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Blogmaster’s musings: – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is gettin’ on my nerves

February 12, 2011 Comments off

Foreword
 

Inteltrends is primarily a global news and opinion site, but I want to remind readers that I also publish a traditional blog. Inteltrends’ Wisconsin Blog can be accessed using the tab located at the top of all my pages, and, while it contains local weather and news from Wisconsin’s Northwoods it also includes my own musings about a variety of topics.

In an effort to increase my ‘blog’ readership beyond northern Wisconsin I am sharing my recent post on my Inteltrends homepage. (You’ll find more posts on my blog.) Comments are disabled but you can always send feedback to my email address:  inteltrends@mail.az

Background material for the following post is:

Walker says National Guard is prepared
Chicago Tribune (AP), 11 Feb. 2011
[Excerpt:] – MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees.

Blogmaster’s comments from Wisconsin’s Northwoods
By Steve in Wisconsin
February 12, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is gettin’ on my nerves … Regular readers of Inteltrends’ Wisconsin Blog know that, aside from endorsing Mark Neumann in last year’s governor’s race, I pretty much leave state politics alone. In fact, I haven’t had anything to say about our new governor — good or bad — until now. (That’s him, grinning at the camera.)

I realize that Wisconsin’s budget needs downsizing and that Gov. Walker has vowed to do just that, but a state governor is not a South American or African dictator — there is a certain finesse involved in getting things done. One must be able to work with others towards a common objective while “ruffling as few feathers as possible” along the way.

Gov. Walker’s threat to use the Wisconsin National Guard to back up his pig-headed policies is a childish tactic. National guardsmen are part-time soldiers — they may wear uniforms but they’re not policemen or prison guards. They are not trained to do these jobs. Nor are they trained to efficiently fill most of the other positions he apparently intends to put them in.

Walker may find that, come next election, he needs the endorsement of the same unions that he is now threatening. His aggressive stance and readiness to call in the National Guard whenever something doesn’t go his way almost guarantees that he will be passed over for a federal appointment once his term as governor ends.

That, at least, is comforting to know.

[End.]
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Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com

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Categories: USA, Wis. blog

Blogmaster’s musings: The price of gold is too high

December 24, 2010 Comments off

Foreword

Inteltrends is primarily a global news and opinion site, but I want to remind readers that I also publish a traditional blog. Inteltrends’ Wisconsin Blog can be accessed using the tab located at the top of all my pages, and, while it contains local weather and news from Wisconsin’s Northwoods it also includes my own musings about a variety of topics.

In an effort to increase my ‘blog’ readership beyond northern Wisconsin I am sharing my recent post on my Inteltrends homepage. (You’ll find more posts on my blog.) Comments are disabled but you can always send feedback to my email address: inteltrends@mail.az

Blogmaster’s comments from Wisconsin’s Northwoods
By Steve in Wisconsin
December 24, 2010

24 Dec – The price of gold is too high … I’ve dabbled in the gold market since I was teenager. As a young coin collector my interest was peaked when I inherited an 1890s U.S. gold coin from my grandfather. Although I started off collecting ‘numismatic’ gold coins (those priced on rarity and historic value, rather than weight) I soon moved on to ‘bullion’: mostly Krugerrands. I got in before gold’s meteoric rise to $900 in April 1980 — and made a very nice profit when I sold off my stash. I later repurchased the same quantity of gold after the price “corrected” and dropped way down around $300 in 1985. My point is that I have monitored the gold market for 30+ years — and I am very uncomfortable with today’s high price.

Gold is priced worldwide in U.S. dollars per ounce. Much of the current high price is due to a belief that this country’s deficit spending and runaway military escapades will result in devaluation of our currency — thus requiring more and more dollars to purchase the same ounce of gold. It’s a valid position, and years from now I can visualize the gold price higher than it is today. But my uneasiness is based on today’s price of $1,380/oz (as of yesterday’s close) and I feel that the price may be as much as 20% too high for this point in time.

