Nudity In Madison Makes For Topic At City Council Meeting

I tried to make my readers understand the issues regarding, of all topics, nudity in Madison with my desire to not make nudity a sex crime.    One should not be lumped with sex criminals for taking a dip at midnight in a Madison lake while the swim trunks remain on the beach, or for making political statements with nudity.

Thankfully some on the city council did understand the issues I raised on my blog.

After some late night emailing to all the alders, and hearing from others in the city that they too wrote and contacted city council members, light appeared at the end of the tunnel.

For that we can be glad.  I hope in some small way this blog made a difference as people read, pondered, and then contacted their alder.  Thanks.

The portion 2(c) “Appears publicly in a state of nudity” was deleted at the council meeting.

From Alder Mark Clear came the following.

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to give you an opportunity to review two amendments I plan to make from the floor to this ordinance amendment, Legistar 22665. See below.

The addition to 3(c) I think is self-explanatory and has the support of the three sponsors.

The sponsors oppose deleting 2(c), and I’d like to offer a bit more explanation.

In my opinion, 2(c) goes too far on the side of legislating morality. I think 2(b) is more appropriate and makes the right balance between what’s indecent, and what’s just plain nude, without other inappropriate context.

Madison has a fine tradition of tolerance for behavior that not everyone may like, but is also not a threat to health or safety. I hope we can continue that tradition.

I look forward to an interesting and perhaps amusing discussion tonight! Thanks.

The Unforgettable Thoughts Of Frank Lasee As He Ponders A Run For U.S. Senate

News today that State Senator Frank Lasee is pondering a run for the U.S. Senate made me wonder how much press one needs in the summer time to stroke an ego.   There is no way that Lasee enters the senate race, but it sure will make the De Pere Republican feel important for a few weeks to be mentioned in the same news columns as Tommy Thompson and other GOP notables.

Then without warning in late summer Lasee will drop off a press release stating he has decided to stay put in the legislature.  His invaluable service is needed there, he will inform all.

Whew!

That is a relief to the people of the state.

Frank Lasee is not suited for long campaigns, nor serious discussions about policy.  When allowed too much microphone time, or too few handlers Lasee can get in trouble mighty quick.

Consider Frank Lasee’s idea to arm teachers in the classroom.

… teachers should be armed in the classroom as a way to curtail gun violence in schools shows Lasee is not a serious legislator.  I had to giggle today while driving around town doing errands that our whiz kid now thinks he needs to modify his idea. (I think the outrage from… well……everybody…. might have led him to understand the folly of his idea.)  Now he says, instead of a teacher packing heat like Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon,  the little ole school teacher would go to a lock box somewhere in the school where a deadly weapon would be stashed for the time when all hell breaks out, and retrieve a handgun to slay someone.

While in the State Assembly Frank Lasee turned his head on deaf children.

As Chairperson of the Assembly Insurance Committee, Lasee is not shy about making sure his campaign contributors in the insurance industry are well taken care of.  In fact, the insurance companies are the third leading contributors to the ‘Lasee Largess’, better known as his campaign coffers.  When the industry gives to Lasee, they expect something. 

This month Lasee was adamant that a bill to deny insurance companies the right to use a persons credit score when setting premiums would never leave his committee. Now his lack of desire to see a bill enacted in Wisconsin that would require insurance companies to pay for hearing aids or surgery for deaf children is yet another sign that special interests have a hold on the member from the 2nd Assembly District.

Frank Lasee has wanted to climb out of his shoes for bigger ones before.  He had pondered a run for Congress, and in July 2008  I made the following comments.

The latest such idea that intrigues me is “Wisconsin Way”, a grassroots effort to discuss solutions for controlling property taxes.  A series of 15 sessions held all over the state resulted in 5,000 citizens weighing in with thoughts and concepts on this issue that seems to continually simmer in our political discourse.  While we all recognize the wonderful roads, schools, and public services we benefit from as a result of living in Wisconsin, there is a need to evaluate the way we can continue to have these superior services, and not create financial hardships due to property taxes.

“Wisconsin Way” sounds like a winner, right?

Well, according to Wisconsin State Representative Frank Lasee this is all about “spenders” who have no real interest in allowing only so much growth in tax and spending.   This response to “Wisconsin Way”, an effort where polite talking and addressing the needs of the state are placed above rants and rhetoric that are often produced in the State Assembly, is really quite remarkable. 

