• My Tweats

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    I voted around 4:30pm…

    …and the line was pretty short.

    Future Milwaukee entrepaunerial activity seeds: “MSOE to open biomolecular engineering program”

    This sounds cool!

    The Milwaukee School of Engineering next fall will launch a degree program in biomolecular engineering – the first bachelor’s program of its kind in Wisconsin – thanks to a $6 million gift from philanthropists Robert and Patricia Kern and their daughters.

    “We’re very excited about the program,” MSOE President Hermann Viets said. “Our aim is to produce people that are eminently employable within their first four years or can choose to go to graduate school. Clearly, there’s a demand (for graduates) already and there’s no production.”

    Biomolecular engineers develop new products, processes and techniques and provide solutions for medical, food, environmental and technical problems. They can find jobs in clinical settings, hospitals, government, research, industry, agriculture, engineering and management.

    As part of the new program, MSOE is hiring six faculty members in the next five years and creating several new laboratories and a cell culture facility to be constructed by the 2009-’10 academic year. The 2,600-student private school expects to enroll 30 students in the program.

    Biomolecular engineering is related to both biomedical and chemical engineering. While biomedical engineers work on a human scale – with such devices as defibrillators, prosthetics or pacemakers – biomolecular engineers work on a molecular scale, perhaps using an injection to transfer molecules into a cell structure to treat human illnesses, Viets said.

    Several schools in Wisconsin, including MSOE, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University, have bachelor’s programs in biomedical engineering. But MSOE appears to be the first in the state to offer a biomolecular engineering bachelor’s degree.

    The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) is a nifty specialty engineering schools with Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in downtown Milwaukee. I have worked with many graduates of the schools and used to get my Interns from there almost exclusively.

    I hope the seeds sprout into small business start-ups and increased medical technology business activity.

    U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan – Fake Conservative

    So first  Ryan compromised his “principles” and supported the Bailout.

    Now, according to JS Online, he is coming out against free trade (I support free trade):

    So forgive the people of the state’s 1st Congressional District if they are a little confused by Ryan’s latest ad.

    “People are hurting because American companies benefit by shipping jobs overseas,” the 38-year-old pol says into the camera.

    Ryan then complains that it is “unfair” for American companies to get a tax break by producing goods elsewhere and then importing them to the U.S.

    “Instead of exporting jobs,” he concludes, “we should be exporting American products.”

    That’s a lot of fair-trade rhetoric from someone known as a free-trade champion.

    He is not really a conservative. He is just another jack-off politician that will say or vote whatever to get elected, get favors, and get personal benefits. He has shown he has no real principles (they are not “real” if you don’t stand by them when its inconvenient).

    Right-wing radio talk show host Mark Belling sounded the alarm for the young GOP star in a recent column.

    “Ryan, the reformer who represents the party’s future, is very worried he could be taken out in a Democratic tidal wave,” Belling wrote this week. “The loss to the conservative movement should Ryan lose is almost incalculable.”

    He is already gone. Forget about him. He no longer matters.

    Others have suggested that Ryan’s big ad buy has more to do with his interest in Herb Kohl’s seat when the Democrat retires from the U.S. Senate.

    I will certainly remember if Ryan run for the US Senate of for Wisconsin Governor. He will never get my vote.

    Though he is now a convicted felon, get ready for former Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee Jr. scammer 2.0

    So, McGee Jr. has been convicted and now sentenced:

    After the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic said in a statement: “The evidence at the trial showed that Michael McGee Jr. was one of the most corrupt elected officials in Milwaukee’s history. Although his sentence was below that recommended by the government, his case should serve as a deterrent for other elected officials who may prey on their constituents.”

    I hope so. We’ll see. Milwaukee politician had a squeaky clean image when I was a kid, that is no longer true. Others think the incentive won’t be that much:

    ViAnna Jordan, who unsuccessfully challenged McGee in a recall election in 2007 and in the general election this year, called the sentence light.

    “Wow, every politician-crook in Milwaukee should be elated because that means they can do whatever they want, victimize the community, victimize the city, take from the lowest of people, just rip off the whole community and all you get is merely 6 ½ years,” she said.

    Since he won’t be able to make it as a politician anymore, McGee jr. seems to already be planning the next version of his low-life career:

    While behind bars, McGee said, he has reconnected with God and has enrolled in a minister-training program through the Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ, though he doesn’t plan to become a full-time minister. McGee also said he is creating a curriculum for a young people’s program at the request of Holy Redeemer’s Bishop Sedgwick Daniels.

