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Common Ground

A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.

Biomass Burning Is Green?

Global Warming, Petroleum, Politics-Local, Politics-National, Pollution, Satire, Flora and Fauna, Economy, Development and Growth

Perhaps the proponents of Doyle's biomass boilers in Madison failed to explain the process adequately. As I understand it, and I'm in the boiler and fuel business, Biomass consists of grass clippings, wood chips and other organic matter. Uh, isn't that garbage? Oh, I also read that we can GROW stuff to burn in a biomass boiler. Sure, right between the rows of corn that is being grown for ethanol.

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Sharing Expenses

Politics-Local, Politics-National, Public Transportation, Snow Removal, Walking, Various Topics, Dog Parks

Recently I had a fellow dog park user approach me. They wanted to differ in opinion on some of my views, particularly the Public Library System. For review, I have taken the position that the Library is an institution that should be examined as to it's place in this age of the Internet Information Highway. I would support it if it were self supporting. But the person's main argument is that it is free and that they can save the cost of a computer by using the ones at the Library. Hmm. Yes, their taxes are contributing to them. But so is mine and I never use them. I also have numerous books that I have paid for. These but a few of my arguements why The Library is an expense that can be reduced.

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Thanksgiving Getting More Expensive?

Economy, Electric Car, Petroleum, Politics-National, Pollution

By now most people know about ethanol, you know, the stuff made from corn that is blended with gasoline. Slowly the good ol' government made it so high density areas had to have 10% ethanol in gasoline. Then it became state wide. Now they are pushing for 15%. Engines makers balk at that saying that many engines will not endure that much alcohol. The politicians know better. You see, the ethanol producers told them so, along with the envelopes of payoffs.

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Have A Nice Flight!

Hot Topics, Aviation and Airports, Politics-National

I am gratified by the rebellion against the commercial airport security screening changes. I have been doing my own boycott of the airlines for a few years now. I've driven as far as Atlanta while co-workers flew there for business. Guess how they shuttled from the airport to the hotel and meetings?

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County Does Not Need To Support Arizona

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-Local, Politics-National

Eric Holder, our country's Attorney General blurted out that he was against the Arizona illegal immigrant law but admitted that he had not read the bill. A Milwaukee County Supervisor, speaking in favor of Milwaukee boycotting Arizona, stands and babbles that she cannot understand the need for the Arizona bill because Arizona is far removed from the Mexican boarder. Uh, you DO know that it does, I hope.

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High Speed Rail Doesn't Fix Roads

Economy, Development and Growth, Hot Topics, Motorcycle, Politics-Local, Politics-National, Public Transportation

It’s amazing how news goes from hot to cold. Heard much about high speed rail lately?

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Harley Davidson to be Wisconsin's Government Motors?

Motorcycle, Politics-Local, Politics-National

Harley Davidson is in trouble. Either every old coot who's going to buy one has done so or those that have passed along without wrecking theirs has caused the used motorcycle market to be glutted with them so new  sales have tanked. I say this with affection as I somewhat fit into that category. I now have three motorcycles in the garage myself. One is brand spanking new....but not a Harley.

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Do You Want A Sex Offender Next Door?

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National, Politics-Local

I admit that my headline is a trap. However, the community has made it clear that they'd rather not have any sex offenders here at all. We keep track of them pretty well. We also keep pretty good track of others that have had criminal pasts. When it comes to criminals, we don't have much of a forgive and forget attitude, do we?

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The Yearly Tax Rant

Hot Topics, Economy, Huckabee, Obama, Politics-National

It has been determined that in the recently years, less and less people pay personal income tax. It is now that 47% of the population no longer pay income taxes. Does that mean we’ve become a poorer nation? No. It is the result of tax credits and continued loopholes that allow a person living very well to pay no taxes, besides those with little income and meager resources.

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A Political Paradigm Shift?

Politics-Local, Politics-National

While Tuesday’s election wasn’t a 7.0 on the Richter scale of political earthquakes, it was a tremor warning of big things in the future.

