Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inherent the Wind

Recent Prairie graduate and Columbia University student Maria Zahn has penned a commentary for the Journal Times, which you can read here, calling for "moral action to develop renewable energy sources."

It seems Maria's parents have been denied a request to build a 54 foot wind turbine in their Racine neighborhood. I might be inclined to support Maria's argument if it were based on property rights, but it was not. Rather, it concerned our moral responsibility to fight global warming.

Rather than get bogged down in the pro and con arguments of global warming, Maria opts for the tried and true method of simply claiming to be correct, citing science and Al Gore as proof. Science of course involves replicating experiments rather than inserting assumptions into computer models, but that point tends to escape many proofers.

I am most intrigued by the following quote from Maria's commentary. "Experts in moral reasoning have concluded that our inherent moral sense results in emotional responses that prompt our actions. When will we feel an emotional connection to the global warming cause and feel inspired to take moral action?"

Assuming that the unnamed experts are correct, we will have little choice in the matter. Since our "moral sense" is "inherent," ie a "permanent characteristic," according to Webster's, we will know, inherently, when moral action is required.

I can't speak for other humans similarly equipped with a moral sense, but mine is unconvinced that global warming should prompt us to fight for backyard wind turbines. That said, my moral sense is aroused concerning the threat posed by the warmist, now climate changist, agenda.  The appeals to emotion and the pseudo science underpinning the argument are detrimental to the intellect of young people like Maria, and the movement threatens to destroy our economy and ultimately our freedom. Other than that, it is a great idea.

Sorry for the emotional outburst readers. My inherent moral sense made me do it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Philosophy of Death

"Susan Schwartz already drives a Prius and has solar panels on her home. But the 69-year-old Berkeley woman still doesn't think she's doing enough to stop global warming."

I found this quote at the Wall Street Journal. Of course she is not doing enough to stop global warming. In fact, she is advancing global warming by using an electric car and by breathing on earth. To truly do something to slow global warming, she should cause herself to no longer exist. Or, she could end other lives before taking her own. 

So why aren't mass murderers hailed, in part, as an environmental leaders and visionaries?

Granted, it is a sick question, flowing quite logically from a sick philosophy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Local Cliff Maneuvering

On Monday I was offered an opportunity at my business to sign a petition initiated by Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) to end "tax dodging" and to support "legislation to stop tax haven abuses."

I declined. For starters, I am reluctant to speak for a business which includes people other than myself. But more importantly, I was uncomfortable with the content of the petition, particularly what I would consider loaded language. For example, tax dodging I would think is already illegal. Or the activity they are concerned with is lawful and as such should not be described as "dodging." Nobody pays taxes unless they are legally obligated to do so and, as such, I think it is wrong to denigrate such people. Also, while I suspect I might find some common ground with WISPIRG on tax haven legislation, I am cognizant of the larger fiscal concerns facing our country and I find WISPIRG's goals insufficient to address our larger problems. I would have been more inclined to sign if dramatic government spending reductions were included in their petition, for example. And lastly, I wouldn't want myself as a business owner or my business name to be used in a political showdown.

My instincts it turns out were correct. The Journal Times local section headline read: A solution to the fiscal cliff? Subtitle read: Shutting tax havens would help, says Mayor Dickert, research group. The article included a local businessman angry at "corporations taking money away from us,"a Parkside student who suggested the money could be used for more student aid, and a WISPIRG associate noting that the money could be used to build 50 commuter rail lines.

But no mention of federal spending levels.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Quranal Times

The Journal Times today has an article entitled "A sacred text of peace and justice" and subtitled "Quran exhibit tries to debunk stereotypes, build understanding."Read it here if you like.

"The Muslim holy book is a text of peace and justice." "It doesn't support any acts of terrorism." Don't kill blasphemers, just leave their company for a while. Unequal treatment of women is not in accordance with the Quran. Etc...

Remarkably, the article made no mention of any of the more controversial content found in the Quran. Probably just an innocent oversight on the part of the JT.

The event was held at the Bray Center, a public community center. Will this bring out the rabid separation of church and state crowd or is that enmity reserved only for Christianity?

Also interesting is the Journal Times decision to not allow comments. No efforts to debunk the debunking will be tolerated. It is best to just believe everything you read about Islam.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Yes We Can!

I am sure all several of you are ready to move on to another subject, but I have one final observation. It seems the educational message sent to minorities at Racine Unified is "No you can't!" Unless of course the subject is sex education:^)

Monday, December 03, 2012

Failure Explained

Are you ready Sean? The reason for poor academic achievement at Racine Unified is cultural. The cultural problem I am about to describe affects us all to some degree, but is disproportionately more harmful to minorities than whites and to boys than to girls. As such, the people most harmed by the cultural problem are minority boys.

Let us start with birth. We are seeing increasing numbers of out of wedlock births with a far greater occurrence among minorities, particularly blacks. A child born into a single parent family is at a big disadvantage as anyone who has raised children understands that it is a difficult enough undertaking with two parents.

The reasons for the increase in out of wedlock births are many. Immaturity and impulsivity are characteristics of youth naturally that must be drummed out of them by culture. Ideally they would be replaced by maturity, caution, reason, and delayed gratification among other values. Incidentally, these are the things that also lead to academic achievement, success and in many cases wealth.

A child born out of wedlock is therefore more likely to have only one active parent and indeed one demonstrably displaying the characteristics of immaturity and impulsivity rather than the healthier values listed above. A rough start indeed for the future RU scholar.

Such a child will have several years stewing in a culture more likely to embrace prison fashion, misogynistic pop culture, a victim identity and an entitlement mentality etc.. than a more healthy culture that celebrates or values commitment, hard work, deferred gratification, savings and so on.

Now by no means do I think these are problems exclusive to minority communities, only that they are far more pronounced there.

Now with that cultural baggage, they show up at Unified's doorstep at age four or so. And this creates a problem for Racine Unified insofar as it is universally agreed upon that all cultures are equally terrific and healthy and deserving of celebration, except of course conservative America which must be denounced as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc... at every opportunity. Thus RU can not and must not challenge the culture of their students.

The result is a school system that does not challenge the negative culture that harms the student and his future. Instead, they become enablers like Sean, making excuses for the poor performance, blaming society and or corporations that refuse to sell free range goat meat in the inner city.

So a child born into a culture as I have described has little chance, on his own, with few role models in or out of school, to reject said culture in favor of a more healthy one.

One more thing. Whites will fare far better at RU in part because the white liberals at RU hold different standards and expectations for white students than they do for minorities. Also, they will be peddling the myth to minorities, and not whites, that society will not give them a fair shake, thus lessening the incentives for minorities to work hard as compared to whites.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

A Modest Proposal

Apologies for my recent fixation with what ails our public school system, but I believe I have solved the riddle. As I have proven in my most recent post, it is not poverty that is causing poor academic performance at Racine Unified. This should be rather obvious as RU students receive a world class education for free. So what is it?

Minorities are struggling in RU right? Is it Asians, blacks or Hispanics? Blacks and Hispanics primarily. Is it boys or girls? Both, but boys seem to be faring more poorly, with black boys doing the worst, I suspect.

Of all the students in RU, which are most likely to have their butt cracks showing? Black boys of course!

Now I don't think for a moment that exposed butt cracks cause poor academic achievement, at least not for the exposer. Rather, like poverty, there is merely a correlation. So what is the cause?

It is obvious. Black boys are competing academically with one hand tied behind their back. OK, its not actually tied behind their backs, but it is being used to keep their pants from falling down. They have one less hand to hold a pencil, use a computer, turn a page in a book, conduct a chemistry experiment etc...

They are at a huge disadvantage!

