Thursday, June 30, 2005

Windy Thursday in June

Winnebago Peace and Justice Center is helping sponsor a petition to advise our Wisconsin politicos get moving on some sort of plan to bring home the troops from Iraq. They have tables near the entrance of the Leach Amphitheater. There are no dates on this petition. The Iraq War has now lasted almost as long as WWII. Rumsfeld said it could total 12yrs.

Over 300 signed on tonight by 7:30pm. Over 800 have signed in the last few weeks. These tables will be set up again next Wednesday and Thursday before the concerts. Take a minute to sign on if the spirit moves you.

The petitions are also available at the Sundial at Peace Park on Fridays from 4:30-5:30.


Monday, June 27, 2005


I have heard comments from several people lately about the retro black&white design of the new gendarmobiles. They all are running in the same vein..."leave it alone, keep 'em white" "menacing looking" "intimidating" "threatening". I wonder what others think?

Speaking of the gendarmes...They were at Riverside Park last night about midnight. Two cars, lights blazing, motors running; (translated: $two officers$, $insurance$ and $gasoline$ on two $cars$---you get the picture). They woke a homeless guy out of a sound sleep to tell him he shouldn't be sleeping there. My initial thought is 'How much crime can a sleeping person commit?' and wouldn't it be more effective for them to keep an eye on people that are awake? That doesn't end the story. They came back at 4am and went through the whole procedure again. Both times they asked him for his address.

Let me repeat that. BOTH TIMES THEY ASKED HIM FOR HIS ADDRESS. Thank you. Tonight I'm sure he will find a different tree to sleep under. He was not cited. Congrats to the gendarmes on duty.

A thought. For the $$$$ spent on those two stops last night the city probably could've hired that guy to guard the park for a month.

John Lemberger wrote another great letter which was published in the Northwestern today. He briefly mentioned the origins of NAFTA and GAP, the free trade agreements that have sent our jobs flying out of the country. Please note that those were Republican programs that were opposed by Democrats. Many Democrats were flabbergasted when Mr. Clinton crossed over and signed on to NAFTA and GAP. John is right on when he refers to Clinton as 'Republican Lite'. Thanks to these Corporate Republicans (with the help of Clinton) all of these jobs have left the country.

A local (loco) letter writer awhile back blamed Clinton for the whole mess. His name: DENNIS EHRENBERG. Dear Dennis Ehrenberg: It was a Republican idea from the beginning and still is a Republican idea. Get used to it Dennis. REPUBLICAN/NIXON/PAULUS. Yes Dennis. Great names and ideas all together in the same paragraph.

Now we have CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, another great REPUBLICAN/BUSH/CHENEY etc. thing that will continue to lower our standard of living. Would someone tell Mr. Ehrenberg that we are watching him and he better take the time to document his next letter to the paper?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

They Should Boil in their Oil

Oh no. Not another piece on oil. Yes, but this one will be easy to understand.

Caspian Sea is the site of one of the largest and last oil and natural gas deposits to raid on the planet. It is landlocked, which means that you can't just back up the tanker and say 'fill-er-up'. You need a pipeline from the Caspian Sea to an ocean port.

Enter UNOCAL. You know, the 76-gas station. Unocal wants to build a pipeline to the Caspian Sea. The pipes will run right through Afghanistan. It doesn't go too well so UNOCAL goes to Dubya Bush and asks for help. Dubya receives the war plans on September 9, 2001. On October 7,2001 the good old "WARS'R'U.S." starts bombing Afghanistan. For an update, the war there has gotten worse as of this week.

WHOOPS!!! I forgot to mention that a group of Saudi's ran airplanes into some buildings on September 11,2001, ---TWO DAYS AFTER DUBYA DECIDES TO BOMB AFGHANISTAN. Saudi's and airplanes have absolutely nothing to do with Afghanistan but I thought the timeline might help.

DUBYA says Osama is in Afghanistan (or under your bed) and we're gonna get him. Later he said Osama didn't matter. I believe him on the latter point.

UNOCAL and several other companies are in on this pipeline now and it has finally officially opened for business, with U.S. servicemen and women at $7.50 per hour guarding the pipeline. That's a great use for our tax money, guarding a pipeline for a private company.

