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Architectural Review Commission, Village Board

First off, I want to fully disclaim that I have a thin remembrance of the history of the Architectural Review Commission (ARC) and online media reports are sparse. 

From these Village Board minutes from October 2005, it would appear that the ARC replaced the "Building Board" at that time.  If I recall correctly, that was around the time that there had been a couple of home demolitions and rebuilds that made project neighbors unhappy.

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Less Responsibility from the County Government

climate change, County Government, Government, News, Politics, taxes

It seems like you barely get over the task of being disgusted with these tax increase proposals from the Milwaukee County Board and another one gets thrown on the table.  About one day after the tax proposal to raise the sales tax in Milwaukee County one half percent to fund the transit system, a new tax proposal to raise the sales tax in Milwaukee County one half percent comes to fund the parks.  Of course, the Milwaukee County Board only has two ideas for raising taxes-a wheel tax and a sales tax.  After the board thought about raising the sales tax to fund public transit, the needed a new tax to fund the parks.  After about a half hour, there had started hurting because they could not come up with an idea so they too decided to pile on with the sales tax.

Mind you, this is not a half percent tax increase to fund everything.  This will be raising the sales tax in Milwaukee County, one full percentage point.  One can only conclude one thing -- the county supervisors are not looking out for the citizens of this county.  They are only interested in funding their own political interests at the expense of everyone else.  In Milwaukee County, leadership is defined by bringing up a dumb idea, and try to force it on all of the citizens lying to us thinking that you are doing things in everybody's best interest.

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The Electric Lottery

climate change, County Government, Energy, Government, News, Politics, taxes

Last week we learned that WE energies had just been granted their third rate increase approval for this year.  Well, being that it's only about the middle of the year, we can expect three more, right?

So, who wants to be a millionaire?  I really didn't change the subject, here's why.  We all would like to win millions of dollars in a lottery such as PowerBall.  It only costs a couple of bucks to participate even though the odds of winning are about 80 million to one.  Yet we continue to play thinking this could be the time.  I could be the one.  Then about after a week and a half of playing, some schmo from Idaho wins the 18 million dollars and we feel ripped off because we invested the four dollars that will go to somebody else I don't even know.  So my odds of winning this were actually zero.

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Mayor Barrett's Visionary Transit Plan vs Walker's more of the same

Fewer routes, higher fares and a free falling mass transit death spiral mark the tenure of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is steaming mad and he has a right to be. As a Congressman, Barrett was responsible for getting federal funds earmarked to transportation in Milwaukee. As Mayor, Barrett has pushed for a fixed rail transit system in the downtown area that would help both residents and businesses. To see those same funds he fought for being held hostage by Walker who is unwilling to compromise and share funds with the City, has got to frost the Mayor.

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Local TV: advertising trumps journalism

 As TV stations race to promote themselves, any remnant of news and/or journalism is left in the dust.  Journalism left broadcasting long ago.  Here's but one local example, but true across the board...

Channel 4 (WTMJ-TV) has a self-promotion, advertising spot that plays regularly, showing a married couple commenting on the husband's heart transplant.  The station was asked, as a last resort, to help them get the transplant.  It concludes with the husband saying, "If it wasn't for WTMJ I wouldn't be here.  It's that simple."

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   Airguns have become more and more popular and are being seen more frequently in the Village.  The Brown Deer Police Department would like to clarify the usage of airguns. An airgun, per Wisconsin State Statute 939.22(2), is defined as a weapon which expels a missile by the expansion of compressed air or other gas. This includes, but is not limited to, BB guns, Pellet guns, Paint Ball guns, and Airsoft guns.  According to the Village of Brown Deer Ordinance VL1-6-2.09(B), it is unlawful to discharge any firearm or airgun in the Village. If you are uncertain if a toy meets this criteria or you see someone shooting an airgun, please contact the Brown Deer Police Department.  

