Good neighbors in a great country celebrate America’s birthday

Some others can’t get past their own hate

A bleat from the Madison fire truck’s siren announced the beginning of the annual Independence Day parade in the Orchard Ridge neighborhood shortly after 11:30 Wednesday morning. There followed a squadron of children pedaling their tiny bikes, mom and dad pushing infants in strollers. All decorated in red, white and blue. Bringing up the rear was the year’s surprise parade marshal, riding in an open-top convertible.

Tom McKenna and Uncle Sam

Parade marshal Tom McKenna

Decidedly low key.

One year, when he served on County Board, yours truly had a place of honor, paired with Ald. Cindy Thomas. Two years ago, Chief Mike Koval accepted the applause of our neighbors. Last year, one of the great men of Madison, Bob Keller, now approaching age 91 and still developing fine housing in Madison, waved to the crowd. Who would it be this year? Turns out, another good friend, Tom McKenna — one of the great housing providers. His father, John C. McKenna, developed Orchard Ridge beginning in 1950 after buying the Hammersley farm in 1946. The Stately Manor was built in 1954.

A good neighbor who lives on the other side of the park, Diane Harrington,  recalled moving into Orchard Ridge on the day before the holiday, several years ago.

“We were quite perplexed when we woke up late in the morning July 4 to find hundreds of people in the park on the other side of our backyard hedge. What a welcoming! A neighbor from across the park saw we’d moved in and brought us a plate of food from the picnic and explained the amazing neighborhood tradition that was going on in the park. We learned she was coaching her daughter’s soccer team — and our older son was the same age. At the first soccer practice, we met other families from the neighborhood, one of whom had son the age of my younger son. We felt so welcomed right away.”

The Squire and his family can say the same when we moved to Orchard Ridge, Madison, WI, 28 years ago. Many of the first home owners here were still around and we met them at our neighbor’s house, the late Buddy Baxtrum, who happened to be the FBI agent (retired) who pursued the Army Math bombers. (He’s featured in the wonderful account of that crime, a book titled Rads by Tom Bates.) 

After every July 4 parade, neighbors assemble in the park for burgers, brats, and hot dogs; games for the kids and catching up with our neighbors. Many of us backing up to the park also host impromptu backyard parties where an adult beverage can be enjoyed.

Is the vile bile justifiable?

Many of my neighbors are committed liberals and that’s O.K. This is Madison, after all. This bloggeur does not allow politics to sour a personal relationship. We also understand the enmity that many have for our current president. What we cannot understand is the kind of self-defeating stunt that closed down the Statue of Liberty on its busiest, most-visited day of the year for most of the day. Even the Trump-hating New York Times headlined the story: “Statue of Liberty climber upends holiday for thousands.”

Speaking of self-defeating is the blog operated by Jeff Simpson, Monona Grove school board member who sees racists under every bed like Joe McCarthy saw Communists, and Chris Liebenthal, a Milwaukee county government union heavy who was once disciplined for “wasting the public’s time.” (Yeah, he was blogging on government time.)

This is their contribution to America’s birthday:

Look Elsewhere For Your Jingoism…

…for you shan’t find it here.

I’m not in a patriotic mood right now.

We have the Trump Oligarchy, aka the Fourth Reich, that sold our democracy to Putin and the Russians.

We have Hair Furor [ sic erat scriptum ] embracing and pandering to Nazis and white supremacists, spitting on the graves of our forefathers and foremothers who fought these degenerates for the freedom of all people.

We have seen freedom of religion usurped by worship of the Almighty Dollar.

We have seen the Fourth Reich commit unspeakable cruelties upon a whole race of people because of the color of their skin.

We have seen the Fourth Reich try repeatedly to strip us of our freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

No, there is not much to celebrate this Fourth of July.  Today, as every other day, will be another day in the ongoing effort to win our independence back again.

If you don’t like it, go shove a sparkler up your ass.

Somehow, despite the supposed attempts to quash speech, their unfortunate message got through. These are the kind of supporters who hurt their own cause, that being whatever Democrat is running against Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump. Let’s hear from our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances. “The Fourth Reich!”? Do they really believe their own bile?
I don’t think any of my Orchard Ridge neighbors are jingoistic, even the few who voted for Trump.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Sometimes, free speech is its own punishment.

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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22 Responses to Good neighbors in a great country celebrate America’s birthday

  1. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    Speaking of the OR neighborhood, I spent a GREAT year (08/1985-08/1986 in a duplex on the even side of the 6300 block of Hammersley Road, abutting Falk School, where my good friend’s Mother was Librarian.

    He and his Sister were Falkon Boy/Girl of the Year.

    Things have changed.

    The Gotch


    • richard lesiak says:

      How did they change?


      • Eric Z says:

        How did they change? Well for starters, in ’85 you could cruise the strip without fear of stray gunfire or heroin addicts passing out behind the wheel.


      • Eric Z says:

        How did they change? In ’85 we didnt have a cop in school. We could, and often did bring rifles and shotguns to school (yes they were kept in the vehicle), to go hunting or target shooting after school, that is IF you didnt have to work.


      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

        @richard lesiak;

        ”How did they change?”

        Try not to go all aggrieved manufactured offense Lefty on us, but concentrated Section 8 housing did the area NO favors.

        After youse read this 11/2009 Isthmus article where the Humble Squire puts a finer point to it, ask yerself the following: in these past nearly 9 years have things gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse?

