Today’s lesson plan: obey your damn teachers!

Learning self-discipline
is key to mastering life itself

Thank you very much to Michael Cummins, the lone conservative contributor to Madison’s weekly Isthmus newspaper, for connecting the dots on behalf of Madison’s public school teachers, concerned parents and their children. 

In the current issue, Cummins makes the same point Blaska Policy Werkes has been making but in a new way:

If you teach children to disrespect teachers they will do so.

Blackboard Jungle.png

Does that make sense, my liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances? Are you getting this or do we need to dumb it down even more? Mr. Cummins, you have the floor (you, in back there: report to the principal’s office. NOW!)

Maybe kids are disrespecting their teachers because adults have taught them to. … If, as [school board member Ali] Muldrow asserted during her campaign, the “theme” in Madison education is “how do we blame black children, how do we hurt black children, how do we get rid of black children, how do we not listen to black children,” then it makes perfect sense for black children to behave disrespectfully. 

As we have been saying, tell kids and their parents they are victims and you absolve them of all responsibility for their actions.  Cummins again: 

You don’t sit and politely listen to someone who wants to hurt you because of your race. … the style that many Madison equity activists have adopted is causing more injustice than it’s preventing. If we allow our teachers to be disempowered, and their classrooms thrown into chaos, then we have broken our promise to offer every child a sound basic education.

No consequences, no lesson

An academic study by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy found the same thing in its study of the public schools of Providence, Rhode Island. 

Our review teams encountered many teachers and students who do not feel safe in school. There is widespread agreement that bullying, demeaning, and even physical violence are occurring within the school walls at very high levels.

Johns Hopkins traced a direct correlation to student achievement, “which actually drops the longer students spend in Providence schools,” the Wall Street Journal reports today.

One student reported that “my best teacher’s desk was urinated on, and nothing happened.” Another noted a teacher “was choked by a student in front of the whole class. Everybody was traumatized, but nothing happened.” One district leader observed, “the students run the buildings.”

One culprit are policies that discourage student discipline. Rhode Island Democrats in 2016 passed legislation backed by the American Civil Liberties Union that limits school suspensions, which progressives claim discriminate against minorities. Teachers are reluctant to punish students, and violence and misconduct make it harder to retain good teachers.

Blaska’s bottom Line: Do you really think anti-social behavior stops at the schoolhouse door?

Today’s juvenile police blotter

2:47 p.m.  Sunday, July 7 —  Officers responded to a residence on the east side for a report of a residential burglary. The residents/victims reported that they saw someone in their bedroom with a flashlight but initially believed it was their son. Upon waking, they discovered a wallet, two pellet guns, and an iPad were stolen from the residence. The garage door was open as well. Video surveillance from multiple locations showed the suspects (2 AAMs and 2 AAFs, all in their teens) using the victims’ credit card. Investigation continuing.

8:08 p.m. Sunday, July 7 — Officers were dispatched with an alert tone for a report of a person with a gun. Several officers arrived in the area of School Rd and made contact with a 14-year-old AAM and 13-year-old AAM. They reported other juveniles in area wanted to fight them but denied that a gun was displayed. There were many conflicting narratives provided to officers on scene. Video surveillance will be reviewed.

11:32 p.m. Sunday, July 7 — Officers were dispatched to a disturbance in the area of E Johnson St where the reporting party reported shouting, screaming, and slamming doors from an intoxicated and under aged crowd. Officers arrived on scene and were approached by a victim (18-year-old WF) who reported she was battered at a party in the area. Officers observed approximately 20 underage teens associated with the suspect’s (20-year-old AAM) apartment. Investigation continuing.


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A little music on a State Street summer afternoon

Grooving, on a Saturday afternoon

Don’t know if it gets any better than this weekend (07-6/7-2019) in Madison, WI. First of all, the weather was and is glorious. Largely overcast the first part of Saturday but cheery, nonetheless, temps in the upper 70s and not terribly humid, surprising given the daily drenching we’ve been getting.

