Monday, October 29, 2012

Family and Friends in Sandy's Path

My daughter is hunkered down with her beau in White Plains, New York – the northern end of the New York City metro area – and has been trading graveyard humor with me on the internet all day long.  She was sent home from work mid-morning, when there seemed no doubt remaining that this was going to be a big one.  A ‘sconnie girl at heart, she’s joked with me about how to make sure the beer stays cold after the power goes out, and she sent mom a 20-second video which she made by sticking her i-Phone out the window of her beau’s condo and capturing some howling wind noise and horizontal rain.

I’m concerned about her, but not worried.  She’s smart and resourceful, and is imbued with the independence that was my mission as a parent to impart in her.  Mom was the nurturer and practitioner of unconditional support; I was the loving but pragmatic parent, who tried to teach her about the unfairness of the world, how good things are worth working for, who encouraged her to stretch her wings and be her own person and to get out of the nest and see the world.

Her beau, John, has long ago passed all the parental tests regarding the “nice guy quotient”, stability, level-headedness, maturity, and all the other tests young men must pass with “the father”.  I am glad they’re together, and glad that she has another loving family to keep an eye on her when danger threatens.  John’s parents live in Connecticut, they’re second-generation Italian-Americans (which makes my second-generation Italian-American wife so happy), and they've accepted my little girl into their hearts and home.

My life-long friend Mike was up and at work at 3 this morning.  He’s a newspaper editor in New York City, and he’s facing a lot of long hours ahead as the storm moves through the big city.  Mike and I grew up with a Tom Sawyer-like childhood in Hortonville, spent countless hours together finding adventure in the pine forests and clear, cold creeks around our village, slept under the stars just about every summer night, worked on the high school newspaper together, went off to different colleges and chased different dreams, but we still share the unbreakable bond of being best friends in our formative years.

The photo at the top of this post is of the flooding at Mariner’s Harbor, on the north end of Staten Island, and was taken by one of the photojournalists on Mike’s staff.  There won’t be much rest in the next day or so for any of the hard-core newsies in New York City like Mike.  He joked with me in an e-mail this morning that before he left for work he’d put his basement up on stilts and got the shop-vac out of the garage in case it has to be pressed into flood-control duty during the storm.  Mike’s wife is used to having her husband answer duty’s call when most everybody else, except emergency workers, is sent home from work.  They met as college students and have been together since the 60’s.  More than once, Mike’s wife Barb has volunteered her services to help him get news covered and reported.  She knows the routine.  And she knows he’ll disappear again for untold hours next week, covering the election.

My thoughts also turn to my great friend and business partner, Glen, who will ride out the storm in his suburban Boston home.  We covered more than a few blizzards, tornadoes, and severe storms together during our radio years – first as competitors, then for years as colleagues and partners.  Since our radio days, we've worked together on two online news outlets, both of us making the transition from big buildings with studios and transmitters, to work-spaces in our homes, on computers with fast internet connections and studios of our own design and construction. 

Glen spends a lot of his time on airplanes since he moved back to Massachusetts a little over a year ago, as he still takes personal care of clients in Iowa.  We joked back and forth a day or two ago about how he got out of Cedar Rapids just in time to get home and hunker down for the storm.  His biggest concern will be not “if” the power will go off in his neighborhood, but how LONG it will be off.

And I’ll have thoughts of new friends – friends I've never even met in person, like Sarah and her family in New Jersey.  I've known Sarah’s dad, a Pulitzer Prize- winning author from Madison, for years; and became “acquainted” with Sarah when her dad, bursting with pride, mentioned that Sarah had started her own blog.  Such is the nature of things in the 21st Century, that we can have friends, through social media or the internet, that we've never actually met in person – yet we've become acquainted with them through mutual interests and can truly count them as friends.

I’ll be thinking about these family members and friends as I devour the news about Hurricane Sandy – and I’ll pray that they’ll all be safe and sound, and that the worst consequences of the storm will be some short-term inconvenience in their lives.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More Debate Ramblings

This photo, copyrighted by The Associated Press, shows an amicable Tommy and Tammy shaking hands before their last “debate” Friday night at the Marquette Law School Library.  Moderator Mike Gousha’s hand is just visible in the lower left of the photo.

