Category Archives: Politics

Declaration of Independence

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

West Bend School District Responds to Demands

This is what your tax dollars are being spent on when they cry “poor.” They are working hard to build more self-righteous, ignorant, social justice warriors like the ones making demands.

Laura Jackson, WBSD assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, confirmed that members of the executive leadership team have received a copy of these demands.

“There have been a number of activities taking place in the West Bend School District in the past year and more are scheduled or planned for the rest of 2020, and in 2021 and 2022, to inform and train staff on issues of racial injustice and social justice,” she said.

The district highlighted several activities from recent years to address racial injustice: In 2019 and 2020, the district had small groups of staff work together to examine equity and how it is achieved; staff members participated in Intercultural Development Inventory in 2019 with more inventories scheduled for 2020; WBSD literary specialists and instructional coaches attended training with a nationally-known educator on creating more equitable school spaces last year; instructional coaches also participated in training,

provided through the Department of Public Instruction, which focused on educational equity in mathematics and literacy; in August, the entire WBSD leadership team is scheduled to begin training on developing a greater understanding of racial issues.

More than 100 staff members will attend several days of training; WBSD has developed an internal list of more than 40 resources for staff to read and view. DPI also released a detailed list of resources available to staff; during regular review cycles, the district may address these topics; WBSD is a member of the Closing the Achievement Gap (CAGC) of South Eastern Wisconsin, which includes 36 school districts. One of its goals is to hire more minority teachers and administrators; and there are multicultural clubs in three schools. WBSD said they support any additional clubs being formed and assist in the process.

“As our students and staff return to our schools in September, we recognize that as a school district, we must intentionally prepare to support their social and emotional needs around the continued pandemic and the events around racial injustice,” said Jackson. “We are ready to work with staff on identifying and supporting social and emotional needs, and to also support students as they process events that are dominating the news this summer.”

Madison Mayor Ramps Up Appeasement

What a joke – an unfunny joke. 90% of the statement from Madison’s mayor is about how Madison is doing its best to appease the rioters as fast as possible. You elected this, Madison.

However, what happened last night in Madison was far from peaceful and exceeding dangerous. People attacked a State Senator who championed workers’ rights in 2011, tore down a statute of an abolitionist who died trying to end slavery during the Civil War, and attempted to set fire to a building with dozens of people inside. We need to separate First Amendment protests from those engaged in criminal conduct. People engaged in violence and criminal conduct against people or property on the streets of Madison will be held accountable.

Madison Police are involved in a wide-ranging investigation of activities that lead up to the arrest on the square yesterday and will have further information on this investigation when it is available. Officers are also investigating Sunday night hit and run involving a pick-up truck and a pedestrian.

People are asking for real, substantive changes, and the City is responding. The Council moved forward with the creation of an independent police auditor and an independent civilian police oversight committee, and we will continue to work to implement the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Police Policy and Procedure. The Public Safety Review Committee and the City Attorney’s office are reviewing the Madison Police Department’s use of force policies, comparing them with the 8 can’t wait standards, the NAACP recommendations, and other best practices from around the country, and will make recommendations for any needed changes. Our Community and Economic Development divisions are working to develop programs and move funds to support wealth-building, housing assistance,small businesses and more in the Black community. Alders are exploring the mental health ambulance model and how to adapt it for Madison. My office is engaging with the question of how to reimagine public safety, and working to engage the community in all of these issues. At the State level, the Governor and Lt. Governor introduced a strong package of proposals around police reform and racial equity.

I’ll wager that there are zero arrests out of this.

Save State Street?

I feel for these business owners who have seen their livelihoods destroyed. I wonder how many of them supported the lefty city politicians who shut down their local economy and then stood by while the rioters destroyed their businesses.

A coalition of State Street businesses pleaded with the city on Monday to improve safety, offer subsidies to attract new businesses and to temporarily convert the street into a pedestrian mall.

In a letter to the city titled “Save State Street” and signed by “your concerned local State Street business and property owners,” the group, which had been meeting for nearly two weeks, also encouraged the city to fund programs to increase the number of Black and other minority-owned businesses; add more security cameras, remove rocks from planters and to replace the glass at the now boarded up visitor center adjacent to Lisa Link Peace Park.

The list of 19 requests come in the wake of closures due to COVID-19 followed by rioting and looting during protests over the killing of George Floyd. Business owners say they fear for their safety, haven’t been listened to by the city and worry about the street’s vibrancy as several businesses have indicated they may not return.

[…]

A major issue revolves around the presence of police, something the street has lacked in recent weeks, according to business owners.

“We have heard continuously that people, regardless of race, age, sex, etc., do not feel comfortable or safe on State Street with the current state of affairs,” business owners wrote. “That perception is unlikely to change unless the city actively works to change it. Neighborhood officers should be peacefully present, walking State Street and pleasantly interacting with people in an attempt to rebuild relationships and trust with community members.”

Verveer, who represents much of the downtown, said Monday that he is not surprised by the letter and is “appreciative” of the list of the requests. He was asked by the merchants several weeks ago if it would be helpful if they made a list of concerns and offer ideas to address the issues on the street that normally gets millions of visitors a year. The letter is absent names of business owners.

Tommy Thompson to lead UW system

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

The University of Wisconsin System has been struggling to find a new system president to replace the retiring Ray Cross. After an exhaustive and expensive search that yielded a single final candidate, that candidate withdrew his application saying that, “it’s clear they have important process issues to work out.” Indeed, they do.

Last week, the University Of Wisconsin Board Of Regents paused their search for a permanent president and appointed former Gov. Tommy Thompson as an interim president for at least the next year. It is an inspired choice. The UW System is desperately in need of a fundamental transformation and Thompson is one of the few people who might be able to build enough unity to pull it off.

As Wisconsin’s only four term governor, Thompson is known as a pragmatic, consensus- building leader. He is also a cheerleader par excellence for everything Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s political landscape, however, is very different than when Thompson held power in Madison. Time will tell if Thompson can still build political bridges in this climate.

 

Large Gatherings Don’t Lead to Covid Outbreaks

I guess we can have state and local fairs now? Concerts? Parades?

The United States has seen new coronavirus cases climb from about 21,000 a day the last week of May to nearly 23,000 a day this week. Positive tests and, in some places, hospitalizations have spiked, too, leading many to wonder if a change in behavior caused outbreaks in states such as California, Arizona and Florida.

But neither protests or more people leaving home explain the surge of new COVID-19 cases, a USA TODAY analysis of counties with at least 100 cases has found. Residents of counties with growth of 25% or more over the previous two weeks left their homes at the same rate as people in counties without a surge of new infections, according to cell phone location data compiled by the company SafeGraph.

And large protests were as common in counties without outbreaks as in others