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Pentagon Shuts Down Press Availability—Going On One year

April 17, 2019

America take note….

A date you should be aware of and concerned about.

On May 31st it will be ONE YEAR since a Pentagon spokesperson has briefed on camera to the press. Combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, ships at sea, tensions with North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, suicides, moldy military housing…..

First and most obviously, we ought to set an example of integrity, honesty and accountability for both within and beyond our government. Given the importance of the military’s life-or-death missions, and its longstanding traditions of duty and honor, it is Defense’s duty to lead the way. It can set that example best by being forthcoming when queried, admitting when we make mistakes and demonstrating the ability to recover, even as we have an appropriate level of accountability. The Navy’s handling of the two major collisions in 2017 — enforcing ruthless accountability by firing much of the chain of command up to the most senior admirals, while providing a transparent process throughout — is a fairly good example of this, but it is becoming more the exception than the rule.

What Species Will Become Extinct With Glacial Melts?

April 17, 2019

One of those sites from Mother Nature which remain with me is from the airline as it left Seattle.  It was a clear day–which is far from a certainty when wishing to view Mount Rainier.  For a long time I was able to look out of the window, and then look back again, and still see the power of that image.  I had the window seat as I knew James was exhausted and would fall asleep as soon as we took off.  (He did.) But I think folks can sleep ‘in the future’ so take in everything when able–and so those images of Rainier lingering off in the distance is a joyous one.

Which leads me to this link— a most powerful series of pics and maps that open with this link–it will be different from any other news story you click today. Click and learn.

As surely as they are melting elsewhere around the world, glaciers are disappearing in North America, too.

This great melting will affect ecosystems and the creatures within them, like the salmon that spawn in meltwater streams. This is on top of the effects on the water that billions of people drink, the crops they grow and the energy they need.

Glacier-fed ecosystems are delicately balanced, populated by species that have adapted to the unique conditions of the streams. As glaciers shrink and meltwater eventually declines, changes in water temperature, nutrient content and other characteristics will disrupt those natural communities.

“Lots of these ecosystems have evolved with the glaciers for thousands of years or maybe longer,” said Jon Riedel, a geologist with the National Park Service who has established glacier monitoring programs at Rainier and other parks.

Rape And “Kids Will Be Kids”–Shocking Statement From Madison School District’s Joe Balles

April 16, 2019

News of a rape at a Madison high school stirred the community last week.  It is more than just another incident or criminal act that has made for headlines, as rape is a most violent and offensive crime.  A pair of 15 year old boys were arrested for the attack in a bathroom.

That is awful, in and of, itself.

Then came a response from the school district which shocked many, given the nature of the attack.

Joe Balles, the school district’s safety and security coordinator said, “Our buildings are full of kids, and kids will be kids. As terrible and tragic as that incident sounds, I would just ask that people just be patient. Our schools are very safe but there are incidents that are going to happen from time to time.”

The callous nature of the district response was shocking.   But more stunning still was the idea that “kids will be kids”.  It was just one phrase from saying “boys will be boys”!  I am appalled and incensed that this attitude exists from any part of the Madison School District.

“Kids will be kids” is the biggest cop-out for this school system that seems to have lost its guidance system and any sense of reasoning.  There is NO way for Balles to excuse or marginalize the aggressive behavior that took place at the expense of a teenage girl.  I am not sure how Balles was raised, or how he might be bringing up his children, but in no realm of reality does the acceptance of violent behavior get the approval of residents of this city.

To have stated that “kids will be kids” gives a wink and a nod that certain behaviors come from being male, or as with this case, allowing for toxic masculinity to cloud common sense.   I am not having any of his horse rot from Balles.

If that is the quality of thought that comes from the taxpayer money for his services to the district than, I for one, call for his resignation.    In 2019 what he said must not be tolerated.

The World Mourns Norte Dame, Today We Are All Parisians

April 15, 2019

The world is one today.  With sadness.

UPDATE—The iconic towers of Notre Dame Cathedral have been saved!