I think it’s safe to say Tammy and Tommy won’t be shaking hands again in the near future, if they can avoid it.  This Senate campaign has ended up in the muck, and both are throwing it.

Some people who’ve known Tommy for a long time say he reluctantly went along with Karl Rove’s attack ad on Tammy’s 9-11 Patriotism; some who’ve known Tammy a long time say she had no option but to counter Tommy’s 9-11 smear with one of her own.

This is what politics has become: both candidates with their own sets of facts, who refuse to directly answer questions about specifics, and simply repeat whatever lines their handlers have told them to use when talking about the subject.  You can’t pin them down; even when a competent moderator like Mike Gousha asks Tommy directly about his pandering to the tea party with his remark to the tea people “who better than me to do away with Medicare and Medicaid?”  Tommy just pivots and says “I’ve been a moderate conservative all my life”.

Both Tommy and Tammy could benefit greatly by hiring an elocution coach; Tammy more than Tommy.  Tommy’s tortured pronunciations and shattered syntax are part and parcel of his very well-known public persona, and a well-spoken Tommy Thompson might even be a net negative.  We’re used to his bluster and his dropped g’s and his repeated mispronunciations (“Ahmadeenajon”) and constant flubs like “Gulf of Hormuz”.

Tammy’s not nearly so well-known in Wisconsin, and her halting answers and constant interjections of “ahhh…” make her responses to debate questions seem uncertain.  In the closing moments of Friday night’s debate, when Gousha got to the 9-11 (non)issue, Tommy launched into an obviously well-practiced response about not questioning Tammy’s patriotism, but her judgment.  Tammy’s “I am outraged that Governor Thompson would make a political issue of a national tragedy” speech, no doubt also calculated and practiced, came off as stilted and rehearsed.  Unfortunately, this is the kind of stuff – style elements, not substance – that tend to stick in the mind, and play too large a role in the decision-making process about who’s the better candidate.

Mercifully, the “debates” are now over; no more Tammy and Tommy; no more Barack and Mitt; and a creature named Sandy will take center stage on the national news reports for the next couple days.

The cynic in me buys into the assertion that we get the kind of government we deserve.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Performance Anxiety

So, this is The Donald’s “October Surprise”?  This is what you got, Donald?  A five million dollar gamble that the President won’t take you up on your offer?

In case you haven’t heard, The Donald is offering that obscene amount of money to a charity of the President’s choice if he’ll “reveal” his passport application papers and his college application papers.  Or something  birther-ish like that.  The text, if you care to read through it, is below.  You can click on it to enlarge the print.

The Donald is a performer, not really a realtor or politician.  He craves attention.  I know something about this sort of thing.  Most folks who operate in the public eye – news anchors, like I was; performing musicians, like I was; TV and movie stars; public speakers; all kinds of people who risk ridicule and criticism if they fail or take a mis-step in the public eye have some form of performance ego that drives them to take the risk, because they crave the reward.

This isn’t a bad thing.  In the appropriate dose, it enables you to go on functioning when the public laughs at you for falling down – whether it’s an actor’s blown line, a news anchor’s gaffe, a musician’s sour note, or whatever.  If you can’t take the criticism that comes with being in the public’s eye or ear, your skin is too thin for it.

Rush Limbaugh has it; it’s one reason he’s been a successful entertainer.  He can blow his own horn with the best of them.  But Rush doesn’t have anywhere near as much of this stuff, whatever it is, as The Donald.  Years ago, Rush attempted to do what Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Alan Colmes, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and scores of others have: parlay your radio success into TV success.  Rush’s ill-fated TV show lasted about five-hundredths of a second.  It was obvious that Rush, who can be devastating behind a radio microphone, became a sniveling, stammering failure when a guest or audience member challenged him or called BS.  (This does NOT include Rush’s similar ill-fated attempt to be a “commentator” for ESPN, another stint that lasted a few seconds in 2003, when Rush credited Donovan McNabb’s success as a quarterback to the “NFL’s desire that a black quarterback do well”, exposing El Rushbo to a few tens of millions of folks for the racist that he is.)

This is why you NEVER hear a caller disagree with Rush on his radio show.  He does not perform well when challenged.  He has learned to play to his strengths, and he does it more successfully than any other talk show host on radio.  Or, at least as well as Howard Stern.

