Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How did Dad29 miss this?

The Vatican Wednesday declared "illegitimate" the ordination of priests planned for later this month by a hardline breakaway movement from the Roman Catholic Church.

"The ordinations are ... still to be considered illegitimate," the Vatican said in a communique, despite its controversial decision to lift the excommunication of four bishops from the Society of St Pius X including Holocaust denier Richard Williamson.

Members of the fraternity "do not exercise legitimate ministries in the (Roman Catholic) Church," the communique said. The Vatican will maintain this position "as long as issues concerning doctrine are not clarified," it said, adding that the Switzerland-based group had "no canonical status in the Church."

The pope's decision in January to lift Williamson's excommunication infuriated the Jewish community and many Catholics.

Benedict's predecessor Pope John Paul II excommunicated Williamson and three other bishops after traditionalist leader Marcel Lefebvre ordained them as bishops of his separatist church in 1988.

Their fraternity rejected reforms passed by Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, notably including a declaration, Nostra Aetate, which ended a Church doctrine by which the Jews were held responsible for killing Jesus Christ.

Williamson, who claims that no Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers, has apologised to anyone offended by his remarks but has refused to retract his assertions, saying only that he would reexamine the historical evidence.

The pope said in March that while the bishops had been "invited" back into the fold, they "do not (yet) legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church."

Benedict said that the four must recognise "the authority of the pope and the Second Vatican Council" in order to "complete the last steps necessary to achieve full communion with the Church." Lefebvre ordained the four, in defiance of John Paul II, as bishops to create a heirarchy for the breakway group.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Do you think Doyle and the Democrats are doing a good job of running Wisconsin?

It's a fair question in light of Doyle's predicted $6.2 billion budget shortfall.

Yep, times are tough but catch this little blurb from Oklahoma and then ask yourself the headline question:

OKLAHOMA CITY -– State Treasurer Scott Meacham on Thursday announced a budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.As a result, state agencies will have to cut their budgets by 1.42 percent for June.Meacham said he does not think the public will notice the cutbacks.The last allocation to state agencies is set to go out next week. The amount, $480 million, will be reduced by $6.8 million, Meacham said.The agency cuts amount to a 0.1 percent reduction for all of fiscal year 2009, which ends June 30."Since January, we have been cautioning that this scenario could occur as Oklahoma experiences the effects of the recession," Meacham said. "Unfortunately, a revenue shortfall has now occurred and we are forced to make small, across-the-board cuts."The state's last budget shortfall occurred in fiscal year 2003.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Can you make an undocumented left turn?

Leave it to the Kenosha News to screw things up.

Reporter Terry Flores wrote an interesting article today about how the state budget bill includes a provision that would permit illegal aliens to secure driver cards from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, a practice similar to Utah's which doesn't issue illegal aliens regular driver's licenses.

The story, of course, features a left-wing slant with the telling repetition of "undocumented immigrants" instead of the accurate description of "illegal aliens."

Of course, if Terry Flores or one of her editors made a left turn while driving in violation of an official sign prohibiting such a turn, I guess they'd be making an undocumented turn.


Too bad Barack never met Ben Lawton

There are people in life you are privilged to have known.

The late Ben Lawton is one of them.

Ben Lawton died in 1987. He was only 64 but had a rich life which included being a cardiac surgeon, president of the Marshfield Clinic and University of Wisconsin regent.

What impressed me the most about Ben Lawton was his ability to speak for the common man.

On the cost of medical education: "If I had to pay what these kids do now, I'd still be driving a beer truck."

On the high cost of medical care: "Do you need $70,000 in tests for a 70 cent answer?"

Ben Lawton was no country quack. He helped bring top quality health care to the rural areas of central Wisconsin -- "gold card" care by urban standards.

And he and his cohorts did it in such a way to avoid duplication of costs and services.

As Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and others look for ways to deal with their health care issue, it's too bad Ben Lawton isn't around to advise them.

One thing I think he'd point out is that you'll never do anything meaningful if you don't control insanely spiraling costs.

Simply stated, the health care industry has run amok and just throwing money at it -- our money -- won't fix it. (Of course, the auto industry "bailout" model should work for them, shouldn't it? Nah.)

Cost containment. Reducing paperwork burdens and duplication of services. Caps on unnecessary spending by health care providers. Ferreting out corruption and kickbacks.

These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling. It's time that health care provders return to acting like health care professionals instead of car salesmen.

Soglin's Onto Something

After reading his blog I usually think Paul Soglin, Madison's "hippie mayor" who turned out to be one of the chamber of commerce's best friends, is on something. But this time I think Paul really is onto something when he posted about what the UAW did not do to General Motors.

It's a great read:

I was raised on General Motors automobiles. Every car my Dad bought, except for a Dodge Dart he purchased from a relative, was a Chevy. My uncles and aunts bought GM.

I was committed to doing my part and bought American cars. GM cars.

My first new car purchase was a Buick Regal purchased in 1978. I loved that car. We made two trips to Boston, one to Washington D.C., two skiing trips out west to Colorado and Idaho, camping trips in Wisconsin, and countless trips to Chicago for family in all sorts of weather.

