Saturday, February 5, 2022

GET ME REWRITE: Oklahoma's Rob Standridge grabs a big lead for Batshit Crazy of the Year award


AlterNet, 2/5/2022
According to WBNS, Senate Bill (SB) 1470, written by "Students' Religious Belief Protection Act," is a proposal presented by Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Okla.). 
The bill focuses on "prohibiting public school from employing or contracting with certain persons; authorizing parent to bring certain action; providing sequence of remedies for certain action; providing exception to application of The Governmental Tort Claims Act; providing for non-codification; providing for codification; and declaring an emergency." 
Standridge's proposal reads, "No public school of this state, as defined pursuant to Section 1-106 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes, shall employ or contract with a person that promotes positions in the classroom or at any function of the public school that is in opposition to closely held religious beliefs of students."
Quakers are pacifists, against war.  Fuggedabout lessons on the American Revolution, Civil War, the World Wars, etc. etc. etc.

Standridge is a certified Looney Tune.

More votes for Democrats in rural Wisconsin? Not likely in Taylor County.


Of Wisconsin's 72 counties, only Florence County had a higher percentage of votes for Trump in 2020..

In 2020, almost every rural county in the state voted for Trump. Many counties registered two Trump votes per Biden vote, similar to the sum total of the suburban Milwaukee WOW counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington. 
That's a far cry from 1992, when most rural Wisconsin counties voted for then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton over Republican President George H.W. Bush.  [Don't put too much stock in this; third-party candidate Ross Perot corralled 8.4% of the vote nationally and 19.8% in Taylor County.]
Today, about 30% of Wisconsinites live in rural areas and rural millennials are fleeing to population hubs, according to Malia Jones, a social epidemiologist at UW-Madison's Applied Population Laboratory.  [19.5% of Taylor County's population is 65 and older compared to 16.5 nationally.  Its current population of 20,322 is about the same as it was in 1940 and is 95% white, compared to 81% in Wisconsin and 60% nationally.] 

It's also the state's least vaccinated county.


Remember when everything was sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for American workers?


Make your own headline collage here

Guess it was all just a figment of reporters' imagination.

New York Times, 2/1/2022
Even as employers complain of having to scramble to fill vacancies, there is little evidence that service workers are winning any meaningful, long-term gains. While businesses have raised wages, those increases can be easily eroded by inflation, if they haven’t been already. The overall national rate of membership in unions — which can obtain wage increases for workers even absent labor shortages — matched its lowest level on record last year. 
And the unpredictable schedules that arise when employers constantly adjust staffing in response to customer demand, something that is common among part-timers, are roughly as prevalent as before the pandemic. The survey by Dr. Schneider and Dr. Harknett found that about two-thirds of workers continue to receive less than two weeks’ notice of their schedules. 
“Companies are doing all they can not to bake in any gains that are difficult to claw back,” Dr. Schneider said. “Workers’ labor market power is so far not yielding durable dividends.”  [emphasis added]

It's Day 282 of Wisconsin GOP engineered Natural Resource Board standoff and Greg Kazmierski tries to burnish Scott Walker's envirronmental cred


Top headline:  Scientific American, 6/17/2015

Excerpt from 2/4/2022 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article:

As a part of the new slate of officers, Greg Kazmierski [check out his list of mostly GOP campaign contributions here], an appointee of former Gov. Scott Walker, will serve as chair, with William Bruins as vice-chair and Bill Smith as secretary. 
"The board has been — since the Walker administration — trying to get something done on this water thing," he said. "I think we're at the ninth hour right now, and maybe going to accomplish something as long as (the DNR) brings something forward that meets the scrutiny." [emphasis added]

Related reading: 

In previous years, DNR would have been able to move forward with these kinds of improvements to protect our drinking water, but industry lobbyists and the Legislature now have more power to stand in the way. Under a 2017 law signed by former Gov. Scott Walker, called the REINS Act, the legislature can block changes to regulations if compliance costs for regulated entities exceed $10 million over a two-year period. DNR estimates that the cost to the business community would be well below this threshold, while industry groups claim compliance costs could be in the billions of dollars. Thanks to the REINS Act, a committee of the Legislature called the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules (or “JCRAR”), could stop the process in its tracks by adopting industry groups’ outlandish claims.

That was Scott Walker's 'water thing'.

Now it's time for Fred Prehn to leave.

