Thursday, April 05, 2007

For Becker, political weight plus luck equals free pass

A recent article in the Racine Journal Times which was written by Mike Moore, who I think will end up being one of the premier journalists here in Racine, if he is not the best already:
Call Gary Becker a lightweight and he’ll probably take it as a compliment.When no opponent showed up to challenge his re-election as Racine’s mayor, Becker took the extra time he’d set aside for campaigning and devoted it to exercise. Before Tuesday’s workout, he was down 22 pounds.But election day brought a more telling measurement than waistline.

The city’s first uncontested mayoral race in my memory begs the question: Has the guy earned the title of political heavyweight?
Some of the local officials whose candidacy never got beyond the rumor stage think so.

There were other reasons to stay away. Alderman Greg Helding didn’t think he was ready. County Board Supervisor Ken Lumpkin doubts he could compile the cash to compete. The county’s Republican party crossed everyone off its wish list because family and jobs took priority.The one thing they agreed on was they’d have to overcome Becker’s popularity.“Right now, there’s not really this groundswell of ‘Let’s get this bum outta here,’” Helding said.

They tipped their caps to the mayor in his first four years, for things like building Downtown’s momentum; trying to revive neighborhoods; and sewing up the soap-opera-like rift with the Police Department.Wait, do we have the right address?

Is this still politics, where enemies are born with a single memo?Usually in a race that decides the top spot for a whole city, one or two others will trot out to the start line. That’s Democracy 101.Occasionally, experience exposes a flaw in that textbook.

If they know ahead of time they’re toast, maybe those token candidates aren’t the best use of everybody’s time or money.And apparently the mayor’s blunt style has won over enough to offset the people he’s honked off.“I’m amazed that nobody did run against him,” said Alderman Pete Karas, whose health problems stopped him short of even weighing the option to run. “Any mayor is going to upset some people.”

OK, Becker does figure he had one thing on his side other than popular support.“You also have to just get a little bit lucky,” he said.Meaning maybe a viable contender exists but the time’s not right to jump in, as Racine County Republican Party chairman Scott Rausch indicated. Or maybe a person’s scared off by the sitting mayor’s ability to raise campaign cash.“And I’m willing to take either one,” Becker said.

Here’s the fine print: The free pass only gets him to the gate of a second term, no further.“I hope he doesn’t see that as a mandate because nobody ran against him, that he can sit back and relax,” Lumpkin said.He can’t, as long as Racine sits high on the list in all the wrong categories like unemployment and teen pregnancy.
Or with the memory of the city’s deadly 2005 still visible in the rear-view mirror.In his office Tuesday, Becker looked ahead to sprucing up Uptown and increasing home ownership in the city’s neighborhoods. He touted the expansion of smaller companies and stressed the need for workers to update their skills, while admitting he hasn’t yet nailed down the “headline-grabber employer.”
Then he headed off to the gym to shear off some more mayoral girth. He’s got four years to convince voters the scale should remain tipped in his favor.

Mike Moore can be reached at (262) 631-1724 or

Thursday, March 22, 2007

YouTube - Vote Different

This has got to be one of the most crazy (and cool) political ads I have seen in a long time.
The major news outlets are breaking it already.
Here is the direct link to that ad that has Hillary Clinton (our next U.S. president hopefully) as the main character.
Bear in mind that the ad was made by opponents of her campaign...not by her campaign....

YouTube - Vote Different

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle (Complete)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle (Complete)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cat Fan

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Racine Native worth looking at..Barbara McNair

And unfort. I have never heard of her untill today and sadly it was from an article in our daily newspaper saying she has passed away at the age of 72.

Her name was Barara McNair and by all accounts she seemed to be a very spectacular woman.
I wish I could have met probably would have been one of the highlights of my life.

She sings a song on the following webpage and I think it is called "I am What I am" and just listening to it as I post this I can feel her essense of part of who she was....

How sad......
My thoughts are with her family and friends...I am sure there are a few people here in Racine who are probably grieveing her loss.

Check out the link below for more on this special human being....

And the link to the Racine Journal Times article on this amazing woman:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

We Might Secede!

No, nothing so dramatic as seceding from the United States or anything. But, maybe just maybe, the Village of Caledonia will secede from the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). Certainly there are efforts afoot to make that happen, which is quite intriguing.

I haven't posted here in a long time, but I feel fairly strongly about this issue, so I am posting this to spread the news. It should be noted that I pretty much abhor RUSD because they seem to spend like drunken sailors, produce below average students, and have no shame or compunction in asking tax payers to fork over additional funds when they can't meet their fiscal responsibilities. I am fortunate that my children attend one of the Magnet schools in RUSD, and all of the teachers I have met seem very professional and competent, but the RUSD is a bad school district.

The RUSD was formed in 1961 (not several years ago as the above linked flier states) to accomplish three basic things-- cost savings through economies of scale, standardization of curricula within eastern Racine schools, and conformity with changes in state law mandating that school districts with K-8 schools also have a high school within their district. While the second and third elements have been accomplished, the RUSD is actually less fiscally responsible than the fifteen separate Caledonia school districts were prior to its formation.

