Saturday, August 16, 2014

Signs of Silliness

Last year Racine passed an ordinance that limits the size of signage in commercial buildings to 15% of window space. The issue is being revisited and it looks like their is momentum to increase the amount to 50% of window space.

Mayor Dickert, who supports the 50% signage allowance, said "The reason for the ordinance is to have the authority to enforce the rules on those who are breaking them and protect those who do not. We have to remember this situation came about because some companies were following the rules while numerous others were not."

This does not explain the need for the ordinance. It explains the desire for authority. And I can't help but wondering just who needs protection from a storefront sign.

Suppose the city passed an ordinance preventing people from wearing yellow shoes. Now imagine a mayor saying "The reason for the ordinance is to have the authority to enforce the yellow shoes ordinance on those folks who continue to wear yellow shoes. Meanwhile, we need to protect those who are wearing shoes of other colors. We need to remember that this situation came about because some people were wearing properly colored shoes while others were wearing yellow shoes."

The problem with the ordinance is that there is no good reason for it. So get rid of it.

Propaganda Time at RUSD

Is there anything a Racine Unified referendum can't do?

According to an Journal Times article/RUSD press release, if we pass a $127 million spending referendum, we can do so without raising our taxes.

"Rarely do you get a chance to increase funding like this without increasing taxes" said Superintendent Lolli Haws. And "School Board President Dennis Wiser compared the referendum to refinancing a home at a lower interest rate and using the savings for renovations" according to the JT article.

So just how do you manage to increase taxes by $127 million without increasing taxes? If RUSD propagandists are to be believed, the state funding formula is such that poor districts will get increased funding from the state if they manage to milk more tax revenue out of their poor constituents. I don't know this to be true, but I certainly hope the state has not incentivized local overspending as that is the reason we are a poor district to begin with.

In any case, perhaps the RUSD leadership needs to be reminded that RUSD taxpayers are also residents of the state of Wisconsin and therefore pay taxes to the state. The money that supposedly offsets local spending is being paid as well by local taxpayers.

In other news, candy company Hershey announced that their new 2000 calorie Megabar can be consumed daily without any associated weight gain.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

On Proportionality

So we dropped some bombs on ISIS in Iraq yesterday. I am ok with that. However, at present the world elites, including many in the US, are decrying the Israeli aggression against Hamas in the Gaza strip. The problem there is not so much the Israeli bombing/aggression per se but rather the proportionality problem. The Israelis are killing way more Palestinians than the Palestinians are killing Israeli's. And that just isn't fair say the elites.

So back to the US bombing campaign, led by a Democratic Nobel Peace Prize winner. Where is the proportionality? Has ISIS fired a single bullet at a US soldier? In the interest of proportionality, mustn't we allow ISIS the opportunity to lob some missiles into the US? Perhaps the advocates of proportionality could line up to take a bullet or have their throats slashed to demonstrate their commitment to proportionality and just to even things up a bit. Its only fair!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Mockery Time

President Obama was asked today about the five terrorist for one US deserter trade. Here is what he had to say:

Let me be clear. I am mad as hell about this trade and I will get to the bottom of this reckless decision. Of course, like most Americans, I learned about this trade by reading the Washington Post. So today I am announcing the formation of a commission, headed by Susan Rice and Valerie Jarret, which will investigate this very serious issue. Within 90 days the investigation team will report back to me. The investigation team will determine who exactly is the commander in chief of the military, as it has been reported in the New York Times that the commander in chief had final authority regarding the terrorist deserter swap. And once we have identified the individual responsible for this trade, you can be sure that I will hold him personally accountable.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

On Thought Crime Penalties

The big news is that the Los Angeles Clippers owner, Democratic donor,  and one percenter Donald Sterling was taped making racist comments. And everyone is calling for his head. Not that they shouldn't.

That said, I do wonder what the appropriate penalty should be for this and other thought crimes. And does it matter what group it is that you don't like?

A little thought experiment. Suppose instead of blacks, it was gays that Sterling didn't like. What then? How about Muslims? Suppose he just didn't like Christians? What about Democrats? Republicans?

Why is it that not liking blacks or gays is an unforgivable sin while disparaging Christians or Republicans would not likely even be newsworthy?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Obamacare Update

I could see the frustration on his face. Or maybe it was my imagination.

