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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.

Russia ought to know: America is the new "land of the RED"

Government / Bureaucracy, President Obama, Socialism / Marxism, TAXES, THE ECONOMY, Truth

While most of the American media ignores the dramatic shift toward Marxism in America under President Obama's administration, there is one news source that has the guts to report what has been going on since Jan. 20, 2009 straight up: Russia's PRAVDA!

No cheer leading here, just the unvarnished truth: America is the new "land of the Red": American capitalism gone with a whimper.

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

I think most people are feeling overwhelmed by the speed in which we are descending into the mires of tyranny and government intrusion. The idea that government should dictate what salaries will be, what kind of car to drive, what kind of energy to use, what kind of health care and health insurance you can have, etc. flies in the face of every freedom loving American.



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Wow! 2 good decisions in one day: Elmbrook graduation & Siepmann home stays

City of Brookfield, Constitution, Elmbrook

This does not happen too often in my world: 2 decisions that I am happy with, both delivered on the same day!

The first is significant: Judge allows Elmbrook graduation ceremony in church. I am thankful that the judge ruled rightly in allowing the school district to conduct it's graduation in the church auditorium. I applaud U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert for applying the law instead of making it.. His decision pleasantly surprised me; Clevert is not a conservative but a Bill Clinton appointee.

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Paper or Plastic? Neither? But what do you do with garbage?

Follow the money, Government / Bureaucracy, Going Green, TAXES, Just for fun!

More photos posted on Brookfield7

Yesterday, the Washington D.C. city council approved a 5-cent fee (tax) on all plastic and paper bags provided grocery and convenience stores. (It still needs final approval.) This was supposedly done to save the environment. I think it was just done to improve the D.C. tax coffers! (Retailers were allowed to keep 20% of the take too.) Other communities have made efforts to ban plastic bags; Seattle tried to impose a 20-cent fee last summer. (That measure is going to referendum.) How long until Governor Doyle goes for this one?

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Making room for Heirloom Tomatoes

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

This will be my 3rd year planting heirloom tomatoes. If you have not tried any, make room for 1 or 2 this year. Their flavor is spectacular and their color and shape fun. I don't think you will be disappointed.

I tried several new ones last year and will be repeating some again this year. Repeats include: Mr. Stripey, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Green Zebra. New varieties include: Box Car Willie (red), Caspian Pink, Black Krim, Old German (orange) and Orange Oxheart. I purchase all from Steins Gardens--they have a great selection.

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$63 billion budget heads to State Assembly...Did you call your Rep? UPDATE

Legislation, TAXES, THE ECONOMY, WISCONSIN

UPDATE: Good news! The Assembly Democrats removed the Joint and Sevedral Liability Law reform from the state budget yesterday. I would wager that decision had something to do with negative constituent phone calls and emails? Don't relax just yet, as Boots and Sabers cautioned, "It’s not over yet, though.  It could still be stuck back in by the Senate and end up in the final version.  Keep vigilant!" (Thanks, Vicki McKenna.)

After hearing about Gov. Doyle's out of control budget for weeks now, it is finally out of the finance committee and heading to the State Assembly tomorrow, Wed., June 10th. It totals a whopping $ 63 billion--$3 billion of that is NEW taxes. (The State Senate will probably take up the budget early next week.) If you have not contacted your representative, please do. (Brookfield's Reps are listed at bottom of post.)

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Competition with government health care will keep em honest? Really?

Health care, Government / Bureaucracy, , President Obama, Socialism / Marxism, TAXES, THE ECONOMY

Last week, President Obama sent a letter touting his government health care plan to 2 Senate Democrats stating, "This [his public health care option] will give (people) a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest."

Really?

Has government interference given Wisconsin residents more choices and made insurance carriers more competitive? In my opinion, no. Wisconsin mandates that certain benefits be included in all insurance policies sold in the state. Things like treatment for alcoholism and autism are mandated for all policies, I believe. But why should a tea-totaling person be required to purchase treatment for alcoholism? Why should a childless adult or parent of grown children be required to purchase insurance to cover Autism? Why can't we purchase health insurance policies from other states without these mandates?

