Rioters in Louisville Shoot Police

I was in downtown Louisville a couple of years ago. It’s a nice city. And now it is being torn apart, police are being shot, and buildings are being torched. These aren’t protests. This isn’t justice. This is insurrection.

 

RIP Gale Sayers

RIP

Former Bears running back Gale Sayers, an all-purpose tailback who took the league by storm as a rookie in 1965, has died. He was 77.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Sayers’ passing.

On December 12, 1965, Sayers scored a single-game record six touchdowns in a game against the 49ers, with an 80-yard catch-and-run, four rushing touchdowns (including a 50-yarder), and an 85-yard punt return. He finished his rookie year with 22 touchdowns.

Sayers made it to the Hall of Fame despite playing only 68 regular-season games, due to knee injuries that shortened his career. As explained earlier this year, Sayers forever will be linked to Brian Piccolo, a teammate who died of cancer at 26. Their close friendship became the subject of Brian’s Song.

Biden Campaign Ignores Latino Voters

A Democrat taking an ethnic group for granted? Shocking, I know.

From the start of his campaign, Biden has mostly ignored Latino voters. Already enjoying overwhelming African American support, he chose to focus his campaign efforts in battleground states on winning back white working-class voters who had supported Obama but voted for Trump in 2016. Latino communities seemed to be barely an afterthought.

The result is what pundits have taken to calling Biden’s “Latino problem.” This kind of enthusiasm gap can be extremely dangerous to a candidate. Hillary Clinton learned this the hard way in 2016, when significant numbers of disaffected or unmotivated voters simply didn’t vote. Alarm bells should be ringing at Democratic headquarters.

Democratic strategists have said they hope to keep the pro-Trump Latino vote under 30 percent. The Trump campaign, however, is aiming to obtain more than 40 percent of the Latino vote. So far, the Trump campaign seems to have done far more door-to-door politicking to influence Latino voters in key states.

Charges Announced in Breonna Taylor Killing

Make no mistake… Louisville was going to burn irrespective of what the charges were or were not. On the merits, the charges appear to be appropriate.

One of three Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor was indicted by Kentucky  grand jury on Wednesday, following a six-month investigation into the case that sparked mass protests nationwide.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell read the grand jury’s decision in open court on Wednesday afternoon, charging fired detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13.

Sgt Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove, who were also present at the time of Taylor’s death, were not charged.

Bernie Sanders Launches Effort to Delegitimize Election

Here we go.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to mount an aggressive campaign to counter potential attempts by President Donald Trump to delegitimize the results of the November election, warning that Democrats and Republicans alike must do “everything that we can to prevent that from happening.”

In a phone interview on Monday evening, Sanders said he would spend the next six weeks urging the country to prepare for a “nightmare scenario” in which Trump declares himself the winner of the election and refuses to step down even if he loses.

Notice that the only “acceptable” and “legitimate” outcome of the election is a Biden win. Anything else is being characterized as a Trump usurpation. And watch the media go right along with that characterization. People like Bernie are working hard to portray any Trump win as invalid and in doing so are undermining our Republic.

We Must Ignore the “Constitution” because PEOPLE ARE DYING

I was amused and disgusted by this letter to the editor in the Washington County Daily News criticizing my most recent column about the illegal mask mandate:

2. You right-wing constitutional proponents think that you are so righteous defending the Constitution against Evers’ “illegal” orders, but PEOPLE ARE DYING!!!

You, Trump, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Robin Vos, although you might have the “Constitution” on your side legally, are criminally negligent because you have no effective program to stop the pandemic.

So… people are dying so we should just ignore the Constitution and the law? That’s a very disturbing argument that quickly leads to totalitarianism. People like this really live in America.

Foreign Interference in Election

It’s been a long time since we took governance advice from the British royal family. I’m not about to start now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle faced a backlash today for speaking out about the upcoming U.S. election and ‘effectively telling Americans to vote against Trump’ despite the British royal family’s strict political neutrality.

The Duke of Sussex told voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’ while the Duchess called the presidential race the ‘most important election of our lifetime’ as the couple urged Americans to use their right to vote.

