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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gazette; Observer mourns the loss of Art Phillips

Click on the post for the announcement in The Janesville Gazette.

Words cannot express the enormity of this loss to our community, nor can I describe the enormous contribution Art gave to all of us by his service. I knew him as a friend, mentor, policeman, and school board member. I am stunned by his loss, and offer my condolences to Pat and the relatives. Details of visitation and funeral are pending.

Drudgereport:: Harvard Lecturer says "Bankruptcy" not "Bailout" is the answer.

Click on the post for an economists view.

Public Safety will discuss One Way for Mill and Railroad Street on Oct 1st

Click on the post for the agenda.

Evansville Business Corner; New Photographer in town

Click on the post for the latest business that may be opening a shop in town. Currently he is a resident of Evansville.

OpEd: "This does not affect me; I am in Fixed; "

I am hearing folks say that they are not affected by the current banking crisis because they are not in stocks---they have elected the "fixed" option for their retirement....... they could not be more wrong.

First, when the credit markets seize, the very simplest of transactions, such as cashing a check is affected---many remember the "checkholds" of the 1980's when money
was not credited for several days till the actual money came to the bank. Some banks with less liquidity still do this routinely. Some do not charge for regular customers and charge walk ins. It all has to do with liquidity. And when banks "Freeze UP"----the whole country moves to CASH.

On the matter of "FIXED"----most fixed funds invested in for 401K or 403B accounts list the original investment amount and then when customers ask who guarantees it, they just respond: "The Insurance Company guarantees this investment"-----The problem is of couse that in the case of AIG, and in the case of all the credit default swaps, the insurance was paid for, but did not deliver when the non-payment occurred. In short---as a fixed investor you are deeply involved in the current crisis---and should review the many articles about this in order to plan properly.

As I young college student, I worked with just CASH. Kind of nostalgic to get back to it. And only CASH. Should be interesting.

Mailbag: California CPA writes: On Why the House Reps were right in rejecting the recent bailout bill----

(Ed.note: This was also submitted to the OC Register as well as The Evansville Observer. Thanks, Rich. )

O.C. Register

Congratulations to all OC congressman/congressman who voted “no” on the bailout (Rohrabacher, Royce, Sanchez (both), and shame on those who voted “yes” (Campbell and Miller).
Regardless if you think a bailout is warranted or necessary this was a horriblely written bill, and that conclusion is from reading only one section of the bill (3 pages ), Sect. 111 Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance. This was the section (appropriately insisted on by many in Congress) to ensure that the execs of the bailed out firms share the pain. It did no such thing and I would suggest was written purposely not to do so.
The Facts
First, Sect. 111(b)(1) says that upon investment (i.e. Bailout) of a firm where “the Secretary receives a meaningful equity or debt position in the financial institution as a result of the transaction, the Secretary shall require that the financial institution meet appropriate standards for executive compensation and corporate governance”. No definition is given to “meaningful” or more importantly, no definition is given to “appropriate standards.” If I were advising the execs, I would say that “appropriate standards” means that their compensation cannot exceed the average compensation of their peers in companies of equal size. This is NOT PUNITIVE, and if fact MAY ACTUALL SUGGEST AN INCREASE for those execs who are making less than the industry average. The writers of this paragraph are either village idiots or knew exactly what they were doing…which was creating loopholes as big as a truck.
Second, Sect. 111(b) (2) (A) says that the bill includes “limits on compensation that EXCLUDE ( emphasis added) incentives for executive officers of a financial institution to take unnecessary and excessive risks that threaten the value of the financial institution…” The word should have been “INCLUDE, NOT “EXCLUDE”. As written these limits (really nonexistent as explained earlier anyway) would only apply to the good actors (i.e. those firms that did not incentivize their execs to enter into risky ventures), instead of the intended targets, those firms who did incentivize their execs to enter into risky ventures, the bad actors. This paragraph is EXACTLY WRONG AS WRITTEN.
Third, Sect. 111(c) under Auction Purchase,s where the purchases by the government exceed $300,000,000 the “Secretary shall prohibit, for such financial institutions, any NEW (emphasis added) employment contract with senior executive officer that provides a golden parachute in the event of an involuntary termination,….” What about the “OLD” employment contracts. As written, they would stand as is. That means no modification to existing sweetheart termination clauses. NO PAIN, ALL GAIN as they say. By the way, advisors to these execs could suggest they put in the golden parachute clause the day before seeking a bailout because under the bill they would be considered “OLD” and “NOT NEW”.
All of these points were from reading one section of this bill (3 pages). Can you imagine what the rest of the 120 pages contain? If I were a representative, I would be asking myself if the writers of these clauses were specifically instructed to make them worthless, hoping to ram the bill though without proper oversight. I would be livid that a supposedly agreed upon compromise would be gutted in the writing of the bill. Thank God, that at least four of our reps read the bill. What about the other two? What’s there excuse?
Richard C. Ginnaty
8732 Knights Circle
Huntington Beach, Ca. 92646

Monday, September 29, 2008

Beartrader; tidbit: "The little guy"

Last Sunday I had an opportunity to chat briefly with the "Bear Trader" who has contributed so many articles to the Observer over the last six months, and they have been very prophetic....

He made the comment during our discussion:

"I have to laugh at all the folks that say "I am getting sick and tired of having the little guy pay......"

"That notion is ridiculous"--bear trader said: 'By definition, IF YOU are the one paying....YOU are the little guy. You have been the one paying forever."

Make a note of it.

OpEd: The Fix

The Crisis of the Stock Market today was caused, according to the analysts, by the failure of the legislative fix funding the bailout of certain banks by purchasing worthless or mostly worthless securities that had been inappropriately marketed to unsuspecting investors and consisted mostly of very complicated hot air.

On a more concrete level---the fix will be when my children are able to purchase a fairly valued home, at fairly attainable down payment terms, in a loan application that sees their employment at fairly priced wages.

Until all that happens---no matter what the mumbo jumbo of the pundits---there will be no fix. After all it is only the children of the baby boomers who could buy their homes---who else would it be?

The small rambler homes that sold for $10,500 in 1950 and are now priced for $225,000---what should these homes be priced at in order for any young wage earner making $9.00 an hour in order to purchase it? The higher the wages....the higher the price would be.

It truly is the golden rule at work. As soon as those compassionate seller agents begin to be very concerned about the wages of the buyers,,,then there may be progress. And as soon as everyone is concerned with developing jobs that pay living wages, then the sooner the homes they have invested a lifetime in, will be able to be sold.

Nostalgia: Markets: The Theory of Double Down

Click on the post for a reflection born of the Crash of 1987.

Markets: Yahoo: The Markets are terrified----

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag: Michael Moore----what he wrote this morning before the vote:

Click on the post for the thoughts of Michael Moore before the vote.

Dateline Normal, Mn."Why all the Riverboat Gamblers are Senior Seniors"----FICTION

On a day like today, our thoughts go to all those riverboat gamblers---all those who would bet the farm on ......Click on the post.

WSJ: Top Story: Grey Wolves return to Protected Status

If you click on the post you can see the breaking story ...in the Wisconsin State Journal---about the grey wolves returning to protected status---and the caption the picture is stored under is "top story. Only in Madison, on the day of a stock market crash, would the status of the grey wolf, one of my favorites of course, be noted. Enjoy.

ExMan: Nostalgia: Why Don't We have Winters Anymore?

Why Don’t We Have Winter Anymore?

How many times have you heard someone say something like, “You know, I remember back when winters were a lot colder – it would go down to zero and stay there for six weeks. But that just doesn’t happen anymore.” How many times have you said something like that? I’m betting you have because one hears statements like this a lot, from young and old, from persons in all walks of life – every winter. It doesn’t matter if the current winter is mild or harsh – it seems to be a constant winter weather theme in casual conversation. I heard the above quote about 30 years ago from an elderly gentleman who presumably lived nearly all his life in southeastern Kansas. Kansas? Zero for six weeks? What’s up with that? Are winters really warmer than they used to be? What about snow? Didn’t we always used to get dumped on? I know you have stories about snow tunnels and drifts higher than your head and roads that were closed half the time and such like. Where did all those good times go?