Glendale Days 2008

    Every year around the 4th of July, the entire community gets patriotic, and a sense of community spirit (latent for much of the year) blooms once again.  I've written before about the Glendale Parade and the joy that the community (adults and children) seem to take in our annual march through the park, and I'm glad to do so again today. 

    Of course, the other part of our 4th of July festivities has been Glendale Days.  Over time, this Glendale tradition has grown in size and in importance, drawing people from beyond Glendale's borders.  I think that's because there's nothing quite like it in the North Shore.  And all of that credit has to be given to the Glendale Days Committee, this year led by Alderperson JoAnn Shaw.  I should point out that when I came up to Ms. Shaw this weekend to commend her on an excellent festival, she would not accept credit.  Instead, she noted that Glendale Days 2008 was and is a group effort, and that the committee as a whole deserves the credit for a fabulous affair. 

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Those silly things that politicians say when they forget the microphone is on...

  You know, when it's an election season, there must be something in the air, because stupid comments are in full bloom this time of year.  I thought, with a few months to go before November, that I'd chronicle a few of my favorites right here.  Just keep in mind that I"m picking the really really ridiculous ones.  Politicians and their views are always being spouted, so I"m trying to get those extra special ones on print.  Let me know your thoughts, ok?

  1)  Phil Gramm. Now, what I find amusing is that as I was pondering commenting on Jesse Jackson's most recent slip (and he's had many, including a particular comment about New York that many are still sore at), and while I still will address Jackson's most recent stupid-ism, Phil Gramm's latest is what motivated this week's blog.  Apparently, according to Gramm, we are in a "mental recession" in this country, and, shortly after our national birthday, he perceived us as a nation not of _____, but rather, a "nation of whiners".  Blaming the media for "overstating" the current bad economy, he noted "Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."  We are, according to him, in a "mental recession".  Well, if you ask me, he's the one who's got a mental recession. 

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Local TV: spare us silly weather overkill.

When we are scared into watching a TV station by its ignorant hype about weather, it is time to take issue openly with the stations.  Please stop!

Yesterday a program was interrupted twice to have a weatherman come on and warn us about a pending rainstorm...specifically it was mentioned that there was no hail, no strong winds, no lightening, no tornadoes.  Then why butt into the TV program and show us a front that will be producing rain?  Do we have to be warned that it will rain?

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What is a Carbon Footprint?

climate change, County Government, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Religion, taxes

What is a carbon footprint?  I would bet that if you asked any number of people, what a carbon footprint actually is, you could not get to people that would be able to define it for you.  Even if they did, it would only be in the very faintest of terms.  Apparently it has something to do with the amount of garbage that you may use in your lifetime, the amount of energy you consume, and any flatulence that may sneak out.  Nobody knows what a carbon footprint is, but we know that it is not good.

The global warming advocates, would have you believe that anything you did in your lifetime that contributed to a pile of garbage, or even a wastebasket anywhere would lead to premature demise of the earth as we now know it.  But how was it calculated?  I had recently watched a program on TV, which was talking about carbon footprints and how big, one person's carbon footprint is when you add in all the diapers and pop bottles that would've passed through their hands during their lifetime.  Just before the commercial, they did the big tease: how big is the carbon footprint for a cheeseburger?  Now they had my attention.  I had eaten many cheeseburgers in my lifetime.  I even had a job being a short order cook in which I had prepared many a cheeseburger.  I was anticipating this open-minded.  If nothing else, it could've been the basis for comical material.  I sat and waited through 3 1/2 minutes of commercials.  I sat through to a half minutes of program while I waited to get to where this cheeseburger formula was going to be revealed.  The hour was closing in.  They finally got back to the subject of the cheeseburger.  And what is the size of a carbon footprint of the cheeseburger?  And I quote: "It is very large."

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Presidential politics, Christian hypocrisy, bigotry

What is especially unique about the 2008 presidential campaigns is that not only the usual Christian hypocrisy is at play, but with an African-American candidate in the process, Christian bigotry is also playing an important role.

