Blog

Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

The Art of Alienation

Pretty much every week brings at least a couple of fresh examples of things that push me further away from the left and from the Democratic Party that it dominates. Now, let me hasten to add right here that these things do not shove me into the Republican Party. I find the party of TrumpContinue reading “The Art of Alienation”

Why I Love Amazon

Why did they want to break up the old New York Yankees? Because they were too good. Same goes for mega-retailer Amazon. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now calling for breaking up one of the most successful companies in the world. I don’t know. I can’t think of a single thing I’ve ever gotten out ofContinue reading “Why I Love Amazon”

The Chicago Principles

From time to time, I come across a document that is so good that I want to share it with you in its entirety. That’s the case with the Chicago Principles, a stirring statement in defense of free expression and academic freedom from the University of Chicago. Here it is, unabridged. Report of the CommitteeContinue reading “The Chicago Principles”

Pic of the Day/Mural

The new mural on the side of the Neuhauser pharmacy on the corner of Monroe and Harrison streets. I have mixed feelings about it.

Options For Democrats

There is reason for pessimism about the future of the Democratic Party. That’s unfortunate because the alternative right now is a Republican Party that has abandoned any shred of loyalty to liberal democracy. It might be overstating the case, but it’s not entirely implausible that the future of American democracy depends on the Democrats gettingContinue reading “Options For Democrats”

Blank Slate

Rebecca Blank has been a good administrator, but she has not defended classical liberal values. The UW Madison chancellor is heading to Northwestern at the end of this school year after almost a decade here. Let’s start by giving her the credit she deserves for what she has accomplished. This is how the Wisconsin StateContinue reading “Blank Slate”

Reading the Maps

Let’s start by giving Gov. Tony Evers’ People’s Maps Commission its due. It fulfilled its assignment. The commission produced new legislative maps that were fair in the sense that they were drawn in compliance with current legal standards, and more or less blindly to partisan advantage.  And while the products themselves (three sets of mapsContinue reading “Reading the Maps”

Pic of the Day/Joe Hesse

Went to my sheepshead friend Joe Hesse’s memorial service today. Joe was a beloved German and French teacher at Stoughton High School. After our last game, shortly before he died, Joe’s lasts words to us were, “See you on the other side, boys.” See you there, Joe. You buy the first pitcher.

Pic of the Day/Dave’s Supper Club

I’ve always wanted to have my own Northwoods supper club (but only in high concept; I wouldn’t want to do all that actual work.) Now, I’ve got my theme down. It would be “Dave’s Supper Peninsula Club: Where the Elite Retreat to Eat Meat.”

Kloster Muck

We now have a better understanding of why Speaker Robin Vos won’t release the names of people working with Michael Gableman on his “investigation” into last November’s election. He’s embarrassed — and he has every right to be. Vos hired the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, who was never considered the sharpest member of theContinue reading “Kloster Muck”

The Gableman Follies

Let us review. Joe Biden won the November election in Wisconsin by about 20,000 votes. That has been confirmed through the normal, rigorous and demonstrably accurate canvass process and reconfirmed through extraordinary recounts and in court challenges from former Pres. Donald Trump and his pals. It’s fair to say that this has been the mostContinue reading “The Gableman Follies”

Let the People Decide

The Madison City Council has identified affordable housing as a key city goal and, to its credit, it seems to understand that the best way to restrain the growth in housing costs is to simply build more of it. It’s a refreshing acknowledgement that the free market can work. But there’s a catch. In 2023Continue reading “Let the People Decide”

Oh, For Cryin’ Out Loud

I’m pro-choice. This weekend’s antics didn’t help the cause. If you wonder why the Democratic brand is so tarnished look no further than this paragraph from a story in yesterday’s Wisconsin State Journal: The day before the Bans Off Our Bodies march, UW-Madison’s BIPOC Coalition, originally a co-sponsor of the event, published a statement rescindingContinue reading “Oh, For Cryin’ Out Loud”

Pic of the Day/Courthouse

The Marquette County Courthouse, Marquette, Michigan, where “Anatomy of a Murder” was filmed. It was a classic 1959 Otto Preminger film often cited as the most realistic courthouse drama ever made. Starred Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick with a score by Duke Ellington. Visited it yesterday on a warm October afternoon.

