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Posts Tagged ‘wisconsin’

The family is on a no-tech holiday, more on that later. As a result, the blog will be back next week. Here is what I have planned for the future: My No Tech Vacation, Emotion vs Logic: Battle of the Titans, and a multi part series on Wisconsin. So, stay tuned. In the mean time, here is a quote that I like:

“I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

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So, it is finally over.  Two and half million people voted and governor, Scott Walker becomes the first governor to survive a recall.  Fifty-three percent of the vote goes to Walker.  Walker raised over 30 million dollars to win.  Barrett only raised 4 million.  You know what?  How many programs could have been saved with 34 million dollars?  It is ridiculous.  Don’t raise my taxes, but I will give you $500,000 so that you can win a campaign.  The world has gone crazy.

Do you realize that you can’t win a major political office without money?  Also, why does no one have a problem with the inherent conflict of interest?  Governor Scott Walker received over $500,000 from Diane Hendricks of Beloit, Wisconsin.  Are you telling me that he is not obliged to keep her happy?  At least a little?  I am not blaming Walker for this, I am blaming the system.  I want to be President of the United States, and I think I would make a damn good one, but I can’t.  I do not have the money, nor the connections to money to make it happen.

I am glad the recall is over.  As I wrote in a previous blog, I was against the recall.  We are still a divided state, heck a divided country, but I think there needs to be more stringent guidelines for recalls beyond disagreement.  Besides, I am not convinced that Tom Barrett would have done a better job.  There, I said it.

PS – I did vote, but not for whom you might think.

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A couple of days ago, my five-year-old son and my wife were admiring their respective uvulas.  As a matter of fact, they called me over to ask what that “punching bag” at the back of the mouth was called.  I told them it was their uvula.  I am hoping that my son will refer to this object using the correct term, rather than “the penis hanging down from inside mommy’s mouth”.  True story.  And I have no more to say on the matter.  I’m just sayin’ …

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So, let me begin this blog by stating that I am not a fan of Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker.  However, I have not signed any recall petitions.  I am actually against the recall.  This is how it should work: You do your research, you decide who is the best candidate, and then you vote.  If your candidate loses, then you support whomever is in office (support and agreement are not the same thing) and you move on.  Will I vote in the recall election?  I haven’t decided.

If you voted for Scott Walker, and now you are upset, whose fault is that?  Did you do your research?  Or did you just vote party line?  Well then, you made your bed, now lie in it.  If you didn’t vote for Scott Walker, what is the basis of the recall?  Is it because you didn’t get your way?  Childish.  I do not like this precedent.  But then …

Less than two weeks ago, the Equal Pay Enforcement Act was repealed, signed by Scott Walker.  The purpose of the law was to provide anyone who has been discriminated against to plead their case in circuit court rather than federal.  It also provided stronger enforcement mechanisms for violations of pay and workplace discrimination.

I have no idea why anyone would be against mechanisms to help prevent employers from discrimination.  Between Wisconsin’s Castle Doctrine (We too had a recent shooting.  The castle law allowed the shooter to kill within the law.  The victim was also a young black man), concealed carry, loss of bargaining rights, major education funding cuts, and now the repeal of equal pay enforcement act, maybe the recall isn’t such a bad idea.
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I don’t know if I’d call it a war on women, but it does appear as if the Republican party has shot a cannon across the bow.  I mean, it’s not like the War on Christmas (He wrote sarcastically).  I’m just sayin …

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So, you may not believe this, but I know Wisconsin’s Secretary of State, Doug La Follette.  I could call him to have lunch, and he would probably say yes.  You see that thing on the floor?  Yup, that’s a name and I just dropped it.  You see, I love name dropping.  I get to name drop so rarely that any time I get to state a relationship with someone of importance, power, or influence, I jump at the chance.  Trust me, the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is about as true as life gets.  And if you drop the right name at the right time, it is amazing what opportunities will open up for you that you never thought possible.

JJ, JT and some boob. Best Super Bowl Halftime EVER!

Depending on the venue will determine what names I am able to drop, and some names are more worthy of dropping than others.  I also never drop a name unless it makes sense to do so, and/or the situation requires it.  I don’t just walk into a room and say, “You know, Janet Jackson was at my high school graduation and heard me sing” – True story.  Now, if someone is telling a story about a famous person that was at their high school graduation, then I now have my ‘in’ to tell my Janet Jackson story.