Speaking in a Time 100 video message, apparently filmed from the couple’s California home, Harry admitted he was not eligible to vote in the November 3 election – adding that he had never voted in the UK either where convention dictates that royals should keep well clear of politics.

Evers Extends Illegal Mask Mandate

And here it is

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers issued a new public health emergency on Tuesday to extend the statewide mask mandate by 60 days as cases of coronavirus accelerate around the state.

The move comes after infections among college-aged adults have skyrocketed now that campuses are open for the fall semester.

Overall, the state is seeing some of the highest rates of infection in the country. Nearly 7,000 positive tests were reported Thursday, Friday and Saturday — the most reported over any three-day period in Wisconsin. On Friday, a single-day record of 2,533 new cases was reported.

[…]

Evers issued the first health emergency in March and the second in July. That order expires on Monday and Republican legislative leaders haven’t said whether they will extend it and have made no moves to do so. Once it expires, so does the statewide mask mandate. The new mandate extends to Nov. 21.

Whither the GOP?

Lack of Diversity in Car Colors

Huh.

The vast majority of cars on the road around the world are painted in just a few colors. All of them are what people in the coatings industry call “achromatic.” That means they are colors that are not that colorful: white, black, gray and silver.

Thirty-nine percent of the cars in the world are white, according to data compiled in 2019 by coatings company BASF. Black, gray and silver together make up another 39% of cars on the road. That means nearly 80% of all vehicles are painted with achromatic lacquer.

The most popular chromatic color is blue — about 9% of cars come in that color, and just 7% of vehicles are painted red.

The reasons for this are varied, say some in the coatings industry. Risk averse dealers might choose to stock the most popular colors, thus limiting the overall supply of unusual hues. Risk averse consumers might worry about an odd color driving down resale value.

Activist Judge Extends Wisconsin Election

This has no basis in law. It’s just what the judge thought was “fair.” Do we really want judges just setting whatever rules they want and changing it on the fly? Our election laws have been in place for many years and have served Wisconsin well. Why change less than 6 weeks before the election?

U.S. District Judge William Conley granted a large portion of their requests, issuing a preliminary injunction that was expected to be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He put the ruling on hold for seven days to give the other side a chance to seek an emergency appeal.

Evers wants to extend illegal mask mandate

My column for the Washington County Daily News in online and in print. When it comes to the mask mandate, Governor Evers is wrong on the law and wrong on the science.

Governor Tony Evers’ illegal order that all Wisconsinites wear face masks is set to expire on September 28 and he covets an extension of his despotic rule. Any extension of the order would not only be the third intentionally illegal power grab by the governor through emergency declarations, but it would be an admission that his actions are not rooted in science or data. Evers’ emergency orders are about power — not people.

[…]

If you think that a governor creating a permanent state of emergency where he issues arbitrary orders at his sole discretion is an acceptable way to govern, then the governor should at least be able to explain why the order is necessary and will work. The evidence is clear that the current mask mandate has not had any impact on the spread of coronavirus.

The Times’ Racial Brush

Heh.

The Times claimed that only 112 of the 431 House of Representatives members are people of color. It lists Rep. Rashida Tlaib as a person of color, while listing Rep. Justin Amash as white.

Tlaib’s parents and Amash’s father came from Arab towns and neighborhoods in Israel. Amash’s mother came from Syria. They both have traditional Arab names.

How is Tlaib a person of color while Amash is white?

The Amash and Tlaib clans both have a sizable presence in Israel. They’re both Arabs, but, aside from Tlaib being a militant leftist while Amash is an ex-GOP Never Trumper, the only obvious difference is that Amash’s family was Christian while Tlaib’s family is Muslim.

The New York Times’ message is that Muslims are “people of color” and Christians aren’t. It doesn’t matter if their families might have lived some 20 minutes away from each other.

Arab Christians are white while Arab Muslims are a minority group.

Hey Look, Another Federal Government “Shut Down”

Sure. Cool. Why not?

After lengthy negotiations did not produce a bipartisan agreement with Republicans, House Democrats introduced their own proposal Monday afternoon funding government until Dec. 11, moving “full steam ahead” on a vote Tuesday, according to a senior Democratic aide.

