Where Should the Republicans Start?

I’ve been haunted by what an elected State Republican told me and others months ago regarding the State Budget bill. We were told that we have to “be ready to negotiate a tax increase” and that the State Republicans will try to get it to zero but that with such a large gap between what the Democrats are proposing and what the Republicans are hoping for there was not much hope.

So here is the dilemma; many of us have been calling our legislators and asking them to sign the “zero tax increase” pledge but to what end? We want 0% increase and the other side wants a 15% increase…where is the middle ground? 5-10% increase!?!?

Think about this another way, you are find a person selling something you want and they are asking $125 for it but you do not can’t to spend any more than $100 for it, what do you offer the guy? If you offer $100 and the guy says $110…the show is over. But if you offer $75 or $80 you might be able to talk him down to $100. That is how you negotiate effectively.

The Republicans in the State Legislature are in a similar predicament. In order for them to get us the 0% tax increase they need to start with a tax and spending cut equal to the tax and spending increase the Democrats are proposing. Maybe then we will see a true tax freeze that this state desperately needs.

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Name that Country

Ah yes, today is Thursday, and that means it is time for another country.

Last week I was starting to get worried that no one would get it but it looks like someone finally did. The country was Hungary !!

This week is a little more difficult; 7 out of 10.

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Some days it is just that easy…

Today I open the paper and see the following “Lehman Says New State Budget Favors Middle Class” and I laughed.

No, really, I laughed out loud at this. The Democrats in the State Senate just gave us the largest tax increase in Wisconsin history and Lehman actually thinks this is good for the middle class?

Lehman proposed to include the KRM tax and merchandise product hike into this bloated budget. He is also a big fan of socialistic healthcare for Wisconsin…I knew he was a left winger but didn’t realize that he was a Socialist!

In total we will see a minimum of a 15% tax hike in Wisconsin…but all is not lost, maybe we can bring that down to 5-10% since the Republican controlled Assembly still has to vote on their budget and then the negotiations begin.

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Welcome to SE Wisconsin…that will be $13 dollars please.

While I am not surprised I was hoping that there would be no further developments on the whole KRM thing while I was gone but it looks like that wasn’t meant to be.

The State Senate moved forward on KRM yesterday by including the $13 fee on rental cars in the Governors budget.

Here is the JT link (06/25/2007: State Senate restores funding for KRM commuter rail in budget) and a few quotes from the blog…I think many of these people are nuts:

“This Milwaukee-Chicago corridor has got to be one of the most densely populated areas in the nation, so it's time to really make an effort to provide some better mass transit.”

What was this person smoking…have they ever driven through the “dense” areas of Racine and Kenosha…do we have any?

“I think its a great idea to have a train from Chicago to Milwaukee that would create more jobs and hopefully build up Racine's economy!!!!”

Once again it’s important that we tell people this is not going to Chicago it’s going to Kenosha!

“If riders are supposed to pay for the train then should drivers pay for the freeway and other roads?”

Once again the Brain trust has lost a good one…over 90% of people in the KRM corridor drive…only 0.5% will ever use KRM!!!

“We are now a community of commuters and service providers.”

So which is it? Is the train going to bring business as promised or will we become a bedroom community?

The same person said the following:

“A stronger link to the Milwaukee metropolis is needed. A train will provide the link.” and
“The problem with Racine is that we have a fairly large number of unemployable people who have no interest in education, jobs, arts & crafts, tourism, or anything else productive.That is the problem with Racine. The schools suck, crime is not controlled, and taxes are high, all because of this unproductive population.We can't get rid of this population, their roots are in deep. We can't improve them or change them in any way.So there, root cause done. Quit blaming the results.”

So explain to me how this little train is going to help this?

There is more but you are going to have to read it yourself.

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Name that Country

You are getting to see this a little early this week since I am traveling to the beautiful island of Aruba with my wife to celebrate 6 married years together!! Can't promise that I'll blog from there but I'll try.

Last week...Ya got that right mahn…the country was Jamaica, mahn.

This week might be hard for some…but not for the people who read this blog!!

6 out of 10.

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Still trying to keep things easy…this week!

Show the factors for 20.

Extra credit: Show the prime factors of 20.

