It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

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Published
July 20, 2016

No, that's not a quote from Melania Trump's speech.  I wrote it myself with a little help.  Though it does have a familiar ring to it. Not to beat a dead horse.

Actually the flap over the speech brings to mind two things. For one, I think it's typical that the big flap from the Republican Convention seems to revolve around these little score-keeping gotcha moments, rather than the big story of the convention. Republicans have gone completely off the rails and are now running completely on a platform of fear, anger, jingoism, and lies. The Trumpization of the GOP appears to be complete, as even Republicans that we thought had better sense are falling in line behind this disaster of a candidate, and repeating his message in lock-step. Some of the worst offenders in all of this are from our own state.  I'm looking at you, Gov. Walker, Reince Priebus, Sean Duffy, Ron Johnson and parrticularly Paul (I Can't Even Remember What I Believe Any More) Ryan. 

Calls from the floor to jail the opposing candidate?  No problem. Blaming the current president and the opposing candidate for everything that is wrong with the country, including the very poliicies that they pushed through?  For sure. Whipping up a divisive level throughout the country and manipulating grieving families for political ends? It's what the cool kids are doing this year. The massive ignorance and fear being pushed by the GOP at the convention, and the policies promoted by Donald Trump and the party are the big story. Let's not forget it.

But in the mean time, closer to home, some good things are going on, and I think we need to keep in mind that even if progress is slow, it's happening.

Yesterday's is an example (though I have to say that all the legal wrangling makes it really interesting to remember the ever-changing rules at each election). SO - voters in the state will be able to sign an affidavit statiing that they could not obtain valid id for the election, and vote anyway.  But not till November.  So remember, if you do not have a valid ID you cannot vote in the Auguest primary, but will be able to vote in November if you sign an affidavit. Questions?  Go to  which will follow along with the Voter ID bouncing ball for each election. If we could take all the time, effort, and money that has been spent on this ill-advised and futile piece of legislation we could have bought ourselves something nice. Like maybe better voting from the gang in Madison. Just sayin'. 

Other pleasant things to think about? Up here in the great Northwest, the activiites of the Citizen Action Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op have helped to convince the Eau Claire County government to The effects of the ordinance take place slowly, are limited in scope, and are, like everything else in life, somewhat of a compromise. But it's a big step in the right direction for wage-earners in the area. (A quick disclaimer -- I am on the Steering Committee of the organizing co-op).

Last but not least - I live nearby to a contested piece of property, which has been the point of debate since long before I moved over here. Excel Energy had, in the 1970's planned to build a nuclear plant in Dunn County, and purchased 4000 acres for the purpose. This is a beautiful wildlife area and is at times interesting to access, but Excel was planning to put the plant in there anyway. Many farmers in the area were removed from their property to build the plant.

Years of protest against the plant followed, and eventually Excel gave up. They later planned to build a coal-fired plant there, which again caused quite a lot of protest in the area, and by 2006 Excel had abandoned those plans as well. But all this time they have held the property (in good conscience I have to say that they have been better stewards of this land than I would have imagined, and the land has been used for recreation, birding, and some really interesting tours on small trains). 

Today it was announced that the DNR is planning on purchasing 990 acres of this land - this seems like a wonderful idea where everyone can potentially win. The future of that piece of the land becomes much more certain, it can remain preserved for wildlife and responsible recreation, and a lovely place of our state will remain untouched. Let's hope that this goes through - it's one of the bright points of my day.  Let's hope that the powers that be in Madison do not mess this up either by refusing the funding for the property, or worse, letting the DNR's ever-increasing Chamber of Commerce mentality turn this beautiful important area into yet-another environmental mess. 

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