November 27, 2009

Now the NY Times rips Racine on infant mortality

A 21-year-old former Racine resident is back in the news criticizing her former city, this time on the national stage.

Ta-Shai Pendleton, who moved to Madison from Racine, was featured in an October cover story in Madison's weekly newspaper, Isthmus. She ripped her former city in the article, blaming violence and isolation for the deaths of her first two babies. After moving to Madison, she had a successful pregnancy, which she credited to Dane County visiting nurses and support from her church.

Isthmus used her story to celebrate Madison's success in dramatically dropping its infant mortality rate over the last decade. It also pointed out Racine has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

At the time, we ripped Isthmus for ripping Racine without talking to anyone from the city about positive steps being taken to help at-risk pregnant mothers. It was a particularly egregious omission because the paper allowed Pendleton to blast Racine without questioning her own conduct in the loss of her first two babies.

Now, Pendleton is telling her story in the New York Times. Times' reporter Erik Eckholm featured her in an article today again degrading Racine and praising Madison. He writes:
As she cradled her 2-month-old daughter recently, she described the fear and isolation she had experienced during her first two pregnancies, and the more embracing help she found 100 miles away with her third. In Madison, county nurses made frequent home visits, and she got more help from her new church.
Eckholm, like Isthmus, doesn't interview anyone from Racine about recent efforts to help young mothers like Pendleton. He dedicates one sentence in the lengthy article to those efforts:
The programs exist statewide, but in Milwaukee, Racine and other areas they do not appear to have achieved the same broad coverage
This is a delicate article because Racine does have the highest infant mortality rate in the state, and one of the highest rates in the country. It's also seems clear Pendleton's life is in a better place in Madison than it was in Racine.

But both articles present a simplistic view of a complicated issue. Both articles highlight Madison's success, but fail to offer the perspective of Racine's efforts to reach similar success. They would have done well to interview someone in Racine, rather than only rely on an ex-residents' perspective.

175 comments:

  1. Of course the City does little to help low income residents get quality locally grown produce.
    Madison has Urban Gardens helps form Farmers Markets in food deserts, promotes basic health.
    Racine IMHO not so much. We will however move Heaven and Earth to be sure you can drink yourself to death.
    Party On

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  2. Dane County also has a County Wide Health Department that offer a much more comprehensive array of service to the community. The system in Racine County is not as coordinate or does it offer the services that are available in Madison and other communities in the state.

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  3. Madison ranks over and over in national publications as one of the best places/healthiest to live, not a shocker.

    As far as this corner of the state, take a look around and look at the numbers (unemployment etc..) and it supports the story.

    Numbers never lie and the truth is the truth, this part of the state sucks.......

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  4. We will give away $150K to bring in 7 jobs that pay min wage but will do nothing to help the weakest of us all, young kids. That's right not part of the 10 year plan.

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  5. Although I wish that the article had been more positive where our city was concerned, we have to face the sad fact that Racine is a Rustbelt company town run by and for the elite. Cities dominated by corporate oligarchs and conservative businessmen rarely excel at caring for low-income people. Until the people with clout pay attention to the folks who go without, Racine will retain the reputation which has rendered it infamous. (No, this is not an anti-Johnson comment. Because our corporate class as a whole is obsessed with aesthetics and other elitist non-essentials, Racine neglects the basic needs of its less-fortunate citizens. As a result, our city is the laughing stock of the Upper Midwest.

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  6. Adding to my earlier comment, am I missing something in both the NY Times and this article?

    Where is the father's or father(s) input on this? Living in subsidized housing, no father of any sorts being mentioned. Gosh it must be nice to be black, poor and have children w/out fathers. I am a single male pay in and when I ask for help I am offered 10.00 a month for food, it cost's that much for gas. LMAO what a beautiful state we live in. I also DO NOT get free insurance from the state because of the aforementioned fact of being a single white male. Let the racist comments begin against me LMAO like I said numbers don't lie and the truth is the truth!

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  7. Every time my friends from Indiana visit me, they ask how I can stand to live here. (Racine's pandemic poverty and misery are readily apparent to anyone who drives through town.) Where they reside, Racine is notorious as a cross between a tourist trap (downtown) and a gigantic slum (the inner city). To my Hoosier pals, Racine's fixation on art and architecture is ridiculous. In view of our high infant mortality rate, I'm afraid they're right.

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  8. Great thought there. Why oh why are we so willing to spend millions on min wage jobs, the Uptown Art Project Downtown Racine. However we are unwilling to spend anything (other to imprison)on youth to get out of the welfare cycle,bring in real jobs (like the 600 in Wind Power coming to Northern Wisconsin.
    WE let fools in both parties cotune to play with Racine like a toy. It is easier to be the Mayor's lap dog then to working on fixing the ills of the City. ASk your self this when you drive out the jobs the companies and anyone who can leave, what do you have left?

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  9. When I reflect on our atrocious minority infant mortality rate, I fear that the guy who said we've got too much art and not enough heart in Racine is correct. Years ago, our corporate class (and not just one hyper-privileged family) got a wee bit too interested in pretty objects and pretentious buildings. As a result, Racine's priorities went completely wonky. Unless and until the elite starts to value people more than playthings, our horrendous minority infant mortality crisis will escalate.

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  10. Doesn't make sense to blame the recent problems in this city on a company that has been here for over a hundred years (and providing many "livable wage" jobs).

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  11. Infant mortality is not some secret bacterial disease. It is babies dying of neglect and bad parenting.

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  12. A 16 year old girl who gets pregnant needs an abortion and reliable birth control, not a home health visit. The NYT piece got ripped in the readers' comments.

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  13. I certainly wish that more of the "Ta-Shai Pendleton's" of this city would also move to Madison.

    Perhaps the city would start heading in the right direction.

    Please, Please, Please, look how great Pendleton has it in Madison and follow her to Madison ASAP!! We will miss you all, but if you must go, oh well.

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  14. Dear 4:15 P.M., Believe it or not, I'm not excoriating a particular corrupt and ultra-privileged clan. No, the capitalist system and its elite as a whole must bear the blame. In our evil society, money equals power. Those who possess power--not their slave-descended victims--must bear most, if not all, responsibility for Racine's minority infant mortality rate. Low-income disadvantaged girls who are often coerced into submitting to sexual intercourse should not be held accountable for their pregnancies. Inasmuch as these unfortunate young women often come from religious backgrounds which condemn birth control and view abortion as a ticket to hell for the mother and her unbaptized progeny, expecting them to have an upper-middle class perspective on reproduction is ridiculous. On the other hand, from those who've grabbed far more than their fair pro rata share of economic goodies, much must be expected. Those who enjoy the leisure to read and lead because somebody died and left them bundles of boodle must assist our society's victims.

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  15. Most of the time this is a personal responsibilty issue. I am truly fed up with this opinion that all of the peoples problems are the result of society.
    The things I have done wrong in my life are my responsibilty ONLY and I do not blame anyone else. When will others in this city/state/country start thinking the same? This would solve so many problems without spending anymore taxpayers money.

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  16. Anonymous 6:32 remind me of those Whites in the south who suggested that all negro should go back to Africa and eveything would be ok again in the south.

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  17. Dear 8:50 P.M., Your emphasis on personal responsibility is both naive and all-too-typical of the American conservative mentality. Believe it or not, the rest of the developed post-industrial First World doesn't share your hard-hearted, moralistic views. To most educated people in advanced countries, the power of the ordinary individual is miniscule and expecting that person to achieve impossible goals is seen as a form of cruelty. Your elitist Emersonian notion that disadvantaged people must overcome challenges within a system that was designed to exploit and crush them is ludicrous. In Western and Central European social democracies, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, a more realistic attitude toward self-reliance prevails: enlightened progressive countries provide free to low-cost health care for all citizens and pay special attention to the needs of their less-fortunate people. As a result, the compassionate countries have far lower infant mortality rates than our sad (and, in some ways, Sadistic) land.