So, today, when I was given the opportunity to drop a name, I was giddy as a school girl. About a week and half ago, my wife, Leah threw me a surprise birthday party.  Lots of people showed up, I was 95% surprised, and it was very cool.  And although I was not expecting any presents, I got a few.  One present was a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants, Tozinos.  Now it just so happens that the owners of this restaurant are my friends and are the ones that gave me the gift card.  They have several restaurant locations, and I drive close by one of them every weekend when I drop off and pick up my son from his mom.  Unfortunately, when I drive pass this restaurant it is either in the morning before it opens, or mid-afternoon and too early for dinner.  But, everytime I drive by when I am hungry, I almost always stop by to eat.  Today was one of those days.

I had just landed at Chicago O’Hare from Portland, Oregon.  I picked my son up from his mom’s house and was heading home.  I was starving.  I had my gift card in my car and was ready to get some pizza and broccoli salad, one of my favorite items from this restaurant’s buffet.  I handed the cashier my gift card and she attempted to swipe it.  It would not work.  She tried everything and the card would not register on her computer.  She finally told me “This is an invalid card.”  “Are you sure?”  I asked, thinking that this card is from the owner.  She finally said, “Sorry?”  And then she gave me a look as if to say, you got screwed, and said “Who gave you this card?”  “Perfect”, I thought.  I told her, “Who gave it to me?  Who gave it to me?  I will have you know that the very proprietor of this establishment bequeathed that card unto me.  The owners of this restaurant are personal friends of mine, and so you will show me some respect.  I will have you fired unless this matter isn’t resolved post-haste.”  I don’t know if I used those exact words, but it was something along those lines.  The cool thing about this situation was that the woman was clearly nervous, which I thought was awesome.

The woman talked to her supervisor, and then called the corporate office and left a message on my friend’s voicemail.  At this point, I’m thinking, I may have overplayed my “I know the owner” card.  Because at the end of the day, it really wasn’t a big deal.  I texted my friend, and he said that he would get the card fixed, but in the mean time, he gave me something far better than a gift card to a restaurant, he gave me a story.  And I love stories.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.  My son and I finished our meal.  Upon leaving, the cashier wanted to reassure me that she did everything possible to resolve the matter.  I told that she would get to keep her job, for now.  She kissed my ring and then we left.  All in all, the dining experience could not have gone any better.  Hmmm, who knows, maybe I will make a visit to the state capitol.

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My sister used to own a restaurant.  It is a good thing that I never lived anywhere near it.  Even when I visited the restaurant I didn’t expect to pay.  My thought was always, “Don’t you know who I am?  I’m your boss’ brother.  I’m your boss uncle.  I’m your buncle.  So fry me up some shrimp, or I’ll fire your behind!  I’m just sayin …

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So, I was planning on playing a little golf today, but I did not.  Do you know why?  I didn’t play because it was too cold and windy.   That’s right, too cold.  Do you know what today is?  It’s May 26th.  In less than one week it will be June.  If I could punch Wisconsin weather in the face, I would.  Annoying as Wisconsin weather can be, even this is an abnormal May for Wisconsin.  It could be worse.  I could have a tornado going down my street.  I’ll say this much, if one was to predict the Rapture, this was certainly a good year for it.  Sheesh.

Complaining aside, the weather was not what I wanted to blog about.  I am about to get on my high horse.  Ye be warned says I.

About a week ago, the big wigs of McDonald’s decided not to ban Ronald McDonald.

At least he is not obese.

You may be asking yourself, why would McDonald’s consider banning their icon of 50 years?  I’ll tell you why.  Over a year ago,  the same corporate watchdog group (Corporate Accountability International) that got rid of Joe Camel set its sights on getting rid of Ronald McDonald.  The argument is simple:  McDonald’s is trying to target your kids and convince them through the magic of advertising that McDonald’s is where they want to eat.  If you have kids, you know as well as I do that McDonald’s has succeeded in their goal.

Here is the problem I have with stories like this:  Who’s responsibility is it to make sure that your kids are eating properly?  Because the last time I checked, five-year-olds are not driving to McDonald’s and ordering a Happy Meal.  It’s McDonald’s job to get your kids to want to eat at McDonald’s.  It is the parent’s job to monitor what the child eats.  Am I to believe that it is now McDonald’s job to be a fast food restaurant and a parent?  I don’t think so.  When I was a kid I didn’t eat McDonald’s every day.  You know why?  Because my mom wouldn’t allow it.  My wife takes our kids to the McDonald’s Playland without ordering food.  She can do this because she is in charge of our kids.  What a concept!  A parent in charge of the kids.

