Thursday, April 29, 2010


President Obama recently said "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."

I hope he feels the same way about accumulated political power.

Lack of Space Between Moving and Stationary Objects Causes Crash

A recent JT article about a helicopter crash cites a National Transportation Safety Board ruling that the crash was a result of pilot error. The pilot, according to the NTSB, "failed to maintain proper altitude in the moments before the crash."

Ya think?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Planning to Fail

I had a nice conversation with a City of Racine alderman yesterday. I expressed my concern about the hassles involved with opening a business in Racine. If I understand the situation correctly, Racine has an ordinance that requires most businesses to get approval from the city council before opening. This approval also involves the Racine County Economic Development Corporation which exercises authority over many of Racine's commercial corridors. Ultimately the council decides the matter. When opening a business, there is considerable effort, thought, and expense required. In Racine, you can undergo this process flawlessly - you can have a great idea, you can find the perfect location to buy or rent, you can complete a business plan, you can successfully arrange financing, and you can see that your business concept accords with zoning laws - only to be stymied and or rejected by bureaucrats and politicians that have other ideas for said property. We now have a top down economic model in Racine.

Anyway, back to my conversation with the alderman. On numerous occasions he said that I made a valid point. Not once did he suggest that I was mistaken or ill informed. The conversation was quite pleasant and there was evidently much that we agreed upon. Even so, I am discouraged. Why? Because, based on years of experience, I have no hope that this alderman or any others will make any attempt whatsoever to repeal the ordinance that makes the top down economic model possible. There are too many entrenched interests from RCEDC to city development personnel to city alderman who depend on maintaining control of economic decisions in Racine. If Racine residents and would-be entrepreneurs were free to make their own decisions, there would be no need for the economic development specialists and planners. They plan on keeping their jobs. The bondage will continue for the rest of us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Honest Referendum Question

There will be a kerfuffle tonight as the Racine County Board considers asking voters the following referendum question:

"Should any new tax to support transit or rail services, such as a sales tax or local vehicle registration fee, be permitted in any part of Racine County?"

KRM proponents are not in favor of this non-binding referendum, which is all you need to know.

Since both sides of this issue know that voters would reject the tax increases that would come with KRM, perhaps a better referendum question would be:

"Should we, as your elected representatives, knowingly reject the wishes of you, a member of the ignorant masses, and build a train that you won't use and can't afford, because we possess a superior vision for Racine County that you can't possibly comprehend?"

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Multicultural Message

Racine's Health Department has an ad in the Journal Times today. They were announcing three goals. Goal #1 caught my attention.

"Decrease infant mortality and improve birth outcomes in a culturally competent manner."

At the risk of exposing my cultural incompetence, I have a few suggestions. To improve birth outcomes, don't abort babies, don't smoke crack or cigarettes, don't drink, don't get knocked up at age 15. Do eat nutritious food, exercise moderately, rest, and listen to the advice of a doctor. To decrease infant mortality, don't sleep with your child, keep them away from violent people, feed them regularly and heed the advice of a pediatrician. And if you can't do that, give them up for adoption. If any of my suggestions hadn't already dawned on you, keep your pants on.