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Sep 11, 201311:08 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

We rode out of Madison for a fresh perspective and a kiss of the hops

(page 1 of 2)

Took a motorcycle ride with Miss Vicki McKenna on a sky-blue Saturday into the verdant eastern Dane County countryside. She road astride her newly acquired, bright-red V-Twin Yammie; me on my small Hog. We stopped to witness Cousin Johan and Deb’s second annual hop harvest while sipping a most excellent microbrew. In return for which I pledged to put in an honest morning’s work cutting down the vines, which are trained to climb a field of telephone poles and wires. (I wrote about the revival of Wisconsin hops culture here.)

Both of us remarked how refreshing it was to get out of the Emerald City to see people who grow food and fiber; make, repair, and sell things. We agreed that Madison groupthink is a closed loop that could stand hitting the reset button.

An example of which is Steven Elbow, employee of the corporation that speaks as if it were a person. This particular corporation asks: “Why aren’t Democratic leaders tapping into the solidarity singers’ outrage?”

Steve, here’s your answer: Outside of the delegation from the Emerald City, they’re embarrassed by it. The Solidarity Singers are a bunch of self-indulgent sore losers. The Corporation That speaks as if it were a person (The CT, for short) suffers from a severe case of inside-the-Beltline claustrophobia. It writes:

A peaceful protester tackled by multiple police officers. Another put in a headlock by an officer who jams a knuckle under his ear. Elderly women and teenagers placed in handcuffs and led away. The images of police aggression against singing protesters at the state Capitol have riveted the state ...

As the leader of The McLaughlin Group used to say: WRONG! The state is most definitely unriveted. The daily temper tantrum is playing more poorly with rural route Wisconsin than a Miley Cyrus dance routine at the church picnic.

• Here is the Racine Journal Times, Aug. 12: “Solidarity Singers should stop abusing the First Amendment.”

• Here is the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Aug. 4: “Solidarity Singers overplay their hand.”

• Here is the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal, July 29: “Time for Solidarity Singers to turn the page.”

• Here is the Appleton Post Crescent, Aug. 2: “Capitol Singers best off following the rules.”

• Here is a letter to the editor of the Stevens Point Journal, Aug. 18: “Solidarity Singers are like spoiled children throwing a tantrum.” Segway Boy, anyone?

• Here is the leader of Democrats in the State Senate, Chris Larson of Milwaukee, interviewed on Madison radio, The MIC 92.1 FM, last week: “I do think they should have a permit. … I think the singers are in the wrong and should get a permit if they are going to protest on a continuous basis and they know they are going to be there."

• Even the leftist Blogging Blue website opined on Aug. 13, “The Solidarity Singers should get a permit or go home.”


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Sep 11, 2013 02:26 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

How's this for a number?
Two - the number of warnings (in writing!) that the Feds gave the Walker administration that going forward with the United Sportsmen grant would cost the state $28 MILLION in federal wildlife funds! And they still went through with it in Joint Finance without telling the members! (It's in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, which isn't exactly hostile to our Boy Gov.) All just to reward a GOP political front group. I wondered why Walker vetoed the fed's share of the grant, placing the whole $500,000 on Wisconsin taxpayers. Now we know! I know you enjoy writing about trivial crap like the singers or riding your toys with Miss Vicki, but holy cow, Dave, there are more important things goin on here! This is getting worse and worse. And don't throw that Why Don't You game at me again - your refusal to acknowledge this scandal thunders volumes! This is some bad stuff. Every sportsman in the state should be screaming in the rotunda.

Sep 12, 2013 06:11 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

This is what is known as thread jacking. What should we do in Syria? How 'bout them Brewers!

As to United Sportsmen, the news media is busy walking back its story that Walker was doing political favors. It now transpires that the governor did what governors are supposed to do with their veto power: correct legislation that is submitted to them for their signature. From the WI State Journal story this morning: "Gov. Walker's veto of federal funding for a controversial sportsmen's grant saved the state [from losing] $28 million in federal funding." When other facts came to light, the governor rescinded the grant after learning that the organization was not properly registered as a non-profit.

FYI: Joint Finance committee is not "the Walker administration," as you incorrectly aver. It is the legislative branch. As for sportsmen screaming in the rotunda, one assumes they would take out a permit to reserve time from the Act 10 singers.

How come you have nothing to say about Judge Conley's ruling on Act 10? (Two can play that game.)

Sep 12, 2013 07:16 am
 Posted by  uwbiz96

One might feel differently about the golf pro situation if one were trying to schedule a lesson or two for one's kids.