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  18. Because our self-righteous right-wingers maintain that capitalism creates wealth rather than merely maldistributing it from the majority to the elite, they sincerely believe that making poor people scramble for pennies will somehow turn them into entrepreneurs who'll work hard and escape poverty. Unfortunately, pushing individual effort as the solution to systematic abuse inflicted by the rich on the rest is ridiculous. However, conservatives like such ideas because blaming victims for their problems lets the rich and would-be-wealthy business bullies feel fine about refusing to help the downtrodden. Alas, as long as smug money-mutts control this country and sabotage health care reform, our disgraceful infant and maternal mortality rates will continue to rise.

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  19. The sooner America chucks Emersonian self-reliance and out-of-control individualism in the garbage, the better. Then the USA will join the civilized world, provide the basics for all its citizens and lower its abominable infant and maternal mortality rates.

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  20. How do rich people cause poor people to be idiots who accidently smother their babies in their sleep or spend WIC money on crap instead of formula or do drugs while pregnant or father kids and leave or let their 8 year old care for their 8 week old or any other of the things that cause babies to die?

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  21. Hope that more Ta-Shai's move to Madison, maybe that band of lefties will wake up.

    Yeah... Where is/are the father(s)?

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  22. 7:02 You allow women the right to chose and a lot of issues go away, the number of babes neglected drop the crime rate falls.
    You FORCE a women to keep a unwanted child the reverse happens.
    We encourage mom/dad to eat well perhaps even grow there own food amazing events occur.
    However The City of Racine rather worry about Gas Stations,Art, a nonexistent 10 year plan then a issue that effects us all.
    The City of Racine rather spend lots of $$ on Min wage jobs that does nothing to get one off AFDC Housing or other services, then demand real change in education, bring real jobs to the City hold RCEDC to account, look into back room deals.
    This City is cursed both by fools in office and voters who are Sheep.

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  23. Sure are a lot of Social-Statists commenting here... must be an organized "astro turf" bunch. I see the same angle over and over.

    Perhaps it is the same one or two people who believe the state should keep us warm and safe, feed us, clothe us and say our prayers for us too.

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  24. "Perhaps it is the same one or two people who believe the state should keep us warm and safe, feed us, clothe us and say our prayers for us too."

    Helping a new born have a chance is basic human decency.
    Perhaps your idea is to do what The Spartans did,inspect babes and expose ones that did not pass.
    It works, saves on long term costs. Perhaps too we can demand that everyone who wishes to have kids pass a test before being allowed to do so.
    We can gas the mentally ill no need to keep them around.
    Take the poor to camps outside of factories and those who do not make quota do not get feed.

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  25. 4:11 ...to repeat what I said: You missed what I said...they are failing and slowly migrating back to the free market system. Stop quoting dreams and opinions that writers from Berkeley and NM have published and look at the real facts. The Utopian socialist society is unsustainable.
    I am not against caring for the disadvantaged, legitamately poor, mentally ill, etc. I am against against helping those that choose to put themselves into a bad position or collect our hard earned money through the government just because they can or are lazy.

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  26. Dear 8:50 P.M., Your emphasis on personal responsibility is both naive and all-too-typical of the American conservative mentality. IT IS WHAT THE FRAMERS OF OUR CONSTITUTION BELIEVED IN. Believe it or not, the rest of the developed post-industrial First World doesn't share your hard-hearted, moralistic views. AND THEIR SYSTEMS ARE FAILING-NOT OPINION, JUST FACTS.To most educated people in advanced countries, the power of the ordinary individual is miniscule and expecting that person to achieve impossible goals is seen as a form of cruelty. ANOTHER OPINION. Your elitist Emersonian notion that disadvantaged people must overcome challenges within a system that was designed to exploit and crush them is ludicrous. ANOTHER OPINION I GREW UP DISADVANTAGED AND OVERCOMING CHALLENGES HAVE MADE ME WHAT I AM TODAY In Western and Central European social democracies, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, a more realistic attitude toward self-reliance prevails: enlightened progressive countries provide free to low-cost health care for all citizens and pay special attention to the needs of their less-fortunate people. As a result, the compassionate countries have far lower infant mortality rates than our sad (and, in some ways, Sadistic) land. AGAIN, THESE SYSTEMS ARE FAILING. THIS IS NOT AN OPINION...LOOK AT THE NUMBERS. WE NEED TO STOP EXPERIMENTING ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND USE WHAT IS PROVEN TO WORK.

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  27. Even the so-called right wingers in Western and Central Europe don't want our free market muck. By and large, they aren't dismantling their welfare states and aren't taking benefits away from citizens. (When they do get stingy, it's vis a vis Third World immigrants and Second World guest workers, NOT citizens.) One thing I do know from experience with European friends: unless they're from the heavily-taxed and regulated corporate class, they like the cradle-to-grave social safety net they've got and aren't about to tinker with it in the name of free enterprise. In any event, their nations are so far ahead of the USA in health care, education and ordinary folks' standard of living, that they make us look pathetic. If we truly want to reduce infant mortality, we'll emulate the progressive nations and take capitalism to the dump.

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  28. Free to low cost health care, free to cheap higher education and job training, workweeks capped at thirty-five to forty hours and several weeks paid vacation per year beat what the rich inflict on us while taunting us with non-existent opportunities. One reason conservatives fear effective social programs is the fact that once people get a taste of secure, decent living, they'll never return to the rat race. Since the elite and their middle class imitators want desperate workers who'll accept peanut pay, they're terrified that socialism may get a foot in the door and improve the lives of our downtrodden wage slaves.

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  29. "unless they're from the heavily-taxed and regulated corporate class, they like the cradle-to-grave social safety net they've got and aren't about to tinker with it in the name of free enterprise."
    The middle class of Denmark pay a combined tax rate surpassing 70%. Please define "heavily taxed" for me. Again, look at the facts.

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  30. Anon 7:39, what a load of crap. As I read down the remarks, until I got to yours, I was not surprised to see all the failures that post negatively against those who have succeeded. But when I got to your remarks I realized just how stupid someone can be.

    You shoot your mouth off about how bad the capitalist system is when it has little or nothing to do with the infant mortality rate. You blame those who have worked hard and succeeded in making a decent life for themselves for stupid girls that don't have enough sense to keep their legs closed or to use birth control. Most of the girls being cited here are black (Ta-Shai - need I say more) who's parents don't have the wherewithal to teach their daughters not to screw around, or just don't give a damn; more babies means more money from the taxpayers. The same can be said for much of the white middle-class as well. It isn't any level of income that causes these stupid girls to have babies, it's bad parenting and girls who think the only way to be "popular" is to spread their legs, not by coercion. Force them to quit dressing like hookers and joining gangs and they won't have these illegitimate drains on society. Make parents responsible for their kids rather than blaming society for their bad parenting. Reinstitute dress codes in the schools so the girls don't look like whores. Educate them in biology about birth control instead of just abstinence. And by the way, the vast majority of the black population is of the Baptist faith, not Catholic, and don't adhere to the religious rhetoric against birth control. They're just to damned stupid us it. It isn't money: it's good parenting, education and these girls having some self-respect that will curtail all these unwanted babies and resulting infant deaths!

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  31. To Anon 12:49 AM -

    Pathetic attempt to bring the dirty Race card into it. Go back to Africa with them seeing how you brought it up.

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  32. Another reason the rich and their piggish epigones don't want us to have a social safety net is their need for cannon fodder. If low-income and working class youngsters could get free college tuition, free job training and unemployment benefits they could live on when the plants aren't hiring, the military recruiters would soon go out of business.

