Sunday, April 20

Rise Up This Morning...

Smile with the Rising Son.

Thursday, April 17

George Will for the Win.

While some activists have moved on to other progressive causes as they've gained civil rights in their home states, plenty still have their eyes on the prize: full legal recognition and equal legal rights for married gay and straight couples in all 50 states.

Read George Will's column today, in that light:

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.

For the many Americans who are puzzled and dismayed by the heatedness of political argument today, the message of Timothy Sandefur’s “The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty” is this: The temperature of today’s politics is commensurate to the stakes of today’s argument.
Sandefur says progressivism “inverts America’s constitutional foundations” by holding that the Constitution is “about” democracy, which rejects the framers’ premise that majority rule is legitimate “only within the boundaries” of the individual’s natural rights. These include — indeed, are mostly — unenumerated rights whose existence and importance are affirmed by the Ninth Amendment.

Many conservatives should be discomfited by Sandefur’s analysis, which entails this conclusion: Their indiscriminate denunciations of “judicial activism” inadvertently serve progressivism. The protection of rights, those constitutionally enumerated and others, requires a judiciary actively engaged in enforcing what the Constitution is “basically about,” which is making majority power respect individuals’ rights.
In other words, despite the political tactics of the Right in recent decades, we don't put individual rights up for majority vote.

Sadly, in the states that did, we've empowered people to believe that other people's civil rights somehow depends on the voting whims of the majority: that they can deny those protections and unenumerated rights based on popular vote.

George Will is writing the way out.
How will we now sell the country on a judicial decision that many will reject as illegitimate in those regions and localities where there is simply no history of recognizing the full civil equality of gay people? This is how. We talk of our system of laws; our reliance as a country on principles of equality and justice.

When you have conservative thinker George Will essentially arguing that:
the "individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom"
"those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected",
then you're already there...

Take a look around.

Tuesday, April 15

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead.

The check is in the mail.
And your little angel...hung the cat out by its tail.
And your husband wants to be a girl.

Be Glad there's One Place in the World
Where Everybody Knows Your Name...
And they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see
People are all the same...
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

~the unheralded first stanza of the Cheers song.
(For real. Check it out if you like.)

Monday, March 31

Out Like a Lamb.

We hit 60 -- repeat 60!-- on the 29th and 30th for the first time since Oct. 13, and only the rain today kept it cool in the 40s.

I saw a robin each day as well, my first this Spring. The dog got a haircut, nails trimmed, the works... so easy now to hose off the belly and paws in the sink. For a smaller one, we do get out "stretching our legs" and it is officially mud season.

I start temp work next week -- grading scoring the state achievement tests as they roll in from the schools; the precursors to the Common Core. It's enlightening, but confidential.*

We've finally turned the page** up here, from what has no doubt been the longest, coldest winter of my life. The snow cover came in November, then more and more, though most of it was weightless, waterless, and fluffy. Then it got cooold.

I don't snowshow, but at most temperatures this year, I could walk on the snow banks that got to be 2 and 3 feet, deeper in the drifts. Now, and for the few sunny nice days we've had earlier, if you step off a trail, you can sink knee deep. Today, I momentarily lost my shoe lifting my leg out (yes, this is why we wear boots...) It was pretty fun, like cracking the edges of the ice off the sidewalk, or stomping through a good clean puddle... ('git snow! begone!)

My Mom wrote of being out doing yard work weeks ago; the snow here has receded only about 2 feet from the sidewalks into the lawns now, but is still a good foot or two deep, and there's no sign at all of any buds, or flowers, or green shoots coming up that I can see. I'm keeping looking though; but not out all that much...

So in closing, here's a tune that's been in my mind, a nice one to close out March, no?:

It's a world of laughter
a world of tears.
It's a world of hope
and a world of fears.
There's so much that we share
that it's time we're aware
it's a small world, after all.

Here's another (on your feet now):
"And righteous men
must make our land
a Nation once again."

* Label your answers!
Show your work!
(Paul gets it.)

** Also, good news: street parking restrictions are lifted tonight!
(It was getting soggy in my spot.)

As with Everything in Life...

I believe it will start
with Conviction of the Heart.

"I think politicians are willing to let history be the judge because they know they won't be around for the sentencing."
~Frank & Ernest, by Bob Thayes.
You say you're aware
believing you care...
but do you care enough?

Where's your conviction of the heart?
~Kenny Loggins.

Sunday, March 30

Let it Rain on my Windowpane...

