Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nature is not always pretty.

I spotted a neighborhood cat next to my house this morning with a bird in his mouth. I assumed it was dead, but he dropped it to meow hello to me, then batted at it as it fluttered. I distracted him (he is a complete attention slut) and scooped up the bird to put it into a nearby tree.


I suspected it was a goner, but figured I'd help it out a bit. I love their song!

The cat was not terribly upset by the loss of his prey, and he certainly appeared smug about his fearsome hunting skills.


He hung around long enough to be something of a pest, and Nala (our cat) had come to the door to see where I was and saw this little tramp rubbing me up (OK, I am a bit of a kitty slut too), and a bit of through-the-door hissing ensued. Nala gave up the fight pretty quickly, and I eventually grew tired of the temptations of my suitor.


I checked on the bird an hour or so later and it was on the ground. It's attempt to fly away from me was pretty sad, so I assume it had a messed up wing. I suspect it will not last the day, but I could be wrong. And, as Josey Wales would say, "buzzards gotta eat, same as worms." Nature is not always pretty.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Potpourri Redux (This time with kitty!)

I spent a bit of time in the yard today enjoying the bright-but-cool day. I did a little bit of yard work, wandered around with a cup of coffee thinking about the yard - what should I plant and where? I really really enjoy having naturalized crocus that sprout in the yard. It is such a boost this time of year! It was still early, and chilly, so these had not fully opened yet, but the light was great.


I had a helper throughout this yard meandering. Our newish cat, Nala, ventured out with me. She has heretofore been a 'fraidy cat so this outside stuff is pretty new to her. I kept a close eye on her so she stayed in the yard because I did not want to hook her up on the leash until she gets comfortable being outside.


She really is a beautiful cat, and I confess to being pretty smitten with her. She gave me a good profile opportunity:


She did not last long outside, perhaps half an hour with several anxious retreats into the garage (Good Kitty! When in doubt, run INSIDE.). Even inside, she remained fascinated with outside.


She rebuilds her courage bit by bit, day by day. It is all good. We have time.

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I keep saying this is not a political blog, and yet something approaching 90% of my posts for the last 7 weeks have been political. It is true that life has become highly politicized of late, but I still need to remember that life still goes on out there. With that in mind, here is a potpourri of images from the last few days.


Sure Sign of Spring (DS3_6989)
Roofline of the Madison Children's Museum

Day Lilies (DS3_6997)
Day Lilies Rocketing Up!

I promise to take more fun photos again to balance out the ongoing coverage of the protests.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

They Do Not Obey? We Do Not Obey.

I went to the courthouse this morning to witness the hearings to determine if the Budget Adjustment Bill rammed through by the Current Occupant of the Governor's seat in Wisconsin had legal standing. Because of the administrations unprecedented end-around process there is some question about if the law is indeed "in effect." The Current Occupant is proceeding as though it were, and if the court rules otherwise, the state will - foolishly - spend millions to undo all the hastily implemented changes. Not that the Current Occupant cares. So the courtroom was filled, and the overflow room (the place to be) was full, so a second overflow room was opened up. While fabulous, it made for boring photos. My layman's take on the morning hearings was that the administration wanted this law in effect and did not much care how it happened. That a judge issued a stay on the law, and ruled that the Secretary of State could not proceed with publishing the law mattered not one whit. This administration does not care about legal niceties or even complying with the law. There are one, or perhaps two, more half-days of hearings before a decision is reached.

In the meantime, ongoing events in the Capitol are worth noting. The administration created a new "administrative code", a rule, that created a limited free-speech zone in the Capitol. Apparently they believe that an administrative code trumps the First Amendment. On Sunday a family was ticketed $202.50 for disobeying the code and having a hand-held paper sign 15 vertical feet from where it was permitted. People responded yesterday and showed up in limited numbers with signs, and few people were ticketed (I heard just over a dozen, but that is just anecdotal). Today there were more.

There are more photos from today, and many from past weeks in a SLIDE SHOW. The most recent photos are first.


Each and every person in that group was in violation of the code (we like to think of it more as a guideline). As one small sign read, "If the DOA can ignore court orders, can't we ignore a DOA administrative code?" (DOA is the Department of Administration, which I likened yesterday to the Ministry of Truth from '1984'.)

Rise Up! (DS3_6974)

I appreciated seeing 30-40 people in shirts that read "Rise Up" on the back and "Freedom of Speech" on the front. Keeping it real...

