Category Archives: Culture

UW Regents Moving Ahead with Free Speech Rules

I’m skeptical.

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents has approved the scope of proposed new rules aimed at punishing students who disrupt free speech on campus. But just after the vote was taken, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers said he continues to oppose the rules.

The governor’s opinion matters because any rule change proposed by the UW System cannot go into effect without his support.

The Friday vote was largely procedural in nature. It allows the UW System to work on what is called a “scope statement” that sets punishments for students caught repeatedly disrupting the free speech or freedom of expression of campus speakers or fellow students. Under the proposed language, a student disrupting free speech on two occasions would have to be suspended. If there was another disruption from the student, they would face mandatory expulsion.

The board and UW System have been working on the policy since 2017. The regent’s policy on “Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression” was introduced shortly after state Republican lawmakers introduced legislation with similar provisions. Before the matter was put to a vote, Regents President Drew Petersen announced support for moving the process forward.

The issue is important. Too many college campuses have become outright hostile to speech that deviates from modern liberal orthodoxy. Anyone who offers contrary opinions are shouted down and denied access. But regulating free speech with set punishments is a tricky business. At the heart of any regulation is, “who decides?” Who decides what constitutes a disruption vs. expressing a different opinion? Some cases are obvious – shouting down a speaker, for example – but what about a noticeable harrumph? What about being quiet but holding up a sign? Does it depend on what the sign says? Do the lefty administrators who are allowing conservatives to be shouted off campus now get to decide these things? Would this new policy just be used as a bludgeon against certain kinds of speakers? We have a cultural drift to intolerance and this rule might just weaponize one side.

I don’t envy the Regents. This is a tricky business. These issues are pregnant with nuances and context. It is very difficult to write a rule that encompasses the grey areas.

America to Trade Communists for Hong Kong Freedom Fighters

I’d be down for this

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American state department has come up with an ingenious plan to solve China’s democratic protest problems and make our nation great again in one fell swoop.

Through some great negotiating on the part of Donald Trump, we’ve struck a deal to trade all of our country’s Communists for Hong Kong’s democratic protesters.

After the deal was made, the military began rounding up the Communists—who didn’t complain, as they’re all for an authoritarian state—and putting them in cargo planes. They were then flown across the Pacific Ocean and dropped off in Hong Kong before the democratic protesters in China were loaded up into the now-empty planes and flown back to America.

“This is the best deal, maybe ever,” said Trump. “We’ll get rid of some wackos on the left, my buddy Xi will be happy with his new commie followers, and we’ll gain some great new citizens who will be really appreciative to me and never complain about anything. Greatest deal in the history of deals.”

(yes, I know it’s a parody)

Thoughts from California

I spent a few days in Sacramento this week. I’ve been to California many times, but always on the coast – LA, San Fran, San Diego, etc. This was my first time in the interior. A few things struck me…

At the moment, the area is under a severe fire risk because it is dry and windy. As you may have heard, the power utility, PG&E, is cutting off power to large swaths of people to avoid setting any fires. Well, not really. In reality, they were just blamed for a previous fire and forced to pay a huge penalty. In order to avoid legal liability, PG&E is just shutting off the power. Can you blame them? The idiocy of California’s judicial system strikes again.

Meanwhile, people are inconvenienced and the risk of fires is actually increasing. I had to move a meeting a couple times to find a place with power. The locals who were attending had lost power at their houses, so they showed up with drained batteries. Generators are flying off the shelves. Instead of a stable, reliable power grid, the good people of northern California are sloshing gasoline around in small generators trying to keep their modern amenities functioning. It’s like a third world country in the heart of one of the most modern civilizations on the planet.

Speaking of stupid California rulings… the so-called Uber Law came up unprompted in conversations with two different companies. This was the California Supreme Court ruling, later codified into law, that said that subcontractors were essentially employees. This means that they are entitled to the benefits, workman’s comp, protections, etc. that regular employees have. One business owner I spoke with had used subcontractors in the tech industry in the past and had to pay some big payouts. Another small business owner in the insurance industry said that they can’t grow without using subcontractors, so they were looking to expand in Nevada instead of California. In trying to correct a perceived injustice with Gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft, California is killing off a common way that companies expand and fill spikes in demand.