... well I got my own rainbow.

~Mac Davis.

If Only What Happened in Vegas...

... stayed in Vegas.
GOP hopefuls betting on mega donor in Vegas:

Chris Christie, Scott Walker Court Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson, GOP Donors

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two of the nation's highest-profile Republican governors on Saturday called for more aggressive leadership on America's challenges abroad, emphasizing their support for Israel as they courted powerful Jewish donors.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also stoked speculation about their own presidential ambitions as they gave frustrated Republicans advice on how to reclaim the White House in 2016 after losing two straight elections.

The Republican speakers at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual spring gathering largely avoided criticizing President Barack Obama by name in remarks that were thick with rhetoric faulting Obama's foreign policy while offering few specifics.
Somebody should tell Scott, we got casinos in the northwoods too.

{A}fter the recent passage of a bill that would allow for the construction of what could be the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, Wisconsin’s admirable history of environmental stewardship is under attack.

The mine, to be built by Gogebic Taconite (GTac), owned by the coal magnate Chris Cline, would be in the Penokee Hills, in the state’s far north — part of a vast, water-rich ecosystem that President John F. Kennedy described in 1963, in a speech he delivered in the area, as “a central and significant portion of the freshwater assets of this country.”

The $1.5 billion mine would initially be close to four miles long, up to a half-mile wide and nearly 1,000 feet deep, but it could be extended as long as 21 miles. In its footprint lie the headwaters of the Bad River, which flows into Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world and by far the cleanest of the Great Lakes. Six miles downstream from the site is the reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, whose livelihood is threatened by the mine.

To facilitate the construction of the mine and the company’s promise of 700 long-term jobs, Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last year granting GTac astonishing latitude. The new law allows the company to fill in pristine streams and ponds with mine waste. It eliminates a public hearing that had been mandated before the issuing of a permit, which required the company to testify, under oath, that the project had complied with all environmental standards. It allows GTac to pay taxes solely on profit, not on the amount of ore removed, raising the possibility that the communities affected by the mine’s impact on the area’s roads and schools would receive only token compensation.

The legislation has generated fierce opposition since it was first introduced in 2011. The following year, the bill was actually defeated in the State Senate, 17 to 16, owing to the defection of one Republican, Dale Schultz. After the vote, the Republican majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, told me that “the corporation and their attorneys drafted a bill that may have been acceptable in other states,” with the implication being that the company had perhaps gone too far for Wisconsin.
Last September, several hundred people gathered outside John F. Kennedy Memorial Airport in Ashland, a few miles from GTac’s mining site, to commemorate Kennedy’s 1963 speech, which called for legislation to protect the area’s natural resources and promoted its economic potential as a scenic region for recreation. One of the last to speak at the event was Mike Wiggins Jr., the chairman of the Bad River tribe and the mine’s most formidable opponent.

The Bad River fear the contamination of the fish they depend on for food and the destruction of sensitive wild rice beds that they harvest on the coast of Lake Superior. Mr. Wiggins has voiced his opposition to the mining legislation in private meetings with Mr. Walker, led Wisconsin’s tribes in demonstrations at the State Capitol in Madison and allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars of the Bad River tribe’s scant resources to legal fees to fight the mine.

The Bad River and several other tribes assert that the state has no right to permit the enormous mine without their agreement since the site lies in “ceded territory,” an area covering a large portion of Northern Wisconsin where tribal members maintain special hunting, fishing and harvesting rights enshrined in federal treaties. Last June, one of the tribes established an educational camp near the mining site to draw attention to how the mine would violate its treaty rights, as well as to highlight sustainable alternatives to mining. GTac responded to a minor altercation with protesters unconnected to the camp by hiring an Arizona-based private-security firm, which sent guards armed with semiautomatic weapons to patrol the mine site. (The guards have since been withdrawn; the camp is still there.)

In the Chippewa tradition, a decision is made based on how it will affect people seven generations forward
. By contrast, the company’s optimistic estimate for the life span of the first phase of the mine is 35 years. Last summer Mr. Wiggins played Governor Walker a recording of Kennedy’s speech. Mr. Wiggins said that the governor appeared indifferent to Kennedy’s words; Mr. Walker has never wavered in his support of the mine.

