Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

The Problem With Liberals

A lot of voters aren’t voting against liberal policies so much as they’re voting against liberals.

Trump and Free Speech

It’s a measure of how strongly I believe in free speech that I almost feel that Facebook should allow Donald Trump back on their platform. (Emphasis here on almost.) Yesterday, Facebook’s Oversight Board told the company that it has to decide within the next six months what to do about Trump: ban him permanently, allowContinue reading “Trump and Free Speech”

Freedom and Security

The greatest threat to liberal values isn’t any longer the Russian nuclear arsenal. It’s the dynamic Chinese economy. It was buried in Pres. Joe Biden’s speech to Congress and the nation last week, but it may be the most consequential observation he made. About halfway through his speech, Biden mentioned that when he was viceContinue reading “Freedom and Security”

The Streak is Alive! (And Don’t You Just Hate the Cable Companies?)

Brett Favre started 297 consecutive games at quarterback. In baseball, Cal Ripken, Jr., played in 2632 consecutive games. I’m pretty sure nobody is keeping track of consecutive posts to a website blog. But I haven’t missed a day since February 18th, which, by my count, is 74 consecutive days. That’s in the Ryan Braun rangeContinue reading “The Streak is Alive! (And Don’t You Just Hate the Cable Companies?)”

James Carville Goes After “the Faculty Lounge”

Democratic strategist James Carville gave an interview to Vox recently that is so good it’s worth reading in its entirety. Here are some excerpts. “You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like “Latinx” that no one else uses.Continue reading “James Carville Goes After “the Faculty Lounge””

Gone Baby, Gone

Just deal with it, Packer fans. Aaron Rodgers is history. Here’s who I care about in the world of sports: 1. The fans, who, by the way, pay all the bills. 2. The players, who actually perform on the field. 3. The owners, who.. what is it that the owners do, exactly, besides print money?Continue reading “Gone Baby, Gone”

The Problem With Populism

Should Democrats try to exploit resentments over race or resentments over class? Here’s an idea. What if we dropped appeals to resentment altogether? Every Wednesday, Thomas B. Edsall writes a new Guest Essay (no longer to be referred to as “opeds”) in the New York Times. Edsall is unerringly thoughtful and even-handed, if from aContinue reading “The Problem With Populism”

The Disastrous Language of the Hard-Left

Like Frankenstein’s Monster, it has escaped the laboratory to wreak havoc. White privilege, the patriarchy, intersectionality, toxic masculinity, systemic racism, unconscious bias, erasure. These are words used in academia to describe, in most cases, real phenomena. But when they escaped the ivory towers and entered the broader culture and the world of politics they wereContinue reading “The Disastrous Language of the Hard-Left”

It’s Not All the Same

We need to be able to make distinctions between murder, mistakes and the appropriate use of force, or we’ll never find justice. When I first saw the video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for what turned out to be nine minutes and twenty-one seconds I was appalled and outraged. It seemed toContinue reading “It’s Not All the Same”

My Ten Favorite Beers

Hey, folks, it’s Sunday. So, let’s lay off the serious stuff for a day and think about beer. Well, it’s Wisconsin, so maybe this is serious stuff. Anyway, I was inspired this morning to think about my favorite beers by a column by the Wisconsin State Journal’s “Beer Baron,” Chris Drosner. Drosner’s been writing hisContinue reading “My Ten Favorite Beers”

The Wall Street Candidate

Do you like Wall Street? Then you’ll love Alex Lasry. Earlier this week, Urban Milwaukee Editor Bruce Murphy wrote a perceptive piece on the race for the Democratic nomination to take on Sen. Ron Johnson, should he decide to go for a third term. (I found it perceptive because he mostly agreed with my ownContinue reading “The Wall Street Candidate”

Foxconn Still a Con

From the start it was clear to anyone who knew Foxconn’s record that former Gov. Scott Walker’s $4 billion taxpayer give away to the company was, well, a con. Now, after four years of broken promises, false starts and a lot of just plain bizarreness, Gov. Tony Evers’ administration has crafted a much more sensibleContinue reading “Foxconn Still a Con”

Accept the Verdict

It may be only a matter of hours, at most days, before the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial delivers a verdict. Whatever it is, I’ll accept it. When we demand justice in a given case we cannot possibly be saying that we demand a conviction. If that were true, then why bother with theContinue reading “Accept the Verdict”

A Chance for Fair Maps

Oops. He did it again. Last week Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn sided with liberals on an important case.  The case was Zignego v. WEC, and what was at stake was the potential disenfranchisement of some 70,000 voters. (Earlier estimates were closer to 200,000.) The conserviitve law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty claimedContinue reading “A Chance for Fair Maps”

Stay in Afghanistan

The Taliban are a bunch or psychopaths. And now we’re going to give them a country back. Under Taliban rule girls can’t go to school and women can’t hold most jobs. They are essentially prisoners in their own homes. And it only gets worse from there. Women are sometimes publicly flogged for transgressions like notContinue reading “Stay in Afghanistan”

The Hard Stuff

What is infrastructure? It’s whatever Joe Manchin says it is. There is a truly ridiculous debate going on right now about the definition of a single word. Pres. Joe Biden has outlined an ambitious set of investments that he defines as infrastructure. Republicans say it includes things that aren’t infrastructure. The hard-left says that itContinue reading “The Hard Stuff”

“Hard Left”, Not “Progressive”

Today’s “progressives” aren’t progressive at all. Back when I was in politics (I was retired by the voters exactly a decade ago) “progressive” was just what liberals called themselves. Ronald Reagan had done such a thoroughgoing job of destroying the word “liberal” (not without a big assist from liberals themselves) that liberals needed to findContinue reading ““Hard Left”, Not “Progressive””