Still don't believe me? Where are the most notable successes found among the black students in RU? On the athletic fields and courts of course. They are on those occasions in uniforms that don't collect at their ankles every few minutes. The playing field is leveled and the black boys are competing just fine.

Obviously, huge academic gains could be had with one simple policy change at RU. Spandex uniforms.

Friday, November 30, 2012

On Money and Education

Racine Unified claims that poverty is the cause of the districts dismal academic record. Let us examine that claim.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that the poverty stricken in Racine have $0 to spend on education.

With few or no exceptions,  Racine Unified students live in homes with heat and electricity. They have enough food in their stomaches such that obesity is a big problem, while malnutrition is virtually non existent. They get a free education paid for by the government. For enrichment outside of school, there is a library, within walking distance of many, that offers free access to books and computers.

Everything is free. How can the lack of money be the cause of poor academic achievement?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cause or Effect?

For years now I have chafed at Racine Unified's poverty excuse. Year after year, Racine Unified ranks as the worst of similarly sized school districts in Wisconsin. You might think this would cause some soul searching.

It doesn't. Rather, as the annual and predictably poor results roll in, it is time to blame poverty once again.

It is no doubt true that poverty presents learning challenges at home and especially at school. I write "especially" because I strongly suspect that the poor are typically stuck with the worst school districts. And crappy schools produce lousy results such as those we see year after year in Racine.

But Racine Unified whines that it is a victim of poverty.

It is too bad there isn't an institution in town tasked with preparing children to function properly as adults in society.

Oh wait, there is such an institution and it has been around for several decades. It is called Racine Unified.

Perhaps it is time to consider to what extent Racine Unified is the cause of the poverty that they now use to excuse their continual and predictable failings. Don't look for Racine Unified to lead the way on that inquiry.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Political and Legal Cliff Ahead

Kudos to Sean for his response to my previous post. He wrote:

"I have to say Denis, although I support affirmative action as a way to try to make up for generation upon generations of slavery, oppression and officially sanctioned discrimination, I'm not able to wrap my mind around that perticular (sic) reasoning either".

Upon further reflection, I realize that Sean and I are both wrong about something. Both of us described the decision as having involved reasoning. It did not. It involved the use of raw political power, nothing more. Anyone with the ability to read, and that should include federally appointed judges, knows full well that there isn't anything remotely resembling a clause in the US Constitution which nullifies amendments or any other law because of the burden imposed on those who would wish to overturn said amendment or law. The judges just made it up, plain and simple. Sean, with respect, I know that you can wrap your mind around this obvious corruption.

I have a stock answer/question to those who say they want nothing to do with politics. I ask them what alternative do they prefer. If reason and votes don't prevail, the alternative is violence, ultimately. If we can't depend on fair play in politics and in our courts, it really is only a matter of time before our disagreements are expressed physically. 

Of course this is not what I want to happen. To avoid this fate, it will take vocal advocates such as Sean and myself to recognize the dangers of partisan hackery. A win at all cost mentality will make losers of us all. 

I am not all that optimistic. These are judges appointed by US presidents. They are supposed to be among our greatest legal minds. But a majority have proven themselves to be partisan hacks. And yet I have heard of no denunciations from prominent conservatives or liberals. This is very dangerous.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Extraordinary BS

A federal appeals court overturned a Michigan amendment banning affirmative action. Their reasoning, paraphrased in the Washington Post, is as follows:

In an 8-7 decision, the court said the 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution is illegal because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action.

By this reasoning, wouldn't any amendment or even any legislation be unconstitutional because of the same "burden?"

Forget for the moment your partisan views on affirmative action or any other legal issue. If you are on the losing side of any legislative change, you can argue, quite compellingly, that you are now faced with an "extraordinary burden" in your attempt to reverse a legitimate decision made by voters, and as such, the legislation is therefor unconstitutional. 

Was Scott Walker's initial election "illegal" because of the "extraordinary burden" it placed on those wishing to recall him? Are the recent gains made by gay marriage advocates or pot smokers unconstitutional by that standard? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Access Denied

Conservative columnist/talk show host Dennis Prager reacts to the results of the presidential election. Some suggest that Republicans need to become like liberals. Prager instead suggests promoting conservative values to minorities, youth, women etc... He writes:

"The only answer to the "demographic" problem, therefore, is to bring women (single women, to be precise), young people, Hispanics, and blacks to conservative values....."
"Our only hope for America is that every conservative takes upon him or herself the project of learning what American and conservative values are, coming to understand what leftism stands for, and learning how to make the case for those values to women, young people, blacks and Hispanics."
I agree with Mr. Prager. Additionally, I understand conservative values, I understand the left, and I believe I could make a case for those values to women, young people, blacks and Hispanics. So I should just go forth and convert the masses, right? It is not so easy.
If I wanted to promote liberal values, it would be a piece of cake. I could just dust of my MSW degree and get right to work in institutions where liberals dominate, namely schools, government agencies and even private charities. I could get a teaching degree. I might still be writing for the Racine Journal Times. You get the picture.
But try promoting conservative ideas and your access is denied. 
My question to Free Racine readers. Where does one find the women, youth, and minorities to introduce, discuss, debate etc... conservative ideas? I am talking about formal arrangements, not "in the checkout lane" or "at the ball game." Any ideas would be welcome.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Teachable Moment Missed

I happened upon a blog called running reflections run by a teacher. I found this:

My sixth grade students leaned forward as I read to them, almost as though they would better be able to capture the words in the book. We were reading “Out of My Mind,” by Sharon Draper. This book is about a bright student named Melody who has cerebral palsy. Melody uses a wheelchair to get around, gets assistance with eating and bathrooming, and relies on a communication board to talk. When we got to page 52, Melody explained that her aids, “do stuff like take us to the bathroom (or change diapers on kids like Ashley and Carl), feed us at lunch, wheel us where we need to go, wipe mouths, and give hugs.  I don’t think they get paid very much, because they never stay very long.  But they should get a million dollars.  What they do is really hard, and I don’t think most folks get that.”
At this point, a sixth grade girl quietly raises her hand and patiently waits to be called on. Encouraging thinking while reading, means stopping to discuss questions and thoughts my students are having. I pause to call on her and she asks her question with concern in her voice, “Does Mrs. Saad get more money than the teachers, because she does a lot of extra work for the students she works with?”
OK then. We have a character in a novel who thinks her teachers aid should earn a million dollars, we have a girl asking questions about the pay of the teachers aid in her school and we have teacher who claims to be "encouraging thinking." What a great teachable moment!
The teacher dodges the question. What a shame.
Should the teachers aid earn a million dollars? If yes, or a lesser amount, where does the money come from? With a little guidance, the students could learn a little something about taxes and school funding. They could learn that the teachers pay is determined by wrangling between politicians, school board members, unions and, one would hope, taxpayers. And they should learn that the desire or need for money or resources will always exceed the supply, a situation that forces some form of rationing. 

I have my doubts that "encouraging thinking" was the objective in the classroom. From the choice of material to the teachers failure, it seems perhaps emoting was the real goal.

But one young girl asked a thoughtful question anyway and was brushed off by her teacher. We can't have children learning meaningful, easily understood economic ideas. That would conflict with the unions goal of producing reliable Democratic voters. It's for the children.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Random Election Thoughts

Random election thoughts in no particular order.

There is an expression that you get the government that you deserve. I worry about what we deserve.

I don't understand how states are called, not that it matters anymore. North Carolina was not called for Romney until he had a 3 point lead with 97% of votes counted, while Ohio was called for Obama despite Romney having closed from a 10 point to a 1 point deficit with some 30% of votes still not counted.

I am used to feeling a sense of alienation after elections, but this is somehow different, worse. Fox News repeatedly mentioned the "browning" of America. Does the rule of law, limited government, fiscal responsibility etc...somehow not appeal to people with darker skin? Yah I'm concerned for our country.

