Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
(Written for Memorial Day but a sign in problem delayed posting.)
Today is Memorial Day, a day we set aside to remember those who paid the ultimate price serving our country. The holiday often just becomes a day to grill out or get that garden planted, but it's original purpose was to be a day of mourning. It is very easy to forget just how many Americans gave their lives in the service of our country over the years and still put their lives on the line today. But if you have ever visited a National Cemetery or Military Park, the evidence of their sacrifice is sobering.
On a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee last fall, my husband and I visited several Civil War Military Parks and a National Cemetery. At the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Parks we read the accounts of the battles and the numbers of casualties. I must confess, it was difficult to grasp the size and scope of the attacks and the numbers of dead and wounded. The Civil War still remains the most bloody and costly in terms of lives lost in U.S. history. Nearly 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War--more than all other wars from the Revolution through Vietnam combined.
What struck me about the Chickamauga Military Park (just south of Chattanooga, TN, in Georgia) was the spirit of forgive and forget that accompanied the creation of the park.
Just 24 years after the end of the Civil War, veterans from opposing sides of the Battle of Chickamauga held a reunion. They called it the Blue and the Gray Barbecue. Where "hundreds of soldiers and their families visited the sites of the bloody battle...smoking the pipe of peace, healing the wounds, and helping start the Chickamauga National Park, known as the Chickamauga Battlefield." The park was established the following year in 1890 to preserve and commemorate the battlefields and was the first and largest in the U.S.
There are 1,400 monuments and historical markers of granite and bronze in the park--nearly all quite impressive in their artistry. The Kentucky monument was not only beautiful to look at, but also in its sentiment. It reads: "Erected by the State of Kentucky in memory of her sons who fought and fell on this field. 'As we are united in life, and they united in death, let one monument perpetuate their deeds, and one people, forgetful of all asperities [harshness or severity], forever hold in grateful remembrance all the glories of that terrible conflict which made all men free and retained every star on the nation's flag.' " (Kentucky was a border state and had both Confederate and Union soldiers in the war.)
Kentucky Governor Bradley's monument dedication speech in 1899 continued that spirit of forgive and forget: (My emphasis)“Kentucky has evinced [clearly shown] no partiality in the evidence of loving remembrance. It carries with it no heart burning, no jealousy, no invidious [offensive] distinction. It is not an emblem of honor to the victor and and reproach to the vanquished, but an equal tribute to the worth of all. In future, the descendants of chivalrous Confederates may proudly gaze upon it, realizing that the state has honored their ancestors, and although their cause was lost, their heroism is revered and their memories perpetuated. And the sons of the brave men who fought on the other side may look upon it with equal pride, feeling that it fitly commemorates the gallant deeds of their illustrious ancestors , who preserved the Nation from destruction. May it endure forever, standing guard over victor and vanquished, with the statue that surmounts it, in one hand holding the torch of liberty shedding abroad its benign rays, in the other grasping the people, ready and anxious at all times to uphold the integrity of one country, and to drive, wounded and bleeding, from its shores any insolent foe that shall ever dare invade them.”
Take a step back into American history this weekend, at Reclaiming Our Heritage , the 9th Annual Living History and Veteran Tribute Event, at the VA Medical Center grounds in Milwaukee.
What makes this event different from most Civil War encampments is that you will see reenactor soldiers and camps from military groups dating from our nation's founding, such as the 1771 Colonial Alliance, to the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, to today.
Yesterday, 11 states held primaries for Governor and mid-term elections. For the most part, conservatives did well.
In Wisconsin, our primary is Sept. 14th, which is very late in the election season. But the Wisconsin GOP convention in May became a catalyst for thinning the herd for U.S. Senate from 4 to 2 candidates. At the convention, candidate Dick Leinenkugel only received .5% of the vote and so threw his support to Ron Johnson. Terrance Wall, who came in at 23% on the first ballot, withdrew from the race a few days later.
Wall told his supporters, "With a heavy heart, I am withdrawing my candidacy from the United States Senate race against Russ Feingold. I am so grateful for the support of Wisconsinites that are hungry for real fiscal conservatism and a change in their government.
