Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

The World Cup! Eh.

I thought about watching the U.S. play England yesterday in a World Cup game. Then I forgot. Then, while watching Iowa play Nebraska in a surprisingly fun game of real football, I saw the score roll across the bottom of the screen. U.S. 0, England 0. Perfect. All that running around for an hour orContinue reading “The World Cup! Eh.”

The Wrong Building

Dane County and the City of Madison passed their 2023 budgets this week. The net result is that local government is moving ahead with one flawed and unnecessary building project while it continues to dither about a necessary one. Last night the Madison City Council did what I expected they’d do. To make up forContinue reading “The Wrong Building”

Thank You, Donald Trump

Rumors that the Democratic Party is paying Donald Trump to run for the presidency yet again cannot be confirmed. But a person can understand the suspicions (that I just made up). Democrats pour tons of resources into efforts to get out their vote, but nothing works quite like The Donald. There are many intertwined reasonsContinue reading “Thank You, Donald Trump”

On the Reyes

It looks like we’re going to have a spirited Madison Mayor’s race. On Thursday Gloria Reyes formally announced that she’ll take on Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who is likely to announce her bid for reelection later this week or next. Rhodes-Conway has served in the oddest of times, so it’s hard to judge her tenure.  First,Continue reading “On the Reyes”

Give ‘Em a Raise

This week the Madison City Council will take up a budget amendment to give themselves a raise. They should nudge their pay up a bit, but not as much as proposed. The proposal before the council would more than double their pay from about $15,000 a year to around $32,000. That’s too much for thisContinue reading “Give ‘Em a Raise”

He Got Fired For That?

In response to open records requests by the Wisconsin State Journal, the Madison School District finally gave the public its own information. Or at least some of it. In September the District fired new Sennett Middle School Principal Jeffrey Copeland only a few weeks into his job. The backlash from parents and staff was strong.Continue reading “He Got Fired For That?”

Trump Loses Big Time

The biggest loser in Tuesday’s election was Donald Trump and his style of politics. Not only did his endorsed candidates get trounced overall, but it’s entirely possible that his aggressive campaigning in the closing weeks tipped the balance away from his party. Don’t forget that Trump isn’t just a polarizing figure; he’s a polarizing figureContinue reading “Trump Loses Big Time”

Three Races to Watch

I’ll have snacks and beer ready to go by 7PM (8 eastern) tonight and I’ll be mentally prepared for a drubbing. Kind of like settling in for a Packer game, now that I think about it. Here’s what we know for sure. Democrats will lose the House and it’ll probably be by somewhere in theContinue reading “Three Races to Watch”

Why Dems Should Hope for the End of Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in two cases that could end affirmative action. While not a single Democrat will say it out loud, this is what they should be hoping for. Like abortion, affirmative action has been a millstone around the party’s neck for over half a century. And, like abortion, this conservativeContinue reading “Why Dems Should Hope for the End of Affirmative Action”

Lock Up the Bad Guys

In a week and a half Democrats will lose a bunch of elections. The only question is whether all that red will come in the form of a tsunami or a breaker. They’ll lose primarily because of inflation (which they didn’t have much to do with), but also because of crime (which is a moreContinue reading “Lock Up the Bad Guys”

The Higher Principle

It has become fashionable for extremists on both right and left to argue that broad principles and time-honored institutions should be shoved aside when they get in the way of some policy goal of the moment. So the hard-right would trash our system of free and fair elections anytime their candidate loses. The hard-left wouldContinue reading “The Higher Principle”

Midwest: October Snow

There’s the Midwest and then there’s the Midwest. Most people would define the region, south to north, as extending from southern Illinois to Marquette, Michigan. But it was still summer in Carbondale last week while we got a heavy, wet snowstorm up here in the U.P. In Watersmeet, which is on the edge of theContinue reading “Midwest: October Snow”

The Odds on November

Things are trending the wrong way for Democrats in every respect. Polls show generic Republicans with an advantage, Ron Johnson has a comfortable lead over Mandela Barnes while Tony Evers is in a dead heat with Tim Michels. It seems like the Democrats are likely to lose in the La Crosse area Congressional seat heldContinue reading “The Odds on November”

Abolish the NCAA

Paul Chryst was fired as the Badgers’ head football coach only a handful of games into the season after being surprised by Washington State, destroyed by Ohio State, and embarrassed by Illinois. The Athletic Department paid him $11 million to clear out of his office.  Meanwhile, Shanel Bramschreiber had to sit out half of theContinue reading “Abolish the NCAA”

He Loved the Law

If you live in Madison you almost can’t help but know a lot of lawyers. But how many of them seem to really enjoy their work?  Michael May often said, “I love the law.” It was said with a trademark overzealousness that suggested self-mockery. But it also became clear over the seven years that IContinue reading “He Loved the Law”

Go After GOP on Crime

Yesterday I offered a somewhat sobering take on the mid-term elections from a Democratic perspective. My analysis basically went like this: Everything is going to hell. The Democrats want to make the election all about abortion while the Republicans want to make it about crime. Crime is trumping abortion. It has occurred to me sinceContinue reading “Go After GOP on Crime”

Is the Red Wave Back On?