There are more than a few political prognosticators that have lost their credibility.

I will write in Sean Cranley before I ever cast a vote for Chris Christie. If I knew, he had to know that his wet sloppy kiss to Obama's back side would lead every newscast. It wasn't necessary to address the crisis in his state.

Romney went out of his way not to be more aggressive/assertive, lest he lose the woman vote. He lost the woman vote anyway. Could it be that women reward aggressive Democrats while punishing aggressive Republicans? How do they, Republicans,  deal with that?

Romney seems to me a decent, competent, moderate guy. I wasn't excited about him but I can't bring myself to throw him under the bus.

I hope the Republicans in the House don't roll over.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Courting BradK Part 2

BradK, you made a few points that pique my interest. They are:

What I'm typically talking about is the social safety nets. Generally speaking, the liberal position is more favorable to setting up those nets to catch as many people as possible when they need it. I would challenge them that their policies don't provide a way out of them very clearly.


I generally favor policies that give a crap about people and have a slight bleeding heart about it. I draw the line however at policies that invite or create dependency.

I would posit that the vast majority of people in this country would agree with your basic point on the need for safety nets coupled with the dangers of dependency. I certainly do.

On a personal note, as a young adult I was very intent on making a career out of helping people who needed help the most. I earned a MSW (Masters, Social Work) with the idea of working with young people who have had a rough start in life. And for a few years I worked with kids with behavioral or emotional problems. It was assumed by one and all that I was a terrific guy for pursuing this career. I mention this because, while my political philosophy gradually changed, my interest in social problems has not. Yet it was no longer assumed that me heart was in the right place. Liberals hold a huge advantage in assumed motives. I blame articulate liberals and inarticulate conservatives for the current perceptions about the motives of liberals and conservatives.

My point is to challenge the assumption by many that the left are primarily the folks who care about the less fortunate. Certainly many do as do many on the right. And there are bad guys on both sides as well. The left is far better at the PR contest.

Of course at the end of the day, the question of who cares the most is less important than who delivers. We have all heard the phrase that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions are a good starting point but is not the end all be all as some seem to assume. What matters is results.

On that score I have come to believe that the lefts preferred approach - government interventions -  should be measured for effectiveness. Government schools are a disaster or at least a major disappointment. The war on poverty failed. Welfare marginalized black men. Social Security has been a success but is unsustainable in its current form. Obamacare is a disaster in the making.

It is true that the liberals "don't provide a way out" very easily as you state. Of course, there are huge incentives in place to ensure this remains the case. Dependents become a reliable voting bloc for liberals. Why should liberals foster self reliance, other than it being the right thing to do? They would be creating conservatives and undermining their own power. Real solutions would create real problems for the left. 

My own conclusions that I have come to over the years, in no particular order: The left has done a masterful job of convincing society that their motives are pure and that conservatives are heartless, or greedy, homophobic, Islamphobic, sexist etc.... and that conservatives are far less skilled at advancing their philosophy, in part because they are largely shut out of institutions that promulgate political points of view such as the education system, media, Hollywood and so on. Liberal "solutions" often sound good at first but often fail spectacularly while the opposite is sometimes true of conservative notions. Example, tax breaks often result in revenue increases for government. Government solutions tend to create winners and losers and pit them against one another. The competitive nature of private markets would be more effective in differentiating freeloaders from people truly in need. Generally speaking, the left does not seem to care as much as they claim. If they did, they would embrace school choice. Many inner city black people, but not near enough, are figuring this out. Conservatives are far from perfect, Republicans even less so, but by no means do I conclude that liberals care more, and even less do I think their methods are effective in helping the less fortunate, by and large. 

And to all who made it this far, I apologize for the length of this post.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Courting BradK

BradK noted in our previous discussion that he is a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I won't of course speak for BradK, but that phrase often translates as follows: I would vote for the Republican on fiscal issues but for the Democrat on social issues. Since you can't split your vote, you weigh the relative importance of the issues that matter to you, then you plug your nose and vote. Perhaps this is the quandary that BradK finds himself in as an undecided voter.

But are Democrats really all that socially liberal? I suppose the Dems are labelled as such because of a support for gay marriage and for the liberalization of drug laws. At first glance it would appear that the Dems are more socially liberal than the Pubs. But lets look a bit deeper.

As I stated in the most recent thread, gay marriage would involve a tradeoff with religious liberties. Would religions retain the freedoms of conscience thus far largely unchallenged, that is to fulfill their missions to serve their communities without having to, in effect, endorse behavior that they consider sinful? In a few states, Catholic Charities has gotten out of the adoption/foster care business rather than place children in same sex homes. And lately we have Obamacare which forces religions to violate core beliefs about the sanctity of life. Are the Dems behaving in a live and let live, socially liberal manner towards the major religions in the world?

And about that drug war, I am somewhat conflicted on this one. It is probably true that the Dems would lead the way in legalizing pot and other recreational drugs. But it is certainly true that the Dems have led the way in the assault on tobacco smoking. Businesses -bars and restaurants especially- are no longer free to determine their own policies on smoking. But the Dems don't want to stop there. They want to stop you from smoking in public parks here in Racine. Perhaps you are OK with all of this but this is not social liberalism in action.

And it is and will be the Dems determing the size of your slurpee, the temperature of your house, the brightness of your lightbulb and so on. 

Are the Dems really the more socially liberal party?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Has Obama Delivered?

With the exception of Sean, I suspect that not too many Free Racine readers voted for Barrack Obama in 2008. So the following will probably be a fruitless exercise.

To those of you who did vote for Barrack Obama, I am sure you had your reasons. Please reflect on those reasons. Perhaps you thought he would unify the country or improve our economy or improve our standing in the world with allies and adversaries. But only you know the reason you voted for Obama. I have a simple request; evaluate whether President Obama has delivered. And by all means share your thoughts here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Deflowerers Perspective

Dear Penthouse:

I never thought this could happen to me. I am a married man in my late 40's with two youngish daughters. Anyway, I came to know that a young adult gal was ready to give it up to me! She wanted to give it up to a great guy. Yah I'm a great guy all right. Or so I have been told my whole life. Who could blame the young broad. I'm frickin eye candy dammit. She wanted birth control so I said fine, I'll get other people to pay for that. She wanted other stuff like middle east peace, health care blah blah blah.... She pretty much told me what she wanted to hear so I lied to her. Whatever it takes, you know what I mean. The deed itself didn't take too long as you can imagine. One quick thrust  and it was over, another manipulated woman and another vote for me. Next!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Deal

The Obama campaign has a new ad out that equates a vote for Obama with losing ones virginity. You can find it here</>. 

This ad is so disturbing and disgusting that I have to admit that I think I might be falling for some sort of hoax here. Could anyone seriously making the case to be President of the US for a second term really put out an ad like this?

Unlike the woman in the ad, I didn't vote for Obama. Why do I feel like I have been f...ed?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Job For Our Mayor

It is pretty much an open secret in downtown Racine that a city inspector is making life hell for restaurant entrepreneurs, three of whom have had their "opening soon" signs displayed for an absurdly long time. And rumor has it that the Journal Times would like to write a story but can't get anyone to speak on the record. As an aside, the French press had a similar problem trying to break a story about impolite guillotine operators.

So what to do? To me this seems like a problem in need of a long overdue intervention from our mayor. Full disclosure: I have known John Dickert since childhood and I like him personally though our politics I am sure diverge. Of course both sides of a political divide can agree that filling vacancies with new restaurants in the downtown is a good thing, one would hope.

One thing about John Dickert that many people now realize is that he is a man of big ideas. As such, he seems to spend a fair amount of his time in pursuit of something big. Big companies moving to Racine, big deals, big out of state conferences with big shots, big developments etc...  I will leave it to others to catalogue the results of his efforts.

