All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brookfield residents, be on the lookout, call police

UPDATE Friday morning: I just spoke with Lt. Millard, who helped clarify some terms and information. Changes will be in bold italics.

Last Saturday, I received an email alert concerning suspicious door to door salesmen in the Weston Hills subdivision on the southwest side of Brookfield. This was the second time these salesmen had come to that neighborhood.

Evidently, the (Town) police were patrolling and looking for an older blue van with men selling cleaning products at dusk on Friday. The salesmen were going door to door, being rude, and asking odd questions like, "Can you tell me where the cool people in the neighborhood are?"

They also asked for a bottle of water and got angry when the homeowner said they didn't have any.

Just so you know, the men were in their early 20s and were NOT ethnic minorities.

I called the City of Brookfield police number on Saturday to find out if there were other complaints. The woman who answered the phone at the office said she had not heard of any, but that I should call the Community Officer on Monday.

On Monday, I spoke to Lt. Mark Millard, Brookfield's Community Officer and asked him about the odd behavior of those door to door salesmen in Weston Hills. He said he hadn't heard about it. I said that since Brookfield changed to the combined dispatch in Waukesha, I found I was less likely to report or call to ask about suspicious behavior. He said that others felt much the same but Brookfield police do want to know about ANYTHING suspicious going on in our city. He urged that we should not hesitate to call them.

But who do we call?

For an emergency, of course, call 911. A 911 call would be for a situation that you would want a response from a squad and/or ambulance with the lights and siren on, such as a gas line rupture, robbery in progress, bad car accident that needs EMT services, or health emergencies.

If it is an less acute (my words) emergency or something is going on at the moment that needs an officer, call the Waukesha County Communications Center (Send Officer) line: 262-787-3700. If that is busy, try 262-446-5070. This is the combined dispatch number and the call goes to the Waukesha office.

If it is an inquiry or just reporting something generally suspicious that happened (like my call), call Lt. Millard at 262-424-3561 (This is his cell phone number because he is frequently out of the office.) If you are just reporting something or want to leave a message for him to call you back in the near future, you may call his hard line at 262-787-3623.

Lt. Millard informed me that any door to door salesmen in Brookfield must be licensed. Salesmen must conduct their business during daylight hours. Once it is dark, they are not allowed to solicit.

Beware of anyone asking for water or something to eat. Often the homeowner will leave the door and go fetch the requested item. Sometimes, unscrupulous salesmen who are really there for other purposes, will barge in and rob the homeowner. The Lieutenant related a case where someone portrayed themselves as a WE Energies employee, asked to come in, and then stole from the older woman!

Sometimes door to door salesmen, who are really after something else, will ask to use your phone or say their car broke down, could they use your phone? Lt. Millard gave me a great answer to those requests. If asked if they can come in, reply: "It looks like you are in need. Let me call the Brookfield police for you, they will help you." You could suggest they just wait in their car until the officer arrives.

If they ask to use your bathroom, know where the nearest gas station or place with a public restroom is and direct them to it.

Any legitimate salesman would never ask for a snack, soda, or to use your bathroom! They also would not get angry if you didn't know where the cool people lived or give them a bottle of water.

It turns out that the men in the blue van were licensed by the Town of Brookfield. (The senders of the email warning did speak with the police later.) But even if they are licensed, if solicitors are acting suspiciously, report them!

Lt. Millard told me of one group that used to sell door to door some time ago. Although they did not commit any crimes at the time, the police noticed a rash of break ins after their visits to certain neighborhoods. They weren't selling; they were casing the homes! Their permits were revoked.

What can you do? I would say, report anything you find suspicious. Just like there is no rule that says you have to answer the phone, you don't have to answer the door either! Instruct children not to open the door for anyone. Don't open the door to anyone you don't know if you are alone. If there is a window nearby, open it to speak to the solicitors. If you do open your door, keep your screen door locked--at least it will slow them down. Keep your home well lit at night. (I have heard burglars hate a light left on in a bathroom because someone could be in there for quite some time!)

The police can't be everywhere; they depend on resident's reports. Don't be afraid to call them if you need to speak to them.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: ,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Watch Ken Burns' National Parks: America's Best Idea series on PBS or online

Last night, the first in a series of 6 programs on America's National Parks aired on PBS. The remaining programs will be shown this week.

In case you missed last night's, or are unable to see them all, they are also available to view online the day after they appear on TV until October 9th.

Being avid National Parks fans at our house, we watched Episode 1. It highlighted the early history of the National Parks concept and our nations first 2 National Parks: Yosemite and Yellowstone. Yosemite was the first land set aside by an act of congress; it was put under the jurisdiction of the state of California.

But the program raised an interesting question: had Wyoming been a state at the time Yellowstone's 2 million acres were designated as a park in 1872, would it be just another state park like Yosemite or National Park?