ENTER CHINA. Yes, China. China is right next door to the Caspian Sea. They have many more autos to fuel and factories to run making cheap plastic crap for 'Mall-Wart'. They need that oil so bad that they bid an incredible amount of money in what can be described as a hostile takeover of UNOCAL.

Watch what happens in Washington D.C. in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see how the Bush/Cheney/Halliburton/Condy Rice/Chevron Oil Consortium that runs our country (into the ground) will handle this whole affair. Remember...this bunch of oil rich Republicans refused to pass a bill on alternate (wind/solar) fuels last week.

As Dr. Hunter S. Thompson said in Playboy about Dubya's bunch in December 2004: THEY SHOULD ALL BOIL IN THEIR OWN OIL.

For more go here:

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Horse Apples

Wonderful parade in Oshkosh tonight. The real entertainment in a parade is watching the dazzled looks of the youngest spectators. The person next to me finally got off their cell phone after 2/3 of the parade was over...must have been an important call. No garbage trucks in the parade this year, but there was a honey wagon. HONEY WAGON? What the Hell is a honey wagon doing in a parade? The least they could've done is have the honey wagon follow the horses, AND NOT the other way around.

The occasion for the parade is the Miss Wisconsin Pageant. (Twilight Zone music: Is this really 2005, or just a bad dream?) Here it is folks...Ready...Aim...

Question: Why is the Miss Wisconsin Pageant held in Oshkosh?

Answer: Because no other Wisconsin city will put up with such tripe. (no pun intended)

Why are women putting up with this 'meat market' mentality in 2005? Maybe they could find a cardboard cutout of Bert Parks with the mike in his hand singing "There She Is....Miss America...". The Beetles are OK but no longer humorous, ---since most cars now are that small. Good to see Festival's Grocery Cart in the parade. (Notice that Mall-Wart contributes nothing to the community.)


The REPUBLICANS and DUBYA BUSH have decided to cut the funding for the COAST GUARD by one-half for 2006. This is a great way to encourage terrorists and drug smugglers. Ain't the Bush crowd great? Read it here:,1280,-5089293,00.html

Monday, June 20, 2005

Pulling Out of Iraq

Headline today. Bush Says: Pulling Out of Iraq not an Option.
I say: Withdrawal is something Bush's father should've done some 58yrs ago.

Oil prices neared $60 a barrel today. Republicans blocked a bill promoting alternative energy last week. So what else is new.

Jim Genisio, whom I greatly admire, wrote another great letter to the Northwestern. "Bush daughters could help recruiting by enlisting." Whatever Jim is smoking...I want some of that! You can read it here:

Jim writes from a religious perspective. I admire another religious writer, William Wineke, who has been at the Wisconsin State Journal forever. Bill is an ordained United Church of Christ minister who has used his talents to run the Wisconsin Rescue Mission in Madison for many years. A fellow who attended Sunday Services there for many years told me that he went there for the entertainment value, i.e. the ushers doubled as bouncers! Bill Wineke wrote this challenging column: "No Easy Answers for Iraq".

Dave Zweifel of Madison's Capital Times writes: "We've Seen Enough to Impeach Bush". Read it here:

Doug Thompson runs Washington D.C.'s oldest and best known blog: Capitol Hill Blue. A former Republican, he claims no party affiliation now and his latest rant is titled: TIME TO IMPEACH A WAR CRIMINAL!!! I'll second that. Read his rant here:

To those who think I'm a 'Bush Basher'...Shut up and go fill up your gas tank. Leave the pump on and I'll be in line right behind you. Pay the bill for both of us and 'have a great day'.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Airplanes and Ferries

IMPEACHMENT. That word appeared in print in the news today. It appeared in so many different publications that I cannot neglect to mention it. For the first time since the onset of the Iraq debacle I sense that impeachment is distinctly possible. It's an ugly word, we're in an ugly war, and our country is in an ugly mess.