At about 8 PM one evening, I got a call in my hotel room from the manager. She asked if they could send a contractor to my room in the morning. I was staying in a room for disabled folks and they had an urgent need to saw off the legs of the vanity in my bathroom to make it ADA compliant. Fine, I said, and they gave me 10,000 hotel points for my trouble. I spoke with the manager in the morning, and the urgency was created by the fact that they failed an inspection and had to fix the compliance issues immediately or face huge fines. The regulatory state strikes again. Instead of being reasonable and just waiting for a time when the rooms were empty, the hotel is paying a contractor for emergency services and handing out compensation to inconvenienced customers.

In order to get out of the way of the contractor, I took a drive. I had some conference calls to attend and had intended to take them in my room. Instead, I took the calls from the car and drove out into the farm country. It was a sight to see. The difference between Wisconsin farms and California farms is stark. California farms are massive. They have an industrial feel and the little villages of mobile homes for the migrant workers are everywhere. Long gone are the days of family-owned small farms. Wisconsin is heading this way. It must, in order to compete.

California is a strange place. You could pay me enough to live there, but it would take an enormous sum.

City Commissioner Berates Award-Winning Cop

Wow. Way to ruin a public event and abuse his official position to air his personal grievance.

A Florida city commissioner shocked his colleagues during an awards ceremony for outstanding officers last week when he claimed one of the honorees was a “bad police officer” who had falsely arrested him years earlier.

The surprise moment came after other city officials in Tamarac, Florida, honored Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Gallardo with the deputy of the month award for his role in arresting an alleged gang member who had been wanted for murder.

Gallardo accepted his award, took pictures with the city’s mayor and was heading back to his seat in when Tamarac City Commissioner Mike Gelin took the microphone and asked him to come back to the front, as seen on a video recording of the meeting.

“Joshua Gallardo, will you come down for a second? It’s good to see you again,” said Gelin, before erupting into a tirade over what he believed to have been a false arrest in 2015. “You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago.”

“You lied on the police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here,” he added.

Madison Cop Haters Drive Out Police Chief

What a shame.

After serving more than five years as the head of the Madison Police Department, Police Chief Mike Koval announced his retirement Sunday morning in his daily blog.

Starting Monday, Koval will no longer be chief.

“I did my best to be a guardian to the community and a guardian to the ‘guardians’ (cops),” Koval said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this community.”

Koval’s sudden announcement came as a shock even to those who knew it was coming. Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, said “probably around a year ago” Koval told him he was thinking of retiring this fall.

“I know it was coming, but it was still a shock when he called me this morning,” Skidmore said.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said Koval told her Sunday morning that Sunday would be his last day.

[…]

Skidmore said over the last couple of years, Koval has been “beaten bloody” by “cop haters.”

In his blog post, Koval said he was “eternally grateful” to constituents who have encouraged and supported of the police department. He said those supporters will “never know how important” their efforts were “to the morale of our Department.”

Koval also had a message for those who have spoke in opposition to local police.

“To the ‘haters,’ thanks to you as well — for through your unrelenting, unforgiving, desire to make the police the brunt of all of your scorn — I drew strength from your pervasive and persistent bullying,” Koval said.

I give massive credit to those willing to wear the badge in a place like Madison. It’s a dangerous business in any community, but imagine going to work every day, putting your life, health, and livelihood on the line, for people who generally hate your guts.

Who is going to patrol Madison’s streets when nobody wants to do the job anymore?

Surge in Older Binge Drinkers

Something to think about.

While teenagers used to be considered Britain’s biggest drinkers, experts today are more worried about middle-aged, middle-class people – particularly women – who order wine from supermarkets and drink at home.

Katherine Severi, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘It is clear from the figures that the negative effects of drinking are a growing problem for middle-aged and older people across the country.

‘In addition to increases in cancers and strokes, mental disorders related to alcohol are another area where the impact of older people’s drinking on their health is getting too strong to ignore.’

She pointed to figures published in Scotland last week which showed the adoption of minimum unit pricing – a move shunned in England – has successfully reduced drinking and called on Westminster to consider the policy.

OK, You’re Racist

And the ADL beclowns themselves again.

