Saturday, May 25, 2019

Minnesota contractor wins $14M Racine water main job related to Foxconn

A Minnesota contractor has won a job to build a water main to serve Foxconn Technology Group’s factory in Mount Pleasant, beating out two other firms with a bid that nonetheless came in nearly $2 million higher than officials had expected.
Rockville, Minnesota-based S.J. Louis Construction won a contract to install a transmission water main for the Racine Water and Wastewater Utility as part of the agency’s broader effort to improve its infrastructure to support Foxconn’s flatscreen-manufacturing plant, which is expected to draw millions of gallons of water off Lake Michigan a day.
S.J. Louis’ $14.2 million bid beat out Pewaukee-based Globe Contractors’ $14.3 million offer and a $14.9 million bid from Menomonee Falls-based Super Excavators. The Racine Water and Wastewater Utility estimated that the job would cost $12.8 million. Bids closed on April 24.
The Racine Wastewater utility has bid out a flurry of jobs in recent months as part of a $120 million plan to overhaul the county’s water and sewer system. Water-utility projects are starting near the factory and working eastward in keeping with a construction schedule set by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.


Open Blog - Weekend


Friday, May 24, 2019

Memorial Day parades, services planned

RACINE COUNTY — These local parades and programs are scheduled to be held in observance of Memorial Day:


Sturtevant Memorial Day Parade: The parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26, at Schulte Elementary School, 8515 Westminster Drive, Sturtevant, and proceeds north on 86th Street, west on Buckingham Drive, west on Broadway Drive, north on 97th Street, east on Hulda Drive and north on 95th Street. Ceremony follows at South Park, 95th Street and Hulda Drive.


Southern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery Memorial Day Program, 11 a.m., at the cemetery, 21731 Spring St., Dover.


Memorial Day Parade: Organized by the Racine Area Veterans Council, the Racine Memorial Day Parade steps off promptly at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at West Boulevard and Washington Avenue, Racine, and will end with a memorial ceremony at Graceland Cemetery’s Veterans Memorial, shortly after 11 a.m.
Veterans Memorial Day Parade: Parade starts at 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Kane and Edward streets and proceeds through Downtown Burlington. Ends at Echo Park for the Veteran’s ceremonial tribute at approximately 10 a.m.


Jefferson's - Alchemy is Everything

About Jefferson’s

Founded in 1997, Jefferson’s is the brainchild of Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, a famed bourbon historian. They were continuing a family tradition that goes back to Trey’s 8th generation grandmother who was arrested in 1799 for the “production and sales of spirituous liquors.” To personify the brand, they chose Thomas Jefferson—known for his curiosity and experimental spirit. This is a mindset to which Trey has dedicated himself, pushing the boundaries of the definition of bourbon. Upholding tradition, yet always discovering new possibilities.

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Man allegedly hiding drugs in his anus accidentally shoots himself in the testicles

Photo: Cashmere Police Department

CASHMERE, Wash. (WTVO) -- Trouble snowballed for a man who accidentally shot himself in the testicles and was then found to be hiding marijuana in his buttocks, according to police.
The Wenatchee World News reports that 27-year-old Cameron Jeffrey Wilson was carrying a gun in his front pocket on April 5 when it accidentally went off, piercing his testicles and embedding itself in his inner thigh.
When doctors at the hospital tried to operate, a balloon filled with marijuana fell out of his anus.
Police arrived to search Wilson's car and found a bag of meth, according to the report.
Wilson, a convicted felon, was then transported to the Chelan County Jail where he was strip-searched -- and another balloon of marijuana fell out of his anus.
Wilson was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of meth and possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility.
He pleaded not guilty on all charges and awaits his next court date on June 18.


YC Department of Education: ‘Individualism’ Is ‘White Supremacy Culture’

The New York City Department of Education has instructed its teachers that “objectivity” and “individuals” are “white supremacist” concepts.