No matter how much I want to stay in and fight, I feel the honorable thing to do is to exit...[If only Mark Neumann would do likewise!]
When I started this effort, I had two goals: first, to turn this country around before it's too late and second, to prove that Russ Feingold could be beat. ...I wish God's blessings on my two opponents, David Westlake and Ron Johnson."
Dave Westlake only received 15% of the vote, but has vowed to remain in the race because the vote represents "only a fraction of the voters in the state". [True]
Westlake said, "'If I stopped now, think about the tens of thousands of people who are Republicans, independents and Democrats who wouldn't have a voice anymore,' he added. 'I owe it to them, to all of Wisconsin to be the voice of the common guy.'" I do like Dave Westlake, his platform, and his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington persona, but because of his T-shirt fund-raising strategy, he has limited his viability.
There is also another 3rd party Constitution Party candidate, Rob Taylor*, who is being touted as the only one with experience by some conservatives. As I recently explained to a conservative friend (who was unaware of Johnson entering the race) I cannot support a 3rd party candidate in this election: 3rd party = Feingold reelected.
So who is Ron Johnson? Take a look. This video clip is from his Q&A after his announcement. When asked why he was running (at about 4:23 into clip) Johnson says,
"I'm not willing to give up hope.... This 234 year experiment we call America is just absolutely precious, and I'm watching that being squandered. So if I am fortunate enough to represent the people from Wisconsin, I would take a deep reverence for the genius for the founders of America, in terms of what they have given us in this country."
"There is a reason the U.S. that holds 5% of the world population, yet produces 25% of the worlds goods, that is really freedom. I think that kind of perspective, that kind of deep sense of how exceptional this country is, is a good perspective to take to Washington."
Johnson needs to get the word out that he is running and what his positions are on the issues. People are already in summer mode--more interested in vacations and picnics than politics. This bio video clip from Charlie Sykes will at least give you a glimpse into who Ron Johnson is as a person.
Unless something very unusual happens between now and the primary, Ron Johnson will be the Republican candidate. At the GOP Convention, Leinenkugel surprised everyone by withdrawing and supporting Johnson, "It is Ron Johnson's time, ...it is too critical, too important that at this time in our history, we unite against defeating Russ Feingold." I am hoping Conservatives, Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats will follow suit.
**See Third Party Logic ;-) where we learn Mr. Taylor serves on the Cumberland City Council, having won that position with 7 votes! Cumberland has a population of 2,350!
George Will: Instead of Shrugging, Ron Johnson is Running For Office
List: Wisconsin Candidates
This Saturday, Concours Motors in Glendale, Wisconsin, will host the Milwaukee Area Volkswagen Club's 17th annual VW show from 9am - 3pm. The event is open to the general public and is FREE! Volksfest benefits Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, so be prepared to donate a few bucks, if you are so inclined.
We attended for the first time last year and enjoyed looking at the eclectic collection of vintage and modified Volkswagens.
VW owners bring in their babies and display them out on the back lot. Attendees get to look! (No touching or drooling allowed.) Owners are often stationed by their cars and usually more than happy to tell you all about them. The vintage VWs ranged from mint condition to, modified, to camper buses.
By far, the most unique vehicle there was the blue bus in the pictures. It was, well, rustic, complete with wood stove and privy! I don't know if the owner will bring it again this year, but his rig had all the comforts of home--if you don't mind roughing it. It also featured a rope-pull starter, chaise lounge chair car seats, and bunk. He even modified the hubcap to do dual duty as a charcoal grill.
Evidently, the owner has driven that van for over 40 years, traveling across the US and Canada. He totaled it twice, set on fire 3 times, and dropped through lake ice once. He chronicles his experiences in his book: A Bus Will Take You There.
Check it out; we had a blast, but watch out for... Punch bug!
