Printed Wisconsin Blue Books Serve Useful Purpose

Since the late 1970’s I  have held to a tradition every fall, in odd-numbered years, of contacting one of my elected officials and requesting a Wisconsin Blue Book.  As corny as it may sound I anticipated finding out what the cover design would look like, and what the topic of the  feature article would be.  Once I left home I made sure two copies of the book were sent so that my Dad who served 40 years as Hancock Town Supervisor would have his own book to use.

Over the years I have looked back at photos in the books of those who brightened the statehouse such as Gervase Hephner, and remarked how their faces changed over the years. (And their ties!) It is important to me to look back and recollect better days when it seemed that friendships and collegiality mattered as much as partisanship under the dome.

I glance through the books to see how Assembly and Senate districts have changed following each census.  When sending letters to friends I often look for the right zip code by thumbing near the end of the book for pages that hold the correct five numbers.  I have used the book for fast facts on population numbers in a county, or who is the current Circuit Court Judge in Waushara County.

There are countless reasons to have a Blue Book, and as I sit at my desk where all posts are typed for CP the 2009-10 version of the book looks back at me from a shelf.  Senator Risser is currently processing my request for the latest version, but this year I will only need one copy as my Dad passed way this year.

So why am I writing about Wisconsin Blue Books?

It came to my attention that Republican Rep. Tyler August wants to push a bill that would eliminate the printed version of the Blue Book, citing the $300,000 biannual price tag as too expensive in this time of fiscal woes.

I suspect there are many who will reject this idea, and for good reason.

I am one of those who feel that openness and transparency is very important when it comes to government.  Anything that allows the citizenry to better understand and appreciate the workings of government should be encouraged.  The Blue Book, with 985 pages in the 2009 volume, does exactly that.   To remove a valuable resource of this type does not best serve the public.

While the Blue Book would continue to be an online resource, the hard copy edition is used by many who have no computer, or those like me who still find books a most usable way to access information.    While I am computer savvy, I also very much like to hold a book in my hand and read it when and where I want.  I know many feel as I do.

There are countless ways to save money in government, but to shortchange the public for a mere $300,000 every other year over the printed version of the Blue Book is a most nutty way to budget.

Might I suggest reform of the per-diem process for elected officials.  Now we are talking about some serious money-saving!

Glorious Sunset In Madison

Blustery fall weather can make for some remarkable sunsets.  Madison enjoyed one of those intense and inspiring times this evening as the sun broke through what had been a mostly cloudy day and left an impression painted across the western sky.

Read Randy Hopper’s Police Report From Fond Du Lac DUI Arrest

From the Fond Du Lac Reporter comes the police report of the facts that led up to the arrest of former State Senator Randy Hopper for driving under the influence.

I might add that drunk driving in Wisconsin remains one of the top ten focal points of this blog.  First time offenders need to be treated tougher in this state.    All should be supporting the desire by Governor Walker and members of the legislature to make drunk driving a most serious offense, starting with the first DUI.

At 5:54 p.m. Sunday, Deputy Nicholas Venne arrived at Festival Foods, 1125 E. Johnson St., to talk to the 51-year-old complainant, the complainant’s wife and his daughter about Hopper’s alleged reckless driving that was first observed in the town of Calumet in northeastern Fond du Lac County, according to the police report. 

The 18-year-old daughter of the complainant said Hopper almost got into a head-on crash with a blue Mazda near Bud’s Landscaping on Highway 151 in the town of Taycheedah, according to her written statement.

The complainants who filed the report against Hopper told [Fond du Lac County
Deputy Nicholas Venne that [Valerie] Cass approached their vehicle after Hopper
was taken away and yelled at them. Cass had to be physically restrained by a
woman who came to pick her up. Cass also attempted to take a photo of the
family, according to Venne’s supplement to his report.

The Life Of Muammar Gaddafi In Pictures From BBC

I always thought Muammar Gaddafi, when viewing photos from his young days, had the look that Hollywood could have used.  His dramatic clothes and dash of color made him stand apart from the crowd of leaders on the world stage.   Sadly all the flash and spark was wrapped around a tyrant which made everything seem so incongruent. In the last decade or so the spectacle was more comical than serious.  Had it not been for the crimes he committed against his people it would have been a pure joke.

Video Of Muammar Gaddafi’s Bloodied Body

History and justice merged in Libya today.

This all reminded me this morning of Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed with his wife on Christmas day in 1989.  He was a despotic Rumanian Communist leader who demanded slavish subservience at home.  His end was as justified as that which played out in Libya today.

