How Would Wisconsin’s ‘Re-Open’ Crowd Have Acted In London Blitz?

Sometimes the past and present have a way of over-lapping at the oddest moments.  Such as when vocal critics ramped up their volume in Wisconsin recently concerning the stay at home orders.

There is ample reason to ask why during a pandemic, with never-ending awful headlines, I chose to read a book about the German bombing campaign in Britain during 1940 and 1941.  There were certainly light-hearted books on my shelves to have selected from, had I wanted.   The drama that unfolds in The Splendid and the Vile revolves around the first year of office for Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the dreadful weeks of bombing in Britain. If the book had been written by anyone other than Erik Larson I would have made another choice.

To be honest, the book was a tonic of sorts, as I knew the good guys would prevail.  The outcome was one that, though painful to achieve, worked out with a victory history still asks us to not forget.  Leadership from the top and steely determination from the populace were essential ingredients in those war years for the Brits.

While reading about the blitz the louder and angrier voices started to percolate within Wisconsin regarding their desire to end Governor Tony Evers’ order to stay at home.  The pandemic lead every newscast and appeared above the fold in every newspaper, but the protestor’s desire to reach back in time for ‘the normal’ was stronger than the medical data about the virus.  As the bombs were falling within the pages the protesters were on the Capitol Square making demands.

As I finished the book this weekend some questions came to my mind.

Had the Brits been replaced with Wisconsin residents, who now clamor for businesses to re-open and commerce to again ratchet up, could they have endured the stringent requirements to ensure victory?

How soon before some guy from northern Wisconsin would have yelled “freedom” as he turned on all his house lights in flagrant violation of maintaining darkness so to thwart aerial attacks?

Who would be the first ardent person of faith to demand the church bells ring even though a prohibition of such ringing was instituted?  (Ringing of bells was to give notice of an impending attack.)

Who would say ‘no way’ to the demands that bikes be dismantled and the carburetor removed from automobiles?  Or the gas tanks drained from vehicles?

How many of those protesting in Madison would have followed the advice to destroy all maps, so if Germany had invaded the local lay of the land would be more of a mystery?

Those who shun masks today, as though it were a personal affront to be told to wear one, would have been red-hot angry when issued a gas mask in Britain and told to have it with them at work, church, and near their bed.

History shows the lengths human endurance must take, at times of crisis, so to prevail and come through on the other side victorious.  After only a few weeks of staying home with food, electricity, and gadgets galore some citizens in our state make it seem they have been asked to undertake some truly arduous task.

They seemingly have no idea what others have had to endure for the preservation of the many.

And so it goes.

Madison Assembly Candidate Nicki Vander Meulen Interviewed On Doty Land

As a disability advocate and juvenile defense lawyer, Nicki Vander Meulen, Democratic candidate for the 76th Assembly District, speaks about issues with a first-hand narrative.  COVID-19 is the issue that propelled her candidacy for the state assembly. She shares her love of books and why reading was so important to her as a child. The podcast is hosted by Gregory Humphrey.


Pandemic Thriller For Our Times

A friend who wanted to make my reading pile even taller sent me a book idea that does scream out to be read soon.  I read mostly history and biography but also mix it up with international thrillers.  And given the author and plotline, this book is a sure bet.



Publishers Weekly summed the thrilling plot up in this way.

At an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons–microbiologist, epidemiologist–travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city . . . A Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare . . . Already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic . . . Henry’s wife, Jill, and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta . . . And the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions–scientific, religious, governmental–and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller. 

Madison Assembly Candidate Marsha Rummel Interviewed On Doty Land

Providing insight into her past years of public service, Marsha Rummel, Democratic candidate for the 76th Assembly District, converses about what skills she seeks the nomination. From gun control measures to how best to deal with a pandemic Rummel covers many topics.  She even chats about baseball with host Gregory Humphrey.


Wisconsin Bars Lampooned During Pandemic With Editorial Cartoons

These editorial cartoons are perfectly toned and presented.   The actions of bar owners and some drinkers in this state are most concerning.  The desire to get back to ‘normal’ is one that we all understand.  But the lack of common sense and ability to contain one’s worst impulses in the time of a pandemic is really quite remarkable to witness.

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Wisconsin bars OPEN

Madison Assembly Candidate Heather Driscoll Interviewed On Doty Land

With a personal account, Heather Driscoll, Democratic candidate for the 76th Assembly District, explains why she is in favor of reducing gun violence.  From campaigning in a time of pandemic to talking about redistricting many topics are discussed. She shares a laugh over books with host Gregory Humphrey.


State Governments Need Federal Funds, And Soon, Due To Pandemic

There is no doubt–none whatsoever–that the federal government must–and will–provide financial assistance to the states which have been so thoroughly undermined during this pandemic.  The economic necessity of such action is not in question, and while the political show will consume some bandwidth in Washington the end result is not in doubt.

One only needs to read the business section of the newspapers from this past week to grasp the enormity of the cash-strapped states.  In the east New York is projecting its biggest dip will come from a nearly $12 billion hit to sales and use taxes. Way up north Alaska is dealing with oil prices which took a massive hit, while out west Arizona has funding issues from lower individual income taxes.  Meanwhile, California projected a dip of more than $41 billion in revenue through the fiscal year 2021 with a budget deficit of about $54.3 billion.

One primary argument for federal funding to the states is to make sure that budget shortfalls do not impair emergency workers, such as firemen and police, who are central to the proper functioning of local governments.  The faith of the citizenry in local government at a time of pandemic is critical.

If the federal government is smart they will invest in the states and work to keep people employed.  Otherwise, citizens will utilize government benefits like food stamps and unemployment.  Deficits are going to increase this year no matter what happens, but with smart moves, the federal government can make the red ink work to the advantage of our national economy.

The larger overall purpose for the federal injection of funds is driven by economics.  If we are to stave off the worst effects of the recession–and it is a major one to be sure–we must spend money.  With states facing a major tax revenue decline, there must be spending which will aid in the updraft to the economy.   Too many fail to grasp the impact that federal dollars play in ‘juicing’ the economy.  With low-interest rates the return on money from Washington, when timed correctly, will provide the very type of impact that everyone from Speaker Pelosi to Donald Trump claims they want.