The House will then send the political hot potato to the GOP-controlled Senate, although both chambers must ultimately pass identical legislation, which the president must also sign, in order to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Recognizing the lack of an agreement, a senior House Democratic aide warned that the bill “may get stuck in the Senate” after House passage, creating an impasse leading up to the deadline at the end of the month.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin struck an informal agreement early this month on a “clean” continuing resolution – essentially agreeing to keep a stalemate over another phase of COVID-19 relief out of the negotiations in order to keep government open.

Second, also remember that the vast majority of federal spending will chug along unimpeded.
Finally, there is no doubt in my mind that the Democrats will force a shut down right before the election – especially with a SCOTUS pick on the table. Fine. Shut it down. I don’t know why we fund “non-essential” services anyway.

DNR Asks to Borrow More Money to Buy More Land

No. We do not need the taxpayers incurring even more debt just to shrink the property tax base and pay even higher tax rates. The state owns enough land. If they want to buy more, they can sell land they already own.

MADISON, WIS. (AP) — Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials are asking Gov. Tony Evers to renew the agency’s contentious land stewardship program for another decade and substantially increase its borrowing authority.

The DNR uses stewardship funding to purchase land for the state and help conservation organizations purchase land. Republicans have criticized the program for running up too much debt and taking too much property off tax rolls. Debt payments stood at nearly $83 million last year. Still, GOP legislators agreed to extend the program through mid-2022 and authorized it to borrow up to $33 million annually.

BlackRock Requires Full Disclosure of Relationships

Yikes.

The world’s largest money manager has introduced a new policy forcing its 16,000 employees to disclose ‘personal relationships’ with all the company’s clients, in what is being described as the toughest policy yet on office romances.

BlackRock, the New York-based firm which manages $7.4 trillion in assets, introduced the new rules last week.

They are in addition to existing policies which forced the disclosure of relationships with other staff members.

Given that BlackRock, on behalf of the funds it runs, is one of the five largest shareholders in nearly every corporation in the S&P 500, the impact of the new policy is expected to be significant.

[…]
‘It takes the assessment of what is or is not a conflict out of the employees’ hands and puts it into the hands of HR and lawyers — which makes it eminently enforceable,’ the executive said.
That’s comforting…

Democrats Will Overreach

I wrote this in February of 2017.

The Democrats have already reflexively announced their opposition to Gorsuch, even though their criticisms have failed to rise to any cogent standard. Wisconsin’s own Senator Tammy Baldwin has even refused to meet with Gorsuch, thus abdicating her role in the process and retreating behind nasty press releases and daft commentary.

Far be it from me to advise the Democrats, but their overreach on Gorsuch may neuter them further on future picks. Remember that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid killed the filibuster rule for all but Supreme Court picks in his effort to ram through President Obama’s lower court appointments, but left it in place for Supreme Court appointments. In doing so, Reid laid the ideological groundwork and precedent for killing the filibuster rule for Supreme Court picks too.

If the Democrats in the U.S. Senate choose to filibuster and obstruct what is clearly a brilliantly qualified choice for the Supreme Court, the Republicans can rescind the filibuster rule for Supreme Court picks too and confirm the appointment without needing to make a single concession to the minority party. The Democrats’ intransigence and unwillingness to even participate in the process, and the precedent already established by Harry Reid, will provide ample political cover for the change in rules.

Then, if and when Trump gets another opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, the rules will already be set to allow an easy confirmation. If the Democrats participate and allow a vote – even if all of them vote against the nominee – they will likely preserve the filibuster for future Supreme Court nominations while undercutting the political justification to rescind it next time.

If the political battles of the past few years in Wisconsin have taught me anything, it is that Democrats will overreach. Their base of radicals demands unbending fealty to ideology – even at the expense of victory.

As it turned out, McConnell did end the filibuster for SCOTUS confirmations over the Gorsuch fight and here we are. Then the Democrats hardened once “play nice” Senators like Graham during their atrocious behavior in the Kavanaugh hearing. Again, I expect the Democrats to overreach again here.