The managing director of the Policy Werkes found himself on State Street where he espied something called a Trolley Pub. It consists of eight stools (four on each side), six of which were occupied by 20-somethings energetically pedaling what amounts to a four-wheel bicycle built for eight. The non-motorized vehicle stopped in the 200 block, directly in front of the old Capitol Theater facade of the Overture Center. 

A designated driver, whom I took to be the proprietor of the contraption, remained behind. The pedalers disappeared into a storefront which I determined to be Cask & Ale, a strategically lit cave that boasts over 700 whiskies. Not this early in the day! Blaska carried a Paulaner hefeweizen, the only Munich beer on tap, out onto a sidewalk table on this fine, early afternoon. My thoughts drifted back to the Danube Symphony tour we took with Our Ms. Vicki McKenna in May, which ended in that Bavarian capital.

Directly across the street played the ornate scrollery and whimsical filigrees of the old Capitol theater, built in the 1928 when Norma Desmond was still big stuff but the movies were getting smaller. The first (partial) talkie, The Jazz Singer, was released the year before. Madison may not be Old Town Munich, but it has its moments. 

We were similarly pleased when new construction in the 100 block spared the terracotta Castle & Doyle facade, which dates from 1921. “Coal” it says on each side of the company name, evoking a time when trucks unloaded this fossil fuel down chutes built into the side of every home. Let’s hope no  Global Climate Change believers are triggered. (O.K., enough politics for today!)  

It was good to see some old favorites remaining. The decor in Nick’s restaurant remains straight out of the 1940s. The Parthenon still carves up a delightfully messy gyro but its old competitor across the street is long gone. We bought pipe-legged pants at Jazzman years ago, when they still fit us.

People watching is never dull. Young and old, the hurried and the leisurely, window shoppers and bar hoppers. The life on street level is the beating heart of a city. Kudos to Mayor Soglin for jump-starting the first civic center and restricting motorized traffic on State Street and for Dave Cieslewicz for promoting bicycling. (There, I said it. Aaargh!)

Amidst these reveries we became aware of the most heavenly sounds coming from the corner of State and Johnson Streets, directly in front of the neo-classic Yost Kessenich’s ladies wear storefront, now incorporated into the Overture Center. It was a vibraphone. Safe to say, we’ve heard buskers play violins, saxophones, guitars, and trumpets, but never a vibraphone. Its mellow sound echoed perfectly off the surrounding buildings; the effect as calming as that of a campus campanile on Parents Day.

A man named Eric expertly wielded two mallets in each hand. Fully the equal of Lionel Hampton in my decidedly non-expert opinion! Somehow, Eric was able to engage in conversation with appreciative passersby while continuing to coax bliss from the aluminum bars. Blaska wedged a clutch of paper bills into his well-filled hat. Upon leaving, five little sprites — maybe 4 and 5 years old — twirled and fluttered before his music.

A midsummer afternoon’s dream. 

(Later than evening, shots fired in the 100 block, man beaten. Story here.)


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Trump’s tanks are back on the flatbed trucks, to critics’ dismay

 Don’t you feel foolish, my liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances?!

‘Critics said’ you should be accustomed to that by now.

In the run-up to the Independence Day “Salute to America,” the Left predicted a military coup led by President-for-Life Trump.

The two (count ’em: 2) Abrams tanks in Trump’s parade would lob ordnance into the House of Representatives. The President would push a plunger, launching the inter-continental ballistic missile disguised as the Washington Monument. Target: California. Navy Seals would seize the Constitution from the National Archives for extraordinary rendition. Bret Kavanaugh would suspend habeas corpus. Ivanka would be named ambassador to Russia.

Quoting its usual sources (those being Democrats), The New York Times committed one of its trademark “Critics Said” articles. 