I am not saying that those services shouldn't be offered as a choice. Just that if you want them, they should be an extra.

We don't purchase car insurance that way. If a driver has had an accident or violation, their rates usually go up. We have the choice to purchase collision insurance or not. Why can't we get more choices available for health insurance too?

Just thinking about other private businesses that compete with the government, is it the competition with the government that drives prices down or competition with each other?

Did DHL offer cheaper shipping prices than the post office because they were competing with the USPS or because they were competing with UPS and FedEx?

What about schools. As a rule, which is more expensive, public schools or private schools? Which one provides a better product? Does competition with public schools drive the cost down or "keep them honest" for the private? Does competition restrain the price for the public schools? Do you ever hear of a school board discussing that they need to keep costs down to remain competitive with say a school like, Heritage Christian School. (Their tuition is under $4,000 a year last time I checked.)

No, I believe private schools--parochial in particular--provide a cheaper, better alternative to government schools. Just ask the 1,000's of students cut from the School Choice program in our state, who enjoyed a superior education at a lower cost to taxpayers.

What happens when the national health care plan obtains subsidies and underwriting by the government that aren't available to the private sector? How is that type of competition fair and honest? Once the private sector insurers are out of business, do you really think the product offered will be superior to the private sector product? (If you are in doubt, just think of a private retirement annuity/investment plan vs. Social Security, where you pay a lot in but get little out.)

The President would like government-run health care to hit the Congress by August. What is the rush? Thankfully, Republican House Leader John Boehner is adamantly opposed.

President Obama was correct that competition keeps the cost down--it does in the private sector. However, that principle doesn't really work when the government provides the only choice.

Must reads: Heritage Foundation: Obama Rhetoric vs Health Care Reality

Wall Street Journal: How to Stop Socialized Health Care, Five arguments Republicans must make

Investor's Business Daily: Doctors Fight Back

New York Times: A.M.A Opposes Government-Sponsored Health Plan

Links: 

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Wisconsin Assembly passes budget, next stop: Senate - Contact your Senator!

Government / Bureaucracy, Legislation, TAXES, WISCONSIN

The Democrat controlled Assembly passed Wisconsin's budget, with a 50 - 48 vote (big sigh), at 5:20 AM on Saturday. Voting pretty much ran along party lines, with the exception of 2 Democrats joining all of the Republicans in voting NO.

My State Assembly Representative Leah Vukmir sent me the following report on the budget session and vote. (Contact Rep. Vukmir if you wish to be added to her email alert list.) Republicans were able to make a few changes, but most of the bloated budget passed and is now heading to the State Senate. She urges, as do I, that you contact your State Senator and the Senate Majority Leader, Russ Decker, "and let them know how you feel." (Contact info at bottom of post.)

Here is the "Good News" according to Rep. Vukmir's report: (My emphasis throughout)

  • They agreed to drop the Joint and Several liability provisions from the budget.
  • The Milwaukee County sales tax proposal was dropped from the original 6.6% to 6.25%.
  • Assembly Democrats, at the request of the U.W. System, removed a $28 million budget earmark for building a U.W. Madison School of Nursing.
  • They also agreed to eliminate various other earmarks from the Joint Finance version of the budget.

Her "Bad News" list is much longer:

  • They added their own earmarks for a new total of more than $37 million.
  • They increased the car rental tax, which is currently $2 to $18 to fund the proposed KRM rail line. [KRM was not eliminated from the budget]
  • They raided $338 million of segregated fees to fund general expenditures and to restore budget cuts.
  • The Democrat Caucus also took an unusual and potentially unconstitutional step by eliminating a statutory provision that requires annual revenues to exceed annual expenditures.
  • The Assembly Democrats added a provision that caps the Milwuakee County Open Enrollment program at last years level meaning that MPS students who had already enrolled in suburban schools for next year will have to return to MPS. This change will put significant pressure on suburban school districts that have already set their budgets for this fall.
  • One of the worst provisions that the Democrats debated throughout the day on Friday was to roll back the enrollment cap that was part of a 2006 School Choice compromise. The cap, currently 22,500 students, will be reduced to 21,5000 for the next two school-years....