According to a report from the New York Times, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza gave a presentation about “white supremacy” culture. In the lesson, Carranza claims that concepts like “perfectionism,” “paternalism,” and “objectivity” are part of “white supremacy culture.”
Surprisingly, documents from Carranza’s presentation do little to tie these concepts to “white supremacy.” A graphic from Carranza’s lesson explains why “objectivity” is a negative concept. “This can lead to the belief that there is an ultimate truth and that alternative viewpoints or emotions are bad, it’s even inherent in the ‘belief that there is such a thing as being objective,'” the graphic reads.
A separate section of the graphic explains why Carranza lumps “individuality” into with “white supremacy culture.” “This idea is found among people who have ‘little experience of comfort working as part of a team.’ It can lead to isolation, and emphasize competition over cooperation,” the graphic reads.

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Demolition Man - Def Leppard

Four for Fridays!

Good morning everyone I hope you had a good week. Yes I am up early Drew has to be in work early today. Here are your questions.

1) Do you have plans for Memorial Day?

2) Are you going to be cooking out?

3) Are you going to be going to any parades?

4) What is the last Memorial Day Party you remember attending?

Have a Happy Memorial Day and please be safe.

Open Blog - Friday


Wednesday, May 22, 2019


As many of you know this month is the bird migration so I do not see Drew to much. Plus I have to drive him to different places he would like me to take him. I have seen a lot of birds on our patio like Humming Birds, House Sparrows, Cardinals, Catbirds Grackles Starlings and Gold Finches they come to the feeders. I am going to be sharing some pictures with everyone as much as I can keep up with.

                                This is a Green Heron at Myers Park Racine Wi on 5/3/2019.

                         This is a Coopers Hawk at the Lighthouse in Wind Point Wi 5/5/2019

                          This is a Baltimore Oriole at Colonial Park in Racine Wi 5/7/2019

                    This is a Orchid Oriole at Grant Park in South Milwaukee Wi 5/11/2019

                This is a Red Headed Woodpecker at Grant Park in South Milwaukee Wi 5/11/2019

              This is a Red Breasted Grosbeak at Grant Park in South Milwaukee Wi 5/11/2019

This is just the start of some of Drew's pictures he has taken so far this year and there is a lot more to come. I hope that everyone enjoys the pictures.

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, kiddos!  How are you?  Isn't this lovely weather?  Cold and rain.  What is it, November?  At least we've had a couple of nice weekends.  Where the hell is spring?  Please, Mother Nature, come to your senses and straighten out the weather.  I'm tired of dressing for winter in the spring.  And I miss the sun sorely.  Please let that shine a lot.  Please.

Big news: Señor Zanza introduced me to his sister Señorita Zena.  I about dropped my turban.  Suddenly, one day, there's a young woman at the door and its her.  She's traveling the country and stopped to say hi to her brother.  I had no idea that he had any siblings.  He keeps so much to himself.  Anyway, the three of us had some tea and a nice chat.   Señorita Zena. just graduated from college and is going to see the country before settling down.  He major in school was Business Administration.  4.0 gpa.  She won't have trouble finding work.  She just has to make sure that she isn't exploited.

Señorita staying with us for a few days.  She's a pleasant person and I appreciate the company.  Like her brother, though, she's pretty tight lipped about her past.  Did these people just beam down from a UFO?

I read the article in the Journal Times where all the bicyclists were bitching and moaning about the state of our bike pathways.  Once, when driving on Lake Avenue, I was confronted with six kids on bicycles headed straight for me.  They were going the wrong direction, riding six abreast.  I just hit my brakes and waited.  They drove past me, but not without some kicks to the car.  What did I do to them?  What's wrong with people these days?  Everyone is pissed off.

I have some advice for Trump regarding the Iran situation: nuke them.  Just turn the country into molten glass.  Why do we let countries that are smaller than some of our states threaten and cajole us?  They're warning us about the results of war?  My God, squash the bug.  That might make a few other countries take notice.  Maybe some of them will then shut up about us while taking our foreign aid.  If anybody doesn't like it, cut off their aid.  Why are we supporting the countries that terrorize us?  End the madness.  Push the button.