Now I know that Frank Lasee was considering the idea of running for Congress.  So perhaps we should deduce from his thinking, and his actions, that he is bored with doing the work that is required for the voters in the 2nd Assembly District.  Maybe hearing from the average voter in these sessions is not exciting enough since he has Washington on his mind.  Or perhaps seeking solutions ‘outside of the box’ is just beyond the capability of Frank Lasee.

We all will be able to say “WHEW” later this summer when Lasee turns in his press release stating he will not run for U.S. Senate.

Dane County’s Badger Prairie Health Care Center Is Like Nursing Home On Steroids

Difficult decisions to make need not be dreadful ones thanks to Dane County’s Badger Prairie Health Care Center.

If you are like me then you have a certain image in your mind of what a nursing home looks and smells like.  To be honest, far too often that image is still an accurate one, especially in small rural areas.

But in Dane County there is a bright and noteworthy exception to the ingrained images of nursing homes that deserves praise and mention.  Thanks to the commitment of taxpayers to put our money where our mouths are this area has nothing short of a nursing home on steroids.

That is a most remarkable achievement that makes it easier for all involved when making tough decisions.

Badger Prairie Health Care Center is a brand new facility that cost over $22 million and opened earlier this year.  It made me think of the grand Hospice Care building in Fitchburg.  Each facility has been able to transform and soften the rougher edges off tough decisions with the use of design and character of a building.  As such, though it seems impossible to be impressed with a nursing home, after touring Badger Prairie that is exactly how I felt.

Best of all I was made more easy with the decision that had to be made due to the place being staffed with some very commendable people.

James and I have sought out the best care available over the past number of years for a friend who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  As this most frustrating, unforgivable, and damning disease continues to take control of our friend more advanced skilled nursing services are required.

Last week after having visited a number of community-based residential facilities in Madison and the surrounding area I made a phone call to Badger Prairie.  It was late in the day, and the places we had already looked at were coming up short in terms of where we would feel comfortable in placing our friend.

So shortly before 4 P.M. I called the Director of Social Services at Badger Prairie and asked if there was any way to see the facility that evening.  I would accommodate in any way if we could take a tour.

I explained a bit of the back story which involved seeking guardianship of our friend in court this week, his being placed at the VA hospital while we sought a safe home for him, and the clock that was ticking.

With compassion and professionalism I was informed that she did not have kids at home that evening and a tour could be arranged.  Later she commented that the care we showed for our friend was obvious, as was the stress level of making a good decision over his future.  James and I have taken on this task as volunteers and are committed to following through as best we can.

From that point forward things moved quickly.

Clean and fresh surroundings greeted us, along with all the services one would need from barbers to dentistry all under one roof.

I was also very impressed with the ‘green’ technology that has been used to not only help the planet, but also be economical for Dane County taxpayers.

A solar hot water heater warms water used for laundry, showers, and baths.  More than 100 geo-thermal wells were drilled at the site to pull up water from the earth to help heat and cool the site.  These wells are all 300 feet deep and will reduce the need to run costly air conditioners and heaters by helping control the inside temperature.

As always I somehow latch onto odd facts, and this experience was no different.  Most will know that Badger Prairie is one of the oldest, continually operating health care facilities in Wisconsin.  That is very impressive.

Which leads me to my historical trivia angle to this story.  During the Civil War this center helped Civil War widows and their children with their  health care needs.

In a few hours this will be home for our friend.

We think a wise and medically prudent decision was made.

A sincere thanks to those at Badger Prairie who made a tough decision not be a dreadful one.

Was FOX News An Idea Created In President Nixon’s Administration?

As strange as it may be, all things Richard Nixon fascinate and entertain me.  I really do think that Nixon was a premier thinker, and one of the best foreign policy statesmen of his time.

Then there are stories like this.

Please note that there was concern even in the Nixon days over a news network, such as what FAUX News would become, concerning a “flap about news management.”  That ‘flap’ is something that is often the source of concern and amusement here at CP when dealing with FAUX News.  The network is a joke for anyone that is serious about news, policy, and a better understanding of anything.

Now comes evidence that the brainchild of FAUX News, while working in the Nixon Administration, had pondered how to manipulate and distort the news, package it for partisan purposes, and then present it so the average angry white male will watch.  ( I wonder if blonde bimbos were part of the plan way back in the RN days?)

