How to Build a Better Candidate Forum

Posted originally 2.16.16. Reposted 3.8.18. A private local organization, in the habit of hosting candidate debates forums, may freely follow its national organization’s practices. Fair enough. Whitewater, however, would do better if she adopted better standards. There are two easy ways that Whitewater can make her candidate forums much better. ➤ Release Candidate Statements Before […]

The Buck Stops Locally (and Always Has)

Today, Whitewater’s Police and Fire Commission will interview candidates for Whitewater’s next police chief. It’s been an in-house hiring process, and just three months ago some members of our PFC praised this approach over a consultant-driven method (as we had at the time of our last hiring). For Whitewater, and other places, the distinction between […]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary, Whitewater Results

Wisconsin’s spring primary in Whitewater saw three candidates vie for two spots on the April ballot for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Statewide in preliminary numbers, conservative Michael Screnock had a plurality, followed by liberals Rebecca Dallet and Tim Burns. (It’s Screnock v. Dallet in April.) Look, however, at how different the statewide, Jefferson County & Walworth […]

The Limits of Community Surveys

It’s expensive to survey opinion, scientifically, using standard statistical principles. Whitewater, like many small places, understandably relies on community surveys (for the city proper, for her school district). Surveys of this kind are an approximation of overall sentiment. One wouldn’t expect an end to these surveys, but they have obvious, significant limitations. (This is true of […]

Dane, Not the WOW Counties

For many years, Republicans have railed against Madison, and against Dane County, as bastions of dysfunctional liberalism. Indeed, this impulse has been strong even after the GOP gained control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. Funny, though, that it’s Dane County – not the WOW counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee, or Washington – that’s […]

Small-Town News and “The Value of Accuracy”

Over at The Atlantic, David Beard writes about The Libraries Bringing Small-Town News Back to Life. The story’s not, to my mind, a recommendation that Whitewater’s library should publish a news site – Whitewater has digital and print publications in town and nearby. The story’s interesting for how important accuracy is to news publishing: When […]

Reading Next: Truth Decay (‘An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life’)

I’m currently reading Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury on the Trump campaign & administration. (FW has a currently reading widget on the right sidebar of this website.) Afterward, I’ve something in queue, from Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael D. Rich – their just-published Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis […]

Candidates and Candidacies

Small towns have reputations for being plain-speaking places, but the less so, in fact, than reputation suggests. One will hear much about who’s running, who’s in, who’s out, but not as much – if anything – about what candidates believe. Longtime readers know that I comment on politics, but know also that I’m opposed to […]

Kylo Ren as an Alt-Right Villain?

Marykate Jasper argues Why Kylo Ren Is the Perfect Villain for the Age of the Alt-Right (some movie spoilers in her observations): Kylo is incredibly powerful, but he is also incredibly childish. When the Rebels escape him in The Force Awakens, he throws a ludicrous temper tantrum with his lightsaber. In The Last Jedi, Luke goads him by appearing […]

Conservatism & Trump

So will Trump fundamentally alter American conservatism, or is he a mere phase in a longer, unchanging tradition? Three American conservatives, and Britain’s George Orwell, have something to interesting say on the matter. 1. Charles C.W. Cooke: Whatever its shortcomings—and they are many—the American Right is too complicated and too interesting a force to be […]

Whitewater’s Outlook for 2018

An explorer comes to a forest, one he’s not seen before. He’s been in forests before, but not one as dense and dark as this one. He could stop, and make predictions about what it might be like, but however long he takes, the forest yet stands before him. Our national outlook is like this, […]

First Serving

Whitewater’s longtime politician, current school board member, and ersatz newsman Jim Stewart has published an update on candidacies for upcoming school board, city council, and county board races. A few quick comments: 1. Stewart’s Update on Compensation. Stewart has an update to his post, or rather UPDATED, on the compensation for each office. Why he […]

Rabbi Sharon Brous’s Advice for Small Towns (and Everywhere, Really)

Over at The Atlantic, there’s an interview with Rabbi Sharon Brous, the senior rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational synagogue in California. See ‘I’ve Spent My Life Studying These Books That Say Decency Actually Matters.’ Rabbi Brous describes religious belief among progressives in contemporary America, and two of her observations are particularly suited even to Whitewater […]

‘Backed themselves into this corner’

There are local versions of the problem Fox News now faces as a flack for Trump. First, the Fox situation, then the local equivalent — Nationally, the Daily Beast website writes of remarks from a former Fox News contributor & panelist: [Andy] Levy, who served for 10 years as “ombudsman” and nightly panelist on Fox […]