Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Death by Boyfriend Frustration

"Two 2-year-old boys have died in Racine in the past 18 months, possibly because their mother's boyfriends didn't know how to appropriately deal with the frustration of parenting a toddler." This is the first sentence of a JT article on March 22nd.

For the record, the toddlers didn't die from "boyfriend frustration." They died from suffocation and massive internal injuries, respectively, after being tied up and punched repeatedly, again respectively.

The article's subtitle seemingly is an attempted public service announcement of sorts. It reads: "Remember: when 2-year-olds act out, its normal".

So, apparently, is murdering them.

What Freedom?

I have been away for a while, in Hawaii to be exact. I haven't given much thought to politics lately. Anyway, we had a few hours to kill in the Honolulu airport, so we (me, wife, son) decided to have lunch. My wife breaks out a mini game of checkers and begins to set up the game. Suddenly our waitress hurries over and tells us that we can't play the game. I thought she was kidding, then I realized she wasn't. There is a law that forbids cards and other games at establishments where alcohol is served. The law is attempting to prevent gambling.

"Well, it used to be a free country" I said to my son, only half joking. So in an act of defiance, with the number one gambling event of the year (NCAA basketball tournament) on the TV, my son and I played a spirited game of rock, paper, scissors, for cold, hard cash.

I hate to teach my son to disrespect the law, but there is nothing whatsoever to respect about prohibition on checkers or Go Fish. I think it is only going to get worse.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's For the Children

Want some insight into our local teachers union? Read this article from the JT.

Just days after a RUSD teacher was arrested for paying a child for sex, the teachers union sent this message to teachers: "Member reporting to administrators is typically not an appropriate course of action and can result in legal problems for the individuals making such reports" .... and "If teachers make comments to administrators (or to anyone else for that matter) that interfere with another teachers income or their performance evaluation, the teacher making such comments can be held liable. This is true EVEN IF THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE." Caps were my emphasis.

So there you have it folks. Teachers are being threatened by their own union not to report TRUE information about teachers who are not performing on the job.

The good news here is that at least one teacher was disgusted enough to report this to the Journal Times. Given the evident bullying nature of the union, it is hardly surprising that the teacher did so anonymously.

The article goes on to include excuses by union members such as "we want to make sure when people say things, they fully understand there's implications" and "the newsletter was not supposed to discourage teachers from filing reports" but that the reports include "the facts and nothing but the facts" etc.... Note that these excuses directly contradict the actual words from the teachers union.

Anyway, not to worry. It's for the children.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

"If one person has a right to something he did not earn, of necessity it requires that another person not have a right to something that he did earn."

I love this quote from Walter Williams in a recent article entitled "Is health care a right?" You can read the article here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Musings on Property Taxes

Property taxes are quite a popular revenue source for politicians. The main reason is that it is rather unlikely that anyone will remove their property from a high tax area. The property and the taxpayer are quite literally stuck. As property tax rates increase, (Racine's property tax rate is 50% higher in Racine than in Wind Point-full disclosure- I own property in both locations) property owners calibrate their investments accordingly. The higher the taxes go relative to other communities, and if all other factors remain equal, the greater the likelihood that people will want to sell their homes and move to lower tax areas. With more people wanting to sell than wanting to buy, naturally there will be downward pressure on the price of property. High taxes actually steal value from homeowners. Another way to react to high property taxes is to gradually allow a property to deteriorate, lowering its value and the tax obligation. For some homes in some areas, years of deterioration renders a home more trouble than it is worth and the owner just walks away. In these situations, government policy has contributed to the end result of a home having zero value. So now the city ends up with the property and has a decision to make, raze or build. Lately the city has been getting more and more involved in the real estate business. The city plans to rebuild these homes with taxpayer money. Then they want to use more taxpayer money to get low income folks to "buy" the homes. I put "buy" in quotes because they are not really buying the home. Rather, they are minority investors in the highly risky sub prime real estate investment. The other investors are you the taxpayer who will be holding the bag when the new owners inevitably default on their obligations. Sorry, you don't get to default on your obligation to subsidize their home "purchase." Racine has been doing this kind of nonsense for years such that now much of the wealth has left Racine. There are fewer and fewer Racine folks to milk for these programs so now we go to the feds for help. Is it any wonder so many of our cities are such a mess?

Monday, March 08, 2010

An Artful Dodge

I went to Russ Feingold's listening session on Friday and was chosen to ask the first question. I stumbled a bit but I think got my point across. I noted that in order to sell the health care bill, the Obama administration had used 10 years of tax revenue but only 6 years of benefits payouts. I noted that, as a business owner, if I were to seek investors using 10 years of sales projections but only 6 years of expenses, I would be defrauding investors and would likely go to jail. You can go to Fred Dooley's site, Real Debate Wisconsin to see Feingold's non answer.

So criminal activity for you and I is business as usual in Washington. Hope and change.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Flipping Crazy

Does Mayor Dickert really think the city will succeed in flipping houses, in dicey neighborhoods, with union labor, in a crummy housing market, while selling to first time homeowners? On what basis? Certainly not past performance by the city.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Question for Liberals

Many folks, myself included, are concerned about big political spenders and their influence on our representatives. Bribery of the legal and illegal variety abounds. The problem exists on either side of the political divide though the clients may differ.

I suspect that just about everyone will agree with the sentiment expressed in the preceding paragraph. Now for some partisanship.

I can't fathom having a political philosophy that espouses bigger government given the rampant problem of legislation for sale to the highest bidder. If legal and illegal bribery is a huge problem, and none of our representatives out the criminals or aggressive influence purchasers, (when was the last time a pol contacted the FBI, set up a sting etc.... ) then don't we have a symbiotic relationship between big interests and our elected representatives? On what basis then should we hand over more power and authority to folks that we suspect are corrupt?