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Practically Speaking

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.

You mean Times Square bomber wasn't a Tea Partier angry about ObamaCare?

Terrorism, The media, United States, Conservatives

The Left has really been trying to paint the Tea Party movement members as violent. Remember the accusations that rocks were thrown through a Congressman's home office window in Cincinnati on ObamaCare weekend? (The weekend ObamaCare passed back in March.) Trouble was the office was on the 30th floor! I bet the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals' scouts are still looking for that rock thrower. After all, anyone who can toss one that far would make a heck of a pitcher or quarterback! ;-)

The other hard to swallow accusation from ObamaCare weekend was that Tea Partiers hurled verbal assaults at Democrats. Pretty unusual that no one had their cell phone there to capture those epitaphs on video. Andrew Breitbart even offered a $10,000 reward to anyone providing incriminating video, but thus far, I don't think anyone collected it. (Video is of protesters shouting, Kill the bill!)

But last weekend's Times Square bomber incident escalates the accusations regarding disgruntlement over ObamaCare to a new level. This time there was a real event that involved a potentially life threatening explosion, and Mayor Bloomberg guesses "twenty-five cents" it is "somebody with a political agenda who doesn't like the health care bill or something"?

Who would that be? Someone "homegrown" as the mayor suggested? Bloomberg wouldn't be insinuating the bomber was a Tea Partier, would he?

Today's big news is that the perpetrator, Faisal Shahzad, was taken off a plane heading to Dubai and arrested. And gasp, he wasn't homegrown; he was a Pakistani born, recently naturalized, U.S. Citizen.

There are unconfirmed reports that others were involved. On the news early this morning they mentioned Dubai reported 3 people were taken off the plane.

So maybe Bloomberg will be proven right? Maybe they will find a couple matching the description of Ma and Pa Kettle with tea bags stapled to their hats were involved too?

Maybe. But I don't think so.

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Oh Boy! Obey calls it quits!

Elections, WISCONSIN, United States, Politics

Yes, it is true. Long-time Congressman David Obey announced today that he is not going to run for reelection. All I can say is, Thanks, David Obey, I needed that shot in the arm.

Mr. Obey is not my Congressman--I am in Jim Sensenbrenner's district--but Obey's name is known to most Wisconsinites and since the Stimulus, by many Americans.

Congressman David Obey is Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and helped craft the Stimulus Bill. One of the few areas of spending I wasn't totally against was the increase for the National Parks. What made that stimulus spending suspect was that his son, Craig Obey worked for The National Parks Conservation Association. After seeing how much time, preparation, and personnel was devoted to preparing for President Obama's visit to Yellowstone National Park last summer, the park service probably needed the increase! (Lucky us, we were there last summer during his visit--what were the odds of that?)

Obey's retirement certainly helps Republican candidate Sean Duffy. "'This move clears the way for Duffy to be the next congressman from northwest Wisconsin. His campaign has gotten national attention and he’s running a very well-oiled grassroots machine,' said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tom Erickson."

It also frees up National and State monies to support another Republican candidate, such as Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson, should he decide to run against U.S. Senator Russ Feingold.

No one can say this election year has been boring!


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That was scary; stock market falls nearly 1,000 points--How about that recovery?

Musing, THE ECONOMY, World News, WISCONSIN, United States, President Obama

I had just come back from praying at City Hall Plaza and because I was wondering about the Greece debt ripple effect, I checked the stock market quote page. It was at -350. Ooh, that is not good.

Then I refreshed it: -468. Refresh: -800 something. -963 at 1:47pm, Central Time. Pretty surreal. Talk about Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!

Then it started recovering: -717. -697. -580. -472. At 2:10 back "up" to -338.95. In all, it fell 998.5 at about 2:45 pm Eastern Time, for its largest intraday drop ever, and recovered to close at -348.63. Who would ever think that number would look good?

Why? Blame it on bad news from Greece and maybe some China news too. After all, if China's economy crashes, who is going to buy our debt?

