From Ferguson to Madison: safe streets are a casualty of the War on Cops

The War on Cops is real. The victims of this war are more black men slaughtered on the mean streets of America as police pull back, hunker down, drive on by. It’s called the Ferguson Effect and it is being felt today in Madison, Wisconsin, where bullets are flying and bodies falling at record pace. What did you expect?

(101 incidents of shots fired in Madison, a 53% more than the same period last year; and 10 homicides, tying in 7 months the city’s record for an entire year.)

A remarkable exposé now on-line at CNN connects the dots between the self-defense police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and the 11% spike in murder and non-negligent homicide nationally from 2014 to 2015 — the largest single-year increase in 45 years.Koval study city

… No one can be certain why violent crime rose by 65% here in the first year after Mike Brown’s death, why it stayed nearly that high in the second year, why homicides went from two in 2014 to five in 2015 to nine in 2016, a higher per capita rate than Chicago. One can only speculate on why the murder rate nearly doubled in surrounding St. Louis County from 2014 to 2015, or whether it had anything to do with a sharp decrease in traffic stops and arrests for minor offenses.

The Trigger and the Choice; Ferguson, Affectedconfirms the efficacy of Broken Windows policing. It validates traffic stops as an essential crime-fighting tool. And it chronicles the pull back of police in the wake of lawsuits, Obama Justice Department consent decrees, second-guessing, and Leftist harassment.

In 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama, a man left the car during a traffic stop and moved aggressively toward an officer. The officer later said he hesitated to use force because he “didn’t want to be in the media.” The man punched him, took his gun and pistol-whipped him into unconsciousness. In 2016 in Chicago, a suspect on PCP struggled with a female officer. She later told the police superintendent she didn’t shoot him because she didn’t want to make the national news. The man overpowered her and repeatedly smashed her face on the pavement.

In a 2016 survey of nearly 8,000 police officers by the Pew Research Center, 86% said the high-profile shootings had made their jobs harder. And 72% said their colleagues were now less willing than before to stop and question suspicious people.

“Less and less [fewer and fewer] people are applying to be police officers,” said Cedric Alexander, former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. “And I’ve had young people tell me this: ‘Why should I go out there and make $38,000 a year and get shot in the face?’”

The mayor of Ferguson, Missouri, then and now, is James Knowles.

Knowles spent five years as a Ferguson police dispatcher, getting a sense of what officers do and why they do it, and he gained an appreciation for the role of the traffic stop. It was not just about revenue, he said. It was about vigilance. If a car had the wrong plate, it might be stolen. If the car was stolen, the driver might be wanted for other crimes. If the driver was wanted for other crimes, he might be carrying an illegal gun, and he might be on his way to yet another crime.

Ted Bundy, Randy Kraft, Joel Rifkin, James E. Swanson, Jr. and Timothy McVeigh were notorious murderers. What else did they have in common? They were all captured after routine traffic stops.

If a town built a reputation for pulling over a lot of cars, which Ferguson did, then criminals would adjust their behavior and either stop driving stolen cars and illegal guns through Ferguson or stop driving through Ferguson altogether. Either way, Ferguson achieved the desired effect.

Then came the Mike Brown incident, and the protesters, and the Justice Department, and a consent decree, and the mass police exodus, and the department was left with neither the will nor the officers to stop a lot of vehicles.

There is hope. Police supporter Knowles (a white man in a city two-thirds black) was re-elected this April with 56% of the vote against a black alder woman.

Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Madison city government, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Wisconsin get Toyota, too?

In one way, Donald Trump reminds me of Tommy Thompson. More, anon.

Now comes word that, as the Wall Street Journal reports: “Toyota gets on Trump’s good side with $1.6 Billion U.S. factory.” Partnering with Mazda to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in the United States that will create as many as 4,000 jobs. To open in four years but where? They didn’t say.

Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, and President Trump — man your battle stations! Next stop, Janesville?

