Couple Charged for Felony Assault

Looking at the video, this seems like a case where they were overcharged. I don’t see how a jury convicts them for felony assault for this. I expect it will be plead down.

It is a good lesson for concealed carry holders. We don’t see the alleged “bump” that precipitated the incident. The couple seemed to keep their cool pretty well as they got in their car and began to back up. It looks like, but is not clear, the mother and/or her friends got behind the car to block the couple in. That’s when it all went to hell.

The woman in the car got out and drew her weapon (much better control and discipline than the St. Louis couple). Given how we have seen several incidents of mobs surrounding cars and assaulting innocent people, perhaps the woman could be forgiven for overreacting. Context matters. But this was not a mob and there didn’t seem to be an imminent threat of anything except someone getting run over. By introducing a weapon into the situation, she escalated the situation unnecessarily. Judging by her yelling, she seemed legitimately fearful for her life, but her response was still inappropriate. She would have been better served by staying in the locked car and calling the police. As long as nobody tried to enter the car or assault them, it would have ended there.

In any case, as all of us watch riots and roving mobs assaulting people, people are going to continue to be on edge. Look for more of this to happen.

Middleton Enacts “Unlawful” Restrictions

There is a huge disconnect between the draconian laws that we are expected to obey and fact that the government is letting protesters and rioters ignore all of the laws. Equal application of the law is a fundamental pillar of a free society. And yes, Middleton does not have the legal authority to enact these restrictions.

MIDDLETON, Wis. (WMTV) – The Tavern League of Wisconsin is calling restrictions on bars and restaurants “unlawful,” after public health officials announced a new emergency order Wednesday to slow the spread of coronavirus.

At restaurants, the restriction (Emergency Order #7) brings indoor dining capacity down from 50 percent to 25 percent. Bars can no longer allow indoor dining, only takeout and outdoor seating with physical distancing.

Janel Heinrich, the director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said that the county has experienced a high number of cases recently. She also said that contact tracers found much of the spread has come from public gatherings, restaurants and bars.

Jobs Bouncing Back

This is fantastic to see. America is getting back to work!

Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 4.8 million in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% as the U.S. continued its reopening from the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a 2.9 million increase and a jobless rate of 12.4%. The report was released a day earlier than usual due to the July Fourth U.S. holiday.

The jobs growth marked a big leap from the 2.7 million in May, which was revised up by 190,000. The June total is easily the largest single-month gain in U.S. history.

New West Bend School District Superintendent Comments on Referendum, Reopening, Etc.

West Bend’s new school Superintendent is taking the helm. She has an interview in the Washington Daily News this morning and some really positive comments. Like this:

“We understand every family’s situation is unique and different, which may create risks, so now we’re planning for reopening for full face-to-face but having a full virtual option for families who would want that, and we’re examining what hybrid services would look like,” Wimmer said.

As I said in my column, this is the approach I fully support. And this:

As part of her transition working with Kirkegaard, Wimmer has considered the facilities challenges at length. She said she’s seen every inch of the facilities and knows the work that lies ahead.

“We have infrastructure needs and I do not see immediate relief in a referendum because we need to understand what the economy looks like and what our needs are,” she said. “They didn’t go away, but given everything else going on, it’s not the right time either.”

Agreed.

The new Super is off to a good start.

Back to school

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has released an 87-page guidance for reopening K-12 schools this fall. The responsibility and plans for reopening actually falls to each individual public school district or private school, but the DPI offered a wide array of options for how to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 while still educating kids.

Before getting into the details a bit on what schools could, and should, do to reopen, we must pause and come to agreement on a few underlying facts. First, while COVID-19 can be deadly for older people and those with underlying health conditions, it is exceedingly rare for people under the age of 20 to die from it. Far more of our children die from suicide, drug overdoses, traffic accidents, diarrheal diseases, cancer, or heart disease than from COVID-19. That is not to say that kids will not have serious complications or be carriers of the disease, but they are not at a high risk of dying from it. The school staff, however, are in a different risk category.

