Boots & Sabers

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Texas Abortion Law Remains in Effect

The process continues.

The law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, was briefly paused after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction last week barring its enforcement. Days later, the law was reinstated after a panel of judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary administrative stay.

 

In the latest development of the high-profile case, the court rejected the Justice Department’s request to again halt Texas’ ability to enforce the law. In a 2-1 order Thursday night, a panel of judges granted Texas’s request to continue to stay the preliminary injunction while it pursues its appeal.

 

The court’s order did not detail its reasoning behind the ruling, which is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Heating Costs Soar

Back to Carter’s America, but worse… turn down the thermostat… wear a sweater… pay more money… it’s your contribution to the socialist paradise.

Wisconsin residents could be paying hundreds of dollars more to heat their homes this winter because of a global energy crunch that has sent natural gas prices to the highest level in a decade.

The federal Energy Information Administration on Wednesday forecast steeply higher heating bills for all U.S. households, regardless of the weather. The Midwest is expected to be hardest hit, with some households spending up to 69% more.  

[…]

Alliant Energy and Madison Gas and Electric have not calculated the bill impacts, though both utilities recommend cost-saving measures such as turning down the thermostat, changing furnace filters and sealing window and door openings.

Parents Are Stupid and Shouldn’t Have Any Say in What Their Kids Are Taught In School

That’s pretty much this guy’s message.

Parents have an important role in the education process, no doubt, but when it comes to what is being taught, that should be left up to elected and appointed professionals that have a background in education and actual experience with teaching. Just because a parent disagrees with something doesn’t make what they disagree with inappropriate for the classroom.

 

Parents tend to let their personal views cloud what they think should and should not be taught in schools. Being an educated person means that you are a well-rounded person. A well-rounded person learns about many different topics and perspectives.

 

Parents that are demanding to have a say in what is and isn’t taught need to think about the consequences of their demands.

 

At best, parents dictating what teachers teach could lead to dangerous inaccuracies in the many facets of education. At worst, it could poison our students’ minds with nonsensical dribble.

Government Indoctrination Centers Drive Passion in Republican Base

I’m heartened to see communities trying to take control of their schools back. I hope they are successful

But the issue that transformed Yoder, a stay-at-home mother, from a reliable voter to the kind of person who brings three young children to an evening campaign rally was not her Christian values or her pocketbook.

 

It was something even more personal, she said: what her children learn in school.

 

“The past year has revealed a ton to me,” Yoder, 41, said as she waited in this northern Virginia exurb for a speech by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor. “The more I’ve listened and paid attention, the more that I see what’s happening in schools and on college campuses. And the stuff I see, I don’t want corrupting my children.”

Appleton considers a transportation utility fee

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I sound a warning bell about a push for a new kind of tax. Here’s a part:

The city of Appleton was one of the first municipalities in Wisconsin to implement a wheel tax. Now, in what might be the start of a new tax trend, they are considering implementing another new tax after finding that the wheel tax is not generating enough tax money to cover their spending.

 

[…]

 

What is a transportation utility fee? Invented in Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1984, a transportation utility fee is based on the rationale that the transportation infrastructure functions as a public utility like the water, sewer, or electricity systems. As a utility, users of the transportation system are charged based on their consumption of the system. Also, conveniently for the taxing authority, utility fees are not subject to the same strictures as taxes and can be implemented with more impunity by the local government.

 

Unlike water, sewer, and electricity, however, there is not a good way to actually measure the consumption of the transportation infrastructure without tracking each individual’s movement on the roads. Absent the technical, political, or cultural feasibility of always having the government tracking everyone’s movements (that might be coming), a government that wishes to implement a transportation utility fee must use proxy distinctions to divvy up the fee.

 

[…]

 

If we are to treat our transportation infrastructure as a utility, then we must also rescind all of the other taxes and fees that are levied to pay for our transportation infrastructure. Our transportation infrastructure is either a utility to be funded through user fees or it is a public good to be supported through general taxes. It cannot be both.

Harris’ Spacey Video

This entire administration is stage managed by a foreign firm.

The video was produced by a foreign film production company, Canada’s Sinking Ship Entertainment. The production cost remains unknown.

 

Children who took part in the event appeared to be delighted to be there. They were child actors who tried out to be in the videos, California station KSBW reported.