Lincoln, the Moderate

On today’s date in 1865 Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre. He died the next morning. He was our greatest president and he was a moderate. Lincoln was assailed by both sides. He was careful during his 1860 campaign and during the early part of his presidency to tread a fine line on theContinue reading “Lincoln, the Moderate”

Madison Needs Cop Cams

Yesterday’s shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb is only the latest, but maybe the most impactful, evidence of the value of body worn police cameras. The video from officer Kim Potter’s camera makes it clear that, in a moment of high stress, she pulled her gun when she intended to use her taser.Continue reading “Madison Needs Cop Cams”

Liberal v. Liberal

Madisonians decisively rejected the idea of a full-time city council by a 58-42 percent margin in an advisory referendum on April 6. But the geography of that vote is interesting and it represents a subtle change in how Madison votes. The full-time council idea lost in every part of the city with the exception ofContinue reading “Liberal v. Liberal”

China Road

Pres. Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is about more than good roads. It’s about demonstrating that democracy is stronger than authoritarianism. China is delivering prosperity, it’s getting stuff done, it’s starting to influence the world. The Chinese model is a combination of aggressive capitalism, centralized planning and authoritarian rule. What makes it work is that theContinue reading “China Road”

Drive the Camry Fast

As of today, the Democrats can count on 634 more days in power. In all likelihood they will lose their majority in at least one house of Congress, and probably both, on January 3, 2023. After that, nothing meaningful will pass for the next two years. Since WW II, the party in power has lost,Continue reading “Drive the Camry Fast”

Support Your Local Alders

Yesterday’s decisive defeat of a full-time Madison City Council in an advisory referendum wasn’t surprising. Among many good arguments against it was the comparison to the state Legislature. Voters looked at their part-time citizen council and they looked down the street at the “full-time” Legislature and they decided, wisely, to keep what that have, insteadContinue reading “Support Your Local Alders”

Georgia On Our Minds

We need to lower the temperature on rhetoric about voting. One side falsely claims wide spread voter fraud while the other charges that some election law changes are, “the new Jim Crow.” Neither accusation holds up under scrutiny. To hear Democrats tell it, the bill recently enacted in Georgia to change some voting rules isContinue reading “Georgia On Our Minds”

Tuesday’s Choices

What can I say? I like voting on election day. It has been my ritual since I was 18 years old. I did the safe thing for the elections during 2020 and voted absentee. But now, all vaxed up, it seems responsible again to vote in person. (I think we should go back to mostContinue reading “Tuesday’s Choices”

Pay the Players

College sports as we know it are coming to an end. And that’s a very good thing. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could rock the NCAA. But, even if the court rules in favor of the association — which appears unlikely — college sports will still look moreContinue reading “Pay the Players”

The Shadow Issue

Who wins the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction is important. But probably not because of what you think. On April 6th, Wisconsinites will choose a new Superintendent. To read the media accounts or listen to the candidates you would think that this is all about the highly charged issue of school choice. It’sContinue reading “The Shadow Issue”

One For the Road

Wisconsin’s got a drinking and driving problem. The Legislature just made it worse. Earlier this month there was a late night crash at the intersection of two rural highways in Racine County. Three vehicles were involved. All three drivers were legally intoxicated. All three. A few weeks before that, a Green Bay driver was arrestedContinue reading “One For the Road”


Why is it okay to be openly hostile to old white guys? I’m on my neighborhood listserv here on the very liberal near west side of Madison. The vast majority of the traffic on the listerv is about somebody trying to get rid of something in their attic or looking for a recommendation on aContinue reading “Bigotry”

Apocalypse Never

The moderate mind set is averse to drama. Moderates just want to work the problem. One of the things that’s wrong about our public debates these days is the tendency for both sides to declare everything a matter of fundamental principles or basic rights. That makes it virtually impossible to find common ground because everyContinue reading “Apocalypse Never”

The Tsunami Ebbs

For a decade or more Democrats have been counting on a demographic tsunami to sweep them to a long-term majority. It might just sweep them out to sea instead. To understand what’s going on we can consider just one word: Latinx. This word was invented in academia to be a gender neutral alternative to LatinoContinue reading “The Tsunami Ebbs”

Cancel Culture Is Real

The first time I heard the phrase “cancel culture” it came from Barack Obama. In an interview in late 2019, Obama said, “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. “The world is messy; there are ambiguities,” he continued. “PeopleContinue reading “Cancel Culture Is Real”

The Upside of Plague

Too many people died, but when we step back and look at the broad sweep of history, there are reasons to be very hopeful. One of the most impactful books I’ve read in the last couple of years is “Enlightenment Now” by Harvard Professor Steven Pinker. In the book, Pinker makes a convincing case thatContinue reading “The Upside of Plague”

Stand and Deliver

While there are good arguments on both sides of the debate, I would abolish the filibuster. But that’s not going to happen, so it would be better to double down on it instead. Getting rid of the filibuster has become something of a cause among hard left Democrats, but they should be careful what theyContinue reading “Stand and Deliver”

It’s Kind of Time

Democratic Congressman Ron Kind of La Crosse has thought about running for statewide office over and over again. He never pulls the trigger. Maybe 2022 is his time. So, imagine that running for statewide office is a football. And those of us who have wanted Ron Kind to run for U.S. Senate or governor, we’reContinue reading “It’s Kind of Time”

Suess and Desist

Where is the line of defense against de facto censorship? To be honest, I had never even heard of, much less read, the six Dr. Seuss titles that Theodore Geisel’s estate recently decided to stop publishing. And, of course, just because a private entity makes a decision, which is perfectly within its rights, to stopContinue reading “Suess and Desist”

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