    Sigh. He’ll be back causing causing trouble and being a parasite on his community this time as a religious leader of some sort.

    Just like his father.

    This is part of “Fixing Milwaukee”.

    Fixing Milwaukee: Milwaukee School District Leadership and Taxes

    From the FraudFiles:

    Tonight the Milwaukee Public Schools board is going to vote in favor [Purpleslog note: They did] of increasing city property taxes 14.6% for the school portion. That is the largest portion of the property tax bill, so overall taxpayers will see a sharp increase in their bills.

    Student enrollment has been steadily declining, while spending has been increasing. The MPS administration wants people to believe that the problem is the state funding formula. The district has been receiving less state funding because the enrollment is declining. But instead of decreasing staffing and building usage in line with the decreases in students, the district just keeps on spending.(After all, taxpayers have deep, deep pockets, right?)

    The truth: The problem is the spending, not the funding formula. MPS spending is out of control.

    Spending in MPS is out out of wack. By my own rough (much understated) calculation, there is a missing $70k per classroom.

    The leadership and skills of those running MPS (school board and superintendent are clearly lacking. While the school board is elected, they don’t act accountable and honestly, they are the brightest folks (just listen to school board meetings on WYMS radio).

    I didn’t used to be in favour of the Mayor taking over MPS. Somehting different must be tried. MPS must be saved from its leaders.

    Fixing Milwaukee Notes: You know you city has a gap when the Guardian Angles start showing up.

    Dang:

    The Guardian Angels, a national citizen volunteer crime-fighting organization, will begin patrolling two Milwaukee County Transit System bus routes today, a member of the Milwaukee chapter of the organization said Thursday.

    Willie Brooks, the spokesman for the Milwaukee chapter, said the patrols are in response to two incidents Monday in which a bus driver and a passenger were assaulted.

    […]

    Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has been calling on transit company officials to install the safety shields and has offered pepper spray training.

    I think the GA are contra-indicators. They only show up when things are getting bad and people start to look for alternatives – domestic militias – for security. I didn’t even realize there were any in Milwaukee any longer.


    Note: Photo not from Milwaukee

    “Fixing Milwaukee” (and America) – Governing note

    From here:

    Burke gave us another set of ideas that seems to have fallen by the wayside in contemporary American politics, and in contemporary American conservatism: the value of prudence and judgment in public life, and along with those virtues, the merits of republicanism rather than plebiscitary democracy. Written in 1777, Burke’s letter to his electors at Bristol remains the classic statement of the elected representative’s duty: to exercise his best judgment–to bring all the knowledge and experience he has to bear on the votes he must cast. The negative form of the proposition is just as important: elected representatives must not be mere wet fingers testing the political winds. Such representation amounts to voting by poll numbers and focus groups. If that is representative democracy in action, the adjective has disappeared and the noun is doing all the work. One might as well drop the middleman, and simply vote for legislation by phone-in poll.

    Hmmm…”prudence” and “judgment” may be in short supply.

    Fixing Milwaukee Notes: Economic development and replacement of the Hoan bridge

    Economic Development (Growth) is key to any plan to shrink the Cream City Gap. More wealth means more options for all actors.

    DoT has an idea:

    An analysis his department had received in July builds a strong economic case for the roadway overhaul, including the prospect for construction valued at $5.7 billion on land around the current Hoan footprint and the creation of roughly 8,090 jobs through commercial development.

    Significant new public amenities, including a marina, parks and bike and pedestrian paths, also could be created on and around the roughly 500 acres that would be opened by replacing the 2.5-mile bridge, according to the analysis prepared by the consulting firm HNTB.

    “Not only does a reconfiguration of the roadway and resulting redevelopment make sense from a long-term maintenance perspective, it makes even more sense for Milwaukee and the state from an economic standpoint. The increased land values and possible tax base, as well as the public amenities that could be introduced, will certainly accomplish more public objectives than the reconstruction of the Hoan Bridge and I-794.”
    […]
    According to the HNTB analysis, it would cost $80 million less in the long term, through 2025, to replace the Hoan Bridge with a four-lane boulevard and a lift or bascule bridge over the Port of Milwaukee entrance. That estimate is based on the upfront construction and subsequent maintenance costs tied to the different alternatives.

    The big money, however, is found in the development opportunities on land the HNTB study says is worth roughly $1 million an acre, even though it rests adjacent to the port and the Metropolitan Sewerage Treatment plant.