“A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News” (read it here) is an unsigned, undated memo calling for a partisan, pro-GOP news operation to be potentially paid for and run out of the White House. Aimed at sidelining the “censorship” of the liberal mainstream media and delivering prepackaged pro-Nixon news to local television stations, it reads today like a detailed precis for a Fox News prototype. From context provided by other memos, it’s apparent that the plan was hatched during the summer of 1970. And though it’s not clear who wrote it, the copy provided by the Nixon Library literally has Ailes’ handwriting all over it—it appears he was routed the memo by Haldeman and wrote back his enthusiastic endorsement, refinements, and a request to run the project in the margins.

The 15-page plan begins with an acknowledgment that television had emerged as the most powerful news source in large part because “people are lazy” and want their thinking done for them:

Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you.

With that in mind, the anonymous GOP official urged the creation of a network “to provide pro-Administration, videotape, hard news actualities to the major cities of the United States.” Aware that the national television networks were the enemy, the writer proposed going around them by sending packaged, edited news stories and interviews with politicians directly to local television stations.

This is a plan that places news of importance to localities (Senators and representatives are newsmakers of importance to their localities) on local television news programs while it is still news. It avoids the censorship, the priorities, and the prejudices of network news selectors and disseminators.

This was before satellite, so the idea was that this GOP news outlet would record an interview with a Republican lawmaker in the morning, rush the tape to National Airport via truck, where it is edited into a package en route, and flown to the lawmaker’s district in time to make the local news. Local stations, the writer surmised, would be happy to take the free programming. The plan is spectacularly detailed—it was no idle pipe dream. The writer estimated that it would cost $310,000 to launch and slightly less than that to run each year, sketched out a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule with shooting times, editing times, flight times, and arrival times, and estimated that the editing truck—”Ford, GMC, or IHS chassis; V8 engine; 5 speed transmission; air conditioning; Weight: 22,000GVW”—could be “build from chassis in 60 days.” In other words, they were serious.

According to Ailes’ copious margin notes, he thought it was an “excellent idea” that didn’t go far enough and might encounter some “flap about news management.”

Homosexuals Are “Barbarians” Who “Need To Be Educated” According To Michele Bachmann’s Husband

We are aware that there is never a stone that a conservative will not throw at a gay person as long as the projectile can be lifted and fit easily into the palm of the hand.

I offer as my latest example of that truth the words of Marcus Bachmann.

One has to wonder if Marcus Bachmann, the freakish husband of the equally freakish Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, would place homosexuality back on the list of mental disorders.  In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.  It would seem, if one followed the words of Marcus Bachmann all the way through to their conclusion, that there is no way to view  homosexuality except as a disorder.

The audio tape that allowed for the quotes to be made known paint Marcus Bachmann as a very uptight and limited person in terms of coming to grips with the feelings that a person may have about their sexuality.

The husband to one of the most crazed politicians of this election cycle runs a “Christian counseling” clinic that get state and federal funding to stay in business.  Seems the conservative budget cutting rhetoric for slashing needless programs has not yet made it to the Bachmann household!

The words of Marcus Bachmann are unearthed at a time when a growing majority of Americans now support gay marriage, and society has moved in great strides to be more just and equal.  One must wonder just how deep under a rock the Bachmann’s live.  More importantly, one has to wonder how far under the rock they wish our nation to be shoved.

But Marcus Bachmann appears to be on record comparing homosexuals to
“barbarians” who “need to be educated,” according to the recording. 
Speaking on a radio talk show last summer, according to the video, Bachmann
added that “they need to be disciplined.” 

Might we pause and wonder if  Marcus Bachmann wants to have re-education camps that are akin to the ones once used in communist nations that indoctrinated certain values and ‘morals’?

“Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed
to go down that road,” the recording continues. “That’s what is called the
sinful nature. And we have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures
not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps.
And let’s face it: what is our culture, what is our public education system
doing today? They are giving full, wide-open doors to children, not only giving
encouragement to think it but to actually encourage action steps. That’s why
when we understand what truly is the percentage of homosexuals in this country,
it’s small. But by these open doors, I can see and we are experiencing, that it
is starting to increase.”

Oh my gosh!  People in this nation are coming to understand their feelings, live life completely, be happy and well-grounded individuals and make a positive difference to others.

By all means that should end, so sayeth Marcus Bachmann.

