December 23, 2006

Mail Call


We got this beautiful card in the mail today from one of the RDW faithful. This thing is actually HAND PAINTED! Jeesh we have a hard enough time finding the time to write out store bought cards. That this reader found the time to do this, and make such a beautiful card, I'm really touched.

The reader also included a copy of the following check they mocked up and sent six copies of to the ACLU in business envelopes. Great stuff!

I'd identify them, but I don't have permission. If they would like to identify themselves in comments, so be it.

Really, our sincere thanks for this beautiful gesture.


Top Christmas Movies

From Yahoo Buzz Log the top 20 Christmas Movies.


1. "The Nativity Story" (2006)
2. "A Christmas Story" (1983)
3. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
4. "The Polar Express" (2004)
5. "A Christmas Carol" (multiple remakes)
6. "Deck the Halls" (2006)
7. "White Christmas" (1954)
8. "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" (2006)
9. "Home Alone" (1990)
10. "The Sound of Music" (1965)
11. "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)
12. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000)
13. "Elf" (2003)
14. "Bad Santa" (2003)
15. "Candles on Bay Street" (2006, Hallmark Channel)
16. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989)
17. "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947, 1994)
18. "The Santa Clause 2" (2002)
19. "The Christmas Card" (2006, Hallmark Channel)
20. "Scrooged" (1988)

I believe they rank by search term, I think the order is goofy.

So what is your favorite?

I'm going to take Mrs. Real Debate to see The Nativity Story tonight. I'll report back on it. (Shhh don't tell her)

December 22, 2006

Mary Did You Know

Peter posted this a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would share it here.

Merry Christmas.

Fantasy Football Preview

Well this weekend is the CheddarBowl. The chamionship game of our little fantasy league.

My preview:

I really like my chances this week.

The Bears secondary will have a let down after clinching home field advantage, Roy Williams scores twice and goes off for 110 yards. 23 points

Marty Booker out, Chris Chambers has a huge game against the Jets with one score, maybe two and 80 or 90 yards. 15 points

Elam kicks a 50 yarder plus two others and gets me about 15.

Andre Johnson in a shoot out with Indi playing catch up, two scores 140 yards. 26 points

Tampa D off the scrap heap against a horrid browns offense, keep them under 10 and a possible defensive score. 19 points

Westbrook in a rivalry game becoming Garcia's favorite target three scores close to 200 all purpose yards. 38 points

Peyton Manning goes wild against the Houston secondary 350 and 3 tds. (2 passing 1 running) 28 points.

Jeramy Steven catches two passes for 17 yards, 1.7 points.

And last but certainly not least Reggie Bush against an undersized, banged up and demoralized Giants secondary and maybe a special teams score. 14 points.

179.7 points.

But then again, Steve has LT, 17 scores and 700 yards. 172 points, plus his other guys...

It will be fun...

Thought of the week.


If at first you don't succeed....





Open another present.

Researchers....

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Had a strain of influenza akin to that which caused the 1918 influenza pandemic emerged in 2004, researchers estimate it could have killed 62 million people worldwide.

The vast majority of deaths (96 percent) would have occurred in poor countries where "scarce health resources are already stretched by existing health priorities," report Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray, of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and colleagues in The Lancet medical journal.

The investigators used death registration data gathered during the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic in 27 countries to estimate global mortality if such a similar pandemic should happen today.

So let me get this straight, had something that didn't happen happened anyway something bad could, but not necessarily would have happened, and it might not occur now or at any point in the future...

Thanks for clearing that up.
Must be Federal Employees

This is a must watch....

December 21, 2006

Cleaner sky causes global warming.

From Nature.com

Earth's air is cleaner, but this may worsen the greenhouse effect.

Our planet's air has cleared up in the past decade or two, allowing more sunshine to reach the ground, say two studies in Science this week.

Reductions in industrial emissions in many countries, along with the use of particulate filters for car exhausts and smoke stacks, seem to have reduced the amount of dirt in the atmosphere and made the sky more transparent.