A good mayor may well pursue big plans but must also ensure that day to day operations are running smoothly. Presently we have an inspector who is wreaking havoc downtown and no doubt other places as well. This is crushing development and perhaps more importantly, sending very discouraging signals to other would-be entrepreneurs in Racine. The problem is simple enough though no doubt unpleasant. Mayor Dickert - fire away!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

President Offends

President Obama at the debate on the Bengazi tragedy:

And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president, that's not what I do as Commander in Chief.

The president also indicated that on the day after the attack on our consulate he indicated that it was a terrorist attack. As such, it was clearly not a obscure movie review gone bad. If he knew that on day two, why did he, his press secretary, his UN ambassador, etc... repeatedly claim that the movie was to blame for the attack?

No doubt President Obama is offended by the suggestion that a false and misleading narrative is viewed by many as a misleading political play. I suspect that anything that might impair his path to reelection is offensive to the president.

The most plausible explanation for the false narrative is political. With an impending election, clearly a terrorist attack calls into question the success of our foreign policy. Better perhaps to play politics and suggest that an obscure film was to blame. 

I know, my suggestion is offensive to the president. I too am offended. I am offended when our president and members of his administration pedal a false narrative on the Bengazi attack. I am also offended that he has not issued any explanation for the false narrative despite ample opportunity to do so. That is not what a president, a commander in chief, should do. 

Racism Discussion

Yesterday I attended a Coming Together Racine meeting/movie/discussion on racism at the Racine Public Library.

Attendees were five activist white liberals and myself. We watched a movie on the Freedom Riders who courageously confronted the segregation in the deep south. While the film was a bit manipulative at times -example, splicing in scenes of white bus passengers merrily singing, juxtaposed with vicious racism - there is no mistaking the horrific violence and racism perpetrated by southern segregationists.

I wondered to myself what relevance that blatant, state sponsored racism of fifty years ago has to claims of racism today. Indeed one participant noted that we don't have such problems today. The problem of course is now subtle and rooted in each of us, according to one participant. That might be the case for liberals I suppose but I am not accepting the guilt. It just leads to more problems, like electing an unqualified man as President of the United States, among others.

Over the course of the discussion I made a few points. I wish now I had tied my comments into the consequences of white guilt but I did not. However, I noted that the tendency to expect lower outcomes  or worse behavior from blacks is not in the end very helpful to them. Also I noted that the City of Racine, one of Coming Together Racine's sponsors, has thrown up roadblocks (conditional use permit) for businesses which has had the greatest negative impact on minority business owners and or those wishing to serve alcohol to black customers. This revelation seemed to make an impact on the group.

I enjoyed the discussion very much and I will try to attend future meetings. If nothing else, there is no point in ceding the high ground on race to liberals.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Totalitarian Diversity

The top diversity officer at Gallaudet University has been suspended because she signed a petition indicating a preference for a referendum on a gay marriage proposal.

Why is the left largely unable to see the hilarious hypocrisy on this issue?

The suspension makes a mockery of liberals supposed support of the idea of diversity. Wouldn't the folks that embrace diversity celebrate the expression of a diverse range of ideas on social issues?

But of course diversity as the left sees it has nothing whatsoever to do with ideas. When it comes to ideas, a strictly enforced uniformity prevails.

A more honest university would replace their diversity officials with conformity/thought police.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Bully Crap

I have had a few days to reflect on the recent presidential debate and the reaction from leftist pundits and bloggers. Leaving aside the outlier points like Al Gore's altitude excuse, it seems that many have settled on Romney as liar and bully. Many have debunked the former point but nobody that I know of has considered the latter. So I will.

I watched the debate. I have seen many replays of particularly relevant segments. If someone were to tell me with a straight face that Gov Romney was a bully during the debate, I might have to quote said Gov and say "I don't know what you are talking about." I didn't see anything that even remotely resembled bullying. Whatever you might think of Romney's arguments, he simply advocated them assertively, unapologetically, respectfully, and with occasional humor.

But the left are masters at word play. And the left is also leading the crusade (or is it a jihad?) against bullying. Is it fair to connect the alleged bullying by Romney with the broader effort to confront bullying behavior? Perhaps not but I will anyway because both efforts emanate from the left primarily.

Bullying should be confronted. On that point I agree with the anti-bullying crowd. But it all depends on what is meant by bullying. If asserting a point of view that is disagreeable to leftists is the new bullying, perhaps we need to be suspicious of the movement to confront bullying. If bullying must be stopped and asserting positions that offend liberals is bullying, then the anti-bully movement is little more than a disguised assault on the freedom of speech. Calling one who challenges liberal orthodoxy a bully becomes the secular equivalent to blasphemy. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the left is more open to criminalizing insults to Islam. Who is the real bully?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Modest Proposal

I have to admit I am a tad giddy after last nights' debate. I even have an inexplicable yet pleasant tingling sensation in my leg.

Anyway, I have a plan for the country that could work for everyone. Let's build a second White House, identical to the real one. After a round of golf and a View taping, bring President Obama over to the fake White House. We declare him President for life and he can live out his days much as before, believing to be the leader of the free world. Nothing would have to change. He could still skip national security meetings, Beyonce could still come over for play dates,  he could still go on Letterman. Meanwhile Romney could do the actual presidential stuff.

We can pull this off I am sure. The media is already well versed at pretending he is an acting (as in actually doing presidential things) president. All we need is buy in from MSNBC et al who might after all enjoy the fantasy more than say, reporting on a Romney victory and presidency.


Wow. Even lefties are unable to lie about the thrashing President Obama received last night.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Hey Nonprofit, Can You Spare a Dime?

Racine Mayor John Dickert has sent out a letter to Racine tax exempt nonprofit organizations asking them to "consider paying a portion of the property tax the city would normally charge them if their properties were taxed" according to this Journal Times article.  A few random thoughts on the subject to follow.

I have no problem with the city asking for money but I suspect that in time "asking" will be replaced by "insisting."

Certainly there are plenty of people who would welcome an elimination of the tax exempt status of some institutions, particularly religious ones. But in many cases these institutions are providing services for people which would otherwise cost the government. Still, I think the hostility towards religion is so strong for some that they would welcome any effort to damage religion in favor of their preferred religion of militant secularism.

Speaking of militant secularists, the article mentions the Olympia Brown Unitarian Church and two spokespeople, both of whom would personally favor contributing, though the decision is in the hands of their board. As the Unitarians tend to favor big government liberalism at every turn and pass those costs to the rest of us, I am at least grateful that they might now consider picking up part of the tab. Is there really any difference between a donation to the Unitarian Church or one to the City of Racine?

A better idea in my view would be to sell all government owned buildings not serving a legitimate government purpose. Sell all residential and commercial buildings and let go of employees working in residential and commercial property development. Not only would the city get money from the sale of said properties, but they would also be returning properties to the tax rolls from which they never should have been removed. And while they are at it they could demonstrate a commitment to property rights by revoking the conditional use permit that effectively politicizes all entrepreneurism while allowing the city to discriminate against those wishing to serve black people.

The program is called Racine's Fair Share, a name that implies that non-profits are not paying their fair share. I doubt that is the case with most non-profits who I suspect are saving us all money via their service.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Problem Eliminated

Remember when liberals were upset at "eliminationist" rhetoric? When they tied the Gabby Gifford shooting to Sarah Palin's use of targets on a map? Well that was then.

The threat is over now folks. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again vowed to eliminate Israel, but we mustn't take him seriously. Never mind the millennia plus of hatred toward Jews and a handful of wars intended to eliminate Israel. They are just words, pure posturing etc... and he surely doesn't mean it. Isn't that right liberals?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Imagine a world where -  if your beliefs are insulted by anyone, anywhere in the world - you are justified to fly off the handle, to riot, burn and kill.