At any rate, the process of forming a new Caledonia school system is a long, complicated one, and its odds of succeeding seem remote. But I'm a fan of exploring the possibilities, and if nothing else, perhaps the exploration will make RUSD sit up and take notice. Doubtful, but you never know-- when a huge chunk of your tax base begins rumbling about dumping you, it can make some folks pay attention.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

The above photo seemed appropriate since we have no snow and the temps are more akin to what one would feel in Florida on the beaches rather than Denver in the mountains...

I just wanted to take the opportunity to offer each and every person who comes across the "Kringlesphere" blog a "Merry Christmas".

I hope everyone has a joyous holiday and gets to spend time with their loved ones...

And for those that still believe in Santa Clause...I hope all of your wishes are granted and all your dreams come true.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Roman Catholic School Downsizing

I was making idle conversation with one of my local Roman Catholic friends today, and broached the subject of the proposed Elementary School consolidation. I was quite surprised with the level of resistance and frustration he expressed about the plan.

It's hard for me to say, as an outsider (a Lutheran Pastor) looking in, but I am certainly interested in the whole situation. Next to the Roman Catholics, our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has the largest system of parochial schools in the nation (3 gradeschools here in Racine alone). I, personally, am involved with the leadership of one, as well as that of Lutheran High School.

I understand that funding is always tight. I understand that you can't outspend your means. My friend's suggestion was to close all 8 schools if they couldn't make ends meet. I don't know how serious he was, but I was a bit taken aback. He likened the schools to a business, which, if not meeting its "bottom line" should simply close. And though I didn't argue the point, I recognize that parochial schools are not "simply a business". Their churchly affiliation brings a whole different layer of considerations.

I don't know exactly how the Roman Catholic schools work, but in our circles, schools have three basic sources of funding - tuition, congregational support, and "third source" funding (i.e. development). The trend across the nation has seen lessening congregational support, as church membership numbers (and budgets) tend to shrink. This leads to greater demands on the other sources of funding, and has even led some schools to embrace a model in which tuition costs cover 100% of the "cost of education" per pupil.

Initially, the proposed solution ("forming a system") sounded good to me. But after hearing my friend's perspective, I am less sure. What sounds like a good idea often has unintended consequences. Some of the more thriving schools, he claimed, could be unduly stressed by an influx of students from the schools to be closed. He also mentioned that in all the planning, the only considerations spoken of were financial, and not what was in the best interest of students. I can't argue with what he has or hasn't heard, but I do see that the financial wellness of a school certainly has an effect on the quality of the child's education, doesn't it? Finally there was a concern for the haste of the transition, that all this would be done by next year.

I would be interested in hearing more from the Kringlesphere on this. I don't know that it affects us all but directly, but in any case I don't see something like this - shrinking schools - as a good sign for the health of our community here in Racine.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Letters to the Editor » Doyle has been good for Racine

I could not have said it better when talking about how Doyle should be reelected to the top post of our state.
Read on below for Gary's endorsment of Gov. Doyle

Letters to the Editor » Doyle has been good for Racine

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Voting "NO" to a proposed amendment in Wisconsin on Nov. 7th

The following post is not to be confused with "All things Racine" as the Kringleshpere is about all things Racine...but in my opinion, it does have bearing and consequences to alot of the citizens of Racine and elsewhere. Thus I felt it is important to get the message out to as many people as possible.

If anyone reads this and feels like passing it on to others via other blogs and or emails, feel free. The more people hear and understand the implications of what I am about to blog about, the more informed I feel they will be in making their decisions on Novemeber 7th, 2006.

I do not normally beg friends and family for favors but this one has consequences for me personally.

As it comes time this November 7th to go to the polls to vote for your local and state government representitives, there will also on that day be a section on the ballet talking about a constitutional amendment to outlow "gay marraige".
The wording may be misleading on what they are asking you to do but the reasoning behind the choice being on the ballet IS NOT a simple yes or no vote.

You see....some legislators in their "infinite wisdom" (not) wish to preclude same sex couples, unmarried couples and other alternative families from having the same benifits (insurance, mortage rights, childrearing rights, the right to visist their loved ones in a hospital ICU and a plathora of other things) that these people right now are NOT entitled to but with time and temperence they may be able to enjoy.

If this amendment is passed on November 7th, people with "signifigant others" with whom they share their lives with will NEVER get the chance at having these things.

So if anyone has friends or family that are in the above situations (and look closely because you all probably do) then I implore you to vote NO in passing this amendment. New Jersey is taking a 21st century step forward by trying to allow benifits to domestic partners and that is the way that alot of people (myself included) would like to see happen in Wisconsin and across the country as a whole.

If this amendment in Wisconsin is passed there will not be a chance for us ever to enjoy what we should be entitled to as human beings.

Justy because some of us do not take the "traditional" way of doing things, does not mean we should be punished. And that is exactly what this amendment will do. It will punish me.

