The Northeast Quadrant drill team has performed at Juneteenth celebrations.
I ate two grilled hamburgers, heard some good rap music (not gangsta) and talked to some nice people. I stayed clear of the dunk tank, for which I was nominated by more than one attendee. As Bob Uecker might say, "Ah these fans! They love me."
And the squire of Stately Blaska Manor does not do basketball.
Everything came together for Shamawyah Curtis except for sub-60 degree weather in August. At least, no rain.
Her "United We Stand, Family & Community Unite" event Saturday, August 29, at Elver Park was a success, it says here.
Shamawyah coordinated committees for food, the basketball tournament, talent show, guest speakers, fund-raising and marketing, games, volunteers, and community research. A big undertaking for this first annual family and community event. Turnout was solicited throughout the southwest side of town, especially from west Hammersley Road, Balsam/Russett, Park Ridge, and Allied Drive.
The partisan mischief makers are portraying Saturday's picnic, organized chiefly but not exclusively by black people, as a rival to the efforts of the "older white men," as the State Journal likes to call them. Actually, Saturday's United We Stand does not compete so much as it complements the Neighborhoods Restoring Safety effort, which formally proposed a code of conduct and resident bill of rights Wednesday evening at Falk elementary school.
The mayor was scheduled to speak but I left beforehand because I am pissed that he blew off Wednesday's meeting at Falk. You cannot diss some residents and cultivate others without creating your own divisions. Consider that Tom McKenna was conspicuous by his presence at the Saturday picnic.
People who put their money on one silver bullet are betting on failure. There are many paths to heaven. Good cop, bad cop. Beatles/Stones. That kind of thing.
The event's brochure confirms this common purpose: "We are the people in the community that are tired, concerned, and motivated because we know that we are responsible for the outcome of our community. We have decided not to just talk about the issues in the community but to do our part in bettering our community by using our own God-given gifts."
That's pretty laden with value judgments. I like that they reference God in their work. It is no accident that pastor Jim Monroe, whom I saw again Saturday, is involved in this effort. He also made an important appearance Wednesday at Falk.
So think of the Code of Conduct as Old Testament (think 10 Commandments). Every community has standards; successful communities have high standards.
The United We Stand effort is New Testament ("love thy neighbor"). One does not supplant the other - my Bible has both books. Both posit a heaven and a hell and a judgment day to sort out who goes where.
If we need encouragement to do good; discouragement to do evil is reinforcement.
United We Stand had a great idea. It wanted to connect people with our many social services. Saturday, 32 of them were represented under a big tent. Resources like Briarpatch, Public Health, Turn Around Teen, Alcoholics Anonymous, Unidos, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts and Neighborhood Watch. Picnic-goers who got eight of these organizations to stamp their card qualified for a raffle. That's how the event encouraged picnickers to visit the vendors.
There was also a great police presence; I saw Officers John ("Don't quote me") Amos, Justine Harris, and Sgt. Mike Hanson.
Now, let's be the Blaska you all know and love. I told a very busy Shamawya Curtis that her quote on Isthmus' The Daily Page struck me rather queer. Hey, you want dialogue? Then let's dialogue!
As quoted by Joe Tarr, Shamawya talked about sports breaking down barriers. When you're playing in a basketball game, you think about winning, you don't think 'Oh, he may be a police officer,' or 'He may be a drug dealer down the street.'"
I told Shamawya that Blaska's Blog would never pre-judge a person by suspecting that someone might be a police officer.
WHAT?!?!?! "He may be a drug dealer down the street?!!!!" "Or a police officer?"
All the same? Matters not? Once you go one-on-one with the neighborhood junkie you learn that he's really not such a bad guy after all? Ms. Curtis said she talked to Joe when she was multi-tasking and that she did not mean to leave that impression. I'm good with that. I'll go with the statement on their picnic brochure that I quoted above.
Rust never sleeps
What do Democrats do when they're not opening up the jails and prisons? Time's up. Answer: They give criminals more rights!
Dane County Democrats Mark Pocan, Kelda Roys, Terese Berceau, Joe Parisi, Sondy Pope-Roberts, Mark Miller, and Fred Risser have introduced critical legislation (irony alert) to allow felons to vote. Yes, to allow felons to vote before even completing their sentence, although not while still in the hoosegow. Only while on probation or parole.
Now, isn't that just what we need here on the Southwest Side? Maybe Matt Veldran was afraid he won't get enough votes next spring without the hearty support of the probationers and parolees of Balsam and Hammersley. That is why we need Assembly Bill 353. (Satire, folks.)
I can't say it any better than Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen:
"Voting by felons diminishes victims, the law and the sentences judges hand down. It erodes a fundamental right reserved for citizens not serving a sentence resulting from a felonious criminal conviction. The collision of voter rights and felons' rights, in this matter, is not a pretty picture."
The Attorney General, in his written testimony, said Wisconsin would be in the decided minority of states if allowed felons still serving their sentences to vote.
This train don't stop here
A rival Blog poses this brain teaser:
The County Board, which is currently debating whether or not to levy a sales tax to fund a regional transportation authority. Actually, the question at hand is whether to put that question to the voters, through a referendum.
Is this the kind of issue that is dealt with best by the people? What do you think? Are the people of Dane County intelligent enough to evaluate the merits of public transport? Are you? Am I?
Maybe they are as stupid as cows in the pasture. But they are paying the bills. What an elitist question!!! [The Sconz: Trains for Madison]
Slow boat to Oklahoma
I see Jim E. Doyle is leading a trade mission to Israel. How about leading a trade mission to Fond du Lac? Travel in a made-in-Oklahoma Mercury Marine-powered boat! (Like John Kerry to the 2004 Boston Democrat(ic) Convention.) You got to love a union that votes down $20 an hour jobs in favor of $0 an hour unemployment!