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And It Is Over In Zimbabwe

November 21, 2017

I am mighty pleased.  This should have happened many years ago.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, succumbing to a week of overwhelming pressure from the military that put him under house arrest, lawmakers from the ruling party and opposition who started impeachment proceedings and a population that surged into the streets to say 37 years in power was enough.

“Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation,” said Mnangagwa, who has a loyal support base in the military.

Zimbabwe’s polarizing first lady, Grace Mugabe, had been positioning herself to succeed her husband, leading a party faction that engineered Mnangagwa’s ouster. The prospect of a dynastic succession alarmed the military, which confined Mugabe to his home last week and targeted what it called “criminals” around him who allegedly were looting state resources — a reference to associates of the first lady.

Grace Mugabe has not been seen since the military stepped in.

She can just disappear, too.

Anarchists At Dane County Board Meeting Most Disturbing

November 21, 2017

Every couple of years a news report will show a legislative body of one type or another where complete and utter chaos has overtaken the proceedings.  Shouts will be heard, angry faces will be seen, and decorum thrown out the window.  When we see those news accounts from around the globe we smile and think how silly it looks and how much better we are at maintaining discipline in our governing process.

One can no longer think like that following the most incredible and shocking display of disorder which occurred during last night’s Dane County Board of Supervisors meeting.   It was more than just differing opinions about a local matter. It was anarchy on full display by anarchists.

At the center of the dispute over the count budget proposal was a $76 million project to build a consolidated jail facility on top of the Public Safety Building.  The board voted to pass its $538 million operating budget by a 32 to 3 vote and a more than $112 million capital budget by a 31 to 4 vote.

But after protesters gathered to show the board they do not support the jail matter they chanted and roared for about 40 minutes straight while the board proceeded with the vote. Chants included “shut it down,” “derail the jail” and more, drowning out the meeting.

It was simply the most outrageous display by a very rowdy group which I have ever seen at a meeting of this type in my lifetime.   Utterly disgusting.  (Having worked as a reporter while covering the Door County Board I can only say it is lucky someone did not open a fire hose on the motley crowd and clean the place out.)

To hear some of the protesters interviewed one might conclude that all crime is predicated on the idea that mental illness or a lack of jobs motivates people to break into cars, shoot people they do not like, and sell drugs as others do sweet corn.  That is a most flawed notion as there are truly mean and bad people who act out in ways that violate social norms.  The consequence of such actions can lead to jail time.

The average citizen of this county is able to grasp that fact.   The shouters and abusers of open government last night chose not to.

The ones who shouted and made asses of themselves have no real desire to work at change or be productive about their goals.  They have the right to use the power of elections to put forth their platform and take it to the voters.  But they know there is no stomach from the electorate for the opening of jails and the rewarding of anti-social behaviors.

Talk to people in the areas where crime is higher then most places and ask if they agree with the anarchists. People who live in these areas want police protection and also speak about wanting to get the bad element off of their streets.

So who then are those who showed up the meeting to shout and make their parents so proud?  These are not people who wish to work within the system and be held accountable for their actions.  The people who made the news last night are simply desiring to sow the seeds of frustration and work to undermine the workings of government.  These are the same ones who want to end police patrols in neighborhoods or see racial motives for every action taken by those in power.

Those we saw last night on the late news are not the ones who volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister.  They are not signed up with Literacy Council to assist someone who wishes to read or master the English language.

What we saw last night were anarchists who desire only to rip apart and destroy our political processes.

They failed!

In one of the sweetest displays of democracy the county supervisors continued to work, vote and proceed with the business we elected them to do.  In the face of pure anarchy our local government did the business of the people.  

Charlie Rose Let Us All Down

November 20, 2017

So here is my take on Charlie Rose, who tonight has been released from his duties at both CBS but more importantly for most of us who love interesting and informative discussions, PBS.

The Washington Post in a very long and detailed article today reported that eight women have come forward to state Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.

Rose has words of remorse for his actions, though he claims some of the allegations were not viewed by him in the same light as his accusers.   But the bottom line is his personal character was mighty flawed in this part of his life.

Not only do the women who he mistreated have a reason to feel let down, but so does that segment of the nation–small segment though that may be–who thrilled to an hour with the likes of Walter Isaacson talking about Da Vinci.  The Charlie Rose show was a very special place on TV.

Just the past two episodes have been remarkable for the journey they have taken viewers regarding the 50th anniversary of 60 Minutes.  Each program over the years has aired at midnight so I taped it on the DVR and watched it later.  He was a routine and a most pleasant one at that.  Lets face the fact there are not that many places on television where an erudite personality takes the rest of us who need such a journey into the topics that challenge and stimulate.

So when Rose felt up the leg of a woman who did not invite it he not only undermined himself, angered the woman, but also prevented those of us who wanted something deeper on television to have that opportunity continued.

So yes, Charlie Rose let us all down.

Mel Tillis Lives Wherever Music Is Played

November 19, 2017

Today the country music family lost a famed member who not only sang a song with pure country flavor, but also someone who had a most winning smile for his fans when he took the stage.

Country Music Hall of Famer, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis died early this morning in Florida. Tillis had been ill for some time. In January 2016 he underwent surgery after a serious bout of diverticulitis. He battled sepsis and spent the better part of a month in the intensive care unit.   He never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

The singer, songwriter, comedian and businessman, whose genuine warmth and down-home humor drew countless fans, was 85 years old. In his six-decade career, he recorded over 60 albums, notched three dozen Top 10 singles and wrote over 1,000 songs, several of which are now regarded as classics.

There are so many PR-driven singers and less than memorable contemporary country acts, and as such they never register on this blog.   But the essential ones to country music always have a place here.  Tillis is surely one of them.

Fellow country music legend Bill Anderson–a man this blogger loves– laughed this afternoon as he remembered what Tillis once told him about his stutter: “I had a handicap and turned it into an ass-ass-asset.”

“What a dear man,” Anderson, Tillis’ friend of nearly 60 years, added. “He could make you laugh at the drop of a hat. And if you were his friend, you knew he’d do anything for you.”

The story that remains my favorite about Tillis concerns the odd jobs he held before making his mark on music.  He was a truck driver, a strawberry picker, a firefighter on the railroad and milkman, which inspired his breakthrough song. Feeling down one day he began singing to himself, “Oh Lord, I’m tired. Tired of living this ol’ way.” He turned his lament into “I’m Tired,” which became a hit for Webb Pierce.

And Tillis was on his way–and I am very pleased his path took him to the world-famous Grand Ole Opry.  God love him!

Madison’s ALRC Undermines Common Sense–Mayor Soglin Needs To Veto Taco Bell Alcohol License

November 19, 2017

This week news was happening all over the world that would have been almost impossible to invent had it not occurred.  A coup in Zimbabwe seemed to not have fazed the one being deposed and one of the faces being talked about for a U.S. presidential run in 2020 was caught red-handed in a sleazy sex-groping pose. And in Madison the sappy Alcohol and Review Committee allowed for a Taco Bell on State Street to serve beer and wine!

The vote was 5-2 and proves what many have long stated about the ALRC–they are easily played and duped.  The problem, however. is without spine the ALRC makes more than their share of public messes which impacts the rest of us.

The drinking culture is not my main complaint–though the original application from the corporation desired for hard alcohol to be sold.  At a Taco Bell!  (That does say a lot about the ills of society.)  That request was dropped and in the end the location at 534 State Street will have to make due with what everyone knows is gross ‘food’ and alcohol sales of not more than 5%.  Yeah, the ALRC bought that promise too.  As I said, easily and embarrassingly played.

I must give credit to the two no votes on this matter and call out special attention to Alderman Paul Skidmore.   He noted what everyone should know as well as the fingers on their hands.  The number of beer-soaked and gin-stained drinking establishments on State Street have stretched the resources of this city.   There is a real problem when it comes to curtailing the outcome from drinkers who lift the bottles–the very drinks the ALRC encourages them to buy.

Taxpayers have every reason to question the lack of common sense from the actions of the ALRC.   Skidmore made clear police resources are an issue of more drinking on State Street and also the health impact on those misguided youth who seem to never know when to stop.

As this matter advances and the full council is sure to make a move that falls short of reasonableness, it then falls to Mayor Soglin to veto this idea.  The council always seems to have a beef with Soglin–especially with the likes of Marsha Rummel adding her disheveled thinking to whatever topic is making headlines.  So it is possible his veto will not prevail but at least he will have the platform for a time to allow the voices of so many in this city to be aired and heard.

And if you thought there was not enough space from which to buy your wine please note that this week the ALRC approved licenses for Total Wine, which will occupy about 25,000 square feet at West Towne Mall that formerly held Sears, as well as for Brennan’s Cellars.

Can we just admit many have their priorities really messed up?  And the ALRC plays to that dysfunctional element in society who use alcohol as a crutch?

If Only One News Column Could Be Read This Week….It Would Be By Michael Gerson

November 19, 2017

Hat tip to Brad.

There are columns written everyday for papers all over this land.   Some are easily forgotten and simply tossed aside.  But every now and then one hits hard and direct and meets the needs of the times in which we live.  Michael Gerson constructed such a column this week.

But the implications of all this are not only legal and political. We are witnessing what happens when right-wing politics becomes untethered from morality and religion.

What does public life look like without the constraining internal force of character — without the firm ethical commitments often (though not exclusively) rooted in faith? It looks like a presidential campaign unable to determine right from wrong and loyalty from disloyalty. It looks like an administration engaged in a daily assault on truth and convinced that might makes right. It looks like the residual scum left from retreating political principle — the worship of money, power and self-promoted fame. The Trumpian trinity.

Amazing Video: Nightime Meteor Lights Up Parts Of Finland

November 19, 2017

On the evening of Nov. 16th, Tony Bateman of northern Finland was indoors, warming up between giving tours of auroras, when his surroundings began to vibrate. “There was a huge bang and the cottage shook violently,” he reports. “At first I thought it was an earthquake. Or maybe a tree fell on the cottage roof! I walked outside and inspected the trees. Everything looked okay.” A quick replay of his aurora webcam solved the mystery. “It was an incredible meteor,” he says.

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