But The Donald?  Man, whatever that stuff is, he’s got more of it than anybody I’ve ever seen or heard of.  Perhaps so much of it that it may be his undoing.  If you take the time to read his “bet” (above), you must acknowledge that there’s a HUGE amount of ego in his writing.  “I did this, I did that, no one else could do it” sort of stuff.  The Donald’s schtick goes well beyond the parameters of performance ego.  This man is infatuated with himself.  He parlayed his daddy’s 20-million-bucks into a huge fortune, a formidable brand, and a successful TV show.

But this – this constant birther BS – is over the top.  It has nothing to do with promoting his brand, either as a real estate development mogul or a TV star.  Some day, the media will stop dancing to The Donald’s tune; stop giving him what he so desperately wants (attention).  I think that will make The Donald an even more desperate person, an even sadder spectacle than he is now.

That’s what you got, Donald?  Birther stuff?

Your schtick is getting old.

The Associate Press holds the copyright to the photo at the top of this post.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Scrap the "Debates" - and the Polls

I’ve ranted many times that the so-called debates aren’t really debates; not in the traditional sense, not in the collegiate sense, and certainly not in the Lincoln-Douglas sense.  I think it’s time we abandoned the tradition, unless we can make it more like a real debate, and while we’re at it, let’s scrap the damnable political polls, too.

Americans, and in particular the media, treat the Presidential election as though it were some sort of prize fight or horse race.  I’m not sure the Presidential election was ever meant to be merely a spectator sport.

So much attention is paid to who’s up and who’s down in the polls, and if you take the time to look back on the last dozen or so Presidential elections, in nearly every case, within a couple of weeks of the election, the polls show the race to be essentially a dead heat – the difference between the candidates is inside the margin of error for the poll.  Just like the polls show right now.

Even in the 1980 Carter-Reagan election, the Gallup Poll (which is usually regarded as the most prestigious, but is often prone to the greatest error, particularly when it differs by more than 3% from other established and reputable polls) had Reagan only a 58% favorite.  Depending on your age, you may recall that on election night, it was such a Reagan landslide that the national TV news networks declared a Reagan win long before the polls closed on the west coast.  Carter ended up carrying only five states.

That election, with the early network projection of Reagan’s landslide, caused a minor flap.  The Constitution is pretty specific about who can vote, when the vote is to be held, and how it is to be applied (the whole Electoral College thing ought to be thrown into the trash), but it says not one word about how the results of the election are to be reported to the people.  So, the networks made essentially a gentleman’s agreement that they wouldn’t project the winner of the election until after the polls had closed on the west coast.

Since the 1988 election, the League of Women Voters – which had traditionally run the debates – was kicked to the curb by the politicians, who formed “The Commission on Presidential Debates”.  That was a huge win for the politicians and a huge loss for the people.  About all the Commission does is cater to the special desires of the candidates, with no accountability to the citizenry.  The Commission allows the candidates to make up their own rules, and has led to the wide variance in the quality of moderators, from the passive style of Jim Lehrer to the more active style of Candy Crowley.  Martha Raddatz and Crowley both acted like actual journalists, in trying to elicit specific answers from the candidates, but like Lehrer, they allow the candidates to simply repeat sections of their stump speeches unchallenged.

Unless and until the electorate shows the desire to actually have the candidates debate issues and to be called on it by the moderator when they spew stump-speech nonsense like “government takeover of health care”, the electorate would be better served by having no “debates” whatsoever.  And I’d further suggest that the networks and various news organizations make another gentleman’s agreement to stop reporting polls of any sort.  As far as I’m concerned, they’re essentially meaningless, and shed no light whatsoever in the real issues the candidates should be addressing.  The polls are nothing but a popularity contest.

While we’re at it, as long as we’re getting rid of the debates and the polls…and the Electoral College….we might as well reverse the Citizens United decision, which says corporations are people, and take a serious look at reforming the dominance of money-influenced politics.

I know: asking too much, as usual.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Boss Romney

In my prior life as a news anchor, on one of the group of radio stations I worked for (the politically left-leaning talk station), I used nicknames for a lot of the people in the news.  I clearly labeled the 5-minute news breaks “news and comment”, just in case some dweeb with a room-temperature IQ couldn’t figure out that opinion was involved.

