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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.

National Day of Prayer: Meet at Brookfield City Hall Plaza, May 5th, 12:20pm

Brookfield, Special events, United States, Religion

Thursday, May 5, 2011 marks the 60th Annual Observance of the National Day of Prayer, where people all over our country will meet at school and city flagpoles to pray for our nation.

This year's theme is A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD and the verse is from Psalm 91:2 "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust."

I will be heading to the City of Brookfield's Plaza flag area (just north of City Hall) from 12:20pm to 12:40pm to pray for our community, state, nation, schools, leaders, servicemen, churches, and more. Hopefully, I won't be alone, but will meet others who who have come to pray for our country.

The National Day of Prayer website had this brief history of prayer in America under the heading Why Pray?:
"Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection and strength-even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to insure protection-through prayer. "

Several years ago, their website gave this account of prayer in America: “The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln's proclamation of a day of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer.”

I have attended several other N.D.of P. meetings at Brookfield's City Hall Plaza* and found them to be an encouraging experience. Hope you will venture out and join me in praying for our country.


*Note: Meeting at City Hall Plaza is NOT a City of Brookfield activity. It is just citizens exercising their right to free speech in a public place..

Links: 

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Remember, Saturday, May 7th is WEED-OUT day at Mary Knoll Park

Brookfield, Gardening, Special events

Though the temperatures might seem more like it is March or April, the calendar says it is the first weekend in May.

And that means it is time for the annual Garlic Mustard Pull WEED-OUT at Mary Knoll Park in Brookfield.  

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Mr. Obama, illegal immigration isn't funny in southwest

Illegal immigration, President Obama, National Parks, United States

This week, President Obama visited El Paso, Texas, and in his typical say anything manner, proclaimed the border fence basically complete. Of course, the people of southwestern states know this is not true, for only 5% of the mandated 700 mile double fence has been constructed: 32 miles under Pres. Bush and 4.3 miles of it built under Pres. Obama. (The entire border is nearly 2,000 miles in length.) 

Obama went on to quip about Republicans never being satisfied on securing the border--that if he built the fence, they would want a moat and alligators. He treated this very serious subject as if it were a joke.

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Rep. Dale Kooyenga Town Hall/Listening Session, Wed. May 18, 2011

Brookfield, Conservatives, Special events, WISCONSIN

This coming week, newly elected State Representative Dale Kooyenga will hold a Town Hall / Listening Session at the City of Brookfield's Safety Building Municipal Courtroom on Wednesday, May 18th, 7pm. (The Safety Building is just north of Brookfield City Hall on Calhoun Road.)

Kooyenga has been doing an excellent job keeping his 14th Assembly District constituents informed of what is going on in the Madison legislature via email alerts and also personal correspondence. I am pleased he is also doing the Town Hall meeting.

The legislators have been busy, passing the long awaited Voter ID bill just this week. It should be interesting to hear what else is on the horizon.

Talk show host Jay Weber has a Conservative Wish List posted on his web-page. Check out how many issues have been dealt with, those still pending, and the ones waiting for action. It is pretty impressive.

My wishes would be #10, "End all state mandates and subsidies for Ethanol", and #11, "Get rid of the mandatory emissions test for Wisconsin autos. (Kleefish working on it, vote not pending, though)" I heard one of the hurdles on emissions tests is the contract with the emission workers is still in effect. I would also like #13 dealt with: "Repeal the Planned Parenthood sponsored Sex Education bill."

Dale Kooyenga 14th Assembly District: Phone (608) 266-9180, Email: Rep.Kooyenga@legis.wi.gov
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PLEASE NOTE COMMENT CHANGES

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Trump, Huckabee out, Newt, Romney should go too, we need a Ryan!

2012, Conservatives, Elections, President Obama, United States, Politics

So far, the field of announced 2012 Republican contenders for the presidency is abysmal.
 

Thankfully,Huckabee decided not to run, and Trump announced the same. While I did enjoy Trump dishing it back to the press, he is no conservative. Glad he is out of the picture.

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Catching up: Voter ID, Kooyenga Town Hall & Elmbrook

Conservatives, Elmbrook, Elections, Legislation, WISCONSIN

Voter ID
At long last, Wisconsin's Voter ID bill passed the Senate yesterday and now awaits Gov. Walker's signature. Hallelujah. No doubt it will end up in court, but Sen. Alberta Darling mentioned yesterday on Jay Weber that though she preferred passing 2 separate bills, at least the bill is severable. (The Voter ID portion, which has been upheld by the courts, can be separated from the more controversial portions of the bill.)