    This sounds like a great idea. It should be fast tracked.

    It is not like Milwaukee is going to suddenly grow more lakefront property another way.

    I hope Milwaukee/Wisconsin politicians don’t drag it out to death like the public transportation fight where big chunks of federal money go unused do to politician foolishness.


    Is the end of the Hoan brdige near?

    Fixing Milwaukee Notes: The Justice System

    The link: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=802130 :

    Shanks first caught the public eye in 2002, when, at 13, he was charged in connection with the killing of Charlie Young Jr. Witnesses said he was part of a mob of up to 16 males, ages 10 to 32, who beat Young, 36, with weapons including shovels and tree limbs after one of the boys started an altercation by throwing an egg at Young.
    […]
    Shanks was sentenced in Children’s Court. Shortly after he was released from custody in 2006, he was charged in the armed robbery of a 41-year-old man. The man told investigators he was attacked by three or four males and was hit in the head with a brick or a similar hard object, opening a cut that required seven staples to close, according to the criminal complaint.

    Shanks was in custody for about 14 months while the case worked its way through the courts, but then he was enrolled in a pretrial monitoring program. He was allowed to live at home and ordered to wear a GPS bracelet on his ankle that would alert authorities if he left without court authorization.

    That arrangement worked until Sept. 23, when Shanks, now 19, cut off the bracelet, according to court documents.
    […]
    A 36-year-old man walking down the street about 11:20 that night told police that two men jumped out of a van, pointed guns at him and ordered him to remove his clothes, Schwartz said.

    After taking off some of his clothes, the 36-year-old man took off running but was shot, Schwartz said. He was treated for his injuries and released.
    […]
    The police gave chase, but the people in the van bailed out, Schwartz said. Only one of the people in the van was caught, and that person — Shanks — dropped a gun while he was running from police, she said.
    […]
    “The phenomenon of the repeat violent offender is not an uncommon one,” Flynn said. “It can be a serious challenge to police motivation to (ask officers) to go out there and risk their lives dealing with people who are armed and veterans of the criminal justice system.

    “I’ll tell you right now that this guy is a poster child for the failures of the juvenile justice system and the failures of the adult justice system. I have one hope, and I hope that the court will learn from experience as rapidly as he has. He has learned that he can kill and maim without consequence.”

    Last night driving home, Wisconsin Public Radio had a story on Gov. Doyle receiving an award from a leftists organization for his efforts in reducing efforts to move habitual criminals to the adult system.

    The report was positive but had me screaming at my radio.

    The leftists group complained that the % of blacks being sent to jail was higher then that of whites. They also complained that the sending young-ish offenders (17 years) to the adult system was a bad idea and made things worse. Of course they said Wisconsin was a racists state too (multiple times).

    They misused (through idiocy or purposeful deceit) the stats – they swapped cause and effect.

    It seems obvious to me that those young criminals being sent to adult court will commit more crimes over time because they were sent to adult court in the first place because they have already committed many crimes. The solution is longer sentences.

    The leftist group saw the stats in reverse. Since, those sent to adult court commit more crimes, it must be the fault of adult court that the criminals are committing more crimes.

    I will try to find a link to Doyle “award”.

    The Milwaukee Gap will never shrink is security can’t be provided.


    The Green is a nice touch.
    Perhaps the sign should be red though.

    Bomb Squad Called out at the Goodwill in West Allis?

    I drove by this on the way to the post office after work. The goodwill was taped off. I wonder what is up…

    Bomb Squad Called out at the Goodwill in West Allis?

    Fixing Milwaukee Notes: The Debt Problem

    From the Milwaukee Journal:

    Wisconsin’s largest local government employers have about $6 billion worth of health insurance and other non-pension benefits they have promised to future retirees that they have yet to save up for, according to a new report. Of the nearly $6 billion of retirement obligations identified in the report, about three-quarters, or more than $4.5 billion, is owed by taxpayers who support Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee.
    […]
    The report says that if MPS were budgeting the full amount each year that accounting principles say it ought to set aside for future retirement benefits, the amount needed would come to more than $2,100 for each student in the district. That doesn’t include the costs of pensions.

    To cover future obligations, a combination of two things must occur:

    1) Current income from the taxpayers (individuals, and businesses) must be set aside to cover the NPV of the future obligations

    2) The future pool of wealth/income must grow at a larger then current pace.