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Make Up The Rules As We Go

Health-care, Hot Topics, Politics-National

Representative Alcee Hastings, a Democrat, said,"Ahh, all this talk about rules, We make ‘em up as we go along.”  That should make your blood boil if you have any shred of patriotism in you, if you are a believer in the rule of law and if you believe in The Constitution, which you do if you are a Patriot.

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Health-care and Lawnmowers

Economy, Health-care, Obama, Politics-National

A recently settled class action lawsuit against local small engine manufacturer Briggs and Stratton reflects one of the problems with health-care.

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General Aviation Takes Another Hit?

Hot Topics, Politics-National

With today's events in Austin Texas, I worry about further restrictions that may be put on general aviation. While there can be no justfication for this horrible act, it does highlight what a mess we've let our tax system become. There is so much that can be discussed about why this happened. I am anxious to see where it all leads. It did make me forget about local issues for a while. Back to that later.

Now I Really Will Hate To Fly!

Hot Topics, Politics-National

The recent failed terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner is again resulting in a close the barn door after the cows have left effort. I've read numerous reports and comments about it. The inevitable blame Obama, no, blame Bush stuff is out there but neither is to blame.

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ACORN Isn't So Nuts

Health-care, Politics-National

Someone is looking out for President Obama's old employer, ACORN. You may remember that they were caught, several times, giving tax evasion advice to people. While it wasn't covered well by the mainstream media, it did reach Congress and enraged them enough to cut funding from ACORN. ACORN officials claimed it was unconstitutional and threatened to sue.

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You're Poisoning Me!

Global Warming, Economy, Flora and Fauna, Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National, Pollution

Since life itself began, there has been a symbiotic relation between animal life and plant life. Animals exhale carbon dioxide and plant life uses it to create and expel oxygen.

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The Silence Is Deafening

Global Warming, Hot Topics, Politics-National

Don't you hate it when people are slow to pull over when a police car, ambulance or fire truck approaches with it's siren screaming away? Such is how it is with the revelations and questions raised by emails that prove, among other things, that data has been falsified in order to favor those claiming climate change is man-made and can be reversed by expensive changes in energy, industry and transportation.

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Some Thoughts On Election Process

Politics-National

Ever since Ross Perot played the spoiler and cost George H. Bush the presidential election to William Clinton, I've marveled that we allow more than two candidates on the final election ballot. Clinton won with 43% of the vote.

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They Still Think Taxes Are The Solution

Development and Growth, Global Warming, Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-Local, Politics-National

No society has taxed itself into prosperity. In Saturday's Journal editorial page, the Journal's editors choose an editorial cartoon that implied that if you believe this to be true, you have either no brains or a lack of them. You see, that statement is one made by Rush Limbaugh in one of his 35 undeniable truths. Some seem outrageous, to liberals, but when thought through, there is truth to each one.

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Expensive Clunker Costs and Jobs

Economy, Global Warming, Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National, Pollution

So, how much did it cost you, the taxpayer for each of the $3,500 to $4,500 credits for each Cash For Clunkers sale? $24,000, according to Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com, an automotive consumer organization that is often referenced by auto makers for awards that they may have earned. This is about the average cost of the whole car that was purchased in the typical transaction.

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Obama Won't Be Rushed On Afghanistan

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

President Obama said  he will not rush his decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, telling a crowd of U.S. troops, "I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary."

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Sunday's Town Hall Meeting SRO

Politics-National, Politics-Local, Health-care

Sunday October 25th 5:30 PM

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Dog Parks and Cuba

Dog Parks, Economy, Politics-National

Dog Parks and Cuba? Que? Well, after Curt's excellent reviews and predictions of downtown businesses, I feel guilty doing anything not local in nature. Frankly, I'm getting burned out about national stuff. Perhaps it's because this last week was spent frantically making a living. Times are tough out there and I see that the current WaukeshaNow poll about the economy shows that the majority of people think things will get worse before they get better.

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Playing the President and First Lady?

Obama, Politics-National

Many opinion pieces are going around about Obama playing President rather than being President. I've thought that he should hire Dick Cheney as some kind of "ghost President".  Here's something that should make us all think.

