Hanson: Summer of Cultural Suicide

Victor Davis Hanson does it again. Our nation’s cultural stewards are committing suicide right before our eyes.

Take professional sports. Over the last century, professional football, basketball and baseball were racially integrated and adopted a uniform code of patriotic observance. The three leagues offered fans a pleasant respite from daily barroom politics. As a result, by the 21st century, the NFL, NBA and MLB had become global multibillion- dollar enterprises. Then hubris ensued. The owners, coaches and players weren’t always racially diverse. But that inconvenient truth did not stop the leagues from hectoring their fans about social activism — even as they no longer honored common patriotic rituals. All three leagues have suffered terribly during the viral lockdown, as American life mysteriously went on without them. And they have almost ensured that they won’t fully recover when the quarantine ends. Many of their oftenpampered multimillionaire players refuse to honor the national anthem. In the NFL they now will broadcast their politics on their helmets. They will virtue-signal their moral superiority to increasingly turned-off fans — as if to ensure that their sources of support flee.

[…]

Professional sports, universities and the motion picture industry all know that what they are doing is bad for business. But they still believe they are rich and powerful, and thus invulnerable. They also are ignorant of history and cannot be persuaded that they are destroying themselves.

At this late date, all that matters is that the country itself learns from these suicidal examples and heals itself. If the U.S. is not to become an extinct Easter Island, it must rediscover a respect for its past, honor for the dead who gave us so much, the desire to invest rather than spend, and a need for some sense of transcendence.

If we do not believe that what we do today has consequences for our children after we are gone, there are ancient existential forces in the world that will intervene.

And it won’t be nice.

Inmates Save Guard

What a great story about human compassion in even the most trying of circumstances. Huzzah!

Three Georgia inmates have been credited with saving the life of their guard who suffered a heart attack outside their cell doors.

Mitchell Smalls, Terry Lovelace and Walter Whitehead all rushed to Deputy Warren Hobbs’ aid when he fell unconscious at his desk in Gwinnett County Jail.

Smalls first alerted the rest of the inmates to the emergency by banging on his door. Lovelace and Whitehead then rushed to Hobbs’ side after the deputy managed to unlock their cell door.

Footage shows as Smalls raises the alarm after spotting Hobbs was in trouble by banging on his cell door. Fellow inmates then join in to make as much noise as possible in a call for help.

That noise seems to pull Hobbs conscious again and he managed to unlock the cell of Lovelace and Whitehead who are seen running from their room to help the deputy.  They then called for help using a phone and Hobbs’ radio.

Grafton Schools Open

Excellent!

GRAFTON — It’s up to Grafton School District families whether they want their kids in the classroom this fall or if they want to keep them at home. The Grafton Board of Education went through the district’s fall reentry plan this week, which shows that both in-person classes for the full week and virtual learning will be offered. And of course there will be noticeable changes that students will see when they get back to their respective buildings.

“I have no profound statement or thoughts relative to the action we’ve just taken … this is truly uncharted territory that will have a profound impact on students and staff and on the community,” said board President Paul Lorge Monday night.

The re-entry plan shows that for students in grades 4K-5 that opt for virtual learning, each pupil will be assigned a homeroom teacher. Live virtual learning will be offered for core subjects and asynchronous instruction will be offered for noncore subjects. This involves recordings for independent learning at any time.

For students in grades 6-12, classes will be livestreamed for virtual students, who can tune it at their normally scheduled times. Canvas will be their primary method of accessing classwork and assignments and virtual students may be assigned alternative activities.

From Aug. 2 to Aug. 12, parents will be asked to select whether they want online or in-person learning.

State needs leadership to navigate budget shortfall

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

Gov. Tony Evers is calling on state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets as state tax collections decline with the state’s economy. Already, various interest groups are making the case for why their piece of the pie should be excluded from budget cuts and the lobbyists are out in full force. The next several months are going to require real leadership.

When Governor Evers shut down the state’s economy with his original lockdown order, he also turned off the tax spigot for state government. Without people able to go to stores, restaurants, concerts, etc., the collections of sales taxes plummeted. Collection of the sales tax requires people to spend money in our economy. People were forbidden to shop, but many people also pulled back their personal spending as their own jobs and incomes were impacted. Even as the state opened, the job losses, reduced incomes, and uncertainty has depressed consumer spending and sales tax collections.

Like the federal government, the state of Wisconsin also delayed the income tax filing deadline to July 15. This had the practical effect that many people who were expecting refunds filed earlier than those who expected to pay, causing further strain on state tax flow. But the real impact on income taxes will not be felt until next year. 2019 was a bumper year for personal incomes and employment. 2020 is not.

