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, June 30, 2010

Simple questions stump Kagan: That's a dumb law, Which memo?, I don't know, Huh?, Book ban OK...

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan finished her Senate committee questioning yesterday. She answered question after question and was able to regurgitate names and statutes regarding past cases.

But it was the very simple questions that were most revealing. They stumped her. She really didn't have an answer to them and they were not difficult questions. Anyone who believes the Constitution, as it was written, is our guiding document, could have answered in a heartbeat. But she could not.

Here is a sampling of Kagan stumpers and vague answers. Some are video clips so you can see for yourself:
  • Sen. Tom Coburn asked something like this: If I sponsored a bill that made Americans eat 3 fruits and 3 veggies a day, and it passed, does that law violate the Commerce Clause? Kagan replies something like this: "It sounds like a dumb law..." um, but I think the question of whether its a dumb law is different from if it is Constitutional. I think the courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are, er, ah, senseless just because they are senseless. Coburn says, Do we have the power to tell people what to eat every day? What is the extent of the Commerce Clause? We have this wide embrace of it, but [Founders didn't] ... She really doesn't have an answer because she knows the real question is about ObamaCare and if she is confirmed, she knows she will have to rule on that decision.
  • Sen. Orin Hatch asks her about a memo on partial birth abortion that evidently led to the conclusion that the procedure was medically necessary to save the life of the mother.

    “Did you write that memo?”

    “I’m sorry — the memo which is?”

    “The memo that caused them to go back to the language of ‘medically necessary,’ which was the big issue to begin with — ”

    “Yes, well, I’ve seen the document — ”

    “But did you write it?”

    “The document is certainly in my handwriting.”

  • Are you a legal Progressive? (Remember, she was the Dean of Faculty at Harvard Law School.) Kagan: "I honestly don't know what that label means." Later on, she says, " political views are generally progressive."
  • From a case in 2009, Can a law ban books? Kagan: "It's fine if the law bans books because government won't really enforce it."
Of course the real reason for her very vague answers is that she doesn't want to reveal what her positions really are, but her non-answers speak volumes.

We also got a glimpse into her views last fall. As Solicitor General, her disregard for the 1st Amendment came to light in September when she asked the Supreme Court to "embrace theory of First Amendment that would allow censorship not only of radio and television broadcasts, but pamphlets and posters..."

Some Senators question her lack of judicial experience, but to me, the red flags are her inability or unwillingness to answer simple questions, such as the ones mentioned above, and her disregard for the Constitution.

I hope the Senate Republicans dig in their heels on her. She is the most radical justice nominee ever and obviously doesn't believe the Constitution, as it is written, is our guiding document.

I am calling Sen. Jim DeMint (202) 224-6121 and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541 today to urge them and all Republicans to oppose her confirmation. Find your Senator here.

More Reading:Heritage Foundation: The Limitless Power of the Obama-Kagan Congress

Amid All the Talk, a Willingness to Curb Some Speech

The Constitution Is the Precedent, Americans don't want their country reinvented

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

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bucyrus Deal: Obama taketh away so Barrett, Feingold can give? UPDATE

UPDATE: Act 1 of the Opera? "U.S Ex-Im Bank Reconsiders India Coal Project." See below for details.

If you haven't yet heard, Milwaukee based Bucyrus Internationl Inc., who makes mining equipment, had a $600 million dollar deal in the works with the country of India. Great!

Unfortunately, the financing through the Federally funded Export-Import Bank fell through because of Global Warming. Yes. The deal was squelched because it was deemed the carbon footprint would be too large, since the mining equipment was ordered for India to mine coal for their new coal fired electric power plants. (Isn't a Green Economy wonderful?)

From JSOnline: (My emphasis) "The fossil fuel project was the first to come before the government-run bank since it adopted a climate-change policy to settle a lawsuit and to meet Obama administration directives."

"'President Obama has made clear his administration's commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future,' Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said in a statement. 'After careful deliberation, the Export-Import Bank board voted not to proceed with this project because of the projected adverse environmental impact.'