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Quick Comments - National

Politics-National, Obama

I voted for Jimmy Carter. I also wondered why I could not afford a house with double digit interest rates. I had a political awakening after that time period that I'll save for another blog. I just want to say that there was a time that I thought Jimmy would make a good president, even if he had a can of Billy Beer, a handful of peanuts and his Cardigan sweater while sitting in front of the fireplace or while walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Obama's Speech To The Children

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

Immediately upon hearing of Obama's address to the school children which is upcoming, comments and discussion began to fly. Comparisons to other leaders in history were made. I do not recall any previous president addressing all of the nations school children. Thinking back to the previous presidents that I remember, and that goes back to Eisenhower, I don't think I would be alarmed about it. However, I am now.

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Will Hybrid Cars Become A Rarity?

Economy, Electric Car, Global Warming, Hot Topics, Hybrid, Obama, Petroleum, Politics-National, Pollution

The first time that I heard of "Rare Earth Magnets" was referring to the tiny, super strong magnets used in computer hard drives that store data. Most every computer has them. They are made from "Rare Earth" minerals. The key to my blog is the word RARE.

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Dangerous Appointments

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

Sometimes I feel badly not concentrating on local topics. Oh I've been tempted about things like rebuilding the zoo interchange and light rail, high speed rail or whatever people wanting to move forward to the past want. It's about forcing us to live as they wish and not as we want to live. It's about forcing us to pay for their desires even if we want no part of them. But all of that pales to the bigger picture.

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Harley Davidson - Some Urgency Please!

Economy, Hot Topics, Motorcycle, Politics-Local, Politics-National

The Business Journal reports that should the York Pennsylvania Harley Davidson factory close, probably hinging on union concessions, that they are presently scouting for a new locations in Tennessee, Kentucky or Indiana.

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Common Ground Needed In Healthcare Bill

Health-care, Hot Topics, Politics-National

Things are getting near violent out there! Some “Common Ground” is needed with the discussion of H.R. 3200, commonly known as the Healthcare Bill. It doesn’t have a name on the cover of the Bill, but is described as;

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Three For One, But You Paid For It

Economy, Politics-National

The Obama Whitehouse asked for budgeting for one new Gulfstream business jet. The same jet that Congress lambasted GM and Chrysler executives for owning.

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Cash For Clunkers II

Economy, Global Warming, Hot Topics, Obama, Petroleum, Politics-National

Hey neighbor, I want to buy a new car. Give me $10. Too bad if you don't like it. No, make that $30!

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Cash For Clunkers

Economy, Global Warming, Health-care, Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National, Pollution

If you have access to YouTube, search on Cash For Clunkers.  You will be horrified at what you see. Among dozens of related videos, I watched one where a perfectly good Volvo turbo was drained of oil and the engine ran at redline until it seized. Among the comments were that a person's daughter had one that he gave her for driving while at college. He pointed out that salvage parts will become scarcer and more expensive if older but perfectly fine cars are demolished like this.

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Health-care: Be Careful What You Wish For!

Politics-National, Obama, Hot Topics, Economy, Health-care

For the record, I am in favor of health-care reform. When my personal website was up, I devoted a section of it to the need of reform. I don't think that health-care should financially ruin people. But I also don't think that health-care should ruin the country either! Let's think through a few aspects of health-care that is sure to come out and become a HUGE issue sooner or later.

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You Think A 7% Price Hike Is Something?

Global Warming, Economy, Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

The weather has been cooler and air conditioning has not been used as much. That, not energy conservation, is why WE Energies is looking for a 7% rate hike. Being in the air conditioning business, I KNOW that air conditioners are running less.  Business shows it.

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How Best To Remember On Memorial Day?

Politics-National, Various Topics

At church, we are told that our faith isn't checked out at the door of the church, it is to practiced every day. To me, remembering and appreciating those past and present who served in the military is also something to be done regularly and not just on this Monday.

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Government Driving Automakers The Wrong Way?

Obama, Politics-National, Hot Topics

I've been in business enough to know that when times are tough, it is tempting to cut back advertising. However, that is the last expense that should be cut. After all, sales equals income.