Los Angeles (CNN)The “OK” hand gesture is now a hate symbol, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL added that symbol along with several others on Thursday to its long-standing database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.
The two-finger OK sign is universally known for meaning everything is all right or approval of something. But the ADL says while not everyone means it to be hateful, the sign has been co-opted by the alt-right.
The OK hand gesture and its link to white nationalism began as a hoax cooked up by users of the website 4chan, who falsely linked it to white supremacy, according to the ADL.

Governor Evers is considering tyranny

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Enjoy!

Not willing to concern himself with Constitutional constrictions or with concocting actual solutions to America’s crime problem, Governor Tony Evers announced two pieces of anti-civil rights legislation. The first bill is for Wisconsin to implement red-flag laws. The second bill is for universal background checks. Neither bill stands much chance in a legislature where civil rights are valued and protected, but it was what Evers said during the announcement that revealed his more tyrannical inclinations.

As for the bills that Evers proposed, this column detailed how red-flag laws are unworkable if we are still insistent on maintaining our 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights, and I hope that we still are insistent. So-called universal background checks are not necessarily constitutionally odious, but they impose a heavy regulatory burden on law-abiding citizens without actually doing anything about crime. The worst part about the imposition of universal background checks is that it allows politicians to claim that they are doing something when, in fact, they have done nothing except inconvenience a bunch of innocent people.

During the press conference announcing his proposals, Governor Evers was asked by a reporter if he would be willing to support a mandatory gun buyback program. Evers answered by saying that he would “consider it.” Only someone completely devoid of any respect for history and our civil rights would even consider such an oppressive idea.

The key word in mandatory gun buybacks is “mandatory.” We have had gun buybacks for years where misguided do-gooders and cynical politicians give people money for their old guns so that they can pretend to take guns out of the hands of criminals. Voluntary gun buybacks are useless in terms of crime prevention, but harmless.

“Mandatory” gun buybacks are exactly that. It is the government forcing citizens to surrender their firearms to the government, and if the citizens refuse, the government will use the full violent force of government to compel the citizens to comply. This force includes depriving citizens of property, liberty, and in the case of an armed confrontation, possibly life.

If you think that mandatory gun buybacks would stop at the “scary-looking gun du jour,” like the AR-15 or the AK-47, you have not paid attention to history or human nature. Once all of those are wrested from the hands of unwilling citizens, the despots will simply move onto the next target in the gun safe.

This is what Governor Evers casually said that he would consider. He would consider a full assault on our civil rights by having our government use its police power to confiscate firearms from law-abiding people. It is a disgraceful and tyrannical attitude from our governor.

Unfortunately, Governor Evers’ willingness to violate our civil rights is part of a growing trend in the radicalized Democratic Party. In the past, even liberal Democrats who supported more gun control laws would insist that they would never advocate taking away our guns. Now liberals like Governor Evers are quite willing to admit that they want to take away our guns.

With the liberals’ resurgent interest in trammeling our civil rights, it is important that all of us make a firm statement in the voting booth that we will not tolerate such an assault on our rights. In April, Wisconsinites will have the chance to affirm that we insist that our government remain restrained by our state and federal constitutions by electing Justice Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

After spending a career in private practice, Justice Kelly was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Walker after Justice David Prosser resigned from the court in 2016. In his almost three years on the court, Justice Kelly has honored his promises and honored his commitment to be a humble defender of the rule of law and our individual rights.

Governor Evers may consider assailing our rights and seizing our guns, but he and his fellow liberal travelers will never be able to do it as long as judicial conservatives sit on the Supreme Court. Electing Justice Kelly to a full term on the bench is our next chance to make our will known at the ballot box.

WILL Sues On Behalf of Parents

Indeed. It’s stunning how arrogant the schools are to think that they, and not the parents, should guide kids through something as serious and life-altering as a gender transition. Perhaps if a kid isn’t mature enough to discuss something like this with their parents, then they shouldn’t be doing it.

A conservative legal group is challenging a Madison School District policy that the organization says could leave parents in the dark about whether their children are transitioning genders at school.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, or WILL, wants the district to repeal a “guidance document” for teachers and staff to follow when dealing with questions of students’ gender identity. The guide prohibits staff from revealing to parents if their child is transitioning genders unless the student gives permission.

