Ron Johnson's a joke, not the United Nations
Thanks for the article "What Ron Johnson Stands For" (8/6/10). I found his statement that "the U.N. is a joke" offensive. As a former president of the Dane County Chapter of the United Nations Association, I've taken time to learn about the U.N. and think any serious candidate for national office should too.
While the U.N. certainly isn't perfect, it's better than not having any international forum for conflict resolution. The U.N. General Assembly provides a forum for the world's 192 nations to discuss matters relating to the "maintenance of international peace and security." The Security Council can pass resolutions telling nations to abide by international law, and back these up with sanctions or peacekeeping forces.
Most of the U.N.'s real work is done by its agencies, like the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations Environmental Program. I see no joke in efforts to ensure an adequate food supply, prevent pandemics, provide assistance for children who are victims of war or disaster, and alleviate global climate change.
Maybe the real joke is a self-funded, TV-ad campaign for the U.S. Senate by a candidate without public-sector or legislative experience who blithely writes off an agency he doesn't understand.
On Dave's 'Defense'
Regarding Mayor Dave's article "In Defense of Madison" (8/13/10): I am retired and I spend a lot of time in northern Wisconsin and in Milwaukee (my home is in Madison). In conversations with people in these various places, I don't think they give much thought to Madison as a city, but they do have opinions (many not good) of Madison as the center of state government. Many times I have heard "what are those %&*#@^" in Madison thinking?
I think that Madisonians are harder on city government than the "outlanders" are. If the capital were still in Belmont, the mayor of Belmont would have written this article.
I like Mayor Dave. Granted, I'm not a fan of the bike boxes, but mainly because I worry about how safe it is for bicyclists to get in front of some of our state legislators. I had a challenging drive to work after the big snowstorm last year too, but last time I checked, the mayor had not been given oversight of the weather, and we all make the occasional marginal decision.
While I enjoyed the mayor's cheap shots at the legislators, the real meat of the his essay is the value and necessity of a city like Madison to the region and state. On that score I have only two words: Amen, brother.
Moustache handlebars and fenders. That's my kind of mayor!
Please correct some confusion on my part. I thought Isthmus was a newspaper with journalistic and ethical standards. But giving an elected official the cover story with no other points of view seems to go against those principles. It's self-serving for the mayor and does nothing to help us understand the real issues from a critical point of view.
But maybe I've misunderstood.
Michael A. Goodman
News editor Bill Lueders replies: We asked the mayor to write about the hostility some people have toward Madison because we thought he would do a good job of exploring this topic. We feel he did. Others are free to disagree.
I'm confused by the mayor's recent piece. Why does the mayor need to be consulted before the streets are plowed? Shouldn't there already be a plan in effect? I lived in Boston. It gets a lot of snow in the winter. Boston rolls out the plows as soon as the snow starts falling, whenever that might be. On the other hand, Madison cannot keep its streets cleared. Madison waits for the snow to stop falling before plowing. Perhaps the mayor of Madison should talk to the mayor of Boston to ask how it's done.
Let's swap statues
About the "teeny weeny peeny" on the Roman soldier statue that stirred a fuss in 1990 ("20 Years Ago," 8/20/10) and now guards Armenia...I think we were robbed. We should try to get it back in exchange for that much larger penis made of corncobs (or so it appears) in front of Camp Randall.
Stuck waiting for family awhile back, I had a chance to ponder the football-stadium statue and imagined this ode inscribed on its base:
"O corncob penis, Object d'espair, Seedless, going nowhere, Shooting nothing into air."