Is it too cynical to suggest that Mayor Dave Cieslewicz neglected the mirrors in his guest column, "The Case for Smoke-Filled Rooms," 4/4/08)? Include them, and his simile comparing a political convention to reality TV is quite apt. After all, reality TV is the illusion of real struggle. Just as many citizens believe that political conventions are the illusion of real democracy.
The conservative machine has done a great job of debasing an honest citizen's trust in government while upping the drumbeat of uncertainty, fear and hatred. But the spectacle of rancorous infighting, especially between a white woman and a black man, does nothing to unite us in the courage we need to put the conservatives out of power.
Regarding your profile of teachers union head John Matthews ("A Lion in Winter," 3/28/08): I have been a special education assistant with the Madison school district since 1992. My union does not have a contract; it expired in August 2006.
Sadly, I think it won't be settled by the time it actually runs out in August of this year. The union is very careful to take our dues, but a contract seems out of reach.
It's time that we were included in the teacher contract; if not, the education assistants should look for a new union. Sorry, Mr. Matthews, you are not helping us.
Ruth Edson (West High School), Fitchburg
I was shocked to find the real names, and a photo, in your story about grandparents raising kids - especially the identification of a child whose parent is a convicted criminal and another who had been sexually abused ("Grandparents to the Rescue," 3/14/08). Truth in journalism should not preclude protecting the privacy of innocent kids.
Author Vikki Kratz replies: The families agreed to be identified by name and be photographed. The boy pictured was not the child who was sexually abused.
The Shawano beat
I enjoyed your article on Crustacean Records ("Label on the Loose," 3/28/08); however, as a bartender at the Blue Moon Saloon in rural Shawano County during the late '90s, I would argue with your use of the term "country bar." It made me cringe.
The jukebox, which was owned by the bar and stocked by customers, had music by Monster Magnet, Nebula, Social Distortion, Rob Zombie, the Violent Femmes, Nirvana and Corrosion of Conformity, to name a few.
We took great pride in having the best jukebox around as well as the best live shows (predominantly because of Jake Shut, who brought in most of the talent). By "best" I mean hard-core rocking music, not country.
It may seem a small issue, but it was (and still is) all about the music, and the music was not country.
I am disappointed that your "Pets Pitch In" story on the greening of pet ownership (4/4/08) left out Paw Naturaw (www.PawNaturaw.com), America's first certified-organic, raw, frozen diets for dogs.
Paw Naturaw manufactures its products in its own FDA-registered plant built to green specifications in Lake Mills. Furthermore, we source our organic chickens and turkeys from a local family farm here in Wisconsin.
Jeffrey Brill, Paw Naturaw, Lake Mills