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‘But Not in Conditions of Their Own Choosing’

It’s a truism to say that all people make history, but not in conditions of their own choosing: Admittedly and sadly, the local boosterism of the pre-Trump years is now in retrospect worse than one might have initially believed: across America boosters who peddled false descriptions & junk solutions during the economic hardship of the…

Aside

‘Innovation Center’ as Empty Rhetoric: “As a general term, innovation center doesn’t say anything specific to us, so we were from the start trying to understand what they meant by that” — Matt Jewell, an engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, writing of Foxconn’s chimerical ‘innovation’ centers.

Spot-on.

 

Forget the Tender Feelings of a Pernicious Faction

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Craig Gilbert writes about the political divide in For voters in this purple part of Wisconsin [Richland Center], the impeachment fight is a symbol of broken politics. The story establishes a false equivalence between those who support impeachment and those who oppose it, as though the conflict between these views…

What the New Dealers Got Right – What Whitewater’s Local Notables Got Wrong

There’s sound reason to doubt that the New Dealers’ economic solutions to the Great Depression were effective, but there’s no doubt that Roosevelt’s Brain Trust was hard-working, smart, and candid in its description of America’s economic problems. For a critical assessment of the New Deal, written accessibly, see The Forgotten Man: A New History of…

Foxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of Smoke

Trump insisted Foxconn in Wisconsin would be the eighth wonder of the world, and smarmy development men in places like Whitewater spoke about how much would come of the project, but in a puff of smoke that project’s ‘innovation centers’ are gone. Nick Statt reports Foxconn finally admits its empty Wisconsin ‘innovation centers’ aren’t being…

Fox News Won’t Be Enough

It’s a sound position to focus criticism of Trumpism on Trump, His Inner Circle, Principal Surrogates, and Media Defenders. This sometimes includes Trumpism Down to the Local Level. (Those local officials across America who have this past decade spread sugary lies of boosterism during the Great Recession, during its aftermath, and during the opioid crisis are contemptibly…

School Board, 8.26.19: Insatiable

School Board Meeting 08/26/19 from Whitewater Community TV on Vimeo. Update, evening of 9.9.19: Although this discussion of tax incremental financing (TIF) took place at a school board meeting, a program like this is (obviously) very much an initiative of city government and special interests. School districts like Whitewater’s have a role on a joint…

The Rural Condition: Life expectancy for Wisconsin babies falls

Boosters’ ceaseless distortions to ‘accentuate the positive’ – so common across the state and in Whitewater before, during, and after the Great Recession – meet their tragic refutation in life expectancy declines for Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Public Policy Forum reports on Troubling trends in Wisconsin: Life expectancy down; alcohol, drug and suicide deaths up: The…

Junk Reasoning Isn’t Simply a Problem at the Top

Helena Bottemiller Evich reports ‘It feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie’ (‘A top climate scientist quit USDA, following others who say Trump has politicized science’): One of the nation’s leading climate change scientists is quitting the Agriculture Department in protest over the Trump administration’s efforts to bury his groundbreaking study about how…

Fact-Checking is an Active, Ongoing Effort

Laura Hazard Cohen explains that “First-generation fact-checking” is no longer good enough. Here’s what comes next: “Fact checkers need to move from ‘publish and pray’ to ‘publish and act.’” “The idea that fact checking can work by correcting the public’s inaccurate beliefs on a mass scale alone doesn’t stack up,” write representatives from Full Fact…

Three Fundamental Failures: Employment, Income, and Poverty

An earlier post addressed Walker’s Fundamental Failure to meet his jobs pledge even after eight years. The record is much worse: years of corporate subsidies and meddling in the marketplace for preferred businesses & political cronies have produced failures of employment, income, and poverty. (Small town officials who copied this approach on the local level, as…

Public Money for Unskilled Manufacturing Jobs is Money Wasted

In times of historically low unemployment, communities are simply wasting public money when they subsidize unskilled manufacturing jobs.  The jobs, jobs, jobs mantra only makes sense in conditions of unemployment, unemployment, unemployment. Despite relatively low unemployment, ‘community development men’ in places like Whitewater still push business subsidies for companies using unskilled labor.  Pretending that dead-end…