That sounds like very good news. But the researchers say that more solar energy arriving on the ground will also make the surface warmer, and this may add to the problems of global warming. More sunlight will also have knock-on effects on cloud cover, winds, rainfall and air temperature that are difficult to predict.

The results suggest that a downward trend in the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, which has been observed since measurements began in the late 1950s, is now over.

The researchers argue that this trend, commonly called 'global dimming', reversed more than a decade ago, probably following the collapse of communist economies and the consequent decrease in industrial pollutants.



Global dimming now caused by CLEANER AIR... This stuff makes my head spin round and round. We have people running around saying dirty air causes global warming and we have people running around saying cleaner air causes global warming.

Fact of the matter is NOBODY TRULY KNOWS, but some people want spiffy government funding for their research and they are trying to scare you into it.

Judge dismisses suit against Michael Moore

BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by an Iraq war veteran who claimed filmmaker Michael Moore used the veteran's image without permission in the anti-war documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

According to court papers, Judge Douglas Woodlock of U.S. District Court in Massachusetts dismissed the suit on Wednesday. It had sought $35 million in damages from Moore, as well as Miramax, which is owned by Walt Disney Co. and several other film companies.

The film showed Iraq war veteran Sgt. Peter Damon, who had lost his right arm near the shoulder and much of his left arm, lying in a hospital gurney at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, saying that he feels pain but that pain-killers given him "take a lot of the edge" off of it.

The video clip was originally used by NBC Nightly News for a story about medical treatment for veterans. In Moore's film, it followed a statement by Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington that "they're leaving all kinds of veterans behind."

Seeing as I posted this when it was filed, I thought I should post the outcome. The guy had a case, but he asked for too much.

Christmas Advice to the men out there.

To not blow it in the remaining days before Christmas I offer up the following advice to the guys out there.

Words Women Like.

1.) FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right, and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means half an hour. Five Minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine (see #1).

4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5.) Loud Sigh: This is not actually a word but a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. "That's okay" means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you - do not question or faint. Just say you're welcome.

8.) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying "%@&* YOU!"

9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "what's wrong" - for the woman's response refer to #3.

Indentured servant lite

An interesting editorial in the Racine Journal Times in regards to the proposal to give free college tuition in exchange for 10 years of working in the state after graduation.

Desperation comes in many forms. The most recent comes with a proposal from the Wisconsin Commission on Improving Higher Education.The offer is free college tuition. But it comes with a price tag: an indenture to live and work in the State of Wisconsin for ten years after graduation.

Several of the commission members have labeled this concept as the “big bang” idea because they believe it will revolutionize the Dairy State. In their opinion, creating a “captive” workforce will draw new business and industry to Wisconsin and help lower our tax burden.

Unfortunately graduates won’t bring jobs to the state. Jobs attract the graduates.

This is particularly true when there is a ready supply of graduates available in every state in the union to meet the demand of the employers needing those jobs filled.

So grads must move to and work in the states where the jobs are going. And how do the jobs really get there? Business has always thrived in low tax jurisdictions. Unfortunately, Wisconsin, the 5th highest taxing state in the country, provides no such pro-business environment.

An interesting fact: Colorado is second in the country in the percentage of their population with college degrees. That is pretty impressive for a state that was supposedly ruined by TABOR.

This proposal of free college tuition will only drive up taxes making it even more difficult for business as well as the graduates the Commission had hoped to keep here.

George Meyers
Racine

I think Mr Meyers nailed this one.

Vos release on proposed increase in Racine County sales tax.

CONTACT: State Representative Robin Vos
608-266-9171

NEW SALES TAX PROPOSAL “A LUMP OF COAL” FOR RACINE COUNTY TAXPAYERS

( RACINE ) A new countywide sales tax proposal by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is a lump of coal in Racine County taxpayers’ holiday stockings according to State Representative Robin Vos (R-Caledonia). In addition to the 5.1% sales tax Racine County residents already pay for the state sales tax and for the Brewer’s Stadium, an additional .0375% sales tax would be added to fund a new commuter rail system in Kenosha , Racine and Milwaukee Counties .