Voter ID will be in place for the 2012 elections. I wonder what those elections will look like with Voter ID in place and the end of mandatory Union membership for State workers. (Unions fund Democrat candidate advertising with their dues.) Though the Budget Repair Bill is stuck in the doldrums of the Madison court, the Republicans could just incorporate it into the overall Budget bill.

By the way, Voter ID does not eliminate same day registration, but that turned out to be the better avenue. If we had eliminated same day registration, we then would need to implement MotorVoter laws, which ties obtaining a drivers license with registering to vote. I don't think registering to vote should be such an autopilot arrangement. My understanding of same day registration is that it still requires an approved photo ID. If the person doesn't have this, then they cast a provisional ballot (sealed in an envelope) and are given an opportunity to bring back their photo ID for their vote to count.

Past Post: Call Wisconsin Legislature to move on Photo Voter I.D.

Rep. Dale Kooyenga Town Hall
I didn't know what to expect. Would protesters be there? Would the room be packed as Town Halls had been before the November elections? As it turned out, there were 6 of us there--8 in all if you count Dale and his assistant William Neville. The 6 citizens in attendance consisted of 3 men I didn't know and Elmbrook Schools Superintendent Dr. Matt Gibson, Elmbrook Board President Tom Gehl, and little ole me.

The discussion was informal, with Kooyenga sitting with us in a circle of sorts. One man was talking about the concealed carry legislation when I cam in. Kooyenga briefly talked about the Combined Reporting changes, some which are addressed in the budget bill. Dale said rather than repeal the whole law, they would be looking at lowering the corporate tax rate.

Incidentally, did you know there is now a CPA Caucus? Kooyenga and his fellow CPAs now have their own group. He said they are working on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced state budget, applying business accounting principles to the state.

Dr. Gibson stated his support for the Governor's budget and appreciation for Kooyenga meeting with them regarding the coming budget changes. However, Gibson was looking to influence the per student dollar allocation. He mentioned working with the Fair Aid Coalition that represents property rich districts like Elmbrook (donor districts), who contribute to other school districts through their property taxes. Gibson said he was looking at increasing taxing authority as a possible solution to Elmbrook's shortfall.

It does seem like there might be some wiggle room in the state aid formula, "Some Republican legislative leaders say that they are working on a plan to lessen aid cuts for some Wisconsin schools. The legislature’s budget committee will take up the issue Thursday." I don't know if Elmbrook is included in that group, but it shows there could be some adjustments coming.

You can sign up for Rep. Dale Kooyenga's Legislative Wisconsin Capitol Update by contacting his assistant William Neville at William.Neville@legis.wisconsin.gov

Petitioning Waukesha School District subdivisions can't join Elmbrook School District
Don't know if you saw this, but those 3 subdivisions to Elmbrook's west lost again at the state level in their quest to be included in the Elmbrook School District. I blogged about this in February of 2011 in What? Families who HAVE 4K petition to join Elmbrook WITHOUT 4K?

BrookfieldNOW reported in Neighborhoods lose bid to join Elmbrook, again that "The state's School Boundary Appeals Board last week denied the request of nearly 200 property owners in the Black Forest, Summit Lawn, Emerald Ridge and Shire subdivisions to leave the Waukesha School District and join Elmbrook.

The board voted, 3-0, to deny the Shire, Summit Lawn and Black Forest petition, and the Emerald Ridge request was voted down, 2-1."

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Practically Speaking's new comment policy

Blogging, Brookfield

In mid May, I changed my comment policy on this blog to:

"This is not the place for gossip, sniping at other bloggers, commentors, races, or religions. All comments not respectfully discussing the blog topic are going into delete world. And those of you double or triple posting under multiple names, knock it off! Keep this in mind on future posts. I will not enter the comment forum, so if you have a question for me, contact me via email: practicallyspeaking@gmail.com"

Many of you, who regularly comment on my blog, reacted to this change by insisting that my moderating comments violates their 1st amendment rights or that BrookfieldNOW would not allow it. Be assured, this is not true. BrookfieldNOW fully supports my comment policy.