Hizzonerdamare Paul Soglin jumped in front of the cameras and jumped onto the Foxcomm bandwagon, Thursday. (Platinum subscribers to this blog get two transitive action verbs in the same sentence!)

As Brother James Wigderson notes at RightWisconsin:

Mayor Paul Soglin, a possible candidate for governor, is walking the tightrope on the Foxconn development. On the one hand, Soglin is making it clear he’s opposed to the deal by calling it “over the top.”

In that, Soglin is on the same bandwidth as his Democrats in wishing that the economic incentives dangled in front of the Taiwan-based maker of interactive computer screens would be spent instead on public schools, troubled neighborhood community centers, and midnight basketball.

But Hizzonerdamare wants the best of both worlds. If you’re only considering Wisconsin because of the state largesse (largely infrastructure and tax forgiveness) please consider MadTown. We got a vacant meat packing plant you may be interested in.

Fat chance. Yes, Kenosha/Racine is being considered for its proximity to Chicago, electricity and water. But we’ve got that, too. But Kenosha/Racine is also Paul Ryan’s district; a Republican district. You think the most liberal city in the state, located in the leader of the Progressive Caucus’s congressional district is going to be awarded this plum? No chance.

A jobs president?

The U.S. has added more than a million jobs since President Trump took office.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, matching a 16-year low. Economists are calling it virtual full employment. By closing above 22,000 on Wednesday, the Dow has notched its sixth straight record and 49th since Trump was elected.

Americans were willing to forgive Bubba Clinton his sexual predations because the nation’s economy was bubbling. Might it be the same with The Donald?

What other president has so celebrated job creation? It started with the Carrier plant in Indiana. Coal miners in the Oval Office. Trump goes to Kenosha, stands with the workers at Snap-on against a backdrop of an American flag fashioned from the company’s hand tools. Then the Foxconn rollout at the White House.

Trump gets the jawboning aspect of his office, if nothing else.

That’s why Trump reminds me of Tommy Thompson — minus Tommy’s good manners and generous disposition.

That must be why Tommy T. was an early supporter of The Donald — without the good manners and generous disposition.

Both execs get positively giddy when they are able to announce Job Creation!

Your Humble Squire was staffing the governor’s appearance at a Fox Valley paper mill expansion when the chief exec turned to Tommy and apologized that he could not keep his promise to created the announced number of new jobs.

Tommy’s face dropped into his tie.

The exec continued, “Sorry, but we’re created one hundred MORE jobs than that!”

Thompson leaped out of his chair and fairly hugged the exec. And Wisconsin prospered.

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Dave Zweifel: pls stop making civility a partisan issue

Letter to edDear Dave Zweifel:

Thought I’d write. It’s been awhile. Wanted to say thanks for putting up with me those 12 years I worked for you at The Capital Times. Have always admired your essential human decency.

Read your latest column in The Capital Times, as I always do. We agree that Donald Trump has coarsened the public discourse. I’ve said so many times. But I must object to your partisan blinders.

You maintain that “the political low road runs through Wisconsin” — all engendered by The Donald. You cite two examples (and only two), both from the state Republican party spokesman, who supposedly called:

  1. Gubernatorial Andy Gronick “an out-of-touch con artist” and
  2. Candidate Mike McCabe a “phony.”

Wow! Rough stuff! (Snark alert!)

Characteristically, Dave, you cite no examples of coarseness coming from the Democrats. Saints be praised! That’s what I mean by your blind partisanship. So allow me to add one word at the end of your headline:

The political low road runs through WisconsinDemocrats.

There, now it makes sense.

‘Jeffrey Dahmer’?

Well before Donald Trump descended that staircase at Trump Tower, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin employed an official spokesperson named Graeme Zielinski.

We’re not talking some liberal radio shock jock named Sly. (“Aunt Jemima” anyone? The guy who alleged that Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch performed fellatio to get elected. Your John Nichols was a frequent guest on Sly’s show.)

No, Graeme Zielinski, the official spokesman for a major political party for several years earlier this decade!