    Not just for Fixing Milwaukee, but for the USA as a whole I have been recommending these three things:

    1) Decouple pensions from single-employer long-term employment

    2) Decouple Health Care from Employment

    3) Concentrate public policy initiatives on enabling entrepreneurship and growth

    4) Concentrate municipal governing (city, county, schools, other) on the essentials, cut the fat, cut the leftist driven feel-good, rather then do-good programs in order to reduce expenditures.

    Update: Oops, I left out point 4 above. I also added a photo of mine.


    Milwaukee’s Historical City Hall Building. When it was still under re-construction iin 2006. Over a swamp. Where it has since been found to be sinking into. How much money was wasted on it? I think renting office space would have been a better idea and a better use of the capital. The building is pretty though.

    Dumbass Budget for Milwaukee Proposed by Mayor Barrett

    The details are here.

    My browser crashed on my first try at this, so this will be much briefer.

    Mayor Barrett like all good socialists, wants a much bigger budget and tax increases.

    If he can’t get it, he threatens to do things like reducing police and fire positions, library hours and garbage/refuse collection.

    What is interesting is that he doesn’t consider cutting things like:

    – Bureaucrats
    – Reducing City Attorneys and adding more paralegals
    – Reducing “business” inspectors (really just anti-business thugs dispatched by city hall against business that fight the urban planners
    – reducing aldermanic districts from 15 to 10
    – all of the “assistant” managers to managers (unlike the business world)

    I went through the budget, but I won’t go through it again since I lost all of those notes in the browser crash.

    The new budget request included things like pay raises ranging from 7% to 45% for certain employees (especially higher ups) and above average pay raises for most members of the Mayor’s staff.

    Even the CIO got a big pay raise – even with the budget PDF being a shitty scanned printout PDF (text not selectable).

    Milwaukee City Budget needs to concentrate on a few things and drop the rest:

    1) Public Safety (Police, Fire, and Public Health)
    2) Business and Entrepreneurship support
    3) Infrastructure support (roads – including pothole filling activity, Port of Milwaukee, Garbage, and public libraries)

    Everything else is gravy and should be handled through voluntary civic foundations and social groups (perhaps with some City grantsa in fat years)


    This is the best looking picture of the Mayor I
    could find…for obvious reasons.

    “Fixing Milwaukee” Notes: The Domains of the Problem

    I think these are the domains of the problem/solutions – they all overlap somewhat:

    -Leadership
    -Institutions
    -Governing Process
    -Focus
    -Public Relations
    -Demographics
    Culture(s)
    -Human Capital (capabilities)
    -Security
    -Wealth, Internal Investment, External Investment
    -Happiness and Quality of Life
    -Entrepreneurial activity
    -Economic Growth
    -Business Environment

    Any suggestions,additions, corrections, etc?

    Example Strategic Citizen: Milwaukee’s Jill Welytok

    The local paper reports:

    Once a month in southeastern Wisconsin, three groups of inventors meet with people who want to help them.
    […]
    At their core is a Milwaukee-area woman aiming to help change a culture.
    […]
    “If you have a good product that you can produce, or that someone else can produce within the appropriate margins, you have access to a worldwide network for promoting it,” Welytok said.
    […]
    Welytok is pounding on that message with what she says are more than 100 clients of the Milwaukee law firm she started in 2005, Absolute Technology Law Group LLC. She’s also hammering out her message at monthly meetings of three inventors and entrepreneurs clubs that meet in Mequon, West Bend and downtown Milwaukee.

    Welytok has been facilitating the Mequon and West Bend groups for two years. She formed the Milwaukee group last month with some prodding from David Linz, southeast regional director for the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network.

    Welytok jumped on it – no surprise from a woman who wrote six books, earned a master’s degree in computer science and sat for the patent bar exam while she stayed at home raising three kids.
    […]
    “Jill should be the celebration of this town. She understands innovation, entrepreneurship and how moms and pops can take their dreams and convert them into real businesses or markets – and she’s honest with people about whether it will work or not,” said Dan Steininger, co-director of the Successful Entrepreneur Investors group and an organizer for BizStarts Milwaukee, a nonprofit group that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship in southeastern Wisconsin.

    Her name is Jill Welytok, a patent lawyer who grew up in Skokie, Ill., watching her dad invent the motion-sensitive fish that wiggles on a plaque.

    Milwaukee is better off for having people like her.