“Increasing taxes to fund mass transit is just not an option,” said Vos. “ Racine County is already taxed to death and citizens shouldn’t have to dip in their wallets again.”

The idea of expanding commuter rail to southeastern Wisconsin is not new. Its feasibility became dim when the Chicago commuter rail system decided it did not want to connect with one in Wisconsin . However, Wisconsin moved forward and money was set aside via a car rental tax to fund a study of a commuter rail system that would extend from Kenosha through Racine to Milwaukee . The study is now completed and it proposes to build train stations in Caledonia, Racine and other places along the route paid for by sales tax money generated in all three counties.

“I am not opposed to commuter rail service, but I think people who never ride the system shouldn’t be forced to pay for it,” said Vos.

The study shows ticket fares would only cover 26% of the cost of operations with state and federal subsidies covering an additional 66%. Local taxpayers would be forced to make up the difference through the additional sales tax.

Vos noted that 78% of the respondents to his 2005 fall legislative questionnaire said they did not support a tax increase to fund a commuter rail system. “Clearly my constituents have shown through these results and the last election that they don’t want new taxes,” said Vos. “While going door to door during the campaign people consistently said they did not want their taxes increased – period. I can’t imagine they would support an increase for commuter rail.”

Vos is concerned that once the new sales tax is put in place it will be impossible to get rid of it. He compared it to the Brewer’s Stadium sales tax which is supposed to end in 2014, but only if all the debt is retired. Costs of the stadium have been three to four times greater than expectations so there is no guarantee it will end in the next seven years.

“I’ve been working the last two years to end the Brewer’s Stadium tax in 2014 debt free or not,” said Vos. “It’s easy for government to start a new tax, but not end it. The taxpayers of Racine County have been deceived once with a short-term tax that sunsets; I won’t let them be deceived again.”

The RTA proposal will now have to gain state approval through the legislative Joint Finance Committee of which Vos is a member.

The new internet addictions

These are interesting, strange but interesting.

- EGO-SURFING: When you frequently check your name and reputation on the Internet.

- BLOG STREAKING: "Revealing secrets or personal information online which for everybody's sake would be best kept private."

- CRACKBERRY: "The curse of the modern executive: not being able to stop checking your BlackBerry, even at your grandmother's funeral." (A BlackBerry is a popular handheld device that can be used for phoning, emailing and web-browsing).

- GOOGLE-STALKING: Defined as "snooping online on old friends, colleagues or first dates."

- CYBERCHONDRIA: "A headache and a particular rash at the same time? Extensive online research tells you it must be cancer."

- PHOTOLURKING: Flicking through a photo album of someone you've never met.

- WIKIPEDIHOLISM: Excess devotion to contributing to the online collaborative encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. (Wikipedia even has a page where you can test whether you're an addict: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Are-You-a-Wikipediholic-Test)).

- CHEESEPODDING: Downloading of a song "so cheesy that you could cover it in plastic wrap and sell it at the deli counter." Cheesepodders are especially vulnerable to soft-rock favourites from the 1970s.

December 20, 2006

ZUCKER TAKES ON THE IRAQ STUDY GROUP AND JAMES BAKER

Perspective
Weird Al Rocks

Opinions be damned

I know that Fred and I have often railed on the obvious liberal bias of the Racine Journal Times, but it's not just them that are unable to accept criticism. As the RDW education reporter, I often read through the school-related blogs of our local paper and have to note the content of the posts of the administration's defenders.

Posters who disagree with Unified's practices, or the decisions of Dr. Hicks, will usually offer salient points as to why the logic may be flawed. That is not always the case, but more often than not. Then come numerous posts which instead of defending a point, attack the dissenters. People who write about voting no on a referendum, disagree with a board decision, or the hiring of the umpteenth consultant by Dr. Hicks, are immediately called names degrading their intelligence and/or labeled as anti-education.