Someone I know well was scheduled for a medical procedure. And then the doctor arrived. He had been on the phone with the insurance company. They apparently have a new checklist of pre procedure requirements. At least one of those requirements was, in the estimation of the doctor, not medically advisable. He would never do that to any patient under any circumstances. So, with some requirements not met, and the insurance company not on board, the procedure was postponed. According to the doctor, in the past he would have been able to talk to a physician to explain the circumstances and the rationale for his medical decision. But now it was clerk with a checklist.

The doctor is a pioneer in his field. His method is less invasive, safer and I suspect cheaper, and is now standard procedure. Imagine the indignity of having his medical judgement usurped by a nameless clerk with a checklist. He is essentially semi-retired. I will not be the least bit surprised if he soon drops the "semi."

Note to Obamacare apologists. There is a difference between health insurance and health care.

Mission Accomplished in Racine

A month or so ago I wrote a letter to the Journal Times editor. Actually it was directed at one Todd Johnson, serial progressive diatribist. I asked just what should be done with the horrible conservatives. Reeducation camps, the guillotine, gulag?

His needlessly wordy response can be boiled down to "election routes" and his preferred solution, "self deportation."

Well then.... to borrow some phrases from an esteemed former president, mission accomplished! Heck of a job Johnsonny!

You see, Todd Johnson lives in Racine. Conservatives have been on the receiving end of electoral routes for years. Racine is a one party town run by liberals/progressives/Democrats and has been for years. Same with Racine Unified. And while all this was happening, Racine was gradually losing population as people "self deported" from Racine.

We should be living in a socialist paradise by now. But it never quite works out that way. Progressives like Todd Johnson can never be happy. This despite a plethora of his own "self deportation" options. Cuba, Detroit, North Korea etc... come to mind.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Observations on Gender and Pay

The big news lately is that we live in a horrible society where every employer apparently hates women and pays them 77 cents for every dollar paid to a man for the same job. This is of course complete b.s.

I own a business and have hired numerous people over the last twenty years. I need a job well done and I have no interest in overpaying for labor. Does anyone really believe that businesses (male and female owned) are really willing to pay 30% more (77 X 1.3 = roughly 1) for labor, just for the satisfaction of screwing over women?

Consider my business and the question of employee compensation. I own a retail jewelry, clothing, and accessory store and roughly 90% of my customers are female. One thing I have observed over the years is that when women are trying on clothes and looking for advice and candid observations on fit etc... that do not to want to hear that from a man. So a female is worth more to me than a man under such circumstances. So I should pay females more, right?

Not so fast. I also sell jewelry on the road sometimes. This requires filling a van full of stuff, getting up at 3 am, working until 6pm, staying in a crappy hotel to save expenses. Doing this job is far more physically demanding. Women can do it, have done it, and will continue to do it, but I find men to have a greater interest in this work than store work. They also save me money cause we tend to stay in the same crappy in room together, perhaps shaving $80 a day from my expenses. So I should pay men more for this, right?

The bottom line is that men and women are different. They bring different things to the table, they have different interests, abilities, tendencies, etc.... Additionally, on an individual level, some are more skilled, more reliable, more trustworthy, and so on. Pay decisions are a very complicated matter that requires in my business to know a person and determine their value to our business.

To suppose I or anyone else would purposely overpay for labor in a competitive marketplace is beyond absurd. The only thing more absurd is the arrogance of President Obama who believes that he has discovered a vast network of gender discrimination that he alone can fix.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Media Gag

Tons of coverage, lots of speculation, very few facts. I can't take any more "news" about the missing plane. As such, I am sure I have missed the speculation that perhaps one of the pilots has come under the sway of, er, more devout members of his religion.

I don't think speculation is an appropriate substitute for facts and news, but if you are going down that road, why avoid the one of the most obvious possibilities?

Victims Wanted

Voter ID bills are usually met with evidence free accusations of voter suppression. Why don't the Democrats trot out a real person who has been living without an ID and has been unable to secure one, and put a face on the victim of Republican policies?

Because no such person exists. If Dems are good at anything, it is finding or creating victims, especially the latter, with their policies. Yet they have yet to produce a single person to my knowledge who is unable to secure an ID.