In any event, I am grateful it was set aside for the enjoyment of the people--we sure enjoy it! Pictured is Beehive geyser, a name given to the dome shaped cone by the 1870 Washburn expedition mentioned in the program. (Beehive's plume can reach to about 200 feet tall. Very impressive, especially because you view it from close range--so close you sometimes get wet!)


PS: Yellowstone is hands down our favorite park. Grand Canyon North Rim would be 2nd favorite, Yosemite maybe 3rd, but it is rather like picking a favorite child! Bryce, Zion, and many others could easily vie for the number 3 slot! And then, there are all those still to be visited. destinations!

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , ,

Dangerous month, dangerous world, dangerous ideas

There were 2 terrorist arrests last week in the United States. One was an illegal alien, a young Jordanian who attempted to blow up a downtown Dallas skyscraper. The other was an Illinois man, a convert to Islam, who tried to blow up a federal building in the state capital, Springfield.

But that is not all, "The Justice Department said the case was unrelated to another suspected terrorism plot in New York, where an Afghan-born man was charged with conspiring to launch a bombing attack in the United States..."

That would be the "Bomb plot suspect said to have eyed 9/11 attack" case. "The Afghan-born man at the center of an anti-terrorism probe was determined to make a bomb and perhaps detonate it in New York City on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, before he was thwarted by authorities, a U.S. prosecutor said on Friday."

And there was the planned assault on the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, by 2 of the 7 suspects arrested for overseas terrorist attacks. One of the men was a US citizen, the other from Kosovo, but here legally.

The point of all this? We live in dangerous times. September 11, 2001 may have been 8 years ago, but the terrorist threats and plots are still there, despite the U.S. electing President Barack Obama. It doesn't seem the terrorists love us any more than they did under President Bush.

As for our dangerous world, today Iran conducted its 3rd round of missile tests. Venezuela is exploring uranium deposits with Russia and China will display their missiles in their 60th anniversary parade, to name a few more examples of weapon expansion.

Just last week we learned that Iran admitted the existence of a 2nd Uranium enrichment plant. "'Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow,' Obama said Friday, detailing how the facility near Qom had been under construction for years without being disclosed, as required, to the International Atomic Energy Agency. 'International law is not an empty promise.'"

But who is to say Iran must follow those rules? President Obama just addressed the UN, "But make no mistake: this [world's problems] cannot be solely America's endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone. We have sought - in word and deed - a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges"

Obama wants a nuke free world. "First, we must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them. ...For decades, we averted disaster, even under the shadow of a super-power stand-off. But today, the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region, and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine."

And the action needed? Disarm.

"America will keep our end of the bargain. We will pursue a new agreement with Russia to substantially reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. ...We will complete a Nuclear Posture Review that opens the door to deeper cuts, and reduces the role of nuclear weapons. And we will call upon countries to begin negotiations in January on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for weapons."

So far, foreign relations under President Obama have not been stellar: Washington Times Editorial: Worst foreign policy ever.

The President's ideas of a nuclear free world are naive and dangerous. Seems French President Sarkozy agrees: "President Obama dreams of a world without weapons ...but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite," Sarkozy said. "...what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map."

Our president wants us all to sing Nuclear Kumbaya but "...French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America's handling of the [2nd Iranian bomb-grade fuel facility]announcement." ( French Atomic Pique, WSJ Sept 29, 2009)

We know we are out of touch when "the President of France shows more resolve" than we do!

Past Posts: Obama, JFK, Techology, & The Cuban Missile Crisis...Chilling
Obama's vision of nuke free world shot down by N. Korea missile

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Parents knew nothing of Obama-adoration songs at school

Do you know what your kids are learning at school? Parents in New Jersey were surprised to learn that a few of their children were (reportedly) taught some very pro-Obama songs about "all [his] great accomplishments" as part of Black History month. Keep in mind, Black History month is in February. President Obama only took office toward the end of January! What accomplishments?

Video of 18 grade school kids singing a pro Obama song to the Battle Hymn of the Republic tune was bad enough. It could be worse, I suppose; at least they didn't include the line, "His truth is marching on." The chant that was styled on the spiritual, "Jesus Loves the Little Children" that included the line, "red, yellow, black or white, All are equal in his sight. Barack Hussein Obama," was over the top. (The real song lyrics are Red and Yellow, Black and White, All are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.) "Click here to see the full lyrics to both songs."

Funny how we can use the president's middle name now, isn't it?

FOXNews reported parents' reaction to the songs:

"The video has set off some families in Burlington, who said they were horrified that their children at the being 'indoctrinated' to view the president like a cult figure."

"'I'm stunned -- I can't believe it's our school,' said Jim Pronchik, who told his 8-year-old son Jimmy was one of the 18 students in the video. 'We don't want to praise this guy like he's a god or an idol or a king or anything like that. That's the wrong message to be sending.'"

"Pronchik said he and his wife were never informed about the lesson, which the superintendent of Burlington Township schools says was held in February as part of Black History Month 'to honor the contributions of African Americans to our country.'"