Well, I propose to you that winters have not changed all that much over the past 100 years, at least not in our neck of the woods, that being the upper Midwest of the US. Not that we’ve never experienced extended cold snaps or blizzards or drifts higher than our heads (how tall were you in 1960?) because we have. Just not all the time, not every winter, not even close. It was never normal.

What I’d like to do is use temperature data from Minneapolis, MN as a proxy for the entire region. The National Weather Service Office there has a great website where they’ve posted a variety of daily, monthly, and yearly weather observations and averages. Digital data from other cities are certainly available but I’m loath to pay the Climate Data Center (or one of their contractors) for it. From data that I’ve cobbled together from various on-line sources and older printed material, I’ll try to show two things: 1) that the variability in the Minneapolis temperature records is representative of our region, and 2) that winter temperatures and snowfall are extremely variable and are never always anything, all the time.

First, let’s look at yearly average temperatures between 1891 and 2004 plotted in Figure 1. The long-term mean is about 46F but individual years show values as high as 50.9F (1931) and as low as 40.6 (1917) and are generally all over the place between these two. There is a warming trend of about 1 degree over the period and a mild period is seen since 1998.

Figure 2 shows a portion of the previous time series for Minneapolis (blue curve) along with those of Madison, WI (red) and Fargo, ND (green). Notice how closely the Madison temperatures track those of Minneapolis, though most years are about 1.5F to 2F warmer. Fargo shows a slightly lesser correspondence, but colder by 3F or 4F. The main point here is that the variability and direction of change from year-to-year in Minneapolis is very similar to other regions in the upper Midwest and may be used to broadly infer long-term temperature variations region-wide. But this isn’t winter, specifically, so have a look at Figure 3 where only January temperatures are shown but in the same way for the same cities. The former conclusions apply here but the variation from year-to-year for a single month is greater than over an entire year. Monthly mean temperatures may change by over 10F from one January to the next, as in Minneapolis from 1976 to 1977 (11.6F to 0.3F). Or check out Fargo from 1943 to 1944 (-1.3F to +21.1). January temperatures are not consistently “cold” from year to year. The only constant seems to be the variability.
So, you probably see where this is leading. Figures 4-6 show Minneapolis monthly mean temperatures from 1891-2004 for December, January, and February. The same magnitudes of variations are seen as before, but more interestingly, the trend lines for December and January are practically flat! Not even a trend towards warmer weather (over the entire period). However, if you look for the coldest 10 Januarys in the entire 114-year period, you see that 5 of these occurred between 1963 and 1982. Also, there were no exceptionally warm (>20F) Januarys during this time, although there were 7 that had above (long-term) average temperatures (13F). Is this 20-year period the source of baby-boomers winter memories? Could be, but even in this case they would be based on only 13 out of the 20 “dead-of-winter” months. February is different and does display an upward trend leading one to surmise that some winters have been ending sooner. Only 3 of the coldest 10 Februarys occurred since 1960.

Annual snowfall totals are even more interesting. Figure 7 below shows total snowfall amounts from about 1940-1975 with Minneapolis in blue, Madison in red, and Fargo in green. The correlations are not as strong as for temperature, but the similarities in the year-to-year variations remain. In other words, most years that show higher than average snowfall in Minneapolis tend to be echoed in the other two time-series, especially Madison. The main difference seems to be that year-to-year variation in snowfall for Minneapolis is greater than for the other two cities. Also note that in many years, Madison has more snowfall than Fargo. That might come as a surprise to some folks here and some of our hardy friends to the northwest!

Now look at the entire 114-year period for Minneapolis in Figure 8, remembering that this is fairly representative of the region. A linear fit to the points yields an upward trend of nearly 20 inches! Even granting that the beginning of the trend line might not be entirely representative of the first few years, it is still an impressive change, certainly at least 15 inches. That would be about one-third of the long-term mean of 45.2 inches! The big increase happened in the 1970s and 1980s with a flatter trend since then. Figure 9 (bottom) shows annual snowfall totals for Madison from 1884-1885 to 2004-2005. The picture here is much the same, though the increase since the 1960s is perhaps not as great. There has been a falling off in recent years (since 1993), but you can see that we’ve been through these periods before. Note also that though we haven’t received over 60 inches of snow since 1995 (a snowy Madison winter by any reasonable standard), we have also not received less than 28, unlike 23 other winters spread out over the entire record. These include 1976 and 1980, which occurred in a relatively cold and snowy era. As with temperatures, our winter snowfall amounts are extremely variable and have been for as long as we’ve kept records. All those year-after-year, snowy, drifts-up-to-the-neck winters will have to be relegated to some magical, mythical past.

So what about our winters of late? Since the 1970s and early 1980s, we’ve warmed up some, but on the other hand, many of those years were colder than the long-term mean. Considering the whole period of record, there is little or no trend for Decembers and Januarys, but an overall warming during Februarys. Snowfall shows an upward trend with the caveat that the last decade has generally realized lesser amounts, but not when compared to the entire record. The main point in all of this is that snowfall and winter temperatures are extremely variable from year-to-year and have been for a long, long time. I think the reason we don’t have winter anymore is us! It is my belief that we tend to focus on those winters, or even specific weather events within certain years that were truly bitterly cold or snowy (one can make the same argument within winters that I’ve made between winters), then somehow project these memories onto other years. It would be interesting to know what this mechanism is and why we have it. Is it a universal human trait, an extension of our tendency to generalize and categorize? Anyway, now when somebody tells you about how winters in the past were always so cold and snowy, just smile and say, “Why yes, I remember those winters, too! But you know the rest of the story.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Schools; Absentee reporting now available by email notification

Click on the post for the proper form.

Mailbag: Obama Campaign Announces: Howard Dean is Coming to Janesville---Tuesday, Sept 30th---NOON-

Howard Dean is coming to Janesville!

Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee and presidential
candidate in 2004, will be appearing in Janesville Tuesday, September 30.

The event is free and open to the public, and starts at 12 noon at the
United Auto Workers (UAW) Hall, 1795 Lafayette Street.

Dean will be speaking about why Barack Obama is the right candidate to
address America's economic problems.

The UAW Hall is located just off Center Avenue (Highway 51 South) on
Janesville's south side, just behind the Pick 'N Save supermarket.

For more information and to RSVP for the event (requested), contact the
Obama Campaign for Change office in Janesville at 608-756-2851.

Pension Corner: Pension Sunami wades in on pension risks

Click on the post for the Pension Sunami web site that is a portal to examine a wide variety of risks in several sectors.

Yahoo: Finance: Who wins and loses in bailout?

Click on the post for an article in Yahoo finance.

Classic Soucheray: St. Paul Pioneer Press: To Wall Street---"Drop Dead"

Joe Soucheray weighs in on the current finance crisis in his unique style. Click on the post for the latest.

Blogs: "Pension Risk Matters"

This blog features many links to articles on the various aspects of current risk to the health of pensions....your pensions. Stay tuned.

Video: Saturday Night Live-----Tina Fey as Sarah Palin Part II

Click on the post for the follow up skit last night on Saturday night live.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Swing Dancers for Obama swing on State Street and also help in voter registration information for citizens.

Download File
Evansville High School grads Amy and Julie meet Alex, the head of the swing dance group. Julie makes her debut appearance in her return from California to enter Graduate School at UW.

Download File
Video; Downtown Madison: September 27, 2008: Swing Dancers for Obama Event: Nicole speaks on importance of voter registration and need for voters to verify their information.

Download File

Classic Observer: "The Hold Up"

Click on the post for a classic from the Observer.

Nostalgia: November 2007: Classic Observer: Thoughts on the Great Crash of 1929

Click on the past for a classic post from the past.

Gazette; The Tightening of Credit from the consumer view

Click on the post for a timely article in the Gazette this morn.