Who is searching harder, Dems for an ID-less person, or OJ, for the killer?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Obamacare Update

I now have insurance through the ACA, aka Obamacare. I have even seen my doctor, same one as before. My premiums have gone down considerably as has my deductible.

So obviously I see Obamacare as an unqualified success. I kept my doctor and saved money, as promised by President Obama.

Ok, not really. Paragraph one is all true. But I am supposed to evaluate a federal public policy by its effect on me? I have never evaluated public policy by how I am personally effected and I am not going to start now.

For those who do consider public policy by its direct effect on them, I have a simple question. Why isn't that considered selfish or greedy?

I have always suspected that Obamacare will produce some winners and some losers. For this year, it looks like I will come out a winner. But is it good public policy?

No, it is not. That will be proven, if it hasn't been by now, over time. We will know this by full disclosure of data. We suspect that we have a problem because the Obama administration has not been forthcoming or transparent with the data. Will we get enough young and healthy people to sign up and, in effect, subsidize people like me who are getting older and will be statistically increasingly likely to rack up medical expenses?

No we won't as there aren't enough young and healthy folks with enough money willing to foot the bill. I can't say I blame them either. Soon enough this will stress the entire system and require a government bailout of the insurance companies and/or huge increases in premiums, deductibles, copays and rationing via provider restrictions.

The ACA will fail soon enough but if you have Obamacare I suggest you get the medical attention that you have been putting off as soon as possible before the system implodes.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

End Government Kidnapping Now

I just read a lame commentary on ending capital punishment. Actually I skimmed it until I read that murder is wrong, therefor the state shouldn't do it.

Well, kidnapping is wrong as well. We must close the jails! And maybe the public schools.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Consultants to the Rescue

I recently had an encounter with a city employee whom I thought had retired. Well yes, he had, but he has come back as a consultant. I was razzing him a bit about the double dipping, and then he said it saves the city money. I dropped the matter with him but I wondered how such an arrangement could save money for the city.

I think I have got it. It would indeed be cheaper to have a retired worker and a "consultant" who doesn't get another pension etc... than it would be to have a retired worker and a new worker, as the new worker comes with pension and health insurance expenses. I get that.

An even cheaper alternative exists apparently. Since Racine now hires "consultants" in lieu of city workers, why not lay off all of our city workers and give them first crack at coming back as consultants?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

On Discrimination and Equal Protection

In light of the recent Arizona controversy involving the freedom of businesses to discriminate on the basis of deeply held religious beliefs, I thought I would weigh in with my own, I think, decidedly minority point of view on business discrimination.

A few years back we rehabbed the second floor of our commercial building, adding two apartments above. This rehab represented by far the largest investment in our lives and we certainly wanted to be very discriminating (not in the racial, orientation etc... sense, of course) in selecting tenants, as everything we had worked for up to that point was on the line. It occurred to me that I should understand very clearly the law as it pertained to illegal housing discimination. So I headed over to the Fair Housing office in Racine, you know, the folks who will come after you if you illegally discriminate. Unbelievably, they we unable to clarify the law for me, instead sending me to some website or brochure produced by the Agriculture Department. And no, I am not making this up.

At about this time I figured I was on my own, vulnerable to a lawsuit if I rejected a protected applicant for the apartment. As it turns out, we did reject a few people for reasons that I wouldn't have wanted to explain in court. Word of mouth info and intuition definitely came in to play and I don't suspect those explanations would go over so well in a courtroom. Anyway, thankfully the rejected applicants were white and I did not fear or experience retribution. I now wonder what might have happened if I had rejected a black tenant with "intuition" as my rationale. I suspect I could find myself trying to prove that I wasn't a racist, an impossible proposition for anyone.  When one is accused of racism, the innocent until proven guilty rules seem not to apply.

The answer in my mind to the problem is to let anyone discriminate for whatever flipping reason they want. I know, that sounds awful. Let me explain. As a businessman, I am entirely dependent on customers for my livelihood. I could theoretically have disdain for every category of human imaginable,  but I would need them for my business to prosper. The market would severely punish a business if it openly and blatantly discriminated. What would happen if it were legal and I put a sign in my window reading "No N-words Allowed!" Not only would I lose my valued black customers but I would probably lose all my other customers as well as they would be rightly repulsed by my racism. The left, always keen on creating regulations, always underestimates or utterly fails to understand the power of a free market to regulate the behavior of businesses.