Though GTac has already begun bulk sampling iron ore at the site, the mine still faces many hurdles before it can be permitted. The company has filed incomplete sampling applications with the state’s Department of Natural Resources. GTac’s president, Bill Williams, is facing a criminal inquiry in Spain for alleged environmental crimes, which are unrelated to the GTac mine. The charges state that runoff from an open-pit mine where he once worked as an executive contaminated local groundwater. (Mr. Williams denies the charges and declined to comment on them.) Most important, the tribes will almost certainly challenge the mine in federal court.

Mr. Wiggins and five other tribal leaders have already begun seeking redress from the federal government. Last August, they sent President Obama a letter asking him to direct the Interior Department to prevent the construction of GTac’s mine, citing their claims that the mine would infringe on their treaty rights.

Though the letter did not mention it, five years ago Mr. Obama told nearly 400 Native American tribal leaders, “We have a lot to learn from your nations in order to create the kind of sustainability in our environment that we so desperately need.” The president said that the tribes “deserve to have a voice” and “will not be forgotten as long as I’m in this White House.” Last week, Mr. Wiggins said that although he has gotten preliminary responses from two federal agencies, he is still awaiting an answer from the president.

~Dan Kaufman

Scott to Sheldon? "Teach Me Everything I Need to Know..."
Adelson is known for his devotion to Israel, in addition to an aggressive American foreign policy.

Walker conceded that he does not have extensive foreign policy experience, having been focused on state issues as the Wisconsin governor. But he called for a more consistent foreign policy, reflecting upon lessons he learned from raising his family.

"We make sure with both parents and grandparents that we were unified," Walker said. "We didn't waver. We didn't allow our sons to push the line."
He's a great Dad!
and the bald spot would be nicely hidden under a little round jewish prayer cap. Just sayin'.

But let's not forget how Sheldon's last pick fared with the people: Newt Gingrich. For the record, the article acknowledges that Mr. Adelson was front and center for Mr. Christie's speech to the Jewish group, but did not attend Walker's speech about his family-raising experience.

And Chris Christie tossed in a few funny one-liners too...
Christie briefly addressed his challenges in New Jersey just days after a report he commissioned cleared him of any involvement in the politically motivated plot to create huge traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge last year.

He promised to be more questioning of his staff going forward. "I am going to be responsible for all that happens on my watch," he said.
Heh. Dream of a cleaner tomorrow.
But I bet the crowd ate that shit up...

MORE pandering:
Walker, who is not Jewish, noted that his son's name, Matthew, is from the Hebrew word for "gift from God." He later added that he decorates his residence with Christmas lights and a "menorah candle."

Christie, a Catholic, said he was overwhelmed by displays of religious tolerance during a recent trip to Jerusalem. "I took a helicopter ride from occupied territories across ... and just felt, personally, how extraordinary that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day," he said.

The comment about "occupied territories" drew murmurs from some in the audience. The Israeli government and by extension most of Israel's supporters in the U.S. don't consider the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be occupied territory.

Saturday, March 29

"I Sing; I'm Singing..."

Well now, here's a beautiful rendition of a traditional March, non-marching tune.  The lad has a lovely, even if short-lived, talent.

We can debate the song's origin and meaning, or we can each take from it what we need...

Reminds me, of Michael Furey
Separations, deaths, remembrances, coming back home to the living and the dead:

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling,
'Tis you, 'Tis you, must go and I must bide...

But come ye back! when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow...
Yes, I'll be here... in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
You'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Avè there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!

* Free Bird !

Monday, March 24

Thursday, March 20

Keep Smiling, Kiddo.

Happy Spring.

Monday, March 17

Sunday, March 16

Compromised Independence is not Neutrality

Paul Krugman, kvetching:
So how can this disastrous a failure of the canon’s predictions have failed to make a debt in its dominance — especially when us unicorns were predicting exactly this result?
We unicorns, Paul, we...
(and do you mean "dent" for "debt"?)

To answer your question respectfully, I don't think you realize how much overall credibility was lost when you willingly participated in the behind-the-scenes Journolist enterprise.

Now, when you quote Annie Lowrey, or link to her husband Ezra Klein, people wonder if you are reporting independently, or still spinning for the team.  

By forfeiting your neutrality to participate in the behind-the-scenes liberal talking points, even if you would maintain you did no such thing and just wanted to share your expertise with a select few, people no longer listen the way they would had you never chosen up a side, and had merely kept reporting where the data led you.

Both Klein and Krugman advocated for the passage of the ACA, and perhaps in retrospect, if they had been more traditional reporters/probers/questioners or content with just being an economic scientist offering opinions -- instead of operating as defenders or deniers -- they might have helped the administration more in the longrun in identifying potential fixable problems in the rollout "selling" years than they are now able to do from their compromised positions of neutrality.