Wind; WindWatch: "In Defense of Larger Setbacks"

Click on the post for the full article. The author cites Wisconsin and specifically Town of Union as in the forefront in the discussion of what exactly is the appropriate setback given the research that is available.

The article has a list of references to review.


Lin's Garden---Menu---Now Open On East Main Street---the old Roller Rink----Chinese Food you have been waiting for

Doubleclick to enlarge.

Droz Jr. : " Wind Power: How We Got Here"---an analysis

Wind Power: How We Got Here

I saw an article in Mother Earth News that was shamelessly supporting wind power (a topic
I know something about), so I contacted the writer. My question to him was: what scientific
information do you have that proves that wind power does what it is supposed to do?
After several amusingly evasive correspondences, he finally conceded that he had none. In a
desperate attempt to defend this untenable position he then said that no proof was needed!
In exploring this unexpected line of thought with this reportedly knowledgeable individual,
it became quite clear to me that he did not have a big-picture concept of what is going on
here. But since this deficiency is clearly shared by many other people, let’s do a quick
review as to how we have arrived at our current electrical energy predicament...
The first practical use of electricity, in the late 1800s, is generally attributed to Thomas
Edison (a founder of General Electric). Of course there were actually dozens of people who
contributed to making commercial electricity a reality. And there were a LOT of formidable
hurdles to overcome.
One of the initial primary issues was where was this electricity going to come from? For the
first hundred years or so, there were six over-riding concerns about commercial electricity
1 - could they provide large amounts of electricity?
2 - could they provide reliable and predictable electricity?
3 - could they provide dispatchable1 electricity?
4 - could they service one or more grid demand elements2?
5 - could their facility be compact3?
6 - could they provide economical electricity?
1 Dispatchable means a source can generate higher or lower amounts of power on-demand,
or (in other words) on a human-defined schedule.
2 Grid Demand Elements = Base Load (the minimum amount of steady rate electric power
required 24/7) + Load Following (regulation of power output in response to moment-tomoment
changes in system demand, so as to maintain the system within predetermined
limits) + Peak Load (the maximum load during a specified period of time).
3 Compact is the ability to site an electrical facility on a relatively small and well-defined
footprint, preferably near high demand, e.g. cities. This would save on transmission lines
which are extremely expensive, unsightly, and can result in measurable power loss.
The implementation of these has resulted in the most successful grid system on the planet.
I would like to avoid getting too technical here, but the primary goal of all of these efforts
was to achieve capacity. To ensure reliability at the lowest cost, grid operators consider
capacity in several ways as they evaluate electricity sources — but the most important is
Capacity Value. The layperson’s definition of this is: ”the percentage of a machine’s rated
capacity that grid operators can be confidant will be in available during upcoming times of
greatest demand.” Knowing this accurately is the key to reliable system grid performance.
Anyway, back to our history. Many options were proposed to satisfy the above six criteria.
To maximize public benefit, each was individually and scientifically vetted to ascertain
whether or not the suggested source would comply with all of the needed conditions.
Over time, what resulted from these assessments was that we selected the following sources
to provide commercial electricity for us: hydroelectric, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and oil.
(Oil is by far the smallest source, as only about 1% of U.S. electricity comes from that.)
Note that each of these current sources meet ALL of the above six essential criteria — and if
they don’t (like oil now being more expensive) then they get replaced, by conventional
sources that do meet all criteria.
As a result, today, and a hundred years from now, these sources can provide ALL of the
electrical needs of our society — and continue to meet all six criteria.
It’s important to also note that ALL of the primary conventional sources use home-grown
energy. Regarding our electrical energy sources, we have always been energy independent!
So what’s the problem?
Ahhh, the problem is that a new element has been recently added to the list of
requirements: environmental impact — and the current number one environmental impact
consideration is greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. CO2).
So why has this joined the Big Six? It is a direct result of the current debate on Global
Warming. Note the word debate. This is not yet a scientifically resolved matter (though
some would like to have you think so). In response to intense political pressure, our
government has acquiesced to these forces to make emissions an additional criterion.
Having the government step in and mandate that utility companies change the principles
that have been the foundation of our electrical supply system for a hundred years is a bit
disconcerting... Transforming such a successful system based on a position that is not yet
scientifically resolved is seriously disturbing. That’s concern #2.
And there’s more — much more. Concern #3 is that this new standard for electrical supply
sources now has taken priority over ALL THE OTHER SIX! Concern #4 is that this newboy-
on-the-block has in reality become the ONLY benchmark of importance — the other six
have essentially been put aside, and are now given only lip service!
In this unraveling of sensibility there is one final incredible insult to science (concern #5):
alternative sources of commercial electricity that claim to meet this new super-criteria (to
make a consequential impact on CO2) don’t even have to prove that they actually do it!
I know that this is a lot to absorb here! Maybe you want to take a moment to let the
profound impact of these latest developments sink in...
Just in case you think I am not being accurate here, we’ll look at the environmental poster
child: wind power. Let’s examine each of the six normal criteria, then the new one...
1 - Does industrial wind power provide large amounts of electricity?
Yes, it could. However, its effectiveness from most perspectives is inferior. For instance
(because of the wide and unpredictable fluctuations of wind), it only produces, on
average, about 30% of it’s nameplate power. Another example of its dilutedness is that
it takes over one thousand times the amount of land for wind power to produce a roughly
equivalent amount of energy as does a nuclear facility.
2 - Does industrial wind power provide reliable and predictable electricity?
NO. Despite the wind industry’s absolute best efforts it is not reliable or predictable
compared to the standards set by our other conventional electrical sources. What’s worse is
that when power is really needed (e.g. hot Summer afternoons) wind is usually on
vacation. Compare it’s performance to a car (windmobile) run by wind power.
3 - Does industrial wind power provide dispatchable electricity?
NO. Again, due to its unpredictability, wind can not be counted on to provide power ondemand,
i.e. on a human-defined schedule.
4 - Does industrial wind power provide one or more of the grid demand elements?
NO. It certainly can not provide Base Load power, which is what is needed to supply an
underlying 24/7 demand. It can not provide Load Following, which is in response to
moment-to-moment changes in system demand. It can not reliably provide Peak Load,
which is needed maximums during specified periods of time (like hot Summer
afternoons when lots of air conditioners are on, and the wind is usually still).
Essentially wind power is just thrown into the mix and gets used who knows wherever.
5 - Is industrial wind power compact?
NO. As mentioned above, to even approximate the nameplate power of a conventional
facility, like nuclear, takes something like a thousand times the amount of area. Wind
promoters are desperately trying to convince gullible politicians that it can have some
real capacity value. Their tinkertoy “solution” is to try to connect multiple wind farms
spread over vast areas (often several states). In addition to being speculative, all of this,
of course, completely undermines the objective to be a concentrated power source.
And another “feature” of wind power is that most of the windiest sites (and available
land) are a LONG way from where the electricity is needed. This will result in thousands
of miles of huge unsightly transmission towers and cables, at an enormous expense to
ratepayers — most of it completely unnecessary. Kite flying will be a thing of the past.
6 - Does industrial wind power provide economical electricity?
NO. It is artificially subsidized WAY more than any conventional power source. A 2008
report by the US Energy Information Administration concluded that wind energy is
subsidized to the tune of $23 per megawatt-hour. By contrast, normal coal receives 44¢
per megawatt-hour, natural gas 25¢, hydroelectric 67¢, and nuclear power $1.59.
[Since these other sources meet all six criteria, there is some basis for subsidizing them!]
And now let’s add the latest rule dejour:
7 - Does industrial wind power make a consequential reduction of CO2?
NO! No independent scientific study has ever shown that wind power saves a
meaningful amount of CO2. In fact, the most independent scientific study done (by the
National Academies of Sciences) says the opposite. Their 2007 report concludes that
(assuming the most optimistic conditions) the U.S. CO2 savings by 2020 will amount to
only 1.8%. This is a trivial quantity, and amounts to about 1/80,000 of the world’s CO2.
What about the critical factor of Capacity Value? The result of the above deficiencies is that
wind power has a Capacity Value of about zero. Compare this to the conventional sources,
where essentially all of them have a Capacity Value near 100%. A stunning disparity.
Huh? How can this possibly be? How could the U.S. be on the path to spend over a
TRILLION dollars on an electrical source that fails five out of six of our historically
important criteria, AND has no scientific proof that it even meets this new emissions criterion?
It’s all about the money. Lobbyists for businesses, and parties who want a piece of this
TRILLION dollars (e.g. T. B. Pickens), are leaving no stone unturned. Environmentalists
who have taken their eye off the ball are promoting this palliative non-solution. Politicians
eager to be seen as “green” (a current fad) are saying yes to everything the color of money.
Wind power proponents typically try to rationalize away its serious shortcomings saying
that things will “get worked out” mañana. What essentially is happening though, is that
our politicians are trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Zero wind power is
appropriate until after these significant problems are resolved — as some may never be.
Another consideration is that after understanding wind power’s inherent electrical generation
defects, it might put some other issues into perspective. For instance, it is entirely
legitimate to be concerned about bird and bat mortality, noise intrusions, flicker effect,
property devaluation, etc. But what if they were “fixed” — would wind power then be OK?
Let’s say that (to help with some of these issues) a conscientious town’s ordinance required
a one mile separation of wind turbines from all houses. Is wind power then an “acceptable”
source for providing us commercial electricity? The fact is that this excellent regulation
would in no way address the fundamental electrical grid limitations of wind power
identified above. Wind power will not be acceptable until all seven criteria are met.
Does wind power’s abysmal failure mean that all “renewables” are a similar scam? NO.
Each proposed new power source needs to be objectively evaluated, independently. From
what I have seen (e.g. MIT’s 2007 report) industrial Geothermal holds significant promise.
In any case, this profound turn of events in how we select our sources of electrical power
(by abandoning our successful and time-tested criteria) is having, and will continue to
have, incalculable negative impacts on every person on the planet.
There is a solution — and it will cost a lot less that a Trillion dollars. 90% of what we do
spend should be on improving the conventional sources that already "work." The remaining
amount could go towards exploring new options that (by definition) would have to meet or
exceed conventional sources (i.e. the six criteria).
John Droz, jr.
Physicist & Environmental Activist
Brantingham Lake, NY
9/26/08: rev a
For scientifically based information about wind power, see my webpage:
<>. Email me questions at: “aaprjohn@northnet.org”.
— — — — — — — — — Some References — — — — — — — — —
(All links should be clickable. Additional references are available on request.)
Electricity Timeline <>
Electricity Market <>
Energy Definitions <>
Base Load Power <>
Base Load Power <>
Why Wind Won’t Work <>
US Electricity from Oil <>
31000+ Scientist Dispute Global Warming <>
Nuclear Heresies <>
Nuclear in Perspective <>
GE report (pp 2.6-2.7) <>
NAS Report <>
CO2 & Wind Power <>
Enron & Wind Power (PDF) <>
Energy and Environmental Myths & Facts” (PDF) <>
WSJ re EIA Report <>
Scientific Methodology <>
Energy Business Future <>
Geothermal-MIT Report (PDF) <>

