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Lion's Gates Restoration Update

After delays in the reconstruction of the Lion’s Gates at Fairy Chasm and Lake Drive, work resumed this week with the completion of the foundation work.   While not very visible, this work is vital to the long-term stability of the Gates and something that was missing in many places when they were first built.  Above ground work is tentatively scheduled to begin the middle of next week, as the foundation material hardens and cures the remainder of this week. 


Many people have asked, why did the entire wall have to come down?  The answer is quite simple.  The walls had deteriorated to the point where within the next year or two, they would have fallen themselves.  The walls stood for 98 years with little repair and the time had come for them to be repaired. 


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McCain ad: blonde women & black Obama; get it?

There was always hope that race and age would not enter into this presidential election.  But American politics has slid so far into the pit that it is hopeless to hold out for that.  The McCain TV ad that intersperses blonde women celebrities, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, with black man, Barack Obama, is an obvious attempt to play upon American bigoted fears.  The further implication is that "we don't know much about this black man."  Put that in the Karl Rove-style excrement pile with the continued hint that Barack Obama is a Moslem like Osama bin Laden, and you have a "winner."

John McCain, gaining strength in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, was brought down by a gaggingly sick Bush ad, is now stooping to these tactics himself.  Another war hero like McCain, John Kerry, was sabotaged by a bold-face lying ad by the fictional Vietnam boat people.  While both parties seem to prefer ads that use scare tactics, lies, diversions, and avoid anything about important policies of the candidates, the Republicans and neocons are in a slime class of their own.

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Farve and Away

 You know, there are few things more divisive than disagreements over politics and religion.  I think I've done a pretty good job of addressing tricky issues in the past while keeping my nose out of the fray.  So it is with some concern that I jump head in to my next topic.  Green Bay Packers football.  And believe me,

Barack Obama Solves All Problems in America

climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Smoking, taxes

Barack Obama is planning a no lose situation.  Just like he did in the primary season, he is shifting his positions so that there is very little difference between him and his opponent.  This way, we will vote based on personalities.  And who has more charisma in this presidential race?  We all know the answer to this.

Obama has shifted his plan.  That was once solid as a rock on bringing the troops out of Iraq.  16 months-no compromise.  This is how what will be.  Like it or lump it, it could be just carved in stone.  Now his once steadfast position on offshore oil drilling is now changed.  Just like his opponent's stance, it is now a good idea.  Well, it's not the perfect solution, but the will have to do it anyway.  The good news is, there will be enough oil sold by the American companies to lay a hefty windfall profits tax on them.  This of course, will finance a tax rebate for all American families.  Who could argue with that?

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Jesus and the Second Amendment

Exercising His legal rights, Jesus of Nazareth walked into a gun store today to purchase a weapon He planned to conceal in His robe.  Claiming there were lots of robbers on the road, especially those horrible Samaritans, Jesus felt He had a right to protect Himself.

Strange?  You bet it is!  But to listen to conservatives you would think that there is some kind of halo in possessing a gun.

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A Very Large 1%

Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, taxes

With the most recent news surrounding former presidential candidate John Edwards, we are able to see what a shallow pool of integrity the Democratic Party has offered to us this year in their candidates.  Then they expect us to elect one of them, president of the United States.  I had numerous times referred to this year as the most open presidential race since 1952.  This was supposed to be the year that offered us the best candidates from the largest field. This was supposed to be the year are we could custom make our president from an off the rack world. I have to stop using that analogy because we were shortchanged by both parties.

So John Edwards had a little fling with a filmmaker two years ago.  He got a little bored on the campaign trail.  Is that a big deal?  It must have been, because right away John Edwards began his image rehab.  First going on Nightline, and I suspect Larry King, Barbara Walters, and Oprah Winfrey may be next.  Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera will be avoided, of course.  And the Chris Matthews show?  Who really cares?

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To The Batcave!

In the last month I've been repeatedly called a movie snob.  Maybe it's because I sold out and stopped hiding my love affair with iPic.  Maybe it's because every weekend I don't just read the weekly movie grosses, but every piece of media news and analysis at my hands:  EW, the New York Times,,, and, of course, USA Today.  Or heck, maybe I just think I know more about movies than I do.  I definitely spend more time deconstructing and analyzing movies than most.  In any event, I find that the most common comparison that I make with respect to what I see is to what came before.  My conclusion, like many an old codger, is this:  they just don't make them like they used to, do they?  I've been mulling this point ever since The Dark Knight became the news-making movie of the summer.

Call me crazy, but I grew up on Adam West.  And yes, I know that at 36 years old, I was already watching reruns a decade old when I rushed home after school, but nothing gets me like the BAM! POW! ZAP! of the original series.  Adam West was the man.  The BAT man.  And I loved Cesar Romero's Joker.  When I got older I wondered why Romero wouldn't shave his white mustache when he donned the purple suit and white cake makeup, but it only really bothered me in the close-up shots, but no bother. It's all good.  I would see in my adulthood the fruits of my love for all things Hollywood.    Growing up I was probably one of few people who could recall every actor's performance, including the obscure guest roles.  For example, I can't forget Victor Buono's riveting performance as King Tut (a delusion brought onto a museum scholar by a swift knock to the head); Tallulah ("Bewitched") Bankhead's Black Widow; or Milton Berle's Louie the Lilac.  I can even name all 3 women to play Catwoman in the show. I guess that makes me a bit of an expert on Batman, and for the sake of this piece, we'll assume I'm right.  Snob or not.