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Corn and Energy Prices

Today the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation came out with the following press release:

Study: EnergyPrices, Not Corn, is Rising Food Prices
USAgNet - 06/15/2007

Ethanol critics and many in the media charge that the rising price of corn due to growing ethanol demand is the major culprit for moderately rising consumer food prices. Conspicuously absent from the discussion is the chief reason for increasing food costs: escalating energy costs.

According to a new analysis of food, energy and corn prices conducted by John Urbanchuk of LECG, LLC, "rising energy prices had a more significant impact on food prices than did corn." Rising energy prices have twice the impact on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food than does the price of corn, according to the report.

"Energy costs have a much greater impact on consumer food costs as they impact every single food product on the shelf," said Urbanchuk. "Energy is required to produce, process, package and ship each food item. Conversely, corn prices impact just a small segment of the food market as not all products rely on corn for production."

According to the study, "Increasing petroleum prices have about twice the impact on consumer food prices as equivalent increases in corn prices.'

A 33 percent increase in crude oil prices - the equivalent of $1.00 per gallon over current levels of retail gasoline prices - would increase retail food prices measured by the CPI for food by 0.6 to 0.9 percent.

But wouldn’t Ethanol be considered an energy cost? And if so wouldn’t the increase in these cost drive up the production cost of corn for food?

I understand what they are saying but I think that they need to reconsider the wording they use.

Today corn production is no longer just for food but for energy as well and that places the cost of corn into multiple sectors of the economy while only being counted in one.

So my question to all of you is at what point should we consider corn prices similar to other energy costs and not an agricultural food product?

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Name that Country

I warned you all that last week’s was extremely difficult but still unreal was able to find the right country.

Swaziland is one of the two land locked countries inside of South Africa and to answer still unreal’s question…I can not think of another country that has 2 (or more) land locked countries inside it’s borders.

This week’s should be a bit easier but still not simple. 6 out of 10.

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Budget Cuts

So I pick up the paper this morning and see the following: “Unified looks to find savings by cutting textbook budget”

Now ask yourself the question, if the school district is in the business of educating children why would they look to cut the textbook budget and not cut the administration budget?

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Spin, Spin, SPIN!!!

Today a Reuter’s story titled Kilimanjaro's shrinking snow not sign of warming has scientists saying “see we told you so!”

Unlike Algore, scientists prefer to deal in facts. Algore used stunning (yes, I saw the film and I will admit that the cinematography was fantastic!) cinematography to perpetrate a lie! He stated that the snow of Kilimanjaro was eroding due to global warming when in fact there was scientific proof that it was not.

Slowly the media will catch up to the fact that while the earth may be warming to say that the cause is human-made is to be quite arrogant!

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Do Democrats really get how good the economy really is? Yesterday George Will had a great op-ed piece titled Democrat’s Prosperity Problem.

I want to showcase a few of the fascinating points George will lays out for his readers:

Since the 2002 “Bush tax cuts”

  • There have been 65 uninterrupted months of growth so far
  • Quarterly growth has averaged 3%
  • More than 8 million jobs created
  • Deficit as a percentage of GDP is below the average since WWII

When the “Bush tax cuts” expire:
  • The lowest of wage earners will see the largest percent increase in their taxes – 50%
  • Child tax credit will go from $1,000 to $500
  • Marriage tax penalty will be restored

He also talks about AMT (created by the Democrats) and how in 1993 Democrats “fixed” it…now it affects nearly 23 million households.

George hit the mark with this piece.

Do they really think that rolling back the tax cuts will have a positive effect on the economy?
It leaves me wondering what will happen if a Democrat wins the White House?
Can they actually win the White House running on an “increase taxes” platform?

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Doyle’s Statement on the Budget

Statement by Doyle

“I look forward to signing a budget that reflects Wisconsin’s values, protects Wisconsin’s priorities, and invests in Wisconsin’s people.”

Does he really?

Wisconsin is still one of the highest taxes states in the country and yet he thinks that his tax increases are the will of Wisconsinites?

He proudly proclaims that “This is not a budget for the big oil or the big tobacco companies – it is a budget for the middle class” and he is right because most of $1.7 billion tax increase burden will fall squarely on the shoulders of the middle class.

Democrats on the JFC are following Doyle down a very dark and dangerous road. If Republicans want to take over Madison in the next election they need to hold their ground and vote for a “zero tax increase” budget. If they fail to do so they will be turning their backs on their base and Doyle wins.