As I read the news in the Journal Times, I get more and more depressed.  Fights, drugs, hit and runs, burglaries, robberies, child abuse and more are in every issue.  Makes me think of moving, but you can't escape the garbage.  People today are proud of their stupidity.  The light turned green the other day and I pulled out into traffic.  Some idiot making an illegal U-turn started screaming and swearing at me for getting in his way.  He followed me for awhile, screaming all the time.  I put the dreaded Zoltar Curse on him and he shut up quick.

The newspaper keeps talking about Foxcon and all the great things that are coming.  Yet, we've seen nothing of them.  So far it's just been talk.  I know that Mr. Mayor Cory Lawn Gnome gets excited by the talk.  He keeps telling us, "Just wait."  Wait till hell freezes over?  All of this bounty has fallen into his lap.  Instead of acting grateful, he acts as if it's all his doing.  Mayor Butterball is for the rich, as almost all politicians.  There's no profit in being for the poor.

That's it my friends.  As always, I'm thrilled and honored to write a blog for you all.  I love you all and God bless you all.

Pray to the sun god, Sol, for some relief.  We should be running around in shorts, not toting our winter coats.   C'mon sky, crack open that gray and let the sunshine in.  People are sick of this, including me.
Please donate:  If you don't like PayPal, send me a note at and I'll send you my street address so you can send a check or money order.  Thank you.

Open Blog - Wednesday


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

U.S. Postal Service Is Testing Self-Driving Trucks

A mail carrier for the United States Postal Service makes deliveries at a Florida apartment complex in June 2018. The USPS has partnered with TuSimple to launch a multi-state driverless semi-truck test program on Tuesday. It doesn't involve home deliveries.
Brynn Anderson/AP
The U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving trucks to move mail across state lines.
The USPS has partnered with San Diego-based TuSimple on a two-week pilot program, focusing solely on a 1,000-mile route between Dallas and Phoenix.
TuSimple's Chief Product Officer Chuck Price told NPR the test runs, which began on Tuesday, will help the Postal Service "become future-ready." The aim of the program, according to the Postal Service, is "to accommodate a diverse mail mix, enhance safety, improve service, reduce emissions, and produce operational savings."
It will involve five round trips, traveling major interstates that cross Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Each truck will have a "safety engineer" and driver on board for the duration of the pilot to monitor vehicle performance and to ensure public safety.

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Spieler Alert

From The Shepherd Express:

May 21, 2019
4:00 p.m.

