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Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

A Cautionary Tale

The loss of the passenger pigeon isn’t just history. Even seemingly robust natural resources can prove to be fragile. By Spencer Black A few months back, Pam and I were enjoying the splendor of a Wisconsin autumn on a hike on the bluffs high above the Mississippi River when we chanced upon a stark reminderContinue reading “A Cautionary Tale”

WI’s Wolf Hunt Travesty

I am a Wisconsin hunter and I am embarrassed and disgusted at what took place in my state last week with a rushed and ill-considered wolf hunt. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s outdoor writer, Paul Smith, has written an excellent account of the history that got us to this point. But “this point” is carnage thatContinue reading “WI’s Wolf Hunt Travesty”

Raise the Minimum Wage

I’m for a more stable society and increasing the minimum wage is key to that goal. Everyone should be able to get ahead in America by ‘working hard and playing by the rules.’ I’m a strong supporter of an increase in the minimum wage. I go into that with my eyes wide open. I understandContinue reading “Raise the Minimum Wage”

Anybody But The Rich Kid

First Alex Lasry discovered that Milwaukee had restaurants. With that out of the way, now he wants to be your United States Senator. Is anybody else tired of billionaires trying to buy Senate seats or governor’s offices? How about the sons of billionaires? Alex Lasry, 33, is barely qualified to be elected to the StateContinue reading “Anybody But The Rich Kid”

Diversity of Experience

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) is fast becoming one of my favorite political leaders. Now, he’s advising Pres. Joe Biden to make a ground-breaking choice (in more ways than one) for the Supreme Court. It was Clyburn who saved the Biden campaign from oblivion in the South Carolina primary, propelling him to his party’s nomination.Continue reading “Diversity of Experience”

The Moderate Troubadour

Steve Martin has a tune entitled, “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs.” Neither do moderates. Why is that and can the problem be fixed? My favorite NPR show is Mountain Stage. The eclectic live music show has been on the air for 30 years. It originates in West Virginia with host Larry Grose. I like toContinue reading “The Moderate Troubadour”

Seattle, WI

Could the Madison City Council steal majorities from national Democrats? This may seem incomprehensible, but the council is about to move further to the left, and that bodes ill for the Democratic brand everywhere. The council has long been liberal, reflecting the progressive politics of a college town, but the current council is widely regardedContinue reading “Seattle, WI”

Limbaugh’s Audience

When considering the impact of radio host Rush Limbaugh, who passed away yesterday, it’s important to check our hypocrisy. For many years Madison had a left-leaning shock jock. He was essentially a liberal Limbaugh. Among many other outrageous statements, he once suggested that a Madison alderwoman be raped in a stairwell. And, yet, when heContinue reading “Limbaugh’s Audience”

The Perplexing Tony Evers

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers introduced his second biennial budget yesterday. Is there any strategic thinking that goes on in his office? Evers’ budget was filled with Democratic wish list items, every one of which is surely to be dispatched swiftly by legislative Republicans without so much as a hearing. Legalizing marijuana, increasing the UW budgetContinue reading “The Perplexing Tony Evers”

The New Generation Gap

Boomers, who largely believe in liberal values like free speech, have raised kids who would trample those same values in their zealous pursuit of social justice. Where did we go wrong? It’s playing out in the pages and the news room of the New York Times. In the last few years, Baby Boomer editors andContinue reading “The New Generation Gap”

Is There Too Much Regulation?

By Harvey M. Jacobs This is the second in an occasional series on environmental issues from emeritus University of Wisconsin Prof. Harvey Jacobs. The first was titled Searching for a Responsible Localism, and posted on February 2nd. Conservatives complain that liberals never met an issue they didn’t want to regulate.  This complaint applies to issuesContinue reading “Is There Too Much Regulation?”

Impeachment Was Worth It

Now that the impeachment trial of Donald Trump has reached its inevitable conclusion, it’s worth asking if it was all worth it. I’d say it was. First, the Democrats’ case is now an historical record. It was important to document just what happened on January 6th and Trump’s part in it. That was done andContinue reading “Impeachment Was Worth It”

Make It ‘Hank Aaron Field’

Let’s take a break from insurrection, plague and the polar vortex to think about spring and honor. Let’s name the diamond on which the Milwaukee Brewers play baseball “Hank Aaron Field.” People often forget that Aaron, who died on January 22nd, started and finished his major league career in Milwaukee. He played for the MilwaukeeContinue reading “Make It ‘Hank Aaron Field’”

Moderates Reduce Poverty

Tucked safely inside the COVID relief package currently before congress is a provision that would do more to reduce poverty than anything since Medicare. And it will happen because of bipartisanship led by moderates. While we’re focussed on Donald Trump’s impeachment trial (he’ll be acquitted) and who will get another $1,400 from the government (fewerContinue reading “Moderates Reduce Poverty”

