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Conflicts of Interest

On Conflicts of Interest, It’s Not Enough to Ask a Question

The annual meeting of the Whitewater University Tech Park Board was scheduled for this earlier morning, and the second item of the published agenda is a superficial attempt to address potential conflicts of interest among board members: Declaration of Conflict of Interest [Watson] a. Would any member(s) of the board wish to declare any known…

An Empty-Headed Man’s Next Gig

Updated with a longer – and so more revealing – video of Kushner’s vapidity. When Jared Kushner is finished impairing America’s response to a pandemic, he’ll need something else to do. Wisconsin still has the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and in small Wisconsin towns like Whitewater one finds development hucksters, business leagues of landlords &…

APG Was Always Going to Play a Vulture’s Role

One reads that APG, the out-of-state newspaper chain that purchased two local family papers (Janesville Gazette, Daily Jefferson County Union) is slashing the salaries of those papers’ employees. A few remarks — I’m not a newspaperman, and have never aspired to be one. Bloggers are modern-day pamphleteers, reviving a tradition that was robust during our…

Miscellany on Development Policy in Whitewater

There’s a significant difference between local, political calls for urgency and genuine need. Recent discussions about development policy in Whitewater only bolster this view. A few remarks (as I’ve been asked more than once what I think of the last two months’ events) — Independence. The best decision one could make when writing about policy…

Bill Barr: Trump’s Man on the Inside

Bill Barr has now been Trump’s attorney general for a full year. He’s spent that year helping Trump weaponize the Justice Department for his personal benefit—showing that, like the man who appointed him, Barr is an urgent threat to American democracy.https://t.co/Xtr0BE6fVJ — The Moscow Project (@moscow_project) February 14, 2020      

The Whitewater, WI Conflict of Interest Gallery™

Ours is an era of conflicts of interest and self-dealing. Conflicts of interest sometimes begin with ignorance but they persist through arrogance. Simple principles of separation between roles that were once understood and respected (in the main) are now commonly rationalized away. If one bemoans degraded national ethics, one should be clear that local officials…

Public Officials Should Not Be Reporters

It is a simple principle that public officials should not be newspaper reporters on their own meetings and actions. For readers, reporters, editors, publishers, and public officials this should be obvious. Worse: public officials should not be newspaper reporters when their roles as public officials are not expressly identified.  A Whitewater-area newspaper and a Whitewater school…

Trump’s Attorney General Nominee Wrong on Obstruction of Justice

Daniel J. Hemel and Eric A. Posner conclude Yes, [Trump Attorney General Nominee] Bill Barr’s Memo Really is Wrong About Obstruction of Justice. They respond with 6 arguments concerning federal bribery law,  “facially lawful” acts,  obstruction and collusion, the Starr investigation, the theory of a unitary executive, and the context of appointee Barr’s memo.  I’ve…

Once a Gerrymanderer…

Wisconsin, with a gerrymandered legislature and a crony capitalist, lame-duck governor, was never going to have an easy transition back to a tradition of democratically representative government and sound economic policy.  The men who engineered years of the wrong approach were never going to go gently to the political outer darkness that, deservedly, awaits them.…

Redefining Reality

Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Public Instruction and candidate for governor, has a new video about a political effort to redefine reality. The video is about Scott Walker, but it might as easily have been about any number of local politicians in Whitewater or other small Wisconsin towns, with tax breaks for out-of-towners and cronies…