It might just start in your local grocery store if a young mother offends her toddlers belief in candy before dinner. Imagine the rampage through the store with poor mom helplessly following behind, apologizing profusely.

Imagine a homosexual couple strolling down the street holding hands. Clearly this could offend the beliefs of those who believe homosexuality is wrong or an abomination. So they get killed.

Of course this would offend the homosexual community who believe they have a right to express there love openly. So they burn down the homes and churches of advocates of traditional marriage.

Then there are those who believe in white supremacy. Those beliefs may well be offended by the very sight of dark skinned people. So they throw rocks at them until they are out of eyesight.

Some believe that white's are oppressing people of color and enriching themselves off the backs of the non-white labor. So they steel the nice car owned by the white guy.

Thankfully, even President Obama doesn't want a world like this. Surely everyone can't act violently with even the slightest provocation. For starters, it would complicate our efforts to celebrate diversity.

It is best that only the Arab street gets to react violently when offended. They can have there own set of rules and expectations. And our job will be to ensure that none of the several billion people on earth do anything to offend the sensitivities of the prickly mobs in the Middle East.

And soon peace will rage throughout our world!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Double Standard Exposed

Tennis and tornadoes are not a good mix. On Saturday at the US Open Tennis Tournament, they made for bad tennis and questionable scheduling decisions. At issue was whether to play the two men's semifinals matches back to back or concurrently. They decided to play them back to back and sure enough, the second match had to be postponed because of the weather. Arguably this resulted in a significant advantage to the winner of the first match as he got an extra day of rest before the final.

The three commentators were agreed that the powers that be made the wrong call. One of them, I don't remember her name, said "I guarantee you that there were no women on that committee." This comment was pretty much ignored by the two male commentators and the comment never became an issue on the set or anywhere else so far as I know.

Now imagine if one of the male commentators had said "I guarantee you there were no men on that committee." Perhaps this becomes a story for the media.

Now suppose one of the three white commentators had said "I guarantee you there were no white people making that call." National story. Jesse Jackson to the rescue. Heads roll.

But there is no bias in the media.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Obama Helping Bush Oil Buddies

Remember, way back in the Bush administration, when gas prices spiked to around $4 per gallon? It was widely assumed by liberals that Bush was somehow manipulating the price of gas for the benefit of himself and his rich oil buddies?

Well, with gas prices exceeding those in the Bush days we hear nothing on the subject of price manipulation. Of course, using the same "logic" would mean that Obama is now working to enrich Bush's oil buddies. And we can't have that news swirling around before his election now can we?

Sunday, September 02, 2012

After Title IX

Is Title IX necessary? Title IX is the law which more or less mandates equal rates of participation in athletics at schools receiving federal funds.

Would universities scrap their womens' teams and insist that the pursuit of athletics is appropriate for men only?

Would mens' wrestling return to many campuses and would we say goodbye to the womens' fencing team?

Or would things remain pretty much the same?

I guess the broader question for our society is to what extent do we see ourselves as unfair to women? 

My own guess is that we would see a modest increase in intercollegiate athletic opportunities for men and a modest decrease in those for women. This would not in my view reflect a bias against women by our universities but rather would reflect the reality that males tend to have a greater interest in sports than females, on average. 

And if Title IX remains necessary, what does it say about our bastions of liberalism (universities) that they must be coerced to treat women fairly?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Not Polygamy?

Recently I was having, for the umpteenth time, a conversation about gay marriage. Every aspect of my position was scrutinized and I of course returned the favor. And then a question occurred to me. Why are we having this discussion about gay marriage and not polygamy? Why is there legislation and litigation on gay marriage but not polygamy? Why has one become a national issue but the other seldom if ever discussed? Why?

It is a simple question but the answer I suspect is not so simple. I especially would like an answer from a left leaning individual. That said, I do not discriminate on the basis of political ideology and I appreciate diversity.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Driven By Hatred

I have a confession to make. Yesterday I had a Chick-fil-A sandwich for the first time in my life. And perhaps it is unsafe to admit, but I was motivated by pure hatred.

Try a thought experiment please. Imagine if it was announced that Chick-fil-A was filing for bankruptcy because of successful boycotting campaign. Investors lose millions, thousands lose their jobs, hardships ensue etc....  Do you think that just maybe some segment of our population would rejoice with this news? Only hatred can explain rejoicing for the suffering of others.

It was that hatred which motivated me to join the opposition, to take a (until now) silent stand against the bullying and the intolerance of the leftist extremists.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Goodbye Buddy

Yesterday we said goodbye to Buddy, our yellow lab. Buddy wasn't much for politics. So long as you were willing to give him attention, a treat, or a butt scratch, you had a friend. Despite his transparently selfish agenda, he managed to give far more than he took. May Buddy's daily lessons in patience, love, loyalty and forgiveness live on. Thank you Bud. Rest in peace.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Illegal People

"People are not illegal" read the t-shirt.

Clever. Of course nobody thinks people are illegal so the shirt wearer is technically correct. Is anyone claiming that illegal aliens are themselves illegal? No. Rather, it is understood by everyone not inclined to wear a "people are not illegal" t-shirt that said folks are somewhere - in the USA - that they are not legally allowed to enter.

So the clever set are insinuating that, because people are not illegal, that they are then somehow entitled to enter into the US. Just stupid. But they are part of a club that thinks they are clever and passionate and humane and oh so caring while those who disagree are racists etc... I bet that feels good.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012


I saw this headline at Breitbart and was amused: attends global warming conference in hel.i.copter.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Fun with Guns

I heard on the news this morning about a brazen robbery wherein three perps broke in to a retail store and stole a bunch of guns. The news reader then stated that it was unknown whether the three would use the guns to commit other crimes. I was thinking they might be pacifists intent on destroying the guns. Or perhaps they were environmentalists who would return the raw materials back into the earth. Maybe they were ATF gun runners.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Attitude Adjusted, I Hope

I was talking to a lady the other day who held a job at a local prison. Because of her seniority, her job is to process visitors into the prison. Visitors, not prisoners. We got into a bit of a discussion about the effect of Governor Walker's Act 10. It seems that many of the folks at the prison are not happy. I understand this as nobody likes to lose something that is important to them. I pointed out that such unhappy adjustments to reality have been ongoing in the private sector for some time. I even added - tongue in cheek - that I was unable to offer health insurance or pensions to my part time retail employees. To my amazement, she appeared to be genuinely surprised that my employees did not get health insurance or a pension. To her credit she stated that her mother worked for the government, her father for a big 3 auto company, and that perhaps she has taken for granted the benefits that she does receive. On that point, if you think you're getting screwed at your job, but people would line up to take it at half the pay, perhaps you have no legitimate grievance.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Attacking Main Street

I was talking to my banker the other day. He mentioned that I would be required to have my commercial property reappraised in a few years, per the requirements of the Dodd-Frank bill that passed a few years back. A bit if background. I have been paying towards my mortgage for several years now without missing a payment. Also, we borrowed a substantial amount from the bank to build two new apartments above my retail store. Everything is going just fine with respect to us meeting our financial obligations with our building. We are even paying an additional amount every month towards our mortgage. The relationship with our bank is just fine. And yet.... we will soon be forced to pay about $2500 for a reappraisal, unless the DF bill is amended. The reason I assume is that the DF bill apparently seeks to have a more accurate assessment of a banks loan portfolio, presumably to head off excessive risk taking by banks. Fine, I get that but... why not just let stupid banks fail instead? Bank deposits up to a certain point are already insured. A successful bank would come on in and buy up the assets of the failed bank. Perhaps it is not so easy as all that. But there are some that think government regulations are all good with no adverse side effects. Baloney. There is a trade-off always. In this case, property appraisers hit the jack pot while property owners have to pay, essentially, a Dodd-Frank tax of $2,500, for a reappraisal not in my interest or my banks. I suppose there are those that applaud DF as a slap at the big Wall Street power brokers. But the pain will be inflicted on me, a small business owner at 416 Main Street.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nuisance Government

Apparently there was a large fight recently at the MLK Center, requiring a huge police response. I am guessing the new nuisance ordinance (fines, closings etc...) does not apply to buildings run by the city.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Poop Scoop

So I am walking my dog this morning, without a leash per usual, in my semi-wooded neighborhood. He heads for a wooded area to perform #2, as trained. He is about 10 feet into the woods where nobody would ever venture. A fellow walker passes, notices the act, keeps walking another 20 feet or so, stops, turns around and watches, I suppose, to see if I will pick up the droppings. As I see it, I have three options. 1) pick up the turd. 2) get out the plastic bag and pretend a pickup or 3) let stinking turds lie.