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Hypocrisy of so-called Evangelicals

Space does not permit me to give you a history of the use of the word "evangelical" in organized religion.  Suffice to say, it evolved after its earliest years into a movement that carried a zeal and missionary spirit for the Protestant denominations that proudly put the word into their name [i.e. Evangelical Lutheran Church].  It evolved as a mainstream term used in mainstream Protestantism.  In the U.S. it has been usurped by out-of-the mainstream church groups.  I can't call them "denominations" because they fit more closely to the individual parish pastor's flavor of showmanship than to a set of beliefs, doctrines, and rubrics established by a national or international church body.

Oh, how angry some "evangelicals" will be for me to frame them that way.   But it is basically true, in a summarized version.  What today we call mega-churches are beholden to a local group of pastors and members who have rallied around the dynamic of what passes for worship.  Some are very good, some are akin to a Disney movie.   In recent decades these non-denominational mega-churches and mega-church-wannabes have tried to precipitate out some semblance of theological order and principles that serve people outside the walls of the pretty church auditoriums.  They were open to criticism for their showmanship that lacked basic tenets or theological scholarship.

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Eliminate County Government

County Government, Mass Transit, Parks, Politicians, Scapegoating, State Government

Milwaukee businessman Sheldon Lubar believes that county government should be eliminated.

He’s right.

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Animal Complaints

The Brown Deer Police Department receives a large number of animal complaints each year.  The complaints range from dogs being at large to animal waste found in the yard.  In an effort to educate the community and improve neighbor relations the following information is provided regarding the Village ordinances about animals and the owners requirements in maintaining pets:      
  •  Licensing of Dogs and Cats: VL1-5-6.01 – All dogs and cats five months of age or older which are harbored, sheltered, or kept within the Village of Brown Deer shall be licensed pursuant to the provisions of Wisconsin Statutes, Section 174.05.   
  • VL1-5-6.04 – It shall be unlawful to harbor more than two (2) dogs and /or cats, as household pets in any residence, or any homesite, unless a special permit is obtained from the Village Manager. 
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Somebody Needs Toastmasters

County Government, Election, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, taxes

Presidential candidate Barack Obama has been referred to as an eloquent speaker.  This label has come from both fans and critics alike.  When he is in front of the TelePrompTer on the podium, he is at his best.  The John McCain camp, often shakes in its boots at the thought of going mano a mano in a forum that would favor this type of set up.  However, when he has to speak off-the-cuff, the story is quite different.

Last weekend's presidential forum in California, showed much different speaking styles for both presidential candidates.  Like a view of their issues, their speaking styles greatly contrasted.  It seemed like Barack Obama could not say three words without at least one of them being an 'ah' or an 'um'.  After over a year and a half on the campaign trail, I would expect to see some improvement.  Whenever Obama tries to speak extemporaneously, his speech is riddled with a bunch of empty sounds like the 'aahh'. One would think that his advisers would have made them aware of this.  He must think it is adding volume to the content of the speech, but yet it is not adding any weight to his message.  The 'aahh sound for Barack Obama has become packing peanuts.  It adds nothing to the message, but tends to be annoying.

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Lost in space: Feingold and Kohl

I am tired of accepting the ineptitude and lack of spirited results from the two men in the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin.   Their records in the Senate are far below the standard set by previous Wisconsin elected officials in that prestigious body.  Compare the hole this state has in the Senate.  Where are these men, compared to LaFollette, Nelson, Proxmire, etc.?

When these guys do surface, their lack of insight and understanding is horrible.  I can still see Senator Kohl sitting on the panel that approved Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court.  He was AWOL when it came to confronting this horrible candidate.  Actually, Senator Kohl's time in office has been characterized by: nothing.

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Punching the Democratic Ticket

County Government, Election, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, taxes

From all the analysis that I have heard, I believe I am the only one who is not surprised that Barack Obama did not pick Hillary Clinton to be his running mate.  I thought it was fairly obvious that the Clintons and the Obamas do not like each other.  And why would they?  They had a long hardfought drawn out primary season that has resulted in some bad blood.  Although Hillary promised to campaign wholeheartedly for Barack Obama, you can see that her level of sincerity is quite low.  Former President Bill Clinton does not have any nice words to say at all about the nominee.  Yet both plan to speak at this week's convention.

Joe Biden is a very good pick for the Democrats.  Although the Democrats won't admit it, he will compensate for a lot of the weaknesses Barack Obama has.  Being in Washington, 35 years, he must be part of the problem there, that the Democrats are complaining about.  He will now solve that by saying things opposite of when he was a candidate himself.  He will now say that Obama has enough experience to be outstanding in the office.  He all of a sudden got qualified according to Joe Biden.  Obama's judgment suddenly got better also.  And, of course Biden will now turn his back on his longtime friend John McCain.  That's politics.  That's anything to win politics.