And I do NOT deserve to be punished. I just want to be sure that if something would happen to my signifigant other , I would be able to visit him in the hospital without going through massive red tape, I could make the determination as to weather surgery is needed for him and god forbid he would die, I would still be able to share in what we may have built together as partners both financially and physically.

Read on for the decision that was brought down in New Jersy and think hard and heavy before heading to the polls on November 7th.

For those of you reading this in other states or in other countries, it is time you all think of these things also. Granted the decision in New Jersy still has to work it's way through the various hurdles in order to become law but with a governer who supports these initiatives, it will probably stand a good chance at passing....

We are living in the 21st century and we have come so far in alot of aspects but as of yet, as far as it relates to people's rights, we seem to be moving backwards to the point of being in "1600 America" if not before.

Thank you all for your time and have a good day.

Read on for the related story as the Milwaukee Journal Online posted it:
JS Online:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

$750,000 donated by Gov. to help clean up Pointe Blue Site-Lake Front Coming Along

Just found out from a friend that Doyle was just in town to "bequeath" $750,000 to the city and or the developers of the "Pointe Blue Development Site" down on the lakefront to help clean up the brownfield that is now down there.

That is probably the coolest thing that could happen for these guys down there.
The money was given at a small meeting late this morning at the mayor's offfice by the Gov. himself.
Gary had been keeping it very hush hush and though I knew the Gov. was going to be in town, my friend nor I had any idea as to why he was coming for a visit, only that he would be here to see the mayor today.

This development will surly help move the city of Racine into a new and exciting era. Just imagine all the revenues and the tax base that this addition to our city on the lake will bring. And a truly cosmopolatin feel to the lake front (which is already happening with the pathway and the new scenic overlook over by the zoo).

I run and bike that pathway quite often and I took some pictures of the length of it a few weeks ago and when I set the photos to a slide show and to some music on my laptop I started crying while watching it...that is how awesome the whole lakefront looked.
I will try to post some of those pictures in a post coming up for all to see.

I feel we are truly shaping up to be a "true bedroom community". And that is what the current city planners are moving towards. Sleep and live here and possibly (most likely) working not in the city proper but close by via a nice commute.

A lot of communities have been succesful in this kind of endevor...I hope we will be as well.
I am truly excited for our little "jewel on the lake" or as some might say "our diamond in the rough".

updated 10/25/06 12;41AM:
It seems the journal times ran an article on this and there has been a lot of feedback in the blogs...some positive as my post is and quite a bit of negativity from what seems to be some very angry depressed "republicans" that are mad that Doyle seems to be doing something good (again) for our state.
Read on for the blog posts after the article, which can be acsessed by clicking on the link below:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Our area getting some national press lately?

It seems as if the Milwaukee area has been in the news more often than not lately.

Getting headlines on CNN and other national news outlets such as the Today show.
So next time someone asks me where I am from I can probably say...from the nutty midwest where weird and wacky dudes make "dirty bomb" threats against NFL stadiums.

What a strange claim to fame we are making for ourselves here in the upper midwest.

Hope this small post finds everyone enjoying the fall weather.
Some in the weather world are saying we could be having some snow this fun.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fall in Racine

It is one of the most wonderful times of the year right now here in South Eastern Wisconsin.

As I wake up this morning, I can feel fall is really in the air.
Though it is cloudy and the air is full of rain coming, the colors of the trees are beginning to reach their full bloom and I think we are only a week or so away from full fall colors.

What a time to get out and walk by our great lake or take a brisk bike ride through our many scenic bike trails that meander through our city.

Also lots of things going on such as rides through pumpkin patches and if one takes a drive a bit west from Racine they will encounter roadside stands with pumpkins and squash and other fall veggies. There is also a nice little diversion out on Hwy 83 just after Waterford that has hey bales in the shapes of pumpkins and spiders and there are so many pumpkins to choose from one would have to grab at least one...which I plan to do sometime this week.
I myself plan on taking a nice fall drive this thursday and plan on taking my digital camera to capture some of the amazing "eye candy" that nature has seen fit to give us during this time of year.

There is also an exciting "Film Festival" coming to Racine this weekend.
"It came from Lake Michigan" is to be the midwest's premier film festival concentrating on the horror film genre and most of the films I have been told are created by independent filmmakers from throughout the country.
It is being held at Festival Hall this weekend starting on friday and going through sunday.
One of my close friends, Jason Collum, who has produced horror films and authored a book on B-Horror actors will be at this event as well as other "biggies" of the horror genre (see links below).

A link to this event:

A link to the special guests who will be in attendance:

And a link to Jason's site:

A sure bet for a nice weekend along with a walk or bike ride or drive to see some out wonderous trees changing their colors.

Also this weekend coming up will be the official dedication for the completion of the stairway and bike path that runs along the east side of the Racine Zoo.
More information on that can probably be found on the city of Racine's web site which is if I recall correctly:
And more specifically:
(You will need the Abobe Acrobat Reader software to view this page, which can be downloaded from:

I hope everyone has a nice autumn and finds some of the above links helpful in planning out their weekend coming up.

I will try to post a few photos from my fall road trip once I have them captured for prosterity....