Sep 12, 2013 09:34 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

One might if one had actually tried to schedule a lesson (or two) for one's kids. But you have not done so, otherwise you would not have commented. Book lessons on Madison's municipal golf courses here:

Sep 12, 2013 10:10 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I don't see anyone walking anything back. I have great regard for the two reporters of the State Journal, but they aren't as aggressive in their phrasing as the MJS because they didn't break the story and they still have Walker-supporting editors and owners to contend with. And the 2 letters from the feds went to the DNR, which IS the Walker administration. They didn't exactly brief all the members of Joint Finance, did they? And Dave, you know nothing happens or goes in the budget without the knowledge and approval of The Powers That Be, which includes the executive branch. Your Gov would deserve some credit if he'd vetoed the entire crooked thing, but he didn't because he still wanted our state tax dollars (even MORE without the fed share!) to pay the salaries of the GOP hacks at United Sportsmen (as they admitted in their application - not too bright). He only rescinded the grant after he was forced to when this mess came to light and started getting bad press.
Being the loyalist you are, I don't expect you to get all hopping-up-and-down-mad about this like I am, but something tells me if the Democrats managed to surreptitiously funnel half a million tax dollars to a group like the Greater Wisconsin Committee to pay their staff salaries for "education," you'd see the problem with that.
Conley's ruling on Act 10? Meh. Guess that means it was just an outrageous abuse of power that needlessly divided our once great state, but it wasn't unconstitutional. At least in this narrow aspect. Too bad. Satisfied?

Sep 12, 2013 11:19 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

The Milwaukee newspaper reports that DNR did brief the bill's author and other legislators. Suder should be held accountable. Unfortunately, his new position at PSC is not subject to legislative approval. In any event, as soon as the bill landed on Walker's desk he vetoed out use of the federal money. You assert that Walker was fully apprised of Greater Wisconsin's issues but offer no evidence, just your blind hatred. Are you really arguing supporting the governor disqualifies participation in government? Someone please tell Barack Obama to rescind his appointment of (The) Kathleen Falk. One more thing: Having worked in the Capitol in the governor's office, I can tell you the legislature goes its own way when it feels like it. Even when it's his own party. Doyle can attest to that. As for promoting fishing and hunting -- the purpose of the legislation -- I hope we can agree that is a worthy goal and in the state's long-term tourism and ecological interests.

Sep 12, 2013 12:46 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

AnonyBob, should be annoyingBob

Sep 12, 2013 01:26 pm
 Posted by  John

I travel the state for work and get to talk with people of the hinterlands beyond Dane county every week. My Madison friends always seem amazed when I tell them that the opinions they've cultivated in the city's liberal echo chamber often do not resonate beyond city limits.

Here's an example: Governor Walker's veto of the Sportsmen issue is mostly seen as a wise execution of his fiduciary duty, rather than the conspiracy theory of scandal(!!!111!!!) AnonyBob tries to peddle.

I credit good old common sense among those whose rural upbringing has taught them to recognize BS (both literal and figurative) when they see it.

Sep 12, 2013 07:08 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I think your slip of Greater Wisconsin when you meant United Sportsmen is positively Freudian; my analogy seemed to stick. I offer no hard evidence (hopefully the MJS is making some Open Records Requests) because the lockstep discipline of the GOP legislature and the Gov are well known and easily observed. That's not blind hatred, Dave (a specialty of the tea baggers, wrapped in the flag of patriotism), that's common knowledge. I don't think supporters of Walker should be necessarily be excluded from government, only the political hacks that lie about it and expect tax dollars to pay their salaries. You are right; Suder should be held accountable. Kudos. He should also make room under the bus; others will follow.
Anony 12:46 - "annoyingBob", hilarious! Thanks!! I must be doing something right.
John, the ignorance of the people you speak to in the hinterlands is not equivalent to knowledge of reality in the Capitol.
Finally, Dave, I'm glad you brought this up; hunting and fishing ARE important to this state, its economy and the environment. I have many warm memories of my father taking me bow hunting and bird and small game hunting. If those darn kids these days are more interested in twiddling their thumbs on video games than in getting out doors, why is it not the parents' responsibility to show them the way? As a small government, tea-loving advocate, why is this the responsibility of Big Government? Do you think sportsmen are part of The Takers that Romney railed about?
Enlighten me.

Sep 12, 2013 08:10 pm
 Posted by  redrandall

Nice to see the hops is doing well. Some of us down here in Green County are getting our jollies raising our own wine grapes, and drinking the results! You should tool down here some time. You need to go beyond New Glarus, though, to get out of lefty territory.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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