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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Congratulations go out to New Berlin Eisenhower


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Think before you register your cell phone on the No Call List

News you can use

Cell phone numbers can now be added to Wisconsin’s No Call List. The number of consumers using cell phones as opposed to land lines is growing. While cell phone users now have the option of registering their cell phone numbers, I urge thoughtful consideration because there is generally not a reason to do so.

There currently is not a cell phone directory but the state is about to create one. If you already refrain from giving your cell phone number to credit card companies, retail stores and businesses, think twice about giving it to a No Call registry.

Cell phone numbers are unpublished. If you provide your cell phone number to a registry, it becomes a published number. The lists of numbers must be purchased by telemarketers so they can comply with the do not call registry. It would be extremely easy for unscrupulous entities and foreign, international entities to get their hands on the numbers. Your best bet is to avoid registering your cell phone.

On the other hand, if you regularly provide your cell phone number and it has become part of the electronic world, you may want to register it on the No Call List. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a news release stating:

“Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent. The national associations representing telemarketers have stated that their clients do not intend to start calling consumers’ cell phones.”

I continue to urge consumers to register residential land line numbers on Wisconsin’s No Call List.

There are two ways to sign up for the Wisconsin No Call List. You can sign up over the phone by calling 1-866-9NOCALL (1-866-966-2255), toll-free in Wisconsin. You can sign up at the Wisconsin No Call List website at:

Only one adult in each household needs to register. Registering for the Wisconsin No Call List is free.

Get out and enjoy Wisconsin, free

News you can use

Outdoor enthusiasts, take advantage of some wonderful offers from the state of Wisconsin.

The weekend of June 7-8 is Free Fishing weekend. Fish in any of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes and 42,000 miles of rivers and streams without a fishing license. Here are more details. 

Sunday, June 8, anyone can visit any state park, forest or trail for free during Wisconsin State Park Open House Day. Read more about it here.

Is a softball title next for NB Eisenhower?

I certainly hope so.

The school has already won the Division 2 state boy’s basketball championship this year.

Today, New Berlin Eisenhower plays in the WIAA Division 2 Girl's State Softball Tournament Title game.

I wish the Lions the best of luck!

World experts blame ethanol for food crisis


A blog I wrote during February 2007 about the effects of ethanol mentioned the impact on food with emphasis on Mexico. It read, in part:

Excitement over ethanol, a renewable fuel made with corn, has reached such a high level that there has been a virtual rush on corn. The effects have been devastating, especially in Mexico with a society, culture, and way of life dominated by the tortilla. Tortillas make up 40 percent of the diet for poor Mexicans, and with corn prices quadrupling in Mexico since last summer, Mexico is suffering through its worst tortilla crisis.

Exorbitant tortilla costs created by the buzz about ethanol have left few alternatives in Mexico. Mexicans who can afford food are bypassing tortillas for options that are less healthy, so they are gaining weight. The poor are eating less, eating less healthy, or going hungry.

There are many concerns about ethanol, its effect on world hunger being the latest. Ethanol has been known to wreak havoc on small engines, and now it is likely to wreak havoc on the food supply.”

Surely there were some who read that column and dismissed the conclusion. I doubt that’s the case today.

This is no longer a Mexican tortilla problem. Food supply epidemics have reached global proportions. The latest Agricultural Outlook from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
, unveiled in late May in Paris has the grim details about escalating prices:

“Using data for February 2008 compared to February 2007, milk product prices have generally risen sharply, as shown by those for butter with price increases of 50% in Poland, 40% in France, 36% in Spain, 32% in the Czech Republic, about 36% in Jordan and some 12% in Malaysia. Egg prices have also risen sharply, by 34% in the US, 30% in the UK and the Czech Republic and 10% in Spain. Vegetable oil prices rose 18% in India and 47% in Botswana in the past year. Meat prices rose sharply in some countries such as China, where the increase was 45%.”

Sixteen months ago I pointed the finger at ethanol. Recently in Paris, world food experts did the same. OECD agriculture official Loek Boonekamp, according to the Washington Post, says about 33 percent of the projected increase in food prices over the next 10 years can be attributed to biofuels. Boonekamp also called the benefits of converting food into fuel, “probably smaller than commonly expected."

An OECD press release says growing demand for biofuels is leading to higher food prices, reporting “World fuel ethanol production tripled between 2000 and 2007 and is expected to double again between now and 2017 to reach 127 billion liters a year. Biodiesel production is seen to expand from 11 billion liters a year in 2007 to around 24 billion liters by 2017. The growth in biofuel production adds to demand for grains, oilseeds and sugar, so contributing to higher crop prices.”

The prognosis for the future of food prices from the OECD is bleak:

“Commodity prices will average substantially above the levels that prevailed in the past 10 years. When the average for 2008 to 2017 is compared with that over 1998 to 2007, beef and pork prices may be some 20% higher; raw and white sugar around 30%; wheat, maize and skim milk powder 40 to 60%; butter and oilseeds more than 60% and vegetable oils over 80%.

The poor, and in particular the urban poor in net food importing developing countries, will suffer more. In many low-income countries, food expenditures average over 50% of income and the higher prices will push more people into undernourishment.”

The report predicts more violent outbreaks and riots over food shortages that have already been reported in some countries.

The OECD recommends further review of existing biofuel policies. The suggestion comes as some members of Congress are requesting a relaxation of a requirement that 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels be produced in 2009, up from 6.5 billion last year. How widespread does the world’s food crisis have to get before we put the brakes on converting our food supply into fuel?

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