That's my theory of why Paul Krugman is compromised, no matter how much he preaches the "correctness" of his track record, honest apologies for his errors and misses, or touts the predictions he's made that are coming true... People have doubts.  It's as simple as that.

Saturday, March 15

Late, Last, Night... When We Were All in Bed...*

Although I follow hockey (not basketball) , I do read the entire award-winning sports section of our local paper -- the outdoors stories are personable, knowledgeable and often, beautiful.  Our basketball team never made it past sectionals the past two years, but made it to state this year and yesterday I finally got to see them play, catching the second half of the game on tv.


Fun to watch, and you could see the love in the way the whole team played together. 

I know the point guard Widdes had a sore night:  he took a hit onto the hardwood floor, and basketball offers no padding.  He hurt.  And will feel it more this morning, and today.  That's the game though, and we wish them luck and playing together at the top of their games tonight.

The strategy seemed sound: Chop away at the tallest tree and the others will tumble with it. 

What Greendale boys basketball coach Ryan Johnsen didn’t know, though, is that those other trees have some strong roots, too.

Rice Lake’s 6-foot-10 Henry Ellenson was the center of attention of Greendale’s defense, but he was just one of multiple standout players who came through with big efforts as the Warriors beat the Panthers 70-58 in a WIAA Division 2 state semifinal at the Kohl Center.
Ellenson, a junior who is one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits, still led Rice Lake. He scored 21 points on 10-for-17 shooting (10-for-13 from 2-point point range), with 22 rebounds and two blocks.

But others made equally important contributions as the Warriors (23-2) earned a spot in today’s 6:35 p.m. championship game against Wisconsin Lutheran.

“Obviously, their game plan was to take Henry out of the game,” Rice Lake coach Kevin Orr said. “They had two guys on him in a box-and-one for just about the whole game.

“But when he gets double-teamed, he’s just going to skip the ball to one of his open teammates. ... (Those other) guys stepped up,” Orr said. “It’s hard to make your game plan against one player.”

Rice Lake senior wing Shawn Magee scored 18 points and had seven assists and a steal. Ben Widdes, a 6-foot junior guard, scored 18 points, hitting 6 of 11 shots (and 2 of 3 3-point tries) and notching seven assists.

“Our game plan was to limit Henry as much as possible,” Johnsen said. “(Senior Mitch) Brees and (junior Chris) Carloni did a great job face-guarding Henry. But Rice Lake has some phenomenal other players ... (and they’re) well-coached.”

UPDATE:  Alas, it was not to be... This year.

* Mrs. O'Leary left the lantern in the shed...
and when the cow kicked it over
she blinked her eyes and said:
Ther'll be a hot time, in the old town, tonight!

I suspect other people just know that tune as a Fight/Cheer song...

Friday, March 14

A Murder in Barron County.

Death in Clinton ruled a homicide

by Eileen Nimm, Chronotype staff
3/12/2014 12:50:00 PM

The suspicious death of a 33-year old man in the Town of Clinton early Monday, March 10, has been ruled a homicide and continues to be investigated by the Barron County Sheriff's Department.
Dead from multiple gunshot wounds is 33-year old Daniel J. Raven of Barron. At 12:32 a.m. a Sheriff's Department dispatcher received a call of a man possibly dead at his residence on a turkey breeder farm about 3 miles north of Poskin where Raven was a farm manager. Deputies responded to the scene and found the man dead.

"At this time we are following up on leads and possible suspects in the case," said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, who said he would not reveal the type of weapon used in the crime. "We believe the public is not in any danger."

Also involved in the investigation are the state Department of Criminal Investigation, the State Patrol and the Barron County medical examiner.

He said Barron County's last homicide was the murder of Daniel A. "Griz" Grindheim, who was beaten to death by David M. Makowski, 37, and Bradley S. Tiegs, 42, both of Barron in January 2009.

In 2010, Barron County Circuit Court Judge James Babbitt sentenced Makowski to 13 years in prison and Tiegs to 12 years in prison for second-degree reckless homicide as a party to a crime.

Three held on first-degree intentional homicide
Two men and the ex-wife of Daniel J. Raven, are in custody for the shooting death of Raven, 33, of Barron, in Raven's Town of Clinton residence early Monday. Trista Hrabak, 29, and her boyfriend, Ian Skjerly, 34, both of 1809 22nd St., Rice Lake, and their friend, Robert McBain, 37, of Cameron were taken into custody Wednesday, each for first-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime.