Take your car for a boat ride. Go to Merrimac, Wisconsin. Take Hy.26-Hy.151 to Columbus. Get on Hy.60 west to Lodi(Home of Suzie the Duck). Take Hy.113 north. There are other ways-but that one is the fastest. The car ferry, run by the state, is totally free. It is a real treat. Drive on, get out of your car and feel the breeze. There are snack shops on both sides and a county park on the south side. I think the Ferry-Xing Tavern still sells T-shirts. It is 3miles south of Devil's Lake State Park. There are many free and inexpensive things to do and see in the area.

The Circus Parade---will be held Saturday June 25 in Baraboo, Wisconsin...another free one! Baraboo is of course home to the Circus World Museum. Trivia: The very first appearance of the Ringling Bros. Circus was in what city? Ans: Mazomanie, Wisconsin.

SMOKING. Will it take a new library director to get those smelly ashtrays away from the entrance of the Oshkosh Public Library? Would it be possible to ban smoking on the property? They do this in Appleton. While I am at it, why don't they ban smoking at the at the bus transfer center downtown? That is so gross to see the bus drivers, who the children look up to, race off the bus for a smoke between runs.

THE MOVIE AIRPLANE is 25yrs. old. I don't know about you but that makes me feel real ancient. It seems just yesterday that I was young and toking up with friends to watch this movie over and over. What brought about 'Airplane'? It was a low budget ($65,000) flick called 'The Kentucky Fried Movie'. If you liked Airplane this is a must see. It all started in Madison, Wisconsin in the late 1960's with "The Kentucky Fried Theatre". The 'Theatre' was a precursor to 'Theater Sports'. That evolved into the movie, and then Airplane. You know the rest.

As someone who performed professionally in the music business for twenty years, take it from me, go to Waterfest this Thursday. It just might be the best show of the year.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Rough Weekend

I heard the gendarmes tagged a few drunk drivers early today. Must've been a long weekend for these two...getting into a car accident very early on Monday. This happened on the south side around Oregon Street. The lady was driving one way, the guy was driving the other, and WHAMMO! Head on. Both were under the influence.

In other news, there is another large church picnic this coming weekend.

Dear readers: Should I have put both those items in the same paragraph, or are they okay just the way they are?

The Fighting Bob 150th birthday celebration is tomorrow in Madison. Fighting Bob Lafollette had a newsletter which he published while he held various offices. It was an important journal of the time. In a way it was quite like a mondern day blog. He printed items in his newsletter that the newspapers of the time wouldn't touch. LaFollette's Weekly, as it was sometimes called, eventually evolved into a daily newspaper and a monthly magazine. Almost a century later both are healthy and vital in society.

Madison's CAPITAL TIMES is the daily newspaper. It comes out in the afternoon, has lost circulation over the years, but still has a lot of clout---and a growing number of readers daily on the net. Capital is spelled with an 'A', (not the 'O' used in the building). The 'A' means it stands for $cash$.

THE PROGRESSIVE is the monthly magazine, international, with it's offices in downtown Madison.

The latest twist is a web site and a yearly fest. I was at the Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo last September. I can't wait to go again.

Thanks goes to The Northwestern for printing the Downing Street Memo for everyone to see...I MEAN A BIG THANK YOU!

Who is Doug Thompson? What's his rant today? Go here:

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A 150th Birthday Party

Friday night in Oshkosh. What a hoot! The sirens went off for the second night in a row. I did something very stupid. Rather than going for cover in case of a tornado I drove out to Menominee Park. I wasn't alone. It looked busier than Sawdust Days. Cars parked everywhere, lawn chairs set up, and people lining the shore as far as I could see. Are we that starved for entertainment?

In the Northwestern today is an article titled "Security contractor: Marines abused him in Iraq". This is one more example of a sad state of affairs regarding our servicemen. The pay in Iraq is something like $7.50 per hour for U.S. paid soldiers. Private companies in Iraq, working with U.S. tax dollars, pay their security people $10,000 to $13,500 per week to do the same thing that our U.S. servicemen are doing for $7.50 per hour. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is more than a tiny bit of animosity between these two groups of Americans. Expect to see more of this as the quagmire continues. For more:

This coming Tuesday would've been Robert M. LaFollette's 150th birthday. Fighting Bob is well worth learning about. He looked for problem areas and tried to legislate things that would improve the lot of the common man. When he pushed for Workman's Comp. he received death threats. Lumber barons such as Mr. Sawyer cringed at the thought of paying an employee to rest and mend following an accident on the job. Fighting Bob stuck to it and some of the first Workmen's Comp. checks in Wisconsin, (and possibly the planet), were received by workers in Oshkosh who got hurt in the lumber mills.