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Ghosts Of The Auto Industry

Politics-National

Today, I drove to Janesville to do some work at, of all places, the Rock County Job Services building on Hwy 51. It is in a former Kmart building and the parking lot had more customer cars in it than I have ever seen at a Kmart.  On the way, I passed the GM plant as I have done several times through the years as a company that I had worked for also had an office on that same road. Previously it was bustling. Today it looked like a place that Sci Fi's Ghost Hunters should investigate. There was NOTHING going on. Not so much as a maintenance vehicle or a Chevy Suburban that remained unsold. Many of the cars in the Job Service lot were cars made at the factory. Very sad.

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Tyranny?

Economy, Hot Topics, Politics-National

Something very unusual happened April 15th.  People gathered to protest something who normally never find the time to protest anything. Much has been said about the TEA parties across the country. Among many, both pro and con, are a few that stick in my mind. One is, "Obama won the election. Get over it!" Hmm, seems like people have said that to some all the years that George Bush was in office. Whether these statements are regarding the legitimacy of the past or current presidency, the subject of the TEA parties is about spending and the taxes to pay for that spending.

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Executive Pay Starts In Waukesha

Economy, Hot Topics, Motorcycle, Politics-National

I suspect that even the most conservative of us get a bit envious and bewildered when we read about big pay and bonuses for executives when business is dropping for a company.

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Does Anybody Know What They Are Doing?

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

Today I'm told that some of the bailed out banks actually have been turning a profit.  One has loaned some of that money to Dubai and one has loaned some to a Chinese company.  Billions of dollars, that is.   I thought that we, the USA, were in debt to those countries.

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Rail Advocates Are Missing The Future Of Transportation

Hot Topics, Politics-National

Eugene Kane wrote a good article about high speed rail in Sunday's paper. I disagree and believe I have a good argument why rail is not best for our future transportation needs and is really a hold on to the days of the buggy whip.

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Swearing Off Of Talk Radio

Obama, Politics-National, Talk Radio

I'm very cheerful early in the mornings on weekends.  It drives my wife nuts because she is not a morning person. However on the weekdays, I'm usually dragging and a touch grumpy. I narrowed the reason for the mood changes down to talk radio.  You see, I've been addicted to talk radio for years. Lately there hasn't been much good to talk about. My morning drive brings me up to date with news and commentary on what's going on out there. It explains why my retirement money is about zip and my retirement plans are now don't plan on retiring. But then again, maybe the Stimulus Bill will have a provision for retirees to get bigger social security checks to offset the lack of confidence in the government that has caused everybody's investments to tank out.

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Underwater

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

Underwater conveys a more urgent situation than the term "upside down". I'm referring to the new term being used for owing more on a house than it is presently worth. Being upside down on a loan isn't unusual. It is actually typical.  Unless you pay typically 20% down on a new car, you are immediately "underwater" the moment you sign the papers. Just take it next door to the other brand dealer and ask what they will give you in trade for one of their shiny new unionmobiles.  Anything you buy on a credit card is immediately "underwater". Try and sell your new 72" high definition TV, still in the sealed box, to a shopper for one, and try to break even. Unless it has suddenly become rare, like a new PlayStation or WII at Christmas time, you know you'd be lucky to get 2/3 of what you paid for it.

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Is Washington DC Obsolete?

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

I like to visit the Mequon/Thiensville website and read Warren Stumpe's blog from time to time.  He has a good deal and variety of life's experience under his belt and it makes for thought provoking opinions. I suggest you check him out too.

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Local Stimulus

Development and Growth, Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

Last week Pat and I went to the NARI Home Improvement show at State Fair Park. We've been in dire need of some bathroom repairs and remodeling so that was our primary target as we walked the aisles while munching on candy roasted almonds from a vendor. Being in the heating and cooling trade, I would come across some acquaintances from time to time and we'd spend a few moments exchanging niceties. My secondary target was something to reduce the need to clean out the gutters once or twice each year. Doing that isn't fun on a single level ranch house and I can't imagine doing it on a two floor house. There's a variety of methods out there. I need something that will shed the maple seeds and walnuts.

