Marlin Schneider has represented the Wisconsin Rapids area in the state legislature since Jesus was in short pants, but the voters of that area saw fit to throw him out in the mid-term elections. He’s been known to the media (at least, to those of us who’ve been around more than a few minutes) as “Snarlin’ Marlin” for good reason. Once in a while he gets his dander up and unleashes a tirade. He’s done it on the Assembly floor and a good many times to reporters who ask stupid questions.
He’s one of those colorful characters who used to frequent the halls of state government in greater numbers, long before it got taken over by the lobbyists and special interests. Marlin was often the king of per diems, charging the taxpayers 14 or 15 grand a year simply to show up at work. He’d usually rank in the top ten for amount of per diem charged to the generous people of Wisconsin, but nobody doubted that Marlin was really in town and working. Nothing at all unlawful about what he did. He just hung out in Madison a lot.
What got me thinking about this is a snippet I heard on the radio yesterday early afternoon, after dropping my bride off at work following a lunch with her at Granite City near the big western mall. After dropping her off at her office on Science Drive, I headed off to run a few errands while I was out and about, and was half daydreaming on Odana Road when I heard a familiar voice burst into my consciousness.
John C. Smith was giving the news on WIBA-AM (he’s a news guy at the Clear Channel Radio cluster in Ann Arbor, MI, and why he does the 1 PM news on a Madison station is too long a story to get into here) and all of a sudden my ears perked up when I heard the Snarler’s familiar voice yelling “You wanna know why we don’t have a high speed train in Wisconsin? It’s because Vicki McKenna and those two birdbrains in Milwaukee don’t like it!!!”
I missed the rest of the quote because I was laughing out loud. Vicki McKenna is the afternoon talk show host on WIBA-AM, a well-known train hater; and the two Milwaukee birdbrains the Snarler was referring to have to be Mark Belling of WISN-AM (a friend and colleague of long acquaintance) and Charlie Sykes of WTMJ-AM, both card-carrying members of the train-haters club.
The Snarler has become a lame duck, but he’s certainly not becoming a shrinking violet. I’m going to miss those great sound bites.