Senate Race Update

About once a month I’ll be checking in on the U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin. Here’s this month’s take on who’s up and who’s down. It’s going to be hard for any Democrat to win the U.S. Senate seat now held by Ron Johnson.  I know. You cannot believe I’m saying this. Isn’t Ron JohnsonContinue reading “Senate Race Update”

The NAACP Letter

Last month, 40 organizations and distinguished individuals, led by the NAACP, sent a letter to the UW Madison and the UW Oshkosh, asking that Frederic March’s name be restored to places of honor on those campuses. Their letter was so important in pushing back against knee-jerk campus politics everywhere that I am including the fullContinue reading “The NAACP Letter”

The Middle Disappears

I’ve got friends visiting at Duck Lake, so this will be a cut-and-paste weekend. Here’s a topical piece from “The Point,” a newsletter from CNN’s Chris Cillizza. On Thursday afternoon, barraged by reporters asking about criticism from the  left for his opposition to a $3.5 trillion budget package, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin offeredContinue reading “The Middle Disappears”

Don’t Count Joe Out

Even loyal Democrats are down on Joe Biden right now. Better to take the long view. The President is taking heavy criticism for the Afghan pull out debacle and for the treatment of Haitians at the Texas border. His approval ratings are taking a hit, especially with some of his most loyal supporters, but IContinue reading “Don’t Count Joe Out”

Moderates Are Not Dumb

When I die, if it turns out I’m wrong about an afterlife, my version of hell will be to be stuck in an endless Paul Krugman lecture. The sanctimonious hard-left economist is also a regular opinion writer for the New York Times. In my noble effort to read writers I can’t stand, just to seeContinue reading “Moderates Are Not Dumb”

Pic of the Day/Mason Crosby

It was a great weekend in Wisconsin sports. The Brewers swept the Mets and clinched the Central, the Packers beat the Niners in a thriller and the Team USA won the Ryder Cup at beautiful Whistling Straights. Also, the Badgers… wasn’t that last second Packers comeback great?!

Pic of the Day/ Lily Pads

Lily pads on a pristine lake in the Sylvania Wilderness… unless, of course, somebody is going to tell me these aren’t lily pads. Lots of naturalists in my circles. I stand corrected.. a lot.

Pic of the Day/ High Lake

The south shore of High Lake in the Sylvania Wilderness, Upper Peninsula. Yes, recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan.

Dems Will Get It Done

Yesterday I sought to comfort panicky Brewers’ fans by reassuring them that their losing streak would end and they’d easily win their division. And last night the Crew beat the Mets, 5-1, and reduced their magic number to two. See? So, today, let me bring comfort and joy to nervous Democrats. While talks between moderateContinue reading “Dems Will Get It Done”

Chin Up, Brewers Fans

Imagine you have a powerful hankerin’ for a piece of chocolate cake. You walk into your favorite bakery and there it is. Dark chocolate with fudge icing. It’s five bucks. You reach for your wallet only to find that you have just four dollars. Now you notice the sign that says the bakery only takesContinue reading “Chin Up, Brewers Fans”

Pic of the Day/One of those days

R E L A X, Brewers fans. The Crew was due for a slump and we sure got it. But would you rather have it now or in October? Everything will be just fine. Does this man look worried?

UW and Blank Look Silly

My alma mater is looking foolish. In the last few years the UW administration, led by Chancellor Rebecca Blank, has made three decisions that are now coming back to haunt them. They sifted and winnowed and somehow still managed to miss the truth. Or, more accurately, they knew the truth and chose to ignore itContinue reading “UW and Blank Look Silly”

Biden is Right on the Border

Pres. Joe Biden is making the hard, but correct, call on Haitian refugees and others camped near Del Rio, Texas. What is the greatest threat to liberal democracy in the world? Far-right populism. And what is driving far-right populism more than anything else? Immigration. More accurately, not so much the normal, regularized immigration between nations,Continue reading “Biden is Right on the Border”

Pic of the Day/Cider Press

The Cider Press is ready to go at the Jordahl farm. I was at the annual deer hunters’ work weekend on Saturday. First visit since turkey hunting in April, 2020. The guys got a lot done. I’m transitioning to a senior management role. I mostly managed to stay out of the way.

Beware the Culture Wars

Once sleepy school board meetings are erupting in shouting matches. Republican legislators are introducing bills that would ban teaching Critical Race Theory and prevent adding discussions of LGBTQ+ issues to human growth and development classes. There is a roiling debate over what public schools should teach kids, and the answers aren’t as easy as eitherContinue reading “Beware the Culture Wars”

Bad Signs For Evers

Opponents of the massive power line between Iowa and Middleton, known as the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Line, have just passed the 50,000 signature mark on a petition against the project’s path through a sensitive wildlife refuge. All those signers are a bad sign for Gov. Tony Evers, who appears to support the line. Driftless Defenders is organizingContinue reading “Bad Signs For Evers”

Pic of the Day/13th Tee

The 13th and 14th holes at House on the Rock are my favorite holes on my favorite course. Nestled in a narrow valley, this is just a beautiful, quiet place to be, but I mess it up with golf. I’ve never parred the 13th, though I have pulled off a couple of birdies on #14.