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Will Recall Jim Sullivan effort affect his vote on budget?

Elections, Government / Bureaucracy, Legislation, TAXES, WISCONSIN

We have all heard about the Jim Doyle recall effort by now, but there is another Recall Jim effort afoot: The Recall of State Senator Jim Sullivan! I am wondering if this attempt to recall Jim will have any affect on Sullivan voting for the $62.2 billion dollar budget that just went to the Senate?

My impression of Senator Sullivan at his recent Town Hall meeting was that it will not. He did not seem open to any of our opinions against the RTA, Voter ID amendment, Abortion, State budget deficit, etc. at that Town Hall meeting. But if he hears from enough of his constituents, who knows? A 1.2% margin of victory was hardly a mandate.

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ABC to promote Govt. Healthcare from the White House

Government / Bureaucracy, Health care, President Obama, Socialism / Marxism, TAXES, The media

Remember when we used to joke that CNN stood for the Clinton News Network?

Well, ABC is certainly following suit and dialing it up a few notches to boot. ABC news will be broadcasting from the White House with a primetime special, "Prescription for America." Do we dub ABC as the All Barack Channel? How about Adoring Barack Cheerleaders? You can probably come up with your own nicknames.

Anyway, here is ABC's newest joint venture with President Obama:

"On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!"

Unlike real prescription advertising, that must also include a long list of possible detrimental side effects, Charlie Gibson's Govt. Health Care "Prescription" promo will NOT include any opposing voices or side effects.

The Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay wrote a complaint letter to ABC. Here are some excerpts:

"As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

...
In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers...Respectfully, Ken McKay"


Now, keep in mind, the Democrats are the ones pushing for the "Fairness Doctrine" type media reforms to ensure equal time for both points of view on your radio and possibly the internet, yet for TV network news coverage, this doesn't seem to be a problem.

The Drudge Report posted this as a banner developing story, so that is all for right now. Stay tuned!

Links: 

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PBS allows religion of Global Warming, Humanism, Evolution but no sectarian programming

Media/ Talk radio, Religion, Constitution

PBS just announced they will not allow any new religious programing on their airwaves. Reason? Separation of Church & Stations!

Actually, this ruling was a compromise. At first the PBS board recommended that stations currently running sectarian religious programs would have their PBS affiliation severed if they did not drop that programming.

"The Public Broadcasting Service's board is to vote next month on a committee's recommendation to strip the affiliation of any station that carries "sectarian" content. Losing its PBS relationship would mean that a station could no longer broadcast programs that the service distributes, from 'Sesame Street' to 'Frontline'."

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Call Senators! Ped o philes given special protection under Hate Crimes Bill S. 909

Homosexual agenda, Legislation, United States

Believe it or not, 30 sexual orientations, including ped o phelia (spacing done to avoid google search) will be protected under the new Hate Crime law, S. 909. The list is posted on American Family Associations web page. I don't care to go into describing these, as most are too disgusting, but 2nd on the list seems to be the dangerous practice actor David Carrnadine might have been involved with when he was found dead in the closet.

The list was taken from the "'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders', which is used by physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and psychiatrists throughout the U.S. It is considered the dictionary of mental disorders."

The disturbing thing is that all of these 30 perversions were deemed as needing special protection under the Hate Crimes laws by those crafting the bill in the Senate.

I believe all crime is a hate crime. A person doesn't murder someone or beat them up because they admire them. So why do we need special sentencing if the victim is one of these 30 sexual orientations? The United States already has laws in place to "punish violent crime."