What's funny is that both sides of local education issues want the same thing. Change. However if you don't call for the same change as Dr. Hicks and those who agree with him, then you must hate children and teachers.

As a teacher, I can speak to the flawed pedagogy behind the Continuous Progress model of instruction with some first-hand experience. I know that our superintendent is forcing poor policy on a district that needs guidance. I fear that the fiscal situation for this already cash-strapped community is only going to get worse with the amount of money freely spent on policies and consultants that have little or no educational impact.

I can have these feelings without hating my students or colleagues. Why can't some understand that?

We're growing....

I am proud to announce a new addition to the RDW staff. Phelony Jones has agreed to come on board.

Phelony's primary responsibility will be Monday Random Quotes, however she is welcome to post whatever she wants whenever she wants.

Phelony adds a bit of class to the joint don't ya' think?

Britney Spears

Help me understand why every time I see one of these listings of most popular search terms Britney Spears is at the top of it.

For the life of me, I do not understand the attraction.

Scammed?

This from a Journal Times Weblog open thread.

TARGET IS A SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!

I PURCHASED SOME EARRINGS FROM THERE SUNDAY DECEMBER 17TH 2006. THE STICKER PRICE SAID $24.99. I GOT IT ON SALE FOR $21.67. I BROUGHT IT HOME, TOOK THE STICKER OFF AND UNDERNEATH WAS ANOTHER STICKER THAT SAID....... $17.99 !!!!!

I WILL NEVER SHOP THERE AGAIN. TALK ABOUT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A SEASON THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT LOVE AND HARMONY. ISN'T THAT ILLEGAL???? RIDICULOUS


Wow, that is one ticked off consumer. It is a common practice among some retailers to mark things up to put them on sale.

I have not been to Target since they banned the Salvation Army.

Have any stories of good or bad shopping experiences in this shopping season?

Do share...

December 19, 2006

Candidate Fred?

I have mentioned to a few people locally that I was considering a run for Alderman in Racine.

It would seem the rumor mill has taken hold and it is all over town that I am running.

I thought I should clear things up, I have not yet reached a decision.

I have until January 3rd to gather signatures and file. I do not intend on making a decision until the middle of next week.

I must say I have been impressed by how closely and how well Alderman Helding and Mayor Becker have worked together. They are essentially partisan opposites, yet they work together very well. I want the same thing they do, to move this city forward and to make it a more attractive place for people to live, work and raise their children. We may not agree on all the issues, but we all agree on that.

I'll announce my intentions here no later than Friday the 29th.

Feel free to add your input in comments.

Until then, Merry Christmas.

Fantasy Football Update.

I've been a bit behind on this, We've been waltzing through the playoffs and are entering the Superbowl this weekend.

We were way behind going into last nights game, but Peyton Manning's four touchdowns lifted The Debate Team ahead of Owen's Sander's Sabers to a clash of 1 vs 2 this coming weekend.

The top seed is Steve at No runny eggs. When last we met I eeked out a .36 point victory.

Steve has a powerhouse trio of running backs in LT, Frank Gore and Willie Parker. I've got the edge in quarterback and receivers.

It will be a glorious slug-fest.

$9.1 million woopsie

You have got to read this...

The money quote... Barrett is furious because the board chose to raise spending instead of holding down taxes, "with no thought of the taxpayer," and "furious that the ball got dropped between the city clerk's office and the comptroller's office," Curley said. "It's a ridiculous situation."

December 18, 2006

Navy Norway

Training Sir....

Iran and the big lie

A brilliant column by Suzanne Fields.


Watching the coverage of the Holocaust-denial convention of big liars in Tehran was an immersion in the theater of the surreal. All it lacked was Borat. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the bizarro president of Iran, had to be satisfied with David Duke.