After the market rebounded back to the 300s, I checked Gold: $1,203.90 at 2:48pm ET, refresh, $1,204, refresh, $1207.10, refresh, $1,210.70 at 3:31pm ET

I don't believe gold has been in the $1,200 range since last December 2, 2009 when it hit $1,213. For metal market watchers, Mark Belling predicted during the summer of 2008 that gold would reach $1,200 by year end 2009. He then updated that prediction in Feb. of this year to be $1,325 by Labor Day 2010. (Silver to reach $19.75.) If the Greek debt problem expands to other downgraded countries of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, [Greece ] and Spain or PIIGS for short, Belling may need to make a new prediction.

I have long called our present recovery the falling in love with love recovery--something based on nothing more than a desire for a recovery--no real substance. Our unemployment rate is only under 10% because of all the government jobs created. The private sector still isn't really hiring.

Look at Europe with its PIIGS and huge debt. America isn't far behind--Moody's has threatened reducing our bond status. Investors look at what is happening in Europe and worry about what is happening here. In the meantime, our President, and you could add Governor Doyle and Mayor Barrett too, spend money like water. Even the CBO says our Fiscal policy is 'unsustainable'.

We cannot build a recovery on spending money we don't have. Economies at the state level aren't in much better shape. California and New York are near the brink; Wisconsin is not far behind. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs, yet we still push for High Speed Rail and a 3.8 mile trolley line to mention 2 foolish expenditures.

No real recovery? Roller-coaster stock and metal markets? I think we have to start saying it: It's the Spending, Stupid, both here and abroad.


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Unbelievable, Kerry & Lieberman introduce Cap & Trade today - UPDATE

Bigger picture, Global Warming/Climate Change, Government / Bureaucracy, Legislation, President Obama, Socialism / Marxism, TAXES, Unintended consequences, United States

UPDATE: Ron Johnson confirmed today he will run for US Senate against Russ Feingold! This is indeed great news for Conservatives in Wisconsin. I reminded Feingold of this fact when I called today asking him to vote NO on Cap and Trade. (See bottom of post.)

File this bill under Bad Bills & Ideas That Just Won't Die. (There are so many, one cannot get to them all.) Today, Senator Kerry and Lieberman are introducing Cap and Trade to the U.S. Senate. You know, the bill that all pronounced dead earlier this year--the one that didn't have a chance of passage this year. But you see, the issue is NOT capping carbon emissions to save the planet from Global Warming, the issue is taxing you more and controlling your life.

"The Senate bill would set up an emission trading program for utilities starting in 2013. Factories and other “industrial sources” would join the cap-and-trade program in 2016."

The bill proposes cutting greenhouse gases by 17% below their 2005 levels in 10 years. Never mind that CO2 has since been shown to have no affect on warming and that the planet has not been warming in the past 10 years.

Never mind that those involved in the Carbon Exchange, like U.W. Madison Prof. Joel Rogers admit that "it is all about the money and if we stopped ALL emissions in the U.S., it would make absolutely no difference". (My Emphasis throughout post)

It is estimated that this legislation will cost the average U.S. homeowner an extra $600 - $1,000/year on their utility bills. Wisconsin will be hit harder because so much of our electricity comes from coal fired plants.

This type of Cap and Trade legislation has already proven itself to be useless in controlling CO2 emissions and detrimental to the economies of Europe. You know, Europe, that is having their own economic woes?

Chris Horner from National Review
sums this bill up as an opportunity to transfer wealth. He also points to the devastating effect of carbon taxing on Europe's economy: "I have a take on the lesson for us from Europe amid this debate over at Energy Tribune, written over the weekend but consistent with an emerging meme: we are willfully rushing headlong into the same debt, through the very same mandates, that has broken Europe. The system doesn’t work. And our political class doesn’t care. They’ve got a fundamental transformation to impose — as I describe in Power Grab. It’s not too late to learn their plan and their tricks."