The AFA cited this example, given by Rep. Gohmert, of how this legislation, if passed, could impact us. "If a mother hears that their child has been raped, and she slaps the assailant with her purse, she is now gone after as a hate criminal because this is a protected class," said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas."

The other result of this bill would be to halt any opposition to homosexuality. "If the legislation passes, pastors could be prosecuted under the federal inducement statute for preaching the biblical view of homosexuality. For example, a person could commit an act of violence against a homosexual individual and blame it on the pastor's sermon. Similar laws have been used to prosecute religious speech in the U.S. at the state level and abroad." I have heard this is already the case in Canada.

The US Senate is to vote on S. 909 any time. We need to contact our 2 Senators about voting against it. Need talking points? Herb Kohl 202 224-5653 and Russ Feingold 202 224-5323.

Read more about it: Next on Senate agenda? 'Ped o phile Protection Act' Hate crimes' law definitions would protect 547 sex 'phil ias'

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Gasp, was that the BIG 40?

Culture; Education; Family; History; Just for fun!

Oh, my goodness. I just had the BIG 40! Not 40th birthday, that is long gone, I am talking about high school graduation. Things have changed since 1969.


Here are some photos that made me smile and a few observations. (More photos posted here)

Graduation in 1969: Held in a school where we could pray.
Graduation in 2009: Held in a church where they couldn't pray!

Notice the 3rd item on the graduation program was the INVOCATION.

Granted our Class President botched this majorly. Rumor had it there was possibly a little too much celebratory tippling before the ceremony? Regardless of how it was executed, a call for God's blessing on the class was considered to be an important part of the event by the graduation planners.





Other things have changed since 1969. Notice how we looked on our Senior Class trip to Washington DC; we all looked like proper ladies and gentlemen. The girls were all in skirts or dresses and boys wore sport coats and ties on our trip.

I remember the trip as being very enjoyable. We visited the major sites in Washington DC (Arlington and Supreme Court pictured) and spent a few days in New York City--all for around $250, if memory serves correctly. (We flew on a charter prop-jet.)

But whether on a class trip or at school, girls did not try to emulate the clothing style of women of ill repute or the likes of Britney Spears, as they do today. Sure, some pushed the envelope of how short a hem length could be worn, but the harlot/hooker look was not embraced by the mainstream.

Pants of any kind were not allowed for girls in school ever--not even on sub-zero days. (This was in the pre-pantyhose era! Brrr.)

Shorts were never allowed at school for anyone, except on one day in the spring. Our Student Council was granted special permission to hold a fundraiser: Bermuda Shorts Day. Students could wear Bermuda shorts (nearly to the knee) to school for that one designated day--IF they purchased a ticket for 25-cents!

There was no HG&D curriculum as we know it today and with the exception of biology and one special assembly, nothing was presented in a co-ed context. There was a series of Civil Defense emergency first aid movies that ended with how to deliver a baby. (This was still the Cold War we could be nuked at any moment era.) These were presented during segregated gym class time. In 9th grade co-ed Biology class, reproduction was presented but in a very clinical way--mainly dealing with the development of the embryo and not with the process leading up to conception.

Were there problems with underage drinking, illegal drugs, and premarital sex? Sure, but it was not as prevalent or overt as it is today. At the time, I was only vaguely aware some students did those things. Certainly no one would have ever thought about sending nude photos of themselves to anyone!

We did not spend years agonizing or studying for the ACT or SAT tests. As I recall, one Saturday, we just went over to UWM and took the ACT. That was it. Not all the pressure kids have today.

Forty years ago, quality family time was still a major component of daily life. Moms still cooked; families still ate dinner together without the kids surfing the net or texting on the cell phone at the table. Students did not go out much on school nights, nor were they so over scheduled that they did not have time to just be a kid.
 
The era of 1969 was also the era of apathy, and that has not changed.  What did our class do for it's big 40? Nothing special that I know of.

