Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos

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”

Understanding Biden

A key insight into understanding Joe Biden is that he is not a moderate; he’s a survivor. It’s not so much that Biden adheres to a moderate point of view, rather he hews to the center of gravity in the Democratic Party. And now, with the center of gravity lurching hard-left, Biden has lurched withContinue reading “Understanding Biden”

Three Still in Play

On one level it’s very simple. All I want is a Democratic candidate who can defeat Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in November. I have four top choices, so why can’t I just pick one?  Well, it’s complicated and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. Democrats are in an intensely practical mood. MostContinue reading “Three Still in Play”

Biden in ’24!

I never write anything I don’t believe — at least at the time I wrote it. But sometimes I like to go against the grain, to be contrary not just for the joy of being obstinate (though there is considerable fun in that), but as a way to think through a situation. Sometimes it’s helpfulContinue reading “Biden in ’24!”

Yellow Stripes Special: Our Take on the Dem Debate

I just got done watching the statewide televised debate for the five leading Democratic candidates to take on Sen. Ron Johnson. Here’s my take. First off, the format was a problem. The mics didn’t work whenever a candidate or moderator didn’t speak directly into them. Somebody finally noticed this 40 minutes in and fixed it.Continue reading “Yellow Stripes Special: Our Take on the Dem Debate”

UCLA, USC & $$$$

Occasionally (well, ok, it probably seems like every other week) I write about the need for big time college sports to pay its players what they deserve.  I write about it alot because the evidence just keeps piling up behind the idea that the current system is deeply unfair. Last week brought two fresh examples. Continue reading “UCLA, USC & $$$$”

Kleefisch Charges Michels With Being Reasonable

In the crazy, mixed-up world of this Republican Party doing the right thing is cause for blistering criticism. That’s the lesson as gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch attacks her primary opponent Tim Michels. She’s going after him on three issues. She says that he has supported an increase in gas taxes, opposed so-called “right to workContinue reading “Kleefisch Charges Michels With Being Reasonable”

Conservative Courts Empower Conservative Legislatures

As the smoke starts clearing from a flurry of historic U.S. and Wisconsin supreme court decisions, one consistent theme is becoming pretty clear. These conservative courts are shifting power on a massive scale toward legislative bodies and away from courts and executives. The reversal of Roe puts the issue back before states or, when RepublicansContinue reading “Conservative Courts Empower Conservative Legislatures”

Does Barnes Want to Win?

I’ve been flirting openly with the idea of voting for Mandela Barnes in the Democratic primary for Senate. (Much of my writing over the next month is likely to be about my angst over who to vote for in that contest.) Dan Bice isn’t helping with that decision. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s political reporter/columnistContinue reading “Does Barnes Want to Win?”

Maybe Mandela

Republicans laid in wait for the Independence Day weekend. Then they dug out an old video clip of Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes saying something perfectly reasonable about the founding of our country (slavery was a bad thing) and attempted to fill the holiday weekend news lull with distortions about it. This speaks volumes. Did theContinue reading “Maybe Mandela”

Abortion: Now What?

What happened yesterday was, unfortunately, not surprising. Even before the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked, it looked as if this would happen once hard-right conservatives held five seats on the Court. What happens next is anybody’s guess, but maybe we can at least parse out some questions about the future. WhatContinue reading “Abortion: Now What?”

RoJo Does It Again

It seems like every week Sen. Ron Johnson gives us more reason to be embarrassed that this guy represents Wisconsin. This week was no exception — and it’s only Wednesday. Yesterday it was revealed that Johnson had agreed to deliver in person to Vice President Mike Pence the bogus, but official-looking, documents of the 10Continue reading “RoJo Does It Again”

Tim Michels: Jerk

I’ve made political ads. They’re painstaking. You decide on the theme. You work over the script. Then you film and film and film. You do the same line over and over again. Then you go into the editing room and pick the one that you think works best. Is my inflection just right on thatContinue reading “Tim Michels: Jerk”

Some Good News For Evers

Something very strange could happen in Wisconsin in November. Aaron Rodgers might just go quietly about his business without saying anything weird? Well, no, not that strange. It’s possible that national Democrats could get crushed while Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could win a second term and a Democrat might beat Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. That’sContinue reading “Some Good News For Evers”

Midwest: Walleyes

The fate of the iconic walleye was sealed on December 12, 2000. That’s the day that the Supreme Court essentially awarded the presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore. Gore was a leader on climate change and his administration would have pushed aggressive policies to fight it at a time when something still mightContinue reading “Midwest: Walleyes”

The Need for the Long Game

My book, Light Blue is subtitled, “How center-left moderates can build an enduring Democratic majority.” Today, let’s talk about “enduring.” Democrats are likely to get toasted in this fall’s midterm elections. For those of us who shade left of center, that’s bad news, but not as bad as what might happen in 2024. Luckily, differentContinue reading “The Need for the Long Game”

One Way Woke is Good

The change in priorities is most striking on that bellwether of the hard-left, the Madison City Council. It used to be that the First Commandment was to honor thy neighborhood. Neighborhoods — often led by just a few highly motivated and opinionated activists — were all powerful. Alders were loathe to oppose anything their neighborhoodContinue reading “One Way Woke is Good”