This is a guy who tweeted: “It’s Medicare’s 45th Birthday. Celebrate by punching a Republican.”

PolitiFact called out his mendacious linking of the governor with “boy rape.”

Zielsinki called one female campaign operative a “war profiteer” and “gas bag.”

Chronically referenced then-radio host Charlie Sykes (ironically, a never Trumper) as “adulterer Charlie Sykes.” UW pollster Charles Franklin (who does the respected Marquette Law School poll) was a Republican “hack.”

But his greatest hit was likening Scott Walker to serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. (” … better lawyer.”)

Did you ever say Word One to chastise Graeme Zielinski or the Democrat(ic) party for funneling its message through that human sewer pipe? No you did not.

Or the Democrats portraying Paul Ryan pushing granny’s wheelchair off a cliff?

Or bullies disrupting a conservative speech on the UW-Madison campus? (Cue Simon and Garfunkle.)

No nooses is good nooses

Never mind the little Hitler mustaches that the Act 10 protestors drew on Scott Walker’s photo. The nooses. Death threats. If you weren’t cheering them on you were making excuses and if you weren’t making excuses you were ignoring the outrages. (Worth noting: Never once did Scott Walker respond in kind.)

Dave! If I had a dime for every time The Capital Times called Tommy Thompson “King Tommy,” (payback for the people of Wisconsin electing him governor a record four times?) or caricatured him with a sinister Nixon/McCarthy 5 o’clock shadow, or mocked his manner of “speakin’ and talkin’ ” … Another decent man who loved Wisconsin like few could: Tommy Thompson. While he was governor those 14 years, you never had a good word to say about him. Always the mocking and over-heated rhetoric about how he was ruining Wisconsin. Do you still think Tommy Thompson ruined Wisconsin? (Just wondering.)

In closing, my point, Dave, is that civility is not a partisan issue. Making it so is … not civil. 

Hope you are doing well. Still read you faithfully. And thanks for linking to the Stately Blaska Manor. You drive me some eyeballs and I am happy to return the favor.

/s/ Squire Blaska of the Stately Manor

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After the latest homicide, has the worm turned? Is Enough finally ENOUGH!

Crime scene

Who is killing all the young black men of Madison? It ain’t the police!

Congratulations, Madison! On the 2nd day of August, a little more than halfway through the year, we have managed to tie the record number of homicides in a single calendar year (10) with five months left to go!

Number 10 being the fatal, point-blank hit job shortly after midnight Wednesday (8-2-17) at a convenience store off the Beltline and Todd Drive. The homicides headlline Madison’s story of a bullets-flying spring and summer.

One small consolation. Have you noticed? Brenda Konkel, Freedom Inc., Brandi Grayson, Sharon Irwin, and Alders Rummel, Bidar-Sielaff, Baldeh and their cop-bashing colleagues are laying low, saying little. When they do squeak, it is to mouth platitudes about the increasing gun violence in town.

Ald. Amanda Hall, for instance, tried lamely to pivot from Blame the Police to Keep Us Safe. She is “steamed!”

Today we turn over the keys to the Stately Manor today to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, the man of the hour in the absence of Mayor Soglin, who heard somewhere at one of the out-if-state conferences he likes to go to of yet another government program that will “build community.”

In his blog, Chief Koval suggests that the city’s mood has changed.

I am greatly encouraged by the collective outpouring of sentiments and actions that reflect our disdain for those who are attempting to lay siege to our community by their selfish, impulsive, reckless, and ruthless acts of senseless gun violence (yesterday’s homicide and serious injuries in the lot of the 7-Eleven off Todd Drive was yet another horrific chapter).  Calls to action are reaching a crescendo and are coming from every direction of greater Madison. This is something to behold in the midst of such despair and desperation. As a community, we are coming to a better understanding that this gun violence can no longer be discounted or minimized. …

I have listened to parts of talk shows, attended neighborhood meetings, prayed at vigils, participated in Stop the Violence-themed gatherings and picnics, heard the outrage from our community leaders and clergy, met with elected officials, and everyone is on the same page. Enough is enough!