Friday, February 4, 2022

5-story mixed-used building proposed for 400 block of State Street in Madison WI


JD McCormick Properties is seeking to raze three, two-story buildings at 428-430, 432-436 and 440-444 State St. -- two built in the late 1800s -- for the new building, which would have a restaurant on the first floor with seating on the second floor overlooking State Street, commercial space in the basement and first floor and a 23 to 26 housing units. 
The exterior, a mix of modern and classical themes, will be mostly masonry and glass with large amounts of glass facing State Street and adjacent Lisa Link Peace Park at the first-floor level, plans submitted to the city say.
Google maps view (red box added)

Warren, Pennsylvania: No longer home to 15,000 friendly people


The population of Warren has decreased 40% since its 1940 peak of 15,000 friendly people.

My connection to Warren goes back to August 1957, when the Nelson family moved there from Great Falls, Montana.  After graduating from high school in June 1968, I increasingly spent less time there, down to annual visits, on average, by the late 1970s.  With two brothers and a sister-in-law still living there, Warren remains a regular destination for my wife and me.

It's a beautiful place, especially in the summer, nestled in a valley in the Allegheny foothills.    And it offers a variety of amenities.

To compete with a mall and Walmart, the downtown has undergone a transformation to make it more welcoming

All photos by Retiring Guy

Some great architecture, including the lovingly restored Struthers Library Theater, Warren's cultural center, which presents a regular schedule of plays, musicals, concernts, and movies. 

The nearby Allegheny National Forest and Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir, which provide a host of recreational activities:  boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, biking.

The comical use of cliche in newspaper headline writing


Bordering on euphemism

Headline from New York Times, 2/3/2022

GET ME REWRITE:  Republicans weigh how forcefully to be sexist and racist in Supreme Court debate
Related post:

GET ME REWRITE: Is Susan Collins an idiot or does she just play one on Capitol Hill?


Beacon, 2/2/2022
“The idea that race and gender should be the No. 1 and No. 2 criteria is not as it should be,” the Maine Republican told the New York Times. 
She also bemoaned Democrats’ criticism of Republicans on the issue of race. “On the other hand, there are many qualified Black women for this post and given that Democrats, regrettably, have had some success in trying to paint Republicans as anti-Black, it may make it more difficult to reject a Black jurist,” Collins said, according to the Times.

New Hampshire Moms for Liberty fuels GOP Critical Race Theory hysteria

Meet Rachel Goldsmith
masked up and ready to whitewash history
On Twitter, the local chapter of Moms for Liberty posted about the new system and offered $500 dollars to anyone who catches a public school teacher violating the new law. The group, led by Free State Project activist Rachel Goldsmith, also asked people to donate to the prize. The group says if it does not find “concrete proof” of illegal activity, it will donate the money to literacy programs in Manchester.


1/24/2022 update starts here
Meet Central York High School
principal Ryan Caufman
masked up and ready to ban books
YouTube screenshot (irony alert)
York Dispatch, 1/14/2022 update
"This is disgusting," the teacher, who requested anonymity to protect his job, said. “Let’s just call it what it is — every author on that list is a Black voice." 
The four-page list, sent by Central York High School Principal Ryan Caufman on Aug. 11, names articles, videos and books from some of today's most acclaimed creators of color. 
It included the Oscar-nominated PBS documentary "I Am Not Your Negro," about writer James Baldwin; a statement on racism from the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators; and a children's coloring book that featured African Adrinkra symbols found in fabrics, logos and

1/23/2022 update starts here 

Meet Michael McLendon
masked up and ready to
whitewash American history


The bill's chief sponsor, Republican Sen. Michael McLendon of Hernando, who is white, said hundreds of constituents have told him they have heard about the theory on national news and they don't want it taught to their children. 
McLendon struggled to define critical race theory when he was asked about it. But he said: "Systematic racism should not be taught to our children." 
Critical race theory is an academic framework that examines how racism has shaped public policy and institutions such as the legal system, and how those have perpetuated the dominance of white people in society.

1/22/2022 update, "Glenn Youngkin episode", starts here

New York Times, 1/20/2022
The governor has issued two executive orders that conservatives have cheered: one banning school mask mandates and the other banning critical race theory, the academic framework that has become a catchall term for conservatives who are critical of how schools teach about racism.  
 The first executive order pledges to end “the use of inherently divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, and to raise academic standards.” It also calls for a review of resources for educators and ends a state initiative in math that Youngkin had criticized as a “​​left-wing takeover of public education.”