Now it is amateur lawyer time. Do laws prohibiting business discrimination violate the concept of equal protection under the law? Consider the following: As a business owner, suppose I announced that I will hereafter refuse to serve black customers. Big trouble with the law, right? Now suppose the NAACP organized a boycott against me because I was white and because blacks should support black owned businesses. Perfectly legal, right? Why is that not illegal as well? Where is my equal protection from racial discrimination? People can freely patronize or reject businesses for whatever reason they want, and this is as it should be. In the interest of equality, I believe that the same protection should be available to business owners.

And what would happen then? Absolutely nothing! In the exceedingly rare case where a Christian photographer doesn't want to work a gay wedding, for example, the gay couple will easily find another business more than willing to do so. And businesses could proceed according to their values without worrying about crippling lawsuits.

And lastly, I noted above that my perspective on this matter is likely very much in the minority. And while this point is unrelated to the subject above, isn't the inclusion of minority perspectives the bulk of the rationale for affirmative action? Celebrate diversity lefties!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Government Discrimination

Two stories, one local, one national, seemingly unrelated.

Arizona Governor Brewer just vetoed a bill that would have allowed religious business owners a measure of protection from lawsuits concerning discrimination. So a baker could refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding, for example, without fear of a lawsuit.

In Racine, Mayor Dickert and numerous others are being sued in federal court for racial discrimination against minority bar owners. I don't actually think the city is discriminating against minority bar owners so much as they are discriminating against young black bar patrons. Bar owners are collateral damage.

So what do these stories have in common? The short answer is discrimination. In the AZ case, the government considered granting private sector businesses the right to discriminate if they were adhering to deeply held religious convictions. Full confession - I haven't delved deeply into the AZ issue. The Racine case is a much more egregious case of discrimination that has been perpetrated by government for nearly a decade now. The Racine case should be getting the national attention but it won't because Racine is a heavily Democratic city.

I have observed the liquor license dance now for several years. It goes like this. Prospective liquor license holder is grilled in front of the licensing committee. Prospective license holder (hereafter plh) seeks to assure the committee and ultimately the city council and the mayor that he will not cause them any problems. The plh's are not stupid. They know very well what they have to say to the committee. The city is rightly concerned about huge, unruly crowds which spill out into the street after bar hours or migrate to a parking lot or whatever and continue the revelry. Occasionally really bad stuff happens like when three people were killed several years back in one such gathering. Anyway, the plh's need to assure the city that they will not be attracting large numbers of young black patrons. So they say things in code like "This will be an upscale establishment" or "We will not be playing hip hop music" or "we won't allow tilted hats or baggy pants falling down" etc...

Neither the city or the plh's can truthfully address a very real problem which is frequent and unruly crowds, nearly always entirely black, that do in fact cause problems for the city government and city residents. The plh's react predictably enough. They tell the city, in code, that they will not actively solicit black customers and if necessary actively discourage them.

The bottom line. If you want a liquor license in Racine, you must agree to discriminate. Now that should be a big national story.

Buy Low, Sell High Racine

I have a great new moneymaking scheme for the city of Racine. It might even help them pay for the cascade of lawsuits they are facing.

OK, here is the deal. We have tons of really stupid property owners in Racine that have no idea that they are sitting on gold mines. Thousands of them are selling their properties, or trying to, for far less than the property is worth.

The city has decades of experience in the real estate game. And they have an entire department that determines the value of Racine properties. All they need to do is buy the properties at the artificially low asking price and then quickly sell it at the real value, and pocket the difference.

Here is an example. Some idiot is trying to sell his three story downtown property for $98,000. He doesn't even know that it is worth $225,000, even though the city sends him the results of their expert analysis of its real value every year! The city could buy the property at $98K, then sell it for its real value and walk away with $127K!