I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, it’s that time of year again that finds me pounding the pavement trying to get one of these commencement speaker gigs, what the fock.
But first, I got to send a big ol’ Badger shout-out over to the gang at Madtown’s Crystal Corner Bar (thanks for reading) “charm school” on Williamson Street there for a focking thoughtful donation (five Nixon$, no Jackson$, it’s complicated) to the Art Kumbalek Spring Fund Drive (good works guaranteed, or at least a couple, three good cocktails for the namesake).
Makes me think I would’ve been a good choice for UW-Madison’s graduation gasbag, seeing as how I had some academic experience there way-back-when tear/pepper gas in the air was a familiar springtime sort-of fragrance. God bless America—forget about it, not for me, not then. And now I’m thinking “what’s old is going to be new again,” good lord, what the fock.
But UW never got back to me about the gig, go figure. But I’m still on my annual search for anybody who’s got a bunch of graduates who need speaking to—be they of College, High, Tech, Trade, or Matchbook School; Middle School; Academy Charter Institute of Some Learning for Young People; Grade School; Prison Substance-Abuse Good-Neighbor Sanity Program for Early Release; Pre-School; Nursery School; Daycare Center Who Employs a Bus Driver Who Can Conduct a Head-Count—I’m your talking head. You pony up 50 bucks with a case of ice-cold bottled beer, and I’ll be there. And even if you already got a mouthpiece for your ceremonial shindig, perhaps you could send 50 bucks my way anyways as a gratuity for my generous offer to you, I kid you not.
So, what would I say to your students about to fly your scholastic coop?
Well sir, I always enjoy to kick-off my speechifying remarks with a humorous anecdote, maybe something that goes like this:
Little Jimmy was on his way to visit his grandmother. Seated next to him on the plane was an adult stranger who turned to little Jimmy and said, “Let's talk. I’ve heard that flights pass by more quickly if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.” And little Jimmy, who had just opened a book in the series of “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” closed it slowly and said to the stranger, “What would you like to talk about?”
“How about nuclear power?” the stranger said. And little Jimmy said, “OK, that could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first: A horse, a cow and a deer all eat grass. The same stuff, yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?”
“How about that,” the stranger said, “I have no idea.”
“Well, then,” little Jimmy said, “how is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?” Ba-ding!
And then I might say: In my effort to whip something together for you’s to listen to today, I reflected upon what I wished someone had said to me when I was your age. And what I wished is that someone would had told me that a long lost, distant relative had croaked and left me a hundred million bucks, that’s what. Sadly, I never got that message and I’ll bet a buck two-eighty that none of you ever did either, ’cause otherwise why would you be sitting here today listening to me? If you had a hundred-million bucks, hey, screw school, ain’a?
Then, I might refer back to the Little Jimmy story and say: Sure, you might be walking out of here with some kind of diploma but you don’t know shit, and if you’re smart you’ll want to remind yourself of that each and every day. The smartest thing one of the smartest guys I ever read about said more than 2,000 years ago, “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” And that’s really all you need to know. Yes, you may learn a lot outside these institutional walls but as long as you know that you don’t know shit, you ought to pass on through the big, wide, world with honors just fine.
And if I haven’t yet been removed from the stage by campus security, I might conclude with this, as always: Finally, I ought to tell you that as you disembark out of this institution of some kind of learning so as to embark upon who-in-the-hell-ever-really-does-know, I’ve always found it wise to regard what we call “life” as one big butt-kicking banquet; and although unfortunately the only thing served at this banquet is crap casserole, I do believe that one can learn to develop a taste for it. Bon appétit and bon voyage ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


Wisconsin Supreme Court suspends Racine County judge for 'concerning' behavior

Racine County Circuit Court Judge Michael Piontek is shown during a sentencing in 2015.
MADISON — A Racine County judge will be suspended for five days without pay, after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that he his behavior was "concerning" and "obviously unethical" in regards to two 2014 court cases.
The unanimous court, in an unsigned order Tuesday, said that Racine County Circuit Court Judge Michael Piontek's judicial misconduct in two cases from 2014 warranted the suspension.
The ruling comes after a panel of three Wisconsin court of appeals judges in January recommended Piontek be suspended for between five and 15 days without pay. Piontek had urged the panel to recommend “a public reprimand only,” the ruling document states.

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'They Were Conned': How Bankers Devastated Thousands Of New York City Taxi Medallion Owners

For the last several years, we reported an increase of suicides by taxi drivers in New York City was the result of insurmountable debts and financial stress of medallion owners. During the halving of medallion prices in the last four years, industry leaders and officials conveniently blamed ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.
But a New York Times report revealed much of financial stress could be linked to industry leaders who artificially drove up prices, creating a huge bubble that would eventually implode.

In the last 12 years, thousands of foreigners poured their life savings into scammy loans and had hundreds of millions of dollars extracted from them by financial institutions.
Bankers, brokers, lawyers, investors, fleet owners, and debt collectors generated huge profits from these business practices. These people became multimillionaires, Wall Street cheered, and medallion brokers bought yachts and waterfront properties.
These predatory practices robbed immigrant families of all their monies, overwhelmed drivers with large debt loads, and collapsed an industry that has been so iconic to New York for more than five decades.

The Times said 950 medallion owners have filed for bankruptcy and thousands more are on the verge of financial ruin.
The Times noted that lending practices were as fraudulent as the subprime mortgage industry pre-summer 2007, that eventually led to the 2008 global economic meltdown.
"The whole thing was like a Ponzi scheme because it totally depended on the value going up," said Haywood Miller, a debt specialist who has consulted for both borrowers and lenders.
"The part that wasn't fair was the guy who's buying is an immigrant, maybe someone who couldn't speak English. They were conned."
The combination of the Federal Reserve's easy money and enthusiastic borrowers helped prices soar from 2002 to 2014. The money was so good that major financial institutions wanted in on the taxi industry after 2008.

