Yes and No

Yes and No

Think you know Madison? Not as well as the folks at the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. There’s still time to enjoy one of the group’s historic walking tours, which cost just $5 and run from late May to the end of September. The tours have a reward built in, aside from all the knowledge. Take the State Street tour and you’ll get free ice cream at the Chocolate Shoppe. Explore Mansion Hill East and enjoy a beverage gratis on the Edgewater pier. Check out University Heights and belly up to the bar for a complimentary drink at the Blue Moon. Hike up and down Bascom Hill and savor complimentary Babcock Hall ice cream at Memorial Union. Sounds like fun to me.

There are as many children as single men in Dane County homeless shelters. The State Journal reported this heartbreaking news over the summer as Congress battled over extending unemployment benefits. We’re going to feel the effects of the instability in those kids’ lives for years to come, starting with them missing classes or changing schools when their parents can no longer make rent or pay the mortgage. I have no admiration for those who unsuccessfully argued against extending benefits on the principle of cutting the deficit. It felt more like election-year grandstanding at the expense of children and their families—something worth considering at the polls this November.

Ron Johnson is a successful businessman with deep pockets. That’s a pretty good position to be in for a Republican looking to unseat Russ Feingold in a year when anti-establishment candidates are beyond fashionable. But here’s the thing: reporters and candidates use the anti-incumbency narrative in every election year, yet it often doesn’t happen (1994 and 2006 being recent exceptions in Congress). Incumbents usually win. Feingold faced wealthy GOP challengers from the private sector in two previous elections, including one with name recognition (Russ Darrow). There’s nothing going on to suggest this year will be different, despite Johnson’s attempts to court the Tea Party vote.

“I’m never doing that again!” That’s what a dear friend of mine said as she limped away from the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin about five years ago. This year’s race falls on my birthday and I will take some time out to cheer on competitors as they loop past the end of my street on the bicycle course. But there’s one thing I will never do: join them.

It wasn’t too long ago Congressman Paul Ryan was denying any interest in running for president. And yet the Janesville Republican continues to follow the running-for-president playbook to the letter. Schedule a visit to an early primary state? Check. Be a face for the GOP in criticizing the sitting president? Yep. This month, Ryan marks another “Who me? No, I’m not running for president” milestone with the release of a book he co-authored with two House Republican colleagues. The book is called Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders.

Drive around Madison and you’ll still see “A Fair Wisconsin Votes ‘No'” bumper stickers. To me, they are a sad reminder that more Wisconsin residents voted “yes” to ban gay marriage and civil unions. Jobs and the economy over-shadow all other issues in the governor’s race this year, but the fight will continue. I look forward to the day when the question of whether some of our neighbors, friends and family are entitled to the rights everyone else enjoys ceases to be a political issue. When we finally get there, younger generations will wonder what all the fuss was about. We’ll have a hard time explaining why it took us so long.

Got capital ideas or comments for Jenny? E-mail her at