On a short walk through Mitte, the neighborhood where I have been staying, I had to step over shiny bronze street plaques imbedded in the sidewalks of Rosenthaler Strasse to document the lives of Jewish men, women and children who lived there before the Nazis ripped them from their homes. These tiny plaques, placed throughout Berlin, mark the starting places for journeys that led to Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau. The very sound of the names of the death chambers echoes a grisly cacophony of evil.

Few Berliners, or any other Germans, are at risk of believing the grotesque lies that emanated from the conference in Iran. Most of the world is grimly aware of what happened to 6 million Jews and 5 million others -- political prisoners, prisoners of war, homosexuals, gypsies and the halt and the lame whose blood couldn't conform to the standards of mental and physical purity demanded by the Nazis. Leaders of Western countries expressed the expected outrage at what went on in Tehran.

But it's not the West and the people of the 21st century that the conference was meant to persuade. The target audience, of course, was those who insist on living in the 12th century, whose bigotries need the sustenance of fresh lies about Israel and the Jews.

Hatred of Israel and the Jews is one of the most powerful tools the unreconstructed Arab and Muslim radicals use to maintain a unity of evil.

The rest.

New taxes.

So Jim Doyle wants a $1 increase per pack of smokes because it would help make people quit.

This ladies and gentlemen is something called social engineering, it stinks.

If this is going to be Jim Doyle's Wisconsin then so be it, I recommend the following immediate tax changes.
  • Value Meal Tax. A $6.50 per value meal tax. We all know fast food is bad for you so this will help you to pack your own lunch.
  • Happy Meal Tax. A $10 tax on fast food meals marketed to children. This will help teach children to eat properly.
  • Gambling Tax. Gambling addiction is a very real and serious problem. I recommend a 50% tax on any and all gambling winnings plus a 10% rake on house fees.
  • Car Tax. Face it people, cars kill. An immediate $10,000 per year tax on all automobiles, this will encourage people to use cheaper, more efficient mass transit. If you don't have mass transit in your town, tough. After all, we know what's best for you.
  • Cable tax. Last week there was a report out saying we watch too much TV. I propose an immediate $500 a month cable / satellite TV tax. This will encourage people to get off the couch.
  • Internet Tax. When we get you off the cable you might surf the web, $500 per month ISP tax (educational exception of course, but not for choice or private schools)
  • Michael McGee Jackson Jr & Sr Tax. Every time the N-word is used either by or in regards to Michael McGee Jackson Jr or Sr a $100 tax shall be imposed. This should persuade people to stop using said word pleasing Eugene Kane to no end.
  • Eugene Kane Tax. Everytime anyone plays the race card, $2,300 tax. (don't ask me why it is $2,300 like Jim Doyle I am making it up as I go along)
  • The Vlach tax. A $5 rebate on every thong purchase...
  • Union Dues tax. Everyone not in a union should have to pay dues anyway. The attack on our unions has gone on far too long.
  • Formula Tax. $10 per can of baby formula since breast feeding is better for our children. It takes a village you know.

Feel free to add your own particular spin to our tax policy.

Crappity crap crap crap.

I hate this...

Hillary Clinton Says She Wouldn't Have Voted For Iraq War
December 18, 2006 4:02 PMDavid Chalian
ABC News' David Chalian Reports: As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to assess a possible presidential candidacy and the contours of a Democratic nomination fight, she has taken another step away from her 2002 vote authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq by saying that she "wouldn't have voted that way" if she knew everything she knows now.

Clinton has often been asked if she regrets her vote authorizing military action and she usually answers that question with an artful dodge, saying that she accepts responsibility for the vote and suggesting that if the Senate had all the information it has today (no WMD, troubled post-war military planning, etc. . .), there would never have been a vote on the Senate floor.

Hindsight is such crap. Would you like to learn from the past; sure you would. These people should have to live with their votes.

Do the Packers wish they had drafted Barry Sanders instead of Tony Madarich? Of course they do. In life people have to stand up and accept their mistakes instead of trying to make brownie points.

