These gifts came unpredictably but always affixed with his business card and a personal note. The personal note, however, is written by various comely young lasses in Uncle Rodney’s employ. One from "Shannon" is photographed on railroad tracks. She is not
What a beautiful and lovely Memorial Day weekend. I loaded up on brats Friday at the Brat Fest. My goodness but they are delicious - and so expeditious - those WMC-backing Johnsonville brats! They are evidence that there is a God. God bless America, I say - and this great state of Wisconsin! Pass the kraut.
Aside from that, I spent the entire weekend beautifying the grounds of Stately Blaska Manor.
Does anyone know what a "yard" of mulch is? As a unit of measurement, my Random House unabridged dictionary defines it as "a large quantity." Well, I've got eight of them large quantities of bark mulch sitting in my driveway. Turns out eight yards is a dump truck full. I am actively seeking things to mulch. To a mulcher, everything needs groundcover.
So I tore out two aging and spindly bridal wreath bushes with my trusty American-made Poulan chainsaw (set to "macerate") and replaced them with two viburnams (one a Korean spice said to be more fragrant than the men's dorm on a Friday date night back when "sock it to me" was a catch phrase) and a syringia x prestoniae 'Donald Wyman' that winked at me at the Bruce Co. Let's just say that after rooting all three I mulched the bejesus out of them! They could survive a nuclear winter if it wasn't for global warming.
When Peter the Great was building St. Petersburg, he ordered everyone visiting the city to bring a rock. He needed stone to build the town. When visiting the Blaska Experimental Farm and Research Center, bring a bucket. Ruben Mamoulian will see that you have mulch to go.
Known by their enemies
Some commentary on Eric Gunn's fine article on Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce in the current Isthmus.
- WMC should be less shrill than … Paul Soglin and Dave Zweifel? Hey, these guys aren't supposed to like WMC. Otherwise it would be the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, where the caution flag billows at full mast.
- Paul Soglin criticizes WMC for not specifying exactly who pays for its issue ads, then says he gets funding for his own anti-WMC campaign from "a collection of unions." As the author notes, "he won't be more specific." No sense of irony there.
- WMC "undermines efforts to recruit business to the state" by calling attention to our high taxes? Really? You mean, those big out-of-state corporations don't have their own sophisticated tax departments? They don't get the various tax rankings? No Internet?
Soglin employs the Jesse Jackson strategem: Play ball with me, donate some cash, and I don't picket your shop.
If they respond and they have a meeting, then they do not get singled out, either in our picketing or in what I write.
Where can I get that kind of gig? Paul, large bills in an unmarked envelope taped under the window table at the King Street Ancora and my lips are sealed. Paul Soglin, in the protection racket. I'm so proud!
Soglin's pitch is that big business should quit "doing damage to our public education system."
Maybe Hizz-Ex-Honor should picket WEAC. That's the outfit that is opposed to school choice, that brought suit against on-line virtual schools, that considers home schooling anathema (hard to unionize mom and dad), that begrudges charter schools.
In this cybernetic world, the teachers union still adheres to that late 19th Century industrial model of the schoolhouse as the unionized factory with the blue-collar teachers re-fighting the Battle of River Rouge. Thoroughly radicalized and properly alienated, as Marx so sagely predicted.
Uncle Rodney - and Shannon, too
I am wearing a blue denim cap that reads "Blaska's Express" and drinking from a plastic mug depicting my late father. The effulgent spring beckons use of a barbecue recipe book and an odd assortment of seeds - all courtesy of Rodney W. Kreunen, commissioner of railroads. If you know him, he is Uncle Rodney.
These gifts came unpredictably but always affixed with his business card and a personal note. The personal note, however, is written by various comely young lasses in Uncle Rodney's employ. One from "Shannon" is photographed on railroad tracks. She is not tied to the tracks, however, like one of the Gish sisters or Mary Pickford, times being what they are. Besides, they would slow down the train, Rodney's true love.
Doug Moe in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal got off a classic line:
Media folks love him even though he can never seem to put a period on a sentence, even at deadline.
Moe suggests he write a book. It would have to include the story Uncle Rodney tells of the time he and some young friends called Sir Winston Churchill in 1958. Rodney was selling Triumph motorcycles at the time - British bikes ruled the roads - when he decided to ring up old Winston at Chartwell. I don't remember how he got the number, but soon Sir Winston was on the line. They talked world affairs, for the Lebanon Crisis was afoot.
