Vol. 7    No. 5
MARCH 8, 2012

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

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The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
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Contact Number:
(608) 241-2000
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Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                            Different Things
There are times when I have so much on my mind that I have nothing on my mind. I guess that my
conscious state gets so overwhelmed at times, that it kicks a lot of things down to the subconscious
level. So I will sit here in the early morning hours with my lamp making a cone of light and my fingers
resting on the keyboard. And I will try to figure out what to say. And it seems ad if there is nothing there.
But once I start to write, it seems like the space that I have allotted myself is hardly sufficient for what I
have to say. And I am sure that is true for all of us. A writer doesn’t know what he/she is thinking until
he/she starts to write it down. And then it all comes pouring out.

One of the reasons why I have so much on my mind is I attended the Patrick Sims directed play Ma
Rainey’s Black Bottom, which was penned by August Wilson arguably the most important African
American playwright of the 20th century. Ma Rainey is running through March 17th at Vilas Hall’s
Mitchell Theater.

Everyone connected to the play, from the director to the scenarist to the actors, have done a marvelous
job of bringing Wilson’s characters to life before the audience’s eyes. Each time that I read the play or
see it, the play has something different to say to me because there is just so much meat there and
Wilson’s characters are always so complex and reveal truths about the African American experience in
America and the human condition. Wilson’s characters are based on the people whom he met in
Pittsburgh where he worked many a menial job as the self-educated himself and put himself in position
to make his mark on the theatrical world.

I would highly recommend this play for a night of entertainment and conversation. But you hjad better
act fast because I hear that tickets are going very fast in a community that still misses its Madison
Repertory Theater.


When I was growing up and going to school — I might be pretty naïve here — I was taught the
importance of the rule of law. It was the rule of law — the social compact that we have with each other
— that decided things. Might did not make right. It was the rationality of the law which allowed people
to anticipate the repercussions of their actions and to create a space where we all could live. It was
the rule of law that allowed our nation and civilization to flourish. And it is the denigration of the law —
where we no longer play our roles within the scheme of separation of power and people do things
because they can — that causes our society to crumble.

I have been taken aback by two judicial actions during the past year.

The first was when Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman failed to disclose that he had received
de facto free legal advice from a law firm that later represented the Walker Administration when it
defended its elimination of collective bargaining for public workers. Gableman cast the deciding vote.
Was he impartial in casting his vote because he believed the Walker Administration has the
constitutional power to do what it did? Or was he paying a financial favor back when he made his
decision? Only Gableman knows for sure. But regardless, Gabelman should have disclosed his legal
arrangement before he voted instead of it being revealed by third parties.

Perhaps Gableman felt it was his own personal business and no one else’s. But as a public servant,
especially when it could possibly affect the public, it is the public’s business and all of us have the
right to know. Gableman should have erred on the side of transparency. It is not up to him to decide
where one crosses the line between private and public.

It was easy for me to get up on my high horse on that one because I do believe that Gabelman should
have revealed the potential conflict of interest and I opposed his ruling and felt the state should not
eliminate collective bargaining.

Just this past week, the shoew was on the other foot. Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan
issued a temporary injunction against the Walker Administration, preventing it from implementing the
Voter ID law, which will clearly discriminate against communities of color, the disabled, seniors,
students and rural residents of Wisconsin. I think it is a bad, unconstitutional law. I was very happy to
see its implementation delayed — although some advertising was cancelled announcing the Voter ID
law. It was cause to celebrate.

But then it was ruled that Flanagan had signed a recall petition against Walker who pushed for the Voter
ID bill and is responsible for its implementation. Flanagan did not reveal this when he took on the case
or even after he signed the petition. Perhaps he felt it was his own personal business and no one
needed to know what his own personal political beliefs are. But it is the public’s business for it may
influence how the public views his ruling. And it is the public’s right to judge whether Flanagan’s
signing was a conflict of interest and a public issue.

The means does not justify the ends here. Flanagan should have disclosed his signing the recall
petition. It seems that all actors in the public realm, from corporations funding Super PACs to those in
office are opting for secrecy. And that secrecy, no matter how much I agree with the person doing it, is
bad for democracy. Let’s be transparent folks!

Let the rule of law once more pervade the land!
Artistic History
UW Professor Freida High Paints
Her History