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Monday Music

Popular Culture, Hot Women

Crank-up the volume for Annie Lennox - Ooooh baby!

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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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How Much Is Convenience Worth To You?

Laws

Last week I blogged about the habit that some local cities (including Wauwatosa) has of micro managing businesses within the city limits.  As some of you know (or can easily tell), this is a pet pieve of mine.  In fact, I have a category on my other blog, The World According to Nick, dedicated to stupid laws.  Well, in response to my post last week, another Wauwatosa resident, who has asked to remain anonymous, emailed me this:

I saw the subject of your community blog today, and it reminded me of something that happened to me in Wauwatosa recently.  Our dishwasher broke, so I went to a local Wauwatosa establishment to buy a new one and picked out a new shiny dishwasher for about $500.  I asked how much was delivery and installation, and the first question was "where do you live?" Apparently in Wauwatosa, you need to pull two building permits, one for electrical and one for plumbing costing over $100 for the permits alone.  This is to replace an EXISTING dishwasher. So installation was going to run well over $400 dollars.

I went to two other places and got the same story, including a retailer in Brookfield.

In the end, I bought one and had it delivered without installation.  Then I read the instructions and installed it myself in about 30 minutes.  It turns out it's a fairly trivial operation if you are even a little bit handy and are replacing an existing unit.

Why on earth is the city of Wauwatosa entitled to $100 for me to put in a replacement dishwasher?

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One Last Aldermanic Appointment?

Politics-Tosa, Mayor Didier, Public Policy

I know that at least one of my 38 readers suspects that I dislike the Mayor.  Therefore I want to go on record and make it abundantly clear that nothing could be further from the truth.  I try to get through life without the burden of hauling around all sorts of dislike.  That kind of negativity will take years off of your life so I reserve my dislike for a small number of really bad people.

As a matter of fact, Mayor Didier and I had a friendly chat last Wednesday over at Hart Park.  I even had an opportunity to ask a couple of questions.  Our visit was cordial and infused with witty innuendo.  But you would have to be there to understand that.  It is complicated.

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Colonel Fest

Colonel Harts is having a Fest on Saturday June 6th.

There will be games and prizes - Starts at 11am

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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

Chris,

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

www.aslp.us

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Recognition of City's Efforts to Contain Health Care Coverage Costs

The efforts of the City of Wauwatosa and its employees to contain costs have benefited the Wauwatosa taxpayers while providing comprehensive health care coverage for City employees. The following email was sent to the City Administration and the Common Council recognizing these efforts.

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On The Road Again - Island Life

Fish'n, Family, Life Is Good

As our stay on Grand Isle drew to a close one of the fellas on the block said - Tom, you're a helluva fisherman. You fit right in with us folks.  You even speak some French.  You should buy a place down here. 

I turn to my wife.

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The U.S. Mutual Fund Martetplace

The Investment Company Institute ("ICI") is a national trade organization which promotes the public understanding of mutual funds and other investment companies.  Each spring they release the Investment Company Fact Book which provides an overview of the current investment company marketplace.  Complete with detailed information, this annual publication reports on a wide range of data on the funds industry, including retirement assets, characteristics of fund owners and other trends.  To give you an idea of the scope of investments made in these fund companies, and the role they play in the U.S. economy, I thought I would share with you some of the highlights.

To give you an idea of the size of the U.S. mutual fund marketplace, here are a few quick facts and figures taken from this year's edition.  U.S. registered investment companies managed $9.6 trillion in mutual funds at year end 2008, a $2.4 trillion decrease from 2007.  Worldwide mutual fund assets suffered decreases of $7.2 trillion, bringing the worldwide total down to $19 trillion.  On the upside, which helped reduce the overall losses, U.S. shareholders added $411 billion in new cash to mutual funds in 2008 and reinvested $214 billion of income dividends that mutual funds distributed during the year.  As you can see, these investments are very large and thus play a significant role in the U.S. market.  The U.S. has the world's largest mutual fund market accounting for 51% of the world's total net assets invested in mutual funds.  Investment companies as a whole were the largest group of investors in U.S. companies, holding 27% of their outstanding stock at the year-end 2008.

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Thursday Morning Music

Popular Culture

A seminal group with so much talent.  More good guitar work...

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Still Blogging After All These Years

Blogging

I recently stumbled upon this factoid which says that approximately 95% of all blogs are eventually abandoned. As a sometimes prolific but more often challenged blogger, this did not surprise me. (It still makes me a little sad to think about those poor, motherless blogposts hanging out there with no hopes of a follow-up.)

This month is the 5th anniversary of my adventures in blogging. I started out as a humble, stay-at-home mom, who had an itch to write and - true confession - vent a little about the ups and downs of being a mom. That was how Momhood got started. I found it very liberating to be able to put fingers to keypad and say something that my 4 or 5 readers would appreciate. I had dreams of one day being discovered, but alas, I decided that not sitting in front of the computer all day long would be more beneficial to my momhood AND my marriagehood. Nevertheless, I kept it going…barely.

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The Spineless Middle

Random Musings and Idle Chit Chat, Politics-Other, Gas Pains, Silly People

There has been an interesting discussion going-on over at the Tosa Town Square.  It's basically a critique of David Letterman's tasteless joking about the Palin family. 

Anyway, as the discussion ensued I was referred-to as a member of the spineless middle which inspired me to offload about some stuff that has been rolling around and cluttering my normally well-ordered mind.

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Crude oil and gasoline

It seems to be that time of year around here again, the rising gas prices season.  In recent days, I have seen the various reports of the increasing cost of a barrel of crude oil, and thus our gasoline prices. My recent fill up at our local gas station reminded me of an article I read last year, and keep handy, which lays out some very interesting facts about crude oil and gasoline. I thought I would share it with you. I hope you find it as interesting and informative as I did.  It does becomes somewhat  “political” near the end, which I try to stay away from, but overall a very good piece.

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On The Road Again - Final Post

Life Is Good

I've seen an endless succession of sunrises in my life.

And the good ones are pretty impressive.

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At least some of my summer's been productive

books, politics

One thing that I love about summer is that I can actually read something that I want to read. I can feel smart just by picking up a book; there’s no worrying about coming up with a thesis for an inevitable paper that will take me until 4 a.m. to write, only to be returned later covered in corrections. I decided to feel especially smart a week ago, when I chose to read The Jungle as opposed to something like Confessions of a Shopaholic (which I don’t mean to debase – I read it and of course enjoyed it).

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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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Dear Brett Favre,

Packers

Dear Brett Favre,
It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. Last time was several years ago and it was an unabashed fan letter. You see, I have this thing I try to do – when I think something nice about somebody, I try to make it a point to tell them. Because, really, what’s the point of thinking it if you don’t share it with that person? Back then, I often thought: “Gee, that Brett Favre seems like a good guy – honest, hard-working, unselfish – total team player both on and off the field.” So I wrote that. I think it was over a year later, you sent me a cheesy mass-produced postcard with a picture of your family and something printed on it. Gee, thanks. But no big deal – I expected less.

Back then, when I was your biggest fan, I believed every word you said. I didn’t know then about your own personal dressing room and how you never dressed in the team locker room. Gee, what a team player. How very Barry Bonds-like of you.

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Thursday Morning Music

Popular Culture

Start your day by soaking-up some guitar religion from another master.

Aside from the guitar solo - the congas, timbales and overall percussion are pretty awesome... 

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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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Taking the Good With the Pads

Fish'n, Outdoors, Friends

Pardon me while I make a brief commercial announcement -

I am now up to 42 readers.

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