 

Monterey resident Trevor Bernardino, 13, told the station he was a space enthusiast who tried out for the role – only to be gobsmacked when he learned he would be traveling to Washington, DC to take part in the video. He tried out by sending in a monologue and the providing three questions he would ask a world leader.

 

‘Then after that, like a week later my agent called me and was like ‘Hey Trevor you booked it,” he said.

 

He was one of five teens who participated. He was joined by Derrick Brooks II, another child actor, Emily Kim, likewise a child actor, Zhoriel Tapo, a child actor and aspiring journalist who has interviewed former First Lady Michell Obama, and Sydney Schmooke.

 

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough took part from the International Space Station.

 

Harris tweeted out the video on October 7.

Empty Shelves in America

Bare shelves in the land of plenty? Biden’s America.

Stores across America have empty shelves thanks to a series in supply chain problems that are prolonging inflation and could stretch into the new year, with some retailers like Costco and Walmart limiting the amount of toilet paper people in fear that they may soon run out.

 

More than 60 cargo ships are waiting to dock in California, carrying hundreds of thousands of containers, and may be stuck for months in a traffic jam after arriving from China and Asia.  Millions of dollars of American goods are still sitting in warehouses in China, awaiting shipment.

 

There are similar problems with homegrown goods that can’t be transported quickly enough by truckers or on freight trains.

Spy Caught

They are caught dead to rights. Firing squad for traitors.

The FBI says the scheme began in April 2020 when Jonathan Toebbe sent a package of Navy documents to a foreign government and wrote that he was interested in selling to that country operations manuals, performance reports and other sensitive information.

 

Authorities say he also provided instructions for how to conduct the furtive relationship, with a letter that said: ‘I apologize for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I believe this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax.’

 

That package, which had a return address in Pittsburgh, was obtained by the FBI last December through its legal attache office in the unspecified foreign country.

 

That led to a monthslong undercover operation in which an agent posing as a representative of the foreign government made contact with Toebbe and agreed to pay thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for the information he was offering.

 

In June, the FBI says, the undercover agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe, describing it as a sign of good faith and trust.

 

Weeks later, federal agents watched as the Toebbes arrived at an agreed-upon location in West Virginia for the exchange, with Diana Toebbe appearing to serve as a lookout for her husband during a dead-drop operation for which the FBI paid $20,000, according to the complaint.

 

The FBI recovered a blue memory card wrapped in plastic and placed between two slices of bread on a peanut butter sandwich, court documents said.

 

The FBI provided the contents of the memory card to a Navy subject matter expert who determined that the records included design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors, the Justice Department said.

Appeals Court Sets Aside Lower Court Ruling to Allow Texas’ Abortion Law to Be Enforced

Excellent. This will go through a number of advances and reversals, but hopefully ends with an affirmation that babies are humans endowed with inalienable rights who deserve to be protected.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court Friday night quickly allowed Texas to resume banning most abortions, just one day after clinics began racing to serve patients again for the first time since early September.

 

A one-page order by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the nation’s strictest abortion law, which bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

 

“Patients are being thrown back into a state of chaos and fear,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents several Texas clinics that had briefly resumed normal abortion services.

She called on the U.S. Supreme Court to “step in and stop this madness.”

 

Clinics had braced for the New Orleans-based appeals court to act fast after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of President Barack Obama, on Wednesday suspended the Texas law that he called an “offensive deprivation” of the constitutional right to an abortion. Knowing that order might not stand long, a handful of Texas clinics immediately started performing abortions again beyond six weeks, and booked new appointments for this weekend.

 

But barely 48 hours passed before the appeals court accepted Texas’ request to set aside Pitman’s ruling — at least for now — pending further arguments. It gave the Biden administration, which had brought the lawsuit, until Tuesday to respond.

Petition to Remove Principal Who Loves Iron Maiden

Sacrilege.

Parents of high school students in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada have started a petition to remove a school official because of the classic heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

 

Close to 400 people have signed the Change.org petition to transfer Eden High School Principal Sharon Burns.

 

IHeartRadio reported that the petition was started by Debbi Lynn.

 

“As concerned parents with impressionable children at Eden High School in St. Catharines, Ontario, we are deeply disturbed that the principal assigned to the school blatantly showed Satanic symbols and her allegiance to Satanic practices on her public social media platforms where all the students can see them under @edenprincipal (not her personal account),” the petition said.