Formal charges by the Barron County District Attorney's Office are expected Monday. The case along with a motive remains under investigation, said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald at a press conference this Thursday morning. He said Raven died of two gun shot wounds caused by a rifle-type weapon. He did not divulge who shot the weapon.

Raven's girlfriend, Tiffany Workman, 33, called the Sheriff's Department at 12:32 a.m. and reported that Raven was possibly dead at his residence on a turkey breeder farm about 3 miles north of Poskin where Raven was farm manager. Raven's girlfriend's two children were sleeping at the time of the incident, and Workman and they were not harmed.
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014
Article comment by: Mary E. Glynn

Good investigative work in making the arrests so quickly and protecting the public at large. Now we pray the Barron County district attorney's office has enough evidence to work with to secure 3 solid convictions, without settling for guilty pleas on lesser charges to avoid the expense, long hours, extensive preparation, and hard work of a courtroom trial.

If convicted, there needs to be an appropriate sentence in our non-death-penalty state, not just a decade or so in prison, which seems to many out here a mere slap on the wrist for taking another man's life...

Life is precious, not cheap, and real men and women who are not barnyard animals know that it is better to use reason, not physical force, to solve problems. Brainwork. We seem to have forgotten this in the war years, and those attitudes are trickling into our local civil society to our own detriment.

Remember Payne Stewart's plane?

For my money, I suspect mechanical error -- not terrorism -- is at play in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Like with the o-ring on the Challenger,
it's the banality of product failure, simple science sometimes, and not the presence of evil that can make the loss of human life so hard to accept.

Break It Out for Me Now...

Didn't want Neneh Cherry's groove to get lost in that last post, challenging the newly minted journolists, and their ensconced enablers, to prove themselves at the plate already...

"I Got Mine, Now Did You Get Yours?"

My Brother's Keeper ?

Cook County news:

Rev. Jeremiah Wright's daughter found guilty of money laundering

By Ray Long, Tribune reporter | March 7, 2014
SPRINGFIELD - The daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama's former minister, was convicted by a federal jury Friday of laundering thousands of dollars from a $1.25 million state grant for a Chicago-based job-training program.

Jeri Wright said she would "definitely" appeal the verdict in U.S. District Court, which found her guilty of 11 counts that included money laundering, lying to federal agents and lying to a grand jury.

"I didn't do anything," Wright, 48, of Hazel Crest, said as she left the Springfield courtroom.
Her attorney described Wright as a victim of a web spun by longtime friend Regina Evans, the former Country Club Hills police chief who has pleaded guilty to corruption in the case. Evans had secured the state loan for the job-training program but allegedly diverted the money rather than use it for the purpose she proposed.

Prosecutor Timothy Bass contended Wright took as much as $11,000 in cash from more than $30,000 in checks in a scheme where she also sent money back to Evans. Bass maintained Wright lied “over and over” when quizzed about the case.

Bass maintained in closing arguments that Wright was “given an opportunity” and took it in a state that has a “well-earned” reputation for corruption.

Evans applied for the grant in February 2009 for a group called We Are Our Brother's Keepers. The proposal called for 40 people to get training in bricklaying and electrician skills, but the money allegedly was diverted.

Within months, Evans began tapping the funds for what Bass had called a "spending spree," including a trip to Las Vegas, a basement remodeling and the purchase of vehicles for a security business with her husband.

*With all the fresh Millennial journolists working the clean government beat, and all the independently financed new journolist start-ups coming into the business, I'm sure there will be an alert, non-swallowing, Mike Royko-type to keep these grant programs honest this time around...

Question, Question, Question...
and when they feed you an answer that sounds too suspiciously good to be true, question them some more...

It will take practice, and time, which some of these freshly minted liberal arts majors newly installed in their mainstream news positions, might not want to put in. They want to analyze, crack jokes, appear on the talking heads programs, sign a book contract and bank the advance.

Report honestly?
Question authority?
Risk losing friendly power networks?
That's the news-gathering business, babe.

The rest of it is just pure business sales, and tolerating black youth without serious economic or union job prospects because somebody on the team seized the reparation dollars before they could advance the mission intended.

"I Got Mine, now did you Get Yours?"

Sunday, March 9

Saturday, March 8

Championship Saturday.