The state sales and income taxes are the two largest sources of state tax revenue, but there are countless other taxes and fees that are being impacted by the government-imposed recession. The net result is that Governor Evers is anticipating at least a $2 billion shortfall in state tax collections over the next year. The governor’s estimate may be decidedly optimistic.

To put that in perspective, the state government planned to spend about $41 billion in this fiscal year. A $2 billion shortfall would represent about a 5% reduction. However, much of that spending goes to things like welfare, K-12 education, shared revenue for municipalities, the University of Wisconsin System, and things that are not under the direct control of state government officials.

Here is where the leadership comes in. Governor Evers has called on state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets. As you may have noticed, $250 million is merely a down payment on the cuts that will be necessary to finish the fiscal year without a massive deficit. More cuts will be needed.

If there is one thing that any good manager knows, it is that small changes made now prevent much larger changes being necessary later. The governor has already waited too long. We knew that there would be huge budgetary implications when he locked down the state. Here we are at the end of July and he is just now asking agencies for their ideas? How long will that take for the agencies to submit their revised budgets, vet them, and implement them? Weeks? Months? The longer the governor sits around waiting to make changes, the more drastic those changes are going to have to be.

For example, the state of Wisconsin employs about 65,000 employees, including employees of the UW System, earning a median income of about $52,000. If Wisconsin implemented a 10% pay reduction for all state employees, it would save the taxpayers roughly $28 million per month. Private employers have been forced to implement such cuts and worse. In this case, it would be a 10% cut in pay and everyone keeps their jobs. Many private-sector employees, and taxpayers, fared much, much worse.

If Governor Evers had implemented a universal 10% cut in March, when he implemented his lockdown order, the state would have already saved over $112 million – almost half of what he is asking state agencies for not. That is $112 million that that will still have to be cut before the fiscal year is over, but because Governor Evers has failed to act, it will hurt a lot more.

Every day that state leaders sit around waiting for to make decisions, those decisions will be dictated to them by events. Wisconsin needs leadership. Now.

 

West Bend Police to Send Officers to Milwaukee for Convention

Call me less optimistic than Chief Meuler about Milwaukee officials supporting the police. I’m very wary of putting West Bend’s finest in harms way to protect another city’s residents. Perhaps some other city leaders will weigh in.

West Bend Police Chief Kenneth Meuler said he remains committed to sending about a dozen officers for the effort.

“I am confident that Chief Morales and city officials will work out an agreement to address the concerns that some of the other chiefs have raised,” said Meuler, a former Milwaukee Police Department captain.

COVID Economy Causing Famine

When some of us talk about balancing the risks of Coronavirus with the negative implications of shutting down our economy, these are the kinds of things we are trying to prevent. Far more people are going to die from the economic shutdowns than will ever die from COVID-19. But please, tell me how you care about the kids.

All around the world, the coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, cutting off meager farms from markets and isolating villages from food and medical aid. Virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children a month over the first year of the pandemic, according to an urgent call to action from the United Nations shared with The Associated Press ahead of its publication in the Lancet medical journal.

Further, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the U.N. — malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that’s up 6.7 million from last year’s total of 47 million. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe.

[…]

The rise in child deaths worldwide would reverse global progress for the first time in decades. Deaths of children younger than 5 had declined steadily since 1980, to 5.3 million around the world in 2018, according to a UNICEF report. About 45 percent of the deaths were due to undernutrition.

[…]

“By having schools closed, by having primary health care services disrupted, by having nutritional programs dysfunctional, we are also creating harm,” Aguayo said. He cited as an example the near-global suspension of Vitamin A supplements, which are a crucial way to bolster developing immune systems.

[…]

Some of the worst hunger still occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. In Sudan, 9.6 million people are living from one meal to the next in acute food insecurity — a 65% increase from the same time last year.

Lockdowns across Sudanese provinces, as around the world, have dried up work and incomes for millions. The global economic downturn has brought supply chains to a standstill, and restrictions on public transport have disrupted agricultural production. With inflation hitting 136%, prices for basic goods have more than tripled.

“It has never been easy but now we are starving, eating grass, weeds, just plants from the earth,” said Ibrahim Youssef, director of the Kalma camp for internally displaced people in war-ravaged south Darfur.

Slinger Schools to Open

From the Washington County Insider. This isn’t exactly how I would have done it, but it strikes me as a reasonable compromise that achieves the goal of educating as many kids as possible.