Headline from Vanity Fair, 10/26/2021

Original 1/20/2022 post, "Manny Diaz" episode" starts here.

USA Today, 1/19/2022
The bill, which echoes a call by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, was met with criticism saying it will spawn censorship, lawsuits and more problems for teachers. The legislation (SB 148) by Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Miami, is said by its sponsor to protect “individual freedoms.” 
The measure would bar teaching in grades K-12 that could make individuals feel responsible for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex or national origin. At work, employment practices or training programs that make an individual feel guilty on similar grounds could be considered an unlawful employment practice – and subject a company to a lawsuit.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

A stroll down memory lane with the help of clippings from the Warren (PA) Times Observer (July 2004)


Clippings from when Retiring Guy subscribed to the print edition of the Warren Times Observer, accompanied by items from the Archives.

July 13, 2004.  The Shoppes of Warren Station.

From day one, the Shoppes at Warren Station has struggled  to find and keep tenants.  As the article in the local paper notes:

SPEDD began construction of the complex in June 2002 without firm commitments from any future tenants, saying prospective tenants wanted to see construction actually underway.

Google Maps

Currently, Family Dollar anchors the complex.

Old China King Buffet packed up a while ago.

July 14, 2004.  Blair Corporation

The clock at the corner of Hickory Street and West Third Avenue has stood here since at least the 1950s. 

Photo by Retkring Guy (2020)

The Blair Corporation, which was named The New Process Company until 1989, has long been one of Warren's largest employers, a fact confirmed by the number of times the company's names pop up in the obituaries in the local paper.


July 15, 2004.  Canoeing on the Allegheny River

The finish line at the western end of Betts Park, referenced in the article below, is about a half-mile beyond the bend in the river.

Photo by Retiring Guy taken from Hickory Street Bridge


July 20, 2004.  Market Street road work

A rainy summer has slowed down the progress of a number of major consturction projects in Warren.

What's shared first is a 1920s-era photo of Market Street at Fourth Avenue, where the county courthouse is lcoated (at left).

Photo by Borg Studio, Warren PA

July 21, 2004.  Hickory Street Bridge construction

Wet weather continues to hamper the progress of a number of construction projects.

Panoramic view of bridge, Allegheny River and south side of Warren (mid-1990s)

July 23, 2004.  Warren Area Elementary Center

The green arrow indicates the location of the elementary center, up the hill from East Fifth Avenue   The campus also includes Warren Area High School, which opened in September 1960, and the Warren County Career Center, constructed in the early 1970s.

Google Maps

The endpaper of the 1961 Warren Dragon yearbook shows a rendering of the original design of the school.

July 27. 2004.  Impact Warren

A view of the sidewalk and stores along the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue West.  Most of the storefronts are occupied and locally owned and operated.  The City of Warren has worked diligtent through the years to make the downtown an attractive and welcoming place to visit.

Photo by Retiring Guy (2013)

The first threat to downtown Warren arose in the mid-1960s, when a Jamesway discount department store opened on U.S. 62 in North Warren.   The new business, located about 2 miles north of the central business district had limited impact, as the line of downtown stores remained pretty much intact through the 1970s.

One of numerous pages compiled from
Warren city directories

The real threat arrived with the construction of the Warren Mall two miles farther north on U.S. 62.  It opened in 1979, and downtown Warren was never the same.  Gaughn's Drug Store is one of the few remaining longtime businesses.

Photo by Retiring Guy (2013)
The store is stsill going strong.

July 29, 2004.  Fire on Market Street

At the turn of the 20th century, Market Street was lined with trees and beautiful homes, as well as a number of architecturally significant churches.



The fire occurred in the building that once housed the Lutz-Vermilyea Funeral home, which is listed in the 1967 edition of the Warren City Directory but not in the 1983 edition.  (That's all Retiring Guy has on hand in his personal library.)

July 30, 2004.  Hickory Street Bridge.

A postcard view of the old bridge when it was new, looking toward Warren's south side, when it was named after the river and not the street.

From Retiring Guy's postcard collection

With the Hickory Street Bridge (red box) out of commission, residents of the south side of Warren and Pleasant Township (green highlight) had 2 options to get to the central business distrct (orange highlight.)

A view from the new Hickory Street Bridge looking west

Photo by Retiring Guy (2020)

Other strolls down memory lane:
August 2004
September 2004