Verona wins their first state title over unranked Onalaska, 6-1, and the Onalaska co-op girls' team came to life in the 3rd period, but lost by one, 6-5.

Let the games... end.

Smooth Criminal.

Crazy days at the state hockey tourney:
number one seed Notre Dame Academy gets bumped off by Verona, who blanked Superior* the night before.  NDA had crushed last year's champs Eau Claire Memorial to advance, and Onalaska almost needed overtime --  =a fresh sheet of ice -- to get past University School Milwaukee to get into the final round.

Good to see the public schools compete -- some of the privates have team psychologists to help the kids ... visualize winning and be the champions they were born to be, by birthright...  haha.

Good to see hard work and honest play trump entitlement.

Eventually in this country, we're going to see the same shift, as the younger hungrier better competitors overcome those current fatcats, lifting and stealing and pretending they're winning in a real game. 

Once we get a fair field, and each one reaps what he sows without taking from others... boy will we usher in a fresh cast of characters.  That's when America starts winning again.  Now, it's just a lot wallowing... letting the rich lead us down and pretending they lead us all.

Be careful what you inherit,
what it costs your children to entitle them without earning it.

* and Superior got to state by dominating the always overrated New Richmond, 3-2, despite their number 4 seed in the sectional.  The score does not indicate the level of dominance by the Spartans though, as NR had a few goals called off. The Spartans outshot the Tigers 40-23.

Saturday, March 1

2014 State Boys Hockey Tournament
Thursday-Saturday, March 6-8, 2014
Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Alliant Energy Center, Madison

Thursday, March 6 - Boys Quarterfinals
Game-1:   Superior vs. Verona Area - 12 p.m.
Game-2:   Eau Claire Memorial vs. Notre Dame (following Game 1)
Game-3:   Wausau West vs. University School of Milwaukee - 6 p.m.
Game-4:   Onalaska vs. Kettle Moraine Co-op (following Game 3)

Friday, March 7 - Boys Semifinals
Game-7:  Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 at 6 p.m.
Game-8:  Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (following Game 7)
Saturday, March 8 - Championships
Game-10 (Boys Finals) Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (following Game 9)

Friday, February 28

February... 'Git.

February... 'Git.
You came in cold.
No sooner though the door
and you dumped a load.
Dressed you up
in bold reds and blacks...
woke up the next morning,
and your Cold was back.
You spat on us daily,
watched us freeze and slip;
Gramma lost a life
when she broke a hip.
So February... 'Git.
You no damn good.
Bring on the lion... we're
fresh out of wood !

Thursday, February 27

What Arizona Taught Us.

or,  As goes Texas, so goes the Nation.
Do you believe in pulling the band-aid off quickly — 1,2,! — or peeling back the sticky adhesive slowly, prolonging the pain?

Do you believe we should prolong this idea of pursuing a 'states rights' method of equality by waiting for the majority of voters to agree to protect minority rights?

or, does the Supreme Court simply stop delaying the inevitable — which is dividing and tearing the country asunder in some regions — and now affirm the lower court rulings:  that in these days of paternity tests, multiple divorces, and childless marriages, there's simply no legitimate rational basis to continue discriminating against  a discrete insular minority like gay people?

Git 'er done.

Religions can choose to continue to make private distinctions, as the Catholic Church has done in refusing to marry divorcees (except under special conditions they have set up to annul the previous union.) The social conservatives get to keep their rules on what is adultery, held to a higher standard than what people in society nowadays accept, by refusing to recognize in the Church the remarriage without annulment while the original spouse still lives.

Nobody has forced the Church to marry any couples who don't meet their parish, diocese or Catholic standards. The same would be true for gay Catholics, even if the legal civil discrimination is ended. Most smart people understand this. Fear mongers try to hype hate, but the laws for businesses open to serving the public, and private churches differ. Rightly so.

What the Arizona legislature's overreach showed us is the degree of animosity that still exists in plenty of places against equal civil rights. This is not really about religious 'protections'. It's about maintaining the codified right to discriminate against minorities, if you just don't like the looks of them.

Reread, or treat yourself to a first read even, of Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".*  Though addressed to clergymen, he wrote it to you and me, all of us.

Look at today's verbal backlash in some comment sections and twitter feeds. Read the hate dripping off them. Does anyone really think there's not continued discrimination out here that doesn't fall under anyone's banner of simply wanting to practice one's religion freely?

The Court can choose to maintain the position that they are simply keeping the peace as the country as a whole is not ready to accept an equality mandate, without majority acceptance state by state by state. In many places, that will never come...