I called Juan Jose Lopez “double-J-Lo” in his role as a Madison School Board member.  Juan and I are friends and he actually enjoyed the nickname, and understood that the ribbing I’d often give him on the air was not mean-spirited.  Once, while on the air, Juan called me “a fellow big-and-tall customer”, which was not only true, but funny.  I called Madison state senator Fred Risser, the longest-serving member of a state legislature in the US, “Great-Grandpa Risser”.  I called Madison School Board member Carol Carstenson “Grandma Carstenson” – which a lot of hard lefties thought was a slam, but as I often explained, it was because of Carol’s deep concern for all the school children of Madison, like a surrogate grandmother to them all.

There were a score of other nicknames I used, so many that a former columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal once published a list of them.

My favorite, I think, was “Boss Bruer”, my nickname for south-side Madison alderman and long-time city council member Tim Bruer.  For several years, I owned a home in his council district, and even put up yard signs for Tim when he campaigned for re-election.  I called him “Boss” in the political sense, for many reasons: his long tenure as the voice of the south side of the city; his personal attention to any municipal issue you brought to his attention; his relentless fight against the city constantly siting low-income facilities on the south side; his championing of the renovation of the Park Street corridor; and many others.  If you had a problem, you talked to Tim, and he’d shoot straight with you.  Boss Bruer.

I’ve decided to call Mitt Romney “Boss Romney” for different reasons.  Knowing Romney’s history and watching his performance in the debates during the Republican Primary and now in the Presidential race, he appears to me as a man who is used to being “the Boss” in the sense that he RUNS things.  He’s used to being in charge.  He’s not used to being disagreed with and obviously dislikes it.

This is a guy who, representing huge sums of other people’s money (Bain Capital was not Mitt’s money, sports fans, it was other people’s money), would stride into corporate board rooms and tell CEO’s and COO’s and CFO’s what they should be doing.  Giving orders.  Issuing commands. 

He is not accustomed to being disagreed with, and it shows, when another candidate calls him on a point of difference, whether it be a difference in opinion or a difference about what’s factual and what isn’t.

Mitt is used to being THE BOSS.

In a few weeks, we’ll know how that image has played out with the American people.  Because, let’s face it: unfortunately, this whole thing is more about style than substance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scoping Things Out

As you can see from the chart above, Wisconsinites are pretty good about getting screened for colon cancer.  It’s a stupid thing to die from, and like a lot of other cancers, if caught early enough, the docs can cut it right out of you.  The key is to get screened.

I had my second colonoscopy yesterday at age 63.  I had one at 50, and then dragged my feet a few years about getting it done again, because the one 13 years ago showed no issues at all, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody in my family on either side has had colon issues.  They told me I should have it done again when I’m 73.

Never afraid to share too much information, the images above are from my procedure yesterday.  Clean as a whistle.

The bowel prep is never fun.  You have to drink a solution containing, in one form or another, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and electrolytes.   As I understand it, the PEG induces diarrhea and the electrolytes are there to keep your body chemistry cool after your colon is empty and you start getting dehydrated.

I had my procedure done, again, at UW Hospital.  My wife was my designated driver; you have to have one, because they do sedate you pretty heavily.  Within 2 minutes of registering at “G I Outpatient Procedures” (“go left until you see the big cow, and then take another left”), we were taken to the “ready-room”, I was gowned, ran the gauntlet of questions from Nurse Penny  (a pleasant lass who took all my good-natured crap and gave it right back), they had my vitals, had me wired for the EKG, and punched a hole in my hand for the IV.

A few minutes later, Dr. Robertson, the anesthesiologist, questioned me about my long history of being put under by his colleagues at UW-Hospital (7 operations under general anesthesia in the past decade), poked and prodded a bit, and said I was good to go, as far as he was concerned.  Shortly thereafter Dr. Foley, the man who would actually do the procedure, joined us, explained what was going to happen, and then traded a few jokes with us.

After this short session, Nurse Penny and a couple of her cohorts said “let’s roll”, and they pushed my bed from the prep room to the operating room.  The procedure was scheduled for 1:18 PM and we were 38 minutes AHEAD of schedule.