Pres. Obama's oil spill action plan: Ignore, delay, blame, demand, overreach and Cap & Tax (nothing on containment/clean up)
Last night Obama declared from the Oval Office, "We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes." But it doesn't seem like many Americans are buying that sales pitch. Even Democrats and Liberals are shaking their heads over his inaction so far and hum-drum Oval Office spiel. How will he make sure this never happens again? By talking it to death? We are now at day 57.
Never one to let a crisis go to waste to implement more government control, regulation, taxes, and now even overreaching to dictate how a foreign owned company should spend its money and use its stock dividends, President Obama is using the BP oil spill to push his Cap & Trade tax agenda. He says we need "...to move forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil."
Amidst his floundering in the Gulf he is touting alternative energy like wind and solar as a way to end oil spills--as if America can thrive without oil? Since Cap and Trade deals mainly with electricity generation, how will wind and solar end oil spills? America only uses oil to generate about 2% of our electricity. Maybe he would like to lead the way by converting Air Force 1 to solar panels?
In an email he sent out yesterday, the President wrote, "Many businesses support this agenda because shifting to clean energy creates opportunities for entrepreneurship." I am betting those businesses are involved in writing the Cap and Trade legislation or will benefit from the Carbon Credit exchange or an increase in wind and solar use? Companies such as BP--Beyond Petroleum or GE?
I think it is clear that the President squandered his Oval Office clout to peddle his Cap & Trade Tax bill. Most aren't buying it. No matter, his EPA can do what the Senate won't.
As for the spill, from what I have seen, Obama's first action on the spill was to ignore the event. The 11 workers who died as a result of the explosion on April 22nd were barely noted. At last, Obama went to the gulf on May 2nd. "The visit, which White House officials said on Saturday would be within the next 48 hours, signaled Obama was anxious to be seen to be paying close attention to the cleanup and containment of one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history." "Anxious to be seen" seems to be the key phrase there.
The President has visited several times since then but does not have much to show for it. Obama did authorize the deployment of 17,500 National Guardsmen; so far, only 1,600 have been deployed. Gov. Jindal just announced he will be using Guardsmen to build a barrier.
The Jones Act still has not been lifted (as it was after Hurricane Katrina) which would have allowed the Dutch and others with their offers of containment booms and salvage tankers into the area to at least contain and suck up some of the oil. Our own government had their own disaster plan that included the use of containment booms. Trouble was, the U.S. never purchased those emergency booms! In other oil spills, booms are put in place and then tankers come in to suck the oil/water mixture into their holds. They then then separate it later. But you need to contain the oil to do this. There are some booms in place but not nearly enough.
There are some things that just are not adding up with the BP accident. I am sure there is plenty of blame to go around. Let's face it, a blow out a mile under the sea is a problem that won't correct itself. Where was the discussion by the President on how to clean up or keep the oil from the shores? The one thing that is clear, Obama will use the spill to push for green energy, regardless of its negative impact on the U.S. economy!
More reading: BP Accused of Repeated Shortcuts
Sen. McConnell: Obama 'Holding the Gulf Hostage"
Gov. Bobby Jindal Orders National Guard to Build Barrier Wall Off Louisiana Shore
Cap and Trade: A New Disaster Waiting to Happen in 2009
The Spill, The Scandal and the President, How Obama failed to crack down on corruption of Bush years and let world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder.
Obama's Uncertain 'Battle Plan'
No reasonable person believes the President is solely responsible for the BP oil explosion. Nor do they think he should don deep-sea gear and go down and cork the hole himself. The well itself is some 12,000 feet under water, with the burst pipe at around 5,000 feet. Obviously, these are not friendly working conditions.
What people do want is their President to act like a leader and make the containment and clean up process as efficient and effective as possible, while BP works on capping the well. Unfortunately, our government, under the President's authority, seemingly has done everything but make the containment/clean up process as easy as possible.
W. Wansley at American Thinker wrote a great piece comparing Katrina and BP, "In the Gulf, a group of people have been trying to get in -- to apply American ingenuity to clean up the oil spill or prevent it from reaching the shore." Unfortunately, they "have been held up -- by government."