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The Global Weather Report

Global Warming, Hot Topics, Politics-National

Remember John Coleman? John used to do the weather forecast here, WISN I think it was, and he was really an off the wall kind of guy. If the next day was going to be warm and sunny, John could be seen doing the weather forecast from a beach chair, in his swim suit, with his sunglasses on and holding a drink of some kind.

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Spend Like A Patriot

Big Box vs Mom and Pop Stores, HVAC, Politics-National

Black Friday. We hear about that so much. Reports are that consumer spending was up a few percent over last year. That's good news, but for who? Do Mom and Pop downtown report their sales to the keeper of the statistics? I doubt it. The unfortunate fact is that the winners during most of Christmas shopping are the retailers of clothing, toys and electronics. Few if any, are made in America. Much goes to China who in turn lends it back to some government bureaucrat so we can have such a high standard of living and think that we are a wealthy country to boot.

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A butterfly causes a tornado...

Politics-National

It has been said that all things are affected by even the slightest action. The flutter of a butterfly in the right place at the right time could be the cause of air currents ending up into a tornado. It is also so, that government meddling with business can have unexpected consequences.

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US Should Bail Out Automakers

Electric Car, Hot Topics, Hybrid, Politics-National

I'm what you could call a GM baby. Dad was an engineer for GM at the old AC Spark Plug turned Delco Electronics plants once in Milwaukee by North and Farwell and then in Oak Creek. As a child I remember Dad bringing home pamphlets. Some I would read, some were of no interest to a child. A child never thinks about it but now that I am a grandfather and my parents have passed on, I realize how well GM took care of their employees. Even after Dad passed away, GM continued to take care of Mom. And this is why GM and Ford are in the trouble that they are in now.  Toyota, Subaru and others never had the long term relationship with employees or benefits negotiated by labor unions. Not strapped with pensions and US automaker level benefits, it was not a level playing field and we as a country have suffered for it while we drive these cars build by foreign owned companies.

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Obama, fix the credit system!

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

I like to read news from England via the BBC news feed. One article is about massive unemployment in China due to the credit crunch.

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Chilling Observations

Hot Topics, Obama, Politics-National

By this time Tuesday I'll know whether to worry or not. Monday's Journal has several things that I must comment on.

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Spread The Wealth #1

Politics-National

Hey Barack! How about sharing your wealth with John McCain so he can have equal time? No better time to start spreading the wealth!

We're All Joe Plumber

Politics-National

My trade of heating and cooling is greatly related to plumbing and electrical. It is thus that I have an affinity to the concerns of Joe and also am disturbed but not surprised by the trashing that the great institution of the news media is giving him. It is a sign of the direction the nation is going and it isn't the right way.

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Regional Rail Should Be Derailed

Development and Growth, Politics-National

From our financial crisis of late, everybody should grab their wallets when so-called experts preach about this or that. Yes, I'm sure that there are true experts, but it is to the point that when Congress want to go one way, we should run the other way.

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Intersection Is A Metaphor For Politics

Politics-National

I've passed by the crumbling median divider in front of the Super America gas station on Delafield well over a thousand times through the years. Today while waiting for the traffic light that always is red, it made me think about the crumbling economy and who is responsible for it. 

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An Oil Tycoon Speaks Up

Electric Car, Global Warming, Hot Topics, Hybrid, Petroleum, Politics-National, Pollution

 T. Boone Pickens has been spending his own money on TV commercials inviting people to visit his website and read his energy proposal for America. The man makes good sense and I signed up for his email updates.

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Building Codes Should Prepare For Future

Development and Growth, Electric Car, Global Warming, Hot Topics, HVAC, Hybrid, Petroleum, Politics-Local, Politics-National, Pollution, Water Issue

In the past I've criticized new construction as putting a load on our dwindling water resource. This, even though the business that I'm in is dependent on new construction. Briefly, I don't believe that long time residents of the city or county should be put in the same boat of inconvenience to accommodate development and expansion. Those dwindling the resource should be the ones to carry the load. Water wise, this would be prohibiting watering lawns, gardens and washing cars in new developments except with water gathered from cisterns or other non-aqufier sources. On site water recycling of gray water should be included with conservation efforts.

