Mary Beth Writes

Wednesday evening the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Evers' Safer at Home order. The 4-3 decision was written by four of the court’s conservatives.

Here are the 4 who voted against Safer at Home. This info is all from Wikipedia or the Mke Journal Sentinel.

Chief Justice Patience Roggensack said just this week, "Due to the meatpacking, though, that's where Brown County got the flare. It wasn't just the regular folks in Brown County.”  Because apparently people who work in meatpacking plants are not “regular folks.”

Justice Rebecca Bradley: Star Trek star George Takei (who was in an internment camp in WWII) slammed Justice Rebecca Bradley over her repeated comparison of WI’s stay-at-home order to Japanese Internment camps. “I'm in my own home watching Netflix. It’s not an internment camp," Takei tweeted Thursday morning. "Trust me."

Justice Daniel Kelly was a conservative attorney before he was appointed to the supreme court in 2016 by Governor Walker.  He had worked for Walker's legislation, including a 2011 redistricting plan that was struck down by courts for discriminating against black voters with surgical precision.

Justice Annette Ziegler: It came to light during her 2007 campaign that Ziegler had ruled on a dozen cases affecting a bank where her husband was a paid board member. She also ruled on 22 cases involving companies in which she personally owned more than $50,000 of stock. In 2015  Ziegler joined the majority which ended the John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between the Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign and business lobbying associations Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Wisconsin Club for Growth. The court ruled that such coordination, if it had occurred, would be legal. This upended Wisconsin campaign finance rules and enabled coordination between campaigns and political action committees who do not have to disclose their donors. In 2017 Ziegler joined the decision to strike down a rule requiring judges to recuse from cases involving entities from which they had received campaign contributions.

Just today I deleted an email from my state Republican Rep Scott Allen asking people to be more cooperative and less divisive. This quote by Lily Tomlin. “No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.”

There are so many ways to go ballistic, but let’s stick to three, okay?

1. ONE HALF HOUR after the evening decision of the Supreme Court to throw away the Safer At Home protocols, bars opened in Wisconsin and people packed in.  Don’t whine to us about how no one can organize in a pandemic. The Tavern League of Wisconsin sent out an email and in ONE HALF HOUR people were belly up at their fav bar.

2. How long will Wisconsin’s medical care providers continue to risk their lives for humans who did not and will not quarantine or social distance?  Are nurses, doctors, and techs obligated to exhaust and endanger themselves for the sake of people who won’t wear a mask or stay home?

3. And this. Republican lawmakers asked the court to keep a 6-day hiatus of Safer at Home but the court said no, you want to say this is an overreach so we are saying its overreach and that starts now.

Guess who doesn’t have a plan?  Yeah, state Republicans, led by Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald is running for Sensenbrenner’s place in Congress against Tom Palzewicz. This is how you can contribute to Palzewicz. 

This week I washed the insides of our porch’s windows and today we (well, actually Len) took down the storm windows between the porch and the living room. Does the natural world realize a lot of us need to open the windows to let out steam and frustration?

Last night I re-watched the 2019 Greta Gerwig Little Women movie. I think I may be saying a variety of things in the next few days about this movie in particular and about other 19th century women-written literature about 19th century women.

I first watched this iteration of Little Women back in December, with friends from my Unitarian Universalist church. Which is ironically cute for a reason absolutely none of us talked about after the movie. Louisa Alcott was raised in a Unitarian home.  It’s interesting that the story of four loving sisters that became an icon of American literature, comes to us from a liberal, highly-educated, philosophically-minded, anti-war, abolitionist-committed pre-Civil War family. The curiosity, intelligence, mutual respect, and spunkiness we see in the March girls negotiating their male-dominated world – a lot of those values comes to us from Unitarian principles played out in one family.

Here is one of the things that strikes me as I think about Little Women. 

Americans have always loved Little Women because it presents the cozy loving sisters scrapping among themselves but then pulling together to serve others as they foster their own dreams and goals.

It’s all about family, isn’t it? Just like now. We need and will do anything for our family who need and will do anything for us.

That assumption, IMHO, is the reality that we need to look at more closely. We love the sentimental ideal of the March family but even in 1868 when the novel was first published, Alcott was skeptical of the value of her tale. She wrote about her little Unitarian family and people accepted it without looking at the thinking and values of the parents who raised those amazing girls. 

People just accept Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and don’t ask how they got that way. At the same time, our culture lifts up their “old fashioned family values” as the way we should all regard our own families.

Does that image of the loving March family make us stronger - or does get in the way? Does it make us feel guilty about our complicated feelings for our own families? 

I’m as skeptical as I think Louisa Alcott was.  I think it is something of a lie to remake and reissue novels like Little Women.

PS: Little Women was one of my favorite books as a kid. Not sure I’d be who I am now if I hadn’t read it in 5th grade. More about that soon.  

For those who are curious to read more about Unitarianism and Little Women, this is interesting:











Copied most of it by hand in 5th or 6th grade until my one and only fountain pen ran out of ink. Wanted my own copy. Sedgwick
Mary Beth's picture

Wow! It was our "beginning to come into our own self" novel.

Thank you..

I picked up Indian take out yesterday as I do every week and have since this pandemic started... I placed my order with my face covering on and social distancing in place... The tables have been arranged to keep people at a distance... The wife asked me if the restaurants in Racine were open and I said no, Racine and Kenosha are still closed... I asked her how she thought it was going to be when they are free to open again... She said that she's thinking that very few people will be rushing in for a sit down dinner, and that it's going to take time before a sense of normalcy comes back... Then they said that they have been appreciative of their regular customer's who have kept them afloat this long... And yet we have Republicans opening the state up too early and without a plan in place... And then these bar and restaurant owners opening because somehow their white privilege is more important than the lives of the rest of us doing what we can to survive this virus... Not to mention the people who were in those establishments risking their lives for a drink or burger just to prove they have constitutional rights... G.O.D. bless America, We are surely going to need it at this rate...
Mary Beth's picture

This podcast was amazing. Chef Tom Colicchio describes to Terry Gross we could have and still (possibly) can keep farmers and restaurants operating WHILE feeding people WHILE keeping restaurant workers mostly employed.

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A-Z Cats

This is Lil Girl hanging out while I wrote this. 




 “Every family needs a cat so there is someone to blame everything on who won’t actually care.” Quote attributed to Len. 

I was 21 when I got my first cat through the fraught circumstance of someone dropping him off on a highway. He made his way to the backstep of my brother’s house where Sebastian the dog began to bark his head off. Paul went to the door to discover a kitten hanging by its wee claws to the screen door.

A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska


I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z


I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?


Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 


MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 


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