Libraries Under Attack

March 31, 2009

 It doesn’t matter where you live. Every budget of every department in your city is under attack. No budget is sacred. That includes libraries.

Yes, libraries. Those formerly sacred institutions whose budgets were considered untouchable.

One of my all time favorite remarks made by an elected official came during a library budget debate.

A rural Town Chairman and County Board Supervisor defended his constituents non-payments with …

“Nobody in my town should have to pay for a library, because nobody in my town reads!”

I don’t want to live in his town.

Do you?


A confession straight from the heart

March 30, 2009

When elected officials get caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing, their confessions are sometimes a bit wishy-washy.

Then there is Baraboo, WI City Council Representative/Mayoral Candidate  Michael Cone.

The sign on the glass door of the 12-foot by 15-foot walk-in humidor at the Viking Express Market makes no mention of the upcoming mayoral election.

Cone, 54, admits to stealing cigars from the humidor on four separate occasions in January and February. He says he’s not sure why he took the cigars but says he sold the ill-gotten stogies for about $25 and used the money to put gas in his silver Toyota Camry.

Cone has no plans to drop out of the race for mayor. And if he loses, he has no plans to relinquish his position as an alderman.

“If I could go back to January and start there, it wouldn’t be this dysfunctional, but what I did made it dysfunctional,” Cone said. “I did something wrong and it throws everything all out of whack.”

At least he is owning up to his actions without excuses.

That is more than can be said for many who get caught.

I still wouldn’t vote for him but at least he took responsibility.


Am I making a horrible decision?

March 27, 2009

For years I have had two daily newspapers delivered to our home. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Soon I will only be getting one.

It was a very difficult decision. They serve different purposes. The Pioneer Press is my national news and sports. The Leader-Telegram is my regional news, obituaries and sports. But, it is the old story. The cost kept going up and the paper kept getting smaller and smaller. The decision was made even more difficult because as a young lad I delivered both of them. First the Pioneer Press, then after my brother quit the Leader-Telegram I took over that route. It was going to be like disowning a child.

It just isn’t the same reading a newspaper on the internet. But, I have now set as one of my “Favorites” the obit page of the Leader-Telegram. From there I can move on the rest of the paper.

I don’t know how newspapers can offer me the same news on the internet at no charge. Well, let’s face it they can’t. That is one of the reasons they are in big trouble.  If they don’t start charging for the internet use, that won’t (can’t) be around forever.

I don’t feel good about placing my dagger in their back. I’ve been with them for a long, long time.

But, how long can anyone be expected to continue paying more and getting less of anything?


Even in good times this would be wrong.

March 26, 2009

I recently posted that logic does not apply at the federal level of government.

If any federal official takes exception to that statement let me give the following as evidence.

Everyone from President Barack Obama on down to fans has criticized how college football determines its top team. Now senators are getting off the sidelines to examine antitrust issues involving the Bowl Champion Series.

The current system “leaves nearly half of all the teams in college football at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for the millions of dollars paid out every year,” the Senate Judiciary’s subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights said in a statement Wednesday announcing the hearings.

Behind the push for the hearings is the subcommittee’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. People there were furious that Utah was bypassed for the national championship despite going undefeated in the regular season.

The subcommittee’s statement said Hatch would introduce legislation “to rectify this situation.”

In the House, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, has sponsored legislation that would prevent the NCAA from calling a football game a “national championship” unless the game culminates from a playoff system.

Yes,  I also wish there was a national playoff.

But, Senate committee hearings?

Legislation prohibiting the use of the term “national championship”?

Folks, we have some serious house cleaning to do in Washington.


My one political fear.

March 25, 2009

When it comes to local politics I am a grizzled old veteran. I’ve been involved for over 30 years. I’ve won my share of battles and naturally also lost my share. But, I fear nobody. Nobody!

At least I feared nobody until  Jason Ross (Madpanic)  passed this along.

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Political Rock-Paper-Scissors Explained

March 24, 2009

There is a political equivalent of the game Rock – Paper – Scissors.

It is called Emotion – Logic – Persistence. 

As a general rule in politics Emotion will defeat Logic. When someone is moved by emotion they are blinded by logic.

Logic defeats Persistence. If an argument absolutely defies logic it rarely wins out no matter how many times it keeps coming back.

Persistence defeats Emotion. While persistence cannot defeat logic it can eventually wear down emotion.

However, this game is only applicable at the local and state level of politics.

Logic never wins at the federal level.


Time to get serious

March 23, 2009

At the beginning of every local government meeting there is a time for public comment/input. If there isn’t at your meetings there should be.

The problem is far too many citizens who participate in meetings at this time, do not take the time to write out and practice their remarks before speaking.  Thus, their remarks sound like they weren’t prepared and practiced.

Whenever I hear one of those “speeches” I think of the words of former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”

If you want to be taken seriously you better prepare and practice.