A personal note: A few years ago I did something I'm proud of. I started promoting the idea of establishing an official Poet Laureate for Wisconsin (yes, yes -- I'm sure they'll dig it up some day -- I confess to being a poet). It took years of pushing, but we got 'er done. Requests pour in from around the state for the laureate to visit schools, give readings, appear at ceremonies, etc., so the state's leading writers group has set up an endowment fund to cover the $500 a year. They need to bank $10K to earn the $500 a year in interest, and right now they're at $6,400. If you can slip 'em $5, $10, maybe more, please do. And tell them Russell sent you. Make the check out to: Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Mail it to: Poet Laureate Fund c/o Jane Hamblen, 3515 Sunset Dr., Madsion, WI 53705. And thank you.
Just askin' Is it me or is all hell breaking loose in this country's politics? We're in the last month of an election cycle and there are maybe four or five stories, each of which could totally dominate the national political news on their own. And each is flaming out of control at once. You've got the Foley debacle. The revelations in the Woodward book. The NIE revelations that almost seem like old news now. A major part of the pre-9/11 story that somehow never saw the light of day and may bring down Condi Rice. And did I mention the election?
Things you can count on the Republican leadership to screw up: The deficit. Body armor. Medicare reform. Social Security reform. The minimum wage. Port security. The National Guard. Diplomacy. The Geneva Conventions. Fair elections. Clean elections. Intelligence. Protecting the Constitution. Protecting the Bill of Rights. Government transparency. Oversight. Separation of church and state. The middle class. The poor. Tax reform. Tax cuts. Bankruptcy law. Global warming. Disaster management. Defeating terrorists. Saying no to lobbyists. Saying yes to public opinion. Pre-war planning. Post-war planning. Competence. Civil rights. Civil liberties. Civil debate. Veterans' benefits. Hiring based on ability. Legal surveillance. Morality. Energy policy. Energy independence. End-of-life decisions among spouses. Inclusion. Learning lessons from history. Learning, period. Drug policy. Fiscal responsibility. Trusting the generals. Trusting the spooks. Trusting the experts. Basic honesty. Basic health care. Education. Creating jobs. Keeping CIA operatives' identities secret. Catching Osama. Playing nice. Playing fair. Refilling ice cube trays. Making paper airplanes. Or coffee. Tying their shoelaces. Making friends. Blowing their noses. Counting to ten five three. Sharing their toys. Telling the truth. Uniting the country. Protecting underage kids from a predatory congressman.