We have made great progress in many ways. In other ways, such as the eroding of quality family time and over-sexing of our young people, things were better 4 decades ago. What will the next 10 years bring?

Links: 

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Mm-Mm-Good-Marinade

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

If ever there was a reason to grill out, Sunday was it, for June 21st marked both the official 1st day of summer and Father's Day. It also marked my 1st full meal prepared outdoors.

In honor of Father's Day, I made grilled, marinated hanger* steak, chicken, red and green peppers, Vidalia onions, plum tomatoes, and mushrooms. Along with that I served Asian cabbage salad and fried mixed brown and wild rice. (It looks good enough to eat, don't you think?) We all thought it quite tasty.

I have made this marinade for years and used it in grilling beef, chicken and veggies. It is quite simple and is made from ingredients you probably have on hand. The original recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens Golden Treasury of Cooking.

MARINADE: Mix all ingredients in a pint size jar.
1/2 Cup oil. I use olive oil.
1/4 Cup lemon juice. You could use fresh, but bottled works fine too.
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, I use Lea & Perrins
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard. My favorite is Plochman's Premium Natural Stone Ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove of garlic, minced

Put the lid on the jar and shake until mixed. It is best to marinade the meat either the night before or the morning of your grill out. To cut down on grilling time, I prefer to pre-cook the chicken by simmering for around 1/2 hour, depending on the size of the pieces. The beef I marinate raw. I put the beef in a separate Zip-Lock bag from the chicken and poured about 1/3 of the marinade in each bag. Zip shut. Keep the meat bags refrigerated until grilling time and don't forget to rotate the bags several times during the marinading process to evenly distribute the flavors.

I also pre-bake the onion halves because I like the onions well cooked. I just peel, cut in half, and place in a baking pan with a little olive oil. Bake at 350 until they start to soften. After they are cooled, I skewer, put in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.

Keep the remaining marinade in the closed jar refrigerated until grill time.

The steak took about 8 minutes on each side. It was cut in 2 inch by 10 inch strips, and I grilled it just like that. You can use the remaining marinade juices to baste the meat when you first put it on the grill. Don't use any of the marinade containing raw meat juice after your first basting.

The jarred marinade may be used on the vegetables--don't forget to use a separate brush.

This was enough marinade to serve 4-6 people. I marinated about 2 1/2 pounds of steak and 1 pound of chicken and still had some to baste the veggies while grilling. (We had lots of left-overs, yum.)

I have used sirloin roast, which is often less expensive than sirloin steak, and chuck steak too. The lemon in the marinade tenderizes the meat, I believe.

*I purchased the hanger steak from Sendiks in Elm Grove. It came already marinaded in au jus juice, then I added my marinade. The hanger steak was very tender and at $4.99 / pound on sale, not a bad price considering there was no waste. The butcher told me it was from a cut next to the T-bone. It looks a lot like flank steak. (They also had it with a teriyaki marinade, but we thought it too sweet.)

Links: 

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Popeye Pizza, a.k.a. Quick Spinach Pizzas

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

These little pizzas were inspired by a spinach pizza, dubbed "Popeye Pizza" that Jacks Pizza used to make about 20 years ago. I gave Popeye a Greek flair by adding the Feta and Kalamata olives. The pizzas are so easy to make, they hardly qualify as needing a recipe--they're more like assembling than cooking. But they are tasty just the same. Add a nice tossed salad and you have dinner.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

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Eagle Scout Project Blood Drive: Tuesday, June 30th, 2:30 - 7pm

Helping others, Special events

This Tuesday, on June 30th, a young man in my neighborhood is organizing a Blood Drive as part of his Eagle Scout project for the Boy Scouts. It is being held from 2:30 to 7pm, at Elmbrook Church. (777 South Barker Road, Brookfield, 262-786-7051)

Giving blood is certainly a worthy cause and according to the flier he distributed in my area, "donating 1 pint can save 3 lives!"

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