With a little more than a month to go before the mid-terms, many analysts have decided that the Republican wave election expected just a few weeks ago has now been called off. CNN commentator Chris Cillizza posted this late yesterday: Republican groups are increasingly hyper-focusing their resources on the several dozen races that hold theContinue reading “Is the Red Wave Back On?”

Where is Jeffrey Copeland?

There is a story in this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal that highlights three things that are wrong with the Madison School District. The story was about new Sennett Middle School principal Jeffrey Copeland, who lasted there only a few weeks. Copeland was placed on administrative leave on September 13th and he left the district altogetherContinue reading “Where is Jeffrey Copeland?”

Student Debt Cancellation Challenged

In what was an inevitable move, Pres. Joe Biden’s plan to unilaterally cancel up to $20,000 in student debt, costing taxpayers around a half-trillion dollars overall, is being challenged in federal court. The conservative Pacific Legal Foundation is bringing a suit in the federal district court for southern Indiana, arguing that Biden’s use of theContinue reading “Student Debt Cancellation Challenged”

Keep Line 5 Where It Is

There’s no better example of intractable sides stubbornly ignoring an obvious solution than the Line 5 debate in northern Wisconsin. Here’s the background. Line 5 is a petroleum pipeline owned by Enbridge, a Canadien company. The line runs from Superior across northern Wisconsin into the UP, through the Straits of Mackinac and down to theContinue reading “Keep Line 5 Where It Is”

What if it Comes Down to Independents?

Independent voters could decide the November elections. So, why is Tim Michels moving hard right? Wisconsin is pretty much equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, so a common strategy for both parties is to turn out their base voters. Earlier this summer Democrats were despondent and Republicans were energized. Polls showed a big enthusiasm gapContinue reading “What if it Comes Down to Independents?”

Using People As Pawns

People aren’t pawns. At least they shouldn’t be, but they are right now. I’m referring to the immigrants being shipped like parcels from Arizona, Texas and Florida to Manhattan, Martha’s Vineyard and Washington, DC. Hard-right Republican governors in those states are using human beings to score political points. The immigrants are unwilling foot soldiers inContinue reading “Using People As Pawns”

The Unforgiving Hard-Left

Madison Ald. Gary Halverson resigned last night. He probably made the right decision for his family, but the whole awful episode says worse things about the hard-left than it does about Halverson. Here’s the story. In 2020, before he was on the Council and before the January 6, 2021 Insurrection, Halverson joined the Oath Keepers,Continue reading “The Unforgiving Hard-Left”

Madison’s Public Market Might Have Checked Out

Madison is building or will soon begin construction on a lot of stuff: major projects at the public high schools, bus rapid transit, a new men’s shelter, a jail consolidation, and more.  And all that building is happening at a time when construction costs are increasing rapidly. It’s probably time to make some hard choicesContinue reading “Madison’s Public Market Might Have Checked Out”

Wait ’til Wednesday

In a couple of days the new Marquette poll comes out. That will be the biggest day in this election cycle, perhaps until election day itself. For me, these are the big questions to be answered: Has RoJo made any headway? Mandela Barnes took a significant seven point lead over Ron Johnson in the lastContinue reading “Wait ’til Wednesday”

None Of It Matters Much

To hear Republicans tell it, we need ever-increasing hurdles to cast a ballot to prevent rampant voter fraud (which apparently only hurts Republican candidates.) To hear the Democrats tell it, the Republicans have imposed the equivalent of poll taxes and literacy tests. None of that is true. In fact, all this sound and fury overContinue reading “None Of It Matters Much”

Not So Sweet

UW Madison history professor James Sweet should have known what was coming. Sweet, who is also the current President of the American History Association, wrote a much needed essay in the AHA publication about the dangers of “presentism”, that is the tendency to apply present day perspectives and values to historic events. Predictably, the academyContinue reading “Not So Sweet”

On the Merits

On Labor Day, when we should be celebrating the fruits of diligence, hard work and just showing up on time, I had the good fortune of stumbling across a piece on the merits of merit in, of all places, the New York Times. The guest essay is by Asra Nomani, a woman who came toContinue reading “On the Merits”

The Invisible Workforce

On Labor Day weekend, here’s a question that hard-left Democrats need to ask themselves: If they’re so pro-worker how come workers have been abandoning them in droves? Once the blue collar party, Democrats are fast becoming the party of college-educated, relatively affluent, white collar workers who live in big cities and college towns. And yet,Continue reading “The Invisible Workforce”

RoJo Misfires Again

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson shouldn’t be desperate for issues on which to attack his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. But he sure looks desperate now. Johnson is going after Barnes for using a lot of security in his first three years in office. And, in fact, Barnes has rung up over $600,000 in securityContinue reading “RoJo Misfires Again”