We are now hearing more about these rejected possible solutions to bar, contain and clean up the oily water before it reaches the shores. One of the pleas came from Governor Bobby Jindal. "...Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has begged for approval to put up temporary sand bars as a barrier to the oil. The EPA, worse than saying no, delayed and studied and pondered and then said no." Tired of waiting for BP, Jindal gave the order to build them on Monday.
From Am. Thinker: "We have seen countless stories in the news of innovation and ingenuity by Americans attempting to bring proven applications, equipment and tactics to bear on the oil. Each attempt is met with the same federal dithering, inaction and impedance. ... In the Gulf oil spill,...After they show their process to the media, the inevitable question is asked, 'Have you shown this to BP or the EPA?'" They answer, "yes, ...they are considering it" or "they would get back to us".
But at long last, enter actor Kevin Costner. An actor? Yes, but also a partner in Ocean Therapy Solutions, a company that has developed a machine that separates oil from water. Last week he testified at the House Science and Technology Committee meeting.
Even Costner, ever so diplomatically, said, "'We’re coming to this fight very late, I think everybody would recognize that. And so we’re going to do the things that we can do but this company is poised to mobilize in order to step this up and to create an environment where people can go back to work. There is a single moment that exists right at this moment and that is there are people out of work. There’s a moratorium and there’s no way to lift that unless I believe the government feels that people can operate in a safe way. This represents that pivot point.' "
"'If we want to discuss the ‘what ifs’ looking back, I think you could fill in the blanks of understanding if these machines were already deployed, what we would be looking at,' said Costner. 'I could scale this out for you and we would be chasing this oil out at the derrick itself. We couldn’t do anything about the size of the leak but we would be chasing that and we would be keeping that offshore.'"
Well, better late than never. BP recently placed an order for 32 of these clean up machines. With an efficiency rate of 99+%, it should help. Some are not so optimistic.
For everyone's sake, I hope between Costner's centrifuge machines, sand bars, siphon tankers, and other clean up measures, they will help clean up the water and prevent further damage. Time will tell.
Read the complete article: Heritage Foundation: Crisis of Competence
Today is the first day of summer according to the calendar, though most of us have been in summer mode for weeks now. I am already having that summer is slipping away feeling.
I know I shouldn't be panicking about it. At least my 14 or so tomato plants are growing nicely, the pole beans popped up over the weekend (I was late on planting those), and my perennial bed is growing like a jungle.
Sadly, I don't have time to beat the flowers back into submission, because today I start ripping the tile off my kitchen back splash. That leads to Spackle-fest to restore the damaged area. (I love Red Devil ONETIME Lightweight Spackling Compound for the final few coats. It is much finer and feathers out nicely.) After that I must wash the remaining walls and ceiling and prep for painting by repairing the cracks, holes, and dings. Finally, the actual painting with Sherwin-Williams oil base paint. (I love that stuff; it wears like iron. Do wear a professional respirator though.) That little project should keep me busy for weeks!
We still haven't committed 100% to a summer road trip vacation. If we go, it will probably be to Yellowstone. Part of me wants to take my grandmother's advice, which is, go while you can. The other part of me is hesitant for a variety of reasons. Fiddlee-dee-dee, I'll think about that tomorrow. Right now I need to find my chisel and start popping tiles off the wall.
How about you? Any great travel plans or projects planned for the summer?
Of course I am still watching some national and local issues. The Drudgereport.com is always a good source. Beforeitsnews.com is a bit out there but interesting--especially on the BP oil spill.
Government control of the Internet by the FTC (tax and regulate internet, govt. funding of newspapers) and FCC (access) and DHS (controlling actual information) is something that should concern us all. There is an actual bill, sponsored by Lieberman, brewing in the Senate on this.
...But right now, I have to take off my political hat for my painter's hat. Happy summer!
You may be in summer mode, but our Congress is on full tilt. The Disclose Act bill might come to the House floor Thursday. If not, then after the July 4th recess. Yes, that means calling your Representative! Our Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner's number is (202) 225-5101.