I went with #3 because the droppings were in an area where humans simply would not venture. I don't think the lady liked my choice but she did not pursue the matter. Was I wrong?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Race Talk

Since the death of Trayvon Martin, I have been hearing about the "race talk." Apparently many black parents at some point have a talk with their young boys about the risks of certain types of behaviors around authority figures. Don't run, don't stick your hands in your pockets, don't get sassy with the police etc....

Recently a writer for National Review was fired for a kind of parody of that talk, wherein the white parent would warn their kids about the dangers of being among large crowds of black people among other things.

The talk or talks beg some questions. What kind of talk about race is appropriate with your children, if any? Is it common sense to note the disparities in violent crime rates, for example, or is that racist? Is their a line that crosses from good sense to racism that is easily grasped, or is there a gray area?

The job of a parent is to educate their children about all sorts of dangers that they might face. Let us focus on race and violent crime as an example. Certainly there are correlations between race and violent crime rates. I believe the rate is highest in this country among black people. Should parents pretend that this is untrue for some reason? Not in my view. But the dangers for children are many. Males commit a much higher percentage of violent crimes than do women. Young people commit violent crimes at a higher rate that old people. Is the job of a parent to ensure that their children are afraid of everyone?

Parents should want their children to possess the skills and knowledge to accurately assess risks, political correctness be damned. At the same time they need to ensure that their children do not develop irrational or excessive fears about risks, be they young people, bugs, dogs, Germans, germs, gerbils, etc... Moreover, when assessing other people, it is very important to emphasize that statistics, however accurate, are meaningless when it comes to individuals. As such, it is critical to never to treat any individual differently because of the statistical category to which they belong.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Phantom Constitutional Rights Collide

Could a non-existent constitutional "right" to regulate anything that affects interstate commerce be used to end a similarly non-existant constitutional "right" to privacy? After all, dead children can't subsidize their parents health care costs and are therefore affecting interstate commerce. Could upholding Obamacare pave the way to overturn Roe vs Wade?

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Anything Goes Clause

The Commerce Clause can do anything! A challenge for Free Racine readers: propose any law; ridiculous, cruel, humorous, whatever, and I will justify it with the Commerce Clause, which, we all know can be used to regulate any activity or non activity that might affect interstate commerce.

Voter ID? Constitutional? Are you serious? Voters without ID's could, in the aggregate, alter the outcome of an election. Elections impact the choices made by representatives. One choice greatly impacted by the 2008 presidential election was the decision to regulate the decisions people make with respect to purchasing health insurance. Thus, voters without ID's can impact interstate commerce. Not only could we require voter ID, we could mandate its purchase and require insurance policies for lost or damaged ID's. Why are liberals complaining about a law that obviously passes constitutional muster? Are they serious?

How about Act 10? Collective bargaining by government employees raises the costs of government. As such, it reduces profitability of private sector businesses. Those businesses must compete across state lines with businesses from states without collective bargaining. Thus, collective bargaining affects interstate commerce and can be regulated.

Ban Skittles! Skittles are dangerous. A recent high profile execution occurred because a child was carrying Skittles while black. We can't change his blackness of course, but we could ensure that others carrying Skittles are not targeted for murder. Dead people don't engage in commerce. Nuff said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tragic Exploitation

Witness, to dispatcher: Hello, I just witnessed a shooting.

Dispatcher: Did you get a good look at the shooter?

Witness: Yes, he looked like.... well, imagine if President Obama had a teenage son....

Dispatcher: Got it, and the victim?

Witness: Ummm, yah, imagine if the president had a second son....oh no, there is a large crowd approaching!

Dispatcher: Can you describe the scene please?

Witness: Sure, its a large, mixed race crowd carrying signs....

Dispatcher: Let me guess, they look like the president?

Witness: No, he's black. Imagine an Obama/Robinson family reunion at a journalists convention.

Dispatcher: Understood, now what are they doing?

Witness: They are demanding justice and racial harmony.

Dispatcher: OK, I'll send the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson right away.

Witness: No, that never works.

Dispatcher: Then what?

Witness: Well there is an injured black youth remember? How about an ambulance?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Parenting Blue

The following is my comment, awaiting moderation, to Steven over at Blogging Blue who wonders about his now three year old black son's safety in light of the Trayvon Martin death:

Steven, you worry about your son as all decent parents do. And his race may well contribute to different treatment from others, sometimes good treatment, sometimes not. My suggestion is that, over time, educate your son – explain to him that, unfortunately, people sometimes make assumptions about others based on what should be irrelevant characteristics. And that there is nothing whatsoever he can do about other people’s irrationality. As such, he should not dwell or obsess about others real or perceived attitudes towards him, as this will lead to a dead end of bitterness and excuse making. Rather, he should focus on his own development and decency. He may win over some who are obsessed with his blackness, some he may not. But again, its their problem, not his. It is true and unfortunate that he may be treated poorly by some, but then, who is always treated perfectly? People discriminate all the time. As a shorter man, I, now happily married, sometimes jokingly note that nearly all women are heightists, ie, they won’t date someone shorter. It would be foolhardy for me to claim victim status and set out to end this discrimination. Now I am not equating racism with heightism except to suggest that one should not dwell on something that you have no control over. And lastly, I would suggest that you not react hysterically to the Trayvon story any more that you should swear off flying after a plane accident. You cited statistics stating that a black boy is more likely to be shot by a white person that a white boy is. Perhaps true but as a parent I trust you don’t have a preference about who is to shoot your son, rather, you just don’t want him shot, period. As such, you might want to look into just who it is that is shooting the most black boys. Hint, it isn’t white people. And some day, your son will need to try to understand why violence is more of a problem, statistically speaking, among black people here in America. And here, unfortunately, I suspect you will fail your child.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Racism or Elitism?

RUSD Superintendent Ann Laing stepped in it a bit by making racially insensitive remarks about black families. Since she is a card carrying liberal, she will get through this episode unscathed. And she has apologized. Read the story here.

Basically, Laing insulted black families by pointing out that many were the ones most "prone to enroll their kids in the fly-by-night schools that cropped up after vouchers existed." She went on to add that black families "don't know how to make good choices for their children. They really don't. They didn't have parents who made good choices for them or helped them learn how to make good choices, so they don't know how to do that."

I have some sympathy for Sup Laing because I suspect she is right in many cases. Her mistake is to lump all black people together and assume, or at least incorrectly state, that all black families are basically dysfunctional. That is certainly not true or fair.

Of course much of the case against vouchers and for a monopolistic public school system rests on claims like Sup Laing's. Yes, the public is too stupid to make good choices on education. Therefore we need to limit or hopefully one day eliminate other educational options for children. And this will dramatically improve the funding and the educational outcomes for all our darlings.

