Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

State of the State

By Ed Garvey
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I kept watching Jim Doyle deliver the State of the State last night and kept wondering what was missing. I think I figured it out. He is not having any fun. He smiles, introduces lots of people in the audience, shakes hands, but its part of his job not an adventure.

And the speech reflected his mood. He threw out a few gems but he acts as if Milwaukee is not part of Wisconsin; the poor not his concern. A small business owner in Butler gets a standing ovation, but Milwaukee's Mayor Barrett isn't in the crowd. As for the looming recession, he is confident it won't hurt Wisconsin. Why? "We are hardworking people...and when challenges arise, we meet them head on. Passionate people who invent and innovate, who build and grow." (I thought I could hear Tommy Makem leading the group assembled in singing "Inch by inch, row by row,I'm gonna make my garden grow." But no such luck.)

How are we dealing with the fact that 33% of the children in Milwaukee are below the poverty line? How are we confronting the Pay-Day loan-sharks and the sub prime crimes that put our most vulnerable brothers and sisters in jeopardy of becoming homeless? Any plans to keep them in their homes?

When introducing the head of the Wisconsin National Guard, he might have mentioned those who have been killed in a war brought to us through lies. Or how about the economic impact on Wisconsin. Think, no dream, what we could have accomplished with the money going to Iraq.

How about the ever-growing crisis of the high cost of our prisoners and the impact it has had on the UW.

Has he forgotten that his appointee to the Court is up for election (or auction) and that all 7 members of the Court called for public financing. Apparently.

Opportunity squandered. Plunge in governor; lots of people are hurting!

My guess--it was a speech written by committee. And, if one takes this happy news speech at face value, we don't have to worry about the 1000 families scheduled to lose their homes at sheriff's auction in Milwaukee in the coming weeks because we are "hard working people."

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