In 1982, little holes, pin holes appeared in the roof. I knew that the body problems could be a disaster so I traded it in for a new Buick Regal. The new car was nice but the engine cut out every time I made a right turn up a hill. Go figure.

In the next fifteen years, Sara and I purchased three more GM cars, including one for my mother-in-law, and not including the Buick for the mayor's office.

The last new car was the Chevy Blazer. In 1992 with three kids, three large dogs, and Sara constantly hauling furniture that she was painting, an SUV was a logical choice. The vehicle was a nightmare.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) did not put the holes in the roof of the Regal.

The UAW did not create the design defect that made the second Regal stall on the
right turns.

The UAW did not design the Blazer which Consumer Reports rated as one of the worst SUVs on the road.

The UAW did not make the Japanese design of my Infiniti with 90,000 miles and rides like it was brand new.

The UAW did not make GM build Hummers while Toyota was building the Prius.

The UAW did not order German and Japanese engineers to build smart, zippy, fuel efficient cars for the youth market so they would grow up snickering at U.S. cars.

The UAW did not fog the minds of GM executives so they believed they were on the right track with the Cadillac Escalade.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pork and slime: Another day in Madison

Wisconsin's prince of slime, Jimmy Doyle, woes and moans over a projected $6.6 billion dollar budget defecit.

Jimmy -- heaven forbid that anyone call him James E. Doyle, jr. -- lays on the guilt trip that times are tough. User fees will increase, services will be curtailed and even essential state employees will be furloughed. Cue the drama! Oh, the pain we must all bear!

Now, my late mom would say, "You have to spend money to make money" and I don't object if there's a return on our investment. But don't hand us crap about how bad the state's finances are and then go out on a spending spree.

The Wisconsin State Journal caught Jimmy Boy and his majority pals in Madison with their pants and panties down:

It's hard to take state lawmakers seriously when they talk about how
difficult the state budget is when they're splurging on pet projects. Just look
at the laundry list of earmarks Democrats who control the Legislature's budget
committee slipped into the budget in the middle of the night last week before
quickly advancing the state's two-year spending plan:

• $28 million in state-funded borrowing for a nursing building on the UW-Madison campus -- something the university didn't ask for or prioritize.

• $5 million for the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

• $500,000 for an opera house in Oshkosh that was already being repaired without help from the state.

• $100,000 to restore a stone barn in Oconto County.

• $50,000 for playground equipment in a Beloit park.

The list goes on and on. And most of the dozens of last-minute earmarks benefit the districts of committee members or the districts of vulnerable incumbents.

Some of these projects may be worthy. But they can hardly be justified as essential in the face of a record state budget shortfall.

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, tried to defend the excessive earmarks during a meeting with the State Journal editorial board Wednesday. The two men chair the Legislature's budget committee. Pocan said the earmarks attached to the budget last week represent only a tiny fraction of the state's overall spending.

But what Pocan ignores is that these pet projects are hugely symbolic, leading to public distrust and disgust.

Ordinary citizens will ask themselves: Why should I have to sacrifice for the state through service cuts and higher taxes if somebody else is getting $13 million for an armory in Wisconsin Rapids, $500,000 for an environmental center to serve Monona and Madison, $50,000 for a shooting range in Eau Claire County and $46,000 for subsidized recycling bins in Wrightstown.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that 29 earmarks were for more than $100,000:

$44.5 million, mostly in bonds, for a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire education building; represented by Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and Rep. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire).

$13 million for the Wisconsin Rapids armory; represented by Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), who is on the committee, and Rep. Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids).

$28 million in bonds for a School of Nursing facility at the UW-Madison; Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit), a nurse who sits on the committee, has long backed her profession in the Legislature.

$6.6 million for a Yahara River project in Dane County; the county is represented mostly by Democrats, including the committee's co-chairmen, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona).

$5 million for the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corp. in downtown Milwaukee; represented by Sen. Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee).

$4 million for planning a joint museum for the State Historical Society and Department of Veterans Affairs; an area served by Pocan, Miller and other Dane County legislators would benefit.

Up to $1.25 million for Manitowoc Road in Bellevue; represented by Sen. Alan Lasee (R-De Pere) and Rep. Ted Zigmunt (D-Francis Creek).

$800,000 for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin; the center has locations throughout the state.

Up to $500,000 for Washington Street in Racine; Democrats Sen. John Lehman, a committee member, and Rep. Robert Turner represent the area.

$500,000 for an environmental center in a park that borders Madison and Monona; the two cities are represented by the committee's co-chairmen.

$500,000 for the Oshkosh Opera House; Republican Sen. Randy Hopper and Rep. Gordon Hintz, a Democrat, represent Oshkosh.

$500,000 for Eco Park in La Crosse; represented by Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) and committee member Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse).

Up to $430,000 for Highway X in Chippewa County; represented by Sen. Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Kristen Dexter (D-Eau Claire).

Up to $400,000 for State St. in Racine; represented by Lehman and Turner.

$300,000 for the AIDS Network in Madison; represented by Pocan and Senate President Fred Risser (D-Madison).