In support of my premise, I received an email from a contact of mine in India. He’s the manager of a large jewelry manufacturing company. India is, of course, one of the largest consumers of gold bullion — bracelets, rings, necklaces, bangles etc. are sold primarily by weight. According to my source his factory has laid off much of its workforce; it’s pretty much shut down because gold is now priced beyond what many consumers are willing to pay. His factory is sitting on a stockpile of unsold jewelry (wholesale, which is sold to retailers — who aren’t buying because their existing inventories are not moving like they used to), which means his factory is no longer purchasing raw bullion to make more jewelry, etc.

Speculators and gold-based investment funds are largely responsible for the current high price of the commodity. However, speculators and fund managers cannot fuel a market forever — at some point they will pull back, sit on the sidelines, and wait to see what happens next. When this occurs — get ready for a price correction.

[End.]
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Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com

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Categories: Wis. blog

Blogmaster’s musings: I’m going to miss Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)…

November 5, 2010 Comments off

Foreword

Inteltrends is primarily a global news and opinion site, but I want to remind readers that I also publish a traditional blog. Inteltrends’ Wisconsin Blog can be accessed using the tab located at the top of all my pages, and, while it contains local weather and news from Wisconsin’s Northwoods it also includes my own musings about a variety of topics.

In an effort to increase my ‘blog’ readership beyond northern Wisconsin I am sharing my recent post on my Inteltrends homepage. (You’ll find more posts on my blog.) Comments are disabled but you can always send feedback to my email address: inteltrends@mail.az

Blogmaster’s comments from Wisconsin’s Northwoods
By Steve in Wisconsin
November 5, 2010

I’m going to miss Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)… who was defeated in this week’s election by Wisconsin businessman Ron Johnson, a Republican.

Why will I miss Russ?

Well, it certainly isn’t because he’s a tool of the Israeli lobby… um, not that accepting $52,000 from the Pro-Israel PAC this year means anything. (Source: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, pdf).

But I’m going to miss him because he never lost touch with his constituency. In fact, EACH YEAR he travelled to all 72 Wisconsin counties and met the folks he represented – allowing them an opportunity to voice their concerns directly to him. Sen. Feingold, although based in the nation’s capital, was a real figure to many of us in Wisconsin. He wasn’t some political opportunist hiding in the halls of Washington, D.C. – you know the kind I’m talking about: the one’s who only show their faces around election time when they’re seeking votes or money.

Will newly elected senator Ron Johnson visit us each year? That remains to be seen. As far as I know he has made no such public commitment to do so. I’m not holding my breath.

So, I say to Sen. Russ Feingold: “Thanks for visiting us regularly up here in the Northwoods. Good luck with whatever the future has in store for you. And I mean that sincerely.”

[End.]
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Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com

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Categories: USA, Wis. blog

Blogmaster’s musings: Health insurance premiums are out of control

October 5, 2010 Comments off

Foreword

Inteltrends is primarily a global news and opinion site, but I want to remind readers that I also publish a traditional blog. Inteltrends’ Wisconsin Blog can be accessed using the tab located at the top of all my pages, and, while it contains local weather and news from Wisconsin’s Northwoods it also includes my own musings about a variety of topics.

In an effort to increase my ‘blog’ readership beyond northern Wisconsin I am sharing my recent post on my Inteltrends homepage. (You’ll find more posts on my blog.) Comments are disabled but you can always send feedback to my email address: inteltrends@mail.az

Blogmaster’s comments from Wisconsin’s Northwoods
By Steve in Wisconsin
October 5, 2010

Feingold runs ad touting health care vote… An article in the Rhinelander Daily News reads, in part:

Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin boldly embraces and defends his vote for the health care reform law in his latest campaign television ad, even as other Democrats avoid the topic and Republicans rail against it.