Bucyrus is facing a 1,000 job loss in the U.S. with 300 of them vanishing from South Milwaukee. This is just awful for Milwaukee and our country and doesn't bode well for future mining equipment and power plant deals for Bucyrus and Joy Global, also in Milwaukee. At a time when good paying jobs are rare as hens-teeth, some global warming mumbo-jumbo ruins the deal?

It is even more curious because Bucyrus' chief exec. Tim Sullivan said "the power plant will meet international standards and the bank's environmental criteria".

What can be done to save these jobs? I heard India is already seeking other companies in China and Russia to build the equipment, and "there isn't an appeals process" with the Export-Import Bank.

Enter Mayor and Gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett, Senator Russ Feingold, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Doyle, Senator Herb Kohl and other players. With the exception of Ryan, they all seem to be posturing for the cameras positions contrary to their usual going green stance.

Also entering the limelight is President Obama, coming for a Town Hall meeting scheduled for tomorrow with Feingold and Barrett in Racine. Some speculate Obama has orchestrated this whole thing so he can make Barrett and Feingold look good in November. (Jay Weber and Vicki McKenna floated that idea this morning.)

I am not so sure. I think this is just an early glimpse into what Cap & Trade and a Green Economy under the EPA will look like: Government picking and choosing what companies can make and who they can sell to.

It could just be that this new criteria was in place, and the Export-Import Bank decided against this high carbon footprint project because of that new Green policy--without regard to the vulnerable Governor and Senate races in Bucyrus' home state, Wisconsin. They were maybe a little to enthusiastically interpreting the "administration's commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future"? Once the decision was made, Barrett and Feingold squawked and then pleaded with the President to do something?

How to gracefully get out of this? Will Obama say, I was against the coal mining equipment order before I was for it? and save the day as well as Barrett's and Feingold's bacon?

For the sake of the 1,000 jobs and well being of Bucyrus, I hope they can salvage their $600 million dollar deal. Time will tell. So get out your opera glasses and watch the show.

More Reading: JSONLINE: U.S. acency's action may kill Bucyrus deal, cost 1,000 jobs
Hot Air
: Obama's promise to bankrupt coal industry to cost 1,000 jobs in upper Midwest

*UPDATE: Wall Street Journal: U.S. Ex-Im Bank Reconsiders India Coal Project: Good news for Milwaukee and 1,000 workers; Ex-Im's board will reconsider India's Relaiance Power purchase. (My emphasis) "...the bank invited the company to reapply for the guarantees. The bank said it now would take into account Reliance's plans to build two solar-powered electricity plants in India and their potential to offset environmental damage from the coal project."

"The reversal came just in time for a visit by President Barack Obama today to Wisconsin, the home base of Bucyrus International Inc., which hopes to sell the mining equipment to Reliance with the help of loan guarantees. President Obama is due to give a speech on the economy in Racine, Wis., and then take questions from the public."

"Top Democratic politicians in the state had protested loudly to the White House and Congress over the denial of the guarantees. Ex-Im Bank officials then scrambled to find a way to rethink the decision."

*Heard about this on Vicki McKenna today. She also mentioned that she believes the Administration was caught "flat-footed" on this one.

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

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Did 60 vote filibuster proof Senate die with Sen. Byrd?

Senator Robert Byrd of Virginia died early this morning. He was the longest serving Senator in U.S. history. Most people remember Byrd for his early KKK membership, and as the Charleston Gazette noted, his 14 hour filibuster and vote against the landmark Civil Rights Act in 1964. (By percentage, more Republicans voted for it than Democrats.)

Still, for Democrats, he was a solid liberal vote, and recently, with close votes in the Senate, a much needed vote. When ObamaCare was on the Senate floor, there was concern that Byrd's demise might put the bill in jeopardy.

And that was the first thing I thought of this morning--what will Byrd's vacancy mean to say, Elena Kagan's approval or Cap and Trade's passage? Kagan's hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee start today. If Republicans filibustered, "Democrats would likely have the 60 votes needed to override it," but that was written before Byrd's vacancy. The outcome will probably depend on how quickly these items come up for vote and how soon Virginia replaces Bryd.