 

On Friday, an update on the petition said they didn’t want to remove Burns because of her love for Iron Maiden but because of “openly displaying her OWN handmade sign with the 666 clearly displayed on it.”

 

The number 666 is used to represent the devil, antichrist, or evil.

Hostile Workspaces

This is a letter in the student newspaper of my Alma Mater:

I am an instructor at Texas A&M, and I have always loved my job. But this semester, the classroom feels like a very unsafe space. In fact, it feels actively hostile.

 

[…]

 

If you walk around campus, enter an academic building or participate in a classroom exercise, you would assume that everything is back to normal. Very few people — students, faculty and staff — are wearing masks. Almost no one is exercising additional social distancing. Northgate bars and restaurants are as crowded as ever. Our football stadium and tailgate venues attract thousands of fans for every home game.

 

Everyone is behaving normally. But things are not normal.

There’s a phrase in Aggieland that says, “Highway 6 runs both ways.” I’m sick of people forcing their fear on everyone else. If this guy (assume it’s a guy… it’s unsigned) is too afraid to teach in that environment, then he can go to another place of employment that takes more precautions. Clearly the vast majority of people are comfortable being mostly normal. We don’t need to all bend our behavior to make the most skittish among us feel better.

And as for this part:

I can’t require my students to wear masks. Our governor and our school have outlawed mask mandates. I can “strongly encourage” mask usage, but students can ignore my encouragement, and many do. Furthermore, every time I encourage the use of masks in the classroom, the atmosphere of the classroom changes. The facial expressions of my students harden. They lean back in their seats and cross their arms. Several of them sneer at me. The belligerence is palpable. It’s uncomfortable. It feels dangerous.

Perhaps they are done taking medical guidance from some rando instructor and are capable of making their own choices.

Classy Response

Last week, in response to a column that I wrote, this guy wrote a letter to the editor accusing me of blaming Biden for the crime wave of 2020. Another letter writer called him out because I never mentioned Biden in the column. I also called him out on this blog. Well, we wrote another letter to the editor today. This is a classy response. Tip o’ the hat to Tom.

Last week I wrote that Owen Robinson said Joe Biden was responsible for the 2020 murder rate, and was called out by Mr. Pete Luehring that Mr. Robinson never said that. I went back and saw that he was right. He blamed it on the Democratic Party’s agenda. I would like to apologize to Mr. Robinson and readers of the Daily News for misconstruing what he said. I would also like to thank Mr. Luehring for correcting me. There is enough misinformation in our country today.

Mea culpa.

— Tom Limbach, West Bend

Wisconsin Republicans Introduce Constitutional Carry

It won’t go anywhere as long as Evers sits in his chair, but dare to dream

MADISON (WKOW) — Two Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin unveiled a Constitutional Carry bill.

 

The bill from Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and Representative Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license. Right now, a license is required to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin.

The bill’s authors say 21 states already allow Constitutional Carry.

Government Schools Use COVID Money to Buy Goodies

I know you are all shocked that government would waste your money at every level.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One Wisconsin school district built a new football field. In Iowa, a high school weight room is getting a renovation. Another in Kentucky is replacing two outdoor tracks — all of this funded by the billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief Congress sent to schools this year.

 

The money is part of a $123 billion infusion intended to help schools reopen and recover from the pandemic. But with few limits on how the funding can be spent, The Associated Press found that some districts have used large portions to cover athletics projects they couldn’t previously afford.

 

Critics say it violates the intent of the legislation, which was meant to help students catch up on learning after months of remote schooling. But many schools argue the projects support students’ physical and mental health, one of the objectives allowed by the federal government.

Biden’s Approval Rating Continues to Collapse

Who are these 38% people?

A new poll reveals President Biden’s lowest approval rating yet, as Congress remains at an impasse at the sweeping spend plans that will define his presidency and the threat of debt default loom.

 

Just 38% approve of Biden’s job as president, and 53% disapprove, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University. Three weeks ago, the same poll found that 42% approved and 50% disapproved.

 

Thirty-two percent of Independents approve of Biden while 60% disapprove. Four percent of Republicans approve, 94% disapprove. Still, 80% of Democrats approve of the president’s job overall and 10% disapprove.

