On Eve Of Spring Election Madison Honors Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson Pays Tribute With Call To Vote

There was no way not to feel the tug of history Monday night at the Wisconsin State Capitol.  The broad sweep of history was on display and acted as a backdrop to the political events that are unfolding in the state.  

A large crowd had gathered while gray clouds passed overhead spitting some ice pellets.  In spite of the weather it was clear that those assembled  were in a reflective mood.  While collective bargaining rights and hopes for the spring election on Tuesday were very much a topic of discussion, the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the dreams not yet realized had also settled over the crowd.

There was no way not to feel the religious spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. as the opening music allowed for a spiritual quality to the evening.  More than one person must have experienced goose bumps as the bagpipes played and the crowd sang “Amazing Grace.”  There are times when ‘the moment’ just moves a crowd, and I think that was the case at the Capitol.  I noticed some wet eyes at times in the crowd around me.

The backdrop to the event was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The murder of King took place in Memphis on April 4, 1968.  On the balcony of the  Lorraine Hotel that night was Jesse Jackson.  At the same hour King was killed 43 years ago Jackson stood before those assembled  in Madison and solemnly, but earnestly spoke from the heart.  

“Dr. King is alive because he lives in us,” Jackson told the crowd.

King had been in Memphis to stand with the sanitation workers, and so it was touching to have Jackson bring out two of those workers from 1968, and have them stand alongside him. 

The rich background of history weaved an amazing tapestry on the steps of the Capitol.  I have never seen anything quite like that before at the Statehouse.  The past rose up and spoke to the fight we still need to undertake to complete the vision that King laid out for this nation.

I have watched and heard Jackson many, many times since 1988, but this was the most meaningful.  There was no way to look at Jackson and not see the mental images of the news stories from Memphis.  There was no way to hear Jackson call for a better nation, the need for all citizens to exercise their right to vote,  and the need for racial barriers to be lowered and not hear the voice of King.

This was a special night in Madison.  One I hope that deepens our commitment to the shared values of making this city a better place to live, and our state a more fair place for all our workers.

Ducks Say Farewell To Ice

On Sunday there were some great sights as the last ice of the season departed from Lake Monona.  One of the photos I took showed the last thin slabs of ice floating, and  ducks walking upon it.

Brian Deschane Proves That GOP Promise Of Wiser Use Of Taxpayer Money Is Folly

Not for the first time does this blog point out that some very mediocre, perhaps even unqualified people, have landed in high paying positions with Governor Walker’s administration.  I have not been shy about my displeasure with those who have no college degree, such as Governor Walker, and his man at DOA, Mike  Huebsch.  Call me odd, but I want elected leaders who are smarter than I am.

On Sunday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel made it plain for even the most partisan Republican to understand when it printed a most amazing story about the type of person who can rise to the top in the Walker administration.

Something smells fishy in the Walker team. 

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team?

It’s all in the family.

His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.

The group’s political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor’s successful campaign.

Is this how government is supposed to work?

Now just for a minute let us assume that this is always how government operates.  That is, after all, the fall-back argument from those who are presented with stories of this kind.

But isn’t it the conservative Republicans who always tout a better government, more lean and more wary of over-spending on waste?  Is it not the GOP who promise to be better stewards of the taxpayer’s money?

So how then does this stuff happen under their watch?

Elvis Music Featured in Greek TV Commercial

The King Lives On

JoAnne Kloppenburg Did NOT Put 80-Year-Old Man In Jail

Lets clear up one of those distortions that the David Prosser campaign is spinning about JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The Prosser team has made a point of stating JoAnne Kloppenburg put an 80-year-old farmer in jail for not planting native grasses on a field.   That is just bunk, bull, fiction.
Here is what happened.

A farmer named Wayne Hensler in Jefferson County was ordered by the State of Wisconsin to take action to stop pollution from run-off from his farm going into Rock Lake. Mr. Hensler refused to do the work but finally agreed to pay to have others do the remediation work. Then he refused to pay the money he’d agreed to pay.  Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick (who you may remember ran against Shirley Abrahamson) ordered Mr. Hensler to pay what he owed. He would not. Finally, another Judge in Jefferson  County, John Ullsvik, found Hensler in contempt and put him in jail for a few days.  Two facts are pertinent here: no attorney can put anyone in jail. Only a Judge can do that. Secondly, the farmer was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to pay money he had been repeatedly ordered to pay, not for “refusing to plant a field.”