Jennifer Dorow’s Unsound Judgement On Mingling Guns And Alcohol Calls Into Question Her Suitability For High Court

When I think of Wisconsin Supreme Court justices my mental image constructs a serious person with law books and one of those expensive type pens that write smoothly and has a nice heft when held. I recall the mesh market bag that held at least ten legal tomes as Wisconsin Justice Shirley Abramson placed them into the back of my car for a trip to Door County. She was a guest speaker at an event packaged by our legislative office, and I readily introduced my sincere interest in being her means of transportation. I would argue she best exemplified and epitomized a member of the high court in both intellect and legal reasoning, as well as temperament and personal composure. After all, that court must be viewed as a place of decorum and high personal standards.

I have been giving thought about the type of person best suited to sit on the court as our state enters the final weeks of a primary contest where four candidates vying to fill the seat of a retiring conservative member. (Place aside for the moment that merit selection would be a wiser and more appropriate way to fill seats on the court.) There is no way to not think about the type of person we need on the court, especially when reading the news this weekend.  One of the candidates, Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, has been constructing a business plan in Delafield for an indoor gun range with a liquor license.  Potentially alcohol-fueled guests could also buy firearms and accessories on-site and use them on a shooting range.  One might assume there will be convenient cups and glass holders near to where the bullets are stored for easy access for the paying guests as they load the deadly weapons. I have never heard of a more potentially dangerous business plan. 

Nothing of this type has come before the local Marquette Neighborhood Association, where over the years I have attended meetings on proposals for many an entrepreneurial design. While many were interested in making money and having success with their venture, no one would have ever so foolishly entertained the marriage of alcohol and guns.  Dorow is just plain wrong to play so close to potential injury, or worse, as she seeks to make money.  This business plan, in and of itself, serves notice as to why she is not fit to sit on the Supreme Court.

Our state has many complex and weighty issues that percolate up to the court that then await the review and findings of the justices. Citizens obviously have sincere, and at times, very diverse opinions as to the proper outcome of such cases.  But win or lose, at the end of the day, the populace must have a feeling the justices are credible individuals. Folks around the state most likely are not much aware of the nuances of the law and state statutes, but they can relate to the foundations that a justice must first have a solid character and basic common sense as a prerequisite for being elected.

Dorow alerts us to her lack of seriousness for statewide office as a justice when she endorsed combining alcohol sales, gun sales, and a shooting range.  Why not ask for a daycare center in an adjoining room?

Five Memphis Police Officers Charged With Murder, Treated Tyre Nichols Akin To “Human Piñata”, House Cleaning Needed In Memphis PD

Absolute and justified rage could be felt in the newspaper stories from the Memphis Commerical Appeal over the past two weeks as the details of events surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols were reported. Today a bombshell landed that would have made the UPI teletype machine back in my radio broadcasting days send bells sounding as news of the five police officers involved in the traffic stop that precipitated Tyre Nichols’ death were charged with second-degree murder. The young man died January 10th, three days after a traffic stop near his mother’s home and after what Memphis Police called a “confrontation.”

But those who have viewed the police cam footage have a different perspective than it being a mere “confrontation’. Lawyers describe the video, which the public at some point will see as an “unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating” for three minutes, saying Nichols was allegedly treated like a “human piñata” by the officers.

The swift moves by the district attorney and legal system underscore the gravity and overwhelming evidence that points to depravity among these five officers, but also a lack of professionalism within the ranks of the Memphis Police Department. There is no way that five officers out of the blue (no pun intended) act in such a fashion, and in unison without there being a rot in the entire system that requires a top to bottom wholesale cleaning. This type of behavior did not just occur due to the alignment of planets or the lack of enough strength in morning coffee. The top brass of the police department must be addressed as Memphis seeks not only justice for Nichols, but also a complete understanding of how this monstrous crime could have ever happened.

Nichols “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” according to preliminary findings of an autopsy commissioned by his family after being stopped by officers on suspicion of reckless driving. Reports in the Appeal stated police wrote initially that a “confrontation occurred” as the officers approached his vehicle and that Nichols ran away. There was then “another confrontation” as the officers arrested him. For a traffic stop. No one should be murdered for a traffic stop.

In addition to the horrific murder of Nichols, I wish to add how much this hurts and unfairly defames police officers around the nation. While most police officers are not of the stripe found in Memphis and pictured above, they will still be viewed in a light that undercuts their authority and required necessity in our society. That is another reason a complete and immediate evaluation be made of the practices of the Memphis Police Department. The nation needs to see a reckoning of justice in this case.

U.S. Correct To Supply Abrams Tanks To Ukraine, Putin Needs Reality Check

The United States’ policy to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine is the proper course of action to take.  The fact we are months late in taking such a course of action is the concerning part.  We can be proud of the commitment our country and other Western democracies have shown in the face of Russian aggression against a sovereign nation.  At the same time, we must be mindful of the mushy ground that those like Congressman Mark Pocan planted their feet when dealing with this war, a move in 2022 that still deeply offends.

