Happy Easter week! There’s no better place to be than Milwaukee during the first nice stretch of weather, which we should be in for this week. Enjoy.
- The new Brewers license plates are available beginning today. Yes, I will be getting one and yes it will be the classic logo.
- Apologies for the comment spam over the past few days… The spam filter stopped working, providing some insight into how well it does work when all the crap it normally stops got through for a few days.
- A small piece of advice for the Barrett campaign: Don’t get into a blame game with the Walker campaign about who’s fault it is that the Zoo Interchange bridge had to be shut down. Instead, own it. Most people get neither Walker or Barrett had much to do with the condition the bridge is in – it’s accelerated deterioration caught most by surprise last year – but they will be happy when someone takes charge and helps fix the problem as soon as possible. That’s what people want out of our elected officials! Someone who will take charge and fix the problem, not simply sink into the predictable blame game that we’ve all come to expect. Think about it, I know a few of you in the campaign are reading this…
- More crazy, this time in our neck of the woods. I think it’s interesting to note that if the religion of those involved were.. oh, let’s say… Islam, they wouldn’t be labeled as a “militia group” after being charged with “seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence”. They’d be called terrorists. But these people are Christian and white and therefore get a pass.
A disturbing trend is taking place in the wake of the health care vote over the weekend: at least 10 Democratic members of the House have been threatened with violence, another had a gas line into his brothers house slashed (after a nutjob conservative commentator gave out the incorrect address suggesting people “pay him a visit”), two have had pictures of nooses faxed to their offices, and several more have had windows smashed at their campaign offices.
While disturbing, it’s not completely unexpected. When you have elected leaders and responsibility-free talk show radio hosts fanning the flames of fanaticism, the less rational people will hear the call to action and see it as their duty to act out in the name of ‘patriotism’. As I’ve pointed out before, nothing could be further from the ideals of American democracy.
Meanwhile, I heard local right wing talk show host Charlie Sykes give perhaps the weakest and most pitiful defense of the violent actions against Democratic House members on his show this morning. He basically said, “Well since a bunch of college kids shouted down a conservative speaker one time a few years ago, this is what Democrats should expect!!” As I said it’s not only weak, but disturbing.
As is usually the case, Julia Taylor hits the nail on the head regarding funding for mass transit in Milwaukee County: “Sales tax should fund Milwaukee County’s mass transit”.
Suppose every time you went out for dinner, as a property taxpayer, you had to pick up the tab for everyone else in the restaurant who didn’t pay property taxes. It wouldn’t seem very fair. Yet this is exactly the way we fund our local transit costs in Wisconsin.
It’s time to change the equation and share the costs the same way almost every other metro area in the country does. We need to quit putting the tab on the people who pay property taxes and share the tab with those who live here and those who visit for work and play.
Although most other major metropolitan regions around the nation have adapted to economic conditions by shifting their public infrastructure to sales tax funding systems, Milwaukee County continues to rely upon the antiquated funding model that most others shifted away from in the 70s.
Read her whole article at the BizTimes website here. Well said Julia!
Over a year after it was started, the Obama administration has passed it’s signature legislation through a close vote last night that will drastically overhaul how Americans get health insurance. No more losing coverage when you switch jobs. No more paying into the system for years only to be dropped by the insurance companies when you need insurance most. No more “pre-existing” conditions.
All of which are good things in addition to providing coverage to nearly 35 million Americans who’ve had to do without.
Here in Wisconsin according to the Appleton Post Crescent, “nearly 4 million Wisconsin residents who have health insurance would see improvements in their plan,” which would give subsidies and tax credits to 1.3 million families and about 124,000 small businesses statewide.”
More people getting health coverage, the end to medical discrimination and it will lead to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the next 10 years, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Bravo to Democrats in Congress for not giving up in late January after everyone, including “#41″ Scott Brown, claimed it was a dead deal. Also, President Obama deserves credit for sticking to his guns instead of taking the easier route of giving up in an election year.
As for the other side, they’re already up in arms. That said, they’ve been up in arms for a year now with death panels and socialist takeover and other such nonsensical rhetoric. Driving into work this morning I heard on a local right wing talk radio program that “America as we know it is dead” and “Tyranny has replaced democracy” . That’s apparently the mindset they’re going to take, but America didn’t die when we implemented social security, nor did it when we implemented Medicare/Medicaid over the same objections of the same people on the right.
Elections have consequences. To those on the right, be careful not to confuse losing with “tyranny”. It might get a few chuckles out of your buddies, but really is so far removed from the reality of the situation as to be laughable when analyzed by anyone outside the Limbaugh listening radius.
Speaking of Limbaugh, I heard he was going to move to a Central American country or something if health care reform was passed. I wonder if it’s one which has a health care system like we have today?
After a weekend in which a tea party crowd heckled two members of Congress with the N word and the F word, another Congressman called a colleague a “baby killer” on the floor of the House and a conservative blogger calls for the assassination of President Obama, it only makes sense that some of the more unhinged here in Wisconsin would follow suit.
The scary thing is this is only the stuff that’s percolating up on the more well known conservative weblogs. I can only imagine the kind of disturbing bile that is (so far at least) below the surface.
I know, I know.. “But, but, but liberals called Bush a chimp/clutz/moron!!@%#!” some of you will say. And you’re right that some people did do that. Your side has apparently decided to up the ante however by openly calling for those in opposition to pursue non-democratic means to express your displeasure. And then you wonder how after months of amped up anti-government rhetoric, some will take to flying planes into IRS buildings or plotting to attack the Pentagon.