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  33. It be duh white folk who be causin' deze deaths.....Dont yous peoples gets it?? I be gettins tired of dis racism in dis city! When be Obama gonna helps us outs?? Duh truf be hurtin'.

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  34. Anon 12:49 : I simply suggested that if Madison is so great, maybe others should follow. Hopefully, they don't let the door hit em' where the good lord split em' when they leave. You are pathetic and I'm quite sure by your nonsense response, that you blame others for your own failures in life as well.

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  35. Dear 9:44 A.M., The notion that Baptist preachers automatically endorse birth control isn't accurate. Many minority Baptist ministers as well as Pentecostal and independent clerics are opposed to contraception for single women and girls. Also, many minority spiritual leaders condemn abortion and some of them teach that the soul of a destroyed fetus as well as the mother's soul will go to hell. Given the power of the preachers in minority communities, their ideas can play a role in steering girls away from Planned Parenthood and the help available there.

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  36. In the minority community, there are some denominations which allow women to be pastors while denying even married ladies the right to regulate the size of their families. As for the young, single girls, their Mamas teach them NOTHING about contraception. When we consider these conditions, our high out-of-wedlock birth rate is no accident.

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  37. Once again, the dreaded disease of pregnancy cuts down another one of our youth in her prime. Oh Lord, if only there were some way to stop the spread of this crippling malady. This poor woman is only 21 and has already been infected 4 times. Too bad that there is no way to prevent this from happening. Until a cure is found, the best we can do is to keep paying people to have babies that they cannot afford. Then pay to feed the children. And feed them. And clothe them. And house them. And educate them.

    And then pay to birth their children. And feed them. And clothe them. And house them. And educate them.

    And then pay to birth their children. And feed them. And clothe them. And house them. And educate them.

    Etc., etc., etc.

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  38. Dear 9:17 A.M., What the framers of our Constitution believed has little bearing on today's trials and tribulations. Many of those privileged men owned slaves or exploited indentured servants and other vulnerable people. The majority of them held racist views and followed Blackstone's notions that women were perpetual legal minors. When you research most of their biographies, you'll see that they were clones of the British oligarchs whom they professed to despise.(Once they ceased sending cash to King George and assorted lords, they morphed into American versions of their erstwhile rulers and ground down the common people whenever they could.) Think about it.

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  39. Was oligarchs on your word of the day calendar?

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  40. You are saying personal responsibility is bad? I am at a loss for words now. Go off and enjoy Denmark or Germany or whatever you think is best. I like this country (even with it's flaws). I can accept some imperfection in society as a whole just not the unfairness of crippling tax rates that our socialist neighbors enforce on their slaves of the government.

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  41. Dear 9:17 A.M., As for that vain commercial for adversity as the character-builder which made you what you are today, shouting "cock-a-doodle-doo" like the rooster who's his own booster is silly. Although "I've Got to Crow" was cute when Mary Martin (playing Peter Pan) sang it years ago, we don't need to hear it from mature gentlemen. The trouble with a selfmade man is that he worships his creator. (Incidentally--and this comment is NOT aimed at you as a personal dig--our oligarchy's tendency to strut and brag about its achievements is one reason the folks in advanced nations can't stand well-off Americans. I know French, Belgian and Dutch folks whose pubs have dartboards featuring pictures of Donald Trump. Up in Denmark, Bill Gates' photo is the target. Rich bumptious Yanks who tell everybody how great they are don't win popularity contests in enlightened First World countries.)

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  42. Basic human decency requires that we help the unfortunate mothers and their infants. If America didn't have such a judgmental, money-obsessed mentality, those poor souls would have received assistance long ago.

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  43. Sounds like alot of jealousy and hatred in these "First World" countries is brewing again. Usually these means we, as Americans, will have to sacrifice everything again to save them from themselves again.
    Maybe we should just let them destroy themselves this time and we can just sit back and watch them struggle without our help. This time we should use our resources to save ourself instead. Sounds selfish but I am sick of saving these "great societies" over and over again and sacrificing the blood of our American sons and daughters.

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  44. Let's build a "great society" here in the USA. (If we stopped feeding Wall Street's warmongers our taxes for insane, inane conflicts on foreign shores, we could afford to help our own people for a change.)Once we protected our citizens from poverty, there'd be far less crime and fewer folks in the pokey.

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  45. "As for that vain commercial for adversity as the character-builder which made you what you are today, shouting "cock-a-doodle-doo" like the rooster who's his own booster is silly. Although "I've Got to Crow" was cute when Mary Martin (playing Peter Pan) sang it years ago, we don't need to hear it from mature gentlemen."
    This method is certainly alot better than: "I am an able, immature, selfish human being but live off taxpayers money because I am lazy and want to watch all of big governments minions toil for my pleasure"
    The first one sounds much better.

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  46. Actually, neither one is very good. How about some compassion for our less-fortunate citizens? In this corrupt and grossly-unequal economic system, most of us could wind up in the gutter at the behest of some trust fund degener-twit.

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  47. Come on Dustin! If it's in the New York Times it must be true. If it's not in the New York Times it must not be news. Every good liberal knows that. Quit your complaining.

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  48. Any way you look at it, Racine's minority infant mortality rate is a scandal. In this screwed up community where elitists set priorities, we can find funds for modern art but we do darned little for poor mothers and babies. We pay attention to the health needs of lions, giraffes and Ankole-Watusi cattle at the zoo but we can't help infants whose only crime was being born in the disadvantaged class. From what I've heard, we don't teach our high school students much about the biological facts of life. Even so, one of the high schools throws an annual bash featuring Elizabethan music, including motets and madrigals. Given our insane priorities, it's a wonder that our minority infant mortality rate isn't worse than it already is.

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  49. Somebody is off their meds again.

    OLIGARCHY!!!

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  50. Why do we blow dough on modern art, a zoo and an event that belongs at a Renaissance fair? Because the corporate elite of this sad town wants this nonsense and promotes it. Why don't we save the lives of more minority babies? Because the rich--who love eye candy and Elizabethan music--value flubdubs and frills more than poor children.

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  51. Racine's aestheticism and obsession with arty status symbols can't be denied. Because this town is ruled by a class which values pricey things more than poor people, our minority infant mortality rate continues to soar.(By the way, this comment is not directed exclusively to the members of a certain corporate crime family. Although the clan in question is responsible for misery galore, it's not the only offender.Research the history of this badnews burg and you'll find plenty of arty-tarty big buck bozos and bimbettes who didn't give a rap about their victims. Some of these evil people were active in Racine long anterior to the arrival of the Cherokee Red reprobates.)

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  52. If the current economic crisis knocks the aestheticism out of Racine's elite, it will be worth it. Then, once we're rid of the pursuit of pulchritude, we'll go back to the basics and use our resources to save kids' lives instead of preserving old buildings.

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  53. Someone is drifting off into another useless/pointless/repetetive anti-SCJ rant. I hear this woman was secretly implanted by employees of an evil incorporation to further the agenda of the local socialist party...and outerspace aliens flew out of my butt.

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  54. Yeah, let's remove all forms of art/creativity. Another way socialism destroys the individual.

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  55. In its place, art is great. However, when obsession with beauty distracts the elite from its obligations to the less-fortunate, then art can be a problem. (By the way, this is NOT an anti-Johnson tirade. Some of the worst offenders predate the Wax-clan by decades. For example, Jerome Increase Case--a real labor-exploiter if ever there were one--had to have pretty horsies which he treated better than his staff. His buddy, Mr. Bull, was the same way. And you'd never shut me up if I got going on the Horlicks and their preference for pricey objects vis a vis people.)