In 2022 Progressive House Democrats sent a letter to President Biden asking that he pair the military and financial support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push” that involves direct talks with Russia. It remains one of the most serious mistakes that the group made by playing into the efforts of Russian President Putin to lure some members from the Western alliance to make concessions. Since no one should make concessions to a nation that has committed war crimes goes without saying. But what was equally damaging was promoting a course of action that only would result in prolonging the war.

It was most troubling that Progressive Democrats signed the letter, with seemingly no awareness, that Putin has every intention to change the historical narrative of the last hundred years, not just the years following the end of the Cold War. He wants to make Ukraine, Europe, and indeed the whole world conform to his own twisted version of history. There can not be an inch of wiggle room when it comes to what Putin gains from this act of aggression. The letter was a sign of weakness and damaging to the long-term interests of the NATO alliance. But, hey, there was probably a quick and fleeting political upside that more concerned the signators.

I like peace, compromise, and diplomacy, but first, the aggressors that blasted homes, schools, and hospitals must be removed from Ukraine. No one starts negotiating the wishes of the madman when he still holds a dagger to the throat of the victim.  Therefore, the news that we will supply 31 M1 Abrams tanks, the equivalent of one Ukrainian tank battalion, is a solid move and worthy of praise.  But the reluctance for months to make the move is concerning and warrants attention.  While it seems Germany may have been the force to push the Biden White House to make the shift in policy, it must not be seen as the last move our nation will be required to take with heavy armaments as this war progresses. The process of consideration and study within the White House requires some modification so as to meet the real-time needs of the Ukrainian soldiers who are doing the work on the battlefield.

Not only are the tanks a solid and lethal way to address Putin’s military, but it sends a clear and unmistakable statement the West will not relent or bend the way of Congressman Pocan. Talking can only occur with a real reduction in attacks by Russia and a removal of their troops from the soil of Ukraine.  

Putin has been delusional in his views about a reconstructed Soviet type-era of countries for a long time.  He has often talked of Russia having been “robbed” of territory going back to the 1920s when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was established.  In his mind, one that is consumed with paranoia and visions of grandeur, Ukraine can only be sovereign in partnership with the homeland, Russia. To that fallacy, the West says, NO. The M1 Abrams tanks will go far in alerting the autocrat to the limits of his delusions.

24th Day of 2023, 39 Mass Shootings, 69 Dead

By the time I get to the end of this post, I will check my news feed to see if an upward adjustment to the number of mass shootings and deaths needs to be made. It is a hell of a situation we find ourselves in as a nation. At the age of 60, I find myself writing about gun deaths with the same sense of frustration as when a middle school student. That is when I wrote my first letter to the editor of our local newspaper, the topic being the number of needless deaths from cheap handguns.

This morning The New York Times started a news story about mass shootings in a fashion that underscores the enormity of the problem in the nation. Such violence is not simply a part of the large urban landscapes, such as Los Angles, or within the mean streets of inner cities like Chicago where drugs and gangs too often predominate.

There was the mass shooting near a youth center in Allentown, Pa., and the one at a Subway restaurant in Durham, N.C. Another took place behind a beer hall in Oklahoma City, and another at a strip club outside Columbus, Ohio. Two mass shootings ended parties in different Florida cities.

And that was just on New Year’s Day.

For many years I would write a blog post when the most recent and deadly gun carnage made headlines in the nation.  They happen with such frequency, however, I just instead opt to head to the front lawn and bring the flag to half-staff.  What more can be said about the barbaric slaughter from our fellow citizens, the frenzied desire from a sick subset of the populace to amass guns and weapons and bulletproof vests, or the spineless and cowering politicians who kneel to NRA lobbyists and gun manufacturers? What I do know is that we must never relent in our demand that reason and common sense win out over the complete insanity from the gun culture in our nation. We have witnessed 39 times this far what more guns, easily bought with few limitations, has brought upon our country.

I read with interest and much agreement the comment from a Minneapolis reader in the NYT when she made the following cogent argument. There is a real need to talk about what drives some men to act with such depravity and what social conditions allow them to believe their actions are ‘warranted’. I would add hyper-masculinity is very much a danger in the nation, and we need to have our schools, churches, and social organizations address it publicly while parents step up their skills to talk with their sons.