The usual suspects are very much in the hypocritical mix.  Some new Christian ministers are also in the group.  We have had several elections in which "ordained" Christians have led the hypocritical charge: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, right wing Baptists, evangelicals, etc.  Playing an important role in 2008 are also egomaniacs such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright.  Religious principles are absent with these charlatans; ego and money rule all of them.

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Fraud Alert - Counterfeit Visa Travelers Cheques

DATE: JULY 10, 2008

Visa has become aware of a fake travelers check scam involving the presentation and recovery of counterfeit $200 and $500 Visa Travelers Cheques.

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The Real Carbon Footprint of a Cheeseburger.


  For those of you who read my blog frequently (and I know at least two of you guys are out there), you would probably agree that I know a thing or two about cheese.  For those of you who either know me personally or have followed my posts and publications from time to time, I think you'd also garner that I consider myself a reasoned progressive.  About 9 months ago, I posted an essay connecting lead paint in toys to environmentalism.  I've also written that the green choice for beer lovers should be homegrown microbrews. Organic hops are healthy hops. 

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Change Who Will Believe In?

climate change, Energy, Government, News, Politics, Religion, taxes

Is July 1 approached, it became time to change the calendar.  For Barack Obama, it became time for him to change positions on one of his bedrock principles.  Being the presumed nominee for president this fall, someone should have clued him in that Democrats usually do not change their positions until just after the elections.  Just ask Jim Doyle.

For the first six months of this year, Obama stood firmly on his position to be antiwar, and to begin withdrawing troops as early as January 2009.  Now he has changed his mind and will not withdraw the troops that fast.  But what about all the voters who cast their ballots for Obama almost solely on this issue?  The war in Iraq was supposed to be a cornerstone issue for the presidential election in 2008.  Just like 2004.

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American terrorism: our prez and v.p.

Upon hearing that Moslems in Lebanon were cheering as a hero a man recently released by Israel, a man who had bludgeoned to death a 4-year-old child, angered me greatly.  Where are the voices of civilized, non-violent Moslems?  Why haven't more Moslems spoken out more often and more strongly about Moslem terrorism?   How can Islam remain so silent about the eruption of Moslem terrorism throughout the Middle East?

Of course we Americans have remained all-too-silent about the terrorism in our own Bush administration.  Even though we have been shown that our government representatives in the Pentagon and elsewhere encouraged torture treatment in Iraqi prisons and elsewhere.  And when we found out that we flew suspects to nations where terrorism is a method to "question" them, we were quiet.  And now as we learn that we have questioned a 14 year old boy at Guantanamo Bay, and subjected him to violent inquisitions, where is the outcry?  Further, another young boy held at Guantanamo Bay has been charged and held for alleged "terrorism" he committed when he was 11 years old.  Guantanamo Bay is a place where none of the usual rights are given prisoners and torture has been used to try and get information.  The world looks on in horror at what the Bush administration sanctions.  Remember, these are people who simply have been suspected of crimes, not proven to be terrorists.  And many of them were sold to American forces for money by people whose activities can themselves be questioned. 

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Gitmo military tribunals sully America

The charade going on in Guantanamo Bay is an embarrassment to the U.S. Constitution and every American.  The reason these military tribunals took so long to come into being is because all kinds of tricks had to be used to make them "legal."  They are not legal and the conservative U.S. Supreme Court ruled they were not.  Back to the drawing board went the fascist Bush regime.  Now they tell us they have it "fine tuned" enough to bring off.

Imagine people being tried in any sort of American court in which evidence can be presented that is hearsay and not legal testimony.  Imagine evidence being used against a defendant that was "obtained" by torture.  Imagine all the judges in the trial are from the military and the military only (a trial of your peers?).  Yes, hearsay evidence is treated like "real" evidence.  Yes, evidence from tortured circumstances is "real" evidence.  All judges are military officers.