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  56. So you are saying you would be selective of the art to be displayed. Sounds a little like censorship to me. What else are you going to do, Adolf?

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  57. I heard J-Wax is in the process of identifying the goof ball who continues to slander them in these blogs. Once they do, he/she will be quiet for a long time because of the legal process.

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  58. Nobody's slandering J-Wax. However, corporate elitists as a class tend to neglect the needs of the less-fortunate. When the government finally taxes the oligarchs' fortunes down to size and uses the funds to help society's victims, the elitists will no longer be a problem. (With their fortunes capped at ten to twenty million bucks apiece, they'll have enough to live well without hurting the rest of the population.)

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  59. The bottom line is that socialist nations usually have low infant mortality rates while capitalist countries have high infant mortality rates. Within capitalist countries, ultra-conservative or extremely-capitalist communities dominated by oligarchs and their lackeys will have the worst infant mortality rates of all. Why? The answer is simple: to capitalists, poor people and their children have zero value. By and large, the mega-moolah mutts would rather blow dough on objects than use their wealth to help the less-fortunate. Although art and architecture are fun, they're no substitute for compassion, basic human decency and practical assistance for the most vulnerable among us.

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  60. Now you want to control them and their business. Fascism has never worked either, Mussolini.
    Will there be any freedoms left after you have completely gutted this country and reduced it to rubble resembling a bombed out east bloc pre-Berlin wall country?

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  61. Although fascism doesn't work, economic planning does. They've got economic planning in one form or another all over Western and Central Europe. Not every type of economic planning requires the imposition of wealth caps. However, America's current extreme disparities in wealth could be corrected using them.

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  62. In any event, there are very few moral or ethical justifications for wealth accumulation by dollar-sign dynasties. When you research the rich and their crimes against humanity, reasons for reining them in abound. First of all, there's the fact that fortunes rarely grow honestly. (Honore de Balzac said that behind every great fortune there lurked a great crime.) Then there's the economic elite's nasty habit of misusing mega-wealth to corrupt government officials through bribery or threats to relocate businesses in other states. In addition, there's the despair and misery which the treasure tyrants inflict on their workforce and the less-fortunate classes in general through labor exploitation. When you add the frivolity and immorality of the super-rich to the discussion, the case against private sector mega-wealth is overwhelming. No, government isn't perfect. Nevertheless, I'd place more trust in it than the corporate elite any day.

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  63. Dear 9:02 P.M., Even people who disagree with you have a right to their opinions and the right to express their ideas. The folks at a certain company are smart enough to know the difference between social commentary and slander. Frankly, successful corporate types have better things to do than attacking non-capitalists--like making money! Regarding the minority infant mortality crisis in Racine, the privileged classes could certainly lend a hand to help the poor. Not only is that the right thing to do, but it is also excellent public relations. Corporations which give back to the community in ways that ordinary people can comprehend are usually highly-respected. (By contrast, companies whose idea of contributing to the community consist of bullying the locals and blowing millions on modern art and architecture are often loathed. To most working class folks, modern art belongs in the junkyard, not a museum, and contemporary architecture is too avant garde.)

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  64. Saving babies' lives ought to be Racine's number-one priority. Whether or not the NY Times exposes our city's health problems, we should deal with them instead of pretending that they don't exist or blaming the victims.

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  65. Dear 9:37 A.M., Believe it or not, the Danes don't mind paying their (to us) high taxes. Unlike some of the commenters, I've been over there twice and I know from first hand experience that most Danes don't resent their taxes. What the Danes DON'T like is nasty remarks about their system. If you can get Michael Powell's travel book ("Behave Yourself!"), you'll see that he even advises Americans to shun the subject: "Avoid criticizing high Danish taxes; they've heard it all before and they are proud of the social welfare system and the social infrastructure that these taxes provide." (You can find this quotation on p.35 of the 2005 edition.)

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  66. High infant mortality rates are a tragedy and a disgrace. However, Racine's minority infant mortality rate--which tops its counterparts in many Third World countries--is an indictment of our community's values. If our corporate and civic leaders were more interested in people and less intrigued with art objects, Racine wouldn't have this terrible problem. Think what the bucks tossed out the window for a Nic Noblique sculpture could have done to save babies' lives...

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  67. 2:40

    Planning does NOT work. The only resoin Western Europe was able to grow at all is called NATO and the 100K + troops we had in Europe.
    Now that we do not Denmark and the rest must protect themselves since by hour two of any major War Obama will be waving the white flag.
    In fact name a country NOT protected by the US that uses central planing.

    ___________________________________

    3:16

    You are right protecting the youth should be number 1 job of the City. However that segment of Racine is not part of the 10 year plan and IMHO exist only to be used as an army of the unemployed.
    The cry in Racine is more art, more bars,more low wage paying jobs, and enrich the good old boys!

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  68. Wait until IP addresses are subpoenaed. It will be hilarious and finally all will see a real name to the comments. Just what I've heard, don't know if it's true.

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  69. Better Than TV11/29/2009 9:16 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  70. http://mises.org/article.aspx?control=905

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  71. "Corporate Crime Family" can refer to the entire corrupt ruling class of this country. (If you don't believe we've got a "Corporate Crime Family" running things, look at AIG and the other firms which got rich off the federal bailout cash.) In any event, our nation should provide all its citizens with free to low-cost heaslth care. Maybe then, American cities wouldn't have Third World infant mortality rates.

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  72. I'm sorry I didn't spell "health" correctly. Still, orthography aside, I stand by my statements.

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  73. OLIGARCHY!!!

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  74. Looks like damage control to me......Squirm, squirm, squirm.....

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  75. We need anti-capitalist damage control in our country--the legal, peaceful, non-violent kind of regulation by the people's government. Ever since the so-called Reagan Revolution, the rich have looted and oppressed the rest. Now it is time for the feds to crack down on the corporate criminals who brought us the current economic crisis.

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  76. Sue a blogger for slander? What's better PR: let someone yammer on a local blog or instigate a lawsuit that will bring national attention and dig up dirt on the family company?

    Most of you still believe that Becker and his ilk occur in a vacuum. The real vacuum is between your ears.

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  77. Please start the suits now. Can't wait.
    Thinking that Dickert's Trolls need to watch football or something. Maybe its practice for them for His losing campaign to be reelected.

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  78. Infant mortality rates just might be related to all the blunt (pot) smoking that is done by and around these young pregnant mothers. You would never know it was illegal by how much is available and smoked daily.

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  79. There will be no lawsuits. Wake up. Billionaires don't need subpoenas to get an IP. They probably already know who he is anyway. If he becomes too much of an irritant, it will be handled privately, like all others in the past. Wake up.

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  80. Soylent green is made from people!!!

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  81. "Billionaires don't need subpoenas to get an IP".

    That has to be THE dumbest comment ever posted.

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  82. Getting back to the important topic--saving poor babies' lives--we need to readjust our priorities. Although architecture and modern art are fun, the corporate elite should set these non-necessities aside for a while and concentrate on combatting infant mortality. Not only would this be the right thing to do, but it would also bring certain companies and cash-clans favorable publicity galore. (In view of the hostile comments I've heard around town since one firm stopped issuing profit-sharing checks, the got-loot gang and its Ivy Leaguers need all the nice PR they can get.) Then, although we must never blame the system's victims, we should do everything to promote abstinence as well as practical reproductive education so young ladies could avoid problem pregnancies. If we're working with ladies who are already pregnant, seeing to it that they stay away from booze, tobacco and drugs is a must. Also, we ought to make sure that they receive prenatal care and learn how to care for their little ones. Some of this will require accountability from downtrodden people and lots of effort from the healthcare and social work communities. Most of all, effective measures to fight infant mortality will demand the one thing we rarely see in Racine: cooperation.

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  83. The dear old gentleman who used to own Western Publishing was correct when he compared Racine to a chariot drawn by four horses (quadriga). As he saw the situation, each of the steeds wanted to run in its special direction without regard for the others and their mutual mission of moving the chariot along. The first horse is the corporate class. Because this system has let it grow bigger and stronger than its partners, it wants to be in command all the time. By and large, it doesn't work well with others. The second horse is the comfortable small business class. That horse is torn between imitating the corporate steed and resenting the latter's size and power. Horse number three is the working class, Due to the greed of the first and second horses, it hasn't gotten enough to eat. However, even though it's a weak horse, it's an angry stallion capable of causing trouble for the first and second steeds. Finally, the fourth horse is the downtrodden poor of our community. That unfortunate steed is even weaker than horse number three and is sometimes resented as a burden and a loafer by its companions, who push it away from the hay whenver they can. Despite its relative lack of strength, the fourth horse resists being bullied. Sometimes it dreams of joining forces with the third steed and teaching horses one and two some lessons they won't forget. However, since the third horse despises the fourth horse because of its weakness and perceived shortcomings, horses three and four rarely form an alliance. Each horse hates the other three and doesn't like being harnessed to the chariot. Someday, unless a good horse whisperer (government) convinces the horses to cooperate, they'll run wild, wreck the chariot and harm each other as well as any other creatures in their respective and divergent paths. Long ago, the wise old fellow who operated Western Publishing warned me about these horses and what they could do. Let's hope and pray that we elect good horse whisperers (government officials) soon.

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  84. If we're going to solve our disgraceful infant mortality problem, everyone will have to lend a hand and learn how to work well with others. (The same applies to the other difficulties in our town.)

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  85. It's time that Racine ceased to be a sick joke and transformed itself into a city capable of achieving worthwhile objectives. To fight infant mortality, we'll all have to contribute whatever we can.

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  86. Although our antiquated economic system compels us to compete against each other, we'll need to find ways and means of getting along. Once we discover how to do this, we'll stop being the conflict capital of Wisconsin. And, more to the point of the article, we'll save more babies and give them a decent start in life.

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  87. Ummm...how many family supporting jobs are supplied by this super intelligent dear old gentleman now? And yet you criticize the another company that is providing a source of income for thousands (i.e. Cornell clan, Cherokee red team, the Waxies and whatever other names you have called them).
    Again your opinion has no merit and is clouded in hypcrisy. Don't bother replying with how happy your European friends are because it is gettin really boring and repetitive.

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  88. I've been told that the elderly gentleman's heirs employ quite a few folks down in Florida. (He left Racine because he couldn't stand the constant conflict here and some of his family agreed with him. )

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  89. As for a certain major company and the clan which owns it, if they did more for the ordinary citizens of our community and paid less attention to aesthetics, they'd be tolerated rather than hated by the populace. In fact, if that family and its corporate lackeys helped the people in practical ways (e.g. fighting infant mortality) instead of doting on architectural ego monuments, they'd be loved. With all the misery in Racine, our fortunate friends should find plenty of constructive work to do. Inasmuch as the economic system which built their empire is responsible for much of that woe, our Cherokee Red cash-cadgers have a moral and ethical obligation to help capitalism's victims. To use an expression dear to some of our oligarchs, it's time for them to "do the right thing."

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  90. That doesn't help the dying babies up here though.

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  91. True, but it's better than nothing. Meanwhile, the problem is to get our local corporate and civic leaders interested in fighting infant mortality. If only someone they'd heed (e.g. a Cornell alumnus with serious moolah) would teach them and reach them, perhaps the privileged people would do something worthwhile. As it is, because they can afford the best of everything this system has to offer, most members of the elite don't understand the situation of ordinary Racine residents. With what may be good intentions, the rich promote the arts and architecture while ignoring the plight of the disadvantaged.

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  92. If a certain hyper-solvent clan and its Ivy League retainers understood that most of us would rather have had help for our poor children instead of a litter of coyly-named lion cubs at the zoo, fewer babies would have died and fewer babies would be dying today. Because the corporate class enjoys a lifestyle totally different from that of its victims, it neither shares their pain nor does much to alleviate it.

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  93. Over the years, social reformers have sought to render the elite more aware of its victims' misery and more eager to end their pain. One suggestion has been to require all youngsters--billionaires' kids included--to do two years of community service in our slums or two years of military service. Then, maybe, advantaged youngsters would learn compassion for the rest. Another suggestion has been to remove tax deductible status from artistic endeavors and institutions while letting benefactors take a double deduction for any philanthropic gifts. If a million dollar gift to charity would get the rich a two million dollar tax deduction while a contribution to the arts would give them nothing, they'd get interested in humanitarian work a.s.a.p. The ideas have been out there for quite a while. The trick is convincing the wealthy that they have a moral obligation to solve serious social problems (e.g. high infant mortality).

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  94. One thing my out-of-state visitors notice (and comment on) is the contrast between our slums and our arty-tarty downtown. The misery of Racine's less-fortunate residents coupled with the plethora of art galleries and specialty shops in the elite "Lakeside Business District" disturbs them. From their perspective, the jarring contrast is neither a good ad for Racine nor fine PR for the corporation which dominates this city. As my guests see it, the situation is a sign that the people endowed with pecuniary and political power don't give a rap about the rest.

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  95. And, yes, my out-of-state friends know all about our terrible infant mortality rate. Thanks to the Chicago and Indianapolis media, they're all-too-aware of Racine's woes. (How I wish that the rich, who could do something about our tragic infant mortality rate, were as alert and well-informed as those Hoosiers!)

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  96. To the ONE blogger who continues to ramble nonsense: PLEASE GET HELP SOON YOU COWARD!!! YOU DON'T FOOL ANYONE AS TO WHO YOU ARE REFERRING TO. I called you a P*SSY before, but Pete or Dunstan deleted it. Funny how they delete that, but not your venom. They must agree with your comments, because I've read PLENTY of your posts that should be deleted. Makes me think you are a friend of theirs. LOL.

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  97. What exactly is a plethora?

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  98. Dear 6:17 A.M., A "plethora" is an excess of something. When a person says that we've got a "plethora" of art galleries, he means that we have too many of them.

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  99. Facts are facts and the truth is always more simplistic than lies. Suggesting abortion as an alternative to teen pregnancy for young black girls follows the doctrine of Margaret Sanger the founder of Planed Parenthood. She advocated strongly for the abortion of all black babies. To suggest that conservatism and capitalism are the vehicle used to disenfranchise the poor is to suggest that Hitler, Castro, Qaddafi, Stalin, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il are all heroes of your ideology. I this is true then I suggest you and the rest of you communist's move to one of their countries and be happy.
    In the mean time I will fight to the death for freedom and our republic under Capitalism.

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  100. Morality has nothing to do with being rich or poor. Just because someone has more money than someone else doesn't make them responsible for bad choices nor does it make them responsible for remedying them. If this was true then God would have to refuse someone to enter the gates of Heaven for someone else's sins. But I guess to understand this you would have to beleave in God.

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  101. If we didn't have babies giving birth to babies like rabbits we would not have this issue. We need to stop procreation. We would then have no infant mortality issues - anything else is just a band aide.

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  102. This is a vicious circle. I live in the inner city so I feel I can speak about the reality of the problem. When will the cycle end?

    We have mothers without fathers who then don't watch their children. The children reek havoc. Forgive us if we are tired of perpetuating the cycle. It is so much less attractive to see these ghetto mouthed low lives have a baby on their hip.

    They are pot smoking and gang affiliated. They don't try to work on the same terms as the people who are made to support them and deal with their problems forever!