Teacher Licensing Doesn’t Improve Teaching

I know… we’re a bit focused on education lately. Our teaching licensure bureaucracies are being leveraged as an instrument of the Left to indoctrinate and propagate that indoctrination. They have very little to do with the quality of teaching.

Meanwhile, researchers have found no difference in performance between certified and noncertified teachers. Super­visors also don’t seem to think licenses mean much: The Aspen Institute has found that just 7 percent of superintendents and 13 percent of principals think certification guarantees that a teacher “has what it takes” to be effective in the classroom.

Indeed, preparation programs frequently seem more focused on insisting that would-be teachers embrace an ideological deluge of “anti-racist” and “social justice” dogma. The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education champions the “integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory” and urges them to “resist recent federal attacks.” Accreditation standards for teacher preparation call for candidates to inventory “their personal biases” so as to promote “equity, diversity, and inclusion.” At the nation’s largest teacher-preparation programs, two in five faculty say that their area of study includes equity, race, or diversity — and about a third of these scholars employ a critical-race-theory perspective.

 

While alternative licensure programs may seem a promising workaround, the vast majority of them are owned and operated by schools of education. The schedule and structure of the programs may look different, but the culture, curriculum, and cost of the training don’t meaningfully change. Even programs such as Teach for America, which is inevitably depicted as an “alternative” route into the profession, typically partner with schools of education to license their teachers.

Proponents of teacher licensure frequently offer analogies to medicine or engineering, arguing that professionals in each field need certain essential knowledge and skills. They have it partly right. Those fields do require licenses. But what they ignore is that licensure in those professions signals only a baseline grasp of the requisite knowledge and skills — not that someone will be a “good” physician or civil engineer. Likewise, teacher licensure is a poor proxy for ensuring that someone will be a good teacher. Perversely, though, even as the ed-school professoriate preaches that good teaching is largely a matter of relationships and emotional intelligence, they defend bureaucratic, rigid licensure systems that just aren’t capable of accounting for these traits.

Another year. Another tax increase.

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

The West Bend School Board is about to jack up taxes again to fuel their ever-increasing spending. This is despite rapidly declining enrollment. The good news, for them, is that the electors of West Bend just doubled their pay. It is very easy and rewarding to spend other people’s money.

 

At the annual meting of the West Bend School District’s electors, the school board put forth a resolution for consideration to increase the property tax levy by 7.25% to $47.8 million. The electors, who are just citizens of the district who decided to show up to the meeting, voted to approve the increase. It is not binding, but since it was the school board who drafted the resolution, they will likely approve the tax increase later this month.

 

This has become routine for the West Bend School Board. Irrespective of the state of the economy, the amount of federal stimulus money they received, or the number of kids they are educating, the West Bend School Board increases taxes. They are the proverbial scorpion crossing the river. It is just what they do.

 

The 7.25% tax increase this year is on top of the 6.21% tax increase last year and the 7.15% tax increase the year before. Thanks to the power of compounding, that is a 22% tax increase in just three years.

 

They have to increase taxes to support the increase in spending. This year’s budget increases overall spending by 7.12%. The district will break the $100 million budget threshold with a whopping $103.4 million. The West Bend School Board is continuing to increase spending despite the fact that enrollment in the district is collapsing.

 

According to enrollment figures provided by the school district, there are 5,824 full time equivalent (FTE) students in the district this year. That is a decline of 560 students, or 8.8% in just three years and over a thousand in five years. In the same three years where the West Bend School Board increased taxes 22% (assuming they pass this year’s proposed tax increase), student enrollment has declined by 8.8%.

 

The decline in enrollment has long been forecasted. There is a general decline in the school age population due to demographic trends. The decline has accelerated in some government school districts during the pandemic. Parents who were frustrated with unnecessary school closures and the damaging impact of onerous pandemic response theater moved their kids to private or home schools. But even without the pandemic, the West Bend School Board has known that the district’s enrollment was in for a decade-long decline in enrollment.

 

What has the West Bend School Board done to prepare for the decline in enrollment? Have they lowered expenses in line with lower enrollment? Not at all. Did they scale back staffing? No. Staffing is down about 4% since 2017 despite enrollment being down 26% over the same period. The school board has also voted to give the entire bloated staff substantial pay increases.