Friday, September 26, 2008

Gazette: Schools: Enrollment Declines: Projected recovery date---2015----

Click on the post for the latest on Janesville Schools enrollment----If enrollment is declining, and school construction is increasing, and state revenue is declining because of the state formula.....it means taxpayers are paying more each year even though enrollment declines.

In Evansville, there is a special situation, since due to the "backloaded bonds" that were negotiated for----- every year, the bond payment goes up, even if the student enrollment declines or the house values devalue. The highest payment is at the end of all the payments. The hope was that commercial expansion would help---instead commercial has contracted.

Stay tuned to the Evansville Observer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

OpEd: Evansville Budget discussion shows choices

The budget discussion of the departments and staff of Evansville over the past months have revealed choices--choices for needed wastewater treatment plants...and delay of wish list items for the new library addition till 2013, as well as needed focus on the Westside water problem at 6th and Vision.

These are needed choices and ...more may be coming. Stay tuned to the Evansville Observer. We have the audio and video. And we even attend the meetings. Enjoy.

Gazette: Evansville Waste Water Treatment Plant will cost most for homeowners

Gina Duwe covers the coming improved waste water treatment plant that was necessary because of higher standards for waste treatment--it was required not just on a wish list.

Click on the post for the full article.

Nostalgia: August 2008: "Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven's Door"----a true story

Click on the post for a true story. Timely.

Common Council: Minutes of Meeting of September 24, 2008

Click on the post for the official minutes. Video and audio are on the blog.

Pioneer Press: St. Paul gets an earful on RNC Handling

Click on the post for the latest.
Video: Council: 9/24/2008: Public Works, 1 of 3: Dan Wietecha discusses the current status fo Southgate Pond and the new plan for most effective solution. Requires land acquisiton and possible condemnation of land. Recommended by Public Works last week.

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Video: 2 of 3: Council: Dan Wietecha speaks on plan for Southgate Pond improvement, land acquisiton etc.

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Video: 3 of 3: Council: Southgate Pond; Dane Wietecha speaks on best option for improvement;

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Gazette: Washington as blameless?

Taxpayers want accountability and punishment for the wrongdoers. The Bush spin: There were none? Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Audio: Council: Budget: Dan Wietecha reads a letter from Judge Tom Alisankus re upcoming budget request.

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Audio: Police Budget 2008-9: Chief Scott McElroy discusses fleet, call for service increase ; expenses of relocation and more...

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Budget: 9/24/2008: Dan Wietecha gives the revenue overview at beginning of budget meeting.

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Audio: Common Council: Public Works Addresses Southgate Pond: Dan Wietecha explains the recommendation.

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Pioneer Press: Woodbury: Developers balk at proximity of wind turbine and upscale homes

The developers took the initiative to object. Interesting. Click on the post for the full story.

India; CEO murdered by sacked workers

Click on the post for the full story.

CapTimes; Kathleen Falk Speaks on Wisconsin Alcohol Culture

Kathleen Falk plans initiatives to combat the large problem in Wisconsin. Click on the post.

NYT: Retail Markets Tense on Christmas Prospects

What will the holiday season bring for retailers and those who work in retail. Click on the post for the story.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Car Lot on East Main in TIF 5?

Some discussion at the Redevelopment Authority last week---click on the post for the complete minutes.

"Evansville Book of Minutes 2005" Coming Shortly

"The Evansville Book of Minutes 2005"----the unauthorized compilation of local governmental minutes for that classic year 2005 is coming shortly.

A picture of a clock is being sought for the cover. As you know, the picture of the 2007 book feaured the picture of the famous clock at the University of Notre Dame. Maybe you have a suggestion for the clock for the 2005 book. Let me know.

Click on the post for a sample of the book to come. Enjoy.

OpEd; Taxpayers want BEEF, Not BALONEY

I am having a little problem figuring out the logic of the current 700 billion dollar scheme to stabilize the finanical industry. Now that we have identified the junk, worthless, and hopelessly untradable highly leveraged securites, we will let the taxpayers pay 700 billion for them, leaving the bankers to start all over again---Nothing for the current stuggling mortgage holders....and nothing to punish the wrongdoers from beginning again their craft..y ways.

I think not.

Yahoo: SarKozy: Those who cause the Crisis must be punished----

The truth must out on the financial crisis, and those responsible punished, rather than rewarded in the outcome---so says French President Sarkozy. Click on the post for the full article.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thought for Last Week: Markets: The Mop and the Faucet

Sometimes folks are so busy mopping up the floor....they forget to turn off the faucet.

Datline Minnesota: Observer covers U of Minn Marching Band Parents Day

(Ed.note: Video specifics is coming of Parents Day at U of Minnesota and the football game. See The Minnesota Observer for details: www.minnesotaobserver.blogspot.com Video of the whole marching band doing "Thriller" is pending. )

NYPOST: Background: Market was 500 trades from meltdown.