    Fixing Milwaukee Notes: Milwaukee School District Governance

    From the 9/19/2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    The Milwaukee School Board voted Thursday night to begin looking into dissolving the Milwaukee Public Schools system.

    …and…

    The resolution called for the administration to examine state and federal guidelines for dissolving the school district and who would be responsible for educating children in Milwaukee if that happened.

    …and…

    Andrekopoulos began the meeting by saying, “The state finance system to fund Milwaukee Public Schools is broken,” then repeating the sentence for emphasis.

    He said that even with no increase in spending for the current school year, the property tax levy to support schools would go up 9.8% because of a decrease in state aid to MPS.

    …and…

    “We have ample evidence the current model is going to move us to ruination sooner or later,” Goldberg said.

    Falk said he did not want the move to be “a Trojan horse” for those who want Mayor Tom Barrett to take over running the school system — an idea being discussed in some power circles in the city.

    But, he said, “Structurally, financially, we’re in an untenable situation.”

    “Anybody else running it — good luck,” Falk said.

    Interesting.

    Issues: 1) Human Capital, 2) Leadership 3) Governing Process

    1) The schools help grow human capital which is used by individuals and businesses to create wealth and improve Quality/Happiness of Life for self and for community.

    2) The schooling system is somewhat of a mess. Many students do not want be part of that culture…the schools and teachers are the enemy. These students see no value in schooling. They are on track to little or no wealth creation or Happiness/Quality Life. They will be future consumers/destroyers of Wealth, QoL and happiness.

    3) Milwaukee has a large gap and the disconnected culture that goes with it.

    4) The Milwaukee School board is not of high quality. It turns over often. I remember listening to board meetings in the early evening on WYMS and shaking my head at the stupidity of many board members. They did not seem to understand fiance or budgeting.

    5) Income sources for the schools system are tight now. let the board has spent millions and millions of dollars on new ocntruction and expansion into area that turned out have declining enrollment.

    6) How much of the capital of the school district is tied up into the building?

    7) How much of the useable day-to-day cash is tied up into maintaining the building?

    8 ) Wikipedia entry – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_Public_Schools

    9) Back of Envelope numbers

    – MPS budget $1B

    – 97762 students (round up to 100k)

    -6000 teachers  – full and substitute – assume they are all full-time for simplicity of calculation (where this is off will be negative to my point)

    -assume teacher costs (high) of $90k

    10) Back of Envelope Calculation

    – $10k per student

    – 16 student per teacher (rounded down)

    – each classroom of 16 students brings cash in the way of: $160k per classroom.

    11) Back Of Envelope Analysis

    – Where is the other $70k being spent?

    – $25k would buy $1000 of books and other ed materials each year, notebooks, pens, plus a $300 mini-laptop, plus daily breakfast and daily lunch…for each studenteach year!

    – Where is the remaining $45k spent? Bosses, Buildings, and Building upkeep, and what?

    -Can’t this remaining money be spent better?

    I have thought about this before.

    Updated: Related thoughts here, here, here, here, here and here.

    I think the budget problem is that too many resources are tied into fixed tangible assets or maintaining those fixed tangible assets.

    Update: More “No Snitching” as “gap” subculture – here, here, here and here.

    Update: More on dissolving MPS here, here, and here.

    The issues of Leadership and the Governing Process are only part of Fixing Milwaukee. Destroying MPS doesn’t fix the gap-minded culture.

    Brewers fire Yost!

    It is go for broke time with..Dale Sveum. Wow. That’s what a September choke gets you.

    Wisconsin has Problems with Entrepreneurs and Businesses

    JSONLINE Community Columnist Al Smith nails it:

    He joins an administration filled with hard-core ideologues and militant bureaucrats who view businessmen as the new kulaks, virtual enemies of the people whose wealth is to be expropriated in order to fund the endless expansion of the state.

    The disdain is exemplified by John Wiley, the outgoing chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After having his budget increased lavishly every year, out of the pockets of many of those he apparently despises, his farewell oration was a virulent leftist screed against the very manufacturers who paid his salary all of these years.

    The roots of collectivism run deep in the Doyle regime, and our governor seems to be taking a page directly from Vladimir Lenin. In the 1920s, the Soviet Union was stagnating economically. In a temporary move designed to get things back on track, the Bolsheviks introduced their New Economic Policy.

    This was a temporary relaxation of the mindless confiscations and persecution of business, and, sure enough, unshackled for a bit, the surviving entrepreneurial class sparked an economic boom.