The National Rifle Association, usually synonymous with Conservative values and protecting our Constitutional rights, seemingly had a weak moment when it appeared they crawled in bed with the Democrats to secure an exemption with the DISCLOSE Act.
The Disclose Act will circumvent the Supreme Court decision last January that allowed 501C4 groups, like NRA or 501C3 groups, like National Right to Life to communicate with their members and run political ads 90 days prior to election time.
This week, the Rasmussen poll showed Conservative businessman and Republican endorsed Ron Johnson (45%) "in a virtual dead heat" with incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold (46%) in the U.S. Senate race. Last month Johnson polled at 44%.
This is very good news for Conservatives and Republicans because Feingold has not been able to poll above 50%. And as Rasmussen noted, "Incumbents who earn less than 50% of the vote at this stage of a campaign are considered potentially vulnerable. Feingold was reelected to a third term in 2004 with 56% of the vote."
Unfortunately, our Congress is working fast and furiously at passing bad bill after bad bill, and our President is using his Executive powers to regulate and shift our country drastically to the left in the remaining Congressional session.
One thing is for sure, neither branch of government has gotten the message that we are out of money--the spending must stop. As with bills such as ObamaCare and the President's $20 billion extraction from BP, Constitutionality is of little importance.
Here is just a sampling of bills and decisions on the horizon:
- The Disclose Act, which limits 1st Amendment rights and reverses a Supreme Court decision. This unconstitutional bill passed the House this week and now heads to the Senate.
- The just written, 2,000 page, Bank Bill will rush through the Senate. Like ObamaCare, "No one will know until this is actually in placed how it works," Chis Dodd told reporters.
- Immigration: Sen. Kyl says the President told him, "The problem is, if we secure the border, then you won't have any reason to support 'comprehensive immigration reform.' In other words, Kyl said, the president is holding border security hostage to comprehensive reform.'" Kyl's statement reflects 2004 Candidate Obama's position on borders and amnesty, where Obama said, "...solving the illegal alien immigration problem requires that 'the trade off is going to have to be improved border security'".
- Amnesty by Presidential Fiat: Now there is talk that Obama might circumvent the legislative process altogether via Homeland Security--Janet Napalitalno--to grant deferred action and parole for millions of illegals. 8 US Senators have urged him not to take this path.
- Illegals have right to fair wages: You can't make this stuff up, but Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says it herself! "You have the right to be paid fairly whether documented or not."
- Cap & Trade: Passed in the House last year, the Senate version is still viable. The President used the BP spill as rationale for passage. If not in the Senate, there is always the EPA for enacting carbon taxes and restrictions, thus circumventing the legislature.
Let's not forget Elena Kagan's confirmation. I am sure the President would like to see her on the court--especially with coming challenges to 1st Amendment restrictions via DISCLOSE, the FTC, FCC, takeover of the Internet, and ObamaCare. The list goes on and on.
So you see, even though Republicans will probably make huge gains in November, it may be too late. Democrats will inflict as many costly bills on us, in terms of dollars and loss of liberty, in the months they have until the 112th Congress and Senate is sworn in. I only hope and pray we can reverse some of this damage. We will need Senators like Ron Johnson to repeal the bad and put us back on the right course.
I know it is summer, but this is no time for kicking back... CALL your Senators about some of these bills! Find your Senator here. In Wisconsin, Senator Russ Feingold (202) 224-5323 and Herb Kohl (202) 224-5653.
More reading: Thomas Sowell: Is U.S. Now on Slippery Slope to Tyranny?
Senator Jim DeMint, National Review: Constitution of No
Senator Robert Byrd of Virginia died early this morning. He was the longest serving Senator in U.S. history. Most people remember Byrd for his early KKK membership, and as the Charleston Gazette noted, his 14 hour filibuster and vote against the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964. (By percentage, more Republicans voted for it than Democrats.)
Still, for Democrats, he was a solid liberal vote, and recently, with close votes in the Senate, a much needed vote. When ObamaCare was on the Senate floor, there was concern that Byrd's demise might put the bill in jeopardy.
