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January 2008 Odd Wisconsin

Earmarking, a Proud Tradition

Monday night President Bush announced his intention to rein in the earmarking of federal funds by lawmakers who want to channel taxpayer dollars to their own pet projects. This vision runs against the grain not only of imperfect human nature but also of American history: almost from the start, political power was viewed by office holders primarily as the...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 28, 2008

Cast Her First Vote at Age 106

With the primary season well underway, it's good to remember that half of Wisconsin citizens were denied the right to vote until 1920. As soon as Wisconsin women secured the right to vote, they turned out in large numbers. 106-year-old Louise Thiers' understated comment - - "I've waited a good many years for this opportunity" - - represented the feelings...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 13, 2008

Up in Smoke

This week the Wisconsin Senate's committee on public health approved a statewide smoking ban. Tobacco has been consumed here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, but in a radically different way than it is today. The first French missionary to reach Wisconsin, Fr. Louis Menard, wrote home in 1661 asking for a supply of tobacco. It wasn't for himself,...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 6, 2008

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