Superintendent Daren Sievers made a brief statement (43:00 mark) prior to reading the administrative recommendation. “We are trying to find the right stance to make school safe as possible and have school remain open,” Sievers said. “Using the words require means the district would need to specify consequences and articulate all the exceptions. The Washington Ozaukee Health Department uses the word recommend.”

Superintendent took all the feedback and presented a draft proposal – advocating for masks whenever possible. Below is the exact wording. The recommendation passed unanimously.
“To provide the safest educational setting possible and stay open five days per week as long as possible, the Slinger School District is requesting that students wear face coverings whenever social distance cannot be maintained.  To account for individual needs and personal circumstances of all kinds, we will be asking families to opt their student “in” to the District face covering request or opt their student “out” of the District face covering request through our fall registration process.  Staff will be required to wear masks whenever social distance cannot be maintained but out of respect for their personal health circumstances, they may not get closer than six feet to students who are not wearing face coverings.  Face coverings will be made available for situational use by the District for all students at all times.”

Police Avoid Milwaukee Amid Dangerous Restrictions on Use of Force

Of course, Morales has an ax to grind, but I have no doubt this is going on. If you are a police chief in West Bend, for example, do you want to send your officers to Milwaukee where they are forbidden from using reasonable means to control riots? Do you want to get your officers injured or killed just to help out Milwaukee?

The city’s decision came before Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission issued a directive last week to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to stop using tear gas to control crowds, saying he could be fired if he refused. That order came amid intense scrutiny of police tactics at protests in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May.

Since the Milwaukee order was issued, more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin and across the country decided against coming to Milwaukee, Morales told WTMJ-TV on Tuesday. They were concerned with directives placed on the police department, including not allowing tear gas or pepper spray, he said.

Morales did not say which agencies would not be coming or how many officers were still expected. The original plan was to have 1,000 officers on hand from outside agencies to assist with security. Morales said using the National Guard or enlisting federal assistance was under consideration.

The convention has been scaled down to a mostly virtual event, with only about 300 people expected to attend in-person. Most of the speeches will be delivered online from other locations, though former Vice President Joe Biden has said he will be in Milwaukee to accept the nomination. Despite the event’s smaller scale, police are preparing for potentially large protests in and around the venue.

State needs leadership to navigate budget shortfall

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I continue to be frustrated by the lack of leadership in Madison. We all KNOW there is, and will be, a huge budget shortfall, but nobody is actually doing anything about it. The result will be a big budget repair bill – probably in January – where they are making huge, painful, cuts. Those huge, painful cuts will be necessary because they are failing to make small, less painful, cuts today. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to make large cuts in government, but the crying and wailing you will hear in a few months is completely avoidable.

Gov. Tony Evers is calling on state agencies to cut $250 million from their budgets as state tax collections decline with the state’s economy. Already, various interest groups are making the case for why their piece of the pie should be excluded from budget cuts and the lobbyists are out in full force. The next several months are going to require real leadership.

[…]

For example, the state of Wisconsin employs about 65,000 employees, including employees of the UW System, earning a median income of about $52,000. If Wisconsin implemented a 10% pay reduction for all state employees, it would save the taxpayers roughly $28 million per month. Private employers have been forced to implement such cuts and worse. In this case, it would be a 10% cut in pay and everyone keeps their jobs. Many private-sector employees, and taxpayers, fared much, much worse.

If Governor Evers had implemented a universal 10% cut in March, when he implemented his lockdown order, the state would have already saved over $112 million – almost half of what he is asking state agencies for not. That is $112 million that that will still have to be cut before the fiscal year is over, but because Governor Evers has failed to act, it will hurt a lot more.

Every day that state leaders sit around waiting for to make decisions, those decisions will be dictated to them by events. Wisconsin needs leadership. Now.

Violent Perpetrators Who Beat Senator Carpenter Are Arrested

Yikes.

Two women were arrested Monday on tentative charges of substantial battery for the attack on state Sen. Tim Carpenter during a protest last month, Madison police reported.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the two Madison women — Samantha Hamer, 26, and Kerida O’Reilly, 33 — turned themselves in Monday afternoon.

Carpenter, D-Madison, was beaten after taking a video of protesters the night of June 23 along the 200 block of West Main Street.

Earlier in the evening, protesters told members of the media to leave the scene and demanded that observers not take photos or videos during the demonstrations that night, which included tearing down two statues on the Capitol grounds and throwing a Molotov cocktail into the City-County Building.

Hamer is a social worker in the Mt Horeb school district. O’Reilly appears to be a physical therapist (I wonder if Carpenter would agree!) who, “loves spoiling her cats, adventuring in nature, listening to podcasts, dancing in her kitchen, and playing tabletop games.” You just wonder about how seemingly normal people in solid careers work themselves into such a frenzy that they allegedly violently attack an old man.