In another piece from Energy Tribune, Today's Greece, Tomorrow's America: How Obama's Health Care and Energy Agendas Really End: "The most troubling aspect of the West’s current policy turmoil is not the European meltdown led by Greece and Spain. It is instead President Barack Obama’s unflinching insistence on rushing America headlong into the very mandates, and resulting debt levels, that precipitated that meltdown."

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Ron Johnson enters U.S. Senate race against Feingold

Elections, Conservatives, Politics, WISCONSIN, United States

Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson formally entered the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate today, a fact that makes conservatives like me breathe a little easier.

I don't know Mr. Johnson personally, but I have spoken to him on the phone and emailed him a few times. I have found him to be thoughtful, measured, responsive, and conservative.

In some respects, he reminds me of our first President, George Washington. Like Washington, Johnson is not seeking to be a career politician. Instead he is answering a call to serve as a Citizen Legislator. Being a Citizen Legislator was one theme Johnson touched on in his speech at the Madison Tea Party in April.

One of the things I asked Ron when I called to encourage him to run against Russ Feingold was, did he have any skeletons in his closet? I believe Choir Boy was the term he used to describe himself. That made me smile. (I don't think I was the only one to ask that question.) Character is a very important element of a candidate to me.

I believe Ron Johnson has a very good chance of winning in November against Russ Feingold. He certainly has a lot going for him.

From the ISTHMUS, The Scons,

"He [Johnson] apparently has money, which unfortunately often translates into legitimacy in politics. The parties love a guy with money, not only because he can contribute to his own campaign, but because it relieves them from some fundraising duties, especially in a race against Feingold, who may be vulnerable but certainly is not worth the GOP attention that the governor's race or the two House races up North deserve. He's still the favorite by a long-shot."

Being able to self-fund a campaign is very helpful, especially since it is a bit late in the game to be running. (I blame Tommy Thompson for that.) But money alone doesn't guarantee success. Terrance Wall is wealthy and has contributed to his campaign, but he has some baggage in that he has avoided paying income taxes because of depreciation allowances. He is also not as conservative as Johnson. (In the Governor's race, Mark Neumann is self funding, but he is not an ideal conservative candidate either with his pro ethanol/ renewable energy stance. Neumann also seems to be hedging on answering some very simple questions lately.) So self-funding alone does not an ideal candidate make!

The following factors do matter to voters, as pointed out by Craver, "Last but not least, Johnson doesn't have any ideological question marks on his record. He has not served in a Democratic administration or headlined a fundraiser for Democratic candidates, and he has not made any contributions to Democrats in the past, unlike Terrence Wall. Johnson actually spoke at the Tea Party rally, unlike Wall or Westlake, and he can apparently give an OK speech. All you have to do is read a few conservative blogs [hey, that's me!] to discover that many conservatives feel the current primary field is neutered, and desperately in need of some right wing testosterone."

I don't see Johnson as being just right wing, to me he represents American values like hard work and living within your means.

Whatever happens in November, I have to say a big, thank you, Ron Johnson, for entering the U.S. Senate race. Our country and state need someone like you in Washington. I appreciate the huge sacrifice you and your family are making on our behalf.

One bit of trivia, Ron Johnson is brother to Home Time's Dean Johnson.


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Attention gardeners: Master Gardener Plant Sale, Sat. May 22

WISCONSIN, Special events, Living well on less $, Gardening

 The South East Wisconsin Master Gardener Perennial Plant Sale is this Saturday, May 22nd, 8am, at State Fair Park's DNR Area.

I had heard about these sales, but never attended until last year. My, oh, my, what an event! All I can say is GO EARLY!

A shark feeding frenzy comes to mind, but the Master Gardener's ran the sale like a well oiled machine. They have the plants organized by type and you can ask for directions.

Most plants are between $2 and $5 each. It was fun just to be witness to so much gardening enthusiasm, but of course I picked up a few things too. My treasures are pictured at the end of the slide show.

There is no charge for admission. I parked on the street, but remember you must carry all that you purchased to your car. Have fun.