In the OR, they asked me to lay on my left side, and that’s the last thing I remember until I woke up back in the recovery room, understanding why Michael Jackson became addicted to propofol.  Man, that stuff knocks you out RIGHT NOW!  Dr. Robertson told me he used propofol and one other anesthesiology agent, but I can’t remember the name of it.  I have absolutely no memory of anything that happened after they asked me to roll on my left side.

After Nurse Penny was satisfied that I was good to go, she took one more set of vital signs, told me to get dressed, and that Dr. Foley would be by shortly to deliver the verdict.  He said everything was fine, and that I had no polyps and nothing at all that concerned him.  Dr. Robertson popped back in, there was a bit more lighthearted banter, and they sent me home, a full hour ahead of the time they told me to expect it would be all over.

Recovery was a breeze; I had no after-effects from the anesthesia, had no problem eating again, and when they made a follow-up call this morning to make sure everything was OK, I was happy to tell them that as far as I was concerned, the whole thing was first-class from start to finish.

The small discomfort of “bowel prep” is nothing, compared to the peace of mind that everything’s OK. I know far too many men over 50 who simply refuse to have this simple procedure done.   To me, it’s just not worth the gamble.

Thanks to the UW-Hospital and all the excellent health care workers there, who took such good care of me – again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pink Scam

Pink here, pink there, pink everywhere.  Pink ribbons.  Pink jerseys.  Pink shoes.  Pink gloves.  Pink hats.  Pink logos on the field.  Pink ribbons on the announcers.  Pink ribbons on the football.  Pink, pink, pink.

In October, the NFL wraps itself in pink and doubles down on sales promotions for the pink merchandise.

And when you buy the exorbitantly-priced pink NFL merchandise, the NFL will donate 5% of the proceeds (profits) to “breast cancer awareness”.

Five percent.

Breast cancer touches essentially every family in America.  Your mother, your sister, your aunt, your cousin, your niece, your grandmother – a co-worker, a colleague, an acquaintance - odds are extremely strong that someone you know has battled breast cancer.

Breast cancer does not need “more awareness”.

Breast cancer needs a CURE.

A cure will come through research, which costs money.

The NFL, and – as my friend John Roach calls it, “the charity industry” – should take a long, hard look at itself, and keep looking until it sees the greed that so many others do.

A cash contribution to breast cancer research (research, not awareness) would be fine.  Or a link where NFL fans can contribute directly. 

Instead of spending a hundred bucks for a pink Rogers jersey, or 30 bucks for a pink Packers hat, just give the money to the American Cancer Society, where it will do infinitely more good.

Or the Carbone Cancer Center at the UW.

But don't buy a pink jersey and think you're "supporting breast cancer awareness".

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jennifer Livingston: Courage

By now, if you’re the kind of person who reads this blog, you’ve heard the story of WKBT-TV La Crosse news anchor Jennifer Livingston.  Above is a picture of her as she appeared on Channel 8 yesterday, delivering her response to a viewer who wrote in and told her, essentially, that she’s too fat to be on TV, is a poor role model, and that her “choice” to be obese was disgusting.

Just to give you a bit more perspective, here’s a photo of Jennifer taken four years ago, covering an Obama rally at UW-LaCrosse with Professor Joe Heim.

And here’s another picture of Jennifer, from Facebook.

I speak to the subject of the appearance of TV people with some authority, having been married for the past 15 years to a woman who spent the first decade of our marriage as an on-camera TV reporter for Channel 3 in Madison, and having done on-camera TV myself for many years.  During her decade of being on TV every weeknight, my wife summoned great discipline to keep her weight lower than what her body and metabolism “wanted it” to be.  During her TV years, no one ever implied that she was overweight, because she wasn’t.  I’m overweight; like Jennifer, I’m “obese” on the doctor’s charts.  But in my 7 years of being on TV every weekday morning, I never heard one word about “being fat”.

The first thing they did with my wife, when she traded in her desk job as Assignments Manager at Channel 3 for an on-camera reporter’s job, was to direct her to change the color of her hair.  The Dallas-based consulting company that Channel 3 used back then said there were already too many blondes on the air at Channel 3.  So she became a brunette with dark red accents in her hair.  At least they paid for that, through an arrangement with a local salon.

They told her what kind of clothes to wear.  Oh, and that business about TV people getting “free” wardrobes?  Maybe in New York and LA, but in markets like Madison, you used to get a SMALL amount of money every month as a “clothing allowance”, which probably doesn’t even exist any more.  When the consultant said “wear scarves”, my wife bought scarves.