Again, President Obama was in office one month! What accomplishments? I have never heard of this type of adoration being heaped on a living or sitting president before, much less one who just took office.

Since it was Black History month, would some mention or acknowledgment of our country electing a Black president be appropriate? I think so. Or how about the fact that we had 2 Black Secretaries of State, Condeleezza Rice and Colin Powell, under the George W. Bush administration, or something about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas?

As to when the video was made, the waters are a bit muddy here. Evidently, the young singers didn't make it to national attention on YouTube until Sept. 6th, just before President Obama's national school address. Had it not been for that posting, would anyone have known this was going on at a public school? There seems to be some controversy over when it was filmed.

According to the same FOXNews article (my emphasis), "'Alteredbeat,' the YouTube user who posted the video on the Internet, told that the video was first put online by Charisse Carney-Nunes, an activist and author of the children's book "I Am Barack Obama," which her Web site says "allows children to see themselves through the inspirational story of President Obama." Carney-Nunes has been promoting the book during visits to schools on the east coast."

"'Alteredbeat' told that he reached out to Carney-Nunes, who insisted that the program had been filmed in June as part of a Father's Day tribute to President Obama. 'The kids made up the songs on their own,' she wrote, according to the YouTube user."

If you look at the way the children are dressed, almost all in long sleeves, I would think it was filmed in February, not June.

But be it Father's Day? Black History Month? February holidays? Book promos? whatever the reason or season, it still seems inappropriate for public school. Had it not been posted on YouTube, would the parents have ever known?

Past posts: Will parents opt kids out of Pres. Obama's national school address?
Obama pitches Health Care at Wakefield High School

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 14, 2009

UPDATE Come for tea at Milwaukee's own Tea Party: Veterans Park, Sat. Sept. 19, 3-5pm

UPDATE: See local news coverage links at bottom of posting.

The following came to my email in-box from Americas for Prosperity:

...If you have attended a Taxpayer Tea Party, you know the excitement when surrounded by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of like-minded citizens who are trying to tell our elected officials, "Enough is Enough!"

It is time to show Washington and Madison how powerful the premiere grassroots organization of Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin has become!

Join us and our incredible line-up of speakers on Saturday, September 19th, at Veterans Park on the lake front of Milwaukee from 3:00 - 5:00 pm.

We have added the Rock Star of Radio - Vicki McKenna, along with James T. Harris, WTMJ, and Pat Snyder, WSAU, to our line up. We will have more exciting speakers to announce! Watch your email and our web site for updates.

The event is free, but please register at so we can get an estimate of how many will attend. Invite your friends to register, too!

We encourage you to register and to forward this email to your list of friends. Everyone is eligible to be chosen for two round trip tickets, hotel accommodations and registration to our 3rd Annual Defending the American Dream Summit to be held in Washington, D.C. on October 2nd and 3rd. The scholarship winners will be announced on our web site.

UPDATE: I probably would have gone for "tea" on Sept. 19, but I was out of town. Americans for Prosperity posted a number of YouTube and article links so you can at least get a flavor of the day.
Fight Back Wisconsin, Crowd Estimated at over 15,000
Thousands rally at Milwaukee tea party JSOnline
Michelle Malkin Part 1, Part 2
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker
Vicki McKenna Part 1, Part 2
Thousands Attend Lakefront Tea Party by Michael George, TMJ4

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , ,

UPDATE: Can't believe it:, IRS & Census Bureau no longer with ACORN, 11 ACORN workers arrested, 2 fired

UPDATE: Another ACORN falls from government grace: IRS severs ties with ACORN over scandal Sept. 23, 2009: "The IRS says it is severing ties with ACORN, the community activist group involved in a scandal after employees were caught on video giving advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and pimp"

Last week, ACORN turned in Florida workers on voter fraud charges, (My emphasis) "Armed with a tip from the grassroots group ACORN about its own workers, authorities on Wednesday began arresting 11 people suspected of falsifying hundreds of voter applications during a registration drive last year."

And now this was reported later on Friday, often the time news you don't want to create a stir with is released: Census Bureau severs ties with ACORN in 2010 count:

"The Census Bureau on Friday severed its ties with ACORN, a community organization that has been hit with Republican accusations of voter-registration fraud."

" 'We do not come to this decision lightly,' Census director Robert Groves wrote in a letter to ACORN, which was obtained by The Associated Press."

"In splitting with ACORN, Groves sought to tamp down GOP concerns and negative publicity that the partnership will taint the 2010 head count."

ACORN was also in the news last week when 2 ACORN workers were caught on hidden camera giving tax advice to 2 people posing as a pimp and prostitute on how to scam the system. You have to watch it to believe it. There was also the Child Prostitution video. The article says the 2 workers were fired from ACORN.

Monday I saw that there was yet another sex slave case that ACORN HOUSING workers approved of in New York. You can't make this stuff up! This case involved 3 ACORN employees. None of which seemed to bat an eye at their illegal enterprise or keeping the money they earned from the prostitution hidden in their backyards! Talk about creative bookkeeping.