The fire at Notre-Dame cathedral sucked the air from my lungs as I heard the news from a phone message.  James had lived in Paris as part of his studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. Many a time he had been to “Our Lady”, the iconic symbol of the beauty and history of Paris.   He has often talked about attending the funeral for French President François Mitterrand at the cathedral.

Today that place known the world-over is mostly gone and as I post late on Monday afternoon the spire is gone, and while brave firefighters are trying to safe something of the remaining structure, the French Interior Minster has warned that they were not certain of being able to save anything more.

As I commented with a woman via Facebook in Paris who has been a part of our world-wide family, and others spread across this country one thing is most clear.  Today we are all Parisians.

We can be of any religious stripe, and reside anywhere on the face of the earth, and still feel this loss in our gut.  What has been lost is a grand historical marker to our humanity.   This was far more than bricks and mortar.  Inside the walls were paintings, glorious stained glass windows, religious artifacts, and the architecture of an age now gone.

We have lost a huge slice of history today.   It is most sad.

Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena And Elvis Presley–Weeks Before Demolition

April 14, 2019

I have nostalgic feelings about the large concert venues that dot our nation.  Not that I have been in many of them, but rather just thinking of the stars who have performed under their domes, along with the massive crowds who have stood and applauded, and doubtless relived the shows many times for the rest of their days. All that brings a smile to my face.

From Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana which was razed in 2001 (where Elvis performed his final concert in 1977) to the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena which is slated for demolition starting May 1st, (where Elvis last performed in 2007) these structures were filled with musical history.

From my front lawn, and looking out over Lake Monona, the domed Dane County Coliseum glistens on days of sunshine.  From sitting in the third row for a Wayne Newton show (first of two separate tour performances of his in Madison I bought tickets for, and the first and only time I ever waited in line for tickets when they came for sale) to the Dolly Parton show (James’ first ever concert of any kind), to Eddie Rabbitt, Larry Gatlin, and many more the coliseum holds grand memories.  My story can be told multiple ways by millions concerning these venues nationwide.

Such as with the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Green Bay regarding Elvis Presley and his April 28th concert appearance.  This show was the one I had urged my parents to attend.  I wrote about it in my book, Walking Up The Ramp.  We were not in the audience, and sadly, history proved my strong suggestion we should have attended to have been a wise one.

The Green Bay News Chronicle reported that show this way.

All this came to pass, and at approximately 9.30PM the house lights darkened. After a hyper-dramatic drum roll, the Presley backup band soared into the theme from “2001: Space Odyssey.” Just like you heard it was out at his fabulous pyrotechnics at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Not quite, though; time plays tricks, even sapping the talent of superstars. There stood the King all of a sudden, not jowly, pudgy, or flabby – but pale and unsteady, a rather slender common man wearing a white and gold-encrusted jumpsuit just a size too large.

If you wonder what the show sounded like there is a complete bootleg recording of the performance.  God Bless the bootleggers who have allowed so many musical recordings to be shared with fans worldwide.

There are also, given the fate of the arena, current memories of that concert in Green Bay.

Shirley Romsos wasn’t just there when Elvis Presley played Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena on April 28, 1977.

She was in the front row. 

She didn’t just stand in line to get tickets for what would go down as most famous concert in the arena’s 60-year history. 

She was the first in line. 

Romsos was in her 20s when she and three of her co-workers at Fort Howard paper company left work early on a Friday morning in March to begin a 22½-hour wait for the box office to open the next day. They told their foreman they were all sick. Nice try, but he wasn’t buying it, so they confessed to what they were really up to and off they went

The photos of the concert abound.

Pictured is EP with Sherrill (Shaun) Nielsen  who this blog posted about at the time of his passing in 2010.  His voice, if you know your gospel music, is most remarkable–as he proved during Elvis concerts.

There were many Elvis scarves thrown to adoring fans at concerts--and the one in Green Bay was no different.  In the latter portion of the video on the link the Green Bay (April 28th) concert is mentioned.  With the scarf tucked into a bra!

Mementos from dignitaries given to Elvis at his concerts, such as that from famed Green Bay Packer legend Bart Starr, are now located at Graceland.  Starr served as quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1956-1971. He gifted this Green Bay Packers helmet to Elvis at one of the king’s Green Bay shows. Elvis’ name is spelled out on the back of the helmet, too.

