Whitewater Listed as the Poorest City in Wisconsin

Samuel Stebbins and Michael B. Sauter, from 24/7 Wall Street, report Which town in your state is the poorest? Here is the list @ Gannett’s USA Today. For Wisconsin, they contend it’s Whitewater: Town median household income: $30,934 State median household income: $54,610 Town poverty rate: 38.2% Town population: 14,840 Whitewater has both the lowest median household income and the […]

A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA

Sometimes, however rarely, even in places with the most stubborn boosterism, an official admits – wittingly or unwittingly – the failure of longstanding policy. Dave Carlson, executive director of the Whitewater Community Development Authority, is such an official. In a press release from March 27th, lauding a provision of the Trump tax bill, Carlson quotes […]

Romancing Whitewater

Embed from Getty Images A man walks into a party, and sees a woman universally acknowledged as intelligent, knowledgeable, and beautiful. He’s instantly smitten, and decides that he must – simply must! – declare his admiration that very evening. The man approaches, introduces himself, and tells her that he’s wholly captivated. He proclaims a commitment […]

A Local Problem Before It Became a National One

Philip Bump contends The only information Trump supports is information that makes him look good: Trump highlighting [conservative-leaning pollster] Rasmussen isn’t quite like putting your best friend as a reference on a job application, but it’s not as though he’s going out of his way to list former employers. He also goes a step further, […]

Care at the Point of Injury

A post from early December – ‘Don’t worry about them – the rest of us feel great!’ – outlined the problem of boosterism & babbittry: it urges people to look away from real injuries and to gaze instead on delightful distractions. First the problem summarized, then the better, ethical response – The problem: A doctor […]

Contrast

Consider the contrast between how the Janesville Gazette‘s publisher want his city to be seen, and how an economics reporter describes the Janesville area: Janesville Gazette editorial, A question for Janesville to consider: [James] Fallows and his wife learned the differences between success and failure during a 54,000-mile journey across the United States in a single-engine […]

The Somber Trio

Among the most serious harms are those to liberty and physical well-being. One can compensate adequately for many injuries, but damages at law are slight compensation for lost liberties and physical injuries. We’ve a new national environment, in which actions once impermissible are now encouraged, and redress once required is now no longer recognized. If […]

‘Can Conservative Journalism Survive?’

Conservative Conor Friedersdorf, now at the Atlantic, asks whether conservative journalism can survive. See, entitled just that way, Can Conservative Journalism Survive? In truth, he’s writing about traditional conservatism (and not just journalists), and the generation of traditional conservatives that brought Reagan to office. I’d recommended the whole essay. Friedersdorf asks: ….If conservatism is to survive […]

Priorities: Fighting Bigotry Over Babbittry

Common men and women can learn from the examples of great men and women. In this way, one can learn how to prioritize between concurrent challenges, applying lessons from a prior and intense conflict even to present but lesser conflicts. Some threats are worse than others, and so our it’s reasonable that one places more […]

The Existential (Imagined and Real)

It was Michael Anton (writing as Publius Decius Mus) who exactly one year ago famously declared that 2016 was “The Flight 93 Election,” an existential fight for survival for state-loving conservatives: 2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it […]

Trumpism Down to the Local Level

I wrote last week, in a post entitled ‘What Putin’s team is probably telling him about Trump,’ about five degrees of culpability for Putinism’s insinuation and degradation of American politics. One could modify that list only slightly, and thereby describe Trump’s present influence in America: (1) those who have served the Trump as operatives and […]

Considering Janesville: An American Story (Part 8 of 14)

This is the eighth in a series of posts considering Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story. In this post, I’ll cover one chapter from Part Four (2011) of Janesville (The Ambassador of Optimism). I’ll cover the chapter in detail because it’s so perfect in its account of boosterism, as though Sinclair Lewis’s protagonist George F. Babbitt overtook a Janesville resident and […]

Margaret Sullivan on Great Local Reporting

Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post’s media columnist observes that Great local reporting stands between you and wrongdoing. (Sullivan was formerly The New York Times public editor, and the chief editor of her hometown paper, The Buffalo News.) Sullivan explains what great local reporting means: “In only 15 years, American newspaper companies slashed their workforces by […]