Is ACORN falling from grace? Will they have to give back their $4 billion or so in stimulus money?

Senator Mike Johannes of Nebraska called for an amendment to block Federal funding of Acorn also on Monday.

For over a year, Conservatives and Republicans couldn't get any traction on the ACORN voter fraud front or ACORN at all.

So what is going on?

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , ,

10 years of sleeping on air

Recently, there have been some local commercials advertising their double sided mattresses over others single sided mattresses. The double you can flip; the single sided manufacturers say you don't need to flip. I didn't even know there were single sided mattresses, but the idea that you don't have to flip them seems far fetched. I have to think not flipping would result in a mattress sagging much faster?

But I have not flipped our mattress since we purchased it in 1999 and it is still as perfect as day one. Why? Because it is an air bed, not an inner spring, and we love it.

Even after 10 years, we often still say, I love this bed, when we crawl in at night. I am glad I don't have to flip it either. I used to single-handedly do battle flipping our former innerspring queen size. It was challenging back then; I can't imagine doing it now that I am 10 years older!

Because we were disappointed in the past by how quickly even a good mattress started to sag, we looked into getting an air bed. We checked out the mall air bed models and decided air was the way to go.

It wasn't until I looked for an under-bed drawer platform to set the air bed onto, that I discovered the Anderson Bed Co. ad in the back of my Martha Stewart magazine. It was there I saw their version of the air bed, the Ultimate Bed. We chose the Ultimate Bed over the Sleep Number bed because the Ultimate had a layer of memory foam on the top and used wool in their mattress pad.

The beauty of an air bed is that there is no sagging. It does lose a little air over time, but you just push the individual inflate controller and it pumps to desired firmness. I also sleep better on air. Because the 2 sides of the bed are separated, I don't notice when husband rolls over. There isn't that ripple effect of movement that used to wake me up.

Sleeping on air is a different experience. You nestle in and tend to stay in one position longer which gives a better night's sleep. That is especially important for light sleepers.

The Ultimate Bed is one of the few examples of new and improved that truly is. I highly recommend it. Check it out for yourself. Granted, the price was higher than a traditional innerspring mattress, but considering it is still as good as day 1 ten years later, we figured it would pay off in the long run.

As for the drawer platform, we got ours at PM Bedroom Gallery on Bluemound Road. It was more standard in height than the one Anderson offered and so our air bed looks just like a regular bed.

So that is my testimonial on sleeping on air, in case you were thinking about a new mattress and wondered what those air beds are like. Other family members have purchased Sleep Number beds and like them too. Either way, air beds arrive in a big carton and require a little set up. It is pretty straight forward. My 10 year old did it for me. If you move, you just disassemble. I do rotate the 3 sections of memory foam from time to time, but these are light weight -- nothing like my fights with the innerspring.

Whichever company you decide on, with air, you'll never flip again!

I am not affiliated at all with the Anderson Manufacturing Company, nor do I receive any compensation for my opinion. This piece was posted purely for information purposes.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: ,

It was a BIG TEA PARTY, people are finally waking up

The September 12th Tea Party in Washington D.C. exceeded my expectations. Crowd estimates are all over the map, ranging from 10s of thousands, to 100s of thousands, to over a million. Crowd estimates have always been iffy; the Million Man March, for example, ranged from 850,000 to 1.9 million.

Whatever the numbers, the crowds were peaceful, from what I could glean, and the signs clever. One protester had a hearse with big letters on the side reading OBAMACAE. Another had a frowny face with tears that read: Worried Democrat. This was no AstroTurf, this was real grassroots.

Here are a few video clips and reports: Michelle Malkin: Yes, the picture is real, nutroots (great time lapse of crowd, photos, and crowd estimation chart at the end), MSNBC Tom Costello "Our own people think 100s of thousands",
Sen. Jim DeMint Corrects Fox News Crowd Estimate; Says There are "Hundreds of Thousands" at 9/12 March on Washinton - Video 9/12/09
VIDEO: Highlights from the 9/12 Taxpayer Tea Party March on Washington (This one had closeups of the signs.)

One thing I learned from my first venture in fighting city hall on a very local issue back in 2004, was that it takes a l-o-n-g time to get the information out and people to get up to speed. People are so busy these days, they often don't pay much attention to issues -- even when it affects their own back yards.

I also remember talking to a few homeowners the day before the vote for our 2008 $62 million dollar Elmbrook School referendum. These taxpayers either didn't know there was a referendum on the ballot or didn't look at the materials the school had sent out... yet. That referendum was for $62 million dollars and they couldn't be bothered?

Much the same happens with State and National elections. Election day comes and many voters haven't investigated the candidates beyond a campaign slogan or commercial. Life goes on and the ill informed voter goes on his/her merry way on autopilot, not to be bothered about it until the next election. (That is if they vote at all.)