Politico answered my question. According to Virginia law, the governor appoints a replacement, and the governor is a Democrat. The article did mention the Financial Reform bill though. It passed both houses but still needs the reconciliation vote. Although Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) did vote for the original bill, he "said he might vote against the version that emerged from the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions because it adds a $19 billion bank tax."

"Should Brown vote no and Byrd is unable to vote, it would leave the bill one vote shy of the 60 needed to close debate and move to final passage." (My emphasis)

I probably didn't agree with Byrd's positions on issues 99% of the time, but I did hand it to him for questioning the Constitutionality of Obama's use of Czars to circumvent the legislative process. He called "President Obama's appointment of White House 'czars' to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch." On that point, we agreed.

We will probably still get Cap and Trade, Kagan, the Finance Bill and more. (November can't come fast enough.) In the meantime, you can't say it won't be interesting.

UPDATE: L.A.Times: Byrd's death could delay financial reform vote

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

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Ron Johnson, Feingold virtually tied in poll: November can't come fast enough!

This week, the Rasmussen poll showed Conservative businessman and Republican endorsed Ron Johnson (45%) "in a virtual dead heat" with incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold (46%) in the U.S. Senate race. Last month Johnson polled at 44%.

This is very good news for Conservatives and Republicans because Feingold has not been able to poll above 50%. And as Rasmussen noted, "Incumbents who earn less than 50% of the vote at this stage of a campaign are considered potentially vulnerable. Feingold was reelected to a third term in 2004 with 56% of the vote."

Unfortunately, our Congress is working fast and furiously at passing bad bill after bad bill, and our President is using his Executive powers to regulate and shift our country drastically to the left in the remaining Congressional session.

One thing is for sure, neither branch of government has gotten the message that we are out of money--the spending must stop. As with bills such as ObamaCare and the President's $20 billion extraction from BP, Constitutionality is of little importance.

Here is just a sampling of bills and decisions on the horizon:
Let's not forget Elena Kagan's confirmation. I am sure the President would like to see her on the court--especially with coming challenges to 1st Amendment restrictions via DISCLOSE, the FTC, FCC, takeover of the Internet, and ObamaCare. The list goes on and on.

So you see, even though Republicans will probably make huge gains in November, it may be too late. Democrats will inflict as many costly bills on us, in terms of dollars and loss of liberty, in the months they have until the 112th Congress and Senate is sworn in. I only hope and pray we can reverse some of this damage. We will need Senators like Ron Johnson to repeal the bad and put us back on the right course.

I know it is summer, but this is no time for kicking back... CALL your Senators about some of these bills! Find your Senator here. In Wisconsin, Senator Russ Feingold (202) 224-5323 and Herb Kohl (202) 224-5653.

More reading: Thomas Sowell: Is U.S. Now on Slippery Slope to Tyranny?
Senator Jim DeMint, National Review: Constitution of No
Must read: Politics of Panic: "The progressive wing of the Party... knows that they will lose considerable power in Congress in November...The bills currently being pushed by the progressive leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are a panicked, fourth-quarter attempt to force liberal, arguably socialist policies into place and have them become law before they are cast out of power. They don't have time to spare for surgical, precise laws that will benefit the nation. They only have time to create bloated monstrosities that serve to force radical and reckless 'change.'"

Ron Johnson for Senate website & Ron Johnson Facebook

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

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did NRA get in bed with Dems on DISCLOSE ACT & ditch 1st Amendment for others?

You may be in summer mode, but our Congress is on full tilt. The Disclose Act bill might come to the House floor Thursday. If not, then after the July 4th recess. Yes, that means calling your Representative! Our Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner's number is (202) 225-5101. UPDATE: Watch Congressman Sensenbrenner urge a NO vote on Disclose Act because it is unconstitutional.

The National Rifle Association, usually synonymous with Conservative values and protecting our Constitutional rights, seemingly had a weak moment when it appeared they crawled in bed with the Democrats to secure an exemption with the DISCLOSE Act.

The Disclose Act will circumvent the Supreme Court decision last January that allowed 501C4 groups, like NRA or 501C3 groups, like National Right to Life to communicate with their members and run political ads 90 days prior to election time.

