Whoa hey, when did it get to be the last day of August already? Summer ain't officially over, of course (I won't let it be, dammit!) but change is definitely in the air. Herds of students wander the downtown area, at turns looking both confused and expectant. The slightest hint of a chill hangs behind the still warm air. People all across the state suddenly find themselves scrambling to pack in as much outdoor fun in the next couple of months as possible.
Me, I spent last Thursday with my jaw partially on the floor when I found out that you, good people, had voted me your very favorite blogger for this years' Annual Manual. It was an unexpected, but very much appreciated, surprise. Now I just need to pretend that I don't feel an extra sense of pressure to perform brilliantly, and just keep on with the opinionatin' as though I'm still some anonymous slob with a keyboard.
Which, let's be honest, I pretty much am.
Congratulations also to everyone else that won or placed in the poll, including my good friend and bandmate Kelly Maxwell, who tied for third in the favorite actor/actress category with another friend, Peter Hunt. Much deserved!
Walker's bitter beer face
The Republican Governor's Association recently released a new web ad called "All Time Worst" lambasting Democratic candidate for Wisconsin governor Tom Barrett. In an attempt to appeal to the good, honest, booze-loving folk of our fair state, the RGA's ad people really went all-out with the cheese head paraphernalia. Revelers in the bar are wearing Brewers t-shirts, there's a foam cheese head by the bottles at the bar, and the bartender is wearing a worn "Wisconsin" athletic tee.
Frankly I'm shocked that they neglected to have someone say "you betcha."
The (humorous) problem with all of this, of course, is that the ad wasn't filmed in an actual Wisconsin tavern. And how can you tell? Any self-respecting beer lover would look at the line of taps on offer and see that one of them is for a brew called Blue Point. That's funny because, according to a positively gleeful Barrett for Wisconsin press release, "Blue Point is a small microbrewery in Long Island, NY that is only distributed to 500 locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York."
Whoopsie! Next time the RGA wants to appeal to a state well-known for it's passion for beer, they might want to do their research first. Or, you know, film the spot in-state.
Settle down, Brenda
Over at the blog Forward Lookout, former alder Brenda Konkel has been musing publicly about the possibility of a run for Madison mayor.
I will be the first to praise Brenda for her tireless dedication to city issues and willingness to publish her accounts of government meetings to the internet for easy access and reading. In that way, regardless of how you feel about her political and ideological leanings, one must admit that she's done some good.
However, I have to sigh and shake my head a little at how she frames the arguments for and against a possible run.
I shouldn't be surprised, though, since the number of people who run for public office seems to skew so heavily toward those with an at least somewhat inflated sense of self-importance. Brenda, it would appear, is no exception.
"People are asking me to do it [run for mayor] everywhere I go. And I feel an incredible sense of responsibility to seriously consider it due to their pleas…" she notes, making sure to then go on with, "people are also begging me to run for alder," and "there are others, that are concerned about the role I play in keeping people informed about city…government here on this blog and with WYOU and WORT. If I run for office, who will take over that vital role?"
She's just too damn popular, is the problem!
(Ahem, tell that to the people who voted her out of her previous alder spot)
Like I said, I do think Brenda has done a lot of good for the city and clearly she's passionate about doing what she thinks is right to make it a better place for people to live. My red flags go up, however, when potential candidates go on and on about how "this is what the people want!" instead of just saying that it's what they want.
My long-promised, more thoroughly researched opinion piece on electronic cigarettes will finally go to print in either this week's or next week's issue of Isthmus. I encourage you to pick up a copy to read it, and then of course feel free to write in with your own opinion/reaction. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal just ran a fairly in-depth article that gives a refreshingly detailed overview of the controversy surrounding e-cigarettes. Read it here.
This is interesting. The city just agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the McDonald's on E. Washington, agreeing to pay the fast-food company $312,000 for "losses" the restaurant suffered to its business during the construction of the bike and pedestrian overpass. I'll admit that I'm not terribly sympathetic to McDonald's plight, and less so after reading over the circumstances of their lawsuit against the city. What it boils down to is that McD's felt like it lost money because access to its drive-thru window was hindered by construction, the city had an appraiser determine how much money the restaurant may have lost and paid them $56,000 back in 2006 but two years later McD's came back with their own appraisal, which claimed $408,900 in damages. Madison, in order to avoid a jury trial that would have very likely ended in them paying out the nose to cover McD's lawyer fees and compensation claim, negotiated the settlement instead.
Admiral Ackbar has one thing to say about that: