Archive for December, 2011

The Sconz buys privilege to pay more at Willy St Co-op

December 31, 2011

Blacklight it, X-Ray it. There's no question: It's legit.

There she is. My official Willy Strett Co-op owner card.

This means most of what I buy at the local food cooperative is merely expensive, instead of outrageously expensive. Of course, how our definition of “expensive” is largely based on skewed expectations of what we should pay to eat in this country. As Michael Pollan has noted, Americans spend a much smaller portion of their income on food than ever before. Hence, interactions such as this one, with my WTDY co-worker Shawn Prebil:

Craver: “Check out my official Willy Street Co-op membership, son. Here, you can look, but don’t touch.”

Prebil: “So you say you can’t afford cable TV but you can afford to shop at Willy Street Co-op?”

That’s right.

French offer solution to Nails’ Tales

December 29, 2011

Doug Moe thinks we ought to get rid of Nails’ Tales because it’s ugly. So does Citizen Dave. Truth be told, I never even noticed the damn thing. Mrs. Sconz apparently did. When I asked her what she thought of it, she responded, “I don’t know, it’s phallic. I don’t have a strong opinion on it either way.” Apparently she got the message the artist intended, according to Chris Rickert, who supports the monument.

“They didn’t say they wanted a phallus,” Lipski told me of the conversations he had with UW-Madison officials as he was coming up with ideas for the piece.

But they did want something with “power” and “dynamism,” he said. They wanted “if not something phallic, but something that was very male and dominant.”

I think we should keep it. Women are taking over college campuses and a giant penis in front of a football stadium is the best way to remind people that there is one domain in which men dominate.

Moe is not a philistine for opposing a seemingly ugly symbol of male virility, but he does lack a sense of history. As any student of architecture knows, many Parisians pushed for the demolition of the Eiffel Tower after it was showcased at the 1889 World Fair. Sure, they acknowledged that the tallest man-made structure at the time was impressive, but it obstructed the historic Paris skyline and served no practical purpose. The World Fair was over. What were they going to do? Keep the thing forever?

Landmarks don’t have to be pretty. All they have to do is have a story behind them. Lipski failed to do that. But that doesn’t mean somebody else, such as the UW Student Section, couldn’t come up with one for it. Perhaps with a profane chant.

Ron Paul’s big government position on right-to-work

December 29, 2011

To libertarians like Ron Paul, respect for private property and legal contracts is the only governance a society needs. For instance:

Should businesses be allowed to discriminate against customers based on race?

Of course. The owner is within his rights as a property owner to only admit his racial brethren, and for the government to require him to do otherwise is a violation of the holiest of a civilized society’s principles. Paul explains in his 2004 speech on the House floor decrying the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society.

Given that reasoning, shouldn’t we assume that Paul would also support the rights of businesses to enter into contracts with unions that require workers to pay union dues? From his website:

While Ron Paul supports the right of every American to join a private sector union if they wish, he believes, like most Americans, that forcing workers to pay union dues just to get or keep a job is wrong.

Unfortunately, over 75 years ago, the right to decide freely whether or not to join a labor union was taken away from American workers by Congress.

 Ron Paul’s exceptional record on Right to Work issues earned him the prestigious Everett Dirksen Award from the National Right to Work Committee.

At the very least, Paul’s position on right-to-work is anti-libertarian because it advocates the government outlaw a type of contract between individuals. To outlaw businesses from entering into certain contracts with unions is no different than outlawing sex contracts between a prostitute and a client or outlawing the sale of drugs, both positions that Paul vehemently opposes.

Feels good to be home: The Sconz is back!

December 29, 2011

I had a hell of a time blogging for Isthmus. It got me a lot of new readers and it provided me with great opportunities to do reporting that I otherwise might not have been able to do as a solo blogger, since many people –– sadly –– won’t talk to you unless you’re associated with an established old media entity.

But since I’m not doing full-time reporting anymore, it’s good to be back on a traditional blogging platform. It’s easier for me to update posts and it’s easier for readers to browse through multiple posts quickly. At Isthmus I practically felt guilty writing small posts because readers generally expect something substantial when they are forced to click on an article link.

So here goes!

Follow The Sconz on Facebook or Twitter! For anonymous tips, questions or criticism, send me an email at wisconzin@gmail.com.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.