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Wednesday, October 1, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 68.0° F  
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Citizen Dave: The Week in Review... when will the Republican debates return so we can laugh again?

Ok, so look people, this was not an especially funny week. Now, last week -- last week was golden. You had the Russians bringing back a guy from the dead to prosecute him for back taxes. You had the 50th anniversary of the Cuban trade embargo -- a huge success on the verge of toppling Castro after only half a century! And you had Republicans running for president of the United States and saying things.

But this week? No Republican debates. That cuts the joke possibilities by, like, 75% easy.

And it's February. February is boring. Nothing happens in February. These are the dog days of winter.

Oh, I was born in February, in fact on this very day. So that generates a little excitement for me, personally, but not necessarily for you.

And sharing my birthday are: Michael Jordon, who was a better basketball player than me; Paris Hilton, who has "other" listed as her occupation on the birthday website; Larry the Cable Guy, who says his favorite expression is "Git r done" and who lists his profession as "movie actor" (seriously? Can I list my profession as "world leader" then?); and, famous baseball announcer Red Barber, who today celebrates the 103rd anniversary of his birth, marred only by the 20th anniversary of his death.

I am 53 today. Nobody cares. When you turn 20, you're excited because you're close to becoming an adult and your whole life is ahead of you. When you're 30, you're depressed because your 20's are behind you. When you're 40, you're even more depressed because you can't even pretend to be cool anymore. When you turn 50, you accept that you're now "middle-aged" and you just hope that people remember to talk into the good ear. And 53? That's nothing. That's old plus three. Nobody cares.

There was some news this week. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, once considered sane, a rare commodity in the GOP these days, has disabused us of that notion by saying he plans to veto a same sex marriage bill about to be passed by the New Jersey legislature.

Christie could have helped announce that New Jersey had joined a rapidly growing number of states emerging from the Dark Ages, and could have signaled that he was a new rare breed of Republican presidential contender (i.e., not bat-shit nuts). But instead, he apparently has decided he wants New Jersey to remain a backwater in the hopes of maintaining his viability among far right GOP voters in 2016. Reinvigorates your belief in the American political system, doesn't it?

At the local level, Madison lost the WIAA boys and girls basketball tournaments for the first time in 90 years. That takes about $9 million out of our community and takes all the fun out of the tournament for the kids and parents. Green Bay is a fine town, but they do not have gyros and fries on State Street, they do not have The Pipefitter, they do not have Art Paul Schlosser playing originals at the Rathskeller, and they do not have the Statue of Liberty in Lake Mendota. (Well, ok, this year I guess we don't have the statue either, but still, seriously, if you're a high school kid or their parents, where would you rather spend a weekend?)

And finally, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled this week that emails between Republican legislators and their attorneys who drew up redistricting maps in secret must be released to the public. But the released emails showed that nobody had anything to hide after all.

For example there was this from conservative Dane County Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz. I quote verbatim from the State Journal:

Reached by phone Thursday, Bruskewitz, defended the actions by saying she was trying to make the process less partisan.

"I don't think I had seen a copy of (the map), but I knew it would be favorable to Republicans," she said.

Well, yeah, if you want to make the redistricting process less partisan everybody knows you agree to testify in favor of a map you haven't seen but that you expect will favor Republicans. Makes perfect sense.

That's all I've got this week. Have a good weekend, kids.

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