Click on the post for some background.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yahoo: Ron Paul speaks on AIG bailout: Inflation coming

Click on the post for the latest.

St. Paul: Pioneer Press: Property Tax Bills Poised to Fall: Shift to Commerical

Interesting. In the recent St. Paul budget, it was stated that the budget is structurally balanced, in other words, it does not rely on loan funding to balance. The discipline seems to be paying off. Also, there has been a shift to greater commercial property taxation rather than homeowner.

Note the tax bill for a $183,000 home. Compare.

Wall Street Journal: Lack of Regulation of Investment Banking: Private not public clearing of transactions; Undetermined Risk; Debt Excess

All of the above were factors in the current economic mess, and the unraveling and solution to it may be long and painful. That is the bottom line of the article from the Wall Street Journal. Click on the post for a pretty comprehensive discussion. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Video: School: Supr. Heidi Carvin presents building options: 9-10-2008; 4 of 4 video. Complete audio on the Evansville Observer.

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Video: School Ad Hoc Committee; 9-10-2008: 3 of 4 video: Supr. Heidi Carvin speaks of school building options.

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Video: 2 of 4: Supr. Heidi Carvin presents Building Options of Plunkett Raysich

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9-10-2008: 1 of 4: Supr. Heidi Carvin reviews the building options for the Evansville School District and asks study group to rank them.

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Chasin Corner: "The Signs are Coming"

Check on the latest from Chasin.

OpEd: Why Wall Street Matters; A reflection on CASH; "Fixed" Investments;

One of the cruel happenings on the day after a Crash on Wall Street ---any crash---is the pundit talk of folks that celebrate because "Thank goodness we were in CASH"-----that line is delivered in a very straight tone. Everyone knows who hears it that it is a pure lie.

So. For the every day laborer who has a 401K or pension, and lets the pension manager do the thinking, what is to worry about?

It is that word "CASH."

Most folks that are investing in "Fixed Investments" and getting a return of 3% might think they are in CASH or in an investment that is "guaranteed" by the government in some way----but most are in reality only guaranteed by the insurance company, or under the umbrella of a pension guarantee corp guarantee, which upon examination has limited ability to really cover the possible losses if these fixed funds have been or are dabbling in CMO, Collatoralized Mortgage Obligations or fancy hedged investments.

In summary---those who have to worry are the lenders----and if you have "fixed investments" in your retirement fund, YOU are the lender or bondholder. Thus YOU have a huge stake in the current Wall Street mess.

After all the fancy analysts in their Armani suits have switched to their sweatpants with backpacks and cleared out their desks, it is the small investor that stands to lose if the banking system cannot be stabilized.

This morning the index measuring "junk" or high risk bonds in desperate straights had risen from the index 200 to 800, or four times higher, and the Libor rate or the rate banks loan to each other had doubled from around 3% to around 6%. That in a word is FEAR in the Streets.

There has been contraction of credit in business as well as home equity lines as well as changes without notice in credit card limits. There may be further sharper limit decreases in these items. College loans may be affected, and some lenders have already discontinued their participation. In short...widespread pain nationwide and not just in stock portfolios.

Stay tuned.

Mailbag: "Bear Trader" Writes:

(Ed.note: "Bear trader" is just a citizen that shares his views with The Observer and his letters in no way consitute investment advice. They do however reflect bearish sentiment. )

The financial website I am most impressed with is Minyanville.com - a
straight shooting bunch.

Major changes in the financial world coming on quickly, and, of course,
the future is impossible to predict (you can sometimes tell what WILL
happen, but not WHEN, and vice versa), but maybe 700 S&P in 2010 - 15. I
think this business will last for decades. There are NO “buy and hold”
investments at the moment; now we have asset deflation with monetary
inflation; the markets are like dancing with drunken elephants.

You might try 5 year Treasuries. Watch the dollar index and exchange
rates especially versus the more stable European currencies (NOT Euros).
Maybe the Yen. The time may come to get out of dollars. I think metals,
over ten years, have not yet hit their lows nor their highs. A tough
market, but the gold divided by silver price is a fairly good indicator
(so far, anyway).

Everything you could do to make money since 1992 in the markets will
loose you money if you don’t know EXACTLY what you are doing. You can
make up lost opportunity a lot easier than lost capital.

Having to Choose----Between your Blackberry and Your Spouse

Click on the post. Might surprise you what folks are saying.

Finance; Yahoo: Wall Street Poised for Wild Ride

Click on the post for the recap from yesterday---the futures are pointing to a down opening and from then.....you make the call.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Park Board Meets Monday, Sept 15th--Advertising in park on agenda

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Mailbag; Tim Rooney Writes: Check Out his Two New Paintings in the Windows of Shannon and Demarb Law Offices

Hey, Just wanted to let you know that this Fri., Sat., and Sun. (in conjunction w/ the 14 south Art Tour and the Evansville Windmill Festival)
I will be exhibiting two new paintings depicting downtown Evansville in the front windows of Shannon & DeMarb Law Offices on Main Street.
These are the first two in a series of oil on canvas paintings focusing on the wonderful architecture of Evansville. Thanks, Tim

Timothy J. Rooney
Sr. Curator
Tandem Press, UW-Madison


Roubini: Predicts another 20% Drop

Click on the post for the latest.

Minyanville: Why Did Merrill Lynch Sell at a premium?

Click on the post for the latest from Minyanville.

Nostalgia: The Art of the Cold Calling Cowboy--the DeRegulation of Wall Street==and what it portends

(Ed.note: The following was taken from "The Traders Little Black Book" written in 2008. Click on the post for the full book. "

Over the past thirty years there has been a transition from a structured investment environment to one that is "deregulated"---it has been marked by the end of the era of salaried brokers with higher commissions and research, to a world of $7 trades and computer simulations. It has been a movement from wise older traders to young, churn and burn robots.

"Where has been the saving,?" you might ask. I like to compare the situation to the airline industry. Years ago, when airfares were higher, and Northwest Airlines had ZERO debt, the transportation industry and financial services industry was seen as a public sector, where the government had a say in an organized and supervised code of conduct for all participants----those days are gone. When I fly, I always feel more comfortable when I know there has been maintanance done on the engines. The cheapest fare is not consoling if I see flames coming from the engines. Ditto for the financial services industry.

When investment just becomes a transaction, when people just become a transaction, and when "churn and burn" becomes the overriding element in business, the customer always loses. Consequently, I reject the notion that nostalgia for the good old days of regulation is senile and old fashioned. I believe it just makes economic sense for the investor.

Recently a lone French trader for a bank, using "proprietary trading funds", in the throes of breaking up with his girlfriend, took enormous options risk and....despite the bank even knowing about his risks, but not understanding it or choosing to ignore it for fear they would impede some gains, caused a 7 billion dollar loss.
Imagine what would happen worldwide if just a dozen or so financial professionals broke up with their girlfriends. Yes. Girls that is something to consider. You may think you are just breaking up....but you might just be causing a global catastrophe. Be True to your man....o.k.

In summary. The incredible catastrophe of ENRON was not just ENRON. The real catastrophe was that as a nation we have modeled our financial institutions on ENRON. And we have the major tactic of DELAY, the verb, not the noun.

Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree is Coming---Mark Your Calendars for October 18th

The 2008 Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree is Approaching Fast

Mark your calendar now and plan to attend the Evansville
K-5 PTO’s Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree on Saturday, October 18th from 6-8 P.M. in the Grove Campus Field House. This year’s carnival is sure to be a fun family event featuring many carnival games, the ever popular bounce houses, haunted houses, face painting, the Cobweb Café, a Raffle and a pumpkin decorating contest. New this year is the Cupcake Walk!