President Obama won the 2008 election promising Hope & Change. The voters who didn't agree with his real agenda, but voted based on his campaign promises, hoped the change would be for the better. If Obama had not hit the ground running toward the left so vigorously, I wonder if we would have these Tea Parties today? If he would have taken a slower pace, maybe the whole taxpayer protest movement would have never gotten off the ground.

But slow paced, Obama is not. Between apologizing all over the world for America being America, his unprecedented spending, his promotion of Cap and Trade, and now his ObamaCare push, the majority of Americans are feeling very uneasy. They are realizing no matter how strong our economy, we cannot sustain this level of deficit spending. We certainly cannot afford this with a sick economy and high unemployment numbers.

People are snapping out of autopilot and realizing their liberty is at stake. They are now willing to inconvenience themselves and invest their time and money to travel to their state capitals and this past weekend, to their nations capitol, to let their government know this has to stop.

I venture to say, if people would have been paying attention all along, there would be no need for term limits or tea parties.

It is thrilling to see the crowds, peacefully assembling, as our Constitution allows, in our capitol cities. I can only pray it is not too late to turn this around.

When we studied the Revolutionary War in our homeschool, we learned about the Patriots that had the ability to ignite the public to action. They were called firebrands. Two come to mind: Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry.

Our 2009 Tea Party movement was sparked by Chicagoan Rick Santelli back in February. He isn't exactly a firebrand, but I would have to call him a spark or catalyst of the modern Tea Party movement. Rick has faded into the background, but the idea he kindled is alive and well.

A BIG thank you to all who have participated in Tea Parties and Town Halls this year. We all need to be informed and involved in local, state, and national politics. As we have found out the hard way, autopilot doesn't work too well!

Related reading: Tea Party Rally Sparks Dispute Over Potential Turnout, A House leadership aid warned fellow Democrats in a memo obtained by that up to 2 million people may attend. But conservatives believe Democrats are playing an expectations game to claim the event was a failure.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Have you seen "Where's George"?

Where's George? George who?

Why, George Washington! George Washington on the face of the U.S. dollar.

I received one of these specially stamped dollars in change at Yellowstone National Park this summer on August 22nd. Having never seen or heard of Where's George before, I said to my son, What is this? He knew. (How is it they always know?)

He explained that you can go to the Where's George? website and enter the serial number and find out where the dollar has all been.

I did that with mine and found this: "Stamped on 8/20/09 in Eagle, Idaho. My oldest son and I spent it on 8/21/09 to get gas at a Chevron Station in Twin Falls, Idaho, while on a weekend road trip to Utah Olymipc Park in Park City, Utah!"

That meant it traveled from Park City, Utah to Yellowstone in just one day. I wrote how, when, and where I got my George when I registered mine. The website will notify me of the bill's travels via email. Tracking it's travels seems a fun thing to do.

Other denominations can be tracked as well, on up to Ben on the $100 bill. Where's George used to sell rubber stamps to neatly mark the bills. They must have stopped doing that, so people are just marking them themselves. (I wouldn't mark any, but I will keep track of the one I found. If you look at the frequently asked questions, it basically explains this isn't considered defacement as long as it is done neatly and doesn't render the bill unusable.)

So, where do you think George will show up next?

Post Script: George and I parted company at Disney World. Will someone else log in to see where it came from? I guess I just wait and see.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: ,

A peach of a year.... literally!

I was just about to give up on my 2 peach trees since I hadn't had a real harvest in several years.

In fact, I've barely had a bloom in recent memory. Was their absence of bloom due to Wisconsin temperatures returning to former colder norms, I wondered, after those warmer temperatures of the 1990s?

But this year I was pleasantly surprised: my trees bloomed last spring! The blossoms were sparse, but they were there. Pretty amazing when you consider our cold, long winter.

My peach trees are the children of a volunteer tree in my yard. The parent tree just appeared one year and I was fortunate enough to recognize the leaf as being a fruit tree. I am guessing a squirrel must have planted it either from a pit taken from an area peach tree or one scavenged from someone's garbage. Since the mystery tree was growing at the edge of my yard, I just let it grow until it matured enough to bloom. (I usually do this with unknown plants and have often been pleasantly surprised.) One year I was given a very unexpected Mother's Day present: my little tree was covered in pretty pink blossoms. It was a peach tree!

That first tree was a great producer. I picked several grocery bags full of delicious freestone peaches that year and for several after. Because my tree started ailing, and it's location wasn't great, I planted a few pits to start new trees. That is how I got my present 2 trees.

Peach trees are rather fragile. I had read that even in commercial orchards, they often only live for 15 years. Since my trees are the standard height, they want to get tall and leggy instead of being an easy to harvest dwarf type. Still, free is good, and homegrown peaches are a real treat.

We are on the borderline of the peach belt temperature wise, but there are some varieties that are more cold tolerant. Thankfully, my peaches were the freestone variety. I have never had to spray them or use chemicals either. My fruits sometimes have dots on the skins but this does not affect the inner fruit.