I hope Ronald McDonald does get fired.  Not because of his influence on kids, but because I hate clowns.  If a restaurant wants to get rid of trans fats, or give happy meals a fruit option, or if an owner wants to put caloric information on menus, fine, but don’t make it a law.  You know who makes the laws in my house?  I do.  And if you can’t keep your 3-year-old from eating a Happy Meal, the problem isn’t a big, floppy red boot wearing clown, it’s you.  Parent your child and make the right choices for them, so that when they get older, maybe, just maybe, they will know why having a daily Big Mac may not be the best plan.

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I am not a sushi guy.  I don’t hate sushi, but I would never travel to a restaurant for the sole reason of eating sushi.  If you are a sushi person, this is what you would do and have done.  Nonetheless, the best sushi I have ever eaten was from a restaurant in Vancouver, Canada.  First of all, Vancouver may be the best city I have ever been to, EVER, and I have been to a lot of different cities on this planet.  I went to a Japanese restaurant on a recommendation and I was not disappointed.  I knew it was going to be good, because 90% of the people eating there were Japanese.  Most people were talking in Japanese, including the restaurant staff.  The sushi was so fresh that my fish begged me not to eat him, telling me this crazy story of how he was trying to find his dad.  He was delicious.  Best sushi and best Japanese restaurant I have ever been to.  You may not be aware of this, but the West coast of North America has a long history of Japanese immigration.  This was especially problematic during World War II.  Over 100, 000 Japanese were placed in internment camps.  I bet you didn’t know that the US had internment camps.  Well, we did.  I bet you won’t find that in your 8th grade history book.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I hate to do this, I really do, but I have something to say.  First of all, I hate Fox News, but more on that later.  Unless you live under a rock, you may have noticed that Wisconsin has been in the news lately.  Now, if I were a supporter of conspiracy theories (which I am) I would say that the Governor Walker is trying to destroy unions to eliminate a powerful supporter of the democratic party.  And that he is trying to set precedent for other states to eliminate collective bargaining on his way to create a Republican Super Power or Empire and take away free will from the American people.  I would only say this if I was a conspiracy theorist (which I am).  Why else would he not accept the unions agreement to have employees do EVERYTHING in his bill, accept the loss of collective bargaining?  I’m just sayin.

Am I biased?  Of course I am.  Just the mere fact that I have a PhD, a democrat and an independent thinker makes me biased on this particular issue.  The whole thing is asinine.  Does that make me an elitist?  Probably, and I am OK with that.  Here are the facts:

January 2011 – Walker signs bill providing tax breaks for those with health savings accounts.  This is reduced state revenue, how will it be made up?

January 2011 – Walker signs bill giving tax breaks to businesses that relocate to Wisconsin in their first two years, and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2011 and would lower state revenue by an estimated $1 million over two years.  Will this be made up by stimulating business? I don’t know.

Are these bills bad?  Depending on your perspective, but my issue is that he has spent the first month in office reducing state revenue and then proposes a bill that increases out-of-pocket expenses of a specific population of Wisconsin while simultaneously attempting to severely reduce collective bargaining.  Also, keep in mind, these cuts to pay proposed in this bill does not even scratch the over 3 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B) deficit for the next budget cycle.

Finally, to why I hate Fox News.  On Fox News, it was stated that Wisconsin Union workers make “89,000 bucks” in salary ($51,000) and benefits ($38,000), while non-union workers make an average of $48,000 ($38K + $10K).  The next night they corrected their previous statement, by stating that it is really $81K for Wisconsin versus $66K for everyone else.

Firstly, I hate inaccurate news! (And no I am not saying that Fox is the only news source that gets things wrong.)  Because no one listens to/hears the correction.  It just fuels the stupid commercials I am seeing that somehow these union workers have gotten over on the system.

Secondly, the comparison is not that simple.  If you believe the first set of numbers (the incorrect ones) you would be inclined to think Wisconsin union employees are receiving an unfare advantage.  You might even think this with the accurate numbers, but even the real numbers would be misleading.  Why? Because education matters.

According to the US Census Bureau, 17% of Wisconsin residents (25 years and older) hold a bachelor’s degree.  A bachelor’s degree is required to be a teacher in Wisconsin.  So, the real question is, does a person with a bachelor’s degree in the public sector make more than the private sector equivalent.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, that answer is no.