Trump’s decision to turn Washington’s annual Fourth of July celebration into a kind of Trump-branded rally for America has drawn criticism from Democrats, top representatives of the city government and many military officials [Blaska: at least, the ones that the Times quoted, those being former Obama people] who believe the president is using the troops and their gear as political props.

Branco Independence day

Uber-liberal D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser bad-mouthed the event and “she’s an American,” Politico assures,  “who loves celebrating the Fourth of July as a non-political event.” Mayor Bowser has “some concerns about a president not celebrating the military but glorifying military might. That scares me the most. 

Which prompted Ann of Althouse to respond:

The fireworks are the “bombs bursting in air” of the National Anthem. Now, the 4th marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, so the ideas of freedom and self-government are the most accurate focus. But the Declaration started a war, and that worked out well, and we’re glad we did it — or so we say on the 4th. So what’s so bad about “glorifying military might”?

Blaska Policy Werkes Bulletin: One is left with the impression that Democrats would rather celebrate military weakness. 

Our faces are red even if our politics are not

CNN was forced to admit:

President Donald Trump was as good as his word Thursday: He saluted America. [It was] one of the least polarizing speeches of his presidency. …. His remarks did not turn into the hyper-partisan campaign-style rally that some of his critics [Blaska: like those at CNN] had feared.”

At Slate: 

Credit where it’s due: The president did not go full authoritarian on the National Mall on Thursday.

Trump closed his speech on a note of unity, describing Americans as “one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny.” But the event, which will likely be viewed by half the country as a patriotic tribute to men and women in uniform, and the other half as a corrupt, quasi-fascistic boondoggle … 

Blaska’s Bottom LineCan you imagine any of the Democrat presidential candidates talking great about the USA like this? Instead, the party out of power describes our country as one hot mess and plays the politics of resentment. Well, they have to bitch about something, when they’re not longing for the days of court-ordered school busing. Because the economy is booming and …

They are tired of winning!

“Trump’s policies are helping workers more than Obama’s did.”

economyEspecially in nine key swing states, including Wisconsin, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Here is the great paradox of the Barack Obama economy: …Those with financial assets prospered more than middle-class wage earners. The Obama Democrats talked constantly about inequality rather than growth, and the result was less growth and more inequality.

This just in: Economy adds 224K jobs in June, exceeding expectations. Wages up 3.1% over a year ago.

Posted in Donald Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 48 Comments

A little patriotism on Independence Day

It is too much to ask?


Also known as Love of Country

From the Wall Street Journal:

Nike is entitled to cancel its products for any reason. But the rest of us are entitled to point out that no flag of the United States is a symbol of oppression and racism, and that Mr. Kaepernick’s suggestion that it is one — with Nike’s tacit agreement — is political theater based on false history. We’re also old enough to recall when feminists considered Betsy Ross a hero, not a symbol of repression. But that’s another sign of our current political insanity.

It’s also worth remembering that harebrained controversies like this give many Americans the not unreasonable sense that their country is being maligned by pampered social-justice warriors.

100 years ago

July 4, 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of my father, Jerome L. Blaska. He was proud to be born on the 4th of July, as were two of his sisters: Evelyn and Juanita (Dolly). He served his country in WW2, served eight years in the Wisconsin legislature, helped feed America on his farm, and contributed to the baby boom. He passed away on May 2, 2000.


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Chief Koval: Finally!

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval:

Last night (07-02-19), the Common Council voted to approve a contract to keep police officers in our four main high schools. [More here.] I think this is a win for public safety and I am relieved that this process has come to its conclusion.

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Over the 2018-19 school year:

  • Citations fell over 66% from the previous year and are almost 70% down from the 2015-2016 school year
  • EVERY juvenile issued a municipal citation through age 16, regardless of offense, is offered restorative justice.
  • Truancy accounted for 43% of all the citations issued at our high schools over the past four school years. The school directs the officer to issue a citation.
  • Only 0.5% of high school students were arrested on campus.
  • Twenty-five (25) individuals accounted for one-third of all citations and arrests.
  • Four of every five arrests involved a student identifying as African-American in a school district  population in which they number one of five.

