Subsidies for Subsidies

In Wisconsin, UW System schools typically rely on private foundations to offset the costs of some university expenses. This make sense – alumni and other donors can support activities at their schools. What happens, though, when private foundations designed to supplement public programs wind up depending, themselves, on public money? One finds that even subsidies, […]

Daylight (Part 3 in a Series)

One finds oneself with a question, when there are gaps in a public record, when there are easily-avoidable deficiencies of open government: What will one do about it? A good method in this matter is deliberate, dispassionate, and diligent. A few thoughts: 1. Foundation. One looks at state and local provisions for public records and […]

Midnight (Part 2 in a Series)

Open government is right both in itself and in consequence: a free society confers political power only for limited & enumerated purposes. Those who confer this power have a right of oversight and a sensible obligation to assure that power’s exercise remains limited & enumerated. The right derives both naturally and by positive law. In […]

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 […]

UW-Whitewater’s Org Chart, 2017 Verison

UW-Whitewater has a 2017 organization chart, one I’ve embedded at the end of this post. 1. Big for Small. It’s not a big institution, but it is a big institution for a small town like Whitewater. There’s no institutional or organizational hierarchy in Whitewater half so large. 2. The key issues aren’t structural. Without question, […]

Old Whitewater and Populism

Most of the figures who represented an Old Whitewater outlook have faded from the scene. Their high water mark was several years ago; they’re receding now. Their like won’t be seen again. Their decline, however, comes in the immediate conditions of an impatient populism. That populism doesn’t represent a New Whitewater, but replaces Old Whitewater’s […]

National in Local

I’ve always thought that the best approach for local public policy is to reach for competitive national standards (where one truly tries, rather than simply insisting that local work is nationally competitive). A focus on a national approach now matters for another reason: our current national environment is troubled, and by focusing on it reminds […]

Whitewater, Rock, and the UW System

There’s a UW System plan to pair some two-year colleges with some four-year universities. Reporting on the plan first broke Tuesday night, and since that evening there’s been more information about the proposal (to be considered formally in November, and if adopted to be begun in July 2018). For the principal Wisconsin stories on the […]

Priorities: Fighting Bigotry Over Babbittry

Common men and women can learn from the examples of great men and women. In this way, one can learn how to prioritize between concurrent challenges, applying lessons from a prior and intense conflict even to present but lesser conflicts. Some threats are worse than others, and so our it’s reasonable that one places more […]


I’ve long held that Whitewater’s Major Public Institutions Produce a Net Loss (And Why It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way). This contention is true for several reasons, all leading to this result: “Whitewater’s major public institutions – her city government, school district, and local university – produce this unexpected result: although members of the government are […]

How a Campus Masks Local Mistakes

Many small towns, looking for something to attract visitors and newcomers, probably dream about the possibility of a college campus. Whitewater has a public university campus, and the majority of the city’s residents are students at that school. Thousands of students in the city assure a steady stream of retail traffic we would not otherwise […]

Whitewater, Cultures & Communications, June 2017 (Part 9: Small-Town Harvards)

This is the ninth post in a series considering related local topics of cultures & communications within the city. Alana Semuels asks Could Small-Town Harvards Revive Rural Economies? Her contention, as she succinctly describes it:   College campuses and educational institutions can bolster the economies of small towns that otherwise would be struggling like many […]

Whitewater, Cultures & Communications, June 2017 (Part 7: How It Was Supposed to Be)

This is the seventh post in a series considering related local topics of cultures & communications within the city. Consider the contemporary town-gown conditions in Whitewater. Here I am referring to present-day conditions, over the last ten or fifteen years. Part of the solution to this, surely, was meant to come from university-connected residents serving […]

On Lake, McHenry, and Walworth Counties

In August, I wrote that dorm-construction wasn’t the big story at UW-Whitewater, but rather it was the federal lawsuit against former Chancellor Telfer and [then-current] Athletic Director Amy Edmonds.   Even in her mundane story of residence-construction, the Journal Sentinel‘s Karen Herzog got it wrong: the bigger story was an increasing number of out-of-state students (now about […]