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Preparedness

Chris Matthews of MSNBC resigned (was pushed out, truly) on Monday night. Much has been made – rightly – of how his comments about his female guests made him unsuitable for his role. In the Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan raises a second objection, worth considering, to Matthews’s work: he was too-often unprepared. Sullivan writes that…

Ready-Made is Poorly Made

The Whitewater Schools now have an interim district administrator, and the district is looking to hire a permanent replacement. At the most recent school board meeting of 1.27.20, there was a brief discussion of community involvement in the selection process (see meeting video).  The school board president and vice president (having each been on the…

Whitewater School Board, 1.27.20: Palmyra-Eagle & Competition Between Districts

?? On Monday night, Whitewater’s school board met first in closed session, and about an hour later in open session. (A video of the open session is embedded above.) Part way into the meeting, after a summary of the latest developments concerning the nearby Palmyra-Eagle School District, a candidate for that school district’s board spoke…

‘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…

More Predictable Than an Atomic Clock

If one read beforehand the agenda for last night’s common council meeting (1.21.20), one would have seen the applicants for various boards (particularly the Whitewater Community Development Authority). Seeing them, and knowing what the last ten years on the CDA have been like, one could have confidently predicted which candidate would be recommended for appointment.…

Perspectives Narrow or Wide

One of the hopes for small-town living is that, among the residents of such a place, one will commonly find plain speaking and humility. Perhaps there are places like this, but sadly small towns, by themselves, are not enough to overcome unworthy pride. On the contrary, within such places, sometimes a tiny faction – confusing…

Newnan, Georgia & Whitewater, Wisconsin

One reads, in the New York Times, about How 17 outsize portraits rattled a small southern town (‘Not everyone was ready for what they saw’). After a white-nationalist rally in Newnan, Georgia, that town put up 17 large-scale banner portraits, images of the ordinary people who make up the town. They hang from the perches of…

Local Candidacies in Whitewater, 2020

There are six public seats up for election in Whitewater this spring (three on the Whitewater Common Council and three on the Whitewater Unified School District’s board.) It seems there are six candidates for these six offices (five incumbents and one former officeholder). This is what one would expect of government in Whitewater over these…

‘Bothsiderism’

Gina Overholser, a writing about a liberal paper, remarks of the New York Times that Its investigative and enterprise work rises to today’s unprecedented challenges. But in day-to-day political reporting, the Times is hopelessly stuck in the past. Its proud allegiance to presenting “both sides” in a time of political breakdown renders it a handmaiden…

Truth-Telling and Tale-Weaving

In conditions of real injury, in which truth-telling is important, tale-weaving about irrelevant matters is worse than wasteful: it’s a misdirection from the significant to the insignificant. Three recent stories illustrate the critical difference between these approaches. As a truth-telling story, Hope Kirwan of Wisconsin Public Radio reports ‘Students Deserve To Be Heard’: UW-La Crosse…