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Song of the Pond

Just for fun!, Nature, , Brookfield

Late in the spring, when the weather is warm, listen for the song of the pond. Sometimes you don't have to listen all the carefully, because the unmistakable trill of the toads and frogs is deafening. That was the case when I snapped these pictures at Kinsey Park pond during those warm days in early May. Now that the weather is again warming, the singers should be out again.

I find their song rather appealing. It reminds me of when we had African Swimming Frogs as pets. They would trill at night, hoping to attract a mate. Alas, we only had guy frogs. But their song was pleasant just the same.

The young frogger who had captured the group in my photos had quite a collection in her tub. Her grandmother was hoping for catch and release. There are also large frog tadpoles in the pics.

I had been to the pond the day before and found the toads singing away, among other things. I will keep my eyes peeled for tiny black toad tadpoles. (They look like swimming raisins.)

My son and I raised toad tadpoles when he was little, and I have to admit it was great fun. We had the tank sitting on the kitchen table for weeks it seemed. We fed them cooked spinach and watched them mature. Tadpoles eat algae, so if you don't have algae rich water, you may use tap water. If it is city water, let it sit for a day to rid it of the chlorine. If you use pond water, strain it first. We had some pond water that had some weedy clumps in it. Unfortunately, it also had some dragonfly nymphs in it. Those nymphs devoured 3/4 of our tadpoles before we discovered their presence!

Once the tadpoles get their legs and lose their tails, be sure they have a rock to climb on. They will need to breathe oxygen from the air at this point. We released ours back into the "wild". Be sure to let toads go near a body of water. Frogs obviously need to be released into the water--preferably from the creek or pond you took them from. (We got our toad tadpoles from a ditch.)

For more information on keeping tadpoles, see Pets In a Jar--a great source of the care and feeding of little critters. Hope you enjoy 'em; we had a hoppin' good time with ours.

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Do it yourself Tiramisu, really!

Good food / recipes

Tiramisu is one of those desserts that has been gaining in popularity in recent years. My first experience with this coffee infused, creamy delight was from a vendor at Italy, at Disney World's Epcot. Once tasted, I was hooked. It was heavenly.

But could I make it myself? Why not?

You will need a double boiler and approx. 3 quart size spring form pan or Trifle type glass bowl. You could also do it individually in pretty stemmed glasses.

Here is the recipe* I used, along with my comments in italics.

Classic Tiramisu ~ Serves 10 - 12

The Ingredients:
6 egg yolks (you may freeze and save the egg whites for future desserts such as Schaum Torte)
1 1/4 C sugar
1/1/4 C mascarpone cheese**
1 3/4 C heavy whipping cream - I used 2 Cups (1 pint) total of regular pasteurized, NOT ULTRA pasteurized, saving some for garnish.
2 packages of Lady Fingers - 6 oz total
1/3 C coffee liqueur - I used 1 T coffee liqueur + brewed espresso to make 1/2 cup total liquid
Sweetened whipped cream for garnish
Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish
Chocolate curls for garnish

The Procedure:

  1. Place bowl you plan to whip the cream in, in the refrigerator. A chilled bowl and beaters (you will put those in later) are essential for whipping cream successfully!
  2. Combine the egg yolks and sugar and whip until thick and lemon colored, about 1 minute.
  3. Place sugar/egg mixture in the top of a double boiler over boiling water.
  4. Reduce the heat to low immediately and cook 8 - 10 minutes, while stirring constantly! I use a silicone rubber scraper to stir, that way you completely scrape the bottom of the pan with each swipe.
  5. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  6. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat well.
  7. Wash off beaters and place in refrigerator to chill a bit.
  8. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-whip or you will make butter. Having the cream, bowl and beaters very cold helps prevent this. Save about 1 1/4 Cups of the whipped cream for garnish.
  9. Fold the majority of the whipped cream into the cooled egg yolk mixture and set aside. I usually first put a little whipped cream into the yolks/cheese and fold to soften the mixture, then fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
  10. Add about 1 to 2 Tablespoons of confectioners sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to the reserved whipped cream and whip just until mixed. Refrigerate and save this for the garnish.

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