Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

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”

The Harper’s Letter

Just after the Fourth of July last year, a group of writers, journalists, artists and academics issued a letter in support of free speech and other classically liberal ideas. It was printed in Harper’s Magazine and soon became known simply as “The Harper’s Letter.” What’s striking about it is that it was necessary at all.Continue reading “The Harper’s Letter”

This Land Is Whose Land?

What do you own if you own land? Conservatives might answer, “everything.” Liberals might be more inclined to say that you are stewarding a public resource. The answer to the question of just what it is that you own is constantly evolving. By Harvey M. Jacobs This is the third in an occasional series onContinue reading “This Land Is Whose Land?”

Bewley Says Voters Are Stupid, And That Was Really Dumb

Liberal Democrats have long had a problem with condescension. If you don’t agree with them, well, you’re just not understanding your own best interests. You really should just leave decisions about your life to those smart people in the Democratic Party. Comments made yesterday by state Sen. Janet Bewley and Congressman Mark Pocan underscore theContinue reading “Bewley Says Voters Are Stupid, And That Was Really Dumb”

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”

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