If they did this with all the properties on the market for less than their worth, they could make tens of millions year after year.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

You Might Be a Racist Christian

The Milwaukee Journal recently published a cartoon of a family of three driving with a wintry scene in the background. Mom says "Well, this ice storm surely proves there ain't no global warmin'!" School aged daughter responds, "Actually, mom, warming disrupts terrestrial climate patterns, thereby producing extreme weather phenomena like the polar vortex." Then dad chimes in with "Hush gal! If I want science learnin', I'll open a bible!"

And in case you haven't gotten the message so far, mom is wearing a confederate flag hat, dad is in flannel and they are driving in a pick up truck.

So if you have your doubts about global warming, you must be a racist redneck Christian.

I can't wait to see the next gratuitously stereotypical cartoons at the MJS. Maybe we will have one with a black guy robbing a liquor store while eating a watermelon. Or perhaps one with some lewd sex acts performed at a gay wedding. Perhaps dozens of illegals spilling out of a pinata. Oh the hilarity!

Of course we won't see any such cartoons at the MJS, and nor should we of course. The MJS is surely sensitive enough not to perpetuate grossly negative stereotypes of blacks, gays or Hispanics. Perhaps it is time to extend the same courtesy to Christians, conservatives, or those who dare to question the global warming that has "paused" despite the dire predictions to the contrary.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Predatory Government

Remember predatory loans?

I never quite bought into that notion, primarily as there wasn't much in it for the so called predator. Homeowner walks, predator is stuck with a house worth much less than before. I would rather be the prey.

Not so with student loans. Loans are made in many cases to naive, financially illiterate youngsters who can't just mail in the diploma and walk.

Why aren't these considered predatory loans? My guess is because it is the government making the loans.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Another Angry Liberal

Root River Siren has gotten herself more riled up than usual over an entirely benign economic analysis by Paul Ryan. 

The offending statement concerning Obamacare incentives:

"I guess I understand 'better off' in the context of health care. But 'better off' in inducing a person not to work who is on the low-income scale, not to get on the ladder of life, to begin working, getting the dignity of work, getting more opportunities, rising their income, joining the middle class, this means fewer people will do that."

Hide the kids. Here is the RRS response:

Wow. Just. Wow. According to Paul Ryan, poor people will not aspire to the middle class because they will have the luxury of portable health care - Obamacare will "induce" poor people to not work.

AYFKM? Are you fucking kidding me?! It is a statement so stunning, so breathtaking in it's vile, selfish ignorance - it is truly hard to comprehend.

This should be a torches and pitchforks moment for Ryan - but we have all grown so accustomed to him saying shit like this - hardly anyone notices. Ryan has rebranded himself lately as the "poverty" guy and this is what he thinks of the poor.

And my response:

Wow. Just. Wow. Root River Siren is so blinded by hatred for Paul Ryan that she can't think straight. Or maybe that is a permanent condition. This is econ 101 RRS. If you make it easier to not work, you get less work in the aggregate. The trade-off is detrimental for many in Paul Ryan's view as they will have less opportunity etc... that working provides in the long run. This is really simple, benign, economic analysis RRS.

This should be a lightbulb moment for RRS. Paul Ryan actually cares about the people who will be harmed by Obamacare. Put down the pitchfork RRS. Read an introductory economics textbook. Caring about people - assuming that is what motivates you -  is insufficient if you promote policies that harm them.

1 Angry Liberal

As a conservative with a libertarian bent, I thought I had a pretty decent grasp of conservative political philosophy. And then I read Todd Johnson's recent letter to the Journal Times.

There I learned that "conservatives believe electoral success is a pass for political racketeering and authoritarianism" and I learned about the "corrupt conservative traits" such as "a righteous air of privilege" and our "natural bent for vendetta politics" and of the "ultimate danger," that is, the "conservative faith in a corporate state."

Sprinkled throughout his letter are numerous clever but frightening phrases such as "swaggering vulgarity," Republican flacks glibly defended this shifty shamelessness," "sheepish indoctrinated legislators," "scorched earth injustice" and so on.

Wow! Where do I hide from myself?