Pic of the Day/Last Ride

On the Badger State Trail at the Adams Road crossing. My last ride on my favorite trail for this season. Hope to get more miles in before the snow flies when we’re back in the U.P.

Wisconsin Election Quiz

Here’s a fun exercise. Match the four numbers below to the correct descriptions for that number. The Numbers A. 3,241,1050 B. 2 C. 680,000 D. 0 The Descriptions The number of people accused of voter fraud in Wisconsin. 2. The number of Wisconsin voters in the 2020 election. 3. The amount of money being spentContinue reading “Wisconsin Election Quiz”

Just Let Joe & Joe Do It

Progressive Democrats need to acquire a better understanding of where they stand. They are in no position to call the shots. Let’s take a trip back to last December. It was clear to anybody who was not delusional that Joe Biden was the next President. But the Democrats had barely hung on to their HouseContinue reading “Just Let Joe & Joe Do It”

Pic of the Day/ Wilson’s

Finished the Door County Century yesterday and rewarded myself at Wilson’s with a scoop of mint chip. Would have had Sneakers, but they were out.

Keep the U.P. Wild

I love Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where my wife and I own a cabin. While I also love the north woods of Wisconsin, the U.P. is very different. While Vilas County feels light and fun and even somewhat prosperous, Gogebic County just across the border was much more a working landscape. The legacy of lumbering andContinue reading “Keep the U.P. Wild”

America is Still Okay

I’ve spent the morning watching the coverage of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies and much of the last week or two reading various reflections on the course of the last 20 years. The dominant narrative (as far as I can tell, the unanimous narrative) is that things are worse, that nothing good has happened in twoContinue reading “America is Still Okay”

Is McCoshen Crazy Enough?

Yesterday, as expected, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch formally announced her run for governor. She went right for the red meat, praising Donald Trump and promising to hire more cops, ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools and — in a creative and bizarre touch — vowing to send the Wisconsin NationalContinue reading “Is McCoshen Crazy Enough?”

Embracing “Inconsistency”

In today’s tribal culture it has become much harder to be an individual. That’s especially true in politics. If you identify as a Republican you need to profess (if not actually believe) that climate change is an overblown hoax, that mask mandates are a blow to fundamental freedoms, that there was widespread fraud in theContinue reading “Embracing “Inconsistency””

The College Athlete Pay Wall Collapses

It’s Labor Day weekend, so let’s celebrate some victories for one of the most obviously exploited groups of workers in America: college athletes. You could see the face of college football changing right there in the Wisconsin starting backfield yesterday when the Badgers played Penn State.  Quarterback Graham Mertz had his own product logo designedContinue reading “The College Athlete Pay Wall Collapses”

The Dems Have to Wake Up

Yesterday I wrote about which of the candidates in the crowded Democratic field competing to go up against Sen. Ron Johnson might have the best chance. But, truth is, if the party doesn’t wake up to what’s going on around it, it won’t matter. Any one of them will lose, even to the likes ofContinue reading “The Dems Have to Wake Up”

Pic of the Day/Outboard Ale

Milwaukee Brewing Company’s Outboard Cream Ale is one of my summer favorites. Pictured here only steps from my actual outboard.

I’m Still With Biden

I believe that Pres. Joe Biden was wrong to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan and that his administration’s handling of the withdrawal was disastrous. I still support Biden and it’s not because I’m a partisan Democrat. Yesterday was the darkest day of Biden’s administration and among the worst for America in recent years. The 13Continue reading “I’m Still With Biden”

Pic of the Day/Forest HQ

Wisconsin Forest headquarters at Trout Lake. Modern forestry was born near this spot in 1911, when Wisconsin’s first State Forester, E.M. Griffith, began a program to plant seedlings on cut over land.

Thompson v. Nass

Is there any trace of decency and common sense left in the Republican Party? We’ll find out in the coming days. Tommy Thompson represents the pre-Trump party. Steve Nass reflects the ugly populist hot mess it has become, though in truth, Nass was a jerk before Trump ever dreamed of running for president. Here’s theContinue reading “Thompson v. Nass”

The Trifecta of Idiocy

My patience — to the extent I’ve ever had any — with the unvaccinated officially runs out today.  Yesterday, the FDA gave final approval to the Pfizer vaccine. Look, it was always a weak excuse to say that you wouldn’t get vaccinated because the vaccines had only emergency approval. And it was an especially richContinue reading “The Trifecta of Idiocy”

Pic of the Day/Sculpture

A windswept sculpture at the University of Minnesota Arboretum west of Minneapolis. The Minnesota Arboretum is a much different facility than ours here in Madison. There’s less emphasis on native plant communities and natural settings and more on a variety of plants and manicured gardens.

