Latest Palmyra-Eagle District News

There’s more news about the Palmyra-Eagle School District since a state advisory board voted (6-1) against the dissolution of that district. The policy lessons are valuable to many places, including Whitewater.  (Earlier posts opposing dissolution appear at the end of this post.)

 Motions Before the School District Boundary Appeal Board on 1.9.20. Motion 1 (Motion to Deny) and Motions 2-4 (dissolution options, not acted on as the Motion to Deny was approved).

 Unsubstantiated Savings. Although some proponents of dissolution have argued that dissolution would have worked a cost-saving overall, they’ve shown no persuasive analysis to support that contention. Nothing about dissolution would have caused a discharge of prior obligations or indebtedness, and a reallocation of obligations for past expenditures and ongoing public education is markedly different from a reduction in costs. (This is especially true overall — Mukwonago and her state representative strongly dissolution, but the effects of dissolution would not have been confined to that one district and her politician-advocate.)

Very few small communities in this area see well-considered studies on economic policy. There’s a lot of guessing, estimating, supposing, etc. – but back-of-the-envelope conjecture cheats residents of the solid standard that America can and should meet. A headline is not an analysis.

 A New Board for Palmyra-Eagle. One reads that (unsurprisingly) Nearly half of the Palmyra-Eagle school board quits following the ruling that the district won’t dissolve:

Three of the seven members of the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board, including the president and vice president, have resigned following the state’s denial of the district’s dissolution attempt.

School board president Scott Hoff, vice president Tara Bollmann and clerk Carrie Ollis announced their resignations at the Jan. 14 board meeting, effective at the end of the meeting.

The resignations come five days after the School District Boundary Appeal Board, a panel made up of school board members from around the state, denied the district’s dissolution by a 6-1 vote.


Hoff said one of the reasons he stepped down is because during the SDBAB’s hearing process, a member of a citizens group came forward and said a community member was willing to give $100,000 in matching donations to help the district if the current school board would step down.

“They need the money far more than they need me,” Hoff said.

One can be sure that about this, if little else, Hoff is right.

Previously: (1) On the Dissolution of the Palmyra-Eagle School District, Reason Carries the Day, (2) Educational (Among Other) Uncertainties in Rural Communities, (3) School Board, 10.28.19: 3 Points, and (4) Dissolving a School District.

Daily Bread for 1.16.20

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny, with a high of sixteen.  Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:47 PM, for 9h 25m 55s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 61.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred sixty-fourth day.

On this day in 1945, facing defeat on all fronts, Hitler moves into his underground Fuhrerbunker located near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

Recommended for reading in full —

Bruce Murphy writes Why a Voter Purge Is So Critical (‘The goal is to reelect Trump. Even if that means purging some Republican voters, too’):

Nationally and in Wisconsin, purging the voting list has been proven a great way to remove Democratic-leaning voters. “The number of purged voters has been especially dramatic in Milwaukee and Dane counties, the state’s two heaviest Democratic strongholds, where nearly one in four voters have been removed from the rolls,” the CMD found. “Milwaukee County has lost 150,954 voters since the end of 2016, a 26% decrease; Dane County has lost 88,254, a 23% drop.”

Yes, the system drops some voters in Republican areas, but GOP strategists are willing to disenfranchise some of their likely voters in return for wiping out much larger numbers of Democratic voters. Moreover, Milwaukee and Dane County have by far the most outmanned election polls, where the confusion caused by purged voters could cause the most problems. “It is very likely that thousands of voters will show up to vote in November only to find that they are no longer registered,” said CMD’s David Armiak. “Fortunately, Wisconsin allows election day registration, but this could lead to confusion and delays during what is expected to be a high turnout election.”

Justin Clark, a senior political adviser and senior counsel to Trump’s reelection campaign, recently told told influential Republicans in Wisconsin that the party has “traditionally” relied on voter suppression to compete in battleground states. Esenberg and his ever-growing staff of Harvard degree lawyers are doing their best to assure that happens.

And never has that strategy made more sense than for a president who has never had the approval of a majority of the voters. Republicans need to find every way possible to suppress or discourage voting by Democrats and independents in the 2020 election or President Trump won’t be reelected. And no state is more critical to that effort. The vote in Wisconsin, many experts believe, could decide the election, and even the purging of a small percent of the state’s voters could do the trick. Trump won this state in 2016 by just 22,748 out of about 2.9 million cast.