Mr. Johnson has a grossly distorted vision of conservatives. Space constraints prevent a full defense of conservatism, so let us instead consider the two issues that have lately embroiled our state and nation respectively, that is, Act 10 and the Affordable Care Act. Regarding Act 10, conservatives fought to curtail powers enjoyed by government sector unions that are not available to other groups or individuals, namely the power to negotiate directly with legislators and the compulsory collection of dues. Concerning the Affordable Care Act, every Republican in Congress voted against the first ever federal law that forces individuals to buy a product from private corporations. In both issues, it was conservatives who fought for individuals against threats to liberty emanating from government collusion with unions and corporations.

Certainly some will disagree with my conclusions. That said, I am reasonably sure conservatives are not vulgar, shifty, flacks merrily scorching the earth en route to a corporate run authoritarian state etc... or whatever it is that Mr. Johnson would say.

I can't help but wonder the point of Mr. Johnson's serial diatribes against conservatives. Is he trying to win us over to his way of thinking? Is this his way of maintaining a feeling of moral superiority over conservatives? Or perhaps he just wants to line us up and shoot us.

But just in case he is ever inclined to engage in respectful dialogue, I have a suggestion. Ease up on the Evil Republican schtick, take a deep breath, and maybe, just maybe, talk to an actual conservative.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Walden Students for Global Warming

I see the folks at Walden High School have rediscovered their First Amendment right to advocate for policies detrimental to their professed interests. The Journal Times has photos of the students and, to the credit of the JT, the following: Last week, the U.S. State Department gave no major environmental objections to the controversial proposed pipeline that would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to Nebraska, The Associated Press reported.

That would be the Hillary Clinton/John Kerry State Department. And it seems that the pipeline would result in the least environmental impact with the possible exception of leaving the oil in the ground. And since that isn't going to happen, it seems that the Walden students are inadvertently advocating for a needlessly larger carbon footprint.

Or perhaps they are attempting to accelerate the heretofore imperceptible global warming. If that is the case, then GO WALDEN!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Is LGBT Safe Zone Safe?

I am thinking about starting an organization. It will be primarily centered around sexual orientation. It will be open to all heterosexual men. It will be a social organization in part but will have a service component as well. We will call ourselves the Heterosexual Man Center of Southeast Wisconsin, or HE-MAN for short. The HE-MAN understand from experience the difficulties, the awkwardness, the stress, the isolation etc... accompanied with adolescent sexual expression.  It is no secret that some girls at RUSD schools are experimenting sexually. The HE-MAN believe we can safely offer the support, information and confidentiality that these girls need during a difficult time in their lives.

You are creeped out. You should be.

 No chance in hell that such a group would make inroads into RUSD.

But if your group is organized around homosexuality, it is a different matter. We are, it seems, not supposed to ask hard questions. We are just expected to believe in the good intentions of LGBT members. We will not subject them to the same type of scrutiny that we would the fictitious HE-MEN Center.

Why not? We ought to know by now with the scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church and the myriad of molestation incidents by school teachers, that pedophiles go where the children are just as alcoholics go where the booze is. The best place to be if you are a sexual predator is in an organization that is unquestionably trusted as was the case for years in the Catholic Church.

I want to be careful here. I have no reason to suspect any nefarious intent by our local LGBT group. Nor do I have any reason to conclude that they can ensure a "safe" environment for LGBT youth.

In other words, they should be subject to the same scrutiny that would befall the HE-MAN. And the fictitious HE-MAN group would get nowhere near RUSD.

And yet the LGBT Center of Southeast Wisconsin appears to be making inroads into RUSD schools. They are teaching teachers how to "provide support, information and confidentiality" to LGBT students and become part of a "safe zone" for LGBT students.

For all involved, including the LGBT group, I advise far more scrutiny of the LGBT group before they have any official connection with RUSD. The LGBT youth of Racine deserve a safe environment just as much as do heterosexual children.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Porters Belly Up

The controversial Porters rehab project is now belly-up according to a Journal Times article that avoids the most obvious question, that is: Was any taxpayer money given to the project up front and if so, how much and will we get it back?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

On Proper Discrimination

There is a documentary (shown once in Milwaukee) called Pattern or Practice that alleges racial discrimination by the City of Racine towards minority bar owners. I have not seen the movie but I have over the years commented on the troublesome bars and the plight of their owners.