    The policies of the current leadership in the People’s Republic of Madison have produced a mass exodus of business from our state. The looters in Madison have overseen the loss of 12,000 Wisconsin jobs over the past year whilst simultaneously expanding state spending, increasing fees and introducing a host of hidden taxes.

    Faced with failure of such colossal magnitude, Doyle now intends to make life even tougher for those surviving companies by introducing a carbon trading system that will raise the costs of doing business in this tax and regulatory hell by several orders of magnitude.

    The parting shot:

    The real problem is that Wisconsin has come to resemble a vast Potemkin village, in which our beautiful scenery conceals incompetent and venal government.

    Yikes.

    What did the late Sen. Tsongas say when running  for President? You can’t be for workers but be against business? It doesn’t matter I guess. He’s dead and he never became president.

    Wisconsin has a big problem. It is anti-business and anti-entrepreneur. This will at the margin keep financial capital away, and drive away human capital (homegrown, or external). The leftists mentality of our failed leaders is going to fuck things up. You know what their proscriptions will be then? More socialism, more Marxism, more State control. So, more decline is Wisconsin’s future unless it can escape this trap.

    More Financial Quackery Planned By Milwaukee County Gov

    So Milwaukee County Gov has a big long-term financial problem that was brought on by the previous County Exec and County Board of Supervisors mucking around with the pension system for no good reason by enriching of some at the expense of the Milwaukee County taxpayers. Most (not all) of those responsible have been turned out of office, but there has been little in the way of retribution.

    Anyways, the financial hole is estimated to be about $400 million now. The county has been skimping on repair, maint, and service to reduce costs, but that can only go so far.

    The real solution would be to find new sources of non-tax revenue and to grow the tax base (i.e. more/better/improved businesses and jobs). I am not sure if MILW* is up to that though…I will blog on that soon.

    So what MCGOV going to do?

    – Float a bond issue for $400 million with a 6% yield

    – Take the $400 million; invest it in riskier securities and get a return of 8%

    This is a dumb idea. The taxpayer is likely to be screwed again. The MCGOV leaders don’t seem to know anything about finance or risk.

    – The 6% yield is mandatory…unless you default and go into bankruptcy

    – The 8% yield is a target

    – 8% yield is not guaranteed

    – The yield from riskier investments will fluctuate from year to year

    – Management costs will eat into any return brought from investment in riskier securities

    – Did I mention there is no guarantee of an 8% return year in and out?

    Lots of smart finance guys have loss lots of money engaging in financial arbitrage…and the MCGOV are not smart financial guys.

    Perhaps, bankruptcy is the answer. Perhaps MCGOV should declare bankruptcy and void the pension sweeteners.

    I wonder – that might be the best way to go.

    Fixing Milwaukee Note – Education and Youth Truancy

    Yikes:

    Nearly half of Milwaukee Public Schools students are habitually absent from school, according to a report released Thursday by the state Legislative Audit Bureau.

    The report, a review of public school districts’ efforts to reduce truancy, also found that more than 9% of Wisconsin’s students had at least five unexcused absences in one semester – the state’s definition of habitual truancy – in the 2006-’07 school year.

    MPS’ truancy rate was 46% for that academic year.
    […]
    “The very best intervention is still a family’s own commitment to seeing that children attend classes,” Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said in a written statement.

    The absences are the unexcused one. So, if they have a parent’s or teacher’s note, they are not counted.

    What does this do to the future human capital pool for the Milwaukee area? Nothing positive, I think.

    What does this do to the perception of others (especially potential investors, potential entrepreneurs, potential visitors, potential new residents) of the future human capital pool for the Milwaukee area? It nudges them in the direction of thinking: “look elsewhere for your future”.

    Promise: I will write a post on “How to Fix Milwaukee”…

    …in the next few months. This is inspired by this comment which got me thinking.

    Question Mark

    Wisconsin State Fair August 2008 – Food Photos

    All I have to say…these are yummy photos!

    Our Long State Nightmare Is Over – Favre is Now a Jet

    From JSONLINE.com:

    Late Wednesday night the Packers and Jets agreed to a trade that would send the quarterback to New York for an undisclosed draft pick, an NFL source confirmed to the Journal Sentinel.

    Is this like a Divorce from a Failed Marriage? Eugene Kane thinks so:

    That’s what happens to some people at the end of a turbulent relationship. It’s the final kiss-off for a once-satisfying partnership that turned ugly for reasons not immediately discernible but clearly irrefutable. All you know is by the time it’s over, you wonder what ever attracted you to this person in the first place.