The Land of Misfit Toys

The other day David Blaska’s lawsuit was settled, but Blaska won his war back in May. Blaska and the conservative nonprofit law firm WILL went after the Madison City Council for requiring that its new Police Oversight Board be made up of various racial and gender identity groups most definitely not including straight white guys,Continue reading “The Land of Misfit Toys”

MKE, Nuremberg & the GOP

In normal times I’d welcome Republicans to Wisconsin for their national convention in 2024. But this isn’t my father’s Republican Party. It isn’t even my older brother-in-law’s GOP.  The Republican National Committee has now officially chosen Milwaukee for its next confab, which had been a foregone conclusion since its rival, Nashville, balked at approving aContinue reading “MKE, Nuremberg & the GOP”

They Blew It Again

I used to think that the most dysfunctional local public body in Madison was its School Board. But now the Dane County Board is challenging them for the title. Last night the Board, yet again, couldn’t show any leadership. They couldn’t rally enough support to figure out what to do about the county’s jail facilities.Continue reading “They Blew It Again”

Cheney’s Choices

I wish I could imagine a scenario under which defeated Congresswoman Liz Cheney might lead a movement that defeats both Donald Trump and Trumpism. But I think that’s unlikely and, worse, there’s a scenario where she helps him win again. Now that the inevitable has happened and Cheney has been crushed in the Wyoming RepublicanContinue reading “Cheney’s Choices”

The Way to Talk About Climate: Don’t

In the last three years the impacts of climate change have accelerated and worsened. More and stronger hurricanes. Massive wildfires and a wildfire season that is almost year-round. Flooding in some places and water shortages in others. Intense summer heat waves.  You’d think people would be more concerned than ever. You’d be wrong. An AssociatedContinue reading “The Way to Talk About Climate: Don’t”

Just a Quick Note

I get multiple emails a day from Democratic candidates Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes. The great thing about being post-primary is that I no longer get them from Tom Nelson, Sarah Godlewski or Alex Lasry. I also get them from Mark Kelly who’s running for reelection to the Senate from Arizona. Somebody must have tradedContinue reading “Just a Quick Note”

Good Vibes for Evers

Now that the smoke is clearing from the divisive Republican gubernatorial primary, the path to reelection for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is becoming somewhat clearer. I have five takeaways from the day after the election that bode well for Evers. First, the divisions in the Republican Party seem to be hardening. I was pleasantly surprisedContinue reading “Good Vibes for Evers”

My Picks for Tuesday

I know. I know. You’ve been clamoring for this. You want to know my recommendations in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries and you want to know my predictions for the Republicans. What’s that? You couldn’t care less what I think about either? And anyway, you’ve already voted? Okay. Fine. But I’m going to tell you what IContinue reading “My Picks for Tuesday”

Enforce Every Law? Really?

All three Republican candidates for Wisconsin governor have said they will fire local district attorneys who refuse to enforce Wisconsin’s 1849 law against abortion. So, to be consistent, I assume they will also fire prosecutors and remove county sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun control laws or won’t go after voters who actually commit voterContinue reading “Enforce Every Law? Really?”


Democrats and pro-choice activists are giddy over the overwhelming pro-choice vote that came out of Kansas on Tuesday. They have every right to be, but a note of caution is in order as well. The top of the line numbers were surprisingly good. A constitutional amendment that would have allowed the Kansas Legislature to banContinue reading “Kansas”

Leah Hunt-Hendrix Embodies the Dem’s Problem

Leah Hunt-Hendrix knows what blue collar Americans need. Of course she does. After all, Hunt-Hendrix went to Duke and Princeton. She’s the trust-funded granddaughter of Texas oil billionaire H.L. Hunt. She has lived in diverse places like New York, the Middle East and San Francisco. She has flown over the Midwest on multiple occasions. SheContinue reading “Leah Hunt-Hendrix Embodies the Dem’s Problem”

And Then There Was One

And the winner is Mandela Barnes. Yesterday’s surprise announcement from Alex Lasry that he was dropping out of the race for the Democratic senate nomination and endorsing Barnes all but assures that the Lieutenant Governor will be the nominee. Tom Nelson dropped out last week and also endorsed Barnes. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski has vowedContinue reading “And Then There Was One”

“Abortion Care” Is More Bad Language From the Left

One of the hard-left’s most obnoxious — and most counter-productive — practices is to keep trying to push new words and phrases into popular culture. Conservatives know this and they take advantage of it at every turn. A couple of weeks ago, at a committee hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) just destroyed a hard-left UC-BerkeleyContinue reading ““Abortion Care” Is More Bad Language From the Left”

Brandtjen is a Lunatic

Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) and chair of the Assembly Elections Committee is a stark-raving lunatic. And I’m being kind. It’s not jut me who thinks this. Her Republican colleague and her counterpart as chair of the Senate committee on elections, Sen. Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls, has called Brandtjen’s continued insistence that Wisconsin’s electoralContinue reading “Brandtjen is a Lunatic”


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