Flames That Flicker Amid The Dying Embers Of Summer...
...is a way-too-flowery title for a blog for which I really don't have a theme but rather a gaggle of random thoughts:
-- Funny how the Packer rabble are no longer calling for the head of GM Ted Thompson.
Where are those chuckle heads with the "TT Must Go!" billboards in the Fox Valley, the ones that sprouted up during the Favre kerfuffle? The folks who wanted Thompson's head on a spike just two summers ago are largely quiet, what with all the Super Bowl talk the Packers are getting as the 2010 campaign approaches. Personally, I don't see this team winning the NFC title, certainly not with the questionable secondary they're starting the season with. But as those with bigger football minds than mine always say, the team you start with isn't always the one you end up as. TT enhances his rising Wisconsin rep if he makes a move or two to shore up the thin defensive backfield.
-- Not quite feeling the BCS buzz the Badgers are getting heading into Saturday night's season opener at Las Vegas. Too many questions on defense, although Wisconsin does seem to have a lot of bodies to throw at the problem spots. As it is in Green Bay, most of the issues are in the secondary. Wisconsin will be good--very good--but it'll be another season that ends with a eh-eh bowl appearance if the Badgers don't at least earn a split during back-to-back October clashes with Ohio State and Iowa. Plus, history shows that Wisconsin underachieves during those seasons when big things are anticipated, and overachieves when they're considered pre-season non-factors.
--Angry locals have yet to saw down the statue of Bud Selig outside Miller Park, something I feared amid all the anti-Bud sentiment spewed by alleged Milwaukee baseball fans as it was unveiled last month.
I don't speak for Mark and Debbie Attanasio, the team's current owners who sprung for the Bronze Bud, but I'm guessing that the gesture is about what Selig did to bring MLB back to the city and not about his stewardship of the game as commissioner. It's simple, folks: no Bud, no Brewers. You wouldn't have a team to rag about if Selig didn't spend all those sleepless nights stalking owners to make a case for Milwaukee baseball in those dark days after the Braves left. Then, he fought to build franchise-saving Miller Park. Government DOES help businesses, including baseball, so save your whining about the sales tax. There are levies for all manner of things we may never use (the arts, public schools, various forms of public assistance) but are needed to make our community a better, safer, more compassionate and attractive place. The Brewers and Miller Park make Milwaukee a destination. Selig made both happen. He earned the statue, and our thanks.
--Crumbling buildings. Faltering freeway ramps. Sewer systems that don't do the job. Is there any doubt any more that our infrastructure needs a massive overhaul? Glad we kept the receipt for the newly redone Marquette Interchange after one of it's ramps has to be closed barely two years into it's functional life thanks to an ill-designed support pillar. The builder is picking up the tab for that gaffe, but the rest of us are stuck with the bills for whatever else needs to be fixed including local sewers that failed several times this summer. And, as a taxpayer, aren't you a little skeptical about the current theory that MMSD is being overwhelmed by leaking household laterals? Didn't we already put billions into the ground for a deep tunnel system that doesn't seem to be even remotely deep enough? Wasn't THAT supposed to take care of all this? Granted, no design is built to handle the eight inches that came down July 22nd, but wasn't the system sold as a cure for the more typical heavy rain? Continued failures suggest otherwise. And why are otherwise dry basements in the north shore flooding every time there's a heavy morning dew? Is that the product of leaking laterals, or perhaps is local road work to blame? No matter what the cause, there's no excuse.
--You don't like Barack Obama? Fine, that's your constitutional right. But enough with this crap about him being foreign born. Or Muslim. Debate the politics and the policies. Agree and disagree--that's democracy. The unfounded personal attacks make his opponents look small, ill-informed and petty. The nation was told to "get over it" when George W. Bush won his first term amid questionable vote counts and legal battles in Florida. The same can be said to those who still question Barack Obama's bona fides to be President. You don't have to like what he's doing. You DO have to accept his legitimate right to the Oval Office. You get your chance to vote otherwise 26 months from now.
--The only thing more shocking that Jerry Lewis' comments about smacking Lindsey Lohan in the mouth is the fact that anyone bothered to ASK the aging comedian for his thoughts on the bozze-addled actress in the first place. It's never funny, proper or acceptable for a man to talk about slugging a woman--even back in the day when Lewis and partner Dean Martin were "the shiz", as the kids say.
Lewis' Labor Day telethon (full disclosure: my wife works for MDA) is a September tradition. Sadly, a Lewis apology before/during/shortly after the fundraiser is turning into one, too.