Feingold’s Republican opponent, Ron Johnson, has his own ad taking Feingold to task for the March vote, saying Feingold went against the wishes of Wisconsin residents.

It is my understanding that the purchase of health insurance will be mandatory — and according to the negative publicity generated by opponents of the measure the quality of physician services will decrease relevant to the limited selection of doctors and hospital services offered under the various plans.

I am willing to bet, however, that the vast majority of Americans who oppose health care reform already have medical insurance through their current employer or retirement agency. Am I right? Seriously, for my readers who oppose Obama’s plan… you’re “already insured” (or covered under your spouse’s insurance), aren’t you? I ask this question because I have yet to find an uninsured individual or family who opposes the opportunity to obtain affordable health insurance — any health insurance.

As a retired government employee I (and my family) are covered under Blue Cross. This is good insurance and I have few complaints. But according to my latest “open enrollment” form that I received in the mail last week, the cost for Blue Cross family coverage has risen 9.9% last year and the new MONTHLY PREMIUM for 2011 is $1,656. (Of this amount I pay $304 and the remaining $1,352 is paid by my former gov’t agency but that’s not the point. The point is that this is an absurdly high premium that is, in fact, more than some household’s entire monthly income.)

Much like the “clown” (Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva) who was recently elected to Brazil’s Congress after running for office using the slogan “Vote for me, It can’t get any worse”, the American people have finally reached the breaking point and are tired of being “gouged” by doctors, hospitals and drug companies incident to medical care that Europeans and Canadians receive from their governments as fundamental rights.

I believe that government has an obligation to care for the health of its citizens — an obligation that takes priority over spending hundreds of billions of dollars on foreign wars. And I really don’t care whether you use the taboo term “socialism” to describe this obligation or not. Obama Care has its problems (as do the health care programs in Canada and Europe). It’s not surprising that corporate America’s drug manufacturers and “for profit” hospitals are against any initiatives that will dilute their earnings. Even as one who has government-provided health insurance I am being “gouged” by the system simply in being billed for ridiculous amounts “not covered” by Blue Cross. Personally, I want to see how Obama’s plan pans out in reality — not conjecture.

[End.]
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Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com

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Categories: USA, Wis. blog

Blogmaster’s musings: I have no problem walking past Veterans soliciting donations in front of stores

September 13, 2010 Comments off

Foreword

Inteltrends is primarily a global news and opinion site, but I want to remind readers that I also publish a traditional ‘blog’. Inteltrends’ Wisconsin Blog can be accessed using the tab located at the top of all my pages, and, while it contains local weather and news from Wisconsin’s Northwoods it also includes my own musings about a variety of topics.

In an effort to increase my ‘blog’ readership beyond northern Wisconsin I am sharing my recent post on my Inteltrends homepage. (You’ll find more posts on my blog.) Comments are disabled but you can always send feedback to my email address: inteltrends@mail.az

Blogmaster’s comments from Wisconsin’s Northwoods
By Steve in Wisconsin
September 13, 2010

13 Sep – I have no problem walking past Veterans soliciting donations in front of stores… This post will likely “ruffle some feathers” but I refuse to be intimidated or shamed into donating “a dollar” to veterans sitting at tables outside stores and offering cheesy fake flowers for fund-raising.

Yes, the little cloth flowers are supposedly “Assembled by Disabled Veterans” but I find the presence of these elderly vets demeaning – I guess it’s the fact that after serving their country proudly in Korea or the onset of the Vietnam War (which I’m guessing is where most of these military personnel served, based on their age) they now find themselves sitting outside storefronts for nickel and dime donations. In return for a small donation the “donor” gets a symbolic flower with a twistable wire stem that you’re supposed to fasten in your button hole. I ask my readers: How many of these flowers have you gotten over the years… and do you even know where they are right now? (I’ll bet you do know, – just like I know where mine are.)