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The Enemy Within

Global Warming, Hot Topics, Litter, Petroleum, Politics-National, Pollution

"We have met the enemy and he is us" Pogo, Earth Day 1970

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Snapshots Are Dangerous

Global Warming, Hot Topics, Petroleum, Politics-National, Pollution

Snapshots are usually thought of as still pictures. A capture of a brief moment in time. Sometimes they can fail to tell the whole story and lead one to incorrect conclusions.  Like taking words out of their context. Politicians love to do that to each other. Sometimes opinions and even conclusions are based on snapshots of information. Wise people are flexible enough to change their opinions and conclusions when presented with the whole video rather than the snapshot or the whole text rather than the snippet. Even wiser people don't come to conclusions without seeing the whole story.

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Rebates

Politics-National, Satire

I got my tax rebate check the other day. Excuse me, Economic Stimulus check. I wrote a blog some time ago about how to spend it to actually help the economy.  I also mentioned that I had to pay the IRS just over $1,200 dollars. So much for me kicking my assistance beyond trying to cover minimum payments, finance charges and a occasional tank of gas now and then.

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Are We Independent?

Hot Topics, Obama, Petroleum, Politics-National

Happy 4th of July. Independence day.  We celebrate our independence from the oppressive British monarchy.  We shot their soldiers and theirs killed ours. In Brookfield there is the grave of a man who fought in the Revolutionary War. Private Nathan Hatch. Since we are now buddy buddy with the British, it seems that today should be more of a birthday celebration of becoming a country rather than the day we officially flipped the bird to the king of England.

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Who Are "They"?

Hot Topics, Petroleum, Politics-National

I've long been bothered by just who "they" are who put up the stumbling blocks to withdrawing the oil reserves that are rightfully that of the people. I also wonder about how "they" wield so much power. Congress operates in fear of them such that our so called representatives do not change the laws so that exploration and drilling can take place. It would eliminating much if not all of the need to be concerned about the politics of the middle east or Venezuela.

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Do You Feel Cheated Too?

Politics-National

What the heck is going on with the presidential elections this year? This isn't the first time that I've voted in a presidential primary, but it is the first time that I believe my vote was negated in some way. It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican. Each party lost candidates that we in Wisconsin as well as most other states never even had a chance to vote for!

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Air Force Tanker Deal Needs Further Review

Politics-National

Two major companies were bidding for the replacement ship to replace the aging fleet of current tankers. The bid was won by the European Airbus company. The Airbus proposal was deemed to be a superior plane versus the Boeing bid.  I can't fault the Air Force for wanting to get the most for their money.

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Lets Take Emotion Out Of The Elections

Politics-National

I've stated in the past that many elections are more of a beauty contest than an election of a person with the best resume'. I was dwelling on that one day when a friend emailed me a link to a "rate the candidate" website.  You mark off the importance of various issues to you and then the candidates are given a ranking based on your thoughts without being swayed by partisanship or rhetoric.  I was surprised when my candidate of choice ranked below one that I'd thought did not fit my views as well. It has forced me to re-evaluate my thinking.

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Freedom of Speech Extends to the Mayor

Obama, Politics-Local, Politics-National

I believe there is a wave of paranoia sweeping the country. Zero tolerance this, can't say that and so forth. I don't think it is any big secret that Mayor Nelson, if not a registered democrat, certainly has leanings that way.

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Not So Fast On Compact Flourescent Bulbs.

Litter, Politics-Local, Politics-National, Pollution, Water Issue

It is probably too late because the science experts called congressmen have already destined tungsten incandescent light bulbs to extinction in a few years.

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Economic Stimulus Should Be Spent And Spent Locally

Big Box vs Mom and Pop Stores, Politics-National

The title sums it up. If you're pressed for time, it says it all and you can move along. But here is my reasoning.

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Capitalism At Work?

Edwards, Guliani, Huckabee, Local Food Stores, Obama, Politics-National

I was going to write about an internet purchase experience and a local experience but a news item begs for comment.

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