Through all of this I continue to lament that we attach so much importance to a single judge; on a 9-judge panel; in one branch of our federal government. It shows how much power we have ceded to the federal government and, specifically, the Supreme Court. Do you know why judge appointments were mostly a non-event outside of Washington for well over a century of our nation’s history? Because it didn’t impact the lives of most Americans. That’s not the case anymore and our Republic is worse for it.

Round the Bend by Judy Steffes

Election information

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.  Over the weekend quite a few neighbors across Washington County received their mail-in ballot via U.S. Postal. Wisconsin will mail all registered voters an application to vote absentee prior to the election. You can also vote in person as Wisconsin offers early voting.

The deadline to register online to vote is Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

The deadline for registering by mail to vote is postmarked by Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

The deadline to register in person to vote is Friday, October 30, 2020.

The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Thursday, October 29, 2020.

The early voting period runs from Tuesday, October 20, 2020 to Sunday, November 1, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

You can also register and vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. Polls will open at 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Remember to bring a valid I.D.

Building formerly home to JP Foz’s sold by Adam Williquette

The building that housed JP Foz’s has sold. Fasciano Properties, LLC sold to 301 Properties, LLC for $325,000. The property was sold as an investment for 301 Properties, LLC.

Adam Williquette, president of American Commercial Real Estate handled the transaction. This is the fifth building American Commercial Real Estate has sold downtown West Bend in the last 12 months.

The 2020 assessed value was $277,500.  Foz Enterprises LLC purchased the property April 1, 2001 for $210,000.

On October 17, 1996 Barbercheck and Gundrum purchased the property for $186,000.

That corner building has been home to many locally owned tavernkeepers. Among them “Three Old Guys” and “The Pub.”

The Pub was Bob Weston. Three Old Guys was Don Zimmel, Russ and Randy Miller and Al May was the Kings Guard Pub with “the best hot buttered rum” drinks.

Over the years other tenants in the tavern included Herbie Lundquist who named it The Blue Room. Bob Corbett dubbed it Corby’s. Bob Weston changed it to The Pub. The tavern was The Mixing Place and then Al May moved in with Kings Guard Pub and Don Zimmel later ran it as Three Old Guys with Russ Vermillion and Randy Miller.

 

Final totals for United Way of Washington County Food Drive

 The United Way of Washington County is toasting the community with three cheers of “Thanks” for participating in the kickoff campaign food drive.

The final total amount of food collected was announced by United Way executive director Kristin Brandner.

“Al Pauli from Full Shelf Food Pantry followed up today that over 5,000 pounds of food was donated.  Al said we exceeded his expectations! Thank you for being our committed partner and being awesome!!! We do have a good time doing good work!”

United Against Hunger was a drive-thru event held at the Washington County Fair Park. Eighty-nine vehicles drove in and hundreds of bags and boxes of nonperishable food items were donated.

Leading this year’s annual campaign are Women in Business: Prudence Pick Hway, Debra Cahoon, Amy Salberg, Rose Petitte and Jacci Gambucci.

Highway 60 open from Jackson to 5 Corners in Cedarburg

Motorists traveling Highway 60 rejoice as the road reopened between Jackson and 5 Corners Dodge in Cedarburg. It was April 20, 2020 when Highway 60 was closed from Eagle Drive (Piggly Wiggly) in Jackson to Highway 181 by 5 Corners in Cedarburg.

Road crews could be seen just west of Cedarburg collecting orange-and-white striped barricades as vehicles zipped up and down the fresh blacktop.

Work included updated signage, pavement marking, restoration, and lighting at the roundabout at County Y.  The extensive summer project included milling off the top two inches of roadway and laying four new inches of pavement. The paved shoulder width was increased to six feet, and bypass lanes and right turn lanes at intersections added or extended as needed.

In addition to the resurfacing, the State reconstructed the intersection of STH 60 and CTH Y with a roundabout to address traffic safety concerns.

American Construction Services recognized by MMAC                By Marie Kohler

American Construction Services is being recognized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) as an honoree in their Focus on the Future Awards.