The Jack-O Lantern Jamboree is the K-5 PTO’s largest fund-raiser. Funds raised support Evansville’s elementary and intermediate schools. In the past, proceeds from the event have been used to purchase classroom and playground equipment and to help fund the After School Club. In addition, these funds help make possible other PTO events, including the Kindergarten play date, the Book Swap and the He and Me Breakfast.

Parents and community members, we need your help to ensure the success of Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree ’08. Over 120 of you dedicated volunteers are needed to help us run this event. If you are able to volunteer your time, please contact Brenda Roth at 757-9339.

You can show your support for our children and teachers in at least three other ways. The PTO is seeking Event Sponsors, Game Sponsors and Raffle Donations. Event Sponsors will be recognized in advertisements and other media publicizing the event. Game Sponsors and Raffle Donors will be recognized the night of the event. If you or your business would like to become an Event Sponsor, a Game Sponsor, or make a contribution to this year’s Raffle, please contact Mary Ann Zelmanski at 608-295-0096.

More detailed information about the Raffle and the pumpkin decorating contest will be sent home with your elementary and intermediate school child(ren) in the coming weeks.

SNL: Saturday Night Live: The Tina Fey Classic: Palin/Clinton Video

Click on the post for the video that has captured the buzz of America.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Washington Post: Krauthammer:" Charlie Gibson's Gaffe"

Charlie asked a question he thought he knew the answer to....and then played professor. Problem. He did not know the answer. Click on the post.

Background; Lake Leota: "Cutting Back on Fish Cribs" or "How to Adopt a Fish Crib"

(Ed.note: This is the first of a series of background and in depth stories about the elements of the Preliminary Engineer's Opinion of Probable Costs of the Lake Leota Restoration.)

At the recent Evansville Common Council meeting to determine whether a referendum would be held on the Lake Leota Restoration, and decide what the language of that referendum would be, the breakdown of the costs were revealed---or rather revised. This is the first of a series discussing this.

Fish Cribs. It was a term I was not familiar with. If you click on the post you can see what they look like, and how they were used in the restoration of a lake in Chetek. In short.... If you are going to have a fish habitat...you need fish cribs. The previous cost estimate for Lake Leota had listed $1500 for this cost. According to the article on Chetek, the cost of each of these is $10.

Striving to cut costs and eliminate waste of any sort, the Engineers decided, and the Council also decided to cut back...on the fish cribs and thus on the fish. So---better put the fishing poles away.

Nostalgia: "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and other wonderful songs

Last week, right in the middle of the Evansville Schools Ad Hoc Task Force to examine and recommend an option for new school construction, right in the middle of the list of options and the request of folks on short notice to rank them without information.....I was stuck behind the camera....could not open my mouth....and I began to hear my favorite childhood song, "I've Been Working on the Railroad."

One of the reasons for that song being one of my favorites was that my dad worked on the railroad for 30 years....and his father before him worked on the railroad---both for the Railway Mail Service---it was a long time ago---so long ago...the days when a letter could go from Minneapolis to Montana in 1 day----not three like today. And the railway mail carriers had to know the zip codes or order of delivery in their heads so the bags could be thrown off the train to the skyhook in the proper order. Ah the good old days.

I remember the call. When without any interview, but with test scores, I was called to begin service in the railway mail service. I had not even given it a thought until I got the call. I just said, "Nope. I don't think so."

WSJ: Archbishop Morlino Wades into the Fray; On Tax Deductions...and more

Click on the post for the latest.

Fun Video

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gazette: The Dent and Bent--the magic of damaged goods

The Gazette has the scoop.

Pioneer Press: Soucheray: "As Mother of Five, Palin should stay off Harley"

Joe Southeray wades right in the cultural battle---the smoke has almost cleared from the streets of St. Paul, and Joe is creatin some smoke of his own. Click on the post for the latest.

Video: School Ad Hoc: Jeff Farnsworth speaks re 4 period day, class size, assumptions

Video: School: 9-10-2008: Jeff Farnsworth speaks on assumptions re class size, 4 period day

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Video: School: Ad Hoc Committee;9-10-2008: Mr. Dietrich spoke re: "Repurposing" Middle School

Video: AdHoc: 9-10-2008: Mr. Dietrich spoke regarding repurposing the middle school, and why it was important to define that term before ranking the options in any way since most of the options had that option in it.

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Video: School Ad Hoc: John Mourning speaks: Re Land purchase v. brick and mortar decision

School Beat; Ad Hoc Committtee: 9-10-2008: John Mourning speaks on purchase of land; on high risk of attempting to define ten years out the details of an educational system that is rapidly changing away from brick and mortar.

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Video: School Ad Hoc: Mr. Pierick speaks: "Slow Down- Nothing happens till current debt is paid--11 years out..unless emergency"

Video: Ad Hoc Committee: 9-10-2008: Mr. Michael Pierick looks at process as 11 year target---nothing will happen till the current debt is paid from the high school, unless there is an emergency.

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Nostalgia: Sept 2007: Schools: Plunkett Raysich: "The Perils of Prophecy"----etc.

Click on the post for a nostalgic look back. What a difference a year makes.
Audio: Evansville School Ad Hoc: 9-10-2008: Potential land sites identified and disussed as to advantages and possible size, and what additional information would be helpful to know.

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Audio: partial: beginning in midst of discussion of 4 period day and enrollment and declining census and impact.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School Beat; Evansville Ad Hoc Committee: Audio: Supr. Carvin reviews building options

Evansville Schools: Ad Hoc Committee on Facility Planning: Review of Options: September 10, 2008: Supr. Heidi Carvin reviews the Plunkett Raysich Options

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School Beat; Planning: Ad Hoc Committee meets Wednesday Night: J.C. McKenna

Click on the post for the agenda. New schools and land on the agenda.

Financial Times: Cost of Fannie and Freddie----5400 billion added to public debt?

Click on the post for the latest.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "Why All the Riverboat Gamblers are Senior Seniors?"-----FICTION

Click on the post for the latest.

Mailbag; "Bear Trader Writes": Analysis of Wall Street Journal editing of story re Fanny and Freddie Mac

Interesting that the original story, published in the paper newspaper,
has been re-written on the website to exclude it's most interesting
parts. The foreign bank's influence is a much smaller part of the
current on-line version of the story than I find in yesterday's print
edition, comparatively mentioned only in passing.

What you missed:

Original paragraph #2:
"Meanwhile, new details emerged of the pressures that led up to
Treasury's plan to take the reins o the troubled companies. In the
weeks before the government's intervention, nervous foreign finance
officials barraged Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve
officials to find out what was happening with the mortgage giants,
according to people familiar with the matter."

Original paragraph #3:
"Among those making the calls were Asian investors, including the
Chinese, say tow people familiar with the matter. China's four biggest
banks have pared back their holdings in debt of the companies, with Bank
of China Ltd., the largest holder of Fannie and Freddie securities among
Chinese banks, saying earlier this month it sold or allowed to mature
$4.6 Billion of the $17.3 Billion it held as of June 30 - which was down
from more than $20 Billion at the end of last year."

So, Fannie and Freddie suffered a "run on the bank" halted only by the
federal government taking them over. Fannie & Freddie yield spreads
against Treasuries were the highest on record and increasing
exponentially. The American public will pay the bills, a bill of
somewhere between $200 Billion and $1 Trillion. Chris Dodd and Barney
Frank are foaming-at-the-mouth angry because they have lost control of
the goose that has laid them so many personal golden eggs. Political
golden eggs, too, of course. Costs money to "serve the public".

OpEd: Adding it Up: Lake Leota Expenses:

$2,000,000 Lake Dredging per referendum
$400,000---- box Culvert project after dredging completed
$250,000---- Creek Walls--see video--included in 2008 Capital Budget.


It was interesting to see the debate on amending the amount of the referendum from 1.75 to 2.0 million per the Finance Committee meeting last week, and the proposal to move it to 2.4 million to get the box culvert project included in the referendum.

If the $400M had been included, it would have placed the city in the position of having only $167,000 in available debt capacity per recommendation from Ehlers and Associates, its financial advisors.

