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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

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The author will miss the gray snout of this moocher at his knee every night.
The author will miss the gray snout of this moocher at his knee every night.

Farewell to man's best friend

Normally, the copy in this space is devoted to you, readers. But this week, it's all about me.

That's because I am not capable at this moment of thinking about anything other than our family dog, Rosie. A few hours ago, we had to put Rosie down. She was just four months shy of her 17th birthday. She was a part of our family since Rosie, a stray, and I found each other when she was puppy.

Rosie was a mix between an English springer spaniel and a poodle. I guess that made her a springapoo.

I still remember the day Rosie and I met at the animal shelter in the Quad Cities in September 1996. For seven consecutive Friday afternoons, I had stopped in at the animal shelter in East Moline on my way home from work.

On that day, I walked in, and the attendant at the counter said, "I think we found the right dog for you, Mr. Jagler."

I knew the drill. We walked into the back room, and the woman released a dog from one of the cages. The puppy scampered over to me on the slippery cement floor, rolled over on her back and looked up at me with her tail wagging.

"How can you not take this one home?" the attendant said.

Indeed.

The next day, we picked up the dog, and she promptly curled up and fell asleep between our two young sons in the middle seat of my late father's minivan. We named her Rosie, as in Springsteen's Rosalita of musical fame.

In those early years, Rosie was my shadow. She never needed a leash or a tether. She never left my side. I'd ask her if she wanted to "romp and snoop" in the backyard, and she'd make a beeline for the back door.

Rosie began having periodic epileptic seizures and became quite territorial. This is quite common among springers. She did not respond well to strangers, and our close friends often found that amusing.

But Rosie mellowed with age and developed an absolute obsession for my wife, Kristi. In turn, my wife developed quite a fondness for "schnoodling with a poodle" on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I often joked that if Rosie was a comi…

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan gave the BizTimes Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast a preview of his candidacy two years ago.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan gave the BizTimes Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast a preview of his candidacy two years ago.

Ryan provided glimpse of candidacy in 2010

For hundreds of BizTimes readers, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's debut as an ardent and vocal opponent of the Obama administration came back on Jan. 20, 2010, when Ryan unveiled a video to the attendees of the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast presented by BizTimes.

I clearly recall the video, its message and the unmistakable edge in the room at the Italian Community Center in downtown Milwaukee as it concluded. I was on stage at the time and had introduced the video, which Ryan recorded because he could not be at the event in person.

As the video ended, I remember joking to the audience, "Well, now that we've started out the morning by offending any Democrats in the room..."

Indeed, we received a handful of personal complaints and phone calls from those in President Obama's corner later that morning. They were taken aback by the shrill and blunt tone of Ryan's video. But to be sure, Ryan's message connected with most of the business people in the room.

In the video, Ryan predicted 2.7 percent annual economic growth "with double-digit unemployment."

Ryan had spoken at this annual event in person in previous years, when he shied away from making inflammatory political remarks and instead focused on providing a framework for the likely political conversations of the year ahead.

However, on this blustery January morning, Ryan departed from that nonpartisan script and took off the political gloves, lacing into the Obama administration and setting the stage for the Tea Party rising that followed later in 2010.

"Having taken part in this event in years past, I know that we often shy away from discussing the political scene in such sharp terms," Ryan said. "But we are in a different place today. And the stakes of this debate require nothing less than complete candor. It is critical to our economic recovery and the America we pass on to our children and grandchildren. So far, I regret to say there's little reason to think that our leaders are even listening. But if the…

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