Thursday, April 15, 2010

No new Natatorium--yet

Surprise, surprise. UW students voted against a referendum to renovate and expand the Natatorium, an exercise facility near the Lakeshore dorms. Had the referendum passed, students would have faced a $54 per semester increase in tuition for the next 30 years.

In this economy, that's a tough sell. However, it's unfortunate that this Nat expansion won't happen. It's badly needed, especially the pool, which due to its lack of a 10-meter diving board prevents the Badgers from ever playing host to the Big Ten Championships.

Still, let's not forget what happened with the Union South. The referendum failed twice but was brought back a third time when it passed by a count of 1,418 votes to 996. That's currently costing students an extra $96/semester for the next 30 years. And the lesson learned is: if at first you don't succeed, keep bringing up your measure until it finally passes.

That process was an absolute joke (how did the referendum keep coming back?), but it may give hope for the Nat.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Glad Target got approved

Kristin Czubkowski of the Capital Times wrote an intriguing piece titled "Target at Hilldale gets approved in one of the shortest City Council meetings ever." It says that Tuesday's City Council meeting took only 20 minutes and that the proposed Target at Hilldale was approved. Some thoughts:

1) City Council meetings should be fast! When they run into the wee hours of the morning, as they're notoriously known to do, it keeps citizens from participating in the process.
2) Congrats to Target--it will make a fine addition to Hilldale. I'm sure the City Council and the neighborhood assocation feel pretty good about themselves that they got something down their way. This just proves that developers unfortunately have to let the baby have its bottle; in other words, you pretty much have to make the aldermen and residents feel like they're king because they're on such big ego trips. If it wasn't so hard to build in Madison, places like the near east side (E. Washington from Blair to First) wouldn't be so dilapidated.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Parking enforcement

Q: What do you call a person who fails the police academy?
A: A parking enforcer.

Yep, these cop-wannabes don't need a degree, real-world experience, athleticism or good looks (the traits needed for any other job), they just need to be heartless bastards. In fact, they grew up to be this way because they were picked on as children and now are taking it out on others.

I have not been ticketed or towed recently. The motive for writing this rant comes from the news that the City of Madison is going to increase parking tickets fines by $5.

The city's funds have been mismanaged for years, and a bad 2009 economy didn't help. So now the city needs its thugs--I mean, parking enforcers--to go collect more money. (It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it). This is why you'll see parking enforcers camp out at meters about to expire or in two-hour parking zones.

Hell, we just increased meter and ramp rates citywide, so we may as well increase the fines, too. Just don't expect any mercy from the parking enforcers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

News Corp/Fox is greedy

Two acts of evil of late by News Corp has shown its greed. I was reminded today that News Corp, which owns Hulu, will begin charging users to view previously free content on the site. Chase Carey, the deputy chairman of News Corp, said that "It’s time to start getting paid for broadcast content online."

The other incident occurred last night. I was watching "Family Guy," and at one point there was a four-minute commercial break! I kid you not. Commercial breaks should be two minutes. My God does Fox milk the few good shows it has.

Lastly, just thought I'd throw this in: Has anyone else noticed that Fox keeps freezing? As in, you're watching a show and all of a sudden the show freezes? This happens on both the regular cable and digital HD versions (through Charter). No other channel does this.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow Day in Madison

This is deja vu from our last two winters here. On the CBS morning news Tuesday, they sent weatherman Dave Price to Flagstaff, Ariz., site of a huge snowstorm that was making its to the midwest. The weather band stretched from Arizona to Wisconsin, where the majority of the snow cut through the middle of the state (south of Hayward, north of Janesville), which meant that once again Madison would get more snow than up north. In fact, this did happen: UW-Superior was the only UW system school to stay open yesterday.

It sucks that Madison just happens to sit in the eye of all these snow storms. Waking up yesterday, I thought it was eerie to see the quiet streets, downed branches and basic white-out. The plows did a nice job, though I'm surprised how much ice there is today given that hardly any cars drove yesterday to pack it in. There was so much ice on the steep hill that is S. Hamilton St. that a bus got stuck this morning, and all the cars behind it got stuck.

How bad was the 19.5" of snow yesterday? All state agencies closed; no mail, no busses, nothing. The hospitals were super busy with people experiencing chest pains from shoveling and several injuries from snowblowers (FOR PETE'S SAKE: DON'T STICK YOUR HAND IN THE SNOWBLOWER!!!). UW-Madison played host to a snowball fight on Bascom Hill, though not enough students came out to break Michigan Tech's World Record.

Speaking of snowballs, did you see the seven-foot snowball near the Vintage (University Ave/Frances St.)? It took at least 10 people to build it. There also were reports of 10-foot tall (or taller) snowmen all over campus, including one in the roundabout near the Natatorium.

By evening, I saw several pizza delivery cars moving about, as well as a taxi or two. I was willing to venture out to pick up some champagne at the liquor store, but no surprise, it was closed.

Sadly, winter still hasn't even started yet (11 days away). I thought this was supposed to be a tamer winter?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jewelry war

I enjoyed listening to Scott Chalmers (of Chalmer Jewelers) bash Richard Kessler (of Kesslers Diamonds) on the radio the other day. Kessler has flooded the radio market with his annoying ads (I hate them so much I vow to never buy from him, and I steer my friends away from him). Now Chalmers has called out Kessler for its yellow diamonds. Just priceless!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bash the Bashers

A letter-to-the-editor appeared in today's Cap Times that ridicules anti-RTA advocate Bill Richardson. An excerpt:

"Richardson has no vision for the future of transportation in Dane County except to advocate for building another south beltline, and using valuable farmland for a North Mendota parkway north of Madison. When I asked him about gas prices in the future, he said, without even batting an eye, that he 'would pay $10 per gallon for gas' in front of several witnesses. To me, that shows a high degree of selfishness, and a definite lack of vision for the future of transportation in Dane County."

Richardson lives in a C.A.V.E. (citizens against virtually everything). Thank the writer for further illustrating Richardson's selfishness.