Thanks For Working To Spruce Up Hancock, Wisconsin

Not for the first time does this blog take an interest in Hancock, Wisconsin.  I grew up there, and have countless memories of how it once looked.  From a Main Street that housed many businesses to the well-maintained and orderly homes and yards that stretched out in all directions.  It was never a community of rich people, but it was always  tidy and a proud place.  There is still much to work with in the small village, and I am so glad that there seems a real intent to do just that very thing.

Among the first places to start is making sure that the ordinances in place are observed and followed when it comes to making sure properties are properly maintained.

This year when the property tax bills go out to Hancock residents there will be a letter that will encourage people to maintain their homes and property.   I understand the need for such a letter, but as a 51 year-old man I am also taken aback that such an action would be needed.  After all, where is the pride of home-ownership and community spirit that should just move a person to do the right thing without being asked when it comes to the place where one lives?

Should the letter not be enough to nudge the ones who fail to upgrade and maintain their homes then ordinance violations will have to be issued.

I sincerely applaud board member Sue Dietz, and others who have worked to make sure Hancock moves forward by honestly addressing the needs that this village has at the present time.  It is not always easy in small towns to make such calls, but when it needs to be done it takes local leaders to step up and make a difference.

What Is Wrong With Alec Baldwin?

I very much echo this sentiment found today in The Atlantic.

I don’t really understand how there can be much debate about Alec Baldwin’s tendency to insult people who have angered him with the word “faggot” (“c********ing fag” to be specific). “Faggot,” like most slurs, is a word used to remove a group from the protections of society. It is not incidental that slurs frequently accompany acts of violence—both systemic (withholding the protections of the law) and personal (beatings, torture and killings). 

Along with that societal estrangement comes an entire series of justifications—physical weakness and immorality being the main ones. When Baldwin calls someone who has angered him a faggot, he is invoking those justifications. He is saying, “Your behavior is like that of a gay man and you should be treated as such.” It is not a mistake that this reaction accompanies a temper bordering on violence. 

This is bigotry. And it is not complicated by the fact that Baldwin  supports marriage equality. One need not believe that LGBTQ human beings are equal to support their right to marry, any more than one needed to be an anti-racist to support abolition, or an anti-sexist to support women’s suffrage. There any number of self-interested reasons to support the advancement of civil rights. “Let them niggers vote” or “let them fags marry” is actually a politically consistent position. It says, “I don’t like you, but I’m not willing to put my tax dollars behind my dislike.” Or even, “I don’t like you, but I think I can profit from taking this position.”

Progressives, in this enlightened age, should not be in the habit of handing out cookies to bigots who happen to be politically sophisticated.

How Madison, Wisconsin Reacted To President Kennedy Assassination

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There is a most remarkable front page story in this week’s Isthmus.  As America observes the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy Stu Levitan writes a most nostalgic and appropriate article that underscores what Madison was doing at the time of the tragedy, and how the city felt and reacted when the news flash from Dallas was  reported.

I am glad that Levitan starts with a story that is well-known about Senator Kennedy being in our city On November 20th.  This whole article is well worth you time as we prepare for next week.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1963
Cloudy, humid, high 48

President John F. Kennedy begins his last full day in the White House with a Western Union telegram to UW-Madison President Fred Harvey Harrington. Kennedy congratulates Dr. Harry Waisman and his colleagues at the UW Orthopedic Children’s Hospital on that afternoon’s dedication of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Laboratories, funded in part by a $255,000 grant from the Kennedy Foundation. Kennedy, whose sister Rosemary had developmental disabilities and was given an early, primitive lobotomy in 1941, salutes Waisman on his efforts to “conquer the vast field of mental retardation and its attendant problems.”

In a six-hour visit that afternoon, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and brother-in-law R. Sargent Shriver, director of the Peace Corps, tour the laboratories, attend a scientific symposium and hold a dedicatory luncheon at the Memorial Union.

“The room was abuzz with excitement,” remembers Waisman’s son, Don, who hung up Kennedy’s coat. The Waisman Center, created in 1973, continues the groundbreaking research conducted at the Kennedy lab.