    We’re talking real human emotions and feelings here between committed individuals, not the current pop soap opera involving a millionaire professional football player breaking up with his multimillion-dollar sports franchise. But the same observations about relationships can be applied to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers as to any divorce between longtime couples.
    […]
    Listening to coach Mike McCarthy talk about his meeting with Favre this week, what struck me most was the sense that each party seemed to want some sign of greater commitment from the other to make things work. In my experience, whenever one person in the relationship questions the other’s commitment, that’s a sure sign things are getting dicey.

    Favre’s inability to get over perceived slights from the Packers management was easily identifiable to anyone who has been on the downside of a failing marriage. Some say he’s playing the diva, but he’s also clearly having trouble being dumped for a younger replacement.

    Is this how the old-time fans felt when Bart Starr (the greatest packer QB of all) retired to be replaced by Scott Hunter? Maybe not. Starr went out with grace and style and remains beloved. Of course, he didn’t go play somewhere else.

    My Favorite packer Quarterback was The Majik Man who made Packer football fun again with a team that could win. I am sure there will be future QBs who will too.


    Photoshopped Photo scraped without permission (fair use) from Andrew Arvan as on JSOnline.com

    Somehow, I felt compelled to think of this:

    On Brett Favre: It is time for the Packers to gracefully let him move on

    I have been a Packer fan since I was a kid and my dad taught how to follow pro football (real football, not soccer) starting with the 1972 season were the Pack won the central division. It was a long drought until the fun 1989 season!

    The Favre drama is distressing.

    The way I see it, he had until draft day, to seriously come back as Packer.

    He is the past. He is old and will not improve physically. He is no longer the stretch QB or cold weather QB he used to be.

    It is time for the Packers to move on.

    It is time to move on, but to not destroy the Packer-Favre relationship.

    The Packers should trade for a 1st round draft pick to any other non-conference rival team that Gavre agrees to. If he is really set on going to a conference rival (aka the Vikings), we should get a 1st and two 3rds as compensation.

    Favre can move on. In a few years (after he retires again after this season), the Packers canretire his jersey and induct him into the Packer hall of fame. His season as a non-packer can be forgiven and forgotten. After all, even Saint Lombardi went on to coach for the Redskins.

    Brett Favre, Post-Retirement

    Milwaukee News Item #1: Married Catholic Priests

    This will be new for my fellow Milwaukee area Catholics and post-Catholics:

    For the first time in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s history, a married Roman Catholic priest with children will be serving the faithful in southeastern Wisconsin.

    Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan asked his priests and deacons this week which of them would be willing to accept the man – a former Lutheran minister – as an associate pastor at their parish.

    The priest and his wife, who have juvenile and adult sons, are moving from the Diocese of Venice, Fla. She has accepted a job here.

    Although no married priest has served here, about 100 married priests have been ordained in the United States since the late Pope John Paul II created an exception in 1980 that allows married Lutheran and Anglican or Episcopal priests who have converted to Roman Catholicism to become priests, Dolan wrote in a letter to priests and deacons this week.

    I am ok with married catholic priests.

    This should be looked at as an experiment leading to the establishment of clergy orders that allowed married priest.

    If it is okay for ex-Anglican and Lutheran ministers to be married catholic priest, why not allow priest who got it right the first time to be married?

    I am okay with female priests too. The allowed ordained small numbers of woman (mostly nuns, I believe) during the cold war period in Eastern Europe. So, there is not a real theological problem with it.

    Milwaukee News Item #2: Anti-Lawnmower Gun Violence

    An example of alienation from technology:

    A 57-year-old south side man, who might have been struggling with a
    hangover, was charged Friday with shooting his lawn mower with a
    sawed-off shotgun.

    “I’ll tell you the truth,” a criminal complaint quotes an apparently
    inebriated Keith Walendowski. “I got pissed because my lawn mower
    wouldn’t start, so I got my shotgun and shot it.

    …and then the Journal reporter had some fun:

    Dick Wagner of Wagner’s Garden Mart, 6075 N. Green Bay Ave.in Glendale,
    said shooting the mower didn’t help Walendowski’s odds of getting it
    repaired.

    “Anything not factory recommended would void the warranty,” he said.

    Heh.

    Someday, Roomba-based lawnmowers might strike back!