To Jacobs, the giveaway is that [Rick] Esenberg and others pushing to purge the voter lists only want efforts “to kick voters off the rolls,” not to add any voters who were mistakenly removed. “That tells you what this is all about.”

 Riley Vetterkind reports Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly outraises rivals as he gets nod from Donald Trump:

Conservative-backed Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly raised more than double the amount of liberal-backed opponent Jill Karofsky in the last half of 2019, and he garnered President Donald Trump’s endorsement at a rally Tuesday evening.

As the state nears the Feb. 18 primary, preliminary reports show Kelly raised $556,184, compared with $227,553 for Karofsky, a Dane County Circuit Court judge. The other liberal-supported candidate in the race, Marquette Law School professor Ed Fallone, hasn’t yet provided detailed fundraising figures for the last half of the year, but his campaign says he raised $150,000 during all of 2019.

Continue reading

Daily Bread for 1.15.20

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be cloudy, with a high of thirty-six.  Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:46 PM, for 9h 24m 12s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 72.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred sixty-third day.

On this day in 1967, the Packers win the first Super Bowl (over Chiefs, 35-10).

Recommended for reading in full —

Neal Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer write Lev Parnas and Rudy Giuliani have demolished Trump’s claims of innocence:

Americans who have been wondering why President Trump has taken the extraordinary step of trying to block every document from being released to Congress in his impeachment inquiry need wonder no longer. The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate. These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging: that he was really fighting corruption when he pressured Ukraine on matters related to the Biden family; that Hunter Biden should be called as a witness at the Senate impeachment trial; and that there’s no need for a real, honest-to-goodness trial in the Senate.


The documents released Tuesday show what Trump has been so afraid of. For starters, they prove that Trump’s already-eyebrow-raising claim to have been fighting corruption in Ukraine was bogus. Notes taken by an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, Lev Parnas — now facing federal criminal charges — show what his and Giuliani’s mission was when they got in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “get Zalensky to Announce that the Biden case will Be Investigated.” Look hard at the real goal here: not to prompt an investigation of Hunter Biden, but to score an announcement of a Biden investigation. Pursuing an announcement, rather than an investigation, makes sense only if Trump’s objective was to dirty the reputation of a leading political rival, Joe Biden.


Trump’s push had nothing to do with what Biden did or didn’t do, and everything to do with whether Trump could extort and bully the Ukrainian leadership into casting aspersions on Biden regardless of what he did or didn’t do. That leaves Biden with nothing of relevance to say at a Senate impeachment trial — the final word on Trump’s preposterous effort to refocus scrutiny on the Biden family. That was, of course, the very push that got Trump into this mess in the first place, so to allow him to succeed now through the mechanism of impeachment would be irony bordering on tragedy.

Will Sommer and Betsy Swan report Meet the Trump Donor Who Allegedly Stalked America’s Ambassador in Ukraine:

Before Tuesday, he was best known as a little-known, scandal-scarred Republican congressional candidate who tweeted an obscene joke at Kamala Harris. But new documents from the House Intelligence Committee have put a completely different kind of spotlight on Robert F. Hyde, the Trump donor who appears to have tracked U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s movements in Ukraine.

In WhatsApp messages exchanged in March 2019 with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who provided the committee with the files, Hyde and Parnas discussed Yovanovitch’s location. Hyde, a retired Marine, appeared to have associates in Ukraine monitoring her.


“They will let me know when she’s on the move… They are willing to help if you/we would like a price.”

Continue reading


‘Innovation Center’ as Empty Rhetoric: “As a general term, innovation center doesn’t say anything specific to us, so we were from the start trying to understand what they meant by that” — Matt Jewell, an engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, writing of Foxconn’s chimerical ‘innovation’ centers.



Daily Bread for 1.14.20

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy, with a high of thirty-nine.  Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset 4:45 PM, for 9h 22m 32s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 82.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred sixty-second day.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM

On this day in 1784, United States Congress of the Confederation ratifies the Treaty of Paris.

Recommended for reading in full —

David J. Lynch reports Trump’s trade deal with China won’t give many U.S. companies relief, as most tariffs will remain:

Nearly two-thirds of everything Americans buy from China will face tariffs, compared with less than 1 percent before the president began his anti-China campaign, according to an analysis.