    Let the gangs support them they have more money than all of us. We all know that is not going to happen.

    The art in this city makes me happy. I am not an elitist. I am not even white.

    We have plenty of programs. We just don't have the free Popeye's chicken delivered to your door and diapering service.

    What more do they want?

    When do they start taking the least bit of personal responsibility for their condition and us being made to support them end?

    I don't believe that Racine doesn't care for these infants and that is why they are dying. We need to have mandatory housing checks for these moms to find out what they are doing wrong. That is the only way we can get to the bottom of this.

    WIC and foodstamps gives you plenty to feed you and your children. They don't however provide enough to have a large man also living off of the handout. These new moms need to choose better at some point in their lives.

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  103. Dear 7:40 A.M., Although Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck may disagree, the Lord does hold us accountable when we fail to help the poor. Please read Matthew 25:32-46.

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  104. Dear 7:33 A.M., The anti-capitalist comments are posted by folks from several groups, including organizations which don't like Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger's racism. So we agree with you about Mrs.Sanger's bigotry. However, please remember that conservative capitalists like John C. Calhoun supported slavery and saw nothing wrong with racism. Unfortunately, conservatism and capitalism have a long sad history filled with bigotry and the exploitation of vulnerable people. Alas, free enterprise promotes only one form of liberty--the license of the rich to abuse the rest.

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  105. Dear 8:41 A.M., Most of the poor girls and women you've described have very little power. When folks possess next to no power, their responsibility for their situation is minimal. The problem you discussed has ancient roots. Back in some (NOT ALL) West African cultures, the kings and chieftains allowed men to have multiple wives and concubines because polygamy helped to increase tribal populations and keep the rulers supplied with workers and warriors. Later, under slavery, the masters didn't allow the slaves to have legally-recognized marriages and encouraged promiscuity because every slave baby represented extra wealth for his owner. Then, too, there were masters who sexually exploited their female slaves. (Please remember that the poor slave women had zero legal rights and couldn't reject their masters' advances.) After emancipation, landowners wanted huge groups of sharecroppers to till their fields and they didn't care who'd sired the child laborers who picked their cotton. Then came the dislocation and breakup of families during and following the Great Migration. The promiscuity problem didn't arrive over night and it won't go away instantly either. Yes, we must empower people and enable them to assume some responsibility for themselves and their lives. Even so, that task will require time--perhaps generations. Meanwhile , we've got plenty of mothers and little ones who need help. Until society steps up to the plate and lifts them out of poverty, the minority infant mortality crisis will only grow worse.

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  106. Dear 8:41 A.M., I'm glad that you enjoy Racine's art scene. In and of itself, art isn't evil. The trouble with art starts when powerful people become obsessed with it to the point that they neglect their duties to the less-fortunate. For example, the art-loving Medici family in Florence (Italy) enjoyed beautiful wall hangings and decorated the interiors of family residences with them. Sad to say, the exquisite Medici tapestries were produced by child laborers who toiled and suffered at the local orphanage. Although art isn't intrinsically evil, obsession with it is.

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  107. Dear 8:26 A.M., You're absolutely right. However, please recall that Alexander Pope (among others) said that procreation was the poor man's recreation. Alas, those words remain true to this day. As any demographer or social worker will tell you, women bear fewer children once they've been raised up and out of poverty and given a decent education. Financial assistance plus job training and higher education will break the cycle. (Over in Pakistan's hill country, Greg Mortenson's schools for girls are exerting constructive impact on the problem. Once the young ladies become literate, they want to work or obtain more education to prepare for good-paying jobs. Once their families see the girls learning and earning, they're no longer in a hurry to marry them off in their early teens. Then, when they wed, their husbands like the extra income their jobs provide so they aren't rushing to make them mothers. Finally, because educated mothers take better care of their children than illiterate mothers do, families cease to lose fifty percent or more of their kids. when babies have a reasonable chance of survival, there's no need to make wives bear a child every year.)

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  108. If you're interested in Greg Mortenson's great work, please read his books, "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones into Schools."

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  109. If celebrities eg. Oprah, Brad Pitt, Angelena Jolie, Bono, Madonna,George Clooney etc. would contribute their donations to the U. S. instead of countries around the world maybe we would eliminate some of the poor individuals in the US. I never understood how people think it is so great when these celebrities donate elsewhere when we have problems in our own country.

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  110. Anon 1:17, most of the leftist, liberal, socialist, and fascist elites in Hollywood don't have a brain in their heads. They can't see the forest for the trees and think that everyone elses plight is so much more important than those in this country. It raises the question: should we nuke Washington first or Hollywood?

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  111. Dear 1:17 and 2:34 P.M., Although Greg Mortenson's work in Pakistan is very worthwhile, I understand what you're saying. Back in the fifties, my Mom and Dad taught me that charity must begin at home. As much as I respect Greg Mortenson's projects in Asia, I wish he would have worked with poor American kids before going off to improve the Third World. (Because Greg's folks were missionaries and he grew up in East Africa, he was more interested in assisting foreign youngsters. We can hope and pray that now he has a base of operations in Montana, he'll observe some of our problems and start helping impoverished Americans.)

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  112. Sad to say, we've got plenty of poverty and ignorance right here in Racine. Unfortunately, we don't need to visit Pakistan to find illiterate, low-income mothers and neglected children.

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  113. There's lots of work for all of us right here in Racine.

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  114. Even though all of us should fight infant mortality, the fortunate few have an extra obligation. When powerful people see something wrong and neglect to correct it, they become accomplices and enablers. Plutocrats who splurge on avant garde architectural follies while poor babies perish cn their corporate doorstep cannot claim innocence. (Since many of our capitalist cash-cadgers call themselves Christians, I suggest that they read Matthew 25: 31-46.)

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  115. Anon 8:07, or should I call you Mr. Plagiarism for quoting the line from the JT, "When powerful people see something wrong and neglect to correct it, they become accomplices and enablers," and trying to make us think you're so wise?

    I'm familiar with the bible passages you cite. They don't apply. We're not talking about whether or not we should help the poor and infirm, the point is WHERE we should be helping FIRST. Anon 3:11 had it right when he said, "... charity must begin at home." If we don't take care or our own first, there may not be anyone here to help others later on. Let me ask you this, oh wise sage of JT plagiarism and Bible master, if your next door neighbor was starving and you had a choice of feeding him or some foreigner in Rwanda, would you send your money overseas before helping your neighbor?

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  116. No, I never claimed to be wise. And, yes, I was taught by Catholic Sisters and Fathers who used the same wording that Mr.Sharkozy employed in his excellent commentary. The phraseology you cited as plagiarism was the wording which thousands of Catholic students in Racine learned fom their instructors. I'm sorry if it offended you. Regarding your ethical question, charity DOES begin at home and I would definitely help my starving neighbor first. Then, assuming I had the means to help the folks in Africa, I'd contribute to their cause. (If I couldn't aid them, I'd try to convince somebody with cash to take an interest in their plight and do the right thing.)

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  117. Dear 9:27 A.M.,What you deemed plagiarism was just the repetition of the words many of us learned at St. Catherine's High School. If we didn't memorize that sentence there, the dear Fathers who taught "Christian Ethics" at Catholic colleges throughout the USA made sure that we learned the words and the ideas which they conveyed. Repeating something one was taught isn't plagiarism. If it were, every "Christian Ethics" instructor and his students would be plagiarists.

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  118. Until relatively-recent times, Catholic education relied heavily on rote memorization of sentences and phrases. (If you don't believe me, ask today's good Sisters and Fathers about the "Baltimore Catechism" and the "Catechism of the Council of Trent." Even today, these great educators and their former pupils can reel off entire pages from these books as well as the "Christian Ethics" texts.) Over the years, the words used in these works and the mimeographed study guides which the instructors distributed to their students became the officially-approved and accepted ways of expressing important moral rules.

