A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.
It was not a good week for liberty, folks.
A wave of social activism masquerading as a stimulus package.................
TNT showed Peter Jackson's masterful The Lord of the Rings last weekend, and I watched much of it with our son. It is a stupendous rendering of Tolkien's mythologically epic tale of the eternal struggle between good and evil. Only Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest come to mind as examples of other films that were the cinematic equal of the great literature that inspired them. Jackson's films underscore the great themes of the ages: courage, friendship, endurance, loyalty, fidelity, duty, patriotism, and the striving to do right.
The film trilogy constitutes nearly ten hours of viewing, and so MANY scenes are memorable. But there are three that define the film for me.
It's time to talk plainly about the stimulus package.
It is, quite simply, an obscenity.
In November I wrote of a well-inentioned move by the Waukesha County Board to accept a Federal grant to establish a County Drug Coordinator; a beurocratic cipher who will track information on drug use by our young. I don't criticize the Board - their only choice was to accept the grant or not. What I lament is the naivete of our belief that some pretentious official working in the confines of the County Building is actually going to make ANY difference in what we so pathetically call our "war" on drugs.
Madison Kiefer was fifteen years old; just a few months older than our precious daughter. Autopsy results have not yet determined what actually claimed the life of this lovely girl, but it is clear that she used opiate-based drugs, and they were the probable cause of her death. The community of Whitefish Bay now faces the questions posed by her end, even as those who knew her try and cope with this heart-breaking calamity.
Bonuses for AIG Executives are all the rage - lliterally.
I will not defend the indefensible - it is an equation that consists of the following:
Saturday, March 14th was a blast.
We volunteered at the Elmbrook School District's Solo and Ensemble, held at Wisconsin Hills Middle School. Many thanks to Alderwoman Lisa Mellone and to Shirley Dubats who recruited, organized, and directed a small army of community and parent volunteers to staff the event. Hats off to Jane Peavler for coordinating lunch for a full building, and to the dozens of other parent/resident volunteers. The Wisconsin Hills PTO supported the event financially, as did several area businesses. The Fresh Market, Aldi's, Einstein Bagles, Brennan's, and Caribou Coffee, gave generous donations of beverages. money, and good things to eat. My sincere apologies if I have missed any contributors - I would be happy to add them if I did.
T.S. Elliot wrote in his poem The Wasteland that, "April is the cruelest month". Our country has never seen a crueler or more pivotal one than April of 1865, as the most horrific conflict in our history ended, a nation stood on the brink of political and social disintegration, and our greatest President was assassinated just as he was to begin his great work of healing and reconciliation.
I just completed a fabulous biogaphy of Abraham Lincoln entitled Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Rivals is superb, bringing the character and times of Abraham Lincoln to life.