In fact, if you actually read their comment policy, you will find that their guidelines are in line with mine:
" Here's the short version:

  • Don't use profanities or obscenities.
  • Don't post personal attacks and insults; threats; ethnic, racial, religious or sexual slurs; or otherwise engage in hateful conversation.
  • Don't stray from the topic of the blog or submit pointless comments.
  • DON'T SHOUT BY USING ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS.
  • Don't use this space for press releases or commercial purposes.
  • Don't submit knowingly false or libelous comments.
  • Don't pretend to be somebody else, or maintain more than one screen name, or use a screen name that might be considered objectionable or insulting.
  • Don't knowingly give out any personal information about other individuals, including participants of these blogs.
  • Don't post copyrighted or trademarked content."

As for violating 1st amendment rights, my comment policy doesn't. You are still free to start your own blog. You are free to take out an ad in the paper, hold up a sign or talk to people on on any street in Brookfield, or post a sign on your own front lawn to get your message out.

My blogging history:
I have been blogging now, in some shape or form, for 7 years and joined the Community Voices on BrookfieldNOW in 2007. Outside of receiving one threatening email in 2004, by in large, the comments I received in those early years (including a few negative ones) were civil.

When I joined BrookfieldNOW in the early years of BrookfieldNOW Community Voices (bloggers), readers would often email the blogger directly with a comment. I would post some of those comments from time to time if I felt they were noteworthy. I don't recall getting any negative ones.

Then BrookfieldNOW went to the comment format. People could now comment without divulging their identity. The Blogger received the comment and then decided if it would be posted or not. As a rule, 99% of those comments (including negative ones) made it to my blog. The ones that didn't make publication were rejected because they included profanity, were attacking other people, bloggers, races/religions, etc. Often these rejected ones supported me and my point of view, they just were too divisive.

But when BrookfieldNOW went to the auto-post method of comments, that the commentor no longer needed blogger approval for publication, the tone of comments changed again for the worse.

Commentors became much more nasty toward their fellow commentors and also toward me. If these comments didn't include a racial, religious, or other slur, I did nothing. If I felt they crossed the line, I would click the report abuse button. The BrookfieldNOW staff would then look at the objectionable comment and pull it if they agreed. Trouble was, the offensive comment was out there for all the world to see in the meantime.

Then BrookfieldNOW gave comment moderation back to the blogger earlier this year. I could ether reject one that was published or override one that someone else rejected to republish.

If you remember the public forum BrookfieldNOW had during the school referendum era, you will remember how divisive that got. BrookfieldNOW had to disband that forum because people couldn't control themselves. Things got really ugly.

So the free for all comment policy has been a source of frustration to BrookfieldNOW too.

Some newspaper websites are looking at requiring a commentor to sign into Facebook first to make a comment. This of course would reveal who the commentor is and hopefully curtail nastiness.

While I would look forward to more civility, I do see a need for anonymity for those who maybe hold public office or have another reason to keep their identity on the QT. (I did offer an anonymous comment option for those wanting to comment about Elmbrook's referendum in 2007 without fear of repercussions from others at school who favored the referendum.)

Some other misconceptions:
Every week, I receive a NOW report on how many "hits" each blog I write receives on BrookfieldNOW and what percentage of website traffic my blog generates. This is very useful to me, but it does not tell me the entire story. The NOW report does not tell me how long people read or how many of those hits were from the same person, for example. So I use a tool called Statcounter. It is a free service that just counts how many times a person looks at each blog post. It does this via an IP address.

Every time someone looks at any website or comments there, they leave an electronic finger print: their IP address. IPs are just a series of numbers unique to the computer the person is using. I only see the numbers and who the carrier is, like Road Runner. It also gives the locality of the carrier. (This can be misleading because sometimes a company headquarters is the locality but the commentor is in Brookfield.) It is rather fun to see what blog topics are of interest to people living in India, for example or regular readers who read from Europe. It seems people in India are very interested in rolling oats, for example.

Statcounter also shows me via a pie chart how long people read. This is important to a blogger; it tells me if people are interested in a certain topic.

Statcounter does NOT reveal your real name or email address. I have no idea who these IPs belong to, but it does show me how many times that IP clicked on a specific blog topic or made a comment. I sometimes can match the comment timestamp to a comment left on my blog. But I only know the screen name then, not your real name. Since I don't use the higher volume service, I can only see 100 hits at a time and I have no record of your viewing history, other than the 100 hit snapshot. So unlike BrookfieldNOW, whose IT department does know what your IP address is and what your email address is (linked to your screen name), I do not!

