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Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

Biden’s Problem

I think I’ve hit on Pres. Joe Biden’s fundamental problem: he was never a mayor. When you’ve been a mayor of a liberal city you learn one thing right out of the gate: the left is never, ever satisfied. The left lives to be disgruntled. They cannot govern because being outside shouting at the powersContinue reading “Biden’s Problem”

I’m For Free Speech

Let’s hear it for Becca Meltz. Meltz chairs the College Republicans of UW-Madison. When she was contacted for comment about the scheduled appearance on campus next week of 1619 Project author Nikole Hannah-Jones, Meltz said the group has always been and will continue to be advocates for free speech. Students should have the opportunity toContinue reading “I’m For Free Speech”

Biden’s Bad Choices

Good Sunday morning. It’s chilly out there. Today we’re going to hear from Ross Douthat, a right-center columnist for the New York Times. And let me pause here and put in a word for the good old Times. The paper’s snobby, condescending coastalness and obsession with the latest fashions in affluent white liberal thought oftenContinue reading “Biden’s Bad Choices”

It’s Time For Bunny Rabbits and Ice Cream

Here’s what Pres. Joe Biden’s press secretary said yesterday about his troubles getting his legislation through Congress: “You do hard things in White Houses, You have every challenge laid at your feet, whether it’s global or domestically. And we could certainly propose legislation to see if people support bunny rabbits and ice cream, but thatContinue reading “It’s Time For Bunny Rabbits and Ice Cream”

The Voting Rights Mess

If Pres. Joe Biden and Vice Pres. Kamala Harris went down to Georgia yesterday to shoot themselves in the foot, well, mission accomplished. They can hobble around Washington now because they came back weaker than when they left. The campaign swing through Georgia was designed to show their base that the administration is fired upContinue reading “The Voting Rights Mess”

Open the Schools

On the merits of the case, it’s a close call. On the politics it’s a no-brainer. I’d go with the politics. I speak here of decisions to open schools or force teaching online due to the latest virus surge. The decision pits parents (also known as voters) against teachers unions (also known as THE sacredContinue reading “Open the Schools”

RoJo, Annotated

Yesterday Ron Johnson announced his candidacy for reelection. Did he make his announcement in Wisconsin or in his hometown newspaper at least? Nope. He announced on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal — while decrying “the mainstream media.” Johnson has a way of saying things he doesn’t actually believe. For example, shortly afterContinue reading “RoJo, Annotated”

Beware Ron Johnson

Press reports this morning indicate that Sen. Ron Johnson will announce his bid for a third term next week. This doesn’t surprise me… though if he had decided to hang it up, that wouldn’t have surprised me either. Truth is, I had no idea what the guy was going to do. Johnson is the oddestContinue reading “Beware Ron Johnson”

1/6/21 – 11/5/24

It feels like we’re in the interim, a tense time when we’re waiting to see what happens next. January 6, 2021 was one of those days when people needed to stand up and be counted. It was like December 7, 1941. Leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor there was a robust isolationist movementContinue reading “1/6/21 – 11/5/24”

Last Words

Last week I listed my 10 favorite books of 2021, but I didn’t count local writers in that list. Over the course of the next month, I’ll look deeper at a handful of books by Wisconsin writers that I enjoyed last year. Let’s start today with Dead Lines by George Hesselberg. One advantage of havingContinue reading “Last Words”

Radical Practicality

We all know that mayors are where it’s at. Presidents and governors give speeches, senators hold hearings, Congressmen where nice buttons on their lapels. But mayors do stuff. Even the loftiest of politicians, once they become mayor, quickly transform into the purveyors of nuts and bolts. They might come into office talking about “new urbanism”Continue reading “Radical Practicality”

’21 Could Have Been Worse

Good news is rare, not because it doesn’t exist but because “news” is pretty much defined as negative. There are exceptions, of course, but when things go right that’s more or less expected, and when they go wrong that’s notable.  So, for example, when your city plows the streets beautifully after a blizzard, it doesn’tContinue reading “’21 Could Have Been Worse”