Second, education is a priority. This has become even clearer as we see wave after wave of ignorance-fueled hate wash over our communities. Education is a cure to a lot of social ills including bigotry, hubris, and avarice. Education is not only a well-trod path for individual success, it is the prerequisite for an advanced civilization. Some may have forgotten or ignored the importance of education in the panic over COVID-19, but we must not lose sight of it again. COVID-19 will be here forevermore and we may never have a vaccine. We must not let it lead to the abandonment of our kids’ education.

As schools get back to their mission this September, the DPI provides a number of different scenarios to consider depending on the grade level. These options include a four-day week, a two-day rotation, and a two-week rotation — all of which would be supplemented and supported by distance learning techniques and robust parental support. All of these options are designed to limit the number of kids in the school buildings and the time they spend there. What is conspicuously missing from the DPI’s guidance is a traditional five-day, in-person school week.

If there is anything we learned from the last few months in education, it is that for most kids, classroom teaching is the most effective way of delivering education. Some did great at distance learning, but many kids were left behind. And for some school districts, those kids were intentionally left behind as teachers failed to adapt to a different education delivery style.

Even in the Slinger School District, which was reputedly one of the districts that successfully pivoted to distance learning, a district survey revealed that 51.7% of respondents said their kids spent less than two hours a day learning. An overwhelming 76.1% of respondents are in favor of returning to a traditional, in-classroom learning environment.

School Districts throughout the state should get back to the business of educating kids on a full-time basis. There will need to be some reasonable changes to mitigate the spread of disease, whether it is COVID-19 or something else. Rigorous sanitation, routine hand washing, masks where appropriate, and quickly sending sick kids and staff members home should become the norm, but so should rigorous and routine education.

Also, accommodations must be made for kids and staff members who are at a higher risk by providing real distance learning alternatives. This does not mean broadcasting a class that is usually delivered in the classroom and sending some worksheets. This means designing education specifically to be delivered remotely. There are already several online public and private schools in Wisconsin that do a phenomenal job educating kids who learn better outside of the classroom. Wisconsin must learn from these schools, amplify their success, and waive restrictions to allow kids to transfer into those schools immediately.

Wisconsinites invest a tremendous amount of money, time, and effort into our K-12 education system precisely because we believe in the necessity and promise of education. It is past time for them to get back to doing the work our kids deserve.

Supreme Court Ruling a Win for School Choice

Excellent.

In a 5-4 decision with the conservative justices in the majority and the liberal justices dissenting, the court backed a Montana program that gave tax incentives for people to donate to a scholarship fund that provided money to Christian schools for student tuition expenses.

The ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, represented the court’s latest expansion of religious liberties, a priority of its conservative majority in recent years.

The court sided with three mothers of Christian school students who appealed after Montana’s top court invalidated the tax credit for violating the state constitution’s ban on public aid to churches and religious entities. Thirty-eight states have such constitutional provisions.

The justices faulted the Montana Supreme Court for voiding a taxpayer program merely because it can be used to fund religious entities, saying such action violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protection for the free exercise of religion.

“A state need not subsidize private education,” Roberts wrote. “But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

Racial Gap in Teaching Profession?

Here’s a curious story in the Madison paper:

A new report shows the gap between the demographics of students and their teachers is not unique to the Madison Metropolitan School District.

While the gulf between students and teachers of color in MMSD is wider than the state as a whole, the Wisconsin Policy Forum published a report Tuesday showing it’s a statewide problem to address. The report, “A Teacher Who Looks Like Me,” details the lack of teachers in various racial and ethnic groups and explores what the numbers look like at each of the stages in the teacher education process.

[…]

In the 2018-19 school year, which the report uses for its statistics, 30.7% of students in Wisconsin public schools were students of color, while 5.6% of teachers were people of color. Ten years earlier, those numbers were 23.6% and 4.5%, respectively.

Locally, the difference is even more stark. In 2009, MMSD’s student body was 49.5% students of color, while its teaching staff was 10.2% teachers of color. In 2019, those numbers had widened to 57.8% students of color in the district compared to 13.6% of its teachers.