Now, you have to imagine Rodney's growl imitating Churchill's growl: "You know," Sir Winston began. "I have been given the Order of the Boot." Only three years earlier, Churchill had left 10 Downing Street for the second and last time.
Uncle Rodney is what is known as a raconteur. I define a raconteur as someone who can tell a story that you want to listen to. How many of those do you know? Now it is Uncle Rodney who has been given the order of the boot.
You get what you pay for
No one can blame J.B. Van Hollen for demoting Carolyn Sawyer, the state fire marshall. You just do not write e-mails asking what the going rate is for a hit job. Not if you work in a place with "Justice" in the title.
If I recall, 50 bucks is the going rate for a hit right now.
Anyone working in the Justice Department has to know that e-mails are public record - and that hit jobs are no laughing matter. Except, to an intrigued blogger. I mean, doesn't $50 seems a little low? Maybe that is the price in Price County, but this is Madison - the sort of big time. Fifty bucks cannot include the contribution to the state retirement system. Or worker's comp. Hell, it won't pay for getaway gas.
Earlier, Ms. Sawyer appeared to try to take the elected attorney general out of the loop on the Crandon murders committed by the off-duty deputy. So there's reason a-plenty to make the lady walk the short plank.
Exhibit B is division administrator Jim Warren. He retired rather than take a transfer after a year of "constant war" with Van Hollen's administration. (Didn't Richard Dreyfuss do the movie?) That's according to the Wisconsin State Journal. What that means, I honestly do not know. But I do know this: a new department secretary comes in, especially of a different political persuasion, and some high-level head rolls. It must be a natural law, like the Peter Principle.
I have seen it time and again in 18 years in state government. Either the new boss has to make his bones and sacrifice some poor schlep at the altar of Who's Your Daddy or the holdover underling decides that he knows better than the new guy and to hell with the people's choice, bureaucracy must rule. Probably some combination of both.
O.K., two down and one more to go. Now we have Joell Schigur, director of the department's public integrity bureau, failing to pass a two-year probationary period. Her sin, apparently, was questioning whether J.B. should get a security detail for September's Republican national convention in Minneapolis, lest it be considered "political."
1. Sounds like J.B. should get a security detail at the downtown Risser Justice Center, assuming he crosses the street from his East Wing office in the State Capitol, what with all the cheap hit men about. (50 bucks?)
2. Hey, people can get killed at political conventions, if the Manchurian Candidate is any guide. Or if Hillary Clinton stays misty eyed about 1968. (Too bad about Bobby, eh? It's almost June.) But the real news is that J.B. is expecting trouble in the Twinkie Cities. Hey, we Republicans can only hope that the hotheads try to disrupt the convention. Good for morale, don't you know.
3. Don't get this Schigur pissed off until you determine whether she has a brother named Anton. I'll bet he never worked for less than $75. Of course, a captive-bolt pistol needs only pressurized air so there is no bullet expense. Oh, it's spelled Chigurh?
Keep your eyes on the ball
In previewing last Thursday's County Board agenda. Vikki Kratz of Isthmus wrote:
The County Board - again - tries to pass a resolution urging the Chinese government to talk with Tibet. Hmmm, you'd think they would have something else to talk about these days....
Like, maybe, the 911 emergency dispatch center. But this is nothing new for what I like to call "Live! It's Thursday Night!" Egged on by the likes of John Nichols, the County Board over the years has voted to indulge in such vanity issues as impeaching a president or renaming Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples Day."
I personally beat back an Ech Vedder speciale that urged the immediate release from the federal pokie of one Leonard Peltier, South Dakota murderer of multiple FBI agents.
Who sponsored this latest stinker? Supervisors DeFelice, Miles, Wheeler, Matano, Hendrick, Erickson, Downing, Richmond, and Vedder. All libs, by the way.
When you take the eye off the ball this badly, no wonder you are going to whiff on the important issues, like 911 Center oversight. Or the jail. Tick, tick, tick.
I once introduced a county board ordinance forbidding consideration of matters not directly germane to county business. It was defeated.
He's free, free falling (almost)
I am amazed by the 64-year-old French guy who wanted to jump out of a capsule 25 miles up - in inner space, from where you can see the blackness of outer space - and dive to earth just short of 1,000 mph., to break the sound barrier with his own space-suited body (if your blood doesn't boil from the lack of pressure) before deploying his parachute. He's crazy, and he defines what it means to be a human being.
The New York Times has the story.