Comments that don't show up online
Many of you have asked why some comments are counted in the total number but don't show up online. Many of you assume I am the one blocking them, but that assumption is wrong. Though I have rejected many comments lately because they violate my new comment policy (and NOWs), there are other ones that show up in my blog software as being accepted, but don't show up online. NOW has no explanation for that either--just a glitch in the system.

Bottom line: I have been told my blog is my forum and I can write what I want. So, if you don't like my point of view, which is that of a Christian and a Conservative, you are free not to read. I have also been told that no one has the right to post a comment to my blog. But if you keep your comment on topic and it is respectfully written, I will post it, regardless of if you agree with me or not. BrookfieldNOW will allow me to turn off all comments, but I think good, constructive comments--including those that don't agree with my point of view--are beneficial.

So it is up to you, folks. Stick with the guidelines and let the civil discourse begin!

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Will "Firearms Prohibited in this Facility" signs come to Wisconsin?

Constitution, Conservatives, Legislation, WISCONSIN

One version of Conceal Carry passed the Wisconsin Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. So will these signs soon be seen in various public places in our state as they are in Arizona, a state that allows Constitutional Carry?

We recently spent a few weeks in Arizona and I admit, at first those signs were a bit of a surprise. We soon became accustomed to seeing them though, and we also adjusted to seeing someone's firearm peeking out from a jacket or even openly holstered on the hip.

One Navajo woman, at dinner with her family, had a belt on with bullets sheathed around her waist and a derringer where the buckle would be! (That was on the Navajo Nation--they have their own regulations there.)

We also visited some folks we know in Phoenix and found that the husband carried. He frequently went target shooting to keep his skills honed.

Did I feel threatened by the people carrying? Not at all. In fact, since I was a bit unnerved knowing armed illegals travel at will in the southern portion of that state, it was somewhat comforting to know that many Arizonans pack a piece.

Concealed Carry will pass in some shape or form here in Wisconsin. The question is what version--Constitutional Carry like Arizona and 3 other states or Concealed Carry with a permit as Utah does along with 43 others. Wisconsin is one of 2 states in our Union that doesn't allow Conceal Carry in any form.

I am torn as to which type of Conceal Carry law we should have. Before President Obama, I would have said sure, by permit is fine. But since our President is so eager to over-regulate firearms, including by means "under the radar" as he recently told James Brady's wife, Sarah, I don't know.

Since any responsible person would go for training before carrying a firearm, and background checks are done at the time of purchase*, I think I could be OK with Constitutional Carry. Criminals will disregard any regulations for permitting or background checks for purchase no matter what the Conceal Carry law states.

If you are thinking of carrying, you should check with your homeowner's insurance carrier to see if you need some extra liability insurance. The insurance issue was raised by one of the attendees at the Kooyenga Town Hall meeting.

In Arizona, we saw the "Firearms are prohibited in this facility" signs posted at numerous National Park Visitor Centers. National Parks recently changed their policy and now allow concealed carry of loaded firearms in the parks, using the gun regulations of the respective state.

We also encountered one of those signs at the Courthouse in Phoenix, a beautiful building I would have liked to have toured but was prohibited from entering.

Why? They wouldn't let me in because I was packing... a camera! (Cameras were not allowed inside.)

More reading:

WisPolitics: Senate committee approves conceal carry bill

Wisconsin would be among easiest states to conceal carry

Obama: We're working on gun control 'under the radar'

*Firearms purchased from a gun store require background checks. Some firearms can be purchased at gun shows and privately without a background check. But as someone who knows about guns told me, this can be very dangerous to do. If that firearm was used in a crime, I was told you could become involved in that crime even though you had nothing to do with it.

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It's a beautiful Memorial Day

War, Holidays, United States

Today's weather is a very pleasant surprise--often Memorial Day weather leaves something to be desired. But today the sun is shining and the temperature pleasant, considering the cold, rainy spring we have been having.

Yesterday I drove past Wisconsin Memorial Park on Capitol Drive in Brookfield (just west of 124th Street and the shopping center) and saw the American flags furled throughout the cemetery. They used to put them up just along the roadside but now have them displayed across at least the front portion of the park. These aren't just little hand waving flags but rather the huge 9' casket flags that are presented by the military to the families of Veterans. It is quite an impressive and sobering sight.

So today, as you enjoy this beautiful Memorial Day, take a moment and consider the price that was paid for your freedom. If you are a person of faith, thank God for the brave men and women who gave their lives serving their country.

Past Post: Memorial Day Traditions
Thank you, Veterans, for the final salute.

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