NRA Executive VP LaPierre explained The Disclose Act exempts free media outlets like NBC, ABC, newspapers, etc., and politicians from restricted speech. According to LaPierre, he said he told Congressman Shuler (D-N. Carolina) they need to carve out every 501 C3 organization as being exempt from the restriction, but after the amendment was crafted, it turned out to just carve out NRA and a few others from the restriction.

Redstate disagrees with LaPierre's story in National Rifle Association's First Amendment Sellout. You can read it and the Newsmax one below and decide for yourself his role in the bill.

But whether the NRA was playing footsie with the Democrats on the DISCLOSE ACT to protect their 2nd Amendment rights, the bigger point is that DISCLOSE is a terrible bill. In Democrats 'Within Striking Distance' on Disclose Act, we learn the real reason for the bill:

"Heritage Foundation legal scholar Hans A. Von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, tells Newsmax that the timing of the legislation indicates its true purpose is muzzling groups that otherwise might freely voice their opposition to Democratic policies in campaign ads.

The Disclose Act, also known as H.R. 5175, is written so that it takes effect 30 days after passage -- just in time to impact the November midterms."

This rushed time frame is not consistent with other election regulation laws. Von Spakovsky explains, "...because whenever a new statute gets passed on campaign finance reform, the FEC has the job of creating the regulations needed to implement the statute. There is just no way the FEC, which I served on for two years, could in two months come up with regulations to enforce this law."

Bradley Smith, a former Fed. Election Commission Chairman called DISCLOSE "one of the most partisan pieces of legislation to come down the pike." In another Newsmax interview, Smith indicated "the bill would shackle the political activities of corporations and associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while leaving unions largely free to influence political outcomes."

I agree with Heritage Foundation's legal scholar Von Spakovsky, "This is a bad law because it infringes on people's right to speak politically." Now do you want to make that call?

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

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Monday, June 21, 2010

"Summertime and the livin' is easy"...make that busy

Today is the first day of summer according to the calendar, though most of us have been in summer mode for weeks now. I am already having that summer is slipping away feeling.

I know I shouldn't be panicking about it. At least my 14 or so tomato plants are growing nicely, the pole beans popped up over the weekend (I was late on planting those), and my perennial bed is growing like a jungle.

Sadly, I don't have time to beat the flowers back into submission, because today I start ripping the tile off my kitchen back splash. That leads to Spackle-fest to restore the damaged area. (I love Red Devil ONETIME Lightweight Spackling Compound for the final few coats. It is much finer and feathers out nicely.) After that I must wash the remaining walls and ceiling and prep for painting by repairing the cracks, holes, and dings. Finally, the actual painting with Sherwin-Williams oil base paint. (I love that stuff; it wears like iron. Do wear a professional respirator though.) That little project should keep me busy for weeks!

We still haven't committed 100% to a summer road trip vacation. If we go, it will probably be to Yellowstone. Part of me wants to take my grandmother's advice, which is, go while you can. The other part of me is hesitant for a variety of reasons. Fiddlee-dee-dee, I'll think about that tomorrow. Right now I need to find my chisel and start popping tiles off the wall.

How about you? Any great travel plans or projects planned for the summer?

Of course I am still watching some national and local issues. The is always a good source. is a bit out there but interesting--especially on the BP oil spill.

Government control of the Internet by the FTC (tax and regulate internet, govt. funding of newspapers) and FCC (access) and DHS (controlling actual information) is something that should concern us all. There is an actual bill, sponsored by Lieberman, brewing in the Senate on this.

...But right now, I have to take off my political hat for my painter's hat. Happy summer!

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

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who knew? Kevin Costner's super-slurpers to clean up BP spill

No reasonable person believes the President is solely responsible for the BP oil explosion. Nor do they think he should don deep-sea gear and go down and cork the hole himself. The well itself is some 12,000 feet under water, with the burst pipe at around 5,000 feet. Obviously, these are not friendly working conditions.

What people do want is their President to act like a leader and make the containment and clean up process as efficient and effective as possible, while BP works on capping the well. Unfortunately, our government, under the President's authority, seemingly has done everything but make the containment/clean up process as easy as possible.