Something’s very wrong in American society, and the ridiculous availability of firearms of every description and capacity has been and is a symptom of something much deeper in the American psyche. That killing is so compelling and apparently so easy and irresistible for so many American men and boys shines a spotlight on the morality and values they are raised with, either by parents who inculcate those values or by the larger society that surrounds, advertises, coerces, and threatens that if you are male and are not comfortable with casual, angry, ego-driven violence, its endless expressions in sports and entertainment, and its gruesome instruments, somehow you are not a real “man.” Unrelenting, unthinking, “me-first” capitalism is also to blame. If you’re a man, having your own way in everything is a first principle of “success” in America. Just look around at the troubled and troublesome men America is obsessed with. Who is in the headlines day after day? How did they get there? If you can’t be one of them, just get yourself a gun and you can have all the power in your own hands, at least for a few minutes.

At this point in our gun-soaked and consequently blood-soaked nation, it is no longer the aim of gun control legislation advocates to stop gun crimes, but rather to stem the increase and start to roll back the numbers. The enormity of the issue can be seen in just the past three days in California where gun laws are on the books (and yes, I know the sound rationale for federal laws so weak states cannot be sources for gun sales) but even with more rigorous laws hell still broke out.  However, we must not lose sight of the data that consistently shows that sane gun restrictions make society safer overall. 

One of my reasons for this foundation can be found in a Rand study that was talked about on the news this weekend.  Due to California having tougher gun laws, only 28% of California adults with those deadly weapons in their homes.  As the reporter alerted viewers contrast that to Missouri where nearly 50% of homes had a gun inside.  The steps required to bend the curve towards sanity and away from the gun culture will be slow and come in a variety of ways.   The reason it must be done is in front of us daily.

Madison Youth (And Adults) And Personal Responsibility

Following one of the news stories from Madison this past week reminded me, once again, that parents and adults who supervise young people have one goal to undertake from the moment they lift their head from the pillow until they place it there again at night. One thing that must constantly be at the forefront of their day.  That is the requirement of being an adult in every situation that deals with a young person.

Madison news was filled with reports about a 16-year-old girl being charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in a stabbing at a city park that doctors said could have killed a 14-year-old boy. Obviously, the adult court will be required to deal with this outlandish and unacceptable behavior. The weapon was a kitchen knife, and the violence was the continuation of a fight that started at a middle school.  Adding to the absurdity of this story is the report the stabber’s aunt drove the 16-year-old and others to and from the park before and after the fight.  The aunt, it was reported, told the teenager to get rid of the knife, a weapon that when found at a local business garbage can, still had blood still on it.

As I read this story my mind rushed back to my teen years when an uncle would load a bunch of cousins in his car and drive……to the latest Star Wars movie.  Kin from all over the midwest would converge at the grandparent’s home for a long, wonderful summer week.  No headlines were ever made for any newspaper to report.

What in hell allows for the outcome that made headlines in Madison about the stabbing?  How is it that this city can produce spelling sensations—kids I love to post about each year as they spell words I never even knew existed—but also have a middle school fight that extends to a park and a knife wound that doctors said would have been fatal if the weapon had been inserted only three more millimeters?

We love to talk about poverty and family structure and great social inequities, and yes, while all that plays a part in such madness there is still something else missing from the discussion.  Something that is lacking in homes and the upbringing of young people. There needs to be, must be, a strong understanding that personal responsibility is central to all actions taken.  In this case above, not only for the student with the knife but also very much so for the adult who demonstrated extremely poor judgment. What happened is staggering to read about.  What is most troubling is that none of it needed to have happened at all.  

What I sense to be lacking in our city-wide conversations is the lack of regard that personal responsibility plays not only in the lives of individuals but how that then impacts the city as a whole. That responsibility is just not for the youth of this city, but also for the adults. I understand what I write will be tuned out by some and rejected by others.  Some will say I am just too removed from today’s youth and their concerns ‘to understand’.  To all that I say the foundations for family and personal responsibilities do not change, though the decades do.

Parents and adults need to instill values in kids about how respecting oneself and others is the only way to make it through life successfully. Our youth need to better understand and be able to work through the fact that not everything in life will go smoothly, but when things get bumpy, we do not lash out, but instead stay calm and work through it. I truly think most will agree that what we really need is to implement the guidelines of personal responsibility that our grandparents employed.  It worked for our parents, and I bet for those reading this blog. But that seems not to be politically correct to say in Madison these days.

Hearse That Carried Elvis’ Body Destroyed In Fire

There is much emotion among many in the nation today as Graceland was opened this morning to the public for a memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis. With powerful words and numerous musical selections, the program was a stirring reminder of the connection fans around the globe have for the man who changed music and culture. Elvis’ family has become a part of the national fabric the way the Kennedy family formed emotional chords of unity.  This phenomenon has been rather remarkable to witness going on for 50 years. Growing up as a teenager in the 70s I was drawn to the music and mood that was conveyed in performances ranging from Treat Me Nice to Its Midnight. From my rural and too-often redneck community, I found strength in Elvis having worn pink shirts and a ducktail in a direct middle finger salute to the norms of his time. His message was not lost on a kid from Hancock who was trying to bend the norms in his hometown, too.