$250,000 for a bridge on S. Reid Road in Rock County; Robson and Rep. Chuck Benedict (D-Beloit).

$250,000 for the Madison Children's Museum; represented by Pocan and Risser.

$125,000 to remodel an Eau Claire library; represented by Kreitlow and Dexter.

$100,000 for Huron Road in Bellevue; represented by Lasee and Zigmunt.

$100,000 for the Stone Barn historic site in Oconto County; represented by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who sits on the committee, and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).

The dark side of our future: abberations in the gene pool

Julius Burton -- who admits he shot two Milwaukee police officers point blank -- has a rather interesting, albeit brief, Facebook page. He's "engaged "to "baby mama" who is a high school junior.

And just like Charles Manson, this useless piece of human excrement has his share of supporters and followers, such as brother Donovan whose intellectual capacity must have been strained to write this token of support: "My mothing fucking brother nigga i love u til neath no matter what."

A wonderful testament to the Milwaukee Public Schools, I'm sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Message to everyone: Dreams still can come true

In the midst of the daily barrage of depressing news, occasionally there's a ray of hope and optimism -- something that went down as it should.

Sunday night's Tony awards ceremonies in New York brought home that point when the award for best featured actress in a musical went to Karen Olivo for her role of Anita in the revision of West Side Story that opened earlier this year on Broadway.

My wife and I had the privilege of spending New Year's Eve up close at the preview of the new West Side Story at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., the very same venue that the original version opened at in 1957.

The revised version -- I am reluctant to say revival because there's been a significant revision -- is a bit more realistic in that a good chunk of the dialogue is in Spanish, i.e., those parts that would have been spoken by the Sharks and their community. Also, both the Jets and Sharks appear a bit less like choir boys although that could have been carried farther.

Nonetheless, what stole the show was the firery performance by Karen Olivo as Anita followed by Josefina Scaglione, a 21 year old actress from Buenos Aires who is the new Maria. (Scaglione was nominated for a Tony award for best actress in a musical but didn't win.)

Olivo's passion, dancing, singing -- you name it -- went beyond flawless. Every review in Washington and later in New York clearly pegged her as the star of the show and the Wall Street Journal went so far as to call Olivo's performance "blowtorch hot."

So, why is this significant?

At the age of six, Karen Olivo became enamored with Anita played by Rita Moreno in the movie version of West Side Story. She got to play the role at her high school in central Florida from which she graduated in 1994.

Olivo made her way to Broadway, starting as an understudy in Rent where she met her husband and then went on to a critically acclaimed performance in In the Heights which she gave up to take a chance on West Side Story.

Sunday night a stunned and often speechless Olivo cried during her acceptance speech -- a note of humility not lost on the masses -- but just as important were the cheers from the Orlando area moms and dads from her high school theater days (the Florida version of the KYPAC moms here in Kenosha) who knew that someday she'd make it.

In that teary acceptance speech Olivo said that dreams can come true and it's obvious that she's living proof.

So the next time you see some talented kid giving it his or her best, there's nothing wrong with encouraging them to move forward. It can happen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The demise of Chrysler -- and common sense

You have to wonder what kind of parents raise the dim bulbs who have graduate degrees but no common sense.

The folks who are destroying Chrysler and the brainless bankruptcy judge who is enabling them are seriously in need of a reverse lobotomy.

I'm sure we could talk forever about the ills of the auto industry but the example I cited last month holds true today -- the last day that Sun Country in St. George, Utah will be selling Chrysler products.

Auto dealer trade groups point out -- correctly -- that the dealers don't cost the manufacturers money. They buy their inventory at wholesale and pay for their building, employees and parts. They even buy the sign.

When you ask company flacks why they want to reduce the dealer network you get a hodgepodge of nonspecific gobbledygook that sounds like MBA-speak but is about as valuable as an old Yugo.

The brainless bozo of a bankruptcy judge in New York doesn't give a rat's behind about the dealers or Chrysler's customers. Ditto for small town America.

Why should he? (If you have to ask, then you're obviously part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.)

As previously stated, the dealer network helps Chrysler sell its cars. They also service them and sell parts. Dealers pay their own way.

So, if you're in the booming town of St. George and your local Chrysler dealer is closing, are you likely to buy a car that can't be serviced unless you drive a couple of hours to Las Vegas?

You can't even drive an hour up the road to Cedar City. Nope. Chrysler pulled the plug on its Cedar City dealers, too.

Multiply that by the other dealers Chrysler kicked out and the towns they served and it certainly gives anyone with common sense pause when buying a new car. Simply stated, if you can't buy it or get it serviced locally, why bother with a Chrysler product?

That's basic common sense -- something that the MBA's and bankruptcy court bozos in Manhattan can't connect with in any way, shape or form. Chrysler and its federal enablers are basically telling customers and dealers, "Screw you!"

There's a Toyota dealer in St. George. Ditto for Honda. And Nissan. Why does that matter?

Years ago one of the complaints against imports was that if you travel you can't find service and parts.

Amazing how times have changed -- and how if common sense was truly common, you'd buy it at Wal-Mart.