I don't agree with the liberal line on public education, but what do I know, I'm just a white guy without an education degree.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Conditional Freedom

Racine's Becker era conditional-use law has been used to club another would-be business out of town. This time the victim is a funeral home that would have occupied the former Women's Club in downtown Racine. Opponents of the funeral home most often cited parking and traffic concerns as their reasons for opposition.

The conditional-use requirement essentially allows the city to circumvent their own zoning laws and make any potential business subject to a political process before opening.

The problem with the politicization of entrepreneurship is that the real reasons for opposition may not be so innocent. I am making no claims about the hearts and minds of the particular opponents in this case, but it is not a stretch to suggest that in some cases opponents won't want a particular type of person to open a business. That is, there might be discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion etc... or to block a potential business competitor. There will always be ample "legitimate" concerns to mask the real reason for the opposition.

It is disheartening that the city has a law that invites and empowers discriminatory opposition. Prior to the conditional-use requirement, a persons race, gender, religion, sexual orientation etc... was not a factor in whether they could open a business in Racine. Is this progress?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nuisance Schools

The City of Racine is looking to crack down on nuisance properties, namely those that require frequent and costly services from the police department.

My guess is that the three biggest offenders, though not all in Racine, are Park, Horlick, and Case high schools. Somehow I doubt the new ordinance will apply to those offenders.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We Don't Need...

"We don't need another WallMart."

The problem with this point of view is the assumption that one has or should have the power to prevent another from pursuing an opportunity, that the process of opening a business should be entirely politicized.

"We don't need another black family in the neighborhood."

Can we see the potential problem with empowering people to frustrate or deny opportunities or freedoms to others?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Other Than Wise

The following paragraph, found in this Journal Times article, is why I worry about sending my son to college:

Jennifer Correa, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology who spoke on the history of lynching, urged students to be “race conscious” — to be aware of other racial groups’ ideas and beliefs — and to challenge the notions of “whiteness.” Just like you define “good” by defining “bad,” she said “whiteness” is defined by “the Other,” referring to anything different. In order to address institutional racism, she argued society must first challenge the notions attached to “whiteness” like being civilized and superior.

First of all, do we really understand "good" by first defining "bad?" How did we first define "bad" without a definition of "good?" And isn't it silly to think that we understand "whiteness" by first defining the "other?" If the "other" is defined in part as "anything different," wouldn't we have to understand that which it is different from? So right off the bat we are working with a nonsensical premise.

And we are told to be "race conscious" while challenging notions of "whiteness." I wonder what Correa is conscious of when she sees me, a white man, since the notion of me being civilized must be challenged.

My head is spinning. I am going to lie down. But first, can anyone define "up" for me please?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

City Discriminates Against Unmarried Heterosexual Couples

The city of Racine just extended benefits to the same sex partners of city employees, so long as they have registered as domestic partners with the state. But state law discriminates against opposite sex couples as only same sex partners may register as domestic partners. And the city of Racine in turn discriminates against unmarried opposite sex couples by denying them benefits that they are now extending to same sex couples.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Registry Abuse Prediction

The city is not just hurtling toward financial disaster with misguided TIFs but with a proposal to extend health benefits, read all about it here, to those on the state's domestic partnership list.

A little anecdote might just illustrate the future that awaits us. Someone dear to me had a friend who worked for an airline. The airline extended some flight benefits for any partner of the employee. Though the two were merely friends, the former flew many times for nearly free, courtesy of the airlines domestic partner policy.

Big deal you say. There are only a handful of people - 57 or so in the entire county - who are on the domestic registry list. How many of them work for the city? One, maybe two?

Yes, but here is the problem. As soon as benefits are extended, and they surely will be, you can say goodbye to city employees with single coverage. A single employee will be sitting on, ie wasting, a $900 per month or $11,000 annual benefit. How long before said single employee offers to sign up for the domestic registry with the chronically ill acquaintance that offers him $4,000 per year? Before long everyone working for the city will either be married or will have a domestic partner, and our costs will skyrocket. Mark my words.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Planning Omissions

I went to a Racine Planning Commission meeting last night to learn more about the Porters project and the TIF proposed to help with the financing. But that was not the only issue before the commission.

It seems that there are some folks who want to utilize (purchase or rent?) the Women's Club building on the outskirts of downtown. The one and only controversy discussed was over parking and traffic congestion that might result when the proprietors have a funeral procession departing from their establishment. Apparently this was the second time wrangling over the issue and this time the proprietors proposed routes which seemingly would have been different from those used by a neighboring funeral home. We also learned that in the last five years, they have only had about five funerals that did not go from a church directly to a cemetery. In other words, unless they change their modus operandi, they will have very infrequent funeral processions. Even so, they spent close to an hour discussing this phantom problem before deferring action until such time as the proprietor can relieve the concerns of the committee. How exactly to successfully address the "problem" of a once a year funeral procession on public streets was left unsaid.

Regarding the Porter's project, it was a love fest from start to finish. The project itself looks great and I wholeheartedly endorse the Waters family using their own money or that of investors to move forward. Fearing the TIF would sail through the committee like a funeral procession on an open road, it was up to me apparently to suggest that a TIF is a serious investment by the public, with considerable risks to the taxpayer, and that the risks should be fully explored before the matter is voted upon. But alas, with no discussion beyond praise for the Waters family, they voted unanimously to approve the TIF. The matter now heads to the full council.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Letter to JT Editor

Yours truly has written a letter that appears in today's Journal Times. Here it is:

Is that really a ‘right?'
State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, recently argued that Gov. Scott Walker deserves to be recalled because he has taken away people's rights.
Mason is not referring to the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of the Declaration of Independence or of the rights delineated in the United States Constitution and the amendments.
Rather, he is bemoaning the curtailing of the privilege of collective bargaining granted to government employees unions.
These privileges included the power to compel membership among government employees, to forcibly remove money from their paychecks, and to have special powers to shape employment contracts in their favor. Note that the rest of us do not enjoy such "rights."
One wonders if Rep. Mason would vigorously defend my right to form a taxpayers union. Would he support legislation enabling me to compel membership upon all taxpayers, accepting without proof my assertion that all taxpayers would benefit from my representation? Would I enjoy the "right" to take money from the taxpayers with help from Mason? Would Mason casually accept the distorted political environment that resulted in me using the forcibly extracted money to remove him from office?
Denis Navratil

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cranley Discovers Use For Founders

I reprint Sean Cranley's letter to the Journal Times here in its entirety as it merits a few points for discussion:

Citizens, Burlington schools are under Tea Party assault with four TPs challenging incumbents John Anderson and Susan Kessler in the Feb. 21 board primary.
TPs are “taxpayers,” money-focused victims. “Citizens” pay dues for a civilized society. Public education provided by people of goodwill who built this country facilitated our success. They would have one requirement: Pass it on.
John Adams: “Laws for the liberal education of the youth, especially of the lower class of the people, are so extremely wise and useful, that to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.”
Thomas Jefferson: “I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it.”
James Madison: “The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
Citizens, vote Tuesday for rational balance, not the extremist selfishness of the TP taxpayers.
Sean Cranley

Note that if you run for office with an agenda that differs from Sean's, it is now an assault. Is anyone actually fooled by such a nonsense argument? Sean makes no actual claims or arguments about their agenda. They are simply dismissed because of an alleged association with the Tea Party. Weak Sean, very weak.

Let's use Sean's playbook. Why would anyone be persuaded by the ranting of slave-owning, slave-raping, old, white, one percenters? Sean apparently yearns for the good old days on the plantation and the joys of raping slaves. Talk about extreme selfishness!

