FREE WHITEWATER

New Whitewater

What Can Be Done About Rural Newspapers (Even Though It Probably Won’t Be)?

Yesterday I wrote that Another Local Paper Changes Hands. With the failure of legacy publishing, what are rural communities to do? (Obvious point: FREE WHITEWATER is not an online newspaper – never aspired to be, never will be. This is a website of independent commentary: aligned with no faction, beholden to no faction.) A few…

On Transgender Americans

One could write about the recent Twitter statement from Trump that “[a]fter consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” but there’s a broader question than military service. To be sure, I believe…

How Big Averts Bad

If it should be true that small-town Whitewater faces a choice between difficult times now or an extended decline before an out-of-town-led gentrification, that her decline will otherwise be slow but no less signficant as a result, that stakeholder (special interest) politics grips the city, and that this stakeholder politics is really an identity politics…

If Market-Based Solutions Are Superior to Cronyism, Why Are There So Many Cronies?

Here’s a question, concerning even small towns like Whitewater, for which the Financial Times publishes an answer: If market-based solutions are superior to cronyism, why are there so many cronies? First, there aren’t that many cronies (or insistent insiders) in Whitewater or elsewhere, but the few there are manipulate or intimidate weak reporters at local papers into representing their numbers as…

The (Welcome) End of ‘Big’ in a Small Town

I don’t think much of the term ‘movers and shakers’ (that a nearby newspaper used to describe supposedly influential people) or ‘big’ people, etc.  The terms almost always exaggerate actual influence.  I am sure, though, that a combination of diverse social media, the decline of print, the shifting demographics within Whitewater, and the next generation’s…

The Dark, Futile Dream

UW-Whitewater is searching for a new chancellor, and so there’s a search committee, and a search consultant to guide that committee’s work.  The consultant is Dr. Jessica Kozloff, the former president of a small, undistinguished college in Pennsylvania.  (The UW System schools are, each of them, more competitive and developed than the one Dr. Kozloff…

The Absence of Equilibrium

Later this week, I’ll check to see how I did on my predictions for 2014, and make some new ones for 2015.  The week of January 6th, I’ll elaborate on themes from the predictions for 2015.  Here’s an observation, however, that I think describes Whitewater’s politics and culture, generally: there is an absence of equilibrium,…

Causes and Monuments

Early one morning, while you’re in a coffee shop, a woman walks through the door, orders an Americano, and sits down at your table.  She sips ever so tentatively, while poring over a local newspaper.  She turns to you and asks, “Do you know how I could leave my mark on this community?” You’re not…