Two-wheeled tonic on a Wisconsin autumn day!

Oh, glorious day, Sunday 10-02-22! 

Temps approaching 70° F and mostly sunny skies greeted the Fall edition of the Slimey Crud, a totally disorganized gathering of motorcyclists of all stripes, riding everything from Ducati crotch rockets to an ancient, 1927 Indian that needs to be primed to start. Maybe 700 two- and a few three-wheeled road warriors plied the twisty roads, bathed in the first blush of autumn color between the hamlet of Pine Bluff in western Dane County and tiny Leland in neighboring Sauk County.

Conveniently, each place has two taverns across the road from each other — and a church down the road. This IS Wisconsin, after all. Consumed a tasty Angus beef burger at the Red Mouse tavern. Kickstands up at 11:30 for Leland but no one takes the direct route, partly because there is no direct route and many roads invite exploration. 

We’ve been Sliming the Crud for ten years now and have encountered not so much as one discouraging word.
Thor enjoys a motorcycle drive to Leland WI for Slimey Crud 2022

Steve Kellner — a true pathfinder at age 82 — led the first leg through dazzling, tree-shaded backroads all the way to Spring Green, partly because his GPS went on the fritz. Blaska’s iPhone told us we could get to Leland (the promised land) by taking Wisconsin Hwy 60 shadowing the north side of the wide Wisconsin River, then zig-zagging north on County Hwy C, a most delightful thoroughfare. A visual treat over every hill and around every bend — here a tall rock outcropping, there a whitewashed pioneer church, milk cows lazing in green pasture, the ruins of an old barn. A parade of quail. To the north, the heavily forested Baraboo range delineated the horizon. 

Finally in little Leland, the Guzzi guy consumed a sloppy joe and a beer from the walk up at Sprechers tavern, itself an old general store kind of curiosity. After several years of rehabilitation, the millpond on the north side of the street, in back of Schelters tavern, held water once again. The park shelter (no relation) on its south shore displayed farm quilts and overalls as part of the Farm Art D’Tour, which runs through Saturday, October 10. (Do experience it!)  

Slimey Crud is a cross platform meet-up of enthusiasts; it’s about seeing and being seen. Was this pristine purple Norton a recent product of the revived English marque? No, explained the owner, it was a resto-mod of an original 1970s model. The carburetor gave that away but the up-to-date brakes, gauges, and flawless paint job made us wonder. The owner then explained the recent legal and financial troubles of the manufacturer. A true aficionado.

Doggie heaven

The stars of the show this year were two English Labrador retrievers named Thor and Hershey. They happily peered out from a mobile dog house atop what, two weeks ago, had been a jet ski trailer. Chris Freeman pulled the mobile dog kennel about 160 miles behind his 1200 cc, liquid-cooled Indian FTR motorcycle from his home in Cary IL, south of Walworth WI. 

To protect his pups from the cold at the morning start of his journey north, Freeman snapped on a tarp over the top. He plugs the two portholes on the sides with perfectly fitting dog dishes. The hitch rotates to accommodate the motorcycle leaning into curves while keeping the two-wheeled trailer upright.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: At each stop, Mr. Freeman lets the dogs exercise their dogginess. In between, there is much petting and many good vibes. Like those happy dogs, we who ride take our fresh air full in the face. The open road leads to such revelations.

Does it get any better?

Posted in Motorcycles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Stabbed in the back!

Trump didn’t lose! He was betrayed!

We have seen the enemy and he is us,” Walt Kelly’s comic strip character Pogo famously said. 

A good many of my political tribe regard their fellow Republicans as enemies. They are convinced that a species they call “RINOs” stabbed Donald Trump in the back — much as certain Germans scapegoated undesirable countrymen for their defeat in WW1. They believe the Insurrectionist in Chief would be President today were it not for a traitorous Fifth Column within the party.

Nationally, Mitch McConnell is their preferred Judas. Trump hath spoken: “Giveaway Mitch McConnell is a RINO who gives the Dems everything and gets nothing for it. Never fights for Republicans.” (More here.)

Never fights for Republicans? Never mind that McConnell confirmed Supreme Court justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett. Trump’s tax cuts. How will McConnell be majority leader unless he fights for Republicans? — even some of the mistakes Trump endorsed this year!

Here in Wisconsin, the RITOs have settled on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos as their traitor (a term they use promiscuously). His sin? Telling Republicans point blank there is no way to decertify an election — something that Mike Pence also discovered while escaping the gallows on January 6. Vos compounded his treachery by firing Mike Gableman — after hiring him in the first place. (Lay down with fleas …) Vos barely survived a primary challenge from Election Truther Adam Steen, who announced a write-in campaign for the November 8 election.

