Today’s highly interesting read (01/31/18): America Needs More Gentlemen

Today’s read is from Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Noonan was a special assistant and speechwriter for president Ronald Reagan.

All the stories we’ve read the past few months about predators—not those accused of rape and sexual assault, which are crimes, but of general piggishness, grabbiness, manipulation and power games—have a common thread. The men involved were not gentlemen. They acted as if they’d never heard of the concept.

We have lost track of it. In the past 40 years, in the movement for full equality, we threw it over the side. But we should rescue that old and helpful way of being. The whole culture, especially women, needs The Gentleman back.

Read the entire column here.

Best State of the Union guest story

His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.

In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves — permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had — and he resolved to be free.

Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape, and was tortured to death.

Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most ‑- the truth.

Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.

Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Best quote from the State of the Union

Could be.

The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.

During State of the Union Dems sat on their hands when these came up…

According to

– job creation

– higher wages

– lower African American and Hispanic unemployment rates

– bonuses for employees

– securing the border

– fighting the opioid epidemic

– merit-based immigration

– the American flag and the national anthem

– in God we trust 

– a path to citizenship

– Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

– diminishing the Islamic State

– lower prescription drug costs

– defense and modernizing our nuclear arsenal


America has too many distressed communities

President Trump last week wrote an OP-ED in the Washington Examiner:

Estimates predict the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of more than 3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year – just like it did in the two quarters before that. The economy has created more than two million new jobs, and the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest rate in 17 years: 4.1 percent.

On the White House website:

The economy has come roaring back to life under President Trump. The stock market has hit record high after record high, helping more Americans build wealth and secure their futures. Through needed tax cuts and reform, the Administration will bring jobs back to our country. The President is helping U.S. workers by expanding apprenticeship programs, reforming job training programs, and bringing businesses and educators together to ensure high-quality classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Despite the news media’s reluctance to report on the much-improved economy,  it’s there. It’s real. I’m posting before the State of the Union address. I’m sure the economy will be a major component of the president’s speech.

America needs the economic momentum to not only continue, but to grow and spread.

For areas all across the US to grow, succeed, and prosper, they must be innovative.

The Milwaukee 7 Framework for Economic Growth has stated: “Regions need to capitalize on innovation – the only long-term driver of overall growth.”

The Council on Competitiveness defines innovation as creating new markets and new value.

Management consultant Peter Drucker says “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship, the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”

Innovation leads to growth and prosperity as opposed to distress that is gripping far too many American communities.

In late 2017, using data from the US Census Bureau, the Economic Innovation Group compiled the Distressed Communities Index (DCI).

The report examined 99% of the US population, so it’s quite thorough. The index reveals a highly disturbing trend happening in America.

Here’s the glaring headline. America’s elite zip codes are home to a spectacular degree of growth and prosperity. Outside of those top communities, millions of Americans live where what little economic stability exists is quickly eroding.

The scope of the problem

In total, 52.3 million individuals live in economically distressed zip codes. That means one in six Americans, or 17 percent of the U.S. population.
Such communities can be found in every region of the country and in rural areas, suburbs, and city centers.

A quarter of the distressed population is under 18 years of age, meaning roughly 13 million American children are growing up in communities likely to have serious negative neighborhood effects on young people’s future earnings potential.

Nearly a quarter of adults in the average distressed community lack even a high school diploma.

Roughly one in seven homes stands vacant.

The following is startling. Most of today’s distressed zip codes have no gains in employment or business establishments to show for the first 15 years of this century. A full two-thirds of distressed zip codes contained fewer jobs in 2015 than they did in 2000, while roughly 72 percent saw more businesses close than open over that same time period.

Virtually all of the net new jobs created during the economic recovery—99 percent of them—went to workers with at least some college education. The pool of college-educated workers eligible to fill such jobs is 5.5 times larger in prosperous zip codes than in distressed ones.

Residents of the average distressed county die nearly five years sooner than their neighbors in prosperous counties.


Where is the distress?

In the Northeast, more than two-thirds of the population living in distressed zip codes reside in very high density neighborhoods. Distress in the Northeast is a predominantly urban phenomenon.

In the South, by contrast, nearly 60 percent of the distressed population resides in low density, mainly rural zip codes.

