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Dane County Farmers’ Market Opens With Sunshine And Huge Crowd

April 19, 2014

I am not sure how the moment could have been any better aligned between the need of Madisonians to greet spring after a harsh winter, and farmers and vendors wishing to sell their products.   Sunshine and warm temperatures brought out not only many people to the Capitol Square, but people with broad smiles and from what I witnessed also a desire to get fresh spinach, cheese curds, and even some early plants.  There were all sorts of sights to be had, and donuts to be tasted.  If you have not ever spent a Saturday morning at the market make sure you do so sometime this year.  It is a Madison tradition.

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Must See Saturday Song: All-Star Grand Ole Opry Cast 40th Anniversary From ‘New’ Grand Ole Opry House

April 19, 2014

This year is the 40th anniversary of the current Grand Ole Opry House.  In March during one of the Saturday radio broadcasts all the Opry stars gathered on stage to sing a song that was performed numerous times by Roy Acuff.  The song was Acuff’s signature number “Wabash Cannonball”.   Mr. Roy had performed that song forty years before during the opening of the building and that time segued from a 1940′s black and white film clip into his live performance as the “big red curtain” rose for the first time.

This year led by the Opry’s newest members, The Old Crow Medicine Show, (which CP loves!) the Opry members segued from a recording of Mr. Roy’s 1974 performance right into a live 2014 version. Veterans like Little Jimmy Dickens, Jean Shepard, Bobby Osborne, Jeanne Seely, Connie Smith and Bill Andeson stood alongside Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Josh Turner, Clint Black and others, some of whom weren’t even born in 1974.

The result is a must see on this weeks’ edition of Saturday Song.  (And you are welcome, as this is truly a treat.)




New York City Mayor de Blasio Does Not Have Support To End Horse-Drawn Carriages

April 18, 2014

Caffeinated Politics has taken a strong position in favor of horse drawn carriages used in New York City.  Part of my reasoning for caring about this issue from Madison, Wisconsin has to do with viewing things from a historical and nostalgic point of view, and also from an economic perspective.  With news this week that New York City Mayor de Blasio, which this blog overall supports, is failing in his bid to eliminate these carriages comes as a positive sign for those who agree with this practice continuing.

The Wall Street Journal did interviews with more than two dozen members of the city council, or their staff and support for an all-out ban did not exist.  Some even said that this issue was not in the top ten things that needed to be done in the city.

While I am sensitive to animal rights, as are many members of the council, there is not agreement in any sense of the word in a majority sense that the horses are abused when used for carriage-drawn purposes.

In fact, there is evidence to show these horses are indeed cared for, and protected.


Chris Farley’s Brother, Tom Farley, Has A Strange Political Story Playing Out In Madison

April 18, 2014

There is an open city council seat in Madison that will soon be filled by appointment.  Among the roughly dozen names up for the job is Tom Farley, the brother of comedian Chris Farley.   All this would not be news, or be worthy of a post on Caffeinated Politics, if it were not for the political gymnastics that Tom Farley seems to be putting himself through in order to ‘fit in.’

Tom Farley has been a Republican, even showing up with former State Senator Randy Hopper for a Scott Walker rally in 2010.  That is not an issue for me, as I think it far better for people to be involved in the political events of this country than sitting on the sidelines.

What concerns me is Farley now making statements that he is no longer a Republican when the council seat is about to be named.  After all, this is Madison and we have strong opinions and ideas about politics, but also know when we are being played.  I do not happen to think that being a Republican should preclude anyone from serving on the council, but politics being politics means that a person has a better chance of making political inroads in Madison if they are not connected with the party that undermines unions and works against women.

As reporter Jack Craver infers in the Capital Times there is also the fact that Farley being named to the council might seem odd since when seeking election on his own two times in Madison he was rejected both times.

The bottom line for me is not that Farley once was a Republican, but the fact that he is willing to back away from what he once believed in so to align himself better with those that can do him some good.  That is not the type of leadership, even for a limited time, that the city council needs.

I argue in all things that people need to be authentic, and live life honestly.  I think Farley is smart, clearly eager to be a part of civic life, and has a place somewhere.  It just probably will not be on the city council.

Misguided Effort As Madison Marina Condo Owners File Lawsuit

April 17, 2014

Over the past several years development issues in Madison have caught my attention, and needless to say I have weighed into the discussion.

While I clearly fall in the preservationist camp, I am also one who sees density as a positive thing for a city, and the isthmus in particular.

When it comes to the matter of a new development next to the Marina comdonimuns downtown I was able to see both sides of the argument but felt that in the end, after some compromises were made and a process was allowed to play out through various city committees and the full city council, that the new building should be allowed to move forward.

First, I think the property in question demands to be used, and frankly there is no good reason not to use it.  Second, I find it not a reasonable argument that the current owners at the Marina will have some of their views blocked, and therefore nothing can be constructed.

If the blocked view had been of the Capitol then there would be a matter to discuss, given existing restrictions.  But even though I feel for the people who will have their view of Lake Monona limited in this case, the larger reasons for allowing development to proceed are more convincing.

If I buy a home next to a bus stop I should assume that city busses will stop on a regular basis.  If I live by an airport chances are some low flights late at night are bound to be heard.  If I move into an ever-vibrant downtown with a clearly ‘vacant’ lot next door there is a real good chance that a development will take place.

In the current situation the development will be of a like-kind so the apples and oranges argument holds no water.  While there are contentious development projects underway on the isthmus that places historical districts and neighborhoods in the midst of needing to find alternative routes forward there is no comparison to that which is now taking place with the lawsuit from Marina owners.

While I do feel in some degree for the Marina owners I can not possibly believe they could not foresee future development right next door when they bought their home.    For me that is the main point, with a legitimate city process that allowed for the development to proceed as the second point.

There must be a lot of money at the Marina as they are throwing it wildly in a lawsuit that can only go south.

State Senator Glenn Grotham Quotes

April 17, 2014

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A couple of weeks ago I commented that State Senator Glenn Grothman’s desire to run for congress will provide for cheap theatre.  One of my reasons for thinking this to be true was penned concisely.

The number of comments that will come back and haunt Grothman will likely rival the new ones he will utter without regard for the way they sound. 

I might have added without regard to who the quotes offend.

Now one of my favorite Madison reporters and writers, Jack Craver, offers his view regarding some of Grothman’s quotes.

For instance, Grothman hasn’t adopted the mellower tone that Republicans have taken on gender and sexual roles in recent years. If anything, he’s doubled down on his conservative Christian worldview.

Did people even know what homosexuality was in high school in 1975?” he asked the Cap Times in 2010. “I don’t remember any discussion about that at the time. There were a few guys who would make fun of a few effeminate boys, but that’s a different thing than homosexuality.”

And in 2011 he told me the following about homosexuality:

“If people adhere to the tenets of Christianity, the acceptance of that sin will not be the norm. How society deals with it is going to determine to a certain extent how much that lifestyle flourishes, and it should not flourish.”

He suggested that the pay gap between men and women was due largely to men seeking better pay because they expect to be the primary breadwinners:

“In my personal experience, the reason most men make more than most women is that most men set themselves up or view themselves as breadwinners in the family. So, frequently it’s not unusual to have a guy working 50 or 60 hours a week and the gal’s working 35 or 40 hours a week.”

Indeed, the real problem is the country kicking men to the curb, he has said.

“Our country is not going to survive if we continue this war on men,” he told a tea party rally in 2010.

Jews Ordered To Register In East Ukraine

April 17, 2014

From USA Today—Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine.

Words fail me….not an easy thing to accomplish.

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.


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