Yesterday, Texas fell.
That's the biggest state yet to lose in the lower courts, and the first with a solid southern mentality.

So Justices, do we drag this one out slowly, prolonging the pain for plenty of good people, or do we put our heads together in what even Justice Scalia spelled out in his Laurence v. Texas dissent is indeed now inevitable in time? The Brown court crafted a unanimous decision, but what's coming need not include all Justices...

Good people see what almost happened in Arizona, a state with socially conservative aged retirees who exercise their voting power. It sickens plenty of them, pretending such legal moves are necessary to 'protect' their own private faith traditions.

Children of divorcees are no less welcome as guests in private religious homes, even if those homes do not approve of divorce because of the best interests of the children. It really is possible in this day and age to hold private religious beliefs that go against social acceptance of liberal policies, and yet to understand why your own socially conservative rules should not be imposed on the whole of society.

The 'no divorce' in Church rule — but with civil relief from a failed marriage available to all faiths in courtrooms across America —  has worked out well for Catholics in longstanding sacramental unions. Their own marital bonds have not been lessened by a loosening of societal mores.

Children raised in faith-based marriages, where the values are modeled and practiced, don't tend to divorce easily when care is taken in selecting the one spouse who will be with you until the end of days... Even if the child is exposed to divorcees and their children, in places where that is a socially accepted civil option.

I also think that parents of gay people, or parents of divorcees, who might have religious objections to those practices in their faith-based communities, might actually support civil laws that go against their own 'church laws'.  Nobody wants to see their kid stuck in a bad marriage, anymore than they want to see their adult child's love likened to sex with minors, multiples or barnyard animals, as if intelligent people are incapable of distinguishing in good faith. Don't put this animosity and hate at the feet of true Christians, who don't need it done in their names.

We don't need to prolong feelings of artificial superiority for some under the guise of protecting religious beliefs. Those religious beliefs not bourne out of animosity will instead survive, grow and prosper because they are secure rock-solid beliefs, not threatened by others.

Arizona taught us how far things might go, in the absence of the veto pen. How much animosity still exists, not out of fear of religious protections, but out of fear in some circles perhaps that society will see 'lessers' as equals in terms of civil equality.

It's time.
It's time to let in light and fresh air and to let the healing begin.


*16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms....
I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.
My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.  Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" ... This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."... To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the ... great stumbling block  is ... the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises ... to wait for a "more convenient season."

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace ... to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence.
I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth."

Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.

We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy ... to the solid rock of human dignity.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained.
In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime —  the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action.
Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother."

In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern."

And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings.

Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."'

But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent — and often even vocal — sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom.
We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence."
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation.

Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.
One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer.
One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?
I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you... Let us all hope that the dark clouds ... will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, February 24

RIP Harold Ramis.

I loved him best as Russell Ziskey in Stripes:
  • I've always been kind of a pacifist. When I was a kid, my father told me, "Never hit anyone in anger, unless you're absolutely sure you can get away with it." I don't know what kind of soldier I'm gonna make, but I want you guys to know that if we ever get into real heavy combat... I'll be right behind you guys. Every step of the way.
Winger: C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like we're going into Wisconsin.
Russell: Well, I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once. Forget it.

Russell: Do the words "Act of War" mean anything to you?
Winger: I have a plan.
Russell: Great! Custer had a plan.
He was a product of a Chicago's comedy scene:
Ramis' roots in humor date back to his college years at Washington University in St. Louis, when he wrote parodies for the stage. After graduating, he moved back to Chicago. And by the early '70s he was sharing the stage at Second City with John Belushi and other fellow collaborators, also launching skit comedy show "SCTV." In 1974, Ramis, Belushi, and Bill Murray moved to New York with other performers from the famed Chicago comedy troupe to do "The National Lampoon Radio Hour."

Ramis' big-screen break came when he wrote the seminal 1978 frat house comedy "National Lampoon's Animal House," starring Belushi. From there, Ramis wrote 1979's "Meatballs," starring his other creative collaborator, Bill Murray — with whom he would go on to "Caddyshack," "Stripes," "Ghostbusters," and "Groundhog Day."

Sunday, February 23

*Substantively, He's No Edward Snowden...

but if you read closely,
(at left, Getty Images)
Vic Wild too has a 2014
American Dream story to tell...

By , Yahoo Sports.
Were he still competing for the U.S., Wild would be the most decorated American Olympian at the Sochi Games – and the athlete who pushed them into the lead.

