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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Cloudy in Milwaukee and Madison: could be sunny here

Wauwatosa, Common Council

While Milwaukee and Madison are looking pretty bad when it comes to exposing the work of government to the light of day--and the thoughtful eyes of taxpayers--Wauwatosa is considering taking a small but important step in the right direction.

In Milwaukee, the suitors for the city's water are being kept under heavy wraps. No one but a few officals, including city assessor Wally Morics, knows who the 18 are, much less what the details of the deals are. I'm really fuzzy about why the city assessor would have power in such an area, but that's another discussion. In any case, a few sensible aldermen said "not enough information, no go."

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Benefits of competition?--revised

Economy, Student loans

Note: This morning, I received a note asking me to withdraw my blog entry "Competition = higher costs" because it was based on a misunderstanding. The writer, Kevin Bruns, executive director of America's Student Loan Providers, is right about the error in my premise, but maybe not about everything being wrong. So instead of pulling it as requested,  I'll print in full the note from Kevin and fix my entry. 6-5-09


You have confused the private education loans made by lenders (which have no relationship to the government and exist because schools increase tuition at a rate above inflation and Congress limited how much students could borrow in federal loans) WITH federally guaranteed student loans made by lenders.

In other words the premise of your article is wrong.

The Citibank letter relates to its desire to continue making federally guaranteed loans, which it has probably done for decades. The Obama administration wants to eliminate the program. The letter has nothing to do with private education loans.

The petition relates to federal guaranteed loans, not private loans. The signers support the continuation of choice and competition in FEDERAL student loans.

The administration's proposal would create a single lender, the Federal Direct Loan Program. It would have a monopoly with no virtually no competition.  Think Postal Service without competition from FedEx,  UPS or email.

Given the scope of the confusion, I request the article be pulled to avoid creating confusion among your readers.

Kevin Bruns
America's Student Loan Providers
Washington, DC

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Leave love in the world as your wake

The past couple weeks have been crazy ones. Over a year has passed since Mom died, and it was time to close the first circle of mourning with a memorial service. Older daughter Annie would be in town with her new husband, John, and that set the date: June 14.

It meant getting the house in order in a very literal way.

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Spell Father's Day R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Father's Day

Two friends and I drove Highway 41 yesterday to Ravinia, where Garrison Keillor did his usual magical job of unveiling the sacred in ordinary life.

There's a lot of ambivalence in that. Keillor's fathers and other heroes always fall short of some marks, but when it counts, they show up with nobility, even if no one notices.

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In praise of where we are

Spiritualty, Wauwatosa

When you open the main section of today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,  above the ads for Summerfest, the Lubar School of Business, and "Freedom from ATM fees" at M&I Bank, you'll find a couple arresting images. They stopped my bucolic breakfast of  organic strawberries (two pints for $4 at Outpost) and yogurt (not organic but cheap enough at Pick N Save).

On page 2 is William Underwood, obediently wearing his holstered handgun in Louisville's New Bethel Church, where Reverend Ken Pagano is celebrating the second amendment with a call to armed worship.

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