The Times even said industry leaders were artificially bidding up medallions to keep the scheme from imploding, moving prices from $200,000 per medallion, to more than $1,000,000 in 2014. During this period of rapid price inflation, driver incomes hardly changed, while Wall Street speculated with thousands of people's lives.

Almost 4,000 drivers bought medallions in those 12 years. These people, mostly foreigners, were excited to achieve the American dream, but the debt-fuelled Ponzi scheme of Wall Street, for the most part, left them all holding the bag.
"Much of the devastation can be traced to a handful of powerful industry leaders who steadily and artificially drove up the price of taxi medallions, creating a bubble that eventually burst. Over more than a decade, they channeled thousands of drivers into reckless loans and extracted hundreds of millions of dollars before the market collapsed."
"The practices were strikingly similar to those behind the housing market crash that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown: Banks and loosely regulated private lenders wrote risky loans and encouraged frequent refinancing; drivers took on debt they could not afford, under terms they often did not understand…Some industry leaders fed the frenzy by purposefully overpaying for medallions in order to inflate prices, The Times discovered.
"As in the housing crash, government officials ignored warning signs and exempted lenders from regulations. The city Taxi and Limousine Commission went the furthest of all, turning into a cheerleader for medallion sales. It was tasked with regulating the industry, but as prices skyrocketed, it sold new medallions and began declaring they were "better than the stock market." …At the market's height, medallion buyers were typically earning about $5,000 a month and paying about $4,500 to their loans," according to the report.
The implosion of the taxi medallion bubble was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that enabled Wall Street bankers to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from low-income foreigners. The story about Uber and Lyft was just a cover for what really happened.


Open Blog - Tuesday

So that's where it is.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce

This story, Tom Wolfe's last for Esquire, appeared in the December 1983 issue.
In 1948 there were seven thousand people in Grinnell, Iowa, including more than one who didn't dare take a drink in his own house without pulling the shades down first. It was against the law to sell liquor in Grinnell, but it was perfectly legal to drink it at home. So it wasn't that. It wasn't even that someone might look in through the window and disapprove. God knew Grinnell had more than its share of White Ribbon teetotalers, but by 1948 alcohol was hardly the mark of Cain it had once been. No, those timid souls with their fingers through the shade loops inside the white frame houses on Main Street and Park Street were thinking of something else altogether.
They happened to live on land originally owned by the Congregational minister who had founded the town in 1854, Josiah Grinnell. Josiah Grinnell had sold off lots with covenants, in perpetuity, stating that anyone who allowed alcohol to be drunk on his property forfeited ownership. In perpetuity! In perpetuity was forever, and 1948 was not even a hundred years later. In 1948 there were people walking around Grinnell who had known Josiah Grinnell personally. They were getting old; Grinnell had died in 1891; but they were still walking around. So... why take a chance!


(by Dr. Louis Arnoux)
Recently, Saudi Aramco, the world largest oil exporter, has acknowledged that Ghawar, the world largest oil field, is in decline. The news went mostly unnoticed except in the specialised media.  OK, so the Saudi have a bit of bother, so what?  In fact, this piece of news is extremely important. Previously the oil world had been led to believe that Ghawar was producing over 5 Million barrels/day (Mb/d).[1] As part of its fund-raising, Aramco has disclosed that it is in fact down to 3.8Mb/d.
GUEST POST: By Dr. Louis Arnoux
The meaning of this news snippet takes a bit of explaining.  What the specialised media did not emphasise is what follows:
When giant oil fields go into decline, they usually decline abruptly. Ghawar’s decline is ominous. It was discovered in 1948 and until recently represented about 50% of the oil crude production of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Ghawar is representative of some 100 to 200 giant oil fields. Most of them are old.  The most recently discovered giants are of a diminutive size compared with those old giants.[2]

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Open Blog - Monday

Happy Monday.