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  119. To this day, I can recall the Reverend Joseph Hynous, O.P. repeating a similar sentence ten times and then having our class repeat it back to him. However, I believe that he did not use the term "enabler" in the version which we recited at Dominican College years ago.

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  120. The text we had at Marquette said "anyone" instead of "powerful people." Regardless of the fine points and variations, we were expected to commit the words we were taught to memory.

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  121. Mnenmonic training was very big in Catholic schools back in the fifties and early sixties. My Speech instructor--Sister Mary Joanette, O.P.--had us memorize eight pages of poetry from our textbook every month. Even now, I catch myself using phrases and expressions from that material.

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  122. That's nothing. Father Raymond Scullion, O.P., had us memorize entire passages from Saint Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica" and "Summa Contra Gentiles" in Latin. I continue to use Aquinas' phrase for replying to questions even now. (The phrase was "respondeo/ respondeo ego," meaning "I answer." The phrase would be followed by the remainder of the reply. E.g., if somebody asked me for the time of day, I'd say "I answer that it's ten o'clock.")

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  123. Memorization-based education could (and did) lead to deeply ingrained speech and writing patterns. On a more important note, Racine's high infant mortality rate is a reproach to the entire community in general and to the elite in particular.

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  124. Mayo copa mayo copa mayo maxima copa - need I say more???

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  125. Ego te absolvo.

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  126. There will be a Latin (the lost language) quiz at the end of the day.

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  127. Although that sounds like fun, please don't call Latin the "lost language." Some of my pals who teach Latin at Unified and Saint Catherine's would be upset. To them, Latin remains a living language--the official tongue of the Roman Catholic Church. What's more, it's the fons et origo of the Romance languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian). In addition, although English is classified as a Germanic language, its vocabulary is loaded with words derived from Latin.

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  128. Along with the widely-spoken tongues, the Romance Language family includes some odd dialects. Up in Northwesrern Spain and Northern Portugal, folks talk Gallego, a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish and Gaelic. Around Barcelona, many people speak Catalan/ a Lenga Catala, which sounds like French. Over the border in France, you'll find Provencal/ Langue d'Oc and Breton. Because Italy wasn't unified until 1870, dozens of dialects abound. Switzerland has three dying dialects which some writers class as Romance languages in their own rights: Ladin, Engadinish and Romansch. Wherever Latin developed into our major Romance languages, you'll find regional dialects galore.

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  129. Latin and its liguistic offspring aside, we need to do something to reduce Racine's scandalously-high infant mortality rate.

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  130. I like bacon.

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  131. We have plenty of programs. These moms should get help. They should be made to work, learn about parenting, and not support a loafing man to get it. They should be drug tested and the baby drug tested as well. Weekly home checks should be done randomly. I don't wish to throw money in the toilet. If they want a healthy baby let them learn how to have one with our financial help. Otherwise stop getting pregnant.

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  132. All that touchy feely history of generations of oppressed women is so Hallmark network. We need to give them expectations and make them stick to them in order to be supported. I wasn't consulted on whether they should have a baby or not. But yet I am made to be responsible. Programs with strings attached or move to Madison. See ya.

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  133. Dear Graham, You're so right about the elite and its habit of promoting philanthropic work in distant lands. If you'll look at the front page of today's "Journal Times," you'll see that our civic and corporate leaders had the kids at McKinley Middle School reading all about a humanitarian named Greg Mortenson and his good deeds in Pakistan. Although Mr. Mortenson means well and his Central Asia Institute has built over fifty schools in that part of the world, I wish he'd do something to help poor children here. By the same token, it would be nice if our local leaders would take more of an interest in low-income American kids and their problems. Why didn't the city officials and businessmen promote a book about impoverished American youngsters?

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  134. As fine as the "One School, One Book" program featuring Greg Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea" may seem, I find it funny that it began on December 1--the release date for Mr. Mortenson's sequel. (The second book--"Stones into Schools"--is a hardbound volume and it isn't cheap. When I called stores around our area, nobody had it for under twenty bucks.)

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  135. Even though learning about other lands and their cultures can be fun, I wish the kids were exposed to more material about people and problems right here in America. Maybe if our youngsters were aware of our social problems (e.g. high infant mortality), they'd work to solve them when they grew up.

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  136. Nobody's condemning Greg Mortenson and his projects. However, now that his organization has its headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, perhaps he'll locate some poor American kiddies who need help. (IF anyone wants to contact Mr. Mortenson, his address is : Central Asia Institute, P.O. Box 7209, Bozeman, MT 59771. The CAI's telephone number is area code 406 585-7841.)

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  137. Although I may sound like Scrooge, I hope the teachers at McKinley won't have their pupils raise or collect money for Greg Mortenson's schools in Pakistan. With all the misery and poverty we have in Racine, the students should be helping our disadvantaged folks first.

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  138. Don't worry that Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute will suffer if our local kids assist impoverished Racine residents instead of sending money to his organization. Before an extremely wealthy businessman named Jean Hoerni passed away, he left the CAI a bundle.

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  139. Ideally, we ought to help both our American poor and folks in other countries. However, inasmuch as our economy is caught in a recession, aiding our needy fellow citizens must trump sending our cash overseas.

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  140. Getting back to our war on high infant mortality, it won't be over very soon. Until we build a comprehensive social safety net for our citizens and lift every American out of poverty, the conditions which cause high infant mortality will persist.

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  141. Dear 3:17 PM, I'm afraid that Unified may have our kids scrounging cash for Greg Mortenson's schools in Pakistan instead of helping poor American children. According to an article by Lindsay Fiori in the "Journal Times" for December 2, the kids at McKinley Middle School will participate in a "penny collection fundraiser" (p. 5A). This sounds a heck of a lot like Greg Mortenson's "Pennies for Pakistan" program. If it is, parents and other concerned citizens should make sure that our Unified students aren't turned into coin-chasers for Greg Mortenson's foreign proteges. Assuming the kids have to scrounge pennies for a good cause, the money should stay here in Racine where the Food Bank or HALO can use it to help our people.

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  142. With all the poverty here in town and the high percentage of Unified students receiving free or low-cost school lunches, the kids at McKinley shouldn't have to cough up any pennies. Heck, somebody (Greg Mortenson, maybe?) ought to take up a collection to help them.

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  143. Why is our school district so interested in foreign people and places? A while back, it pushed nonsense like "Three White Cranes, Two Flyways, One World," a silly program which revolved around Siberian cranes living in Inner Mongolia, a region of Red China. (If somebody was so gaga about cranes, why didn't the kids study our Wisconsin whoopers?) Now we've got "One, School, One Book" and a lot of emphasis on poor kids in Pakistan instead of disadvantaged American children. There's something funny here...

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  144. In the meantime, while our kids learn about problems in Pakistan,our local problems--like high infant mortality--persist or grow worse.

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  145. I wonder...Inasmuch as corporate and civic leaders kicked off the "One School, One Book" program, it's possible that Racine's elite is pushing a globalist agenda in the public schools. Regardless of the privileged class' little penchant for exotic topics and its possible influence on Unified's curriculum, hometown issues such as high infant mortality are neglected.

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  146. Although helping folks overseas can be a good deed, there's so much misery right here in Racine that humanitarians of all ages will find plenty of work to do. Until we conquer our infant mortality problem, we've got no business building schools in Pakistan. (Don't worry--the Pakistanis will get their schools. Let's never forget that a wealthy philanthropist gave Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute a great endowment fund. Too bad no mega-millionaire or billionaire cares about the obscene infant mortality rate HERE.)