It seems to me that what Marcus Bachmann is really stating is that the political power and work that gay men and lesbian women have achieved in America makes him nervous.

To that most Americans would say “Good!”

Which all leads many voters to have just another reason to snicker at Michele Bachmann.

Was John Lennon A Republican?

I would think the flat earth society was correct before thinking John Lennon was a Republican!

Seems to me that someone is trying to make a name for himself and some controversy to further his ambitions.

 A new documentary based on interviews with Lennon’s personal assistant, Fred Seaman, claims that the iconic rock star’s political views had evolved by the end of the 1970’s and that by the time Ronald Reagan was running for office Lennon had morphed into a Republican. As told in the new documentary “Beatles Stories,” the assistant Seaman said, “John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on Jimmy Carter.”

My Letter To The Editor Of The Economist Regarding Gay Marriage Story

I love The Economist.  It is one of the best written and insightful weekly publications to which anyone can subscribe.  I would be lost without this weekly gem.

Having said, however, I was truly taken aback over the photo that was used for the news story concerning New York State’s passage of the truly magnificent gay marriage law in the July 2nd edition.  As such I submitted the following message to the editor.

I was saddened to see the photo that accompanied “Cuomo’s Pride (July 2nd) as it shows a great misunderstanding of gay people who are struggling for marriage rights. 
To publish a most stereotypical photo does a grave disservice to all the average gay people who go to work everyday, pay taxes, and stand in line at the grocery store but who just want the same legal rights as heterosexuals.  You publication is always several cuts ahead of your competitors.  This time however you let your readers down as the photo cheapens the news from New York State. 

State Senators Dale Schultz And Tim Cullen Models Of Leadership For Wisconsin

This past week Wisconsin was greeted with the type of news that has often been too rare over the past seven months.  With deep political divisions shaking the state over collective bargaining, and the rancor created over a highly partisan budget there has been a shortage of news stories from the statehouse concerning bipartisanship.  With sharp rhetoric too often dominating the headlines the Badger State has seen too little comity among legislators.

That seemed to change when State Senators Dale Schultz (R) and Tim Cullen (D) found agreement on a major policy issue regarding the Supreme Court.  Schultz and Cullen are two serious members of the State Legislature who have earned respect.  They agreed that the best way to remedy the highly partisan nature of the Supreme Court, and rein in campaign costs and special interests, is to pass a constitutional amendment to create merit selection when filling court vacancies..

While this blog has long felt that merit selection is a responsible way to proceed while jettisoning the outdated electoral route to select justices, that is not the reason for this post.  As important and needed as the reform being advocated is for the system of justice in Wisconsin, there is a bigger story behind these headlines.

A story that needs to be recognized in this time of partisanship that seems to know no bounds.

State Senators Dale Schultz and Tim Cullen are to be applauded for addressing a real problem with calm reflection, and mutual respect, while placing the needs of Wisconsin ahead of whatever emotions might be swirling under the dome.  Getting caught up in the mood to do the state’s business is more of what needs to be seen coming from those elected to serve.

While the two senators were getting press attention I was reading a book about the highly partisan tensions surrounding the presidency of Andrew Johnson.  There was a quote in Impeached by David Stewart that caught my attention, and made me think of the times we are now experiencing in Wisconsin.

The quote is from Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, a powerful radical Republican from Pennsylvania who was opposed to slavery, and often with those he disagreed with.  Even with his deep convictions he was able to make the following statement at the time of the debate over the Fourteenth Amendment.

Do you inquire why, holding these views and possessing some will of my own, I accept so imperfect a proposition?  I answer, because I live among men and not among angels; among men as intelligent, determined, and as independent as myself, who, not agreeing with me, do not choose to yield their opinions to mine.  Mutual concessions, therefore, is our only resort, or mutual hostilities.

That seems to sum up where we are at the present time in Wisconsin.

We can follow the lead offered by Senators Schultz and Cullen and move forward on the pressing issues of our time, or we can wallow in partisanship that saps the resolve to pursue policy goals that will benefit the state and those who live here.

We can all find fault with this vote, or that issue when it comes to either Schultz or Cullen.  That is only natural when it comes to politics.  What can not be faulted, however, is the desire to rise above partisanship and work for the common good of Wisconsin, which is what merit selection aims for.

The only question remaining is who will be the next two members of the opposite parties to step forward and agree to do the state’s business in the manner the voters wish it to be done?