Riccardo Torres reports Millions paid to advisers on Foxconn project:

Some consulting firms have already received thousands — and in one case, millions —of dollars working on the project for the state, Racine County and Mount Pleasant.

In total, among the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant, consultants and other firms have been paid more than $5.3 million from 2017 to October 2019.

Mount Pleasant has paid out the most, more than $3.6 million during that time period. Much of that money is related to work done to secure the land and infrastructure needed for the project.


According to documents obtained through open-records requests, in 2017 Kapur and Associates received $86,700 from Mount Pleasant. In 2018, it received $240,000; in 2019, through October, the firm had received $208,000.

That is a total of $534,700 from Mount Pleasant, and the total is growing.


Besides Kapur and Associates, Mount Pleasant has paid the law firm of von Briesen and Roper, S.C., $2.26 million in total since 2017. Alan Marcuvitz, attorney with von Briesen, has been working with the village on land acquisition for the village and other legal matters with Foxconn.

Mueller Communications LLC, communication consultant for the village on Foxconn, has received more than $684,000 since 2017.

Ehlers, Inc., financial adviser to the village on Foxconn, has received more than $114,000 from the village since 2017.

Since 2017, the county has paid Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C., more than $575,000 for legal services; PFM received more than $259,000 for financial services; Quarles and Brady, LLP, received more than $138,000 for legal services; and Moody’s Corp., received $18,500 for financial services.

The county also paid more than $545,000 toward an underwriter discount related to bonding the county did on the project.

Since 2017, the state has paid Foley and Lardner, LLP, more than $177,000 for legal services; Baker, Tilly, Vircho, Krause, LLP received $16,500 for “third-party analysis;” and Display Supply Chain Consultants, LLC received $2,500 for a “display industry tutorial.”

Corrine Hess reports Foxconn Promised Wisconsin ‘Innovation Centers,’ But Hasn’t Yet Delivered:

Foxconn bought buildings in the cities’ downtowns, promising to employ hundreds of workers at each site. The company said it would recruit from nearby colleges.

Two years later, nothing has opened. And none of the 1,200 jobs have been filled.

The innovation centers themselves were vaguely explained as a place to foster entrepreneurship.

Matt Jewell, an engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said he hoped his students could work at Foxconn. But he’s unclear what the company is doing.

“As a general term, innovation center doesn’t say anything specific to us, so we were from the start trying to understand what they meant by that,” Jewell said.

Continue reading


Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay: Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman highlight one of the failures of public subsidies for businesses in places like Whitewater — Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay (article linked in today’s Daily Bread post). Subsidized job-creation in those circumstances is more political point than practical achievement.

Daily Bread for 1.13.20

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy, with a high of thirty-three.  Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:44 PM, for 9h 20m 56s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 90.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred sixty-first day.

Whitewater’s school board meets tonight at 5:45 PM

On this day in 1922, radio station WHA is first licensed as a broadcasting station, to the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison

Recommended for reading in full —

Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman write Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay:

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation report (better known as the “jobs report”) to outline latest state of the nation’s economy. And with it, of late, have been plenty of positive headlines—with unemployment hovering around 3.5%, a decade of job growth, and recent upticks in wages, the report’s numbers have mostly been good news.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Are these jobs any good? How much do they pay? Do workers make enough to live on?


In a recent analysis, we found that 53 million workers ages 18 to 64—or 44% of all workers—earn barely enough to live on. Their median earnings are $10.22 per hour, and about $18,000 per year. These low-wage workers are concentrated in a relatively small number of occupations, including retail sales, cooks, food and beverage servers, janitors and housekeepers, personal care and service workers (such as child care workers and patient care assistants), and various administrative positions.


Two-thirds (64%) of low-wage workers are in their prime working years of 25 to 54.

More than half (57%) work full-time year-round, the customary schedule for employment intended to provide financial security.

About half (51%) are primary earners or contribute substantially to family living expenses.

Thirty-seven percent have children. Of this group, 23% live below the federal poverty line.

Less than half (45%) of low-wage workers ages 18 to 24 are in school or already have a college degree.

These statistics tell an important story: Millions of hardworking American adults struggle to eke out a living and support their families on very low wages.