American Construction Services was entered in the Pivot Not Panic category with its 40th anniversary story.

This past spring, the American team was looking for a way to celebrate 40 years in business. This was also the time the COVID-19 virus hit.

Even through all the unknowns and the fear of the pandemic, the leadership team knew it wanted to find a way to celebrate by helping the community during the uncertain times.

Dubbed the “40 for 4 and 40 for 40 celebration,” American Construction Services sponsored 40 meals each for four Washington County non-profits from four Washington County restaurants. To go along with that, the service staff at each of the restaurants was tipped 40 percent.

The non-profits that were supported for the celebration were Friends Inc, Karl’s Place, Medical Center Foundation of Hartford, and Interfaith Caregivers.

The meals received were prepared by The Norbert and Poplar Inn, Culaccino’s Bar and Italian Kitchen, Perc Place, and Precinct Tap & Table.

“It was an honor to be able to give back to the community after receiving so much of their support throughout the years,” said American Companies president Kraig Sadownikow. “Thank you to the MMAC for the honor and congratulations to American Companies.”

Trick-or-treat hours across Washington County

Halloween is Saturday, October 31, 2020 and trick-or-treat hours have been posted across Washington County.

Town of Addison 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Village of Jackson 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Village of Newburg 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31

Village of Slinger 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

Village of Germantown 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. (Ben from the clerk’s office said, “Trick or treat will go on even if it snows…. like it did in 2019.” He said Germantown received 6 inches of snow. Remember that??)

City of Hartford 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Halloween Saturday, Oct. 31

Village of Kewaskum 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

Village of Richfield 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

West Bend 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31

Crack and joint sealing schedule in West Bend

Crack and joint sealing work in West Bend will be performed through the following street segments beginning Monday, September 21, 2020 until approximately October 9, 2020. Please note the project dates may be adjusted due to weather conditions or other circumstances.

5th Ave: Maple St to Oak St   6th Ave: Decorah Rd to Oak St

7th Ave: Vine St to Decorah Rd    8th Ave: Pine Dr to Chestnut St

12th Ave: Walnut St to Chestnut St   18th Ave: Chestnut St to W Washington St

Decorah Rd: University Dr to 18th Ave   Indiana Ave: E Washington St to Oak St

Indiana Ave: Hargrove St to Paradise Dr    Silverbrook Dr: Hawthorn Dr to Paradise Dr

University Dr: Decorah Rd to Campus Dr    N River Rd: E Washington St to Creek Rd

Creek Rd: Schmidt Rd to Trenton Rd    12th Ave: Wayne Rd to Park Ave

13th Ave: Alder St to Wayne Rd      18th Ave: Park Ave to Jefferson St

Motorists are reminded to abide by all traffic control signs and devices as well as be aware of ongoing construction activities. Please plan on using alternate routes to avoid construction whenever possible. Please communicate this information with any delivery vehicles or other interested parties. Construction activities will include cleaning and routing existing cracks, placement of crack sealing material and restoration of disturbed areas.

Planning underway for new displays at Enchantment in the Park 2020

The Christmas season may be months away but this week planning began for 2020 Enchantment in the Park at Regner Park in West Bend.

Founded in 2009, the mission of the event was “to create a holiday adventure where wonder and excitement are experienced through enchanting holiday light displays, music and other performing arts.” According to organizer Lori Yahr there will be some changes this year.

“This year will be a bit different,” said Yahr. “We will still have the holiday light drive thru, fire pit with marshmallows, horse-and-carriage rides, and music in the stage area.”

Also new will be a 50-foot high Grinch and Snoopy characters courtesy Pet Supplies Plus in West Bend. There will also be some new vintage artwork, improved lighting, and decorative pergola by the walkway entrance to the park.

In an effort to be considerate of the current CDC guidelines there will be some noticeable changes. “We reached out to area school groups and they told us they are not having music classes this year so they won’t be able to perform,” said Yahr.

The Enchantment Board also decided not to put up the enclosed pavilion, Santa’s workshop, indoor stage and for now Santa is on hold.