I have spotted a few apricot trees in the neighborhood, but never a peach. Maybe this fall during the great nursery stock markdown sales at gardening centers, you might decide you want to try your hand at peaches. If the tree is inexpensive enough, what do you have to lose? Give them a try.

This year's harvest of 50* or so fruits was enough to give me hope for future harvests from my 2 trees. I sure enjoyed those past years of bounty, having peaches-o-plenty to eat for weeks, share with neighbors, and make a freezer full of homemade peach pies. As most gardeners say, maybe next year will be the year of plenty again?

*Although my trees had a pretty decent bloom and weather cooperated allowing blossoms to set fruit, I lost the majority of tiny peaches in a strong rain.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hoping for a really big Washington D.C. TEA PARTY - UPDATE

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin reported that as of "12:34pm Eastern: Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million." You can keep track of Tea Parties on the Tea Party Express blog

I've heard there is a March on Washington D.C. Taxpayer Tea Party planned for Saturday, September 12, 2009. Whatever push-back there has been on taxes, spending, Obamacare and Cap and Trade has been primarily from grassroots groups and Tea Parties, not the Republican party. Evidently, FOX and Glen Beck have been promoting the rally. A huge turnout would be wonderful.

From Free Republic: An Open Invitation to Attend the 9-12 Taxpayer March in Washington D.C.

"To: Patriots, Friends and Citizens…lend me your ears"

"On behalf of Grassfire and ResistNet members, I would like to extend an invitation for you to join with us for our March in Washington on September 12th. Our Mission is to present a unified voice of concern over the current administration’s policies regarding taxation, our economy, foreign and domestic policy, as well as our individual constitutional rights as American citizens."


"We are marching to protest the ever increasing tax burden that is being so unfairly placed on all of us to pay for the reckless decisions of a government gone wild. We refer to it as The Tax Payer March on D.C. It will begin at the Lincoln Memorial at 9:00am and culminate with a rally scheduled for 1:00pm at the Capitol Building. Our voices will be heard and our heads will be counted. If we are not willing to standup, walk and be heard than who will?"

"We are the Patriots of today. The future of our beloved country relies on each and every one of us and we must act now!"

If this Tea Party is anything like the others, the attendees will be just ordinary people concerned about their country's future. I hope the Tea Party march goes well and Congress gets the message.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , ,

9/11: A day to remember, not re-purpose

Today is the 8th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It seemed it would always be a day to be remembered much like Pearl Harbor Day or D and V Day. But this year, President Obama has changed the purpose of this day from a day to remember what happened on that day and be thankful that our nation is safe, to a National Day of Service to the state. I must confess that I did not even know that happened back in April of this year*.

What is a Day of Service? Something to help the police and firefighters who did so much on Sept. 11, 2001 perhaps? or sending care packages to soldiers?

No, among other things, it is a day for organizing for going green. "Yearwood said the National Day of Service will be 'the first milestone' of a larger effort called Green the Block that is attempting to convince Americans that the utopian fantasy of a so-called green economy is possible without turning the U.S. into a Third World country."

From the White House Blog: "From policy creation to community implementation, the Green the Block campaign wants to see access and opportunity created for all Americans, to build prosperity and a healthier planet for future generations," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus. "The first milestone for Green the Block will be on our National Day of Service, September 11, 2009, where we will organize Green the Block service events around the country in coordination with the President's initiative, United We Serve."

The Obama administration has changed the term The War on Terror to Overseas Contingency Operations. And now remembering the actual day of attack is being changed to the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

As I awoke this morning, I gave thanks that our nation has been safe these 8 years. This is a day to remember and a time to pray for our nation, leaders, soldiers, and families that lost loved ones.

But as the American Spectator piece Obama's Plan to Desecrate 9/11 concluded, "At no time does anyone explain why this National Day of Service has to be held -- of all the 365 days in a year -- on Sept. 11."

Why indeed?

*Mark Levin spoke about this yesterday.

Remembering September 11th

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , ,

Remembering September 11th

Originally posted on Sept. 11, 2008

I venture to say that every American born before 1955 remembers where they were and what they were doing the day they heard President Kennedy was shot. (I was in Jr. High science class.)

Likewise, for Americans born before 1995 or so, that morning we heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers will be forever fixed in our psyches.

We were heading back from our Way out West Yellowstone vacation--hadn't had a TV or radio on in weeks. Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota was our last stop. But as we approached the monument's parking lot, we were met by a Park Ranger, blocking the entrance. He told us to move on. That is odd, we thought. At the second parking lot we asked the Ranger at the barricade why we couldn't park, since Mt. Rushmore is always open.

I will never forget his reply. We are closed because of the terrorist attacks in New York and don't know if there will be others on prominent American landmarks. (Mr. Rushmore was considered a possible target.)


We could see he was not in the mood to chat, so we drove on and quickly turned on the radio. Unbelievable. We listened, but could not process what was transpiring on the east coast. It was very surreal--especially because we were far from home.