Madison Police Union Has No Confidence in Mayor it Endorsed Just Last Year

Perhaps they should be more discerning with their endorsements. Rhodes-Conway’s leftist proclivities were well known.

MADISON (WKOW) — The Madison Professional Police Officer’s Association has approved a declaration of ‘no confidence’ in the leadership of Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

The board of directors said the vote was ‘resolute’ with more than 95 percent of the association’s voting membership returning a vote of “no confidence,” according to a news release.

“The MPPOA did not make this decision easily or in haste,” board members said in a statement.

“Instead, our vote of no confidence is the culmination of many months of frustration in the absence of effective leadership from the mayor.”

Board members said that they had a recent meeting with Mayor Rhodes-Conway in which they say she effectively declined to help them meet with community groups and members to facilitate conversation, asking them instead to use their voice.

Back in March 2019, the MPPOA announced their endorsement of Rhodes-Conway for Mayor.

Grenade in Goodwill Box

Whoa!

On Monday, July 27, 2020 at 10:15 AM an employee at Goodwill discovered a grenade in a donation box and called the West Bend Police Department. West Bend Officers arrived and confirmed the device was a grenade. Officers immediately assisted in safely evacuating the store and securing the surrounding area. The West Bend PD contacted the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department and requested assistance from their Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit. Members of Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department EOD Unit responded and determined the grenade was a live device. Deputies assigned to the EOD Unit rendered the grenade safe, and transported it to safely dispose of it.

FYI, this not the appropriate way to dispose of or donate your live ordnance!

Armed Protester Shot After Confronting Driver

This is going to happen more and more if the protesters and rioters continue their tactics. People are getting fed up.

The moment leading up to the fatal shooting of an armed Black Lives Matter protester in Texas over the weekend has been revealed in a newly surfaced photograph, hours after the suspect was released from custody having told investigators he shot the demonstrator in self-defense.

Garrett Foster, 28, was shot dead in Austin on Saturday evening after he confronted the driver of a car who had driven his vehicle toward a hundred-strong crowd of protesters marching in the city center.

Foster, who was carrying an AK-47, was shot three times by the driver who then fled the scene. The motorist later told police he fired his handgun at Foster after the activist pointed his assault rifle at his car.

A photograph circulating on social media on Monday shows Foster standing at the driver’s window moments before the fatal shots rang out. The barrel of his AK-47 appears to be pointing towards the floor, however he is leaning towards the car with right arm raised and his hand seemingly placed around the weapon’s grip.

Police, who declined to identify the driver, released the man as they continue their investigation.

‘We are heartbroken over the loss of Mr. Foster last night,’ Austin Police Chief Brain Manley told reporters Sunday. ‘It is actively being investigated and ongoing in conjunction with the Travis County district attorney’s office.’

Officers also brought in a second gunman who shot at the car as it sped off. Both of the suspects’ have a license to carry and both of their guns were seized for evidence, Manly said.

Wisconsin DHS Has No Idea What the Actual Test Results Are

Stunning incompetence – and that’s the kind interpretation. The other interpretation is that it is a deliberate manipulation of the data.

Not only does this mean the Evers Administration does not have an accurate count of how many tests are coming back negative. It also means the administration does not know how many tests are being processed each day, and that is a key metric in determining how the state is progressing in its efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.

Withdrawal From Paris Climate Change Accord is Racist

Because it’s 2020 and this is where we are. You must sign onto the global leftist orthodoxy or you’re racist.

It’s official – in 100 days the United States will formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The impact of Donald Trump’s decision, taken three years ago, is already being felt by environmental justice communities.

Racism is the driving force behind why certain people and places face disproportionate environmental exposure to toxic substances, adverse climate change effects, Covid-19 infections and deaths. This raises the question: was withdrawing from the Paris agreement also a racist decision? How will this morally incomprehensible policy change affect Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other communities of color?

[…]

So, ask yourself: if the first group of people in the US to truly benefit from efforts to decrease global warming emissions by participating in the Paris agreement are people of color, what else can we call this but environmental racism and willful neglect?

Strong Majority Think Schools Should Open

This is in line with many of the local surveys that we have seen.

About 70% of Americans think schools should open in the fall, though most of those think it should happen with restrictions, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs. Only 8% say say K-12 schools should operate normally.

Be smart. Be safe. Be open.

Madison Activists Protest at DA’s Home

Radical leftists eat their own.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is highlighting his identity as a Black man and his family’s roots in the Civil Rights Movement after protesters came to his house for the second time in a month Saturday, this time demanding that charges be dropped against two Black men and calling Ozanne a racist.