‘We will look at our food collection procedures and see if we have to tweak anything for added safety,” Yahr said. The Senior Center will still be selling snacks in a paired down concession stand. Hot cocoa and packaged snacks will be available. They will work out of the Kiwanis Building and the volunteer groups will move to the Rotary Building.

Enchantment in the Park will be open Friday, Nov. 27 and run through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Setup for Enchantment in the Park begins October 9, 2020.

West Bend Common Council approves new ordinance allowing dogs in City parks

The West Bend Common Council is set to approve an ordinance regarding dogs in City parks. It was July 2020 when the Parks Commission went round and round on the issue.

The final vote was 5-2 with aldermen John Butschlick and Brett Berquist dissenting.  District 4 alderman Randy Koehler was not in attendance.

Currently dogs can be on a 6-foot leash on the Riverwalk, in Old Settlers Park and Vest Pocket Park.

The new ordinance would allow dogs in other City parks except Regner Park, Lac Lawrann Conservancy and park buildings. Special events at City parks would also not be open to dogs.

The new ordinance would be evaluated in one year.

Ordinance to be updated:

20.07 (6) Animals (c) (Rep. & Recr. Ord# 2832 – 5/14/2019) Designated On-Leash Dog Areas. Dogs shall be allowed in the following parks, or the designated area within a park, but shall be restrained by a leash with a length of six feet or less.

  1. Ridge Run Park – entire park. 2. Glacier Blue Hills Recreation Area – Ice Age Trial only.
  2. West Bend Riverwalk – sidewalk/trail portion only. 4. Old Settlers Park – entire park.
  3. Vest Pocket Park – Sidewalk portion only.

Update:

Dogs shall be allowed in all city parks, except for prohibited park areas. All dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times, and under owners control -unless in Rolfs dog park leash-free area. Any pet owner who fails to control their pet, create public nuisance, or disturb others may be asked to leave. All pet waste must be picked up and disposed of in garbage receptacles. Bags, scoops, or other implements for the removal of pet waste must be carried by any person bringing a pet onto park property.

Prohibited Areas: Dogs are not allowed at special events, park buildings or picnic shelters, within children’s playground areas, beaches, or athletic fields.

Why: The updates to this ordinance will allow the City of West Bend parks to come in line with both Washington County Parks (which allow dogs in parks on 6-foot leash) as well as Wisconsin State Parks (that allow dogs on 6-foot leash in parks except for prohibited areas).

Hand-me-down dishes hold memories and family history lessons | By Ann Marie Craig

The tines are bent and uneven and the wood handles show more than a century of wear. They live in the far recesses of the silverware drawer and hardly see the light of day anymore, but I cannot bear to part with them because they belong here in the house where they came as new forks to be used by the farming family who became my great-grandparents and grandparents and mother.

Its top edges are pocked a bit and if there ever was a lid it is now missing, but you can still see the swirls on the inside bottom from having been thrown on a pottery wheel many, many years ago. Its outside is roughly salt glazed in an uneven earthy brown and the inside is colored with dark, smooth, brown slip. Great-Grandma Anna’s salt crock is still intact and I guard it carefully even as I use it to hold springtime pussy willows and late fall dogwood and spruce branches. It belongs here too, having been used day after day as she cooked and baked on the wood stove in the tiny kitchen of this tiny log cabin.

_________________

It is not unusual for me to reach into a cupboard and grab a pot or a spoon or a bowl or a cake plate that once belonged to someone on my family tree, and every piece has a story or it would not have ended up in my kitchen.

I crawl deeply into the back corner of a lower cupboard with a flashlight twice a year to find the salt crock, each time holding it in my hands, carefully filling it will pretty branches and setting it on a table or deep windowsill, touching and imagining. I never knew my great-grandmother, but I can almost see her, and later my grandmother, reaching into the cellar almost without thinking as they seasoned the meat or vegetables cooking on the wood stove. That wood stove sat just about where my kitchen table now stands and the crock was nearby and used every day.

When I was growing up I would see those old forks in my grandmother’s kitchen utensil drawer. They made fine holders of meats that needed to be held still for cutting, but they probably had outworn their use as everyday tableware. I chose to bring them home with me years later, and they now are seen really only when I get around to cleaning the kitchen cabinets.

