Bigotry Should Be Expensive In America

This week has been anguishing as we learn of the police barbarity in Minneapolis and the outrageous behavior of at least two people in our nation as they attempted to make the color of one’s skin an issue for just being in society.  (This is 2020!)

Christian Cooper was birdwatching deep in the woods of Manhattan’s Central Park when he noticed a rogue cocker spaniel digging up the shrubbery around him.

Many of the birds he spots stop by for the dense plants, so he approached the dog’s owner early on Monday with a request: Could she leash up the canine, as the park rules required?

Amy Cooper said she would be calling the police instead.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” the white woman told him, pulling out her cellphone and dialing 911.

Less than 24 hours later after a video of their exchange went online, she has lost her dog, her anonymity, and her job — the latest incident in a long, too-familiar pattern of white people calling the police on black people for any number of everyday activities.

There was also this most disturbing incident where black people were treated as if they needed to have paperwork to prove who they were, and why they were somewhere a white man did not think they belonged.  What in the world is wrong with people when they think their bigotry can just be unleashed as they please? In this case, Tom Austin, the managing partner of F2 Group, found his venture capitalist’s office lease was terminated after a viral video showed him questioning black entrepreneurs using the gym in a building of which they were all tenants.  This is how the nation once had black swimming pools and drinking fountains.

The price for bigotry must be high, and higher still until those who need to be taught how to act in polite society have learned their lesson. Public shaming and national scorn are the correct measures to tamp down on the bigots and racists. Perhaps Amy Cooper and Tom Austin can hook up for coffee and white sheet shopping.  They both are repugnant.

And they both were taught a valuable lesson this week.  One that nation needed to witness, too.

And so it goes.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s Green Screen Glitches

Everyone in the nation who has a public persona needed to come to terms with the pandemic which struck in March.  We have all been alert to the home decorating styles of some notables, and have even had national discussions regarding the books which line the shelves of pundits and reporters.  Over time people on camera have improved their location for air time and adapted nicely.

Not so much for Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Early on in the crisis, it was easy to understand why the ‘green screen look’ was needed so to keep information flowing from the mayor.  A green screen background allows for a person to seemingly be in front of something for a broadcast.  Early in the crisis, the black outlined ‘aura’ around the mayor’s image on television was understood.

But on May 28th to see the same technical glitches as Rhodes-Conway spoke in front of yet another green screen makes Madison’s city government look as if we do not have one tech person employed in the entire bureaucracy.  She was addressing a desire by small businesses to add more table space to our sidewalks this summer.

The mayor should realize it is fine to be broadcast from her home.  There should not be a pretense that she is somehow not doing what so many others in this city are doing.  Being safe and in many cases working from home.  She does not need to appear to be at someplace she is not.  By pretending she is, and having the technical glitch of the green screen, makes Madison appear we are not ready for prime time.

Enough already.  Just do the broadcast from in front of the mayor’s bookshelves.  That will make for positive feedback from a city of readers and booklovers.

And so it goes.

Face Masks Make Sense, Republicans Should Know Better

Science and facts are not new themes to be pushed on Caffeinated Politics.  While a robust and even frothy back-and-forth should evolve on the issues of the day there can never be the skirting of logic and reason.  When those are jettisoned all that is left are the rabble shouting.   As such, I am most dismayed at what is happening in our nation over the use of face masks during the pandemic.   I can not even fathom needing to post such a line in 2020.

Face coverings have sadly emerged as a political Rorschach test. Republican leaders are less likely to mandate them, and Republican voters are more likely to forgo, and even scorn, them.  We can only wonder when these conservatives will wish to bring back the cutting edge of leeches to ward off illness!


This is a perfectly stated article in The Washington Post.

Joe Biden donned a face mask for a few minutes Monday as he laid a wreath at a Delaware war memorial. He wore it again, briefly, when CNN’s Dana Bash came to his home for an outdoor interview.

The president could hardly stop talking about this. On Memorial Day, President Trump tweeted a bit of snark about Biden’s mask from a former Fox News host; on Wednesday he tweeted the same thing, adding a personal assessment that Biden “looks better!” On Thursday morning, the president retweeted an article that went even further, warning that a pandemic masking requirement “provides the foundation on which governments continue to justify emergency measures and rule by executive fiat.”