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  147. Did the same educators or corporate PR people who dreamt up "Three White Cranes, Two Flyways and One World" saddle our students with "One School, One Book"? My elderly neighbors, who have grandkids enrolled in Unified, want to know. It appears that we teach our children everything but the basics. Also, it seems that the kids study every country you could name except the USA.

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  148. This crap has been going on for ages. Back in the thirties, my late Auntie the anthropologist wanted to study dairy farmers and how they were coping with the Depression. Instead her academic superiors at UW- Madison had her research the tribal ceremonials of the Australian Aborigines and the customs of the Nair/Nayar caste in Southern India. Returning to our sad topic of Racine's high infant mortality, it's a tragedy which could have been prevented if we'd learned to pay attention to our local problems instead of meddling in the affairs of other cultures and countries.

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  149. What I'd like to know is the reason for all this cosmopolitan bosh. Somebody must want it in the schools or it wouldn't be there.

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  150. This is just a theory and I'm not trying to be "Mister Know-It-All." From what my history teachers have told me, privileged people tend to be internationalists. By and large, they have more in common with their foreign peers than they have with the common folks in their homelands. In the olden days, this was certainly true of Europe's royalty and nobility, who regularly married foreigners and conversed with each other using either Latin or French, the universal tongues of privileged people back then. Today, the owners of multinational companies and their upper-echelon retainer classes have a similar mindset. On the whole, they're more interested in the latest fashions from Paris or Milan and Spanish micro-cuisine than anything which would be part of an ordinary American's daily existence. Because they've outsourced jobs galore to Third and Second World countries and have invested fortunes over there, elitists are more concerned about schools for little Pakistanis than they are about dying American babies.

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  151. The guy who said that "the rich are different" wasn't wrong. Often the wealthy (and those whom they support) go in for non-mainstream hobbies. For example, Greg Mortenson liked mountaineering and even made trips to the Himalayas to climb killer peaks for the sheer heck of it. Greg's mountaineering brought him into contact with the plutocrat who gave him a big chunk of change for his Central Asia Institute. Without sounding cynical, I don't think that the mountaineering entrepreneur would have been too eager to help a guy who rooted for the Packers and held a blue collar job.

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  152. Exactly. And that's one reason why the rich won't be saving the lives of poor American babies anytime soon.

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  153. Somebody has to teach our elite respect and empathy for their not-so-solvent fellow Americans. Perhaps if the government took all high school graduates, including trust fund brats, and made them do two years of military service, the elite would see how other people struggle to survive and would understand their problems. Then maybe the privileged class would listen to an ordinary guy who wanted them to fight infant mortality here instead of sending mega-bucks to a mountain climber who'd spend it in Pakistan.

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  154. There's no denying that the wealthy are into travel and admire adventurers like mountaineers. Since the rich usually don't have any real challenges in their lives, they groove on dangerous, totally-futile activities such as mountain climbing. Greg Mortenson was lucky that his (to us) insane hobby got him a cool million for his Central Asia Institute.

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  155. Yeah, but that's not so good for the dying babies here in Racine. Until the elite learns to care about unglamorous suffering people right here on its doorstep, Racine's infant mortality rate will continue to soar.

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  156. For those who want a copy of Greg Mortenson's "Stones into Schools," Walmart has it for $18.77 plus tax.

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  157. Dear 7:15 AM, The name of Greg Mortenson's fundraising program is "Pennies for Peace," NOT "Pennies for Pakistan." However, I must admit that a lot of the money the kids collect will wind up over there. When will we Americans learn to take care of our own needy people before we send cash overseas?

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  158. Perhaps if the moolah we blew on foreign aid had been kept in the USA and used to provide our citizens with low-cost or free health care, we wouldn't have such high infant mortality rates here.

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  159. Any way you look at the problem, charity should begin at home.

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  160. Yes, but when circumstances are favorable and the means are available, charity--which begins at home--doesn't have to end there. Ideally, we should be able to help poor people here and abroad.

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  161. Why should the so called Elite be punished? We already have plenty of money for programs. There is fraud and abuse. There should be accountability. You want free money.You make a baby and need intervention. Then don't take drugs, don't hang out around anyone who is using drugs. Get a job, stay in school, get good grades, don't support a loafing man with the handout. Work on parenting because it is work. Is that too much to ask?

    We will get in life what we reward. If we reward unmarried pregnant teens with questionable lifestyles then we will get more of the same.

    If we help with strings attached then we should be able to at some point get it under control.

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  162. Give them bus tickets to Madison. Problem solved.

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  163. Dear 12:20 and 12:21 PM, Please read Matthew 25:31-46.

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  164. Please don't forget Mark 9:37. That verse contains an important message for all of us.

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  165. Dear 12:20 PM, The proposal to have all American kids (plutocrats' progeny included) do two years of military or community service was not intended as a scheme to punish the socio-economic elite. Rather, it was put forward as a way to promote equality, empathy and national unity. As matters stand today, most hyper-privileged American youngsters don't possess a clue concerning the problems of our poor and working class citizens. Perhaps if the ultra-advantaged kids were to see and experience the grim existence endured by capitalism's victims, they'd develop a capacity for compassion. In time, some of the super-solvent youngsters just might feel obliged to help their less-fortunate fellow Americans. Maybe then we'd finally get serious about solving our infant mortality problem.

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  166. In the mean time, while rich twits play, poor babies pine away.

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  167. We do not know why the babies are dying. It could just be that the moms are doing drugs. I live in the inner city and there is a lot of pot smoking and drinking done. We cannot intervene so much so that we care more about the baby than the mother does. That would only end up in death as soon as we stop intervening. These pregnant woman need to care about the baby they are carrying, the help is there.

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  168. These women should not have babies. If you want to reduce infant mortality - these women (babies) need to stop having babies. They do not have the money, skills and nurturing to have health babies. Then add to that drugs, alchohol and absent fathers - this is a prescription for death.

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  169. It is pretty unfair to compare our infant deaths to anywhere else. How can anyone be sure the circumstances are the same but for lack of special programs?

    Maybe they should just mandate that we have to provide everything they provide and then the county can pick up the tab. They already do that for the courts and patients in nursing homes. We are going broke having to pay for what they choose had to be provided. We live here why shouldn't we decide how to spend the county money?

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  170. Dear 12:10 P.M., If we sincerely believed that ALL of America's children--the future of our nation--deserved a decent start in life, we'd find the financial and legal means to intervene and, if necessary, remove neglected babies from their mothers' custody. However, we don't do this because the rich and their epigones are reluctant to pay taxes to fund such programs. Also, there's a heck of a lot of racism out there. Most of our lily-white plutocrats aren't concerned about non-Caucasian kids' well-being and survival. In fact, some big-buck bigots welcome high minority infant mortality as a solution to social problems. Finally, there's the class factor. For many elitists, poor children of any race are perceived as expendable.

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  171. Today a good friend called and shared some information which convinced me that Racine's elite needs to readjust its priorities. In a town which leads much of the world in high infant mortality rates, we're playing with "stork conservation" at the zoo. That's right, we're protecting and preserving birds with a legendary reputation for delivering babies. It's funny that our plutocrats (who darned well keep Racine's unnecessary menagerie in cash) can't do more to help poor infants. Alas, Racine's disadvantaged kiddies aren't young African marabou storks. If they were, the low-income minority babies would receive excellent care. (None of the above is an attack on Mr. Christie and his friends at the zoo. The responsibility for Racine's infatuation with follies while infants perish belongs to the hyper-privileged corporate class.)

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  172. Maybe, when a strong federal government finally shuts down the zoos and other animal-oriented follies,we'll take care of PEOPLE for a change. Then, perhaps, fewer babies will die.

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