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When Doing Nothing is Better

climate change, County Government, Government, News, Politics, taxes

Last week, once again, the members of the Milwaukee County supervisor's board had to reach for the Zoloft and phone number of their closest grief counselor as their efforts to irresponsibly raise taxes upon the citizens failed.  Not long ago, after they've raised the issue of imposing a wheel tax to support public transportation in a county, it was dismissed as a stupid idea by sane taxpayers and most everyone outside of the Milwaukee city Council.  Then two efforts were raised to increase the sales tax in Milwaukee County by 1%, to fund parks and public transportation.  It was vetoed before it could even be put on the November ballot.  In some ways, I would like to see it on the ballot so that the responsible voters could send a message to these elected officials, showing how much this idea could be shot down.

Unfortunately, many people have forgotten the vision that the Milwaukee County Board had only eight short years ago.  The members of the County Board at that time, decided that the transportation and parks departments were doing so well that they could use all the other tax money, which was coming in through the current sales tax, the current property tax, and all the others, and put the tax money surrendered by the citizens directly into the pockets of the retired county employees and their own.  There is no Dobbert Park, there is no Ott Bus Depot, and there is no Ament Childrens Play Area. Yet Milwaukee County paid these three individuals enough money to create these sites and maintain them for years to come. The money went directly into the ease people's pockets. It was the vision of a supervisor's board then to make entitlements out of money that could have sustained the bus system and the park system.  Yet these systems are now broke and a county supervisors are trying to squeeze more tax money out of fiscally responsible citizens of Milwaukee County.

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The Future for Oil

climate change, Energy, Government, News, Politics, taxes

Only a few short weeks ago, it seemed like everybody was complaining that gas was reaching $3.50 per gallon.  Now we are cheering, because gas is $3.75 per gallon.  The price of a barrel of oil has never been more volatile.  Do we need to import more?  Do we need to drill less?  Do we need to seek alternative sources for energy?  Sometimes I think that if I could just get crude oil out of my life, it will rid me of a lot of uncertainty. 

Or would it?

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Fascism in U.S.? Impossible? Inevitable?

Capitalism is both encouraging and embarrassed about fascism.  It is the extreme right-wing product of an alliance between the national government and corporate giants.  In fascist nations, the way the military-industrial complex rises to power is by the national treasury going bankrupt funding it.  The U.S. has had a long history of large corporations conspiring to manipulate our national government.  Currently it is very apparent.

Hitler rose to power in Germany partly because he was "morally" and financially backed by the likes of Henry Ford, the DuPont family, American banks, etc.  We had a Nazi youth training camp near Grafton, Wisconsin (Camp Hindenburg).  The most prominent national hero of the time, Charles Lindberg, openly and eagerly supported Hitler.  A group of American industrialists and right-wingers tried to get General Smedley Butler to join them in overthrowing the FDR administration and establishing a fascist government in Washington.   Check the history books.  It is there in clear fact.

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¡Saludo al Jefe! (Hail to the Chief!)

  John McCain:  The First Hispanic President!  Or, more specifically, would he be the first Panamanian President?  I don't know.  But what I do know is that John McCain is not a natural born citizen of the United States.  Or is he?  If you haven't been paying attention, and I know many of you haven't, you should know that some people have this silly idea that John McCain is ineligible to serve as President.  The issue isn't whether Mac is American.  He is.  He's as American as mac and cheese.  The real question, however, is this:  is Mac a natural born American citizen? 

  That question remains to be answered.  Adding to the long list of things that John McCain is older than is this one:  John McCain is older than the existence of citizenship for those born in the Panama Canal Zone during US occupation.  Mac was born in 1936, prior to the 1937 law enacted in order to confer citizenship upon the children of American parents born in the canal zone after 1904.  The year 1904, by the way, was the year that America bought rights to the zone from the French and commenced construction on the canal.

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