Sorry Hill, the anti-war left wil not fogive you that easily.

First license and registration fees....

Now a cigarette tax hike.

By RYAN J. FOLEY Associated Press WriterMADISON, Wis. (AP) -

Gov. Jim Doyle said Monday he was open to a $1-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax as long as the money is used to deter smoking and help pay for health care.

Kind of like how gas taxes are just for road building....

A council convened by Doyle to study health care suggested adding $1 to the state's 77 cents-per-pack tax as a way to pay for programs that reduce the cost of health insurance and the number of uninsured.

Doyle was cool to a similar plan defeated by lawmakers two years ago, but said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press that he saw "real positives to an increase in the cigarette tax."

Now that he has been re-elected this makes sense... What phony political hackery.

...Wisconsin's cigarette tax ranks 30th among the states, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

A $1 increase would make it the ninth highest in the country, according to the group.

Doyle said the dramatic hike would make sense."If you're going to do a cigarette tax, you really want to have it bring down smoking rates," he said. "There's got to be real shock value to what happens. Little incremental increases don't achieve that for you."

Lord knows we can not have a tax that is not in the top 10 in the nation...

Monday Random Quotes

His bellybutton is on backwards... Owen.

More sugar and better health benefits. Jib.

Be careful what you sweep under the carpet… Kevin.

When we go home we’re taking our toys with us. Aaron

When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. Kate.

I hate to get all Mel Gibson on this... York.

Clinton spied, Diana died. Dan.

Santa Catalina is waiting for me.... Phelony.

Run like the wind RealDebate run!!! Sliverthetomcat.

In10sity. Tom.

That which can go wrong, will go wrong, and at such as time as to maximize the inconvenience and aggravation level. Phoenix.

amazed at what great handwriting their dog has... Nick.

Another addictive distance thingie....

Again, my apologies.

December 17, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

I would like to thank the academy...

Arrogant blogger sued by the invasion of privacy people.

By Robin Abcarian, Times Staff WriterDecember 17, 2006

It's hard to know whom to sympathize with in this fight.

On one side: the paparazzi who stalk celebrities in their moments of greatest vulnerability — at doctors' offices, with their newborns, when they are falling-down drunk.

On the other: a blogger who helps himself to those photos, scrawls puerile comments on them, and posts them on his immensely popular and profitable website.

The owners of one L.A. photo agency are so frustrated with what they consider to be blatant theft by self-styled "gossip gangsta" Perez Hilton that they've decided to make a federal case of it.

On Nov. 30, X17 Inc., known for the aggressive pursuit of celebrity prey, filed a $7.6-million federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Hilton, alleging that he has used 51 photos without permission, payment or credit.

The list of allegedly infringed photos is an almost poetic inventory of the state of pop culture and people's obsession with it: "Pregnant Katie Holmes," "Kevin Federline Pumping Gas," "The New Slim Britney Spears," "Britney Spears Exposes Her Derriere," "Britney Spears Exposes Herself (Again)."Brandy Navarre, who co-owns X17 with her husband, Francois Navarre, said the agency is suing the owner of http://www.perezhilton.com not just because he doesn't pay or credit them, but also because they don't like his attitude.

While X17 has agreements with many gossip blogs — Pink IsTheNewBlog, PopSugar and SocialiteLife, among others — allowing them to post photos with proper credit and a link back to the X17 website, Navarre said she was tired of constantly reminding Hilton to credit X17 and had finally given up."We've had trouble with a lot of bloggers," she said. "But he's the biggest, and the most arrogant and pigheaded about it, frankly.

"Reached by phone at his "office," a corner table in a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Sunset Boulevard, Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, sounded miffed. "She is suing me because I'm arrogant? That's not what her press release said. My position is that I don't think what I am doing is illegal, and I am going to vigorously defend myself. I am willing to step up to the plate and fight for my rights and fight for the rights of all bloggers."