This kind of rhetoric, of which the flames are only stoked by those on talk radio and right wing TV, isn’t “democratic” or “patriotic”. It’s treacherous and against everything this Country stands for.
If you disagree with the outcome of yesterday’s vote on health care reform, don’t be an anonymous coward and talk about “well regulated militias” and “bullets to the head” while hiding behind the safety of your computer screen.
Get out there and run for office or support candidates for office who are on your side of the issue. That’s the way we do things in America after all.
It’s no secret that some County Supervisors treat their jobs as nothing more than part time commitments with full time pay. The trend is just getting more noticeable and it happened yesterday when an important vote to decide if Supervisors should cut their pensions came up.
The absences of four Milwaukee County Board supervisors from Thursday’s meeting means more supervisors view the job as part time, County Board Chairman Lee Holloway said.
“It’s not the greatest priority in their life,” Holloway said, adding that he didn’t mean the remark as criticism.
Just 14 of 18 supervisors were present for Thursday’s meeting. A 19th supervisory seat has been vacant since former Supervisor Toni Clark resigned two weeks ago, the same day she pleaded guilty to a felony campaign charge.
Holloway said Thursday’s absences were the highest in his 18 years on the board. A check of county records showed no more than two supervisors were absent from any County Board meeting since the board downsized from 25 to 19 members in April 2004. – jsonline.com
Unfortunately this is something that many of us on the west side of town have noticed from our Supervisor for years. If you’re going to treat it like a part time job and miss important votes on things like pension benefits, at least have the decency to forgo the full time pay.
It’s insulting to your constituents to expect full time pay and benefits while putting in part time hours.
For the record, I personally know that many Supervisors do put in a full days work (and many times more) and treat the office as a full time position. Mine just doesn’t happen to be one of them.
Disturbing news is coming out of the Milwaukee Public Museum: they want to reduce or eliminate the popular “free day” that many Milwaukee County residents enjoy currently on Mondays.
What’s telling in all this is the red herring of a reason being used to justify the move.
Finley said the purpose of raising the issue was not necessarily to try to bring in more revenue to the museum, but to bring uniformity to various county attractions.
“With all the cultural institutions in town, there is a hodgepodge of discounts for county residents,” Finley said Monday. “It would be easier on all the residents if we had consistency among all the institutions.”
Apparently, the MPM now sees itself as the scheduler for all of Milwaukee’s cultural institutions and because their “free day” doesn’t match up with the one at the zoo or the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum should just get rid of it. Good to know.
It’s misguided reasoning to be sure, and if the end result of such a course would only inflict damage internally on a privately held institution, that would be another matter. This however, is the Milwaukee PUBLIC Museum which we all pay to support whether or not we visit it.
The “free day” for Milwaukee County residents is a huge success and as the article points out, Monday is the busiest day of the week for a reason. And that’s a good thing! Thousands of people who may not otherwise have the means to visit the MPM are able to get the educational and cultural benefits from doing so because there is a “free day” for them to utilize.
School children from the inner city are a particular group that benefits from the free Monday policy and it would be a crime to deprive them of the cultural and educational opportunities the MPM provides. Getting kids excited about learning is something the MPM does well and I think their Board of Directors as well as our elected Supervisors understand that.
Hopefully, they’ll all agree to shoot this idea down as quickly as it was raised.
Spending a few days back in the “homeland” eating brie and sipping Chardonnay so pardon the absence.
Actually, drinking Molson and going to the Montreal/Boston NHL game tonight. It’s a great city even though it reminds me of how much of the French language I’ve come to forget.
Have a great weekend!
(Update) A few pictures from the game where we were about 12 rows off the glass:
I’ve been watching more than my fair share of Bucks basketball this year.
The team has been playing very very well in the last couple months and they’re moving up in the standings and it’s looking like Milwaukee might be represented again in the NBA playoffs for the first time in six or seven years.
It’s not all good news however for the Bucks, as ann article on jsonline.com today points out. Ticket sales are down despite the Bucks playing some of the best basketball in the NBA. From the article:
Still, despite an announced attendance of 14,316 for Tuesday night’s victory over the Celtics, there were plenty of empty seats in the upper bowl. That comes despite a ticket promotion the Bucks made for the game, selling $61 seats for $30, and $29 upper-level seats for $14.
Now I’m sure I’m not the only one to realize this, but outside the occasional ticket promotion, NBA games are prohibitively expensive for an average family to attend! Second, it’s a school night so of course you’re not going to be selling out the house!
When I took Carter to his first Bucks game back in January, I commented on how expensive tickets were. I ended up paying $60 per ticket for the two seats we got in the first row of the upper deck. It was a special treat partially because it would be tough to cough up $120 just for tickets more than a few times a year, no matter how well the team is doing.
When the whole family went to a game about a month ago, we sat about seven rows from the top. The price per ticket was about $18 for a total of just under $80 to go to a basketball game that we could barely see.
My point is for all the Bucks executives out there, it takes more than the occasional ticket promotion to get people in the door. You may think $14 for a seat where you need oxygen tanks is a good deal, but for anyone bringing a family along, it’s just not. Doubly so for the lower deck, where a family of four can expect to shell out over $300 for a single game!
Get with it and stop feigning surprise when you’re surprised that the market segment you’re pricing out of your games fails to show up even when the team is doing well.
(All that said, I do enjoy watching Bucks games and am excited they’re making a run for the playoffs. Unfortunately, like most people, I have to enjoy watching on FS Wisconsin from my living room.)