“So many different viewpoints!” added the president. His campaign is running ads showing Biden with a mask near a Chinese flag while Trump, mask-free, stands in front of an American flag.

To the amazement of Democrats, the president has consistently put himself on the unpopular side of a not particularly divisive issue: whether to wear a mask while in public spaces. He has done so while elevating a series of stories that have had no noticeable impact on public opinion, or opinions of Biden, beyond his already-loyal base. The result: a campaign full of accusations and battles in the culture war, with no detectable impact on voters.

“It’s the Trump administration’s own recommendation,” Biden digital director Rob Flaherty said of wearing a mask. “The idea that we’re going to be on our back foot on something people support? We think it’s a great opportunity for the VP to lean in.”
Polling has consistently found that most Americans are comfortable wearing masks when they go outside or mingle in public and that they would like to see the president do the same. In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month, 72 percent of voters said that the president should wear a mask when he goes out; in a Quinnipiac poll last week, 67 percent of registered voters said the same. In the first poll, 48 percent of Republicans recommended a mask for the president, and in the second, 38 percent did.

Plenty of elected Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and several red state governors, have embraced pandemic masks. Conservative media, which the president pays close attention to, largely hasn’t. There have been exceptions, such as Fox’s Sean Hannity telling viewers that a “temporary” mask policy would do no harm: “Do it for your Mom, your Dad, your Grandma, your Grandpa.”

If being a mask wearer means I am a smug liberal, let it also be stated I care about my health and am determined those in my home will make it through this pandemic. I take the pandemic seriously and am most willing to make a personal sacrifice to save lives.

I have no idea why conservatives would not join in with this most human approach.  One would think their often claimed love of ‘family issues’ would make wearing a mask a no-brainer.

Perhaps no brains might be more the case with those folks then we originally thought. 

Ron’s Restaurant In Plainfield Not Rebuilding Following Fire

Today the news was made official on Facebook from the family who owned and operated Ron’s Restaurant in Plainfield.

After great thought we are saddened to announce that we will not be rebuilding Ron’s. I’ve asked my parents to retire, the long hours on those cement floors have done a number on my mom’s joints over the past 33 years. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about the restaurant and our customers since that has been our lives and the employees and customers alike are like extended family. I’ve tried to come up with a short sweet story here and it always ends up turning into a novel. So that being said we hope you all are staying healthy in these trying times and have a wonderful summer. 

Readers to this blog know my fondness for this restaurant as it dates back decades for my family.  I have written about that diner on my blog over time and was very pleased to have been able to write the lead story in the local newspaper about what that place meant for customers.

I can truly appreciate the desire of the family to step back from the business.  I can only say the fond memories of Ron’s, the staff, the folks who gathered and shared smiles and laughter remain. They will always be treasured.


Donald Trump And The Mexican War


While reading some military history today about the Mexican War two quotes jumped off the pages.  They were made in 1847 and 1848 and yet both resonate in 2020.

Gideon Pillow (pictured above) was a staunch ally of President Polk.  He was appointed by Polk as a major general for Winfield Scott.  Pillow had no skills and proved to be inept.  (Just like the person who is pictured alongside Pillow.) What Scott wrote about Pillow, however, caught my attention at once.

“He was the only person I have ever known, who was wholly indifferent in the choice between truth and falsehood, honesty, and dishonesty–ever as ready to attain an end by the one as the other, and habitually boastful of acts of cleverness at the total sacrifice of moral character”

Hmmm……….who does that sound like?

The other major general in the Mexican War was Zachary Taylor.  As Sidney Blumenthal writes in A Self-Made Man there was hatred for Polk from his generals.

In November when a false rumor of Polk’s death reached Taylor in his camp, he wrote a friend, “While I regret to hear the death of any one, I would as soon have heard of his death if true, as that of any other individual in the whole Union.” 

There are always so many interesting slices of history to discover and be amused about in books.  Blumenthal is a masterful researcher and writer and his volumes on Abraham Lincoln, from which these quotes come, are well worth the purchase and time reading.