Sore losers need scapegoats, as did the Hebrews in the Book of Leviticus. 
N.c. Bill Gillette

A hothead named N.c. Bill Gillette …. puts Vos “on notice!”

Vos – You are on Notice: First, Apologize to Judge Gableman, Assemblywoman Brandtjen and Tim Ramthun for slandering them. Second, use as much money from your [Republican Assembly Campaign Committee], as you can, to run Commercials on behalf of Tim Michels and Ron Johnson and attacking Evers & Barnes… Get with it – Now!

We asked N.c. Bill Gillette why he would unilaterally disarm Republican Assembly candidates to the advantage of Democrats? Also asked if multi-millionaire Tim Michels was running short of campaign funds? Did he declare personal bankruptcy? We also asked N.c. if he had any enforcement measures in mind. Awaiting his response.

Another fratricidal Republican, Dan Clauser, faults Vos for “put[ing] up election [integrity] bills he knows will be vetoed but sabotages election investigations.” Is he aware that a progressive Democrat now occupies the governor’s mansion? Tony Evers vetoed them all! Vos cynically started an investigation into the stolen election myth only to pull up the football when Mike Gableman got too close to the truth? It is to laugh:

Social media traffic:

Paris Procopis: Interesting….[Vos] been literally lying to Trump all these months. I imagine he will align more with Liz Cheney.

Nicholas Charles Kind: Sure hope the Steen write in campaign can succeed over this tool. We’d be a lot better without him.

Heidi Henkel- Hanke: The man is vile!! Toss this tu rd Voss….write in Steen.

Gabrielle Bodie: Vos is Corupt

Speaker Vos, Sen. McConnell, and Republican governors like Doug Ducey of Arizona and Brian Kemp of Georgia are — what? Sleeper agents? Nominal Republicans, just waiting for the Queen of Diamonds to be turned face up so that they can sabotage Donald Trump? Attorney General Bill Barr is a Benedict Arnold? Sixty courts, state and federal, many of the judges and justices appointed by Republicans, bought off by three pieces of silver?

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Stolen Election true believers need villains because too many gag cigars have exploded in their faces. Cyber Ninjas found more votes for Joe Biden in Maricopa County, not fewer. Sidney Powell says Never Mind about her allegation that Hugo Chavez jiggered voting machines. Mike Gableman spent $1 million on a snipe hunt. They’ll believe anything that confirms their conspiracy theory because the truth hurts too much.

What do YOU believe?


Posted in Donald Trump, Election 2020, Election 2022, election challenges, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Gone missing in Madison’s public schools

MMSD disappears more people than that guy in Russia

Where is Jeffrey Copeland?
Where is Carleton Jenkins?
Where is the transparency?

Where is the love?

Former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz asks those questions this morning (well, not the last one). So should anyone concerned about Madison’s young people. Jeffrey Copeland was the principal of Sennett middle school until removed two weeks ago. He apparently left the district completely this past Monday 09-26-22. Why? That’s what parents and faculty would like to know. Sounds like he was pushed out because he was doing something right. Wouldn’t be the first time. The WI State Journal reports:

Teachers said the behavioral issues the school had been seeing in recent years, including bullying and damaging school property, nearly disappeared under Copeland’s short tenure, and some said such problems began returning after he was placed on leave.

— ‘Parents, staff question departure of Sennett middle school principal.’
Jeffrey Copeland, where are you?

A parent writes: Copeland “appeared to be ready to improve the Sennett community with strong leadership focused on improving students’ behaviors so Sennett would be a safe space to learn.”

In other words, Dr. Copeland was instilling discipline — the prerequisite to learning. Did this graduate of an historically black college run afoul by disciplining too many of the wrong kids, thereby skewing the district’s racial disparity numbers? (Sennett sits next to La Follette high school on Pflaum Road on Madison’s east side.)

We take note of a 15-year-old and his stolen .40 caliber handgun being chased through the backyards of Meadowood last Sunday 09-25-22. (The police report.) A NextDoor social media neighbor tsk-tsks us law ’n order types by demanding that we Educate These Kids instead of incarcerating them! Sounds like Jeffrey Copeland tried. You’re not going to succeed if you don’t learn responsible behavior.

The atmosphere in Sennett brought her “back to the days of (former East High principal) Milt McPike with Dr. Copeland there.” 

“Finally we have an administrator who has our backs.” 

— two Sennett teachers quoted by The Capital Times.

Cieslewicz also asks, Where is Carleton Jenkins? Two years into his tenure, it is fair to ask, WHO is Carleton Jenkins? This “community leader” is more invisible than Maynard Krebs at a job fair. (Dr. Jenkins is MMSD district superintendent, FYI.) But we also ask, where is Ali Muldrow, the school board president? The one The Capital Times says is doing such a bang-up job?