W. Wansley at American Thinker wrote a great piece comparing Katrina and BP, "In the Gulf, a group of people have been trying to get in -- to apply American ingenuity to clean up the oil spill or prevent it from reaching the shore." Unfortunately, they "have been held up -- by government."

We are now hearing more about these rejected possible solutions to bar, contain and clean up the oily water before it reaches the shores. One of the pleas came from Governor Bobby Jindal. "...Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has begged for approval to put up temporary sand bars as a barrier to the oil. The EPA, worse than saying no, delayed and studied and pondered and then said no." Tired of waiting for BP, Jindal gave the order to build them on Monday.

From Am. Thinker: "We have seen countless stories in the news of innovation and ingenuity by Americans attempting to bring proven applications, equipment and tactics to bear on the oil. Each attempt is met with the same federal dithering, inaction and impedance. ... In the Gulf oil spill,...After they show their process to the media, the inevitable question is asked, 'Have you shown this to BP or the EPA?'" They answer, "yes, ...they are considering it" or "they would get back to us".

But at long last, enter actor Kevin Costner. An actor? Yes, but also a partner in Ocean Therapy Solutions, a company that has developed a machine that separates oil from water. Last week he testified at the House Science and Technology Committee meeting.

Even Costner, ever so diplomatically, said, "'We’re coming to this fight very late, I think everybody would recognize that. And so we’re going to do the things that we can do but this company is poised to mobilize in order to step this up and to create an environment where people can go back to work. There is a single moment that exists right at this moment and that is there are people out of work. There’s a moratorium and there’s no way to lift that unless I believe the government feels that people can operate in a safe way. This represents that pivot point.' "

"'If we want to discuss the ‘what ifs’ looking back, I think you could fill in the blanks of understanding if these machines were already deployed, what we would be looking at,' said Costner. 'I could scale this out for you and we would be chasing this oil out at the derrick itself. We couldn’t do anything about the size of the leak but we would be chasing that and we would be keeping that offshore.'"

Well, better late than never. BP recently placed an order for 32 of these clean up machines. With an efficiency rate of 99+%, it should help. Some are not so optimistic.

For everyone's sake, I hope between Costner's centrifuge machines, sand bars, siphon tankers, and other clean up measures, they will help clean up the water and prevent further damage. Time will tell.

Read the complete article: Heritage Foundation: Crisis of Competence
American Thinker: Katrina and BP, Two Sides of the Same Coin

Kevin Costner Says Early Use of Oil-Cleanup Machine Could Have Kept Gulf Oil Spill Offshore

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

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pres. Obama's oil spill action plan: Ignore, delay, blame, demand, overreach, Cap & Tax (no real containment / clean up)

Last night Obama declared from the Oval Office, "We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes." But it doesn't seem like many Americans are buying that sales pitch. Even Democrats and Liberals are shaking their heads over his inaction so far and hum-drum Oval Office spiel. How will he make sure this never happens again? By talking it to death? We are now at day 57.

Never one to let a crisis go to waste to implement more government control, regulation, taxes, and now even overreaching to dictate how a foreign owned company should spend its money and use its stock dividends, President Obama is using the BP oil spill to push his Cap & Trade tax agenda. He says we need " move forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil."

Amidst his floundering in the Gulf he is touting alternative energy like wind and solar as a way to end oil spills--as if America can thrive without oil? Since Cap and Trade deals mainly with electricity generation, how will wind and solar end oil spills? America only uses oil to generate about 2% of our electricity. Maybe he would like to lead the way by converting Air Force 1 to solar panels?

In an email he sent out yesterday, the President wrote, "Many businesses support this agenda because shifting to clean energy creates opportunities for entrepreneurship." I am betting those businesses are involved in writing the Cap and Trade legislation or will benefit from the Carbon Credit exchange or an increase in wind and solar use? Companies such as BP--Beyond Petroleum or GE?

I think it is clear that the President squandered his Oval Office clout to peddle his Cap & Trade Tax bill. Most aren't buying it. No matter, his EPA can do what the Senate won't.