I’m proud and supportive of U.S. veterans – and each year I send one or more donations through the mail to veterans’ groups. This is a more respectable method of fund-raising (solicitation by mail) and undoubtedly the financial return is much higher.

However, veterans sitting at store entrances do have the desired affect on many people. My wife, for instance, feels guilty walking past these folks without giving them money. Her solution: When the first vet appears at a storefront she donates a dollar and gets the “flower”. She then twists the flower around her purse strap so she can walk past subsequent solicitors “guilt free”. I feel no such obligation.

But don’t misinterpret my actions as discourteous. I offer a sincere smile and a “Good morning” to veterans manning the tables – and I truly think they appreciate my friendliness much more than a shopper insincerely parting with a buck. These men and women have done a great service for our country and they deserve our respect and gratitude in return. I do my part by letting them know I appreciate them.

[End.]
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Steve in Wisconsin is a former deputy sheriff with travels in Africa, Asia and Central America. His primary blog is inteltrends.wordpress.com

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Categories: Wis. blog

Cell phone usage, cancer and brain tumors

August 29, 2010 Comments off

The following comment of mine was posted on my newsblog, Pine River World News. That site was removed by Blogger (Google) administrators on August 21, 2010. With its removal, Blogger (Google) deleted more than 1,000 posts — including this one, which was recovered from Google’s “cache” prior to permanent deletion. My article about this incident is:

Warning to bloggers: Google’s new “Gestapo bot” shutting down Blogger sites
Inteltrends, August 22, 2010
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Cell phone usage, cancer and brain tumors
©  Pine River World News   (Inteltrends)
May 17, 2010

I can’t seem to find the article on the internet, but back in the 70s or early 80s several U.S. police officers claimed to have developed brain tumors as a result of the “new 800 megahertz radios” purchased by their departments. At the time, most law enforcement agencies used other frequency ranges outside of this radio spectrum. I might add that today’s cell phones use 800 mhz. The radios referred to were hand held units (walkie-talkies) and portable radios worn on the belt, but having a separate transmitter (a combination speaker/microphone/antenna) that clipped to the officer’s shoulder epaulet next to his head.

It’s true that I use a cell phone (TracFone – which I’m very happy with, and which costs me about $9 a month based on my level of use) but I use my phone almost exclusively for texting. This means that the device is not located near my head (as would be the case if I were talking) – and certainly does not include a fixed ear-piece transmitter used by “hands-free” motorists and people with low self-esteem trying to impress strangers that they’re somehow so popular that they have to be “constantly available” while strolling around Walmart, etc.

This morning, as I checked the media headlines around the world, I’m seeing various headlines pertaining to a recent study associating cell phone use with brain tumors. Most of the headlines, however, are proclaiming that there is no conclusive evidence linking cell phone use with medical problems. But the following article, citing the same study as source, was written in Australia by someone who obviously took the time to read the report.

Industry study shows brain tumour link to heavy mobile phone usage
©  The Australian
By Adam Cresswell
May 17, 2010

[Excerpt:] – A LONG-awaited international study of the health risks of mobile phones has linked extended mobile phone use to an increased risk of developing brain tumours.

The 10-year Interphone study, the world’s biggest study of the health effects of mobile phones, found while there was no increased risk of cancer overall, those in the top 10 per cent of phone use are up to 40 per cent more likely to develop glioma, a common type of brain cancer.

Just 30 minutes of mobile talk time daily was enough to put participants into the top 10 per cent category in the study, carried out in 13 countries, including Australia, and involving more than 5,000 brain cancer patients worldwide.

[End excerpt.]

I urge my readers who frequently use cell phones to keep in mind that with usage on the increase among most segments of society – particularly teenagers and younger adults – the level of health risk determined by the “10 year study” may be significantly understated.

Texting has its advantages!

In the rare instance when I actually have to talk on my cell phone I do my best to limit calls to around a minute or two.

[End.]

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Categories: Wis. blog, WORLD