The Year in Good News

Good news is rare, not because it doesn’t exist but because “news” is pretty much defined as negative. There are exceptions, of course, but when things go right that’s more or less expected and when they go wrong that’s notable. So, for example, when your city plows the streets beautifully after a blizzard, it doesn’tContinue reading “The Year in Good News”

The Big Story of ’21

What was the most important state news story in 2021? You might nominate the ongoing fight over COVID restrictions and the waves of patients that are crushing the state’s ER’s and ICU’s. Then again, certainly, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and verdict was the biggest national story that came out of Wisconsin this year, rivaled onlyContinue reading “The Big Story of ’21”

Worst Pols of ’21

As I mentioned yesterday, in the Best Pols category, their opposite number was going to be much tougher. There’s so much competition for the top spot. And the judges had to wrestle with a tough question that has come to the fore since the Age of Trump. Is it worse to be an idiot fascistContinue reading “Worst Pols of ’21”

Political Heroes of ’21

It’s annual list time! We’ll fill much of this week between Christmas and New Years with our lists of favorite stuff from the year almost gone by. Let’s start with our favorite pols countdown. 10. Tom Barrett. Milwaukee’s long-time, likable mayor doesn’t get — and may never get– the credit he deserves for managing theContinue reading “Political Heroes of ’21”

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas day, so let’s take a break from politics. Let me just thank you for reading. It’s been a year since we started Yellow Stripes and readership has grown steadily. And each month we get more comments, both for publication and in emails, and they have been uniformly thoughtful and civil. Thanks to everyoneContinue reading “Merry Christmas”

The Modcast/Big Little Stories

Episode Three. Big Little Stories. Wherein Dave talks about what he sees as the top state and top local story that came out of 2021. Neither are probably what you’d think. Also, the best Christmas song ever.

Let’s Get Incremental

It’s possible that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s statement yesterday that he was done negotiating on his party’s big social and climate plan was just strategic. Maybe if progressives just finally accept the honest $1.5 trillion price tag over ten years that Manchin has wanted it will be back on track. I kind of doubt it,Continue reading “Let’s Get Incremental”

The Modcast/M-A-N-C-H-I-N

We’ve got a new feature here at YSDA: the Modcast Podcast. Check out Episode One, M-A-N-C-H-I-N, wherein Dave tries to figure out how the damn thing works. He also talks about the riddle inside the enigma that is Joe Manchin. Six weeks ago Manchin said that rumors of his leaving the Democratic Party were “bullContinue reading “The Modcast/M-A-N-C-H-I-N”

Smart Move on Maps

Gov. Tony Evers may have just out-maneuvered Republicans at their own game. But maybe not. Evers submitted redistricting maps to the state Supreme Court yesterday which comply with the court’s order to deviate as little as possible from current maps. And yet his maps also achieve pretty much the same projected partisan split as theContinue reading “Smart Move on Maps”

A Sane Republican

Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) deserves our respect and our thanks. Bernier is chair of the Senate Elections Committee and a former county clerk. She understands how elections are run, having, you know, actually run them. Contrast this with former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is running the sham partisan “investigation” into last November’sContinue reading “A Sane Republican”

Politics and Policy

For the second day in a row I’m starting with a notion I came across in a Peggy Noonan column. This is weird because I’m not that much a fan of Noonan. Her patrician tone in her rambling Wall Street Journal columns drives me nuts. But I give her credit for her Never Trump, generallyContinue reading “Politics and Policy”

Pic of the Day/Ski Trails

On the Land O Lakes Trails in the Ottawa National Forest yesterday afternoon. First time out this year, the conditions were perfect. More snow on the way today and a lot more tomorrow.