While there are many stories and photos today of the program and the grief in Memphis, I want to take a different path with this post and in so doing add some trivia for fans that are always in search of another aspect to the larger story concerning EP they might not have been aware of previously.

What happened to the hearse that carried Elvis’ body in Memphis in 1977?

My name is Chuck Houston, President of Houston Brothers, Inc., a funeral car dealer in Marietta, GA. Around 1984, I was the last person to drive the hearse that carried Elvis to his grave. Our Company, then known as Crain S&S Sales which my father owned, bought, sold, leased and traded cars with SCI. He did so for many years. He originally sold the car new to SCI. We came back into possession of Elvis’s hearse when Memphis FH updated their rolling stock.We were loaning the hearse to a funeral home in South Florida until their new vehicle was ready for delivery. My father was reluctant to loan the car out. He wanted to hang on to it, the only car he ever wanted to keep in 50 years of business.The funeral home in Florida was one of his biggest customers and needed a white/white loaner desperately. Elvis’s hearse happened to be the only white hearse on the lot. Another employee and I, both of us about 21 at the time (we were going to drop off the car and then spend a few days of spring break in Ft. Lauderdale) took off toward Miami on I-75 around 7:00 pm.Around 10:00 we ran out of gas just north of Valdosta, GA. What was odd is that a tank of gas in those days would carry you from Marietta, GA to the Live Oak exit in Florida with gas left in the tank. That was based on the many, many cars my friend and I delivered to the south Florida area in the early ’80s. Therefore we never checked the gas gauge until we were in the vicinity of Live Oak.

abandoned funeral service car

After running out of gas, we walked about two miles to the next exit, bought a can and some gas and started back up the northbound return ramp toward Elvis’s hearse. Before reaching the highway a Lowndes County Sheriff stopped us, asked where we were going and called us a cab. We got her going again and headed for the gas station to fill her up. Heading south again, we were on our way. Just as the weigh station (the last one on southbound 75) came into sight the engine cut off. I dropped her into neutral while traveling around 65 mph and turned the ignition. When I did, fire shot out from under the hood on both sides. I eased her to the shoulder next to the weigh station return ramp and my friend and I jumped from the hearse as the fire engulfed the front end of the hearse.My friend and I met at the rear of the car and realized all of our possessions were in the rear of the hearse and the doors were locked. We couldn’t get back in the front to retrieve the keys due to the fire having already spread. A truck driver appeared with a fire extinguisher but it was too late. Neither of us wanted to get close for fear the hearse would blow up. So there we stood and watched as Elvis’s hearse went up in flames. A fire truck finally arrived and all they could save was the rear quarter panels, the rear door, and bumper.

Being Classy Matters In Politics

On Friday we observed the two-year anniversary of President Biden taking the oath of office. History will recall that in spite of the lift of the nation for reason and sanity, there was a stark reminder of how it all played out in ways not seen since John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson were alive.

There is a classy way to conduct oneself when turning over power at the White House, and then there are those who act like petulant rubes. As such, two years ago when Joe Biden took the oath of office, we did not see the likes of the photo from 2017 when President Obama and First Lady Michelle welcomed Trump to the White House on the inauguration morning.

Or previously in 2009 when President and Mrs. Bush welcomed the incoming First Couple Barack and Michelle Obama. When class is on display it is clearly demonstrated, and sadly, the same is true when it is severely lacking.

Over the decades of reading history, it is clear that a politician’s character is best observed not when the election victories are secured but rather when defeat needs to be faced. That is when people are made aware of the true nature of someone they otherwise may not honestly know.

We are undoubtedly very aware of who Donald Trump is and what constitutes his character. Showing class would not be one of the words attributed to him.

Gregory Humphrey’s Second Book Rounding The Curve To Completion

It is one thing to write a series of sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, but quite another to fashion them all into a book.  Add into the mix the formatting, frontispiece, photo selections, font style, and the overall dimensions of the project, along with a few months’ hiatus for late fall and holiday enjoyment, and we wind up in January 2023.  Clearly, I do not have the dogged constitution of a writer who knocks out a few thousand words every morning prior to lunch.  

With the New Year underway, I asked the man who formatted my first published work, Walking Up The Ramp, if he might be interested in another project. His response was almost instantaneous and made for smiles at my desk.  “Unequivocally yes”.  While I podcast and record my own History Minutes for YouTube, aligning sentences so that at the end of each page it looks like an adult was in change is simply not my forte. I am most heartened that someone with skills in this type of programming will oversee this aspect of my project.

Final editing is now underway with small details being completed regarding how the book will look and ‘feel’.  My book will be published in time to usher in the new green leaves and colorful blooms of spring.  The book will be available on Amazon.