Picture Of Dead Muammar Gaddafi, How His End Came

In the last fortnight, National Transitional Council (NTC) forces mounted a
major offensive against the city and succeeded in pushing Gaddafi loyalists back
towards the sea.

The last significant pocket of resistance was reported to be in District 2,
in the north-west of the city.

In the early hours of Thursday it appears that some pro-Gaddafi forces
attempted to break out.

An armoured convoy of vehicles, which according to some reports contained key Gaddafi loyalists and his son, Mutassim Gaddafi, attempted to fight their way through NTC lines.

It is not clear whether Col Gaddafi himself was part of this convoy or
whether the convoy itself formed part of a wider diversionary plan to allow him
to slip away.

At around 0630 GMT Nato aircraft are reported to have attacked the convoy,
according to Daily Telegraph reporter Ben Farmer approximately 3-4 km west of
the city.

There are some reports that Col Gaddafi was then
initially captured, with serious injuries, at around noon on Thursday.

Pictures circulated by Agence France-Presse showed a large concrete pipe in
which the deposed leader apparently took refuge.

Arabic graffiti above the pipe reads: “This is the place of Gaddafi, the
rat… God is the greatest.”

A fighter loyal to Libya’s interim authorities told the BBC he found Gaddafi
hiding in a hole and the former leader begged him not to shoot. The fighter
brandished a golden pistol he said he took from Col Gaddafi.

A man claiming to be an eyewitness told the BBC that he saw Col Gaddafi being
shot with a 9mm gun in the abdomen at around 1230 local time.

NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters that Gaddafi had been wounded in
both legs.

Al Jazeera footage apparently showing the body of Col Gaddafi
Al-Jazeera TV broadcast footage
it said showed Col Gaddafi’s body

“He was also hit in his head,” he said. “There was a lot of firing against
his group and he died.”

Grainy video footage has circulated among NTC fighters appearing to show the
former leader’s corpse.

A separate picture of Col Gaddafi’s body apparently being dragged on the
ground was aired by the Al Jazeera news channel.

Rick Santorum Says He Will Die To Stop Gay Marriage

Wow!

Confederates said they would die to never allow slaves to be freed, and now news comes that Rick Santorum says he will die in order to stop gay marriage from happening in America.

Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning, but would not a noble calling be more in line with Santorum’s supposed Christian perspective?

One can only hope that once Rick Santorum drops out of the presidential race, and does not feel stress from being the candidate in the basement with about 1% support, he might reconsider his remark about gay marriage.

It is a most outlandish statement.  A sad one..

But so is Santorum’s desire to see a repeal of all federal funding for contraception as in his mind it is “a license to do things in a sexual realm.”  REALLY?  So that is what contraceptives are for!  Well, well.  Thanks for the news flash, Rick.

Perhaps if Rick Santorum did things in a sexual realm more often he would be less of a prick on the national stage.

Keta Steebs Provides Lesson For All Of Us

There is no doubt that 2011 will go down as a year filled with sadness and stress for those that make up the group I call my family.  From funerals to recovery, and a path that I was forced to take for justice to be secured has all made for a year that  has been a lot to deal with.

But after reading the latest column by Keta Steebs (the classiest lady I met in Door County) I am reminded again that life is supposed to be an adventure.  The future always worth waiting for.  Deep down I know that, and so it is not rocket science to recognize it as a fact.  But there are times after long periods of turmoil when a reminder of the basics are needed.

As Keta writes she was given an assignment in 1936-38 freshman English class to write her autobiography.

The last paragraphs of Steebs’ column in the Door County Advocate sum up the trials of the times she lived, and also ends with a line we all need to embrace…with head held up high.

You would never guess that this upbeat diary was written by a child living in an uninsulated granary during the toughest decade this country has ever known. When writing about standing in line with my wagon for our monthly allotment of “surplus” food — rice, flour, lard, etc. — I did not dwell on the sad state of affairs that brought our family to this point, I just write that I stood next to a real cute guy from another school and, “Can’t wait for next month!”

The end of 1937 brought the following report: Spain, China, Japan are all in wars, the Hindenburg crashed, Jean Harlow, Amelia Earhart and Andrew Mellon died, strikes everywhere, a lot of old folks died. Can’t wait to see what next year brings.

While I am ready to spin the pages of this year, and get to another chapter I too am looking ahead and as Keta writes, “Can’t wait to see what next year brings”.

I see a new rose garden surrouded by rocks from back home.