I got to confess, watching the County Board "deliberate" its budget Monday night only to be followed by the Madison Common Council Tuesday night only reminds me to thank the voters for giving me time off for good behavior.
One quick thought off the top: Seems my former haunts are avoiding the issues while the city council is grappling them.
For now, however, I'm going with that German chanteuse Lili von Shtupp, who said in Blazing Saddles, "I'm weawy beat!"
The giving season is approaching -- Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is the one time of the year, if any there be, to get out of our own heads, pull over to the side of the road, and look out for someone else.
I have a friend who was diagnosed with an aggressive, Stage 4 cancer. One of the more unusual "good things" is a website that allows Robert's many friends to keep in contact with him, for Robert to tell us what he is thinking, how he is doing in his struggle and for his friends to send their encouragement.
Many of us have rallied to his side for a pontoon boat ride down the Wisconsin River at the Dells, to help decorate his home for Halloween, to have a good meal. It's all chronicled on his web site.
It is called "Caring Bridge -- Free, personalized websites that support and connect loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery."
I asked Robert if I could share his individual site with my blogospheroids. "I'd be flattered! :)" he responded.
Phed up with Phelps
A federal jury in Baltimore, Maryland, last week awarded $10.9 million to a father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by members of a fundamentalist church carrying signs blaming soldiers' deaths on America's tolerance of homosexuals. We're talking about that Kansas nutcase, Fred Phelps.
In a similar situation in Wisconsin recently, motorcycle riders circled the grieving to shield them from the group and their depredations. While I am not opposed to a little street justice, that is inviting vigilantism.
Some worry about the precedents for free speech (even Renew America.) They need not. No funeral, no wake, no visitation, no burial is a public occasion. All are by invitation only. Yes, even Reagan's funeral. Even if the burial occurs on taxpayer-owned public land. The mourners are entitled to go about their mourning without having to dodge placard-wavers and insult chanting. That is the essence of the mourning experience and publicly owned cemeteries that do not provide this service are not fulfilling their duties.
Even if the demonstration emanates from a public sidewalk, if it can be heard or even seen at the burial site it is disorderly conduct because burials by their very nature are private matters.
That principle was established when protestors fought for the supposed right of rich women to become members of Augusta National Golf Club a few years ago. Police parked the demonstrators on a side road. There was no need for them to disturb Tiger's swing.
For that matter, placards and chanting are prohibited at the Madison Common Council meetings.
Chum for Nabilcy
I have to acknowledge that Kyle Nabilcy is correct about the Dick Cheney poll. A 2004 public opinion poll confirms that nearly 85 percent of Americans find Vice President Dick Cheney to be a singularly unattractive, completely unlikable and a politically disgusting man.
In short, citizens find Cheney to be an "extremely ugly" person, dropping him from his usual ranking of "ugly."