“Our problem is with the systematic exclusion of families, even to the point of instructing district employees to actively deceive families,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel for the Milwaukee-based organization.

Another Outraged Teen Lectures Adults

Great… another insufferable teen.

Environment activist Greta Thunberg made a fiery appearance at the United Nations Climate Summit on Monday where she broke down in tears while furiously scolding international delegates.

‘I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,’ the 16-year-old Swedish activist thundered in her speech at the Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York.

Thunberg was seen at the UN headquarters Monday morning with an enraged expression on her face as US President Donald Trump upstaged her entrance by walking in flanked by news reporters.

When logic and intelligent arguments fail, bring in the passionate teen. yawn

14% of Americans are Totalitarian Monsters. 17% Are Just Stupid.

That’s how I read this.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 14% of American Adults favor the banning of red caps in America. Seventy percent (70%) are opposed, but another 17% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Trump to Support Religious Freedom at UN

I like his priorities.

Donald Trump is set to attend the United Nations headquarters during Monday’s key summit on the climate crisis – but will be there to take part in a meeting on religious freedom instead.

A senior UN official confirmed to the Guardian that the White House has booked one of the large conference rooms in the New York headquarters on Monday so that the president can address a gathering on religious freedom.

Topless and High in Colorado

It’s like all of Colorado is becoming a frat house from the 80s. I almost expect Trudeau to traipse across the screen in blackface at any minute.

Going topless has been effectively legalized in six states after a town decided it was not worth anymore money to fight an appeal.

Fort Collins in Colorado had already spent $300,000 defending the law and trying to stop women from taking their tops off in public.

They had been appealing a decision, which was upheld by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in February, that the law amounted to unconstitutional discrimination.

As the Appeals court covers Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, women in these states can now effectively bare all without breaking the law, reports NBC News.

Fort Collins in Colorado has decided to stop fighting an appeal to ban women being able to go topless. The decision effectively means women in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma can bare all without breaking the law (file picture)

The ‘prohibition on public exposure of breasts by women and girls over 10 years old’ will be gone from the city code of Fort Collins as of this week.

I wonder how that will square with child porn laws. If a dude is walking down the street and a topless 14-year-old girl strolls past, is he now viewing child porn? What if he takes a picture – even if she’s in the background? Will the Google street view cars blur out the boobs or is that now sexist?

Nass Sticks up for Farmers

Governor Evers wants to impose onerous and expensive new restrictions on farmers. Thankfully, Nass is sticking up for the farmers.

A key Republican lawmaker vowed Wednesday to block new state restrictions designed to protect farmers’ neighbors from the stench of manure following a flurry of complaints from Wisconsin’s agricultural community.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has spent the last three years drafting revisions to farm siting regulations. The latest version calls for dramatically expanding manure storage facility setbacks from neighbors’ property lines for new farms and farms looking to expand.

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, co-chairman of the Legislature’s rules committee, issued a terse statement Wednesday accusing department “bureaucrats” of ignoring the industry’s concerns and making life harder for farmers. He promised to do everything he can to block the rules if they reach his committee in their present form.

I don’t remember who first said it to me, but whenever I am in the country and that manure smell wafts through my nostrils, I say, “mmm… smells like money.” That smell represents the hard work that farmers do to feed their families and ours. Instead of trying to make farms smell better for the sensibilities of suburbanites and city dwellers, let’s educate people on the importance of farming, because nobody cares about the smell of shit when they are starving.

Climate Confessions

NBC News has a page where they invite readers to “Tell us: Where do you fall short in preventing climate change?” It appears to be their opportunity to absolve readers of their climate sins and encourage them to do better. I don’t think it’s working out how they planned. I took a screen shot because I’m sure they will be “filtered” soon.

High School Kids Put on Probation After Displaying Trump Flag

There’s something going on

Cheerleaders from a North Carolina high school have been put on probation after they held up a flag in support of President Donald Trump before a football game.

The North Stanly High School cheerleading squad was placed on probation on Monday for waving the Trump 2020 banner last month during a home game.

Members of the squad posed for photos with the banner on August 30 before the game in Stanly County, which is about 50 miles north-east of Charlotte.

The banner read: ‘Trump 2020: Make America Great Again.’

I don’t have a problem with the school’s action. They have a rule and they are enforcing it. As long as they do so consistently, so be it.