After topping off our gas tank and visiting the ATM we talked about what we should do. Go home? Stay put? We opted for staying in South Dakota. Plus, if things really went crazy, we figured better to be in a hotel than stranded on the road.

Numb, we muddled through the day, visiting Custer State Park, with the car radio on.

Our son was 12 years old at the time. My husband and I yearned to tell him everything would be alright. But in all honesty, we couldn't. We just did not know what lay ahead. The only thing we could assure was that it was in God's hands: 2 Chronicles 32:8 came to mind.

"With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles."

We were all Christians, ready to meet our God. If He chose to protect us, great. If not, so be it.

Our nation held its collective breath, waiting for something else to happen after those first 4 plane crashes. Thank God, it didn't.

After a few days, we started our trek home. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, we saw "God Bless America" signs pop up everywhere--from gas stations, to fast food restaurants, to city hall marquis. People instinctively knew we needed divine intervention.

I really thought we could be in for a string of attacks. That life in America would come to resemble life in Israel, where attacks and explosions are commonplace.

But amazingly, we have been incident free. I attribute our safety to 2 things: God's grace and President Bush. Whatever you may think about the Bush administration, it is quite remarkable that we have not suffered another attack. It certainly isn't because the terrorists have forgotten about us.

Almost every politician ends their speech with, God bless America. I know God has. May He continue to shed His grace on our nation.

"America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!"

This is a day to remember and a time to pray for our nation, leaders, and families that lost loved ones.

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , ,

It takes another Regular Joe to expose the real Obama plan

Back in October, during the 2008 Presidential campaign, Joe the Plumber asked the president a simple question that exposed Obama's plans to "spread the wealth around." That simple question acted like a firebrand and ignited awareness of what Obama's spread the wealth philosophy really was. If it were not for Joe the Plumber, Obama's true beliefs of spreading the wealth would never have come to light in the way it did.

Last Wednesday night, another Joe, Congressman Joe Wilson, couldn't take it any more and blurted out, "You lie." to the president, during his Joint Session of Congress address, in response to the presidents assertion that illegals would not be covered under his plan. I wonder how many Americans listening to the speech said or thought the same? I know I did.

The media is focusing on the impropriety of the remark, but this wasn't unprecedented. Senator Harry Reid called President Bush a liar and President Bush was booed during his 2005 State of the Union address and the Obama Inaugural pre-introductions.

What Joe Wilson's comment did though was bring to light who Obmacare will and won't cover and the fact that Democrats do not want specificity on legal resident status. Obama still wants to spread the wealth to illegals. (Joe knew that at the committee level the amendments that required verification for residency were defeated.)

"House Minority Leader John Boehner said Thursday that, according to a Congressional Research Service report, illegal immigrants would indeed be covered, defending Wilson's assertion even though he called the manner in which he delivered it 'inappropriate' "

Conservatives and many Americans seem to be embracing this second Regular Joe just as they did Joe the Plumber. Why? Because they both resonate with our core beliefs: that what we have worked so hard for shouldn't be spread around to those who do not work or who are not here legally without our consent.

Congressman Wilson has apologized, but some Republicans and many Democrats in Congress still are acting outraged over Joe's outburst. I have to ask, where is the outrage that Obamacare wouldn't prohibit coverage for those here illegally?

Think Joe's famous quote had no affect?

Friday, The White House "vowed that illegal immigrants won't get health care under President Obama;s new plan..." that illegals would be banned from receiving taxpayer funded health care. Of course the bill's language has not changed yet as far as I know.

But then there is that sticky little detail that when California passed "Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative, [which] sought to deny social, educational and health services to immigrants who were in California illegally. It was ultimately overturned," "...the measure was declared unconstitutional in federal court..." No doubt, President Obama knows this. He can vow whatever he likes knowing that the court will strike it down.

If our present health care system stays as it is, at least more taxpayer funded health insurance plans will not go to illegals. Illegals can buy private insurance plans, but at least they are paying for them!

By the way, ObamaCare could cover abortions too. Only the Hyde Amendment would prevent Government health care reform from paying for abortions with taxpayer dollars. But the Hyde Amendment is not permanent; it must be approved each year, and "nothing requires Congress to pass it". If it would fail to pass, taxpayer funded abortion then becomes the default setting, so to speak.

From AUL:" order to prevent federal funding of abortion, health care reform must expressly exclude mandates of any kind for abortion, must not alter prohibitions on federal funding of abortion contained in the Hyde amendment or other provisions of law, and must explicitly ensure that federal funds do not pay for abortion or for plans that cover abortion."

Past posts:

But how would Obama know if health care recipient was legal or not?

Joe the Plumber not real? Too bad Obama's "Spread the wealth around" is

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

But how would Obama know if health care recipient was legal or not?

Last night I had to take my car to the shop and only caught portions of the President's Joint Session of Congress speech. I did catch the now infamous, "You lie" section and must confess I said, "That's not true!" at the same moment.