Follow the data. Here’s the full report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum. The complaint is that the racial makeup of the teaching staff doesn’t match that of the student body. This is true. BUT, the teacher workforce does more closely reflect the racial makeup of the population.

According to the Census Bureau, Madison is 78.4% white, 9% Asian, 6.8% Black, and a spattering of other races. In Madison, the teacher workforce at the Madison School District is 86.4% white and 13.6% other races. So the teacher workforce is slightly more white than the population, but the disparity is only 8%. There is work to do perhaps, but it is not as dire as the story tries to portray it.

Meanwhile, the student population in Madison Public Schools is only 42.2% white and 57.8% students of color.

What does this tell us? First, if we assume that the racial makeup of the student population mirrors the overall racial makeup of the population, it means that a LOT of white Madisonians are sending their kids to private or suburban schools. They are intentionally avoiding putting their kids in Madison Public Schools.

Second, it tells us that if Madison wants the racial makeup of their public school teachers to match that of the student population instead of the city’s population, then they will have to recruit nearly 60% of their teachers from less than 22% of the population. That’s a tall order. One might call it impossible without massive racial bias in recruiting and hiring practices.

I know it’s quaint, but perhaps we could educate our kids that people of all colors and genders are equal and have something to contribute. Perhaps we should teach our kids that how someone looks isn’t as important as what they do and say. As a dude, my education was provided almost exclusively by women. They didn’t look like me, but I sure did learn a lot. Would I have had a better education if the majority of my teachers were dudes like me? I seriously doubt it. When I lived as an expat as a child, almost all of my teachers were women of color and not Americans. Do I feel that I received a substandard education? Not at all. When I have had a substandard teacher, it was because they stank at their job – not because of their race, gender, or nationality.

Chasing an impossible goal of making the racial makeup of our public school teachers match that of the student population is an unattainable goal that has very little to do with actually providing a better education. It’s the content and quality of the teacher that matters far more than the teacher’s race or gender.

Back to School

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. We must open the schools:

School Districts throughout the state should get back to the business of educating kids on a full-time basis. There will need to be some reasonable changes to mitigate the spread of disease, whether it is COVID-19 or something else. Rigorous sanitation, routine hand washing, masks where appropriate, and quickly sending sick kids and staff members home should become the norm, but so should rigorous and routine education.

Also, accommodations must be made for kids and staff members who are at a higher risk by providing real distance learning alternatives. This does not mean broadcasting a class that is usually delivered in the classroom and sending some worksheets. This means designing education specifically to be delivered remotely. There are already several online public and private schools in Wisconsin that do a phenomenal job educating kids who learn better outside of the classroom. Wisconsin must learn from these schools, amplify their success, and waive restrictions to allow kids to transfer into those schools immediately.

Wisconsinites invest a tremendous amount of money, time, and effort into our K-12 education system precisely because we believe in the necessity and promise of education. It is past time for them to get back to doing the work our kids deserve.

Madison Schools Kick Out Cops

Brilliant /sarcasm

Three hundred and eighty-five days.

That’s the difference between the Madison School Board approving a contract to place police officers in each of its four comprehensive high schools for three years, and the board voting to end that contract immediately.

In an illustration of how local activism and a national movement can combine to reshape policy, board members took a major step toward removing officers from from schools Monday night. The vote was unanimous.

Last year, the contract was approved on a 4 to 3 vote, with Nicki Vander Meulen, Ali Muldrow and Ananda Mirilli opposed. Savion Castro and Christina Gomez-Schmidt are new to the board since then. Gloria Reyes, a former police officer, changed her stance recently amid ongoing community activism and Cris Carusi changed her vote from last year given recent events.

[…]

It remains unclear how security will be handled this fall, but the district has been working toward including a pay raise and opportunities for advancement for its School Security Assistants in the 2020-21 budget. They hope that will help keep turnover rates low and make the positions more attractive.

[…]

Police have been stationed in Madison schools since the 1990s, with proponents highlighting the relationships the officers could establish with students and the need to have an officer on site in case of a school shooter or other emergency.

It’s all virtue signaling and fun until that next school shooting.

Court Rules in Favor of Election Integrity

Excellent.