My wife was on the receiving end of nasty, anonymous comments about her appearance, the color of her hair, the color of her lipstick, the kind of clothes she wore, and other superficial things, which very seldom had anything to do with the content of her stories.  (But there were those complaints, too.)

How many women over 50 years of age do you see doing news on your local station?  Rhetorical question.  For a while, it was fashionable in the TV news industry to have the local nightly news anchored by “a grandfather and his granddaughter” – pairing a 50+ year old man with a 20-something woman.

My point is, TV news, whether anyone will admit it or not, is as much about appearance as it is about journalism.  And it’s grossly unfair to women.

So when Jennifer Livingston pushed back, the story quickly went viral.  Like any other woman on TV, she said she’s gotten plenty of unsolicited feedback about her appearance.  But when she shared the “bad role model” e-mail with her newsroom colleagues, they were angry, and encouraged her to speak out.  She did, and she did so eloquently.

Anyone who thinks TV is a glamour business is only partly correct.  It’s a very brutal business for women, who are constantly judged by their appearance alone.

As Oprah would say, “you go, girl”!  Good for you, Jennifer.  Nobody should have to take that kind of crap.

Monday, October 1, 2012

An Open Letter to the WBA: Get Into the 21st Century

Like many professional associations, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is mainly comprised of top management and ownership people.  Over this past weekend, a lot of the “worker bees” in broadcasting – the ones who actually design and create the programs you hear on radio and see on TV -  were using 21st century social media to laugh at (and grouse about) the WBA’s Friday night presentation of the “debate” between U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson.  It’s time for the owners and top managers to take a critical look at the product they’re putting out on these “debates”.

I put the word debate in quotation marks because anyone who’s ever been on a debate team knows that these events – from the national to the local level – aren’t debates.  They’re more like joint appearances, where the candidates spit back the relevant lines from their stump speeches and don’t really do any debating whatsoever.

Look at the photo at the top of this post (from CSPAN).  Massive, 18th-century desks; two staid and immobile candidates, seated very far apart; and the bunting hanging behind them – a nice touch, straight out of the 19th century.

The entire hour long broadcast had the feel of something out of the 50’s, when TV was in its infancy.

A few unsolicited remarks:  it’s well past time to completely revamp the presentation and format of these joint appearances.  Update the look of the set; increase dramatically the production values of the telecast; instruct the director to use two-shots with an emphasis on candidates’ reactions to each other’s statements; and for God’s sake, do SOMETHING about the dreadfully boring opening to the telecast (the “sponsor ID statements”), where old white men drone on with platitudes about the importance of getting to know the candidates and why their company or organization, which has shelled out good money to sponsor the telecast, is a fine and civic-minded group of patriots.  The sponsors must be credited, but the leaders of these fine patriotic organizations need to be coached on making a brief and impactful TV presentation.  Oh, and maybe…just maybe…they might want to sneak in a little B-roll, so it isn’t just 90 seconds of sitting on a one-shot of the talking head droning on.  Oh yes, and it’s OK to use musical elements in the telecast, for the opening, transitions, segment definition, and closes - just like commercial TV has been doing for the past 40-some years.

The format needs a complete overhaul.  Watch and learn from video of any of the many Republican Presidential “debates” from this summer; watch the Obama/Romney “debate” Wednesday night.  You have the candidates seated at desks, way too far apart.  Let them sit together at a table (kind of like the Walker/Barrett gubernatorial debate) so they can interact with each other, or let them stand at lecterns (which will incorrectly be called “podiums” by everyone).  Let the candidates react to each other’s responses, by giving them instant rebuttal time or whatever.  Let the panel of questioners follow up if a candidate gives a non-responsive stump-speech response.  Add at least one more person to the panel – how about two radio folks and two TV folks?  And for God’s sake, make the thing MOVE!  Give the telecast some life and forward momentum.  Let us see the candidates disagree with each other in real time, so we can see the clash of ideas and do some sifting and winnowing!

There are plenty of extremely talented television producers in Wisconsin who, I’m sure, would be glad to volunteer their skills to help the WBA put on a lively and informative telecast.

All you have to do is ask them.