Fighting Bob graduated from the U.W. Madison in 1873. The speaker at his commencement was an Edward Ryan---who later became Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Some of Mr. Ryan's words were prophetic and profound:

"the question will arise, and arise in your day though perhaps not fully in mine: 'Which shall rule-wealth or man? Which shall lead-money or intellect? Who shall fill public stations-educated and patriotic free men, or the feudal serfs of corporate wealth?'"

It is unknown how much of this speech sunk into Bob LaFollette's head on the day of his graduation but it may have had a subliminal effect. His adult life was spent trying to keep corporations in line, allow them to make money, and refusing to let them turn their workers into slaves.

There is a big party scheduled this Tuesday in Madison for Fighting Bob. Nancy Unger who recently wrote a great book on him will be there. Her book can be found at the Oshkosh Public Library. Here are a few links to learn more:

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Democracy in Action

The Wisconsin State Democratic Convention is being held in Oshkosh this weekend. While they are in the Convention Center Saturday, a counter Convention of sorts will be happening in Riverside Park. You could say that there will be a lot of liberals inside and outside the convention. Yes. Liberals! They will proudly tell you that. There will be considerable agreement among the Democrats and the Greens. Many Democrats will take in the activities outside. There will be friendly sparring and heated disagreements too.

How did we get to this point in 2005?

This is a simple primer and it may me 'old hat' for some of you. For the goes.

Enter Fighting Bob. Robert M. LaFollette, a Wisconsin boy, became a County D.A., later Governor of Wisconsin, and later one of the most influential Senators in U.S. history. He did all this as a Republican. He was a capitalist with a conscience. He pushed for a Workmen's Comp. law here which 49 other states later copied. That later led to the nation's first Unemployment Insurance which even later led to what we now know as Social Security.

Fighting Bob was not so gently nudged from the Republican Party about a century ago. Corporate interests basically took the party over and there was no room for a "people's advocate". Fighting Bob finished his career as a Wisconsin "Progressive", ran for president and lost. His ideas are alive and flourishing 80yrs. after his death.

The corporate takeover of the Republican Party was fairly complete by 1910. Progressives supported Democrats in the 1930's (FDR). Democrat John F. Kennedy became President in 1960. The Corporate Republican Party decided at that time to take a different tact. They began giving big bucks to both Republicans and Democrats. That way they could attempt to control both parties and never lose.

At this time in 2005 Corporate interests control the Republican Party 100%, (as they have for 100 years), and they control over 70% of the Democratic Party.

This sets the stage for what is happening in Oshkosh this weekend.

-Republicans, as a party of the people, ended over a century ago. The G.O.P. means nothing to the common person.

-Democrats are sincere and for the common good, but corporate interests are playing havoc with the good sincere people in the party.

-Greens, Progressives, and many former Republicans are keenly aware of the crippling effect of those corporate interests and will be at Riverside Park Saturday afternoon.

Come and join the fray this weekend. It will be entertaining and informative.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Millie Does it Again

Millie is probably the most amazing person I have ever met in Oshkosh. She is petite, her eyes sparkle, and she is feisty as Hell. She became a vegetarian as a young adult...somewhere around 1935. She lived in Milwaukee in the 1960's and took part in countless protests and marches. She was acquainted with Father Groppi who organized many of those calls for social justice.

She has been in Oshkosh a long time and 'lives' with her books. A voracious reader, she is constantly giving away magazines with the admonishment: "Here. Read this and pass it on". Good ones like Wisconsin's own -The Progressive. She even came out to protest the coming Iraq war down at the sundial until the Dr. told her to slow it down a little. This past winter she bought and delivered a 10lb bag of ice-melt to the Winnebago Peace and Justice center. Not bad for a young lady of 88!

