Tag Archives: light

‘Season of Light’ goes dark

I usually write something frothy around the holidays, but the terrible events in Beirut and Paris and now in a women’s clinic in Colorado have turned the so-called “season of light” into something dark and foreboding.

Contributing to the toxic atmosphere have been comments from politicians that incite violence, scapegoat refugees and spread prejudice and xenophobia. That includes Carly Fiorina’s deliberate, vicious lies about Planned Parenthood; Ben Carson’s reference to Syrian refugees as “dogs” from whom we have to remove the “rabid” element; and Donald Trump’s scurrilous description of Mexicans as criminals and rapists.

We are right to be concerned about the growing threat from ISIS, but we should be equally concerned about the Taliban-like rantings of our own political leaders. Attacking our government as incapable of screening refugees (when in fact multiple agencies spend up to two years vetting individuals) and characterizing desperate victims fleeing ISIS terror as would-be terrorists is utterly counterproductive.

We have demonized refugees and immigrants during many crises in the past and have always come to regret our behavior. 

In the 1930s and 1940s we shut the door to Jews fleeing Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe. This was due to a prevailing anti-Semitism among the public (registered in many polls) and to the blatant anti-Semitic views of administrators in our State Department and Visa Division. Memos to President Franklin Roosevelt also cited fear of “penetration of German agents” as rationale for keeping Jews out.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt signed an executive order to intern Japanese-Americans, most of them U.S. citizens. More than 120,000 people were deprived of due process, shorn of their goods and property and imprisoned in isolated camps patrolled by armed guards. The census bureau provided the demographic data used to locate and lock up these innocent people.

While their families suffered in camps, thousands of Japanese-Americans won distinction fighting against the Nazis in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. Of the 14,000 men who served, 9,486 received Purple Hearts, 560 won Silver Stars for valor and 21 won our highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

Today, many Mexicans and other Latinos new to the United States join the Armed Forces as a means to earn citizenship. The people demeaned by Donald Trump are actually playing an outsize role in the defense of our country.

As for Planned Parenthood, in the past 38 years, 10 doctors, clinic personnel or patients have been assassinated. Other acts of violence include: 26 attempted murders; 42 bombings; 182 arson attacks; 199 assaults; 1,507 incidents of vandalism; 80 acid attacks; and 983 death threats or stalking incidents. 

Women who go to Planned Parenthood clinics for health services and birth control are routinely harassed by screaming crowds of anti-abortion zealots. In this context it is a travesty that the media fails to identify the latest attack as an act of domestic terrorism. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the right thing by ordering state police to protect Planned Parenthood clinics in that state. 

While we deplore the misogynist cruelty of ISIS and the Taliban abroad, we must fight the growing terrorism against women here at home.

For end-of-year charitable donations, I recommend giving to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin at www.ppwi.org and the United Nations Refugee agency at www.unhcr.org. Your donations will support critical services and make an important political statement in these times of domestic and international terrorism.

Ain’t no pour like the summertime brews

Dan Carey, co-owner and brewmaster of New Glarus Brewing Co., would like you to enjoy his beer Totally Naked.

Depending on circumstances — and the temperature — you can, of course, enjoy any beer totally naked. But only Carey produces a brand of beer called Totally Naked that can be enjoyed virtually anywhere, regardless of the weather. It’s also a perfect beer to add to your list of summertime brews.

A lager brewed with two-row barley malt and Noble Hop varieties from Germany and the Czech Republic, Totally Naked pours with a bright white head and a light golden color that literally sparkles in the summer sun. The beer’s flavor is light, but creates a significant, yet subtle impression on the palate. It finishes very cleanly, with barely a whisper of aftertaste.

The perfect summer beer is, of course, the beer you enjoy the most. But warmer temperatures generally call for lighter, more refreshing fare. Just like food, there are beers that suit the season, and here are a few for your summer six-pack.

Earlier this year Madison’s Ale Asylum let loose with six-packs of Unshadowed, brewmaster Dean Coffee’s version of the classic hefeweizen. Coffee’s version pours a hazy gold, with the classic wheat backbone balanced by lemon and citrus accents. There is a banana essence on the nose that more or less disappears on the palate. The beer is substantial, even for a hefeweizen, and a good choice for a warm afternoon.

Milwaukee Brewing Co. has taken a retro turn with Outboard, a cream ale that your father would consider “a real beer.” In other words, those who cut their beer-drinking teeth on Pabst, Schlitz and Miller High Life would feel right at home quaffing Outboard. The beer pours golden with a little carbonation and a thin white head. The flavor is crisp in the palate and clean in its finish. This is what they call a ”lawnmower beer” and you’ll want several after toiling on your back 40.

India pale ales are always summer favorites, and one of ours is Hop Whoopin’ from O’so Brewery in Plover, outside Stevens Point. A floral nose leads to a yellow/orange pour and off-white foam, with orange/grapefruit flavors bursting on the palate. Even at 95 international bittering units, the beer’s hop monster status is tamed beneath a creamy mouthfeel and complex characteristics. Yum!

Not far from O’so, Central Waters Brewing Co. in Amherst is turning out many fine beers, not the least of which is its Belgian Blonde Ale. Generally a light-bodied, palatable and lightly malted beer, this blonde ale takes a slightly different turn through its Belgian stylings, which add a little more hoppiness than blonde beer drinkers may expect. At around 8 percent alcohol by volume, it’s also a little stronger, with spiciness on the palate and distinctly Belgian taste characteristics. Refreshing, yet with a little kick all its own.

Summer shouldn’t mean a total absence of dark beer, and 3 Sheeps Baaad Boy Black Wheat Ale from Sheboygan may be the perfect crossover beer for the season. The beer pours dark, but is not quite opaque, with an off-white head and nose of molasses and burnt grain. With flavors of toasty malt and cocoa, the beer has a somewhat complex palate. It retains a crisp characteristic that refreshes, while still meeting the taste profile preferred by dark beer lovers.

One of our go-to summer beers has always been Lake Louie Warped Speed Scotch Ale, from Lake Louie Brewery in the little town of Arena. It’s robust, “wee heavy” dark in color, and rich in flavor characteristics. In July, brewmaster Tom Porter will release Impulse Drive Scotch Ale, a 4.4 percent ABV junior partner to Warped Speed’s 6.9 percent ABV and a “session beer” version of one of our favorites brews. What better way to celebrate the season?

Star Trek fans will immediately recognize the beers’ homage to Mr. Scott, the Enterprise engineer who used the warp drive to hop the ship from star system to star system, and the impulse drive to dodge those nasty Klingon rays. The source of the names doesn’t affect the flavor, of course, but it does add to the beer-drinking fun.

Madison to host neon, light art show

University of Wisconsin artists are joining artists from across the nation for an art exhibition on light in Madison.

The 2013 Biennial Neon and Light Exhibition will take place Friday and Saturday and is lit only by the art itself.

There is a variety of light art including a piece consisting of used car windshields and text executed in neon. It was done by an art and design collective including students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Also participating are independent artists from the country as well artists from UW-Madison, Alfred University School of Art and Design, Pratt MWP, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point and UW-River Falls.