They are over 100 years old and saw a lot of use at the farm table in this cabin. What I learned when I brought them back after my mother had a good clear out of her drawers, was that they were used by my great-grandparents and their six children and were left behind when they retired and my grandfather took over the farm.

I look at them and think of stories told about the house and farm and about my grandfather before he married.

My grandparents married in 1920, but just a year or so earlier my grandfather became ill with the Spanish Influenza. No one was certain how he caught it because as a farmer, he almost never went anywhere. It was said that WWI soldiers brought the virus back with them from the front. Was he sneezed upon by someone at the feed mill or the hardware store? Could he have caught it at a dance, perhaps?

Family lore still speculates, but he was very ill for three months. His unmarried sister Mary came to keep house and nurse him, and his brothers helped with the farm work. I am pretty sure he ate with those wood-handled forks left behind by his parents because he didn’t yet have a wife to change the silverware style.

Somehow September and the start of autumn makes me want to nestle into home. I cook and bake and reminisce about the times shared in the kitchen around tables seasoned with family recipes and stories that keep us connected and cozy. It somehow is important to me to touch the things that family before me touched and those links to the past make the present warm and the future inviting.     Find more stories by Ann Marie Craig at CenturyFarmhouse.com

Democrats Threaten to Pack the Supreme Court

This is very simple. There is no practical purpose to expand the court for the good of the American People. The only reason to do it is to change the philosophical center of the court one way or the other. It is about raw power.

Democrats have threatened to pack the Supreme Court if Donald Trump‘s nomination gets confirmed following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The president on Saturday urged the GOP-run Senate to consider ‘without delay’ his upcoming nomination to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ginsburg, who died Friday after a battle with cancer.

[…]

Several Democrats have vowed the party will expand the size of the court if they capture the Senate in November and Republicans have already pushed through a conservative successor to Ginsburg.

Joe Kennedy III, who represents Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District and is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, tweeted Sunday: ‘If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple.’

Let’s think this through a few steps. Let’s say the Democrats win the presidency and majorities in the Congress, so they expand the court to 11 members, appoint two liberals, and shift the balance. What’s to stop the Republicans from doing the same thing the next time they are in control? Does the Republic then just keep expanding the Supreme Court every time a party gets in power? We still experience the sway of courts as elected officials from one party or the other gain power, only now it happens faster because they don’t have to wait for sitting justices to die or retire.

Is that better? Is our Republic better for it?

Nope. Do the Democrats care? Nope.

Let’s hope this is a passing tantrum and more thoughtful people step to the front of the Democratic Party.

Evers Fires DWD Secretary

I know everyone is focused on Washington right now, but let’s not let this get lost in the shuffle.

MADISON — Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman has resigned over persistent issues processing unemployment claims amid the pandemic.

Gov. Tony Evers said Friday that he asked for, and received, the resignation from 35-year-old Frostman, effective immediately.

Evers cites significant delays in processing unemployment claims amid the pandemic. DWD is in charge of that process.

[…]

Between March 15 and Sept. 12, DWD reports 6,546,554 claims have been filed. Just under 11 percent – or 713,508 – of those claims are still being processed.

[…]

Evers argues he has worked to provide DWD the resources to deal with the surge, including additional staffing. In additional 130 DWD employees have been reassigned to the Unemployment Insurance Division. The DWD now has more than 1,500 employees working on UI cases, a 250 percent spike from 600 workers before, according to the governor’s office.

It appears, though, that assistance failed to materialize into an improvement in processing claims under Frostman’s DWD.

Even though Evers took his customary cheap shots at Republicans in the announcement, he is acknowledging his responsibility for the failure. Good for him for acting. But shuffling the bureaucrats won’t be enough. Evers needs to hire a task master and empower him or her to act aggressively.

RIP RBG

Condolences.

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an iconic champion of women’s rights, has died of cancer at the age of 87, the court has said.

Ginsburg died on Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home in Washington, DC, surrounded by her family, the statement said.