I certainly understand Congressman Wilson's frustration with a president who likes to make promises regardless of the facts, but he was out of line. (Remember, I am the one who wanted to maintain a sense of decorum on blog comments.) Of course the media is focusing on this political faux pas instead of what the bill allows. We wouldn't want to draw any attention to the facts, right?

So what does the bill, or bills (there are many versions) say about insuring illegals? Is the President correct when he promises that "the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

Obamacare won't cover illegal immigrants? Yes it will, says Congressional Research Service: (For clarity, I made the CRS quote bold.) Just recently, the president stated, "Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has not even been on the table."

"Well, Mr. President, [Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner writes] that idea must have been tucked under a stack of background briefing papers over there in the corner of the table because the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says this about H.R. 3200, the Obamacare bill approved just before the recess by the House Energy and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA: 'Under H.R. 3200, a 'Health Insurance Exchange' would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option…H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in the Exchange.' "

"CRS also notes that the bill has no provision for requiring those seeking coverage or services to provided proof of citizenship. So, absent some major amendments to the legislation and a credible, concrete enforcement effort in action, looks like the myth on this issue is the one being spread by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et. al."

Republican attempts at adding a verification amendment were defeated earlier. Obama did reduce the number of those without insurance from 46 million to 30 million last night. The missing 16 or so million were illegals. Currently, illegals are covered by emergency rooms without any proof of residency; how would Obama filter them out from Obamcare?

So the president promises his Obmamcare bill won't cover illegals, but it doesn't provide any means of legal residency verification and Democrats rejected verification amendments. Truth or tale?

If you like that promise, you probably believe that it won't eventually lead to a government takeover of our healthcare system or add one dime to the deficit too.

Some Fact Check sources: CBS News, Obama's Health Care Omissions
AP Fact Check: Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge (and more)
Actual transcript

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama pitches Health Care at Wakefield High School

Yesterday I questioned why this section was included in Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's email to the nation's principals: "Educated people are more active civically [sic] and better informed on issues affecting their lives, their families and their futures. Issues like living wage, health care, increasing militarism? torture?" (That's not even a sentence. What action did Arne intend be taken on those topics?)

Today I learned* that prior to the president's very conservative national broadcast address to America's school children, he met with 40 freshmen at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. (Same school he made his broadcast address from)

Let's just say I don't think that meeting made the national news, but CNS reported it: Obama Pitched Universal Health Care to Students in Meeting Prior to His Speech on Education. It was a face to face Q&A session with innocuous questions like how has your life changed, how would your life be different if you father were involved, who would you like to have dinner with, and what were your main goals when you were in college, etc. The session was filmed, but not broadcast as far as I know.

Transcript It seemed Obama could not resist steering the question, "How [do] you motivate yourself to do all the work that goes along with your job?", toward discussing his health care reforms. He replied, "... I'm just going to be honest with you -- some of it is just you don't want to fail. Right? A lot of people are counting on me," and went on to talk about the 40,000 letters he receives a day on all different subjects. He reads 10 a day -- some inspiring, some depressing.

He elaborated on both. The inspiring being about someone who was the first to go to college. The depressing, "You hear about people who are sick but don't have health care, and suddenly they get a bill for $100,000, and there's no way they can pay for it, and they're about to lose their house."

"And you're just reminded that the country is full of really good people who sometimes are going through a hard time. They just need a break. They need a little bit of help. Maybe the way things are set up right now isn't always fair for people, and that motivates you, because you say, well, I can't make everything perfect, I can't prevent somebody from getting sick, but maybe I can make sure that they've got insurance so that when they do get sick, they're going to get some help."

Arne then announces, "Last question." Obama asks, "Who's got the mic? Well, he already had the mic, so we'll give two last questions. These two right here. Go ahead." The first was from a guy who wanted to be president and was just asking for advice.

The second question was more notable, which coincidentally was the very subject of Obama's joint session of Congress address the next day, not to mention a pretty precocious question for a freshman. No wonder Obama wanted to take that one. The newbie Freshman asked, "...currently 36 countries have universal health coverage, including Iraq and Afghanistan, which have it paid for by the United States. Why can't the United States have universal health coverage?"

Obama gives his standard pep-talk concluding his health care discussion with his usual vague generalities of how this will work despite the actual language of the bill. "So what we're trying to do is set up a system where people who have health insurance on the job, they can keep it, but if you don't have health insurance for the job, if you're self-employed, if you're unemployed, that you're able to get health insurance through another way. And we can afford to do it and it will actually, I think, over time save us money if we set that up. All right?" (No mention of how paying for all this will rest upon this freshman class' generation and all to come, or how nations like the UK have severe health care rationing.)

So that was the under-reported face-to-face discussion with the president, that just happened to include a specific question from that odd subject list included in the email to the nation's principals.

*Thanks to Nick Reed on the Jay Weber show.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

Labels: , ,