Many a memory to be had all because of one concert decades ago at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena.  It that arena could talk what tales it could tell!  It is easy to see why there are so many nostalgic voices sharing their stories about the performers who graced that building.   May the stories always live.


Paul Soglin Plays Role Of John Adams In Madison

April 13, 2019

I was truly sad to read news this morning concerning outgoing Mayor Paul Soglin.

In what can only be termed the snarkiest move yet played by Soglin, there is evidence to suggest he has no intention of attending Tuesday’s swearing-in of his successor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, along with the new city council.  One need not agree with how campaigns are conducted, policy proposals placed before voters, or political tactics taken leading up to an election, but once the voters have made their choice it is incumbent for the whole of the governing establishment to gather to inaugurate new leaders.

What Soglin has planned is just not the way mature people conduct themselves when they accept the responsibility which comes when seeking the will of the people at the ballot box.   While this city has often witnessed the petulant side of Soglin this is perhaps his most embarrassing display.

Upon reading the article my mind went back to the pages of history I love so much.  My backward trek stopped in 1801 as Thomas Jefferson was to be sworn in as our nation’s third president.  His predecessor, President John Adams, had scattered from the new capital city hours before the inauguration.  It remains one of the most difficult to understand self-created smudges on his national story.

In much the same way Soglin creates an imagine of someone who has not taken his loss with dignity.  There is no honor lost in entering the political arena and not winning.  There is much more to glean from the manner in which a person stands when coming short of a goal, than how the same person responds with a victory.  That instruction from youth is one that should never lose its place in the course of life.

When that lesson is lost it makes for a most unbecoming part of the memories of otherwise colorful and credible personalities.  I trust that someone close to Paul Soglin will encourage a change of his thinking come Tuesday.

After all Soglin should know he is playing to the history books.

What Can Go Wrong At Walmart? Ohh….Plenty!

April 13, 2019

James and I boycott Walmart because of their business practices.  We have not been in any of their stores since 2010.  There are just too many reasons not to spend a single dollar for any of their products.  One of the advantages of not going to Walmart is we never encounter the famed Walmart shoppers.  It does not bring me any pleasure to report what is printed below took place in Wisconsin.

Pure white trash.

The Eau Claire Police Department identified 46-year-old Lisa Smith and her 25-year-old son Benny Vann as the suspects. (Source: Eau Claire Police Department)

A mother and her son are in custody after causing a ruckus at a Walmart Wednesday night, police said. Their dog chipped in, too.  The Eau Claire Police Department identified 46-year-old Lisa Smith and her 25-year-old son Benny Vann as the suspects. Investigators said the dog is named Bo.  Responding officers said they found Smith yelling in the doorway trying to summon Bo.  Smith allegedly brought Bo into the store without a leash, so he easily ditched his owner and started running up to unsuspecting customers.

So far so good, right?

While Bo was doing that, Smith began tearing apart store displays and placing them in her shopping cart, police said.  Walmart staff asked her to leave, and she complied. Police said she left the store to perform karate moves in the parking lot.  Bo, on the other hand, had not been brought to heel. By the time anyone found him, he was on his way out of the store with a box of Jiffy cornbread muffin mix in his mouth.

What more could possibly go wrong at Walmart?

Police arrested Smith, but it wasn’t without a fight. She allegedly kicked out a patrol car window when they finally got her in custody.  Meanwhile. police said Vann was running amok inside the store. He allegedly took off all of his clothes in the rear of the Walmart and exposed himself to everyone around him.  Fortunately for them, he tried to cover himself by putting on the clothes Walmart had on the racks. Even so, police said he didn’t try to purchase them, so that is also a crime.  Officers approached and commanded him to end the madness, but he refused. Authorities said Vann even used a scooter in an attempt to run over an officer.  But law enforcement physically stopped the scooter and took him into custody.  Vann faces charges for lewd and lascivious behavior, disorderly conduct and retail theft. Smith is charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and misdemeanor bail jumping.

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