Keep Manchin in the Fold

What’s Job #1 for the Democrats? Pass their big social/climate spending bill? Nope. The thing they absolutely must do is keep Sen. Joe Manchin in the party. Manchin’s been under friendly fire for much of the year because he’s been holding up the B5 (that’d be Biden’s Build Back Better Bill). Some of that criticismContinue reading “Keep Manchin in the Fold”

Pic of the Day/Lennon

On December 8, 1980 I was living in Adams Hall on the UW Campus. My routine was to listen to the radio for an hour or so in my room after dinner. I remember hearing about John Lennon’s death during that hour. I listened to his music for the rest of the night.

Hard-Left Follies

Do you ever read the Madison papers and find yourself thinking, ‘oh, for cryin’ out loud…‘? Madison has a long tradition of hard-left activists. They’ve never been charming, but they’ve sometimes been entertaining and, once in a while, they’ve even been right. Recently, they’ve just been themselves, which is to say annoying. Here are someContinue reading “Hard-Left Follies”

Pic of the Day/Snow in the UP

First blizzard of the season. Several inches of snow, 35 mph wind gusts and falling temps all day. I took this picture from the warm safety of my living room. Not pictured here: roaring fire behind me.

Dems Need to Get Out More

Good Sunday morning. For your Sunday jazz selection, and in keeping with the season, let’s try John Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things.” Today we’re going to hear from former Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Bullock ran for president in 2020 and then U.S. Senate. He lost both races, but I was impressed with himContinue reading “Dems Need to Get Out More”

Now Pay All the Players

This evening is the Big Ten Football Championship game. We’re still smarting over the Badger’s inexcusable loss to the Gophers last week, robbing us of a rematch against Michigan. But I own a place in the U.P., and paying property taxes there entitles me to conveniently switch my allegiances. I’ll be up there today, arrivingContinue reading “Now Pay All the Players”

Run For School Board

Three of the seven seats on the Madison School Board are up this April. It’s important that voters get the chance to choose a new direction. As of Wednesday candidates could start circulating nomination papers. The minimal number of signatures can be picked up easily in a few days, so there’s plenty of time beforeContinue reading “Run For School Board”

Is All Sanity Local?

In recent years the old saying that ‘all politics is local’ has been turned around. It seems like we’re so polarized now that all politics is national. It feels like it all just comes down to which side of the divide you claim to be on. Or maybe not. There are encouraging signs in localContinue reading “Is All Sanity Local?”

Thankful for Biden

Good Sunday morning. For your Sunday easy-going music selection and to honor Stephen Sondheim let’s try “Somewhere” as sung by Lucy Thomas. It’s routine among columnists to write about what they’re grateful for at Thanksgiving. I have some sympathy for that — you don’t have to come up with an actual idea for a topic.Continue reading “Thankful for Biden”

Why Does ATC Exist?

So, here’s a question for you. Two judges have ruled that opponents of the American Transmission Company’s massive power line from Iowa to Middleton have a case that’s likely to prevail. So, why does ATC keep building it anyway?  Here’s an answer that may not surprise you. Because they’ll make money even if the lineContinue reading “Why Does ATC Exist?”

Pic of the Day/View From the Hunting Room

The view from the hunting room at the Jordahl Farm deer camp on Monday. Deer season is always the highlight of my year, and it was great to be back this year after missing 2020 because of the pandemic.

Pic of the Day/Deer Camp

Saturday night at the Jordahl deer camp in Richland County. Ten hunters, three deer. We’d add another buck on Sunday. I did not shoot. Left to right, Mark Jordahl, John Rhude, me, Karl Bryan, Brad Feltz, Cooper Feltz, Westin Feltz, Peter McKeever, Trygve Jordahl, Jordy Jordahl and Jordy’s neighbor and new addition this year, RussContinue reading “Pic of the Day/Deer Camp”

The Real Issues

Here’s a problem for Joe Biden and his (and my) Democrats. Almost 60% of Americans don’t think they’re focussed on issues that they think are important. That’s according to a recent CNN poll. And CNN, you may note, is hardly a conservative mouthpiece. Here’s the way it breaks down according to the three top issuesContinue reading “The Real Issues”