But there’s something going on with kids and Trump. I’ve been to three high school football games this year. At two of them – in different cities with kids from different schools – the kids in the stands had Trump signs. One school had a Trump flag they hung over the railing and another school had several kids wearing MAGA hats with one kid wearing a Trump cape. What’s up?

It seems that it’s becoming the rebellious cool thing to do for kids to support Trump. Is it because so many of their teachers are anti-Trump and they are pushing back? Is it because they are rallying around the pro-America message? Is it just the cool thing to do because some kids did it first and others followed along? Or is just anecdotal and not a trend at all?

I’ll report back on how the rest of the season goes.

 

“Certain Guns”

Herein lies the root thought process behind benign tyranny.

(CNN)Let me start by saying this: I don’t want to take away all guns. In fact, I can’t think of a politician or gun violence prevention advocate who has suggested repealing the Second Amendment. However, I do believe it should be really, really, hard — if not impossible — for certain people to get their hands on certain guns.

Who are “certain people?” And what are “certain guns?” Today we already ban certain people from having guns – mainly felons and the insane – but we do so after rigorous due process is afforded. We do so because the right to keep and bear arms is a natural right that our founders knew deserved the utmost protection. That is why they protected it in the Bill of Rights.

When we loosen those definitions and suspend due process, we are on the path to tyranny. In Milano’s case, it is a benign tyranny rooted in the illogical assumption that access to firearms is a problem that needs to be solved. She’s a true believer who thinks that if only we could remove guns from our population, then we would be a safer society and that there wouldn’t be other negative consequences to such a situation. It’s a naive belief that is easy for someone to have who is protected by walls and armed security.

The problem is that once the wedge is created in our rights by those with benign interests, it can easily be wrested wider by those with more malignant intent. This is the same well worn path toward tyranny used in nations around the world for centuries. Disarm the population for their “own safety;” force them to rely upon the “authorities;” and then use those authorities to impose the will of tyrants. History is our guide and despite the fantasies of some, human nature has not changed enough that we would get a different outcome should we tread that path.

“overall shortages of economically attractive partners”

So if I’m reading this correctly, women who want a financially secure man are not feminist enough?

I hope you feminists are happy! You’ve finally gone and done it. You’ve throttled the supply of high-earning husbands, and now there are severe mismatches in the marriage market. Yes, I regret to report that a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family (there truly is a journal for everything) has found that unmarried American women “face overall shortages of economically attractive partners”. Women are looking for husbands with an income 58% higher than those of the available men.

[…]

I hate to say this, but Limbaugh does have a very tiny point. I’m struck by how many empowered women regress to the 1950s when it comes to marriage. They fight for equality at work, but still have traditional expectations when it comes to men proposing with expensive diamond rings. And the idea that marrying a rich dude is something one should aspire to is still very much entrenched in society. The rise of “economically unattractive” men isn’t just bad news for guys – it reflects poorly on us all.

Never Forget

The “Burn it Down” Mentality

Interesting stats in Paul Fanlund’s column.

The authors measured this “need for chaos” among those they describe as frustrated status seekers: “We show that chaotic motivations are surprisingly widespread within advanced democracies, having some hold in up to 40 percent of the American national population.”

Americans polled answered questions like these: “I think society should be burned to the ground.” Twenty-four percent said yes.

Or, “When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking, ‘Just let them all burn.’ ” Forty percent concurred.

Or, “We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.” Also 40 percent.

The authors termed those results “staggering.”

He doesn’t share any longitudinal data, so I don’t know if this sentiment is different than years past. But I would offer that there are two things going on.

First, many people in this country feel that the elite political institutions no longer serve the people’s interests. Call it the “swamp” or whatever, but many people just don’t think that government gives a dang about them anymore – if it ever did. This is a major fuel for the populist movement that put Trump in the White House.

Second, there is a long tradition in America, a nation born of revolution, that we must sometimes tear things down and rebuild them. It is the instinct of creative destruction that underpins capitalism as well as the one of the precepts of our national psyche.

I don’t take this poll as alarming or staggering. I take it as a sign that many of the people in our culture are not yet so cowed by institutional rigidity that we feel a need to preserve them when they are no longer beneficial or useful.