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Congressman Tom Petri Will Not Endorse Glenn Grothman

October 22, 2014

Priceless and totally understandable from Congressman Petri’s point of view.  There is just no getting around the fact that Glenn Grothman is a wing-nut and not even one of the most decent and diplomatic members of congress can endorse him for the fall campaign.

I have no doubt that this conservative republican congressional area will of course elect Grothman in the mid-terms but there is also no doubt there will be buyer’s remorse once Grothman unleashes his ‘charm’ after the election.  There is a place for colorful people such as Grothman–such as in the pages of books about politicians from the likes of Allen Drury.  While the real world understands the words of Petri, we are left to ponder why more of the voters in the 6th can not understand them too.

Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?” Petri said. “I don’t want to smother him with love or anything like that.”

(Petri) said   (Democratic candidate Mark) Harris has done “a fine job” as county executive.

To his long-time constituents, Petri suggests the best way to get a sense of each candidate is to view them in person at political debates.

“We have a tradition of having debates in each of the counties in the district and this is healthy and helpful,” he said. “Rather than looking at ads and reading second-hand accounts, go see for yourself and ask candidates questions in a forum setting, in real time.”

So far, Harris has participated in two debates that Grothman declined to attend. The two appeared at a small, limited-access forum in Fond du Lac and will both participate in an Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce forum on Oct. 23. They’ll also debate on Oct. 30 in Plymouth.

Early in the campaign cycle, Harris challenged Grothman to debate him in every county in the district. Grothman has been reluctant to participate in the public debates and has even turned down interviews for issues coverage, preferring to have questions emailed to him.

Petri wishes a future for his district that includes a good economy and ample employment opportunities.

“And I hope the people’s voices are really listened to,” he said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott And Sheldon Cooper Smile (Alike)

October 21, 2014

As I watched the Florida debate on CNN one thought came to mind.  All night long Scott just looked strange and geeky to the point that it was hard not to laugh at him and miss the talking points he thought were being made.    James finally just said what was needing to be stated.  Scott smiles like Sheldon Cooper!

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Urban Forestry Special Charge (Fee) Idea Passes Madison City Council

October 21, 2014

I want to thank all those across Madison who registered their thoughts and perspectives to alders regarding the forestry fee.

Tonight the Madison  City Council passed on a voice vote the measure that now allows city staff to create a formula for how the fee to be administered.  Another vote of the council will be needed to enact it.

I also wish to thank those alders who supported the action tonight.    While some on the council appeared to think that the voters just came to know of this matter over the past couple days it might be noted that many of us thought the fee idea to have such merit two weeks ago that it was a no-brainer and as such it did not require phone calls and emails to press the matter.  Only after the council failed to act at the last meeting did the heavy lifting of the voters need to occur to make sure the fee passed tonight.

We will keep pressing until we have the fee enacted.

Ben Bradlee, Legendary Editor Of The Washington Post During Watergate, Dies At Age 93

October 21, 2014

Ben Bradlee eve of the release of his book of memoirs 'A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures' Washington DC

One of the most important members of the media during the time President Nixon served in the White House died today.  Ben Bradlee was 93.

While the intrepid reporting of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward was vital to the truth being revealed about Watergate it was Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee who stood alongside them and made sure the story was not stopped from being printed.  Bradlee was a staunch defender of the journalistic integrity of his newspaper.   There are few titans like him who have weathered so much in the pursuit of truth.  God Bless him.

From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily. He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines. His charm and gift for leadership helped him hire and inspire a talented staff and eventually made him the most celebrated newspaper editor of his era.

The most compelling story of Bradlee’s tenure, almost certainly the one of greatest consequence, was Watergate, a political scandal touched off by The Post’s reporting that ended in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history.

Mr. Bradlee loved the Watergate story, not least because it gave the newspaper “impact,” his favorite word in his first years as editor. He wanted the paper to be noticed. In his personal vernacular — a vivid, blasphemous argot that combined the swear words he mastered in the Navy during World War II with the impeccable enunciation of a blue-blooded Bostonian — a great story was “a real tube-ripper.

This meant a story was so hot that Post readers would rip the paper out of the tubes into which the paperboy delivered it. A bad story was “mego” — the acronym for “my eyes glaze over” — applied to anything that bored him. Maximizing the number of tube-rippers and minimizing mego was the Bradlee strategy.

Mr. Bradlee’s tactics were also simple: “Hire people smarter than you are” and encourage them to bloom. His energy and his mystique were infectious.

