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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

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November 22, 2010


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Hieronymous Knickerbocker

Life's journeys have made me an expatriate from my beloved native state, lo this last quarter-century. Perhaps my memory is affected by the soft-focus lens of history ... but it appears some of the sober folks I once knew so well have lost their sense of balance.

As might be expected, the birthplace of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, eventually gave us such political ruffians as Joseph McCarthy and William Dyke and Gordon Roseleip. But the state also produced an abundance of worthy, even towering political figures: William Proxmire and Lee Dreyfus and Dave Obey and Paul Soglin and Russ Feingold ... and Marlin Schneider.

I covered Rep. Marlin Schneider during my Wisconsin journalism decade, spanning the mid 1970s and '80s. I remember him as an energetic and thoughtful representative, scrupulously ethical and always willing to listen to both sides of an issue. The good people of Wisconsin Rapids traded that for what?

I fear I no longer understand the people of Wisconsin. My people. It shocks and embarrasses me that this once-tolerant, almost Arcadian place of probity and honor, to its shame, has for some years countenanced chain gangs. To be sure, in my Dairy State days, I sometimes encountered that sort of crude, selfish, mean, fearful thinking, but never a vein so wide and deep as this one seems to be.

So many among the citizenry I once counted as brothers and sisters now present themselves as confused and willing, even eager, to discard their traditional independence and their embrace of simple fairness as they go out of their way to vote against their own interests.

It is sad to realize I can never go home again.


Hieronymous Knickerbocker
Evolution of Society?
I would have to accept a premise that the United States of America has achieved its apex and our civilization is the definitive goal of social evolution.
Instead, I believe the culture we live in is destroying our species, our planet; could devolution be a solution? Evolution, as a definition, implies a move toward a more complex organism, needing specialized leaders. The main thing we have to remember is that evolution acts as a mask and can hide the actual intentions of the group. Evolution is an ideology that can be very motivational for its group members. This is the society I see us evolving to:
“Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.” Martha Stout
Perhaps we should devolve to a society that works, a society that Feingold and Schneider defined, but never could practice.


Alas, for my time in and around the State Capitol the past 25 years, Marlin will remain one of my all time favorite legislators...never holding back what needed to be said on the Assembly floor; regardless of which party held the speaker's gavel.

Big Dog

Get off it. Marlin was nutty as a fruitcake. He should have been thrown out 15 years ago. The only thing that kept him there was a safe seat. Good riddance.

By the way, it's amazing to see journalists or ex-journalists extolling Marlin Schneider, the one man wrecking crew of Wisconsin's Open Records Law.

Marlin Schneider

The really cool thing about some bloggers is that they can say any scurrilous thing about anybody with total anonymity and the cowardice which accompanies saying things like "Marlin was nutty as a fruitcake." Incredibly similar to the cowards of the campaign trail who refuse to identfy themselves in political commercials but hide behind groups like "Citizens for a Healthy Democracy" or "People For Common Sense". I never wrecked any part of the Open Records Law but tried to protect innocent people from being vilified by a state imposed computer data system called CCAP from being used illegally by landlords, employers and snoops to embarrass teachers, employers, neighbors, and others who are trapped in its tentacles. Perhaps the gutless wonder who said I was "nutty as a fruitcake" would like to sign his name as I will do. Single issue folks like that "author" (and I can bet I even know who that is) have always made my ass tired. Especially the gutless ones. - Marlin Schneider, Fruitcake


Well, that is just the point. Forty years is just way too darn long. You lost your effectiveness years ago and are out of touch with the people. You are like the relative who comes for Thanksgiving but then refuses to leave.

I saw the column you wrote lamenting about one party rule. You didn't seem to be concerned about it over the last two years. You didn't seem to be to concerned about raising taxes in a recession. You didn't seem to be to concerned about fixing the school aid formula. I guess we didn't seem to concerned about allowing you to go back. Please enjoy your retirement, but do it here. Now you should now live in what you helped to create just like the rest of us have to.


The funny thing is that the analogy of Marlin being a relative that won't leave isn't even accurate. Marlin hasn't lived in his district in decades. His children attended school in Madison (something that John GArd was vilified for).

Marlin's petty missives following his defeat are true to his character full of sound and fury but ultimately signifying absolutely nothing. I'd take his little post-election rantings more serious, if he had the same misgivings about his party's control of all three branches of Wisconsin's government; but alas...he was all too eager to "lead" for two years by raising taxes, eliminating the QEO, giving special legislative favors to the trial lawyers, and a myriad of other bad ideas in a recession.

It is truly informative that the first group of the "CCAP Oppressed" that good ol' Snarlin' MArlin wanted to protect was teachers. What about students there Marlin??? Oh, that's voted against bills that would have allowed school districts to refuse to hire felons. It is always nice to see how someone truly feels when they think there are just making a passing comment...tere is always so much more that is said in those instances!

Gary Morgan

Some people just don't have an inkling of just how well represented they are when they have a Democrat like Marlin Schneider in the Central Wisconsin Assembly seat. I covered his constant quests for the truth, fairness, privacy rights, education, and a host of other issues, for a decade for the Wisconsin Rapids radio station. I know what a great Representative he has been and what a loss his defeat means.

To call Marlin, "Nutty As A Fruitcake", as someone stated in response to an internet article titled "Wisconsin Will Miss Marlin Schneider", is a nutty statement itself. The comment from the writer either doesn't really know who Marlin is in his soul and what Marlin is all about, or the writer thinks of himself as someone who is better off represented by anyone who is a Republican, rather than the best thing that ever happened to the Wisconsin Assembly, and to Central Wisconsin.

Marlin lost to Republican Scott Krug in this year's election, yes, but, many of his loyal constituents know what a loss this will be for everyone in the Wisconsin Rapids area. It is unfortunate for all of the people who live in Wood County, and the portions of Adams County, Grant and Waushara County that are in his territory.

Marlin represented not only Wisconsin Rapids, where he used to teach before he was elected to the Assembly in 1970, but, he was always looking out, legislatively, for everyone, throughout the state. Some people called him "Snarlin' Marlin", but, he was more than a cartoon figure lashing out at some of the attitudes of Republicans, who at times in history have seemed to be less in favor of representing all of the people, not just some of the people who voted for them, or supported them monetarily in their campaigns.

It is true that it will take a long time for Central Wisconsin and the rest of the state to see someone good enough to take Marlin Schneider's place in the State Assembly.

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