When some idiot decided to spew bigoted, incoherent garbage in an online review of Kabab and Grill in Racine’s Uptown, owner Umar Nirman — a native of Lahore, Pakistan — was impressively unfazed: He posted a screenshot of the racist idiocy on his Facebook page and added a comment: “Love for all, hate for none. Have a blessed day Racine.” To the credit of Racine, dozens of people turned up for lunch Tuesday at Kabab and Grill; a photo of the restaurant interior in Wednesday’s Journal Times showed it packed with customers. “I love our community,” he said. “People love us … it doesn’t matter to me what religion a person has; we’re one community.” Well said, Mr. Nirman.
Fleecing the taxpayers: If the late William Proxmire, the U.S. senator from Wisconsin, was still around to issue his monthly Golden Fleece Awards for wasteful government spending, we’re confident federal Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson would have the next award clinched: HUD officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office late last year, the New York Times reported, just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD’s programs for the homeless, elderly and poor, according to federal procurement records. The purchase of the custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch came a month after a top agency staff member filed a whistle-blower complaint charging Carson’s wife, Candy, with pressuring department officials to find money for the expensive redecoration of his offices, even if it meant circumventing the law. Meanwhile, CNN reported that Helen Foster, the former HUD chief administrative officer, says she was demoted in part for refusing to spend more than was legally allowed to redecorate Secretary Carson’s new office. Foster’s sworn complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, the independent agency charged with investigating whistleblower complaints made by government employees, says that after she refused to misuse taxpayer dollars for the office redecoration project she was “retaliated against by being taken out of my position as Chief Administrative Officer.” Foster said she was told to “find money” beyond the legal $5,000 limit for redecorating. In one instance, she says a supervisor said that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.” We suspect a solid majority of American taxpayers would like Secretary Carson and his staff to spend considerably less than $5,000 of their money on a single chair. Here at The Journal Times, we’d be happy to pass along to HUD our advertisers’ furniture sales circulars; they’ve got some great deals.
Tougher punishment for repeat OWI offenders: Repeat drunken drivers would lose their driver’s licenses for at least 10 years if they are convicted of four or more operating-while-intoxicated offenses under a bill that cleared the state Assembly on Feb. 21. A Senate version of the bill, authored by state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, passed unanimously last fall; while the two bills need to be reconciled, chances are good that the final bill will be signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker. To which we say: That’s a good start. It shouldn’t take four OWI arrests for someone to recognize that they have a problem, that they shouldn’t be drinking and driving any more, and that a car in the hands of an impaired driver can become a deadly weapon. We’d like to see stiffer punishments for second and third OWI offenses, frankly.