As for the spill, from what I have seen, Obama's first action on the spill was to ignore the event. The 11 workers who died as a result of the explosion on April 22nd were barely noted. At last, Obama went to the gulf on May 2nd. "The visit, which White House officials said on Saturday would be within the next 48 hours, signaled Obama was anxious to be seen to be paying close attention to the cleanup and containment of one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history." "Anxious to be seen" seems to be the key phrase there.

The President has visited several times since then but does not have much to show for it. Obama did authorize the deployment of 17,500 National Guardsmen; so far, only 1,600 have been deployed. Gov. Jindal just announced he will be using Guardsmen to build a barrier.

The Jones Act still has not been lifted (as it was after Hurricane Katrina) which would have allowed the Dutch and others with their offers of containment booms and salvage tankers into the area to at least contain and suck up some of the oil. Our own government had their own disaster plan that included the use of containment booms. Trouble was, the U.S. never purchased those emergency booms! In other oil spills, booms are put in place and then tankers come in to suck the oil/water mixture into their holds. They then then separate it later. But you need to contain the oil to do this. There are some booms in place but not nearly enough.

There are some things that just are not adding up with the BP accident. I am sure there is plenty of blame to go around. Let's face it, a blow out a mile under the sea is a problem that won't correct itself. Where was the discussion by the President on how to clean up or keep the oil from the shores? The one thing that is clear, Obama will use the spill to push for green energy, regardless of its negative impact on the U.S. economy!

More reading: BP Accused of Repeated Shortcuts
Sen. McConnell: Obama 'Holding the Gulf Hostage"
Gov. Bobby Jindal Orders National Guard to Build Barrier Wall Off Louisiana Shore
Cap and Trade: A New Disaster Waiting to Happen in 2009
The Spill, The Scandal and the President, How Obama failed to crack down on corruption of Bush years and let world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder.
Obama's Uncertain 'Battle Plan'

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

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sat. June 12: 'Volksfest' celebrates all things Volkswagen at Concours Motors

This Saturday, Concours Motors in Glendale, Wisconsin, will host the Milwaukee Area Volkswagen Club's 17th annual VW show from 9am - 3pm. The event is open to the general public and is FREE! Volksfest benefits Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, so be prepared to donate a few bucks, if you are so inclined.

We attended for the first time last year and enjoyed looking at the eclectic collection of vintage and modified Volkswagens.

VW owners bring in their babies and display them out on the back lot. Attendees get to look! (No touching or drooling allowed.) Owners are often stationed by their cars and usually more than happy to tell you all about them. The vintage VWs ranged from mint condition to, modified, to camper buses.

By far, the most unique vehicle there was the blue bus in the pictures. It was, well, rustic, complete with wood stove and privy! I don't know if the owner will bring it again this year, but his rig had all the comforts of home--if you don't mind roughing it. It also featured a rope-pull starter, chaise lounge chair car seats, and bunk. He even modified the hubcap to do dual duty as a charcoal grill.

Evidently, the owner has driven that van for over 40 years, traveling across the US and Canada. He totaled it twice, set on fire 3 times, and dropped through lake ice once. He chronicles his experiences in his book: A Bus Will Take You There.

Check it out; we had a blast, but watch out for... Punch bug!

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

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Pre-WI Primary, 2 U.S. Senate candidates remain: Ron Johnson & Dave Westlake--Forget 3rd Party

Yesterday, 11 states held primaries for Governor and mid-term elections. For the most part, conservatives did well.

In Wisconsin, our primary is Sept. 14th, which is very late in the election season. But the Wisconsin GOP convention in May became a catalyst for thinning the herd for U.S. Senate from 4 to 2 candidates. At the convention, candidate Dick Leinenkugel only received .5% of the vote and so threw his support to Ron Johnson. Terrance Wall, who came in at 23% on the first ballot, withdrew from the race a few days later.

Wall told his supporters, "With a heavy heart, I am withdrawing my candidacy from the United States Senate race against Russ Feingold. I am so grateful for the support of Wisconsinites that are hungry for real fiscal conservatism and a change in their government.