“It was hard to explain the full force of his personality to people who never met him,” said Ward Just, the reporter-turned-novelist whom Mr. Bradlee sent to cover the Vietnam War for The Post in 1966-1967. “He really was one of those guys you’d take a machine-gun bullet for. You only meet three or four of them in an entire lifetime.”

I Will Be On Madison Radio Tonight Regarding Forestry Fee

October 21, 2014

For my Madison readers……..I was interviewed for the “In Our Backyard” broadcast on WORT-FM today–airing at 6:30 P.M.  You can listen live online.

Having worked in radio for several years I can say I was envious of Craig McComb doing his job. Once the radio bug is a part of you it never departs. I trust I did justice in the interview to the cause that many support when it comes to our urban forestry needs. I stressed the value of having the linear street frontage method as the funding source.

I also stressed that is it vital for the mayor and others to dialogue with the city and voice more clearly why this matters both in relation to trees but also in terms of funding city services.

Forestry Fee For Madison Mighty Important Issue

October 20, 2014

UPDATECity council passes idea.

UPDATEFor my Madison readers……..I was interviewed for the “In Our Backyard” broadcast on WORT-FM today–airing at 6:30 P.M. Having worked in radio for several years I can say I was envious of Craig McComb doing his job. Once the radio bug is a part of you it never departs. I trust I did justice in the interview to the cause that many support when it comes to our urban forestry needs. I stressed the value of having the linear street frontage method.  I also stressed that is it vital for the mayor and others to dialogue with the city and voice more clearly why this matters both in relation to trees but also in terms of funding city services.

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I am a constant advocate for trees in the City of Madison along with the needs of the forestry program.   As such I am mighty concerned about the vote to be taken Tuesday night when the city council will again visit the matter of a special fee for the urban forest program.

In what I consider a most short-sighted action the council at their last meeting voted 11-8 against the fee. I am trusting that this vote was not in some way to shield citizens from a fee that is one the city is most in need of requiring from those who live here. 

What makes this all the more interesting is that Mayor Soglin in his operating budget uses $527,000 from the fee for 2015.   As has been pointed out by the press it is likely the council did not have enough time to ponder the implications of their vote given the fact Soglin released his budget that same day as the council meeting.  But even then that does not in any way reduce the need for a way to finance the huge burden this city faces with forestry needs, namely at this time with the emerald ash borer playing havoc with most neighborhoods.

There is also the fact a group of alders studied and worked on the idea of a fee and various avenues to have it implemented. From the start I have supported any of the ways the city wanted to assess the fee be it from how many trees one has on the terrace to the number of feet of street front a property owner has, to any other approach they wish to take.   What I have problems with is how the council treated the outcome from the committee who studied the fee matter in an up-front and realistic way.    The rejection by the city council two weeks ago was not the way to show leadership on a most pressing city need. 

The bottom line for every person in this city who understands the beauty that trees give to our neighborhoods, and the ‘air-conditioning’ they provide for many older homes is that they seek the support from their alderperson for this fee.

I am heartened that there does seem to be recognition by many alders that this matter needs to be revisited and supported.   The average citizen needs to be engaged and support this fee by making contact with their alder and pressing the issue.

Now let us get it done!

Political Polarization Is Worse Than Ever

October 20, 2014

No one can be shocked over this finding.

“No question: Politics has become more bitterly partisan and mean spirited as I have seen in 30 years of writing a political newsletter,” says Charlie Cook, who founded the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Voters are just as divided, too: A Pew study this year found the percentage of Americans saying they are consistently conservative or liberal has doubled since 1994 (from 10 percent to 21 percent), while the center has shrunk (from 49 percent to 39 percent). Maybe more tellingly, 27 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans see the political opposition as a “threat to the nation’s well-being.”

Those numbers also are reflected in Washington’s political makeup: According to National Journal’s Ron Brownstein, author of “The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America,” Democrats now hold almost all of the Senate seats (43 out of 52) in the 26 states that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And Republicans hold nearly all of the Senate seats (34 out of 44) in the 22 states that voted against the president both times.

“Essentially, we have a durable standoff between a diverse, younger, urbanized, more secular Democratic coalition, and a predominately white, older, non-urban and more religious Republican coalition,” Brownstein says.

And here’s the rub: That divide likely isn’t going away, no matter what happens on Election Day. Outside an exception here or there – say in places like Colorado, Iowa or Kansas – Republicans are expected to increase their dominance in the red states, while Democrats are expected to hold on in the blue ones.

“I don’t see any of this reversing anytime soon,” Brownstein adds.

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