Chief Koval also spoke with the Divine Miss Vicki McKenna Wednesday: Continue reading

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Two Wisconsin counties consider merging for efficiencies

The question arose back when Your Humble Squire was laboring at the Department of Revenue. Lafayette county was hurting for revenue. Its population of 16,753 is less than Fitchburg’s. The county, southwest of Dane County, responded by instituting a sales tax, which raised all of $840,000 last year. That compares to $54.9 million in Dane County.

Your Humble Squire thought at the time: Why couldn’t Lafayette County merge with Iowa County to the north?


We ran the county map of Wisconsin through Ol’Sparky to propose merged counties. After throwing a fan belt and singing “Mary had a little lamb,” the Eisenhower-era mainframe effected 21 mergers involving 54 of our state’s 72 counties. That cuts the number of counties to 39. Our least populated unconsolidated county would be Green, at 37,075 but still the 39th most populous of the current 72.
In general, Ol’ Sparky did not touch counties small in geographic area if they have large population centers. Milwaukee (population: 951,448), obviously.
There’s less of a case to merge Dodge (population: 88,068) and Jefferson (population: 84,625) counties except that the two counties split Watertown, the largest city between them.
Wood (population: 73,107) and Portage (population: 70,447) lie side by side. They seem to be separated only to preserve the spheres of influence of their largest cities: Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, respectively. Geographically a merged Wood and Portage County would be about the same size and population as Marathon (physically, the states’s largest county at 1,584 square miles) to the north. Ozaukee is the second smallest at 233 square miles to Pepin’s 232.
Even merged, only 22,073 would populate Ashland and Iron counties. But its combined area make it bigger than Marathon County. Distance remains a factor, although less so in this Information Age.

No county has ever merged with another. Now, apparently, Ozaukee and Washington Counties are raising the possibility. Both counties are populous (Ozaukee: 88,314; Washington: 134,296). Both counties are wealthy Republican exurbs of Greater Milwaukee. Which means they recognize the value of a dollar and are not in thrall to More and Bigger Gummint.

WTMJ-4 reports that Washington County, faced with budget troubles, is “thinking out of the box [including] dissolving county lines and completely merging with Ozaukee County.

“I know that if we go down this path, that guys like me don’t have a job but I’m good with that,” the Washington County administrator said.

His County has already saved $300,000 by merging its health department with Ozaukee and another hundred grand merging with the Waukesha County medical examiner.

The Washington County Administrator sent a letter to four of its neighboring counties, letting them know about their fiscal health status. Continue reading

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Would Wisconsin Democrats Have Opposed Louisiana Purchase, Too?

Greg Humphrey, former Democrat(ic) assembly aide, resident of Madison’s Isthmus writes:

I was not surprised about the negative comments which came from some members in my party.  To hear some of my fellow Democrats snort over the Foxconn deal makes me wonder how hard they want to be in the majority again in this state?  After all, packaging state resources into a powerful program to create jobs over a wide array of communities is the smartest thing to have emerged from our statehouse in a very long time.  And my party needs to get on board this plan and provide hearty support.


The effort to land large and economically healthy businesses within our state is a most competitive undertaking.  Multiple states vied for the technology giant Foxconn, each offering incentive plans which included tax deals to sweeten the pot.  That is the reality of how public and private interests now need to work to ensure great strides are made for economic development.  While I have long been supportive of such undertakings, I readily admit my surprise when Lo and Behold Wisconsin landed this deal.

And not just any deal, either. The Foxconn development plan would be the largest green-field investment by a foreign-based company in our nation’s history.

With a $10 billion investment by Foxconn which will directly stimulate 13,000 jobs, with a large number of spin-off developments and jobs, means this is the powerhouse proposal Wisconsin needs.  While there are always hurdles and bumps in such planning the attempts by some to…

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