All types of distressed communities can be found in all regions—evidenced most clearly in the Midwest, where the distressed population is relatively evenly distributed across neighborhood types.

There are several prototypes of distressed communities in the United States: Entrenched inner city poverty in the Northeast and Midwest, deeply-rooted intergenerational distress in the Deep South, and grinding economic and social isolation on Native American reservations in the West.

Prosperity is predominately suburban throughout the United States. Larger cities, with a broader mix of neighborhoods, income levels, and demographic fall towards the mid-tier and comfortable categories.

Smaller cities with industrial legacies that typically lack the economic diversification of their larger counterparts tend to be the worst off.

Both large and small cities with long industrial legacies are most likely to be distressed.

Seven of the 10 most distressed large cities in the country are major urban cores in the Northeast or Midwest. The DCI found that Milwaukee is one of the ten most distressed of the country’s 100 largest cities.

Economic well-being runs far higher in large, populous counties than it does in small, mainly rural ones.

Like the zip code level, far more people live in prosperous counties.

Fully half of the nation’s 135 counties with over 500,000 people are considered prosperous. Small counties are not only less likely to be prosperous than their larger counterparts, but they are also much more likely to be distressed.

Counties with fewer than 100,000 people are 11 times more likely to be economically distressed than counties with more than 100,000 people. And distressed counties are almost exclusively small ones.

The urban-rural prosperity gap would have been much larger were it not for the oil and gas boom that lifted economic well-being across large tracts of the interior of the country, specifically from North Dakota to Texas. Keep in mind, populous counties often do not register as particularly distressed because they contain a broad mix of neighborhoods.

The DCI concludes that the further we go down the path of geographically exclusive growth, the more we limit our nation’s economic potential as a whole—and the more fractured our society risks becoming.

Was Franklin ahead of the curve on this one?;center,top&resize=1200:*

Back in February 2013 on the now defunct FranklinNOW website Rick Romano reported that Franklin was using beet juice as part of its snow removal operation. The technique according to Romano had been utilized “the past three years,” meaning it began in 2010, after Franklin noticed Beloit doing it.

From Romano’s 2013 article:

City Engineer Jack Bennett was anxious to tell the Common Council about how a byproduct of processing sugar beets into sugar has helped keep the city’s streets safer during winter while containing the high cost of winter maintenance.

“Some people are thinking that we are using sand, because the treated salt has the look and texture of sand,” Bennett said. “That’s an old method that we don’t use anymore. What we are doing now is helping to keep the streets from freezing.”

Bennett explained to council members how the beet juice – packaged as Geomelt – is mixed with city-made watery salt brine as a pre-treatment for the streets when the forecast calls for snow. The product also is used in a mixture with rock salt. The combination not only prevents icy pavement, it helps melt away problems after the fact.

The treated salt lasts longer and can be used in lower temperatures. Among the advantages, Bennett said, is that streets can be treated well before an impending snowfall and that the substance is much less corrosive than salt treated with calcium chloride.

Jerome Schaefer who was Superintendent of the Department of Public Works at the time was also quoted in the article, telling the Common Council, “I don’t think we will see anything new come along for some time.”

It’s true.

The Associated Press has just reported that beet juice and other items as alternatives to salt are catching on all across the country.

Are roads in Franklin and other communities that drop this stuff safer TODAY as a result? Would be a good story for some enterprising reporter.

Today’s highly interesting read (01/30/18): Ikea has changed the way we think about furniture

The last letter, "A," is ready to be hoisted into place.

There’s great excitement about IKEA coming to Oak Creek.

My wife, like countless others, can’t wait.

From the Washington Post.

The company, which has 412 locations in more than 40 countries, has become an international empire. Its sprawling stores with their tortuously winding routes have continued to thrive in an era of hurried online shopping. Analysts say Ikea has been successful in not only getting shoppers to linger for hours, but also getting them to come back, over and over, whether for mattresses or meatballs.

The newspaper is correct. Read the entire article here.

9TH UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (08/08/17): Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Previously on This Just In…

The update.

Other articles in this series:

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

’Wait Until 8th’ pledge asks parents to hold off on giving smartphones to kids

How smartphones hijack our brains

Smartphones really are dangerous for our kids (they put them at risk for suicide and more)

Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone?

