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Wise Words for Whitewater from Steak-umm

There’s a thread on Twitter from Steak-umm (an American brand of thin-sliced frozen steaks) that does a better job (truly) discussing the role of science and skepticism about the pandemic than much of what’s published online. The full thread is available at Twitter, and excerpts are imediately below. It’s spot-on for Whitewater. (Note: the thread…

Jane Jacobs with Useful Advice on Responsibility (for Whitewater, Richmond Township, Delavan, Etc.)

In Jane Jacobs’s Death and Life of Great American Cities (describing large cities, not small towns), she writes of business owners’ sense of responsibility for the sidewalks near their shops: First, there must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other…

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Science

It seemed reasonable, months ago, to wait until the end of the 2020-2021 school year to assess how well the Whitewater Unified School District managed the pandemic. It doesn’t seem so reasonable now, for reasons of culture as much as public health. Generally – and sensibly – one has reason to be skeptical of lay…

(Local) Fear of a Red Hat

There are any number of fears that occasionally grip people, however unfounded those fears, of snakes, of spiders, of black cats, etc. (Snakes play an important ecological role, some cultures think spiders are good luck, and black cats are beautiful with notably soft coats.) And yet, and yet… no fear strikes deeper and holds tighter…

Miller’s Gutter on Gettr

Jason Miller, former Trump spokesman, deadbeat dad, and accused harasser is behind a Twitter alternative called Gettr. Having explored it briefly, one can say the site is a poorly designed social-media gutter. See also The Latest Pro-Trump Twitter Clone Leaks User Data on Day 1 and The Pro-Trump Social Network Has an Anime Porn Problem. Gettr has low-quality…

Johnson Picks His Predictable – and Ironic – Platform

Jessie Opoien reports At WI convention, Ron Johnson calls for GOP to ‘take back our culture’:  Johnson called on Republicans to run candidates at every level of public office, arguing that the GOP has spent too much time focused on federal elections while letting seats go at the local levels. “Take back our school boards, our…

‘Communicate, Communicate, Communicate’ Isn’t So Easy in a Fractured Town

Some years ago, an administrator (no longer with the school district) told others that a good practice for leaders was to ‘communicate, communicate, communicate’ with the community. The concept makes sense: craft a message and then make sure it’s heard by repeating it. In a small town, how hard could that be? As it turns…

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The Limits of Local Politics

This is the final post in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021. Earlier posts at FREE WHITEWATER have addressed the limits of local politics in the community: local public (or powerful private) institutions have a limited power of action (with harmful actions likely to be more immediate than helpful ones). It’s certain that a…

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: Majoritarianism

This is the tenth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021. The contested April school board election has now come to a close. An animating concern of many parents was that the Whitewater public school should not have suspended face-to-face instruction for as long as it did, and that, in doing so, the…

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: Marketing

This is the ninth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021. Through all the difficult events of the last two decades (a Great Recession, an opioid epidemic, economic stagnation, creeping nativism, a pandemic, a pandemic recession), Old Whitewater has responded with the same question: how can we market the town to others? If…

Whitewater’s Local Politics 2021: The Subcultural City

This is the sixth in a series on Whitewater’s local politics of 2021. There’s no politically predominant group in Whitewater. Strictly speaking, a subculture implies a dominant culture, but it’s less dramatic to describe Whitewater as several subcultures than as balkanized. One might call the city multicultural, but that term often implies an acceptance of…