Thursday, December 21, 2006

Offering gifts and hopes this holiday season

Published 12.21.2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As this is the season of giving and sharing, I wish to publicly share the following holiday gifts and warm wishes for the new year to some specific recipients.

To project managers of the Marquette Interchange reconstruction or anyone else supporting this multiyear mess: I give a hand-selected bag of high-caffeine coffee that will speed up the work (whether or not it is ahead of schedule now). May all the inconvenience caused by the next state highway project take place no closer to me than Plover but no further from you than your favorite grocer.

To all Wisconsin men and women in the armed forces who won't be home this holiday season: I offer my gratitude for your service and prayers for a safe trip home. For those who want to give more than good wishes, go to the state Department of Veterans Affairs Web site: dva.state.wi.us/supportourtroops.asp or call (800) 947-8387. There are a number of ways to get gifts to our service members overseas.

To Sen. Hillary Clinton: I give the strongest encouragement to run for president in 2008 and speak your mind without reservation. Your candidacy is the single best hope Republicans have to retain the White House.

To the aging, sniveling cynics who welcomed back American soldiers from Vietnam by spitting on them or calling them "baby killers": I didn't have time to get you anything, so why don't you just meet me for a quiet drink at the local VFW? Oh, and take a cab. I have some friends who would be happy to give you a lift home. Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself as our service members return from the Middle East and that your children don't act as disgracefully as you did in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

To the anonymous donors of $25 million to Marquette University: You are doing God's work. No joke. However, my Christmas fund is almost depleted, so I believe I can scratch you from my list without much worry that you'll miss the Sam's Club membership card I had intended to send. I'm not sure where to send it anyway.

To the Milwaukee Public Schools and City Hall: No gift to you would be sufficient in that you already have given so much to Milwaukee taxpayers in the form of that inadvertent (but perhaps temporary) $9.1 million tax break. Now, could you extend your good deed by convincing Madison lawmakers that the rest of us in Wisconsin need more tax relief, too?

To the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents: At considerable personal expense, I have had made several engraved copies of the Supreme Court's 2003 decision striking down the practice of the University of Michigan's Law School to award an extra 20 points to its applicants purely on the basis of minority status. Please read it with a warm holiday beverage in front of your fireplace and recall what your dear grandma once said about two wrongs never making a right. Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, even the kind that works in reverse.

To every jewelry store owner or jewelry department manager in southern Wisconsin: I give a large bag of price tags. Please place them in plain view in your merchandise displays so I don't have to repeatedly waste time or feel embarrassed by asking the price of items that I cannot afford to buy.

Finally, my personal holiday wish to all readers, regardless of what you celebrate at this time of the year: God bless you, and may 2007 be just a tad better for us all.