I don't think City of Racine leaders are discriminating against minority bar owners. Rather, I think they are cowards. Nearly all of us are cowards on the subject of race. Finally I agree with Attorney General Eric Holder on something.

So I will try to be brave. If you were told that I suspect that Japanese eat more sushi that Cubans, that would not be controversial. Or that Californians are more likely to surf than Kansans. The elderly commit fewer violent crimes than teenagers. No problem yet, right? Can we conclude that behaviors can differ in frequency among different races, or ages, or cultures, or races? Not controversial yet, right?

Now suppose we wonder about crime or deviancy and whether people of different races, genders, ages etc... commit crimes at the same rate. Certainly there must be differences, right? If so, what demographic (as opposed to individuals) causes the most problems? Blacks or Asians or Hispanics or whites? Toddlers, teens, young adults, or the elderly? Men or women? I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that men commit more crimes than women and that teens and young adults commit more crimes than toddlers and the elderly. But what about the race question? Better not go there, right? Better to pretend that there can't possibly be some that cause more problems than others, or risk banishment from polite society.

I will limit my racial observations to the particular issue at hand. And my observation is that the late night congregating of large crowds after bars - in parking lots or on the street - in Racine anyway, is a young black thing. There, I said it.

Congregations are not of course necessarily a bad thing. But when they are loud or if they are blocking traffic or if violence erupts, well, then we have a public health hazard and something should be done.

But alas we are cowards and in one sense racially discriminatory. We hold unruly black people to a lower standard. We coddle them. I think the police even call it babysitting. And instead of confronting the behavior of the individuals in the crowds, we more or less allow it to happen. And then they go after the license of the "offending" bar owner, hoping that will put an end to the crowds. And indeed it does for a time until the problem crowd moves on to another location.

I don't think the city has a particular axe to grind against minority bar owners. A little thought experiment. Imagine a black entrepreneur running a polka bar for elderly white folks. Would his license be at risk? How about a white guy running a hip hop bar where patrons spill on to the street and defy police instructions to disperse. Would his license be at risk? If you answered no and yes respectively, you would be right, and you would disprove the "racism towards minority bar owner" theory.

The problem could be solved if we first identify it correctly, as I believe I have done. Then we decide what behaviors we will not tolerate among people after bar time and we crack down on the behaviors no matter the race of the offender.

Replace the racial discrimination (lower standards of behavior for blacks) with behavioral discrimination.

Combatting Global Warming

Downtown Racine recently had its annual snow carving competition, which was once again plagued by warm weather and torrential downpours. When will they wise up and schedule the event concurrently with a global warming conference?

O'Care Adventures

If you read White House and media pronouncements, you know that Obamacare is going swimmingly. My own experience with O'Care has gone as swimmingly as a global warming cruise.

Our adventure started with our insurance agent informing us that our then current, now expired, plan (the one we could keep if we liked it) would be illegal in a year. So we took a look at the O'Care offerings and realized that we were barely eligible for a subsidy. As a result our premiums would have been roughly the same but our deductible was going down from $11,000 to $2,000. My thinking was: I didn't write the law, I think it will implode, my own plan was going away, but a family member had a scheduled medical procedure that would have easily exceeded $11,000, so we can save $9,000. So we went for it.

On the advice of our agent, who had at that time been unable to sign up anyone via the O'site, we filed a paper application. The next step was to await a call from the O'Carigators, at which point we would select a plan, pay, and join the swelling ranks of the happily insured.

The call never came and the deadline for Jan 1st coverage was approaching. So we called the navigators again and again and again and again. We got through ok and they politely took our information, entered it into the system which after an hour or so of waiting, finger crossing, small talk, failed. Nothing they could do. Try back later. As a retailer of gifts, I had nothing better to do on December 23rd.

The deadline came and went. Previously noted medical procedure was cancelled because we were not insured.

Still no insurance at this point despite numerous attempts. There is a uncashed check floating around somewhere at the exchange. We went to Paul Ryan's office. They were helpful and nice, like the navigators, but I fear they will be unable to help. Apparently they will be able to secure for me a federal caseworker of some sort who can force these difficult cases through via some other method besides the web site. The government has thirty days to respond to Ryan/us. Not holding my breath.

Just like a purchase at Amazon,  except with government sector sclerocity.