Chief Koval:

Clearly, there is still much to be done with respect to exploring additional options in addressing the disparities that we see in our schools. Through deeper analysis and the new quarterly data meetings with MMSD staff that are required under the new contract, I am convinced that real opportunities will emerge for collaborative problem solving and proactive intervention efforts.

View the document here for the full report: MMSD Arrest and Citation Report 

Posted in Cops in schools, identity politics, Madison city government, Madison schools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Strange new respect for Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

She gets the job done and can run a meeting

I did not appreciate until Tuesday’s Common Council meeting (07-02-19) that it was Barzini all along — I mean, Madison’s new mayor — who broke the impasse between the school board and the city over cops in schools, although it was there for all to see.

The Madison school board had insisted it could reassign school resource officers at will; the police chief insisted that is his prerogative, alone. There it stood for six months under Mayor Soglin. Then Satya Rhodes-Conway got elected.

It was “Mayor Satya” who broke the imbroglio. Drop the reassignment clause; replace it with the option to remove a cop entirely from one of the high schools, with advance notice. That was a fig leaf for board members eager to keep their social justice card current without forfeiting their progressive frequent-flier miles.

She has done it before. During the very meeting in April in which she was sworn in as Madison’s mayor she announced the city and county had reached a compromise on maintenance for the reconstruction of Buckeye and Cottage Grove roads. Soglin had dug in his heels.

Where were the crazies?

Almost as impressive is that last night’s meeting was fairly civil. No chanting, no disruptions. Rhodes-Conway began the meeting by firmly stating that everyone would get their three minutes and no more and that she was running the show. It also helped, however, that Freedom Inc. did not flood the meeting with protestors. In fact, their turnout was anemic. Was their some back-channel communication with the social justice disrupters? That’s the rumor but the Policy Werkes cannot confirm.

Blaska chose not to attend Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting. He watched it on cable (in between catching Our Milwaukee Brewers). Kudos to James Mand, Duane Steinhauer, and Bob Schaefer for attending and speaking out. 

It also helped that it was widely known that alders overwhelmingly supported SROs. The final vote was 15-4-1. (Voting no: Foster, Kemble, Reddy, and Rummel.)

The great abstainer and paradigm shifter

Tag Evers was the abstention. The new alder represents the Bay Creek/Vilas-Monroe Street area, Madison’s heart of high-income, establishment progressivism. He is a music concert promoter in his day job. The man speaks well. Watch him.

Evers admitted that teachers begged him to vote for the contract.  Moreover, they are the right kind of teachers: “without exception, progressive, good-hearted individuals.”

But Evers sided with Freedom Inc. (They are “right on!”) He demanded a “paradigm shift” to combat the racism he knows must exist in Madison schools or what else explains the racial disparity in school discipline? (See the follow-up from Chief Koval.)

Which raises these questions:

  • The teachers in your district, are they racists?
  • How about the school nurses who demanded the SROs be retained? Racist?
  • How about the principals at the four main high schools — two of whom are minority?
  • The kids at West high school, who voted overwhelmingly for SROs? 
  • You alders who represent that attendance area, are their parents racist? 
  • The four school resource officers — three black cops and one hispanic female cop — Seriously?
  • For that matter, alders, how about yourselves? Racists?

Or maybe it is not race but behavior.

Yes, our black and brown children (but not yellow) have disproportionate behavior issues. (Blaska is not the one making this about race.) While you progressives are curing poverty and racism, young people need to know they are accountable for their actions in the meantime. If not in high school, then on the job — or in the courtroom.

Memo to Evers: We are all very impressed how “woke” you are. But you do not abstain from a vote unless you have a direct financial interest in the question. Alders vote; that is what they are elected to do. Abstaining is dereliction of duty and cowardly, to boot.

Posted in Cops in schools, Madison city government, Madison schools | Tagged , , | 2 Comments