And that was the first thing I thought of this morning--what will Byrd's vacancy mean to say, Elena Kagan's approval or Cap and Trade's passage? Kagan's hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee start today. If Republicans filibustered, "Democrats would likely have the 60 votes needed to override it," but that was written before Byrd's vacancy. The outcome will probably depend on how quickly these items come up for vote and how soon Virginia replaces Bryd.
Politico answered my question. According to Virginia law, the governor appoints a replacement, and the governor is a Democrat. The article did mention the Financial Reform bill though. It passed both houses but still needs the reconciliation vote. Although Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) did vote for the original bill, he "said he might vote against the version that emerged from the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions because it adds a $19 billion bank tax."
"Should Brown vote no and Byrd is unable to vote, it would leave the bill one vote shy of the 60 needed to close debate and move to final passage." (My emphasis)
UPDATE: Act 1 of the Opera? "U.S Ex-Im Bank Reconsiders India Coal Project." See below for details.
If you haven't yet heard, Milwaukee based Bucyrus Internationl Inc., who makes mining equipment, had a $600 million dollar deal in the works with the country of India. Great!
Unfortunately, the financing through the Federally funded Export-Import Bank fell through because of Global Warming. Yes. The deal was squelched because it was deemed the carbon footprint would be too large, since the mining equipment was ordered for India to mine coal for their new coal fired electric power plants. (Isn't a Green Economy wonderful?)
From JSOnline: (My emphasis) "The fossil fuel project was the first to come before the government-run bank since it adopted a climate-change policy to settle a lawsuit and to meet Obama administration directives."
"'President Obama has made clear his administration's commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future,' Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said in a statement. 'After careful deliberation, the Export-Import Bank board voted not to proceed with this project because of the projected adverse environmental impact.' "
Bucyrus is facing a 1,000 job loss in the U.S. with 300 of them vanishing from South Milwaukee. This is just awful for Milwaukee and our country and doesn't bode well for future mining equipment deals for Bucyrus and Joy Global, also in Milwaukee. At a time when good paying jobs are rare as hens-teeth, some global warming mumbo-jumbo ruins the deal?
It is even more curious because Bucyrus' chief exec. Tim Sullivan said "the power plant will meet international standards and the bank's environmental criteria".
What can be done to save these jobs? I heard India is already seeking other companies in China and Russia to build the equipment, and "there isn't an appeals process" with the Export-Import Bank.
Enter Mayor and Gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett, Senator Russ Feingold, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Doyle, Senator Herb Kohl and other players. With the exception of Ryan, they all seem to be posturing for the cameras positions contrary to their usual going green stance.
Also entering the limelight is President Obama, coming for a Town Hall meeting scheduled for tomorrow with Feingold and Barrett in Racine. Some speculate Obama has orchestrated this whole thing so he can make Barrett and Feingold look good in November. (Jay Weber and Vicki McKenna floated that idea this morning.)
I am not so sure. I think this is just an early glimpse into what Cap & Trade and a Green Economy under the EPA will look like: Government picking and choosing what companies can make and who they can sell to.
It could just be that this new criteria was in place, and the Export-Import Bank decided against this high carbon footprint project because of that new Green policy--without regard to the vulnerable Governor and Senate races in Bucyrus' home state, Wisconsin. They were maybe a little to enthusiastically interpreting the "administration's commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future"? Once the decision was made, Barrett and Feingold squawked and then pleaded with the President to do something?
How to gracefully get out of this? Will Obama say, I was against the coal mining equipment order before I was for it? and save the day as well as Barrett's and Feingold's bacon?
For the sake of the 1,000 jobs and well being of Bucyrus, I hope they can salvage their $600 million dollar deal. Time will tell. So get out your opera glasses and watch the show.
More Reading: JSONLINE: U.S. acency's action may kill Bucyrus deal, cost 1,000 jobs
Hot Air: Obama's promise to bankrupt coal industry to cost 1,000 jobs in upper Midwest