Anna Wolfe and Michelle Liu report Think Debtors Prisons Are a Thing of the Past? Not in Mississippi:

Mississippi appears to be the only state where judges lock people up for an indefinite time while they work to earn money to pay off court-ordered debts. While there is no comprehensive data, legal experts who study fines, fees and restitution say Mississippi is unusual at the very least.


A handful of states experimented with restitution programs starting in the 1970s, but abandoned them as expensive and ineffective.

Not Mississippi. Judges have sentenced hundreds of people a year to four restitution centers around the state, almost always ordering them to stay until they pay off court fees, fines and restitution to victims, according to four years of government records analyzed by Mississippi Today and The Marshall Project.

People sent to the centers had been sentenced for felonies but didn’t commit violent crimes, according to the program rules. When we tracked down the cases of more than 200 people confined there on Jan. 1, 2019, we found that most originally got suspended sentences, meaning they did not have to go to prison.

Nearly 700,00 Set to Lose Food Stamps:

Film: Tuesday, January 14th, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, The Art of Racing in the Rain

This Tuesday, January 14th at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of The Art of Racing in the Rain @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:

Rated PG; 1 hour, 49 minutes. (2019)

Dog lovers believe their canine family members understand language, comprehend events, have opinions, and can exude loyalty. Through his bond with his owner, a Formula 1 race car driver, golden retriever Enzo learns that the techniques needed on a racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life. Stars Milo Ventimiglia (of “This Is Us” TV series), Kevin Costner, and Amanda Seyfried.

One can find more information about The Art of Racing in the Rain at the Internet Movie Database.


Daily Bread for 1.12.20

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy, with a high of thirty.  Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:43 PM, for 9h 19m 22s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 95.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred sixtieth day.

On this day in 1864, the 20th Wisconsin Infantry takes part in a battle in Matamoras, Mexico.

Recommended for reading in full —

The Lincoln Project rightly rejects a ‘MAGA Church’ as heretical:

  Conservative evangelical Michael Gerson writes Evangelicals need to follow Christianity’s morals, not Trump’s:

It is in this context [of Fox News as a combination of “social Darwinism and the Playboy philosophy, resulting in the survival of the scummiest”] that the recent commentary by Mark Galli in Christianity Today calling for President Trump’s removal from office should be read. Here, in contrast to Fox News, is an institution trying to use a specifically Christian lens to examine the president’s conduct in office. Galli argues that cheating to influence a presidential election is not merely a threat to the Constitution but also “profoundly immoral.” Trump’s lies and slanders on Twitter are “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” The corruption and cruelty of the president and those around him have “rendered this administration morally unable to lead.”


From the perspective of Trump partisans, a less carnal version of the Ailes arrangement still applies. Evangelical Christians will be given rhetorical deference, White House access and judges and regulations of their liking. All they need to do is set aside their criticisms of cruelty, deception, misogyny, racism and contempt for the vulnerable. All they need to do is forget decency and moral consistency.

From the standpoint of committed evangelical Christians, the calculus should be more complex. Christians are called to be representatives of God’s kingdom in the life of this world. Betraying that role not only hurts the reputation of evangelicalism; it does a nasty disservice to the reputation of the Gospel. It is time, and past time, for Christian believers to listen to Christian sources on Christian social ethics, including the small, clear voice of Christianity Today.

See also from Gerson, Some white evangelicals are difficult to recognize as Christians at all.

Gavin Evans writes of The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’:

One of the strangest ironies of our time is that a body of thoroughly debunked “science” is being revived by people who claim to be defending truth against a rising tide of ignorance. The idea that certain races are inherently more intelligent than others is being trumpeted by a small group of anthropologists, IQ researchers, psychologists and pundits who portray themselves as noble dissidents, standing up for inconvenient facts. Through a surprising mix of fringe and mainstream media sources, these ideas are reaching a new audience, which regards them as proof of the superiority of certain races.


Although race science has been repeatedly debunked by scholarly research, in recent years it has made a comeback. Many of the keenest promoters of race science today are stars of the “alt-right”, who like to use pseudoscience to lend intellectual justification to ethno-nationalist politics. If you believe that poor people are poor because they are inherently less intelligent, then it is easy to leap to the conclusion that liberal remedies, such as affirmative action or foreign aid, are doomed to fail.

Protecting Pangolins From Poachers in South Africa:

Daily Bread for 1.11.20

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see snow and sleet, with a daytime high of twenty-eight.  Sunrise is 7:23 AM and sunset 4:41 PM, for 9h 17m 53s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand one hundred fifty-ninth day.