To put this in a personal consumer perspective---having $167,000 left for a city in its GO capacity is like having $1 in your personal checking account. The racecar is scraping the wall. If you listen to the full audio of the meeting, you can sense the enthusiasm for adding the $400M to the referendum, and then....they realized how close they were to the wall, and recovered to steer the car back on the track.

Not one member of the public at this meeting had been at the meeting the prior Thursday that reviewed the 8,700,000 in capital projects on the table for 2008. That meeting showed the overall view.

Stay tuned. This is the Evansville Observer.

WSJ: Blogs: Realtor Tours Evansville, Wi Foreclosed Homes

Click on the post for the latest from a realtor that toured two Evansville foreclosed homes.
Video: Lake Leota Referendum vote: Citizen asks why referendum necessary.

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Video; Council: Lake Leota: The Box Culvert 400M Add to Lake Leota referendum?

Council discusses whether to add $400M for box culvert project to the Lake Leota Referendum.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Video: Council: Lake Leota: Jack Speaks: Urges Transparency

Video: Common Council: Lake Leota Referendum: Jack Speaks for Transparency, for the benefits of letting the public vote in a referendum

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Cost Breakdown of Lake Leota Project

(Ed.note: Doubleclick to enlarge)

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Lake Leota: Impact on Taxpayers

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Audio: Common Council: Lake Leota Going to Referendum: $2 million;

Audio: Common Council: Votes to place issue of Lake Leota Dredging project on ballot for voter approval---price tag of $2million.

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Alert: Call Your Alderperson----Yes---- Mason Is Right: We need a referendum on Lake Leota: Let the People Decide

Public Works: 7-22-2008: Lake Leota: Mr. W asks Why do we need a referendum? Mason Braunschweig answers.

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The Political Dolls---The Sarah Palin Action Hero

Click on the post for the catalog.
Classic speech by Mr. Michael Pierick to the Evansville Planning Commission in joint session with Union, on the impact of residential growth and action or no action of restraint and planning and what the result might be.

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Gazette; School Beat: Cuts hit schools in Edgerton:

Click on the post for the latest from the Janesville Gazette. Declining enrollment. Elimination of the Four Period Day. Staff cuts.

yahoo: Finance: Is Lehman Next???

Will they find additional capital in time? Click on the post for the latest from yahoo.

Politics: The New Sarah Palin Dolls go on Sale

Click on the post for the latest.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "All Public meetings during Monday Night Football"---FICTION

click on the post for the latest.

www.factcheck.org Corrects Palin rumors

Some of the recent information regarding Republican VP Sarah Palin has been incorrect. Click on the post for the story in Newsweek.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Soucheray: Pioneer Press: St. Paul: RNC: "Minnespolis got the Gold Mine...We got the shaft"

Classic Soucheray. Days after the Republican National Convention, Joe Soucheray has figured it out.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

St. Paul: RNC: List of Arrests

Click on the post for the list of Ramsey County Court for the arrests related to the RNC protests.

OpEd;: One Alaskan's Opinion on Sarah Palin

Click on the post for a widely circulated letter written about Sarah Palin and her background as a local mayor in Alaska.

Nostalgia: St. Paul: RNC: "Free People in a Free Country are Free to Use Their Cameras"

This was an article written right before the convention. Just imagine. Flashing a videocamera plus wearing a Green Bay Packer sweatshirt----what would your chances be? Click on the post for the full story.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Video: Union: Wind Turbine: 2 of 2: Ordinance Draft: Decommissioning Language

Video: Plan: Decommissioning language of Wind Turbine ordinance--2 of 2

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Video: Union: Plan: 1 of 2: Draft Wind Turbine Ordinance; Decommissioning language

Video: 1 of 2: Key points on Decommissioning language in proposed Wind Turbine ordinance

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Audio: Union: Wind: DeCommissioning section or Wind ordinance

(Ed.note; I apologize for audio quality--this was at the country club and midst a hubug of activity. This is just the first section of the meeting.)

Plan: Union: Draft Wind Turbine: Topic of DeCommissioning section of ordinance

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Town of Union Plan Commission Meets Friday--WIND TURBINE on the agenda: 5:30PM Country Club

Click on the post for the agenda. Note that the meeting is at the Country Club.

Video: Finance: Lake Leota Referendum: 2 Million is the number;

Finance committe: 9-4-2008: Best estimate is 2 million. This will be the amount on referendum and the capital budget will be adjusted accordingly.

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Video: Finance; Lake Leota: Discussion of Creek Walls Project

Video: Finance: 9-4-2008: Discussion of Creek Walls Project

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Video; Finance: 5 Year Capital Plan: EMS: Remodeling

Finance Committee: 9-4-2008: EMS: 5 Year Capital Plan: Discussion

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Video; Finance: Roundabout/ Bypass Lane: 9-4-2008

Finance Committee: 9-4-2008: Roundabout Bypass Lane;

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RNC: St. Paul: Protests Day Four--a gallery of photos

Click on the post for the scenes from yesterday in St. Paul.

Yahoo: Subprime: Yale: Prof Shiller: Video: The Subprime Solution

Prof. Shiller, author of "The Subprime Solution" speaks of what the solution might look like---and notes that times of crisis in the past have spurred innovation and change as in the 1930's. He suggests some changes that would be innovative.

Click on the post for the video.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Finance: Audio: Review of 5 Year Capital Plan Begins; Changes; Questions

Audio; Evansville Finance Committee: Thursday, Sept 4, 2008; Beginning Review of 5 Year Capital Plan; Initial Discussion, changes. clarifications, questions--

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Last night at the Evansville Finance Committee meeting, Dan Wietecha began by mentioning that the five year capital plan was simply a gathering together of the wish lists of the departments, and before any cutting. In just a glance, the 2009 Capital Funding request was 8.7 million dollars, so there was an awareness that there was some urgent need to delay some projects to the future.

The Library---moved to 2013. Dan Wietecha mentioned that this project that would cost about 2.5 million was not feasible to be done earlier and the speculation about it was causing confusion among folks.

The Roundabout/Bypass lane on East side----$300M plus and committee felt it was not realistic to put this in for 2009 since the developers showed little interest at the present to act.

The EMS remodeling---$380M delayed to future for discussion.

On Police Squad cars---three cars plus SUV--still only one would be replaced each year. Would be a problem if that changed to replace quicker.

Clarification of GO General Obligation debt capacity----The video of Greg from Ehlers and Asssociates that discussed debt capacity occured at a time when it was assumed that the city would borrow 2 million for the biodiesel plant---since then that loan has been repaid---thus freeing up additional borrowing capacity---thus, the theory would be to use that borrowing capacity to fund Lake Leota restoration. City Administrator Dan Wietecha stated that in the end, the positon of the city would be about the same or 50% of GO capacity, and would have the capacity to meet emergency needs, but at the same time, the budget would be tight.

All these matter are covered in the uncut audio above. Enjoy.

Evansville Finance Committee Meets Thursday, Sept 4---

Click on the post for the full agenda.

Yahoo: Finance: Housing: Shiller: Video:

Professor Shiller, the author of the famous book, "Irrational Exuberance" speaks on video on the current housing situation and what might be next. Click on the post.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "It's Porta Pottie Time"---FICTION

Original post of March 2008. Click on the post for the classic.
Video; Aware, Inc., a division of Community Action, Inc., reminds Evansville residents that the United Way Campaign is here again and to please donate generously due to high demand for services due to recession.

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Julie Hermanson, Program Director for AWARE, a division of Community Action, Inc, discusses the back to school supplies drive as well as the Snackpacker Program that has been so successful--reviews how to enroll your child in this program

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September 2008: AWARE: Julie Hermanson Speaks on the recent successful funding campaign and the generosity of Evansville business that has been essential for AWARE success.

