Wisconsin Recall Petitions Show Why Political Process Must Be Respected

When I was a kid in school I vividly recall my history teachers telling me that Wisconsin was special because we had such a clean government.  Our way of conducting politics was so much different from Illinois.  That was always the example that was provided to show the clear line between the way things should be done, and how others did them.

I thought about the teachers who uttered those words and wondered what they might say in light of the news Thursday about how signatures were gathered for recall petitions of state senators in the Badger State.

While there has been a robust and heated dialogue for several months over the contentious issue of collective bargaining, I really thought we might have learned one thing regardless of the position we each held on the matter.  After the number of editorials and letters to the editor, and chats with our neighbors and colleagues I was sure we all came to the same conclusion on one matter.

What I was sure we agreed on was the importance that needs to be placed on the process of how we conduct politics.  At the end of the day, if we use the time-honored political procedures in an honest, and up-front way everyone can say the game was played fairly.  Win or lose, no one can say the deck was stacked unfairly against them.

After all, it is that lack of following a prescribed way of running legislative business that has created the legal turmoil that is playing out all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  We can all have different views about if the ending of collective bargaining is a wise and proper policy choice, or a wrong-headed and political one.   But at the end of the controversy we should all recognize the need to play by one set of rules. 

This all leads me to the news that perhaps many signatures were obtained in a dishonorable way when trying to find the required number to force recall elections of state senators.

It seems to me we are at a crossroads in Wisconsin, and I hope we have not crossed it, in how we conduct politics.  While I am as partisan and convinced of my point of view as anyone, I am also well aware that the underpinnings which allow for this whole wonderful process to operate fairly for all must be honored.

Sadly, it seems not everyone agrees.

This is time to take stock in what we want Wisconsin to be.  Should it more resemble the one my teachers made every effort to inform me about, or should it be the one that was used as the example of what we should not become?

In a news conference Thursday, Democratic Sen. Mark Miller of Monona and an attorney representing the Democratic Party announced challenges in the recall petitions targeting Sens. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Jim Holperin of Conover and Robert Wirch of Pleasant Prairie. 

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has filed a challenge with nearly 200 sworn statements saying out-of-state petition circulators misled voters, falsified signatures of even one Democratic lawmaker’s dead father, or even misrepresented their own addresses. Democrats said they believe that could invalidate thousands of signatures collected. 

“Let me be clear, this is not a case of one or two bad actors or a small series of isolated events,” Miller said. “We have discovered a systemic pattern of misconduct, deceit and misinformation by these out-of-state circulators.” 

Democrats claim that circulators told some people they were signing to support Democrats or schools.

Giant Asteroid Heading To Earth, Will Miss Planet By “Cosmic Hair’s Breadth”

This is not a Hollywood movie.

An asteroid with a diameter of 400m will make its closest approach to Earth later this year.

Known as YU55, the asteroid would fly within the moon’s orbit narrowly missing Earth, according to reports.

“The space rock will hurtle past our planet at a distance of just 201,700 miles (324,600km) during its closest approach on November 8,” The Daily Mail has reported.

“That is closer to Earth than the moon, which orbits 238,857 miles (384,400km) away on average.

“With a width of some 400m and weighing 55 million tons, YU55 will be the largest object to ever approach Earth.”

But US space agency NASA said there was no cause for concern.

“Although classified as a potentially hazardous object, 2005 YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over at least the next 100 years,” NASA said.

“However, this will be the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance and an event of this type will not happen again until 2028.”

FOX News Compares Osama Bin Laden’s Compound To Elvis’ Graceland!!

Why do people snicker and deride FAUX News?

Reason number 5,864.

On FAUX News this afternoon Neil Cavuto had his undies all in a bind over the fact people are stopping by to see the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday.  Not realizing that lots of folks might stop by the sight for the news story itself, Cavuto leapt to the conclusion that the compound will become a shrine and new hangout for terrorists.

Then speaking to one of the ‘reporters’ that could never find a job for a real news network, Cavuto asked the question that spun me around in the kitchen as if the earth had stopped.

“Does this feel like Elvis at Graceland”

It is insane to compare the folks who come from around the world to pay respect to the musical legend that grew up in a shot-gun house in Tupelo, Mississippi, and then gained fame so he could buy Graceland, with the despicable bin Laden.

Not funny.  Not cute.  And certainly not what one should expect from  a real news network.

But then this is FAUX News.

But what else should be expected from a ‘news’ network that showed fake video tape earlier this year of palm trees blowing in the wind from……Madison, Wisconsin!

In case Cavuto has forgotten, here is a reminder of where Elvis Presley lived.

City Of Madison Messing Up Terraces, Angering Taxpayers

Once again the method the City of Madison employed to pick up spring piles of brush and leaves from terraces caused concern, and even some anger from residents and taxpayers.  There were many residents who found the way city leaves were picked up last fall to be nothing short of ridiculous.  Those feelings have been transferred to the spring-time pick-up.

Terraces were marred by using too large of equipment with large deep-treaded wheels.  Little consideration was made for the way many residents of the city try to maintain the terrace space.  Before and after pictures of the damage the bobcat type machine does to the terrace would make for some interesting conversations with city workers.

This spring the number of folks I have spoken to, or heard from, on this matter regarding the terraces all paint the same picture.

The city, by using the wrong equipment, and not being careful are scraping off topsoil, grass, along with other growth.  In addition they are running the machines over tree roots and riding over curbs and onto yards and gardens.  They leave being ruts and ripped up sod.

That is just not the way the city should be operating, or the way the terraces that many folks work hard to maintain should be treated.

My concern about how leaves are taken from terraces started in the fall of 2009.  It was then the city brought in a bobcat type tractor to gather the leaves from  my terrace.  This, in and of itself, was ridiculous, as in previous years a couple of guys had jumped from a truck, and raked the pile into the street.  It took a couple of minutes.  Then a small jeep-like vehicle pushed the leaves into the lift on the back of a city truck.  The leaves left, and the terrace was not damaged.

But in 2009 due to the bobcat being driven like a 17-year-old with a new license my sod was ripped up, deep track marks were left, and it looked like hell.  All just to get the leaves off the terrace!  Worse was the fact the city crew must have thought this was an acceptable way of doing business.

Again this year we found a way not to need to place anything on the terrace as we have worked hard to keep the space looking nice.  This is, after all, the city we call home, and want it to look nice.  I suspect most of my fellow Madisonians feel the same.

I only wish the city crews that pick up the leaves and brush all felt the same.