Blaska’s Bottom Line: MMSD spokesman Tim LeMonds has the toughest job in town, covering for this school board and its administration. Meanwhile, the district is busy renaming Jefferson middle school after having renamed Madison Memorial high school. If Madison schools can’t teach history at least they are at least rewriting it.

Where is the accountability?

Posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, Madison schools, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 31 Comments

Are Madison insurrectionists getting off lightly?

Compared to Trump’s January 6 rioters!

When Dostoevsky wrote about crime, he made certain to include punishment. Sure could use a man like Dostoevsky in Madison WI these days. (Or even Herbert Hoover, as Edith and Archie would sing.)

The MacIver Institute did some journalism on the Black Lives Matter riots on Madison’s State Street and Capitol Square in May/June 2020:

Out of the thousands of people who participated in the riots in Madison – looting, assaulting, vandalizing, terrorizing – only one was sent to state prison, five were sent to federal prison, and 18 are still awaiting the outcome of their cases. Anything short of arson or being a felon with a firearm warranted little more than a slap on the wrist.

The MacIver Institute identified 49 individuals who were charged with a total of 85 felonies in Dane County. Half of those 49 individuals were already felons. About a quarter of the charges are still pending two years later, a quarter were dismissed, 17 received deferred prosecution, and 19 pled guilty or no contest. Only 14 of those 49 individuals have faced any real punishment so far. Three years of probation was the most popular sentence for these 14 individuals. 

One person threw a flaming gas canister at police, but that charge was dismissed. … One individual swerved his car towards police officers making an arrest, but he was acquitted by a jury of his Dane County peers.

Countless others who blocked police and interfered with their attempts to restore order and stop criminals never faced any consequences at all. That included the large group of people who blocked police officers trying to get to their squad car as it was set on fire and their weapons were stolen. … Michael Campbell attacked a TV cameraman during a live shot. He was only sentenced to 18 months of probation in May 2021. By August 2021, he had disappeared … ”

MacIver Institute, “Few held accountable for Madison’s riots.”

The two women who (most likely) beat State Sen. Tim Carpenter, readily identifiable in video? “Despite the women being easily identified in the video, one had charges dismissed and the other was acquitted by a jury of her Dane County peers.

Stop recording our riot!

Compare to the January 6 insurrection

Madison WI in May/June 2020 — Of "thousands" involved, only 49 charged. Of those, only 14 accorded "any real punishment" so far. Marquon Clark, who firebombed the City-County Building, received the longest sentence: 7 years.
Washington DC on January 6, 2020 —  Estimated 2,000 rioters, of whom 919 charged, 396 entered guilty pleas, 65 sentenced — the most severe, 7 years in prison (to date). 

Blaska’s Bottom Line: And we wonder why Always Trumpers are cynical about the punishment meted out to the insurrectionists of January 6! Not that two wrongs make a right, but Sheesh!

What do YOU think accounts for the disparity?

Posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, George Floyd riots, January 6 insurrection, Uncategorized | 20 Comments

If you worry about crime you’re guilty

of offending race-obsessed progressives!

Imagine if you will (Blaska writes in his Rod Serling voice) a governor who frees convicted murderers so they can enjoy a weekend holiday from prison — a furlough. That prisoner invades a home, stabs the husband, binds him up and rapes the wife. This governor is running for President of the United States and now must deal with the backlash. 

Hallelujah! Democrats discover that the furloughed murderer is a racial minority! They can play the race card! (Remember Willie Horton!)

Despite the covert support of all the major news media (pre-Fox News), it did not work for Michael Dukakis in 1988 and it won’t work for Democrats this year. Not that they aren’t dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck again.

Policing the Squad

Mandela Barnes, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin, has one big advantage over Gov. Dukakis — he is (or identifies as) a black man. Therefore, incumbent Senator Ron Johnson’s criticisms of Barnes’ appalling record on law enforcement is, according to the progressive playback, perforce, RAY-cist (as the Gotch would say).

The Washington Post sought out Barnes supporters who obliged by deriding the attacks as “racist messages that feed on stereotypes.” The New York Times, employs a familiar tactic: that Republicans are trying to capitalize on a problem — thereby, somehow, delegitimizing the problem. The Republican offensive “has swiftly drawn criticism as a return to sometimes deceptive or racially divisive messaging,” the Times scolds, — as if the issue, being unfavorable to Democrats, should be off limits.

“It’s telling that Democrats don’t want to talk about solutions,” National Review writes.

There are a couple of counts against the anti-Barnes ads. One is that they associate him with “the Squad,” the group of left-wing congresswomen. But this is hardly dirty pool since Barnes has gladly associated himself with them. He went to an event with Representative Ilhan Omar in 2019 and said about her in a tweet afterward, “She’s exactly who we need in Congress right now fighting for what’s right.”

The idea is that it is racist to portray Barnes in an ad with an image of the Squad because all its members are non-white. But what’s most notable about the Squad is that it exemplifies out-of-the-mainstream progressive politics. Are attacks on the group supposed to be off-limits until it recruits a more diverse membership?

— Rich Lowry, “Crime is a legitimate issue.

Ron Johnson will debate Mandela Barnes October 7 and October 13.

Democracy dies in cover-up

Let’s roll the tape on Mandela Barnes. There is the photograph of the lieutenant governor wearing a Defund ICE T-shirt. He sided against police and in favor of convicted felon and would-be kidnapper Jacob Blake in Kenosha before an impartial investigation could be conducted. (Former Madison police chief Noble Wray, a black man himself, exonerated the police). As a state legislator in 2016, Barnes introduced a bill to end cash bail — a cause taken up by progressive prosecutors like the recalled D.A. in San Francisco, Chesa Boudin.

Oh, yeah! Barnes rolled out a list of endorsements from law enforcement types from throughout Wisconsin — grand total of 9! Two of whose names he subsequently has had to scrub, leaving only seven — one of whom is Gloria Reyes, who, as president of the school board, expelled school resource police officers from Madison’s troubled high schools. Ron Johnson, meanwhile, is endorsed by 51 sheriffs, including a couple Democrats — but not Kalvin Barrett in Dane County.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: We update Samuel Johnson: Playing the race card (not patriotism) is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

If crime isn’t a legitimate issue, what is?

Posted in Crime, Election 2022, Race, Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Early voting, early endorsing?

They’re just getting warmed up!

Really? The Wisconsin  State Journal is endorsing a candidate a full 37 days before Election Day? Got to be some kind of record! Has early voting started already? (No, in-person absentee voting cannot begin until two weeks before Election Day 11-08-22.)

Madison’s newspaper of record is going with appointed incumbent Kalvin Barrett for Dane County sheriff even though challenger Anthony Hamilton “comes off as more straightforward than Barrett. We didn’t like Barrett’s refusal to address, even in a general and brief way, Hamilton’s charge that Barrett is retaliating against Hamilton for political reasons.”

Also, “Barrett … oversaw a virtual blackout of public information about the Department of justice’s shooting of an unarmed black man …” The newspaper admits, “Most of Hamilton’s allegations ethical and legal lapses are still being sorted out, including in court. So, they’re hard to judge, pending further investigation.” Reason enough, one might think, to keep one’s powder dry until those ethical and legal lapses can be sorted out. But Barrett is their man!

We’re still not laughing

Gosh, we miss Arlo & Janis, Hagar the Horrible, Dr. Morgan, Crankshaft, Beetle Bailey, and Dilbert. (Although welcome the return of For Better or Worse, even though they’re re-runs, as is Peanuts.)

Looks like the decision to deep six (verb, transitive) our favorite newspaper comic strips was not taken at 1901 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison WI but at Lee Enterprises corporate headquarters in Davenport IA for all 77 newspapers it publishes. The NY Daily News reports that Dilbert went down in all of Lee Enterprise newspapers, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which the Pulitzer chain unloaded right before on-line news began crimping local newspapers.

The Washington Post asks “Is this the beginning of the end for the daily printed comics page in many American towns and cities?”

Comics sections in many papers have been shrinking for years, but Dan Piraro, who draws Bizarro, says the across-the-chain changes by Lee Enterprises feel less gradual. “Seeing the dominoes begin to fall at such an accelerated pace is scary”

Lee Enterprises, a newspaper group that is majority-owned by a large investment firm, stopped running Bizarro and many other comics in their papers this past week. Lee Enterprises owns more than 75 newspapers across the United States and they are standardizing their comics pages with a handful of features they think Americans should read.

The Bizarro cartoonist writes on his own website:

Although most of you who read these blog posts read our comics online, newspapers are our most reliable — and almost only — revenue source and provide the income that allows us to continue to make comics. Many readers figure that since Bizarro is well-known that I must be rich. That’s never been the case and as more people turn to reading comics exclusively online, the industry has continued to shrink along with my income.

As a public service, the Werkes presents this classic funny:

Good comedy never gets old

Blaska’s Bottom Line: You comic strip lovers can write all the letters you want, corporate Davenport isn’t listening. As for the Dane County sheriff’s race, Barrett gets the nod, apparently, because “He’s also the sheriff now, which is no small thing.”

What are YOU laughing at today?

Posted in Election 2022, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 25 Comments