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This is why there are millionaires out there.

How would you like to get rid of all of those wires in your house? TV, VCR, and even your laptop would never have to be plugged in!

Well Dr Marin Soljacic and his team from MIT are simply brilliant!

They created a way for a room to be completely wireless.

The end of the plug?

I would be a willing to offer up my house if they would like to test this on any large scale!

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Seeing how much math is used in everything we do, including politics, I think that it is very important for all of us to have a strong grasp of these skills.

So in that frame of mind I am going to start a new weekly segment on my blog labeled simply Math.

This will become a regular weekend feature but for today I thought I’d start you off with an easy example.


3 + 4 x 4 + 2 – 6 x 2 + 4 ÷ 2 = ?

****Answer:**** Using Standard Order of Operations (multiplication and division before addition and subtraction) you get:
3 + 16 + 2 – 12 + 2 = 11

Thank you steveegg for showing us how it is done!

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Name that Country

Last week’s country was POLAND!

That was a gimme because this week is tough; 10 out of 10.

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Alcohol powder!?!

Reuters: Dutch students invent alcohol powder

All you have to do is mix it with water and you have a 3% by volume alcoholic beverage!!

Wow that is creative! Not sure how useful it is but definitely creative.

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Sierra Club is right

I consider myself a conservationist and I usually disagree with most of the arguments from the Sierra Club but their request to federally ban nonylphenol ethoxylates is a good thing!! (link)

This is what a typical nonylphenol molecule looks like:

The catch is this molecule and similar derivatives are used in detergents and can ultimately end up in our water supply.

This doesn’t sound that bad until you also realize that one of the derivatives of molecule is Nonoxynol-9...

...used as a spermicide in contraceptives!! This is one of the forms of xenoestrogen which is currently changing the sex of some fish from male to female!!

What could it do to us?

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Liberals and Afghanistan

The liberals keep stating that we need to get out of Iraq because we are neglecting our role in Afghanistan, but are we?

Today the AP reported that the US has stepped up our air attacks on Iraq (see U.S. Doubles Air Attacks in Iraq) by more than twice what we had done last year.

This seems to go right along with what the liberals are saying until you read the very last sentence:

“Air attacks in Iraq are still relatively low compared with the numbers of weapons dropped in Afghanistan - 929 this year as of May 15.”

For the record we have dropped 237 in Iraq so far in 2007.

So why is it that the media is not talking about the Afghanistan Operations? Could it be that there truly is a bias?

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Libby gets 2 ½ years

Well the verdict is in on Scooter Libby and it looks like he will serve time in prison for not remembering dates of when he talked to specific individuals about specific topics.

Liberals will be enraged with my following statement but too bad.

Amazing that a Republican charged with perjury and obstruction of justice resigns from his position in the White House and gets 2 ½ years in prison while Democrat Bill Clinton is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice as well as lying to Congress while under oath and gets to keep his job, gets disbarred, impeached, and serves no prison time or removal from office.

That is outrageous!

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90% vs. 0.5%

I’m tired of the KRM crowd using the…“well if you want a referendum on rail then I want a referendum on roads.”

The simple fact is most people drive on the roads. Based on census data over 90% of Racine County commutes via driving. Therefore we need roads…we don’t need rail. If we inflate the numbers that Transit NOW is promoting as riding numbers then we would find that about 0.5% of Racine County would commute using rail and they would still have to use the roads when they got to their destination!

So if rail is only going to cater to 0.5% of the population but be paid for by all, should we not then buy bikes for those that wish to ride to work? Or new shoes to those who walk to work?

I’d also like to point out that comments about businesses shouldering the majority of the cost due to they rent most of the rental cars doesn’t hold water…when was the last time a company didn’t pass on their costs to their consumers? That is how they manage to stay in business!!

At the end of the day all the KRM enthusiast wants is the new choo-choo.

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It’s about time!!!

William Jefferson (D-LA.) may finally see his day in court!

AP: Feds say La. congressman to be indicted

*** UPDATE!!! ***

AP: Jury indicts Jefferson in bribery probe

WASHINGTON - Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting, record), D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long-running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.

The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria., Va., Monday is more than an inch thick and list 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 200 years.

But will the Democrats finally call him out!?!? Probably not.

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Friday Funny

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Racine GOP and the Brewers!!

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