        Shortly after that article came out, Lefty moron extraordinaire Ruth Conniff (see below), likely writing from her bunker in war-torn Maple Bluff, put on rosy blinders fogged by Unicorn off-gassing and pretended everything was just peachy.

        I wrote and offered to take her & her daughters on a hike through the street where I spent that year any nice day after 06:30 p.m.

        Funniest thing, she never responded.

        The Gotch

        Liked by 1 person

        • richard lesiak says:

          Being unfamiliar with that area I just asked a simple question. No need to go all snarky on me.


        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @richard lesiak;

          “Being unfamiliar with that area I just asked a simple question.”

          Did I not give you a simple answer.

          “No need to go all snarky on me.”

          That was snark? Yoikes! how do you deem my other more…um…focused responses?

          The Gotch


  2. richard lesiak says:

    Glad you had a good 4th dave. I was hoping to get to your thing on sunday and visit that church, but got to make the donuts man. Boss says work; maybe another time.


  3. madisonexpat says:

    Best way to uphold free speech is to let your opponents speak and make sure they get every chance to do so. .
    Especially now, when so many are so far out of their tiny minds so often.
    I like to help by suggesting topics they might like to scream about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    Forgot to mention, not that it’s necessary, but @jeffsimpson7 is a pure, unadulterated DICK!

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eric Z says:

    How did things change? If memory serves me right, the squire wrote for Dave Zweifel at the Times.


  6. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    When you feel endangered and desperate, you flail around hoping to grab onto something–anything–that will save you. That’s where the Dems are now. That refugee from an Amos & Andy skit, Maxine Waters, advocates every from of thuggism as long as it’s directed at Trump supporters; that “feebly flaccid little [queer] pudge” Marc Pocan advocates abolishing ICE, knowing it will get those upper-middle class white Madison liberals all wet between the legs. The woman who used the Statue of Liberty to perform her Independence Day stunt actually quoted Michelle Obama’s famous–and laughably inaccurate–adage “When they [Republicans] go low, we go high” to justify her antics. Clearly, members of the Left are trying to outdo one another in displaying their contempt for Trump and his supporters; let’s hope their circular firing squad continues right up to the November elections.

    I think you’re a little too generous in your reading of the NYT headline, Dave. “Upends” sounds a little weasly to me; it should have read “Statue of Liberty climber SPOILS holiday for thousands.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • AnonyBob says:

      Wow, sexist, racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Yer hittin’ on all cylinders there, professor. You’re the reason identity politics exists. How fun you must be at a party.


  7. Patrick M. O'Loughlin says:

    Calling for ICE to be abolished, nominating socialists for congress, it seems our liberal friends are reverting to that tried and true strategy endorsed by John Nichols that says when you narrowly lose to a conservative, the response should be to not just move more to the left, but to go full tilt bozo, off the charts, communist. When the Wisconsin State Journal tells you not to go there, as they did to Pocan, that should tell you something. When the New York Times is saying you’ve gone too far, you might think about stopping to take a deep breath. But not for a Jeff Simpson. Hell no! The more radical, the better. That’s the way to win the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    What do I think?

    I think Lefties (most, not all) are nucking futs!

    Hey Lefties;

    Former Hopey Changey DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is calling advocates for abolishing ICE STUPID.

    Johnson, who is reportedly a Black and therefore can’t be a raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacist, exhibits a mastery of the obvious far too rare amongst terminally clueless career Lefties.

    “Johnson said Saturday calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency are MISGUIDED and doing so “WOULD COMPROMISE PUBLIC SAFETY.” (bolds/caps mine)

    Heartbroken Lefty meltdown in 5…4…3…

    The Gotch


    • AnonyBob says:

      Hey, Retch, guess what? I agree with Jeh. I think Pocan on this one issue is misguided. We need an agency to deal with customs and with immigration. I don’t blame anyone for hating on ICE for it’s heartless actions, but it’s not the problem. It’s just following the heartless policies and orders of Trump and Sessions. They’re who need to be abolished.


      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:


        “It’s just following the heartless policies and orders of Trump and Sessions.”

        Do tell.

        Let me tell youse a little story, but first you best secure a crate of tissues.

        (bolds/caps mine throughout)
        “(Attorney R. Andrew) Free found himself at a political event where the president was present. Reluctant to disrupt the scene, but unable to let what he had seen go unspoken, Free struck an uneasy compromise with himself. He politely shook hands with the president, then mentioned his visit to the detention centers. Close them, Mr. President, he begged. ‘IT’S WRONG,’ Free said. ‘AND IT’S GOING TO BE A STAIN ON YOUR LEGACY.’

        ”The president was unmoved. ‘I’ll tell you what we can’t have,’ he told Free. ‘It’s these parents sending their kids here on a dangerous journey and putting their lives at risk.’ Then he moved on down the line, shaking hands with his supporters. Admitted Free: ‘I was dumbfounded.’

        ”Free’s poignant tweets, written a couple of weeks ago, stirred a firestorm of thousands of responses — mostly, it appeared, because THE YEAR HE WAS DESCRIBING WAS NOT 2018 BUT 2015, AND THE PRESIDENT HE WAS REPROVING WAS NOT DONALD TRUMP BUT BARACK OBAMA.

        ” ‘A lot of people think that all this started with Trump,’ Free told the Miami Herald last week from his Nashville office. ‘It didn’t …‘ ”

        Ah Lefty; so MUCH hypocrisy, so little time!

        The Gotch


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