Blaska's take laughable
David Blaska's jeremiad for corporate First Amendment rights (Opinion, "The Push to End Free Speech," 1/14/11) is laughable considering the nation's current reality. The middle class is being decimated, labor unions are demonized and delegitimized, shadowy forces flood our election campaigns with obscene amounts of cash to push a corporate agenda, and the U.S. Supreme Court condones corporate personhood in its Citizens United decision.
Blaska's pitting of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce against "the resources of Madison Newspapers Inc." is a classic straw-man argument. Blaska sets up a legitimate constitutionally protected press organ for attack to elide the difference between corporations and the media.
Finally, Blaska's argument for corporate personhood illuminates the right's à la carte attitude toward constitutional interpretation. Usually conservatives hew to an originalist interpretation of the Constitution - i.e., if it's not in the Constitution, it is not legitimate. But when it comes to rights of personhood for corporations, conservatives are wont to say, "Oh never mind that these rights are not mentioned, we know they are there."
I guess somebody has to stick up for those poor, beleaguered corporations.
Nathan Weber says he was "almost sickened" to read the article about Kaleem Caire and his vision for a male-only charter school (Letters, 1/7/11). I felt truly sickened to read his letter.
Weber suggests Caire harbors racist beliefs for calling attention to how the Madison school systems (and many, many others) fail to meet the needs of African Americans and other students of color; but Weber's own statements strike me as true racism.
Weber asks, "Can we say, 'People should be responsible for their own actions no matter the race,' without being labeled racist?" I suggest we consider a different angle: Let's admit we are all probably racist, for we cannot live in a racist society without being so, and let us be responsible for that.
More whites need to stand alongside Caire and others to call attention to these issues and to take a hard look at what we do in our institutions and in our everyday lives to establish and continually reestablish these disparities.
Nathan Weber does not seem to understand that a black seventh-grader can be treated differently because of his skin color, and then get angry about it. Instead, it's "racism." He also seems to expect that a seventh-grader will be the "bigger person" and rise above the unequal treatment, rather than doing what Kaleem did as a kid. He reasons that only white people help black people because he sees it on the news, despite the fact that Kaleem Caire himself is devoting his life to helping black people.
His anger really defines a modern version of racism: Pretend things were equal in the past and are still equal, and black anger is just reverse racism.
Is Isthmus on Mayor Dave's side?
The Isthmus article defending Mayor Dave ("Soglin Blasts Cieslewicz's Management Style," 01/14/11) is no surprise. For years Isthmus had a weekly article about what Mayor Dave was doing. I don't think the paper can be unbiased.
You seem to forget about the thousands in taxpayer money Mayor Dave spent to study his pet project - streetcars. Or about his removing people from committees because they voted against his proposals - Carl DuRocher is one example. Or backing candidates against alders who disagreed with him. Or his backing of the Edgewater project even before hearing what citizens had to say.
Mayor Soglin was innovative. When the State Street Mall was proposed, he held a meeting for citizens to make suggestions. He saved the bus company by getting federal funding. The Civic Center was built using existing buildings, which saved a lot of money for taxpayers. These are just some examples.
I would hope Isthmus would at least make some attempt to give equal coverage to all candidates running for political offices.
The news editor replies: The "weekly article" was actually an online feature listing items from the mayor's schedule. The Jan. 14 article focused on Soglin's criticisms of Cieslewicz's management style, said this is an area where the mayor's nice-guy image has been tarnished, and described his treatment of one worker as "shabby."
In defense of Eloise Anderson
I am writing to set Bill Lueders straight about Eloise Anderson ("Tough Love, or Tough to Love?," 1/21/11). Lueders tries to characterize this complex women by taking some quotes out of context. Eloise is hardly a knee-jerk conservative ideologue, and I was surprised and glad when the new governor appointed her.
If there is one value that has always been close to Anderson's heart, it is personal responsibility. She believes people ought to act in their own best interests and do the right thing. Maybe Lueders' experience as a striving semi-privileged white columnist gives him a perspective Anderson lacks.
I wasn't surprised to read that Mayor Dave has not gotten a call back from Gov. Walker (Madison.gov, 1/14/11), after Dave reached out in a genuine manner. This fall Walker touted his "Transition Office," asking residents to contact him. I did, multiple times, in a very civil voice (even congratulating him on his election). Despite that civility, I received zero contacts - not even an auto-generated reply. I felt as if I had been duped, jerked around.
I expect zero transparency from our new governor. He says Wisconsin is open for business, but it feels more like it's just for sale.
Editor's note: After our story went to press, Walker did set up a meeting with Mayor Cieslewicz. See column item.