Typical American


Think And Find Best Local Use For That Federal Stimulus Check

For this post I turn my blog over to Carol Bracewell of Madison who presents a very strong and convincing argument about how best to use the stimulus checks from the federal government that will reach our mailboxes later this spring.  Thanks for reading her refreshing idea.

President Bush has made official his plan to stimulate the economy by sending each of us a check. The idea is that we will all run out and buy shiny new objects, thereby rescuing the U.S. economy. Surely there is a better way to spend $150 billion.

Depending on your math, Madison alone stands to gain millions of dollars in stimulus checks. How will we spend it? TV sets? iPods? Fixing potholes?

What if your check could help someone get a job? Or keep a job? Or even make a new job?
Consider this option: Decide what you think is the best way to invest this windfall, and challenge nine of your friends to join you in donating some or all of their stimulus check to a good cause.

For example: If 10 people pooled their checks of $300-$600, they could fund an MATC scholarship for one year. Result? One young person closer to a good-paying job.

Alternatively, Operation Fresh Start builds homes while teaching job skills to young adults.
Madison abounds with great ways to keep the money local and stimulate our local economy.

If you are looking for an idea on where to donate your check, or have an idea you would love others to join you in, let us know through the online forum at ForwardMadison.org. We want to connect people who want to make a difference, together.

Carol Bracewell

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Reflections On Wisconsin State Supreme Court Race And Michael Gableman’s Victory

My feelings are far more than bitterness over the fact Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler lost.

Like most of us in Madison I was stunned over the result of the spring election that allows Michael Gableman to sit on the Supreme Court.  The same Supreme Court bench I might add with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.  There is indeed sourness in that sentence.  This election outcome baffles me.  Not because Justice Louis Butler lost as much as that Michael Gableman won.   

I sensed on Tuesday afternoon after talking with my dad that things were not going well for Louis Butler.  I called my dad in central Wisconsin and asked what number he was at the polls.  It is a routine phone call on any election day as we compare turnout and talk about what we think and hope will happen when the polls close.  Being that my dad was in town government for 40 years he knows how voting trends line up in the small community I grew up in.  In the early afternoon my dad was number 55, double where he thought it would be for that time of day.  Clearly something was afoot with the court race.

Meanwhile at my Isthmus polling location in Madison at 3:00 P.M., I was only the 200th voter.  Just roughly 10% of the voters had found their way to polls at that time to cast a ballot for the future direction of the Supreme Court.  The lack of voters at the polls could not have been due to the absence of the race being argued hourly on television.    The sense of apathy among too many on Election Day always makes me ill.  I wondered as I walked back from voting where all those folks at the street festivals in summer were hiding out? (I was pleased however that all my neighbors voted as it would be hard to commiserate with them had I known they were part of the problem.)

Throughout Wednesday I struggled with a question that still defies an answer.  How could anyone rationally vote for Gableman?  I can see how one might have voted for a whole list of conservative people from former State Representative John Gard to former State Senator Robert Welch.  While I disagree with their politics I know they are both intelligent and capable.  They bring some credibility with them even though I differ with their political philosophy. Therefore I can understand how citizens might cast a vote for them.

But how a voter could have read the papers and followed the election and not have known there was a vacuous quality to Michael Gableman who was seeking a ten-year term on the court just shocks me.  My feelings are far more than bitterness over the loss of the seat; it is pure bafflement over how a voter could pull a lever for Gableman.

And I am not alone of course.

CBS News said that this race, and the way it was conducted, is a cheesy way to elect a judge.  Who can disagree?

It tells us that our state courts are going to start looking remarkably like our state legislatures. It tells us that there will be fewer checks against fleeting populist will (as channeled or duped by special interest groups). It tells us – at a time when good judges already are at a premium – that courageous lawyers willing to take courageous and unpopular stands, will decide instead to forego the opportunity to serve on the bench. It tells us that political hacks will take their place. And that does not bode well, ultimately, for you or me.  Some elections are about change. Tuesday’s judicial election in Wisconsin is a vote about resisting change; short-sighted, invidious, cynical change – coming to a ballot box on April Fool’s Day – is worthy of your attention, if not your disbelief.

I waited a day to write this post but find I am no less sickened about the process of how we place a person on the high court, or the outcome of the just completed election, as I was yesterday.

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