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The Brown Deer Police Department would like to alert residents, specifically the senior citizens, of a current crime spree involving suspects impersonating healthcare workers.  In surrounding jurisdictions, several elderly victims were approached at home by three female suspects.  The suspects were dressed in healthcare smocks, which resembled what a nurse at a healthcare facility would wear.  The suspects identified themselves as “from the hospital” and were at the residence to check on the elderly resident.  In three of the cases the victims were recently treated at a healthcare facility. 


Also, in three of the cases the female suspects convinced the elderly resident and were eventually allowed into the residence. In one of the cases, the females were not allowed into the residence, so they left and then returned to the residence, forcing their way inside of the residence.  Once inside of the residence, the suspects take valuable items from the victim. 


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Obama is qualified, neocon bigotry will surface

The Big Lies that are concocted by the neocons have turned the USA into a pariah nation.  We have lost all of our respect worldwide.  Our economy is in a shambles.  The war in Iraq will only turn into a splintered and bloody civil war when we leave.   The "surge" is a mockery.  Joe Biden is right, it will disintegrate into at least three divisional "nations."  And the total lack of morals and ethics in this administration offends even the staunchest fundamentalist Christian.  Bush and his henchman, Dick Cheney, have run the principles of this nation into the ground.  Corporate behemoths have been given free rein and immense profit advantages.  Lies are the modus operandi of Bush-Cheney.   Amazing effort will have to be made by the next president to right the ship.

Barack Obama is qualified to do just that.  He is intelligent, and has worked with real people in the guts of life to straighten things out.  Perhaps no presidential candidate in history has been so involved in the guts of poor and common peoples' problems.  His intellect is obvious.  His educational background is clear.  He has impressed even the more conservative politicos of his abilities.  Unlike the Bush-Cheney-McCain onslaught, integrity is a hallmark of Barack Obama's life.  Republicans no longer even recognize integrity when they see it.

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West Bend Savings Scam

West Bend Savings account holders, beware! – a ‘vishing’ scam currently running in Wisconsin is trying to break into your savings account. Using an automated message, the scam may call you at your home with the ruse that your account security has been compromised. You are asked to call at a particular number and key in your account and PIN numbers, to set things right.

Interestingly, while your Caller-Id may say the call is from the local West Bend Savings branch, the caller may actually be sitting hundreds (or maybe thousands) of miles away. Internet-based 262 phone numbers, said to be used by the scammers in this case, can make this thing happen.

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Hog Wild!

As I write this entry, I hear something that I really don't hear very often--the sound of rumbling motorcycles along the expressway and streets in my Bayside office.

This summer has been a terrific one for Milwaukee.  First we got the Harley Museum, then Fonzie* (or whoever that statue is), and now the 105th Anniversary celebration.  Here in Milwaukee we're actually able to celebrate our history and heritage in a truly incredible way.  This summer alone, we've seen MillerCoors announce a major shift in operations to Chicago.  We've seen the bowling congress announce plans to leave, as well.  But we still--and always will--have Harley-Davidson.  And they're making sure we know that they are here to stay. 

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USA Offered Redemption-Atonement Chance with Obama

"Without forgiveness life is governed endless cycle of resentment and retaliation."  -Roberto Assagioli

"Whereas each man claims his freedom as a matter of right, the freedom he accords to other men is a matter of toleration." -Walter Lippmann

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Taking a Look at America

Election, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Religion, taxes

Last week, like many Americans, I watched the television coverage of the Democratic national convention.  As a result, I have come to conclusions about several different things.  First of all, there are a lot of weird looking people in America.  There's really no blanket statement, you can make about the crowd that was there from the camera shots provided.  Some people were dressed professionally, mainly the politicians and speakers in suits.  Some people were dressed in business casual.  Others look like they were on the trading floor of Let's Make a Deal.  Monty should have pointed them to the curtain and maybe they could have stood behind it.

Also, America is in worse shape than recently reported.  Even to the most cynical, the glass was completely empty.  Apparently the change we are looking for is more dependence on government.  Whenever you're not down, you don't get up in dust yourself off.  We wait for a governmental program to bail you out, no matter what your situation.  And if one is not available, hopefully, one will be created in the next administration.  Overspending, lack of self-control, and sticking it to "the man", well those are the change we are looking for.  Other than that, there was no real substance.  I wasn't really looking for it, because I knew it would not be there.  It was a show for the mass audiences.  It lacked any kind of substance that one can almost give it a Montgomery Burns award for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence.

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Bush helps McCain by Ducking out of Convention

Wondering how Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain would avoid tying himself to President Bush? Look no further than a national disaster.

The same President George W. Bush who didn’t care to help out victims of Hurricane Katrina 3 years ago is suddenly concerned for the folks in the gulf coast as Hurricane Gustav bears down on them.

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