So, like most political issues, many people are being misled by inaccuracies or national pundits comparing apples to oranges as they miss much of the crucial details that make comparisons have true meaning.  Now Walker may never raise taxes, which will make a lot of people happy, but when he cuts streams of state revinue (like taxbreaks) where is the money going to come from to cover that loss, if not taxes?  Wisconsin union workers will not have their taxes raised, but they will be paying more next year.  Is there a difference?Sorry for this political rant, but it had to be done.

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Last week I was in Walmart and saw a HOT female employee.  Of course, the first thought had been “Is she really hot, or just ‘Walmart’ hot?”  See “Beauty is Relative” for more detailed explanation. But it got me thinking.  Is beauty really that much of an advantage in the work place.  THink about it.  Think about all the jobs that you would never ever want to have, for example, gas attendant, Walmart employee, fry cook, janitor, or garbage collector.  Now, don’t get me wrong, these jobs are important and if you work in one of these jobs, please forgive me for what I am about to say, but people with these jobs are never good-looking  (See?  Sorry).  You know this is true, because when you see a good-looking garbage collector it will seem weird to you.  The only explanation I could give for the Walmart employee being hot, assuming that she was indeed hot, was that she was foreign and just moved to the country.  That would be the only explanation that would make sense to me.  I’m just sayin …

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So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and if you are like us, you have already celebrated the day or at least mostly.  As far as I can tell, most people celebrate the day the weekend before the actual day.  So, when I tried to get dinner reservations for Saturday night, it was impossible.  So, we went to dinner on Friday night instead.  We went to a hoity toity place called Kil@Wat, and I did not misspell the name.  Why the ‘@’?  I have no idea.  The restaurant was in downtown Milwaukee and we were dressed very nice.  Quite frankly, she and I looked awesome.  Her more than me, but that is to be expected.  As we were dressed to impress, we felt empowered to make fun of other people’s attire.  For example, the woman with too short skirt with the waist band just below the neck and about 20 pounds overweight.  The overweight part was fine, but not the too high, too short skirt.  She was not as bad as the woman with the knee-high boots with short short BRIGHT orange skirt and matching low-cut BRIGHT orange top.  She was also about 6 foot 3.  She may have been a hired escort.  I hope she was, because then it would have made more sense, but that might just be me.

OK, back to the restaurant.  The service was amazing.  Our waiter had an assistant.  Seriously, the waiter had an assistant.  What was the assistant’s job?  Good question.  He was to make sure that our water needs were taken care of.  He was peddling two types of mineral water.  I can’t tell you more than that because the idea was ridiculous as far as we were concerned.  Good ol’ Milwaukee city water was just fine by us.  Despite the great ambiance and excellent service, the food was only so so.  We will not be back, but we had a good time.  Plus, we had an excellent coupon, cause that’s how we roll.  On the actual day we will go to Red Robin as a family which is something we have been doing for the past four years I believe.  We will have a good time.  My kids and I will probably forever associate Red Robin with Valentine’s Day.

The whole experience has gotten me thinking of Valentine’s Day and what’s the point of the day.  If you are single and don’t want to be, I can only imagine that the day sucks.  If you are married, then you may be getting your yearly flowers as a gift, if you are a woman, and guaranteed sex night, if you are a man.  It is kind of sad when you think about it.  On one hand, it is beautiful to think of a day that celebrates love.  On the other hand, it is sad that a day created by Hallmark (I don’t know this) is required to get some loving from the person who should be providing the loving on most days anyway.  The irony for me is that I do not know if I have ever got loving on Valentine’s Day.  Not the actual day at least.  Often the day before, or the day after, but rarely on the actual day.  Weird huh?  I can’t complain though, I don’t need Valentine’s Day to get some, which is nice.  My wife will take one for team on a regular a basis, which is nice.  Too much information??  Now take a moment to think of all the people who are hooking up over the next 24 hours.  OK, don’t think about it too much, it might creep you out.  Nonetheless, whether it is once a year, once a week, or daily, I hope you, if you are able, can get your love on this Monday.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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Last Thursday I woke up and it was 8 degrees below zero.  EIGHT FRICKIN’ DEGREES BELOW ZERO!  And I am not talking Celsius, if that has any meaning to you.  For those of you that are lucky enough to live in warm states, let’s bring this temp into perspective.  The temperature would have to raise a full 40 degrees to reach the temperature of an ice-cube.  An ICE CUBE!!  This means on Thursday morning, it was WAY warmer IN my freezer than outside.  Why do I live here?  It was cool to throw boiling water into the air and watch it instantly turn in to snow (see my Facebook page to see video).  Simple pleasures.  I’m just sayin …

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