 

Have they closed any school buildings that are well below capacity? No. The district has the same number of schools as they have for years. Have they closed the district office and moved into one of the schools to save money? Nope. Have they outsourced non-educational functions to save cost? No. The school board has just kept spending because nobody is standing up and telling them to do anything different.

 

In fact, the electors rewarded the school board members’ spendthrift ways by doubling their pay. A large contingent of district employees and other local liberals showed up in force at the annual meeting to ensure that the tax increase would pass and to double the pay of the school board members. The school board did not propose a pay increase for themselves, but the electors in the room made sure that they got some more tax money in their pockets too.

 

People get the government they deserve. Unless the citizens of the district show up at the annual meeting, at school board meetings, and, most importantly, at their polling sites to elect actual conservatives to the board, this will continue to happen every year. There are no surprises here. These are the consequences of lethargy, bad candidates, and stupid decisions by the district’s citizens.

UW Increases Size of Slush Fund During Pandemic

Just remember these tidbits when they jack up your kid’s tuition and whine about being poor.

After a year of spending cuts driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, fund balances at University of Wisconsin System campuses have grown significantly. Tuition reserves, in particular, have increased by more than 46 percent following years of sustained decreases that put some campuses in financial jeopardy.

 

Tuition fund balances are revenues left over after expenses are paid in a prior campus budget year and used to safeguard against unexpected costs or revenue losses.

 

According to a new UW System report on a variety of balances, unrestricted tuition fund balances in fiscal year 2021 increased to $333.2 million, which works out to an increase of more than 46 percent compared to the $227.3 million held at the end of the 2020 fiscal year. That’s the highest tuition balances have been since 2015. The increase follows years of consistent tuition fund balance declines driven by anger from Republican lawmakers over the size of balances held by system campuses nearly a decade ago.

 

[…]

 

In addition, the UW System got around $575 million in federal stimulus funds during the pandemic. Half of that is slated for student emergency aid. The UW System reports spending about $265 million in federal stimulus funds.

Another year. Another tax increase.

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a taste:

The 7.25% tax increase this year is on top of the 6.21% tax increase last year and the 7.15% tax increase the year before. Thanks to the power of compounding, that is a 22% tax increase in just three years.

 

They have to increase taxes to support the increase in spending. This year’s budget increases overall spending by 7.12%. The district will break the $100 million budget threshold with a whopping $103.4 million. The West Bend School Board is continuing to increase spending despite the fact that enrollment in the district is collapsing.

 

According to enrollment figures provided by the school district, there are 5,824 full time equivalent (FTE) students in the district this year. That is a decline of 560 students, or 8.8% in just three years and over a thousand in five years. In the same three years where the West Bend School Board increased taxes 22% (assuming they pass this year’s proposed tax increase), student enrollment has declined by 8.8%.

 

[…]

 

Have they lowered expenses in line with lower enrollment? Not at all. Did they scale back staffing? No. Staffing is down about 4% since 2017 despite enrollment being down 26% over the same period. The school board has also voted to give the entire bloated staff substantial pay increases.

 

Have they closed any school buildings that are well below capacity? No. The district has the same number of schools as they have for years. Have they closed the district office and moved into one of the schools to save money? Nope. Have they outsourced non-educational functions to save cost? No. The school board has just kept spending because nobody is standing up and telling them to do anything different.

Underly Want to take the “politics” out of decision to mandate masks on children

Lefties really hate it when people oppose what they are doing. They like to label any opposition as “politics” and slander the opponents as just engaging in “politics.” Well “politics” is the process by which we publicly debate what we want our government institutions to do. There is a sizable group of stakeholders who do not want to abuse our kids by forcing them to wear masks. They have to engage in politics to make their voices heard by our government schools. When Underly says that she wants to “take the politics” out of the mask debate, what she is really saying is that she wants to silence any opposition. She want you to shut up and do what you’re told.

Underly also had a message for local districts caught in the middle between parents pushing for masks and full COVID-19 mitigation efforts and parents demanding their children not wear masks at schools.

 

“My message to schools is hang in there. The issue itself has just become way too political. We need to remove politics from it. When we take politics out of it, we take the emotion out of it as well,” she said. “We have to take emotion out of some of these mitigation measures and follow the science and do what we need to do to protects kids and staff.”

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