By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM

We are almost at the end of 2012 and I'm sad that the year is ending with a number of unanswered questions.

I had hoped to get the answers to these during the year, but no such luck. So, here's my dozen unanswered questions from 2012. Some are big and important while others might not have that kind of gravitas. But they all matter to me.

1. Is anybody going to do anything about our wacky Sheriff David A. Clarke? There was a time years ago when he seemed relatively stable. But he has now climbed out on the edge of a cliff that is reserved for potential straight-jacketed patients. He wants to be King of the Jail. He has become a Tea Party sycophant. Then, after the tragedy in Newtown, Clarke went off on a rant. Here is a direct quote from his post on the Tea Party Perspective website.

"Shame on liberals for exploiting tragedy once again in our country and try to use tragedy as a reason to take our rights away. Liberals are shameful.
We have to resist with the ferociousness of a junk yard dog, any, any attempt by liberals to make us less free by chipping away at our constitutional freedoms.

"Liberals don't care about curbing violence because if they did they wouldn't coddle and call for more leniency for criminal perpetrators. When a hold-up man sticks a gun in someone's face and takes their money, liberals want to offer job training, they want the criminal to serve their sentence walking round in the community with a monitoring device on. How crazy is that?"

I second the question he asked at the end of his post. "How crazy is that?"

2. Will Chris Abele fulfill the vast promise I saw when he was elected Milwaukee County Executive? Abele described himself as a pragmatic politician, unbound by political ideology. He said, if it works, let's try it. If not, let's not continue to do it. I love that attitude. But I am a little distressed over his escalating feud with the County Board and the fact that his office seems to run like amateur hour. He needs some real pros around him to help get, and keep, things on track. I think Abele has a good heart and mind, but his lack of experience in politics is hurting him. First of all, get rid of your spokesman. Anyone who hires a local TV reporter for a job like that ought to have his head examined.

3. Is anyone going to come up with a comprehensive plan for Downtown Milwaukee? Every year I keep waiting for this. Let's look at our Downtown as a big entertainment district. Home for a basketball team, theaters, restaurants, bars, music venues and living and retail spaces. We have this Oklahoma City blueprint that would work great here, but we need somebody to grab this bull by the horns and start the stampede.

4. If you are a woman announcer and you want to be on public radio do you need a case of COPD to make it big? I'm not sure what it is, but every time I listen to the women on public radio (with the exception of Terry Gross) it sounds like they are on their last breath and have no idea whether this is their last gasp or not.

5. Is there a Democrat around who might actually make the next gubernatorial election a contest? The next time we elect a governor is less than two years away. That means the campaign is probably going to begin in earnest this year. But with our national superstar Scott Walker solidly in place, right now it looks like a very one-sided fight. I keep looking but the field of Democrats looks pretty barren so far.

6. How come airplane tickets have such a crazy variation in cost? I can't being to count the number of times I've priced airline tickets and gotten cost quotes that were hundreds of dollars apart for the same flight. I think we need rule that says you can all charge just so much per mile. Then the only reason to buy from one airline or another will be reduced to customer service. You wouldn't have to shop for price.

7. Is frozen yogurt really better for you than ice cream or sherbert? I have scoured the internet trying to find a definitive answer to this one. Can't do it. And so few stores have even a moderate selection of frozen yogurt that I'm leaning toward the answer being no.

8. How come there are not enough people who support the arts in Milwaukee? This one is aimed primarily at people between, say 21 and 40 or so. I just don't get it. The arts are fun. They are relatively affordable. But people in that age group will spend big money of sports tickets, they dine out, they go to bars and movies, but they don't go to the theater or the ballet or the symphony or other dance companies. Curious.

9. What is Tom Barrett going to do for the rest of his life? He's not going to run for governor again. He could well be our mayor for the rest of his life. He loves public policy and politics and there are really no more offices for him to run for. He did the private practice thing for a while, but then couldn't resist the lure of an election. I don't see anyone running against him or beating him. The ball is in his court.

10. How come when little kids play soccer they all run to the ball and don't stay where they are told to stay? This has been on my unanswered list for almost three decades and I'm no closer to an answer now than I was 30 years ago.

11. Is "Homeland" the best television series ever on television? I loved "The Sopranos" and "West Wing," but this show really has its hooks in me. The greatest thing about it is the silence. They really use silence. Most TV shows try to cram as many words into a second as possible. Not "Homeland."

12. Can anyone answer all my questions? That's always an unanswered question. Where do I go for answers?

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.