Humans have been debating the definition of “normal” as regards sexuality ever since we climbed dripping wet out of the swamps and looked around in search of intimacy. In between conducting sieges, banging vengefully on each other, and finding other fun ways to be hurtful, our ancestors have loved and lived in a bewildering variety of ways. Look at the ancient Greeks, who practiced homoeroticism openly and with impunity, as their decorated pottery attests. The Romans looked askance at intimate relations between men but it was okay for women to engage in it, I’ve read. They had another hang-up: if women were raped, it humiliated the entire family, especially the male members, and was considered the women’s own fault. (Punish the victim is still a favorite playbook in many Middle Eastern quarters, not to mention closer to home. Sometimes the raped woman is disowned or even killed.) The Egyptian pharaohs reputedly practiced incest, marrying brothers to sisters, or fathers to daughters, to perpetuate the throne within the clan, although some scholars now dispute this in part because incest was frowned on for ordinary folk. The point may be, what was conventional or “normal” depended on where you lived, when you lived, and what your status was on the social ladder.
On June 29th the Wisconsin State Assembly voted on Assembly Bill 117 relating to eliminating the personal property tax. I have been an advocate of repealing the personal property tax since I was elected. The personal property tax is unfair to small businesses. It taxes the tools they own which are necessary to conduct their business like blow-dryers for a salon, ladders for a roofer, or ovens and mixing tools for restaurants. However if the state eliminates this tax, it should supply the revenue it takes away from local municipalities. These dollars are what local governments use to repair local roads and supply police, fire, and EMT services.
My mind inevitably goes blank when someone asks me what I did yesterday (or over the weekend, or on Tuesday — wait, isn’t today Tuesday?!). Lately, though, that response has been close to the truth of what I’ve been doing: nothing. At least, nothing that strikes me as worth talking about.
MADISON – Despite overwhelming public support for Governor Tony Evers’ state budget proposal that prioritized a successful economic recovery for the state, Republican politicians settled for less. Senate Democrats introduced an amendment to enact key proposals from the Governor’s Bounceback Budget, including investing in schools, increasing access to affordable health care, securing federal funding for the state, and ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, Republicans voted against these commonsense proposals and turned their backs on the communities that they represent.
MADISON, WI – Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) made the following statement June 30 following the final Senate’s passage of the State Budget bill: “I am very proud of the legislature’s state budget. We made strategic investments to support the priorities of the people of Wisconsin while respecting the hard-working taxpayers we serve.
My maternal grandmother in Iowa loved her milk cows. Born in 1878, she and millions of others like her in the 19th Century nourished a tender relationship with their farm animals. In the first Federal Census in 1790, 90-some percent of the people enumerated in this country were engaged in farming of one kind of another. By the 1940 census – the last one we can have access to — the statistics were reversed, with 90-something percent of our citizens off the farms and doing something else for a living. I cherish a photo of Grandma perched on her milking stool, cheek against the flank of a cow, filling a bucket to be drunk at the next meal by her many dependents, or to make butter, or use in many other delicious ways. Such as to whip up a batch of her buttermilk “gems”. Yum! My cousin Jerry, who grew up in my grandparents’ house, would only drink the Brown Cow’s milk (a Guernsey, perhaps), not the other milker they kept at that time. I couldn’t tell the difference between the two, myself, but he had developed discriminating tastebuds and insisted on Brown Cow. On the other side of the tree, my father’s family established successful dairies in Dundee, Illinois in the mid-1800s, replicating dairies they had owned in Western Massachusetts before emigrating West.
For reasons I won’t go into, I don’t have my own Internet connection. This is usually not a problem, but it has created some awkward situations during this time of a cautious reopening of public spaces. Such was the case the other day when I was invited to attend a short webinar.
It’s been one heck of a year. Through it all, our farmers have been strong and steady. They have added extra hours onto their already long days to ensure that we have safe and healthy foods on our table each night. They also have weathered unpredictable markets, pricing, and supply issues. Producers and processors are hard workers, they give back, and they make up so much of what we value in rural communities.
We had our own homegrown Juneteenth celebration here in Plain last weekend, in a village known more for its homogeneity than diversity. The party in our neighborhood was ostensibly a birthday party for a one-year-old, but it was charming and inspiring in its inclusion of a wide variety of ages, races, and genders.
If you follow Valley Sentinel on social media, over the last few weeks you’ve seen that we have been struggling with inconsistencies and missteps with the printing company that prints the paper each week.