Vos Expected Home Friday

Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) talked with reporters today from a truck stop in Georgia promising he’d be back home, “on Friday. Saturday at the latest. Maybe Sunday.” Vos was invited to fly with former Pres. Donald Trump on Trump’s private jet to a rally in Alabama on Saturday. But Vos first had to drive toContinue reading “Vos Expected Home Friday”

Moderates Need to be Careful

Let me start by stipulating that I believe Congressional moderate Democrats are right. They just need to be cautious about how far they press their case. Some House centrists are saying they want to vote to approve the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate as soon as possible, leaving the $3.5 trillion packageContinue reading “Moderates Need to be Careful”

It Could Be Worse

For those you who lament the antics of the Madison City Council, it could be worse. You might live in Minneapolis. I’m up here this weekend to attend a wedding and, so, I got a chance to read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune this morning. (Yeah, I know, I could read it online anytime, but why wouldContinue reading “It Could Be Worse”

In Defense of Guys

I commit the four grave sins of the Democratic Party. I am a middle-aged, straight, white man. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Now, of course, you may have caught on that I’m being sarcastic there, but I’m constantly surprised at how many liberal men really are self-loathing. Here’s a comment I gotContinue reading “In Defense of Guys”

Prehn Gets It Now

Fred Prehn gets it. Yesterday, the chair of Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board was able to explain clearly why he should step aside. It’s all about politics. Prehn’s term expired on May 1st, but he has ungraciously held on to his seat anyway, claiming that state law allows him to remain until his successor is confirmedContinue reading “Prehn Gets It Now”

The Trifecta of Idiocy

My patience — to the extent I’ve ever had any — with the unvaccinated officially runs out today. Yesterday, the FDA gave final approval to the Pfizer vaccine. Look, it was always a weak excuse to say that you wouldn’t get vaccinated because the vaccines had only emergency approval. And it was an especially richContinue reading “The Trifecta of Idiocy”

Biden’s Burden

Chaos has engulfed Kabul. The nation’s government has fled while U.S. and other embassies burn documents and hurry to the airport. Those Afghans who fear for their lives under Taliban rule are literally waiting at the gates, desperately trying to get out. It’s Saigon all over again. I like and respect Joe Biden. He’s doingContinue reading “Biden’s Burden”

Wondering About the Wonder Bar

Madison’s historic preservation movement has gone off track. Recently, a welcome new development just off John Nolen Drive that would provide much needed housing was laid on the table while neighbors fight to save the “historic” Wonder Bar building. The alleged reason? It was frequented by Chicago mobsters in the 1930s. Seriously, folks? The building,Continue reading “Wondering About the Wonder Bar”

Less Kind-ness

Congressman Ron Kind isn’t running again. That’s bad news for Democrats and democracy. “We’re seeing fewer and fewer of those type of people willing to serve who don’t believe that politics should just be a constant combat sport where the goal is just to destroy people on the other side,” Kind said at a pressContinue reading “Less Kind-ness”

Don’t Cancel Student Debt

Last week, the Biden Administration, nonsensically, extended college loan repayment forbearance until the end of the year. Never mind that the unemployment rate for college grads is barely 3%. And this may signal that Biden is moving to placate the hard-left by forgiving some amount of student debt outright. This is a terrible idea. IContinue reading “Don’t Cancel Student Debt”

I’m Loyal to My Dog

Yesterday I was reading a book review in the New York Times. It was David French’s review of Andrew Sullivan’s collection of essays, “Out on a Limb.” I like both French and Sullivan. They’re good and honest writers, though each is more conservative than I am. Anyway, I came across this in French’s review: “First,Continue reading “I’m Loyal to My Dog”

Take Some Responsibility

On the heels of yesterday’s column about identity politics and the increased tendency to blame others for problems of our own making, comes this polling result. A new Axios/Ipsos poll asked the unvaccinated who was to blame for the upsurge in COVID cases caused by the delta variant. Public health officials have told us thatContinue reading “Take Some Responsibility”

Black Brains Matter

Well, the rock is away. As of this morning the Chamberlin Rock has been hauled off the UW campus to a disclosed location that nobody will be able to find. So, can we get on to something serious now? For those of you who have had better things to do, the quick story goes likeContinue reading “Black Brains Matter”


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