One of the things that was important to me today was the several school groups that came through the Capitol on tours. What a civics lesson! Of course they were going to want to know why there were all those people, from college to retired, in the Capitol, holding signs, singing and chanting, and SMILING. Truly a teachable moment.

Civics Lesson (DS3_6980)

The Current Occupant is unlikely to stop his civics lessons to Wisconsinites anytime soon. His disregard for procedure will cost the State millions in legal fees, and has already cost over $3 million in police overtime. We are a hearty bunch, we Badgers, and the recall effort for eight eligible Republican senators is going well. If only half are recalled and replaced, the aggressive agenda of the administration will be slowed and blunted. If all are successful, we have genuine clout. There is an election on April 5th that includes a race for Supreme Court Justice. The incumbent is in complete agreement with the Current Occupant, while his opponent JoAnn Kloppenburg is more sympathetic to the Liberal/Progressive constituency. In theory an impartial body, when a political party wants to defang labor unions, de-fund health care, slash school budgets, privatize schools, and restrict women's personal choices about contraception and pregnancy, then a force must resist that.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

What Words, Exactly, Big Brother?

[UPDATE: The protester in these photos added his own words in the Comments. The charges against him were dropped, after he spent a night in the jail.

And, to the other commenter who called me/us idiots and said, "the are Law enforcers..they are not to just "ignore" when someone is being disorderly!", I have one question: Are you concerned that Walker and the Fitzgeralds have twice now disregarded a court order? I am guessing you are not. So if selective enforcement is good for one side, then I say it must be OK for the other and I will continue to protestt.]

Today I was nudged off the couch by a friend teasing me that I was "missing" action at the Capitol today. The Department of Administration (clearly the Ministry of Truth in the Inner Party) has issued an 'administrative code' declaring a "designated protest area" on the ground floor. Yesterday, a mom, dad, and two kids were issued a ticket for exercising their free speech in a non-designated area. Today in response, several others showed up to intentionally be on the first floor rotunda area overlooking the ground floor, clearly daring the Capitol PD to issue a ticket. In this case the PD was not biting, and the peaceful protesters were not harassed. However, in the wing that leads to the Governor's Office (Big Brother) was a lone protester reading from the Wisconsin Constitution and, I believe, the Bible a Wisconsin Blue Book, as well as some other prepared notes. Soon, a group of about 15 protesters had joined him to make our presence felt.

Protester reading some notes to the Governor. in front of the Gov's office

Then things got nasty. Clearly the call had come through the law enforcement officer's (LEO's) radios to get rid of us/him. A sudden increase in LEOs alerted everyone that Things Were Now Different. The officers quietly instructed the protester - the original one - to leave the area. He firmly responded that he had a right to address his Governor, and the fact that the Governor was refusing to speak with the people had nothing to do with his right to petition. The in-charge LEO repeated his instruction to leave the area. The protester sat down. Six LEO's were surrounding this one lone, peaceful protester. The LEO told the protester he was going to be arrested for - and I quote - "swearing and shouting". No one of the other protesters had heard any profanity, and while he had used a loud voice to call down the hallway, it was a fair piece removed from "shouting".

Protester sits, refusing to move

The protester was put face down, knelt on, restrained, and ultimately handcuffed. Complaining of not being able to breath due to asthma (and his face being held into the floor) the protester refused to walk.

LEO kneeling on protester while he is handcuffed

Three LEO's proceeded to pick up the protester and carry him. The protester remained uncooperative but did not struggle or resist.




Ultimately they dragged him to an elevator and took him - presumably - downstairs to the Capitol PD office on basement sub-1. I say presumably, because a small group of us went down there and no one in evidence would admit that anyone had been arrested or brought there.

Our group wanted to acquire the Official List of swear words that were not permitted, so as to not inadvertently use them. We were given an official runaround, but finally the LEO to whom we were speaking said the "swear words" would have been up to the officer's discretion. I pressed on that topic, inquiring if an officer or the Department of Administration Ministry of Truth decided that the word "corrupt" was not permitted, would we be subject to the same arbitrary arrest? At that time the LEO returned to monitoring his monitors and became Unhelpful.

So, "Swearing" is not permitted, though no other protester heard profanity, and the determination of said swearing is at the Thought Police officer's discretion. Having decided that a citizen used an inappropriate word, said citizen will be removed to some undisclosed location and processed. For today that means he will get a fine. Yesterday it did not really mean that. What will it mean tomorrow? Put on your best Doublethink hat and accept that your Transferred Nationalism now means that teachers, librarians, and bus drivers are enemies of the Party.

I urge protesters to be at the Capitol any time they can be. Do not let this proceed. Choose your own peaceful method to protest. "Public life is a situation of power and energy; he trespasses against his duty who sleeps upon his watch, as well as he that goes over to the enemy." ~ Edmund Burke

These and more photos are included in this SLIDE SHOW.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

This Is What We Do Now

Despite the return of wintry temps, and even snow flurries, perhaps 1,000 people - well spread out around he square - showed up today at the Capitol to protest the latest corruption of civil behavior from the current occupant of the Governor's Mansion.


While lacking the power of earlier protest days, this one had an interesting flavor. The people I spoke to, and the conversations I overheard as I worked my way through the crowd, all held a similar vein: This is what we do now.


This is what we do with our weekends, and some weeknights. We march at the Capitol to keep a presence so the Republican Senators, Represntatives, and Current Occupant know that we have not given up, we have not forgotten, and the recalls are alive and well. [Aside: there are already sufficient signatures collected to proceed with the recall of Randy Hopper, he of the new lobbyist mistress with the unusual state salary. Rockin!] We have shifted, and this protest is Necessary Work, unpleasant and interfering with more enjoyable tasks, but something we are just going to have to push up our sleeves (or put on our long underwear) and do.


We have a mean-spirited dunce in the Governor's seat, and we need to stem the damage he is going to cause to our fair state, then remove him from office. That is going to take time. OK. Can do.

Ready to stay with me?

There are more photos in a SLIDE SHOW, with today's up front, and going all the way back to Day Two.

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A Surprise With My Coffee

I was at the Capitol this morning protesting yet more boneheaded, possible illegal, certainly corrosive action from Governor Wanker. Eventually I had to go move my car, and, being chilled decided to go get a cuppa coffee at Company of Thieves. It was closed, seemingly for remodeling so I went to EVP on East Washington Ave. I stopped to chat with the three cops at the door - no, not there to keep me out, just getting a cuppa like me. Much to my surprise, the place was PACKED. Turns out Supreme Court candidate JoAnn Kloppenburg was speaking and taking questions.

JoAnn Kloppenburg at EVP Coffee

Once my lens unfogged I took a few shots and (eventually) worked my way through the crowd to get my coffee. The audience was receptive, and I suspect she's got a strong chance at being the next Supreme Court justice. Good. She will work as a partial foil for the tactics of the current occupant of the Capitol.

Viva la revolution! Photos from the rallies at the Capitol will go up later.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

When The Cat's Away...

I knew it! I start using the iPad, and while I am not looking the mice from my Mac and the old PC are getting it on.

A little mouse-on-mouse action

In the not too distant past, this sort of interracial fraternization would have been totally taboo if not outright illegal. But times are changing. For the under-30 demographic, there is a 'who cares' attitude concerning Macs and PCs. As long as everyone consents, what difference does it make if your operating system is Windows or OS X? Heck, these days some Macs have Intel processors, right?

But I still note who is doing the driving here...

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

One Pint At A Time

If beer is a method to preserve grain, consider me a silo.

Aqua Vitae

This fine beer is New Belgium's "Mighty Arrow" pale ale. I am in the process of transferring said stored grain from a 1/6th barrel into my personal silo one pint at a time.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ike Was Right

So how do we get out of Libya? After 8 years, it is pretty damn clear that we are not getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan any time soon, if ever. So what is our plan to exit from Libya? Do we have one?

Heavily armed F16 flies over my house

Again without consulting Congress, President Obama took us into another shooting "action". So much for separation of powers and all that. But seriously, does anyone believe that we will establish a no-fly zone and then leave? It seems like we took our worst military experience - regime change in Vietnam - and made it our blueprint for military action. We now have three ongoing wars, none of which are declared as such despite the "War on Terror" rhetoric, and none of which are fully budgeted. We are piling on debt not to take care of our least able or to better educate our youth or to explore alternative energy, but rather to intervene and nation-build largely to protect our oil interests.

I'm hoping our scope in Libya is as limited as the pretense states. Our presence in some capacity was needed. And yet, I have no faith in America's government to disengage from war. Ike was right, and the military industrial complex has fostered an addiction to war and the spending that accompanies it. We are not going to bankrupt America because of teachers and trade unions. We are going to bankrupt it because of the actions of chickenhawks.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Color Returns (and a bee!)



Who needs text when you have bees? In March in Wisconsin, we celebrate the little things: First sighting of a robin (Saturday), first blooms (Friday), first worm (today), etc.


We have been living in a world where the dominant colors have been white, gray, and darkness. When we start seeing green, and actual color in the world, it is a pretty giddy time.


The daffodils are around 6" high. I might see flowers by early April. Tra-la!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thinking Thoughts of Spring

A little more color for a rainy day: Some smaller crocus in the back yard.


Even Nala has started thinking about being outside. She is still too nervous about actually being outside to actually go, but she is thinking about it.


With light thunderstorms today, she will probably have to wait.

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Friday, March 18, 2011


Recently winter storms awoke us
Now the rains begin to soak us
Before my eyes can clearly focus


I have half a dozen blooms today. Ahhh!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nala, bold adventurer!

After a long winter of settling in with us, our shelter-adopted cat, Nala, has begun to really relax and become a part of the household. It has been six months since we brought her home (at age 4.5) and her road from perpetually afraid to mostly relaxed has been slow. I have spent a lot of time with her to socialize her and build trust. Earlier this month I noticed how much attention she paid any time I went out the front door. As the weather improved I coaxed her out to the front stoop. Since it seemed she enjoyed it - sort of - I took her into the fenced back yard and let her explore a bit while I was with her. Today I tried her out there solo, on a leash.

Nala explores the great outdoors

I only left her there for about 15 minutes before seeing her hunkered down waiting to get let in. I brought her in and praised her courage. She ate a little, and is now sitting on her cat-perch staring into the back yard.

Her courage and confidence increases slowly but surely. I would sure like to know what her past was really like. Since I do not, it remains a trial and error approach. Today seemed like a good step. In the past week she has chosen a couple of times to sit on the sofa with either Reena or me. Progress!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Of Thugs and Scum

The protest and various rallies at the Capitol here in Wisconsin drew huge crowds. One police estimate was laughably low, and even the highest estimate that I have seen seemed low by a third. Clearly whoever was estimating the crowd was NOT in the crowd trying to move about! Anyway, as has become the norm for these protests, the assembled people were as peaceful as could be. The greatest threat to my safety was risking a pulled smile muscle. So today's post will be focused on the "scum" and dangerous "thugs" who were protesting the real thug and his cronies.

Better search her...she looks dangerous!

Good God! He's trying to force us to negotiate, the brute!

Obviously this outside agitator is a union thug brought in from Midgetistan to stir up the crowd. Look at those devious eyes!

Ooooh, this guy looks Muslim vaguely different, so he cannot possibly be a real American, right Senator Grothman?

I do not even know where to begin with this obvious troublemaker.

You can see what tremendous jeopardy I was in all day! Good lord, any one of those hellcats could have been ready to start something at any given moment. Why I personally witnessed groups breaking out in spontaneous song, cheering loudly anytime a car drove past honking the rhythm of "This Is What Democracy Looks Like", and routinely and profusely apologizing for jostling someone while packed in like sardines. It was terrible I tell you. Terrible.

There are threescore or more photos of the day in a SLIDE SHOW that I recommend viewing. It includes the tractor shots I did not link to last night. The newest photos are first, though you can ride the slides all the way back to Day One (a solid month ago now) if you so desire.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011


OK. I am too doggone tired to have a lot of witty text, but here is what happens when Wisconsin's small farmers bring their tractors to Madison to protest the Governor's budget bill.




There are a bunch more photos here in this SLIDE SHOW. The most recent are up front. There will be more from today added to the set tomorrow after - after - a good night's sleep.

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Seems Pretty Big To Me


Official sources (Madison PD) estimate the crowd at 85,000. I do not think that is accurate. It seemed much larger than that to me. Walking was cheek-by-jowl both in the street and on the sidewalk for the entire 8-block square around the Capitol, and when the speakers were holding forth on the State Street side, the crowd was PACKED in like sardines from W. Washington all the way around to Wisconsin Avenue and even most of the way to N. Hamilton. Here are the pics. You decide. Note the one looking down State Street. There are thick crowds all the way down to the 400 block.




I'll have tractor pictures and other rally shots up later. First I have a wall-running rehearsal.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

On a Greener Note

This morning I wandered my yard with a cuppa coffee and my camera. Spring is definitely right around the corner. Enjoy!

Daffodil (DS3_6149)

Siberian Iris (DS3_6154)
Siberian Iris

Bearded Iris (DS3_6152)
Bearded Iris

Day Lily (DS3_6150)
Day Lily

The crocus I already posted, and I expect them and the Siberian Iris to bloom almost any day. Ahhh!

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