone who delivers for the union at the public service level.

So, here is what I think.  Since I really don’t have anything against unions, we should allow them to bargain at the public service level.  But, with that bargaining power and influence, union members should be recused from voting in the elections that affect their bargaining position, namely state, county and municipal elections. 

Like me, as a city councilman, it was and is important that we retain complete transparency and root out favoritism or influence peddling at any level.  That could be a start.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

defining poor….

I just read a post on Facebook opposing the sunsetting of the Homestead Tax Credit as something that would unfairly target seniors and poor people. 

Now, I might not have all the requisite intelligence to have a discussion regarding this.  In fact, I was called “out of touch”.  But, here is my argument. 

Poor people don’t own homes.  By definition, if they owned their home, they have an asset that makes them unpoor.  It’s something that they can transfer for money.

Now, I understand that having a home can make you poorer than you want to be, and it might be necessary to relieve yourself of that “asset” and get into something your income will allow you to afford.

But, my sense is that some people believe we somehow “owe” it to people to keep their assets when they go into retirement, that we somehow owe it to them when there are alternatives, that they have a right to not pay taxes simply by turning a page on the calendar.

I get that it sucks when you’re forced out of your home when you can’t afford it.  It happens all the time, often to people with families and incomes that are much lower than those with Social Security benefits.

Here is an idea that I could support.  Get your house appraised.  If you can’t afford the taxes, the government could set up a program that allows you to live in your home as long as there is a positive balance on the ledger.  Once you pass on, or move on, the government gets a lien against the estate and gets the taxes to which it is entitled.  That’s an idea I could live with.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

the most important day in history….

I was watching a movie trailer when a question was asked.  “What is the most important day in history?”

The answer.  Today.

I’m working on living in the present.  A new friend of mine spent time with me emphasizing the importance of living now, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today.

As an ambitious guy, I’ve always done this game plan.  If I do this, that will happen.  And, when that happens, I’ll do this.  And when I do this, that will happen.  And, I work myself into unknown times forward planning this and that. 

And, while I’m planning this and that, I’m missing now  Sure, if there’s a car accident in front of me, I’ll notice.  But, really, not much else, because my head’s buried up my ass trying to plan my way to oblivion. 

So, with my friend’s help, I’m going to work on this.  I’m going to let things come in their time.  I’m going to see and feel and touch and hear and smell and breathe.  I’m going to find a chair and just sit.  I’m going to play some music, LOUD.  I’m going to play with my food.  I’m going to stop and listen.  I’m going to live a life worth living.

And then, I’ll do the Rocky dance. 

Hello Today!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

he’s dead….

A while ago, I wrote a very tough blog on Joe Paterno and the mess at Penn State.  Joe Paterno died today at age 85.

His situation caused me to think about things that I haven’t done or things I should have done.  What inaction on my part has caused others harm.  When didn’t I do all I could to correct a situation.  That’s a lot of stuff to think about.

While thinking about that, I thought about all of the things Paterno did that were good.  In a world that placed winning above everything else, he graduated citizens at a greater rate than any big time football program in the land.

In a world where coaches jump from job to job for a bigger check, he gave away most of what he earned, down to the last days where he gave $100,000 back to the university that unceremoniously fired him just weeks before.

I can’t think of many things worse than what happened at Penn State while under Paterno’s watch.  Was he too old?  Was he too attached to the image of Penn State?  Did he respect chain of command too much to go around those who were supposed to do their jobs?

I don’t know.  And, I will never know.

What I do know is we shouldn’t judge a man, at least this man, from the events uncovered over the past few months.  He died with a broken soul. 

It sucks that he didn’t have a chance at redemption, as if doing good works for all of his life required that.

Rest in peace Joe Paterno.   

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the world is coming to an end….


Justin Bieber singing toothbrushes.  Really, who thought this was a good idea?  And, if it is a good idea, what does that say about us?  Shoot me now.