The Opportunity For Biden, the Democrats and the Country

In a previous blog, I’ve advocated for compromise with Republicans and a smaller Covid relief package than President Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal. In this guest blog Harry Peterson makes the case for going big. — Dave Cieslewicz By Harry Peterson FACTS Presidents get credit and blame for things over which they have only modest influence. Continue reading “The Opportunity For Biden, the Democrats and the Country”

The Boss is Centered

Bruce Springsteen’s Super Bowl commercial was exactly the message the country needed. The reaction from a polarized nation proves it. The Boss has steadfastly passed up offers (and, no doubt, bizzilions of bucks) to do commercials, so I doubt that he did a Jeep ad just because he really believes in off-road vehicles. (Though, apparently,Continue reading “The Boss is Centered”

Chuck Schumer’s Dilemma

Here’s the question posed in a headline from this morning’s New York Times: “Will Schumer Satisfy the Left?” I can answer that question. The answer is ‘no.’ From my long and painful experience with left-wing activists I can assure you that it is impossible to satisfy them. Political practicality is just not in their DNA.Continue reading “Chuck Schumer’s Dilemma”

Sweet Normalcy

Notice anything about the debate over the COVID relief package? It’s so normal. In fact, it’s almost boring and isn’t that wonderful? I hasten to clarify that I’m referring here to the national effort, not what’s going on in the Wisconsin Legislature. Here, the Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have started to snipe atContinue reading “Sweet Normalcy”

Let’s Make a Deal

Sometimes the big picture is more important than the details. That’s the case with the COVID relief package working its way through Congress right now. President Biden’s plan would cost $1.9 trillion. Ten Republican senators have offered a plan — with few public details at this point — costing around $600 billion. That’s a canyonContinue reading “Let’s Make a Deal”

Requiem For The GOP

The “war for the soul of the Republican Party” turned out to be a pillow fight where not a feather was shed. And Donald Trump won. So much for that. It was a Grand Old Party. Now it’s gone. Date of death: on or about January 28, 2021. On Tuesday, January 26th, long-time Republican strategistContinue reading “Requiem For The GOP”

Archetypes of the Problem

One of the reasons for our current polarization is people like Scot Ross and Dan O’Donnell. Folks like this have always been around, going back to the likes of Joe McCarthy and Huey Long up to the present with Donald Trump. They’re self-obsessed publicity seekers for whom controversy is like oxygen, so they find itContinue reading “Archetypes of the Problem”

Four Parties?

On last Sunday’s Meet The Press, host Chuck Todd revealed some fascinating polling data. The electorate is equally divided between Trump Republicans, traditional Republicans, Biden Democrats and Democrats who prefer the politics of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Exactly 17% of voters picked each of those four categories. Host Chuck Todd made the point thatContinue reading “Four Parties?”

What’s a Moderate?

Moderation is the opposite of ideology. It’s flexible and solution oriented. Where an ideologue will reject a given solution because it doesn’t fit into a broader world view, a moderate will try anything that promises to work. Free markets where that looks promising, more regulation where it appears needed; tax cuts at moments when theContinue reading “What’s a Moderate?”

Goodbye, Populism

If there is anything President Joe Biden’s inaugural speech was not, it was populist. President Biden’s speech has justifiably won plaudits from across the spectrum, even including the Wall Street Journal. (It’s likely this will be the last time the Journal has much good to say about him, so drink it in while you can,Continue reading “Goodbye, Populism”

Facts Are Real

On a campus where professors are seldom reticent to share their political views, Ken Mayer stands out for being meticulous in keeping his personal politics to himself. Mayer is a scholar who studies the American presidency and he teaches a course in that subject in the Political Science Department. He goes so far as toContinue reading “Facts Are Real”

The Heroic Ten

Donald Trump’s second impeachment ranks as the most bipartisan among the four impeachment votes in American history. Still, ten Republican votes for impeachment is hardly a landslide. And in a party that Trump still owns until further notice, voting for impeachment took courage. You might assume that the ten all come from districts that JoeContinue reading “The Heroic Ten”

Loud, Proud and Moderate

This fall billboards popped up around Madison making a simple case. Shootings are up 78% and yet some members of the Madison Common Council want to defund the police. Both assertions are essentially true. To be clear, shots fired incidents are up by almost 80%, not the number of people hit by gun fire. ButContinue reading “Loud, Proud and Moderate”

A More Perfect Union Was Made By Some Imperfect People

By Harry Peterson This is the first in a series of pieces from an esteemed group of contributors. Harry L Peterson served as UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala’s chief of staff and is president emeritus of Western Colorado University. A version of this piece originally appeared in the Capital Times last summer. The Black Lives MatterContinue reading “A More Perfect Union Was Made By Some Imperfect People”

The Year in Moderation

How did 2020 play out in terms of moderate politics? I’d say it started out bad, got much worse and then finished in positive, even hopeful, territory. You could divide the year into three parts. There was most of the first quarter when the economy looked strong, Donald Trump’s prospects for reelection were real andContinue reading “The Year in Moderation”


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