MADISON – In a sweeping decision that took more than three years to come out, a panel of federal judges on Monday reinstated limits on early voting and a requirement that voters be Wisconsin residents for at least a month before an election.

The three judges also banned most voters from having absentee ballots emailed or faxed to them and told a lower court to continue to tweak the system the state uses to provide voting credentials to those who have the most difficulty getting photo IDs.

The unanimous decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago was mostly a setback for the liberal groups that challenged Wisconsin’s voting laws, but it did give them some victories. The appeals court upheld a decision that allows college students to use expired university IDs to vote and barred the state from requiring colleges to provide citizenship information about dorm residents who head to the polls.

Although there was a down side.

In one victory for those who brought the lawsuit, the appeals court agreed with Peterson that students could use expired college IDs to vote. And the appeals court also went along with the lower court ruling that said the state could not require universities to provide citizenship information about students living in dorms. (Such a requirement would violate federal privacy laws for students, the appeals court found.)

Monday’s decision also dealt with a separate challenge to the voter ID law that was heard by U.S. Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee. The appeals court had already blocked a ruling by Adelman that would have allowed people to vote without an ID if they signed an affidavit. It gave a final reversal to Adelman’s decision with Monday’s ruling.

Demographic Genocide in China

Meanwhile, in communist China.

The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.

While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor. The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide.”

The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show. Even while the use of IUDs and sterilization has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang.

The population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply. Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines. Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.

Remember when you see the Soviet and communist symbols in these protests, this is where that ideology leads.

Couple Defends Home

Good for them.

A couple brandished an AR-15 and a handgun at protesters marching past their mansion in an upscale St. Louis neighborhood.

Husband and wife, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, could be seen aiming the guns at demonstrators who walked by their palatial property in the wealthy Forest Park area at around 6pm on Sunday.

While the couple is easy to tease for their poor weapon handling and wealthy trappings, they are expressing what many of us are feeling. Our neighborhoods are being overrun by violent rioters and the police are letting them do it. That leaves it to each of us to defend our lives and our property by ourselves. Given the current state of things, did this couple have any reasonable expectation that the cops would come and defend their home? Was there a reasonable expectation that this crowd might decide to sweep through their home, rob it, and burn it? That kind of violence is happening all over the country and this couple acted to defend themselves and their property. Good for them.

Minneapolis Council Members Get Private Armed Security As they Vote to Defund Police

I notice that they are blaming that old bogeyman, “white nationalists.” I call BS. True White Nationalists are not generally supportive of law enforcement. Why would they be upset about defunding the police? It gives them just as much relief from their criminal and terrorist activities. No, I suspect those death threats are coming from the same people who are already making threats in their efforts to destabilize civilized society.

In any case, the hypocrisy is thick and the callous disregard for the safety of the citizens they represent is appalling. They get taxpayer-funded, armed security while they push to strip the streets of protection for those same taxpayers.

Three members of the Minneapolis City Council have been provided with a private security detail after receiving death threats for supporting proposals to defend the city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

A city spokesperson said the private security details ordered for council members Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham and Alondra Cano have cost taxpayers $63,000 over the past three weeks – a rate of $4,300 per day.

News of the arrangement surfaced Friday, the same day the council voted 12-0 to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department, initiating steps toward establishing ‘peace officers’ and a new ‘holistic’ approach to public safety.

[…]

The security detail is being provided by two firms, Aegis and BelCom as an interim fix until other security solutions can be established

When asked why MPD are not providing security to the councilmembers, a city spokesperson said the department’s resources are needed elsewhere in the community. The hourly cost of private security is similar to the cost for a police officer, the spokesperson added

Government Asks Tech Companies to Forbid Advocating Crime

This whole censorship thing gets a bit slippery, eh?

As protests against police brutality and racism stretch into their fourth week across the US, the Trump administration is pressuring tech companies to take action against posts that encourage the toppling of statues, describing them as “criminal activity.”

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf sent letters to companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat Friday. They claim that social media sites have enabled “burglary, arson, aggravated assault, rioting, looting, and defacing public property,” according to copies of the letters obtained by Business Insider.