No matter how much I want to stay in and fight, I feel the honorable thing to do is to exit...[If only Mark Neumann would do likewise!]

When I started this effort, I had two goals: first, to turn this country around before it's too late and second, to prove that Russ Feingold could be beat. ...I wish God's blessings on my two opponents, David Westlake and Ron Johnson."

Dave Westlake only received 15% of the vote, but has vowed to remain in the race because the vote represents "only a fraction of the voters in the state". [True]

Westlake said, "'If I stopped now, think about the tens of thousands of people who are Republicans, independents and Democrats who wouldn't have a voice anymore,' he added. 'I owe it to them, to all of Wisconsin to be the voice of the common guy.'" I do like Dave Westlake, his platform, and his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington persona, but because of his T-shirt fund-raising strategy, he has limited his viability.

There is also another 3rd party Constitution Party candidate, Rob Taylor*, who is being touted as the only one with experience by some conservatives. As I recently explained to a conservative friend (who was unaware of Johnson entering the race) I cannot support a 3rd party candidate in this election: 3rd party = Feingold reelected.

So who is Ron Johnson? Take a look. This video clip is from his Q&A after his announcement. When asked why he was running (at about 4:23 into clip) Johnson says,

"I'm not willing to give up hope.... This 234 year experiment we call America is just absolutely precious, and I'm watching that being squandered. So if I am fortunate enough to represent the people from Wisconsin, I would take a deep reverence for the genius for the founders of America, in terms of what they have given us in this country."

"There is a reason the U.S. that holds 5% of the world population, yet produces 25% of the worlds goods, that is really freedom. I think that kind of perspective, that kind of deep sense of how exceptional this country is, is a good perspective to take to Washington."

Johnson needs to get the word out that he is running and what his positions are on the issues. People are already in summer mode--more interested in vacations and picnics than politics. This bio video clip from Charlie Sykes will at least give you a glimpse into who Ron Johnson is as a person.

Unless something very unusual happens between now and the primary, Ron Johnson will be the Republican candidate. At the GOP Convention, Leinenkugel surprised everyone by withdrawing and supporting Johnson, "It is Ron Johnson's time, is too critical, too important that at this time in our history, we unite against defeating Russ Feingold." I am hoping Conservatives, Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats will follow suit.

*See Third Party Logic ;-) where we learn Mr. Taylor serves on the Cumberland City Council, having won that position with 7 votes!

George Will: Instead of Shrugging, Ron Johnson is Running For Office
List: Wisconsin Candidates

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

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Friday, June 04, 2010

June 5 & 6, Milwaukee VA Center History Event: Reclaiming Our Heritage

Take a step back into American history this weekend, at Reclaiming Our Heritage , the 9th Annual Living History and Veteran Tribute Event, at the VA Medical Center grounds in Milwaukee. What makes this event different from most Civil War encampments is that you will see reenactor soldiers and camps from military groups dating from our nation's founding, such as the 1771 Colonial Alliance, to the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, to today. I attended a few years ago and found it very interesting.

The event schedule offers a wide variety of activities for the whole family: Patriotic parades, singing, music and dance lessons from various eras, fashion shows, Sunday church services, kids stuff, history, a Civil War skirmish, and even Tea with Jane Austen and Mary Todd Lincoln! You can also ask Abraham Lincoln for his autograph.*

The Cemetery-by-Lantern Tour (this year, also by daylight) was very worthwhile. (This tram ride tour requires a ticket, so if you are interested, purchase at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.) Soldiers from wars as far back as the War of 1812 are interred at Wood National Cemetery at the VA. A tram takes you to various graves, with a reenactor standing graveside who relates the story of the soldier buried there. It was quite moving. Did you know we have Confederate Soldiers buried in Milwaukee?

Call 414-902-5599 for more information. The VA is located at 5000 W. National Ave. in Milwaukee (behind Miller Park).

Best of all, there is NO general admission or parking fee, it's FREE, so stop in and check out this "Family Friendly Positively Patriotic" weekend.

*Camp photo was taken at the Wade House; Lincoln was taken at the Cumberland Gap National Park encampment.

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

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