Smartphone habits of kids becoming a danger to Milwaukee’s public education

Commentary: Why quitting smartphones is the new quitting smoking

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier — up to a point, new research shows

Phone-addicted teens aren’t as happy as those who play sports and hang out IRL, new study suggests


The latest pro-life news (01/29/18)

From Pro-Life Wisconsin:


Last Monday, January 22nd, was the 45th anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand in the United States. On that dark and rainy day in Madison, Pro-Life Wisconsin co-sponsored a March for Life, organized by the Diocese of Madison, which brought over 300 people into the State Capitol building to advocate for the lives of the unborn.

These activists started out with a Mass at St. Patrick’s, just blocks away from the Capitol building. Then, equipped with Pro-Life Wisconsin signs they marched to the Capitol and circled the building before taking a few moments in prayer. Once inside the Capitol, participants delivered a red rose to each state representative and state senator along with a message encouraging them to advance the Heal Without Harm Legislative Initiative. This current piece of legislation would ban the sale and use of aborted baby body parts and also provide a way of encouraging ethical fetal tissue donation for research.

Additionally, participants visited their own legislators to express the urgent need to save lives through pro-life legislation. It was an overwhelming pro-life presence as pro-lifers with signs could be seen on every floor of the Capitol, knocking on doors and spreading a message of dignity and love.

Thanks to you who participated and all whose prayers were with us! Through God’s grace, education, prayer and 100% pro-life legislation, we look forward to a day when ever human person is cherished and loved.


The anniversary of Roe v. Wade has passed us by, the March for Life is over, but the work is not done.

Below is a list of 6 pro-life things to do every day. Click here to read more about these 6 things.

  1. Know about Crisis Pregnancy Centers in your area.
  2. Support Crisis Pregnancy Centers through volunteering and donations.
  3. Support your local food pantry and thrift stores.
  4. Express gratitude and encouragement to families for bringing their children out in public, especially to church.
  5. Offer to babysit.
  6. Pray for the end of abortion and the conversion of hearts.


Buy a Choose Life License plate! Find out more here.

Pro-Life News

U.S. SENATE SET TO VOTE ON BILL BANNING ABORTIONS AFTER 20 WEEKS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act for next week, legislation that includes exceptions for rape and the life of the mother. “Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1 pointedly asked, ‘Are babies conceived in rape somehow incapable of feeling pain?’ Pro-life activist Monica Kelsey, who was conceived in rape, agreed with Kiessling, criticizing the National Right to Life Committee’s endorsement of the ban. And they say the ‘life of the mother’ exception implies the false idea that abortion can be a necessary medical treatment.” Read the full article here.

WILL CECILE RICHARDS BE HAUNTED BY REALITY: So, what is next for Cecile Richards? Is there an encore? Will there be a moment of contemplation of what she really accomplished? Does she worry about a heaven and hell or the souls of all the unborn and what they could have done had they lived? Read more here.

JOY VILLA TURNS HEADS WITH PRO-LIFE OUTFIT AT THE GRAMMYS: “I’m a pro-life woman. This year I chose to make a statement on the red carpet like I always do,” she told Fox News. “I’m all about life.” See the dress here.

RECAP: ANNUAL MARCH FOR LIFE TAKES PLACE IN CHICAGO: Hand warmers? Check. Multiple layers of clothing? Check. Pro-life signs? Check. Love? Double check. Read the Madison Catholic Herald’s article on participating in the Chicago March for Life!

From WI Right To Life


Trump Rescues Pro-Life Docs and Nurse

Meghan McCain Slams Women’s March: ‘Pro-Life Women Feel Left Out



Today’s highly interesting read (01/29/18): Do School Vouchers Work? Milwaukee’s Experiment Suggests an Answer

From the Wall Street Journal:

Almost three decades ago, Milwaukee started offering the nation’s first-ever school vouchers. Starting small, the program allowed poor children to use taxpayer money to attend private schools. Today, about a quarter of Milwaukee children educated with public funds take advantage, making the program a testing ground for a big experiment in education.

Did students in the program get a better education? That depends…

Read the rest here.