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Stocks: Reality Check--Doubleclick pic to enlarge

Second part of presentation of Fred Juergens on Lake Leota 7-8-2007 Finance Committee Meeting--Juergens recommends binding referendum; recommends listening to the voters after full education on the options

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Gazette; ABC Supernanny Coming to Evansville!!!!!!

Gina Duwe has the scoop. What a wonderful development and opportunity to showcase Evansville. On Kids...and Parents...behaving badly.....Even the timing is perfect. Right in the midst of the Referendum or Recall Campaign.

Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Evansville: 5 year Capital Budget--3 of 3 spreadsheet::::::::$8,637,374 in Project Cost for 2009

(Ed.note: Click to enlarge.)

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Evansville: 5 Year Capital Budget--2 of 3 spreadsheet

(Ed.note: Doubleclick to enlarge)

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Evansville----- 5 year Capital Budget: 1 of 3 spreadsheet

(Ed.note: Doubleclick to enlarge. These numbers will be discussed in Finance Committee tomorrow night as well as Common Council meeting next week.)

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Flood of 2008 Video: Information

(Ed.note: Howard Gage of Videogenics and son were award winning video producers of video in Janesville. They were of help to The Evansville Observer in the first video learning some years back. The Observer sends condolences in this terrible loss, and hopes the video might be of interest to readers in the Rock River area. )

“Flood of 2008” Video Information

My name is Lois Forbes, a retired teacher (a member of the Janesville Area Retired Educators’ Association). Our retired teachers’ group is assisting in this endeavor. I am sending this so you will be able to receive the information in writing and will be able to study it at an opportune time for you.

I am contacting you because Howard Gage, father of John Gage, is working with the United Ways in Rock and Jefferson Counties to produce a video John had made of the recent flood along the Rock River .

John passed away two weeks ago in an automobile accident. He and his father were the owners of Videogenics. John had been taking photos and planned to make a video to aid the flood victims. At the time of John’s death, all the photos had been taken and the video was nearly complete.

Howard has finished everything that needed to be done to produce the final video. Now it is being readied for production and distribution. This is where we need the assistance of local businesses and companies.

Many individuals in Rock and Jefferson Counties have suffered losses because of the flood of 2008. This documentary video (“Flood of 2008”) has been produced and will be on sale in communities along the Rock River . The videos will be sold for $10.00 each. All proceeds from the sale of the video are designated to go to special flood relief funds established by United Ways in Rock and Jefferson Counties . Three United Ways are involved in this venture--- United Way of North Rock County , Stateline United Way , and United Way of Jefferson County . Information is also available on the United Way website.

In order to defray the cost of duplicating and packaging additional copies of the DVD, three levels of giving have been established. Obviously, donations at one of the three levels will ensure that all proceeds from the sale of the DVD’s go to individuals in need of assistance. The three levels are as follows:

The Producer Level – Individuals or organizations donating $1,250 will

allow us to duplicate and package 1000 additional “flood of 2008” DVD’s.

The Director Level – Donations of $125 will allow us to duplicate and package

100 additional “Flood of 2008” DVD’s.

The Associate Level – A donation of $12.50 will allow us to duplicate and

Package 10 additional “Flood of 2008” DVD’s.

I hope you will be supportive of this endeavor. If you wish to participate, checks should be written to United Way, 205 North Main Street, Suite 101 , Janesville , WI 53545 .

Please write “Flood Video” on the memo line.

Thank you very much.


Lois Forbes

St. Paul RNC: Pioneer Press: Police: Protestors were not the Criminals; Anarchists Were

Click on the post for the story. Those who violated the law on Monday in St. Paul were anarchists and had planned their activity for a long time and came from all over the country to do so. They were not in the organized protest groups. Click on the post for the full story,.

Dateline Normal, Mn.: "Swim With the Loons Fall Harvest Festival Comes to Normal, MN" ----FICTION

This is one of a long series of print and audio tales that is FICTION, but...other than that...

Click on the post for the latest.

"No" means "NO" in Normal, Mn.----FICTION

Well. It has been just a hubub of political activity locally. With all the budget talks. One of the things that just picqued my interest was the series of video where the discussion was about what would happen if a certain referendum would go down to defeat in November. What would happen if the public said "NO."

The answer was that the politicians would still "work it" and bring it back to the voters in a year. Maybe they would change their mind. Maybe if they were asked more nicely, maybe with a "pretty please" they would agree.

Just that morning I had been reviewing the early elementary school anti bullying campaign curriculum, and something struck me as unusual. The same kind of behavior that schools on a daily basis are teaching our kids to avoid, is the exact type of behavior that our government celebrates.

Whenever I wonder about things, I just pick up a cellphone and give my friend Herman, the countryboy lawyers from Normal, Mn. a call. He knows the law. He should know.

"Herman, how does it work up in Normal, Mn? Does "NO" mean "NO" in Normal?

Herman just laughed. "Wolfman,"(that's what he always called me), "NO" always means "Maybe" in politics. That is because there is no morals in politics, just opportunism. Hence, "NO" is just a relative term for a point in time.

Then Herman went on: "In love and war, however, "NO" might mean different things. The President might say "NO" to Russia invading Georgia---and then keep saying "NO" hoping that it would be believed. Still. Ya have to have some force to back it up. So also in love. The girl can say "NO" but always keep her hand on the phone to call 911 to make sure. It is just "trust but verify," in love and war.

"What about a Lake referendum?" I asked.

Herman laughed.

"That's real easy, Wolfman. NO means NO. A No would mean its settled. "

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Evansville Common Council President Mason Braunschweig explains why Evansville needs a Referendum on the Lake Leota Issue

Public Works: 7-22-2008: Lake Leota: Mr. W asks Why do we need a referendum? Mason Braunschweig answers.

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Public Safety Meets Wednesday

Click on the post for the full agenda.
Travelogue: Video Tour of various shops in Annandale, Mn. , Heart of the Lakes.

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Video Tour of Annandale, Mn., The "Snooty Fox Gallery and Gifts," Historic Downtown in the Heart of the Lakes of Minnesota

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Travelogue: Annandale, Mn., Heart of the Lakes, Historic Downtown. Home of the Snooty Fox Gifts and Gallery, Grampa's Hardware, In Hot Water Coffee Shop and much, much more......

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Streetdance, Annandale, Minnesota--Labor Day----Tootsies Bar and Grill. Thanks to the band--"The Roosters" who allowed me to video.

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Daily Planet: St. Paul: Details on tear gassing of Journalists

Details on the tear gassing of journalists in St. Paul. Click on the post for the story in the Daily Planet.

OpEd: St. Paul: RNC: Intimidation, Harassment of Media Effective

There was no press coverage to speak of yesterday at the marches in St. Paul, Mn.. The preemptive strikes by police on "out of town videographers" that included seizing equipment, computers as well as personal items was effective in sending the message that video coverage of the event was not desired.

The registered protest groups were never the concern as I see it. These groups marched as scheduled, some with police escort front and back, some down Summit Ave to the Capitol, and the scene was colorful, but orderly.

The concern was always the anarchists---who did not register with anyone and were intent on harming. These folks were arrested, and were about 50 of the 10,000.

The Observer has not developed an immunity to tear gas. Hence I took a view from afar and tried to capture the larger view. I was about to talk to some police at 7th and Waucota, but they were involved with searching a van and interrogating some suspects and thought otherwise. Yes. I did switch to the Minnesota Gopher hat at the border, but still did not feel safe with the video campera trained on the marchers. The intimidation worked. The "news" became the weather. Stay tuned. This is the Evansville Observer.

St. Paul RNC: Mother Jones: Photo Essay of Convention

Click on the post for some additional photo coverage from Mother Jones of March in St. Paul yesterday.
Last Day at the Lake: Rising to meet the Sunrise: The Dive in the Lake....or easing down the ladder.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Dateline St. Paul: Republican National Convention: Sights and Sounds

View from the St.Paul Cathedral looking as protesters begin assembling at Minnesota Captitol.

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Sights and Sounds of the Protests and Counter Protests in St. Paul, Minnesota for Republican National Convention

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like