On this day in 1887, Aldo Leopold, environmentalist, professor at the University of Wisconsin, and author of A Sand County Almanac, is born.

Recommended for reading in full —

Katelyn Ferral reports Evers hires ombudsman to oversee sexual assault investigations in Wisconsin National Guard:

Gov. Tony Evers has hired a Georgia Army National Guard officer for a new position to assist survivors of sexual assault in the Wisconsin National Guard.

Evers announced Friday that Lt. Col. Brian Bischoff will serve as ombudsman for the Wisconsin Air and Army Guard. In this independent position, Bischoff will field concerns and facilitate communication regarding sexual assault investigations between the governor’s office and the National Guard.

The position is a federal one, and is being created for Wisconsin by the National Guard Bureau, a federal administrative agency that oversees Guard units nationwide. Bischoff will report to the state beginning next week, according to Evers’ office.

  Cori Hess reports Foxconn Scraps $5 Billion Plant in India:

Foxconn has scrapped plans for a $5 billion manufacturing plant in India, citing multiple economic factors.

Industries minister Subhash Desai confirmed to media outlets in India on Monday that the deal was dead. Foxconn signed a memorandum of understanding in 2015 to build the plant to make mobile phones and components and help create up to 50,000 jobs by 2020, according to the Times of India.

Analyst Alberto Moel, who until recently covered the Asian flat panel display industry from Hong Kong for a research firm, Sanford C. Bernstein, said he’s not surprised Foxconn pulled out of India.

“This is not the first time they’ve done this and the reasons they are giving are sensible,” Moel said. “They are in a tight spot and would rather not spend $5 billion in India.”

A proposed $1 billion manufacturing plant in Indonesia and a $30 million plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, never materialized.

Patrick Marley reports Wisconsin Republicans block Trump’s primary opponents from the ballot:

Wisconsin Republicans blocked President Donald Trump’s GOP opponents Tuesday from appearing on the state’s primary ballot.

The move comes after Trump’s backers in other states have canceled their primaries, even though Trump has an easy path to winning his party’s nomination for a second term.

Two Republicans are mounting long-shot campaigns against Trump — former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. Those candidates can go around Republican leaders to get on the Wisconsin ballot if they can gather thousands of signatures over the next three weeks.

Taeggan Goddard writes of Trump’s Middle Name:

Standing near the bar, Sherman ran into Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, and the two started chatting. Sherman asked Luntz when he last saw the President. “Last week, at the White House Christmas party,” Luntz said. Sherman asked what the two men talked about, to which Luntz replied that he had asked Trump what his middle initial “J” stands for. “Genius,” Trump responded.

The Hype Over Quantum Computers, Explained:

Market-Hating Republicans Have Been a Local Problem for Years

George Will, writing in the Washington Post, observes that Josh Hawley sounds like he has far too much faith in government:

The sails of [Republican] Sen. Josh Hawley’s political skiff are filled with winds gusting from the right. They come from conservatives who think that an array of — perhaps most of — America’s social injuries, from addiction to loneliness — have been inflicted by America’s economy. Individualism, tendentiously defined, is the Missouri Republican’s named target. Inevitably, however, the culprit becomes capitalism, which is what individual freedom is in a market society’s spontaneous order.

In a November speech to like-minded social conservatives of the American Principles Project, Hawley said: “We live in a troubled age.” Not pausing to identify a prior, untroubled age, he elaborated: “Across age groups and regions, across races and income, the decline in community is undeniable. But it is not accidental.” Well.

Time was, Marxists’ characteristic rhetorical trope was “it is no accident” that this or that happened. As economic determinists, they believed that everything is explained by iron laws of economic development.

Josh Hawley is late to this anti-market orientation. Local and state Republicans (especially in Wisconsin) are veterans of intervening in the marketplace and directing public resources to their preferred private business recipients. The WEDC, Foxconn, and the Whitewater Community Development Authority have engaged in years of arrogant (and ineffectual) marketplace intervention. A local community development authority should have looked, this last decade, like more than a landlord’s ramshackle clubhouse. 

Long before the national GOP lost its way, local Republicans in places like Whitewater had abandoned sound theory for their own ludicrously unjustified sense of entitlement.