Even mimicking Sean's methods leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so I will take on his apparent argument. Everybody from the founders quoted to parties on either side of our present political divide recognize the importance of education for all children who desire an education. To suggest otherwise is simply dishonest. Certainly there are huge differences of opinion as to the best means to ensure an educated populace. My guess is that the founders quoted where not championing an increasingly federalized education system, overtly hostile towards Christianity, and run by unionized government employees. If Sean really thinks our founders would applaud our current public education system, well, he is even more deluded than I thought he was.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rights restored

Representative Cory Mason recently argued that the recall of Governor Walker is necessary because he took away people's rights, namely those belonging to government unions.

A stronger case can be made that Governor Walker has in fact restored rights. For example, people have a right to associate with whomever they wish, or, to not associate with whom they would rather not. But government workers were forced to be dues paying union members. Their rights have been restored.

Or how about the right to equal protection of the laws? In what sense are we protected equally in the political process when one and only one favored constituency - that is, government unions - gets a special seat at the table when negotiating with government? There are times I wish I could be part of a taxpayers union that forcibly withdrew money from the accounts of all taxpayers, that in turn funneled said money to promote conservative policies and politicians, that gained power to uniquely influence government in our favor etc.... and then I realize that that would be wrong. Governor Walker has restored an equal ability to petition government to all concerned parties.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tax Breaks for Thee but not for Me, or You

This post may not win me any popularity contests in downtown Racine and perhaps I shouldn't blog with steam coming out of my ears, but here goes.

The Journal Times has a story about a $5.5 million redevelopment of the Porters building that you can read here.

As Free Racine readers may know, I have noted numerous times over the years that the tax burden is so great in Racine that redevelopment is a very risky proposition without some tax breaks. I have advocated an incentive plan that would reduce the tax burden on property improvements for anyone wishing to improve their property, suggesting a tax break of five years or so. I called it a microTIF (TIF standing for tax incremental financing).

Here is the problem with the proposed Porters redevelopment. They are getting a 20 year break on taxes. Assuming our current tax of $25.47 (per thousand of property value) and the assessment of the Porters improvement of $5.5 million doesn't change over 20 years, the developers will save $2.8 million over twenty years (5500 X 25.47 X 20 = $2,801,700).

Now that is all well and good for the developers of Porters. For the record, I know and like Micah Waters and I hope my opposition to this sweetheart deal is not considered personal as I can assure you it is not.

As it happens, I have a ready comparison of redevelopment projects, the Porters project with my own that does not include a twenty year tax break. The bulk of the improvements at my property at 416 Main Street were for two residential units. After my improvements my property value increase was deemed to be about $300,000. That adds about $7,600 annually to my tax burden. Had I gotten the same deal and property tax rates and my property assessment remained constant, I would save over $150,000 over twenty years.

The Porters folks and building owners like me will be in the same business, competing for tenants. Because Porters won't have to pay property taxes on their $5.5 million improvement, they will save roughly $140,000 per year, or an average of about $3,255 per their 43 residential and retail units. This amounts to a $271 monthly advantage for Porters over the rest of us who are required to pay our taxes. This is a huge difference that will enable them to offer deals to renters while maintaining a healthy profit margin. By comparison again, had I the same deal with the city, I could lower my rent or pocket $317 per month per rental unit.

The bottom line is that taxes are too high for development to occur in Racine. While the city apparently recognizes that fact sporadically, the result is that well connected developers get great deals that virtually ensure financial success, while the rest of us get to pay the taxes.

I feel like a sucker.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Melding of Church and State

Separation of church and state is a cherished principle for progressives except when President Obama wants to dictate to the Catholic Church.

Brandt Discovers Right Wing Recall Plot

Former Journal Times Editor and current treasurer of the Committee to Recall Wangaard, Randolph Brandt, has discovered our vast right wing conspiracy to discredit the recall effort. Read all about it here.

Brandt is referring to the felony shenanigans of one Mark Demet. Demet was discovered by one Ken Brown (full disclosure:friend and co-right-wing-conspiritor) to have forged the signature of his own brother, multiple times, as well as his own mother, and some neighbors etc.... on recall Wangaard petitions. Brandt claims never to have heard of Demet but his committee nonetheless accepted his fraudulent petitions. But now it seems Brandt has discovered our plot.

According to the JT article, "Brandt questioned if possibly the man was intentionally trying to discredit the recall process by having relatives come forward and say they didn't sign."

Thank you Mark Demet for taking one for the conservative team! Well done on posing as a loopy liberal for all these years! You almost had me fooled. The cash we have promised can be found in the prearranged location and per your instructions. No doubt this will more than compensate for the hit you will take to your reputation, your record, and your pocketbook. I doubt you will see jail time, but if so we will surely see that you have ample supply of cigarettes. It was a heroic and selfless act Mark that will greatly help our cause. Thank you sincerely from me and from all your friends at the Committee to Discredit the Committee to Recall Wangaard.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Remember global warming? Why aren't liberals constantly bringing up the subject anymore, especially as the whole country is enjoying a mild, or shall we say, warm, winter?

OK, there are still true believers out there, but the sane among the left are probably a bit embarrassed for having bit on that issue. But they are not about to publicly announce a change of view, as that would be too embarrassing for most. Rather, they are just going to ignore the "issue" and hope it goes away. Kind of like those people who fell for the hopey changey Obama stuff the first go around.

A Wall Street Journal letter writer, one Irwin Romaner, makes an excellent point. The true believers argue that global warming is real and therefor their policy preferences must be followed. Romaner disagrees as follows:

Even if climate change is real and human caused, the global-warming argument rests and falls on a much broader set of assumptions:quantitatively serious global warming is in fact taking place and will continue to take place; global warming is a bad thing; it is entirely or mostly human caused; it is within "our" (the U.S. and Western Europe but not India and China's) technological capability to substantially fix the problem; and, it can be fixed cost-effectively. Every one of these assumptions is very much open to question, and if any one of them is answered in the negative, the whole global warming enterprise falls apart.

As I contemplate assumption #2 - global warming is all bad - and a vigorous bike ride in February in Wisconsin, well, a part of me wishes the lukewarmers were right.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On Proof and Election Fraud

Sean Cranley seems to think I am dodging him on the voter ID issue. Not so Sean. The thing is, like most issues, we see them very differently. You would like to believe that voter fraud is virtually non-existant, hasn't been proven to be a problem to your satisfaction and is therefore unnecessary. I on the other hand don't view "proof to Sean's satisfaction" as the standard before proceeding with legislation. As a lifelong observer of human nature, I find it incredible that anyone would believe that voter fraud wouldn't occur. So the same people willing to slash the tires of vans lined up to take Republicans to the polls wouldn't vouch for the identity of someone willing to vote for a Democrat? The dead never voted in Chicago? Republicans, whom you otherwise regard with unconcealed scorn, are greedy power hungry sob's, no, they won't cheat will they Sean? Look at the article in today's Journal Times Sean. It appears as though a Dem is in a bit of trouble for forging the signature of his own brother and mother in the recall Wangaard effort. But he wouldn't cheat in an actual election, right Sean?

So Sean and I disagree. How do we resolve such issues in a representative government? We elect representatives who in turn vote for legislative changes. We have done so and now we have a reasonable law that requires a valid ID for voting purposes. The law makes it as easy as possible to comply with the law. Similar laws have survived legal challenges. So there you have it.

But Sean wants proof of a problem. Though I doubt he has the same standard for other legislation. For example, despite liberals protestations, man made global warming hasn't been proven, nor has it been proven to be a problem on balance if true, but somehow I doubt Sean required proof before jumping on that bandwagon.

And finally, why must we adopt your standard Sean? Why don't you prove that voter fraud doesn't occur? Prove that Dem operatives throughout the state are not rounding up volunteers to drive around to various polling stations to vote multiple times. Prove it ain't so Sean.