Instead, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association dissolved its already-underfunded alpine snowboarding program after the Vancouver Games, leaving Wild with a choice: end his career or defect. When he married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina in 2011, Wild applied for citizenship in her country and its greatest perquisite: the support of an Olympic organizing committee that valued alpine snowboarding.

"I would not have snowboarded for the United States," Wild said. "I was done snowboarding. I would have moved on. I would have gone to college. And I would have had a great life. I had another option. The only option to snowboard was to go to Russia and snowboard. I wanted to continue snowboarding, to see how good I can be. I wanted to know I gave it everything I had. …

When the United States failed him – when it didn't give him the one thing it promises, opportunity – Vic Wild went and found his American Dream in Russia.
"Why Vic's a hero," fellow racer Michael Lambert said, "is he's someone that didn't let anything stand in the way."
"I'm very lucky this all happened," Wild said. "I don't know if I deserve all this luck. This is just too good to be true."

Of course he deserves it. Wild made his luck. For years, he scraped by with no money. He emptied his bank accounts, borrowed from his mom, did anything he could to make a career in a sport he loved.
Russia gave him that, a home in Moscow and a renewed vigor. During the first semifinal race against Benjamin Karl, Wild slipped and fell behind 1.12 seconds, an eternity in the short, speedy parallel slalom race.

"You don't come back from 1.12 in a 30-second slalom race," said Wild's brother, Michael.

Only Wild did. He blitzed the course, caught Karl and pulled across the line four-hundredths of a second ahead of him. Never, Wild said, had he beaten Karl. He chose a rather opportune time, one that guaranteed him another medal.

"He was riding with the self-confidence of an Olympic champion," Karl said. "If you already have the gold medal in your jacket, then you can ride like hell."

All week Wild has ridden like hell, freed, finally, from the constraints of a country that didn't want him. There was nothing political about his choice to become Russian, no statement or message he wanted to send. It was strictly personal. Wild grew up in a country that encourages children to chase their dreams. So he chased his.

This wasn't like Victor An, the South Korean speed skating mercenary who joined the Russian team because it paid best and won three gold medals in the Sochi Games. It was purer, sport for sport's sake, achievement his remedy.

"I thought I could do something special," Wild said. "I never reached my potential, and I wanted to see how good I could get. That's why I continued snowboarding, and that's why I'm a Russian."

He's Russian because he wanted this day, this moment, this particularly American-style opportunity that America chose not to let him have. It was his dream come to life.


Saturday, February 22

Hey Ernie,* Let's Play Two...

Here's two:
Knee Deep: Zac Brown Band - (ft. Jimmy Buffett)
The Frame that Holds the Mona Lisa: Brad Paisley

* The high point of Ernie Banks's career came in the 1958 and 1959 seasons, in which he hit 47 and 45 home runs respectively, batting over .300 in both seasons. He was named the National League's Most Valuable Player for both years. After that Banks's pace slackened somewhat, but he remained a consistent player through the 1960s with batting averages in the .260 and .270 range and between 20 and 40 home runs in most seasons.

His trademark phrase, "Let's play two," was first uttered on a torrid 100-degree day in 1969 when Banks attempted to lighten the mood of his depressed teammates. By that time Banks had become beloved by Cubs fans for his sportsmanship and unfailingly pleasant outlook. A Chicago alderman once suggested replacing a large Picasso sculpture that stands in the city's downtown with one of Banks instead.

Monday, February 10

Best Outfit.

~Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Europe.

Sunday, February 9

Go for Two...

~David J. Phillips/Associated Press.

As Scary As Hell...

This has got to be inner-circle material, in anyone's book:

The New York Post reports the publicist's email read, "We are pleased to announce Amy Adams carrying the Valentino Garavany [sic] Rockstud Duble [sic] bag from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection on Feb. 6 in New York."

A USA Today entertainment reporter tweeted her response after receiving the email, using the hashtags "tasteless" and "ew."

ABC reports a representative for Adams calls the publicity stunt "truly appalling" and confirms the actress was not aware of her name being used for this purpose.

But Valentino might not be the only one in hot water for seemingly using Hoffman's wake as a publicity venture.

As the New York Post reports, UGG Australia sent boots as gifts to celebrities attending the wake and funeral, hoping they would wear them for publicity purposes.*


* UGH -- a gift bag at a funeral?
That's a new one to me...

Top 'o the World...

~Photo: Chris Wellhausen.