Ozanne said Sunday that scores of protesters with speakers, generators and a bullhorn showed up around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and stayed for about six hours blasting music, shouting profanity, chanting slogans, and calling him and even his family a racist — all in the name of pressuring Ozanne to drop charges against Kelsey Nelson and Gregg James.

Nelson, 30, is charged in the looting of Goodman’s Jewelers during the first night of protests in Madison on May 30 over the death George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody five days earlier. James, 23, is one of three men accused of making threats at a State Street bar in June.

[…]

A flier distributed at the “Black Out Block Party” Saturday does not name the group sponsoring it, but was instead aimed at letting Ozanne’s neighbors know he’s the DA and urging them to call his office to demand that charges against Nelson and James be dropped. It’s similar to a call to action put out on July 3 by Sawyer Johnson, a leader in the Madison chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, that identifies Nelson, James and two others recently arrested as “Black revolutionary activists.”

[…]

Johnson responded to requests for comment via Facebook on Sunday night with derogatory memes.

Get this…

With activists questioning the cash bail system or claiming people are being held in jail simply because they can’t make small bond amounts, Ozanne said, “we release about 82% of people on signature bonds.”

82%!

Black Trump Supporter Murdered in Milwaukee

How tragic. RIP

The Wisconsin Republican party has called for a federal investigation of a fatal shooting on Thursday, to ascertain whether it was motivated by animosity towards Donald Trump.

Bernell Trammell, a 60-year-old African American man who was a well-known figure in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, was shot and killed at around 12.30pm on Thursday. Police did not immediately provide any details on possible suspects or motives.

However, the Republican party of Wisconsin said the “senseless” murder may have been politically motivated and called upon federal investigators to become involved.

Trammell, who ran a business called eXpressions Journal in Riverwest, regularly displayed signs on political and religious matters, including support for Trump as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, according to those who knew him.

Trammell was pictured holding a sign calling for a Trump victory in the November election. But community members have said he supported politicians from both sides of the divide, including Lena Taylor, a Democrat who ran for mayor of Milwaukee this year.

Bo Black Gone

Bo Black, who was the legendary powerhouse behind Summerfest for years, has passed away. I must have been hiding under a rock, because I didn’t know this:

Black became a Playboy cover model in 1967, after attracting a magazine scout’s eye while she was just 21 years old and a cheerleader at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Black appeared on the cover of the September 1967 issue of Playboy, despite refusing to pose naked inside the magazine
Black appeared on the cover of the September 1967 issue of Playboy, despite refusing to pose naked inside the magazine

Black posed for the scout – in town looking for co-eds to feature in the upcoming college issue – while wearing a short brown skirt and yellow turtleneck sweater, earning $25 for the trouble.

Black, a Catholic who went to mass daily, said that she didn’t tell her parents what she’d done because her ‘mother would have had a fit,’ she told the Arizona Republic in 2018.

The jig was up when someone from Playboy called Black’s home because they’d liked her photo and wanted her to pose for the cover.

Black said that her parents finally agreed to let her participate in the Playboy shoot as long as she kept her clothes on.

That was how she wound up being featured in the now iconic September 1967 Playboy cover, wearing a green-and-white jersey and matching knee socks, while holding a football helmet under one arm.

She received $100 as payment for the cover shoot, but could’ve made $5,000 if she had agreed to pose naked for the magazine’s centerfold – which she refused to do.

‘Are you kidding?’ I wanted to be a nun!’ she told the newspaper.

Anyway, Godspeed to someone who did so much for Wisconsin.

Republicans Agree to Borrow and Spend Another Trillion Dollars

For the love of Pete… STOP.

The $1 trillion plan is expected to reduce the federal unemployment benefit to about $200 per week, on average, or 70% of the wages a worker earned before ending up jobless. It would also provide $105 billion for schools, $70 billion of which would go to K-12 institutions with more going to schools that reopen; it would give $16 billion more for virus testing and tracing; it would provide another round of popular stimulus checks; it would include a second, more targeted round of forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses; and it would provide tax credits for businesses to help with rehiring and reopening.

President Donald Trump had insisted on a payroll tax cut, which caused some delay, but after the pitch met with opposition from many Republicans and Democrats alike, the proposal was dropped. Mnuchin acknowledged over the weekend that the tax incentive did not provide immediate relief, unlike the planned second round of direct payments to Americans with modest incomes. Likewise, the administration caved on an effort to zero out any new funding for testing, tracing, and the major federal health agencies involved in fighting the pandemic.