November 22, 1963

John Kennedy’s assassination is one of my earliest memories. I was four-years old in November of 1963. I remember my mother washing the basement stairs on that afternoon as she was crying. I remember coming home from Sunday mass that weekend, my father switching on the Motorola TV set in the kitchen, and witnessing LeeContinue reading “November 22, 1963”

Stability

It is 9AM on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and I know exactly where I am. I know this even though I’m writing about it several days beforehand. I’m confident of where I’ll be because I’ve been there before. Exactly here. At exactly this hour. Exactly here is four feet off the ground in a boxContinue reading “Stability”

What Am I Doing Here?

A few weeks ago I got a thoughtful email from a reader who said he liked the site, but had some suggestions for improvement. He’s a self-described “marketing guy” and I thought his ideas were more than worth considering. So, of course, I rejected them all. Anyway, his observations were perceptive and you, good reader,Continue reading “What Am I Doing Here?”

Dems Can Pull Out of Their Plummet

Today we’ve got a guest column from my old boss and good friend former Rep. Spencer Black. This column originally appeared in the Capital Times. By Spencer Black There are two positives for Democrats coming out of the otherwise dismal recent elections. First, November 2021 is not November 2022. Second, Democrats, especially congressional Democrats, gotContinue reading “Dems Can Pull Out of Their Plummet”

The Paul R. Soglin Madison Municipal Building

Ok, so here’s a man-bites-dog story for you. Capital Times Emeritus Editor Dave Zweifel has started a campaign to rename the Madison Municipal Building after the city’s longest serving mayor, Paul Soglin. And I agree. That might surprise you because Paul and I went head-to-head for the mayor’s job twice. In 2003, I beat himContinue reading “The Paul R. Soglin Madison Municipal Building”

Pic of the Day/Does

It’s opening day of gun deer season in Michigan. These does greeted me this morning on my way into my stand. They’re old friends who hang around our cabin all year, so they will definitely not be on my meat pole.

The Sacred Week

I’m not a religious guy. I’m not even a spiritual guy. I distrust passion. I like calm, rational people. To all ultimate questions my answer is, how the hell should I know? Is there a god? Is there life after death? I don’t think so, but on the other hand, how the hell should IContinue reading “The Sacred Week”

Build Back Smaller

It’s the issue that has rocketed to the top of the charts: inflation is back. I would not have written this even a week ago, but I now think that Pres. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan should be scaled way back from its current $1.75 trillion iteration. Inflation is now the biggest issue threateningContinue reading “Build Back Smaller”

Veterans Day

I was going to write something else today, but when I saw this moving piece in this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal, I wanted to share it with you. It’s written by Rick Larson, a 75-year old Vietnam veteran who now lives in Monona. Here it is. Every year around Veterans Day, I recall my timeContinue reading “Veterans Day”

Just Play the Game

I know. I know. You’ve been wondering what to think about the whole Aaron Rodgers vaxgate thing, waiting for the sage wisdom of YSDA to kick in. Wait no more, sports fans. We haven’t had much to say about this deal because we haven’t been able to come up with anything original. Yes, Rodgers isContinue reading “Just Play the Game”

If Not Woke, Then What?

You may have noticed my subtle criticism of woke policy and politics. I’ve referred to woke as “garbage.” Some could regard this as a gentle signal that I may disapprove of it. I’m also a believer in David Shor’s theory of popularism. That is the complex political strategy of finding out what voters want andContinue reading “If Not Woke, Then What?”

“Stupid Wokeness”

As a rule, I don’t like to burden you with more than one post per day. But yesterday evening I watched James Carville being interviewed on the PBS News Hour and I found myself cheering. Thankfully, CNN commentator Chris Cillizza saw the same thing, was also impressed by it, and summarized it just now inContinue reading ““Stupid Wokeness””

Pic of the Day/Brigham Park

Yesterday was a great day for a hike. Friend Spencer Black introduced me to the rugged trails between Brigham County Park and Blue Mound State Park.


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