Police Officers Leaving The Job

Can you blame them?

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police say a recent spike in retirements and resignations is a result of the recent unrest.

“Our law enforcement people don’t want to be here anymore,” Assistant Chief Regina Howard said. “I think that’s really tough because of everything going on out there.”

To date in 2020, 75 officers have resigned or retired. Since May 25, 26 (about 35 percent) of those letters were filed. In all of 2019, 69 officers retired or resigned.

“Every single day, there are resignation and retirement letters coming up to the chief’s office,” Howard said. “From members we wouldn’t have expected.”

“These are lieutenants, captains, that play integral roles as it relates to this department,” Assistant Chief Michael Brunson said. “They had dates they were planning on retiring. Because of the environment, because of what’s going on in the zeitgeist, they are deciding to push those retirements up because of this.”

And how many more are taking a step back from policing? How many are just looking the other way when that car blows through a red light? How many are only responding to calls? How many are spending their tours just driving around minding their own business? How many crimes are being committed as our police retreat into the safety of inaction?

Biden Would Abuse Executive Power and Ignore Federalism

Here’s a winning issue… not. Irrespective whether wearing a mask is a good idea or not, do you really want the President of the United States to have the power to micromanage your life like that? Hint: he doesn’t.

(CNN)Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said if elected president, he would make wearing a face covering in public compulsory, furthering himself on the issue from President Donald Trump who has stressed that masks are voluntary and has flouted public health recommendations.

“The one thing we do know is these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks,” Biden told CNN’s affiliate in Pittsburgh, KDKA, while wearing a black mask.
Pressed if he’d use federal power to mandate wearing a mask in public, Biden responded, “Yes, I would. From an executive standpoint, yes I would.”
Asked again if that meant he would “in effect” mandate mask wearing, Biden said, “I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”
Take notice of how hard the reporter tried to rescue Biden from himself.

Students Want Lincoln Statue Removed from UW-Madison Campus

It stopped being about tolerance or inclusivity a long time ago. Now it’s about the purge of our shared heritage and a rigid adherence to a radical, and fluid, ideology.

MADISON, WIS. (AP) — The leader of a group for Black students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wants a statue of President Abraham Lincoln in place for more than 100 years the heart of campus removed.

Nalah McWhorter, president of the Wisconsin Black Student Union, told WISC-TV that marginalized students do not feel that Lincoln symbolizes the emancipation of slaves.

“Just because he was anti-slavery doesn’t mean he was pro-Black,” McWhorter told WISC-TV on Thursday. “He said a lot in his presidential campaigns. His fourth presidential campaign speech, he said that he believes there should be an inferior and superior, and he believes white people should be the superior race.”

$1.4 Billion Went to Dead People

Whenever you throw out this much money at such a rapid pace, there will be rampant errors and fraud.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday.

More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs.

Band Abandons Racist Name In Favor of Sexist Name

LOL

The Dixie Chicks have quietly changed their name, dropping the word Dixie, and rebranded as The Chicks on Thursday.

Natalie Maines, Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Strayer changed their band’s social media handles to The Chicks but released no statement about the new moniker.

The group also declared their support for the Black Lives Matter movement by debuting a brand new music video for their anthem, March March, which features scenes of protests throughout history.

Democratic Convention Goes Mostly Virtual

It’s a good thing that Milwaukee didn’t expand the Trolley for the convention, eh? The taxpayers dodged a $100+ million Barrett Bullet.

The Democratic National Convention Committee has asked state delegates not to travel to Milwaukee this year, with new coronavirus cases on the rise across the United States.

Instead, Milwaukee will host a four-night scaled-back convention the week of August 17. Instead of taking place at the Fiserv Forum, the convention will be at the Wisconsin Center, also in downtown Milwaukee. State delegates will vote for their candidate virtually.

Vice President Joe Biden is still expected to accept the nomination in Milwaukee.

The announcement Wednesday from the DNCC was not surprising, but disappointing for a city that has spent the last decade rebuilding its downtown and hoping to showcase itself as a tourism destination.

[…]

Event planners say that the convention will still have live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country.