"The 12 Signs of the Madison Apocalypse" (1/6/12): Awesome, intelligent, funny and looks great! I commend Isthmus for allowing space for an extended graphic. Alan Talaga and Jon Lyons are a wonderful creative team, and Madison is lucky to have them in our city hard at work entertaining us. More comix! There are never enough.
I really appreciated your Apocalypse story. It kept me giggling and made the whole subject a lot lighter. I think too many people I know are too serious and tend to bring me down. I personally plan on keeping a printed copy of this comic/article in my bag to read throughout the year for a smile. Keep up the good work!
Your depiction of a Madison parking enforcement officer really shows how uninformed you are about the demeanor and duties of these dedicated public servants. Roads and sidewalks would be impassable. Streets would not get plowed or swept. Abandoned cars would proliferate. Trees would not get trimmed. Roads would never be resurfaced. Your commute would be reduced to one lane. Access would be denied to the fire department. Driveways wouldn't be drivable. Buses would unload passengers in the street. School zones would be much more hazardous. It would really be the Madison Apocalypse if any or all of these duties were left unattended.
Living in the past
Marc Eisen's paean to the glories of high-speed rail "(Gov. Walker's Fateful Decision, 1/13/2012) reminded me of the classic Onion "story" "Strom Thurmond Calls for the Construction of a Transcontinental Railroad." The other economic development claims in Marc's piece are also specious, for reasons that I explained in an Isthmus op-ed called "What's Wrong With High-Speed Rail" (9/23/2010).
Marc was apparently channeling Strom when he asked us to imagine a wondrous world where railroads whisk travelers from Chicago to Minneapolis in a mere six hours, "on a par" with airlines - even though dozens of daily flights currently connect those cities in an hour and a half. Billions of taxpayer dollars for a redundant transport option that increases travel times by 300% is not a recipe for Winning the Future.
The simple fact is that America once had an extensive commuter rail network, but it was rendered obsolete by 20th-century technologies. For short trips, cars provide far more convenience and point-to-point connectivity than trains, and planes are much quicker (and cheaper) on long trips. None of these basic facts are changed by a "high-speed" train that reaches a maximum speed of just over 100 mph.
The cost of detox
Joe Tarr's piece on handling those who require detoxification from alcohol ("Madison Police Upset by Changes at Detox Center," 1/27/2012) sheds light on an important issue. The health and behavior of the gravely intoxicated should be managed in a comprehensive detox facility. I am aware from a past association that working at Dane County Detox has been dangerous for the employees. One solution is to fund the facility to maintain enough beds for law enforcement, but also to provide security personnel and the wrap-around services that connect chronic alcoholics with treatment options that reduce recidivism. Addressing the problem on the cheap has forced the county and Tellurian to make hard choices with the funds they are provided.