Millie did it again. She wrote another carefully crafted letter to the Northwestern and they were nice enough to print it. It is titled: Freedom, Justice and Danger Under Bush. It will be online at the Northwestern site this week. You can see it here...
If you miss it there, it was in the Sunday, June 5,2005 edition.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Reality Checkarena

Reality Checkarena will appear from time to time, but first a comment on this weekend in Oshkosh.

War protesters are back on Fridays at the sundial in Peace Park. There is a slight shift in attitudes. Folks are beginning to realize that our country's (mis)leaders are flatly refusing to give any indication of an end to the quagmire in Iraq. The rummage sale at Peace Park was in full swing when I drove by this morning. Farmer's Market opened today. A freebie at the Leach Amphitheater grand opening. The monthly Art Walk downtown tonight. The Art Walk is a great way to spend a Saturday evening. I think the owners of other businesses are missing the mark by not being open during the Art Walk, which brings a lot of foot traffic into the area.

Now for the Reality Checkarena...

Are you a conservative? 'Mall-Wart'-the place to buy cheap plastic junk, is openly conservative. The owners make it no secret that they support Republican candidates with their wallets and their endorsements. Every time a big box 'Mall-Wart' opens the County Dept. of Social Services needs more money to help pay the Dr., Clinic, and hospital costs of 'Mall-Wart' employees who lack proper insurance.

The Walton family preyed on the taxpayers of Wisconsin to the tune of $2.7-Million last year. The Waltons and friends are staunch conservatives.

This is the reality of being conservative in Wisconsin.

Are you a conservative? Are you possibly something else?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Minimum Wage / Maximum Disaster

Dear Governor. This is not compromise. This is horse-apples, as my dad would say.

It is a first in my memory. A raise in the minimum wage is usually allowed to pass by the party of the ultra-rich ONLY if a substantial tax break is put into the bill for those 'ultra-rich'. This time it didn't happen this way. The ultra-rich convinced the Guv to prevent any locality from raising their minimum wage higher than a statewide minimum for all eternity. This in return for a paltry increase in the minimum wage.

The Republicans apparently think that the cost of rent is the same in Milwaukee, Madison, and Oshkosh, as it is in Ubet, Luck, and Spread Eagle, Wisconsin. (Yea...Race to your favorite map site and look those up!) They are complaining that it would be too hard to keep track of the minimum wage if it was different in various parts of the state. They must think that folks are brain dead. If it is that hard to keep track of wages maybe we could have uniform prices on bread, milk, and gasoline statewide too. Haven't they heard of computers? Wages could change once a day---like auto fuel.

Guv Doyle was wrong to let the Republicans suck him into this morass. Minimum wage increases should stand alone EVERY time they come to a vote.

Points to remember...
-Personal taxes are extremely high in this state.
-Corporate taxes are extremely low.
-Raising the minimum wage is not going to send businesses to Illinois.

Aren't the Republicans the party of 'local control'? Why would they be against localities determining their own minimum wage?

It is my sincere hope that Peg Lautenschlager can throw a wrench in this thing and put a stop to the nonsense.

We need a raise in the minimum wage.
Any locality should be able to raise theirs.
NO MORE tax cuts for the rich.

In the words of William T. Evjue: "Let the people have the truth, and the freedom to discuss it, and all will go well".

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Leach

The Leach Amphitheater is open. I am hesitant to make remarks but I have a few questions/comments.

1) It is my understanding that this piece of land was destined to be used for low-income housing.

2) The 800lb. Gorilla is in the form of a diesel locomotive---and people are deathly afraid to talk about gorillas.

3) Waterfest background. Thursday was picked for several reasons, one being that major acts might be in Chicago, Milwaukee, or the Twin-cities on the weekend, and might be convinced to come to Oshkosh on a Thursday a bit cheaper to fill out their schedule. Well known national acts from days gone by (i.e. past their prime) often filled the bill. This made for an good package years ago. My question: Is this formula still as viable as it was 15yrs. ago?

I wish Waterfest the best. The ambiance of the boat traffic will be sorely missed.

What about Deep Throat? I defer to Matt Rothchild:

Kudos to City Council member Mr. Bain for his 5th Tuesday Forum. I admire what he is doing.