Midwest: Wisconsin Idea Has to Flow in Both Directions

The senseless dustup over the appointment of UCLA Law School Dean Jennifer Mnookin as the new UW Madison Chancellor has raised a more interesting — and worthwhile — question about the Wisconsin Idea. In case you were tending to more important matters, here’s a quick recap. The Board of Regents — both Democratic and RepublicanContinue reading “Midwest: Wisconsin Idea Has to Flow in Both Directions”

Over the Mnookin

Heading back to the Emerald City this morning, so we’ll make this a quick one. The UW Regents hired Jennifer Mnookin to be the next UW Madison chancellor. She’s currently the dean of the UCLA law school and she went to Harvard, Yale and MIT. All fine schools, but she has no ties to Wisconsin.Continue reading “Over the Mnookin”


Whether or not the Democrats can ride what appears to be the impending overturning of Roe v. Wade to victories in November turns on one word: rare. When I wrote about this last week I said that I liked Bill Clinton’s formulation that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” I suspected when I wroteContinue reading “Rare”

Midwest: A New Voice

I admit it. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder when it comes to the Midwest. Virtually all of our national media and culture (movies, TV, radio shows, publishing houses, etc.) comes from the coasts. And their attitude toward the middle of the country? To paraphrase Rick played by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, “They’d despiseContinue reading “Midwest: A New Voice”

He Shoots! He Scores!

Tom Nelson has joined Alex Lasry and Sarah Godlewski with a television ad buy. The least-funded of the four major candidates vying to take on Sen. Ron Johnson in November will probably have the smallest reach, but the ad itself could pack a bigger punch. The fourth candidate, Mandela Barnes, has yet to hit theContinue reading “He Shoots! He Scores!”

Midwest: Firewood

I’m late with my Midwest post this Sunday, but I’m still getting it in before Sunday ends — and I have a good excuse. It’s the firewood window up here in the U.P., and so I was using every daylight hour I could to put in my stock for the fall. I count the firewoodContinue reading “Midwest: Firewood”

Safe, Legal & Rare

For the third time in six years Democrats and liberals are being given an opportunity to turn tragedy into progress. Will they blow it again? What was surprising about the leak of the draft of a decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade was the leak itself, not its substance. From the moment the SupremeContinue reading “Safe, Legal & Rare”

Midwest: Where Is It?

Now on week three of my promised Sunday morning series about the Midwest, some thoughtful readers have chimed in to ask: do you even know what you’re talking about? Now, in truth, that question is asked regularly on any number of topics I have addressed in this and other spaces. It’s not even limited toContinue reading “Midwest: Where Is It?”

Midwest: Rust Belt No More

What other region would put up with a moniker like “The Rust Belt”? Would the West Coast be okay with “The Drought Belt”? How about “The Wildfire Belt” for the Mountain states? Or the “Flooded Cities Belt” for the East Coast? But virtually every news outlet, including local ones, uses “Rust Belt” without a secondContinue reading “Midwest: Rust Belt No More”

Purge the Activists

I’ve served as an aide to politicians and as a politician myself and here’s what I’ve learned: activists have no role in a public official’s office, and when they start pushing for their own agendas they should be shown the door as soon as possible. This comes up now as the Biden Administration is bleedingContinue reading “Purge the Activists”

Leave Mickey Alone

Anybody else tired of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicking Mickey Mouse around? Here’s the back story. A few weeks ago Florida passed a law, supported by DeSantis, which restricted formal teaching about gender identity (but not any discussion of it) in K-3 education. The left went ballistic, dubbing it the “don’t say gay bill.” UnderContinue reading “Leave Mickey Alone”

The Pay for Grades Hoax

The UW Madison is about to do yet another really dumb thing. According to a story in today’s Wisconsin State Journal, Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who will soon (but not soon enough) leave for her new job at Northwestern, is proposing that the school should pay athletes for being students. That’s right. Blank would pay theContinue reading “The Pay for Grades Hoax”

Midwest: Bad Weather

This week we’re inaugurating a new weekly feature here at YSDA: a Sunday morning essay about the Midwest. I’ve been thinking about the Midwest for a long time, at least going back to my days as Mayor of Madison. I would go to national conferences, many in Washington, DC, and get the feeling when IContinue reading “Midwest: Bad Weather”

Don’t Cancel Jefferson

We’ve been struggling with a way to write about the move by the Madison School Board to change the name of Jefferson Middle School — in a way that says something more enlightening then that it’s a really bad idea. Well, our old friend Harry Peterson published an oped in the Wisconsin State Journal recentlyContinue reading “Don’t Cancel Jefferson”

UW Screws Up Again

What is it with my alma mater? Last year the UW became a national curiosity (to put it gently) when it banished a boulder for committing the offense of being referred to by an ugly name. Once. A century ago. At a time when the ugly name was in common usage. On the heels ofContinue reading “UW Screws Up Again”

Wednesday Catchup

Since we reduced YSDA from a daily blog to three days a week we find ourselves leaving stuff on the cutting room floor. And, of course, without our wisdom and guidance, you’re left wondering what to think about important issues. Well, let’s solve that problem by doing some quick hits. First, there’s the heartbreak ofContinue reading “Wednesday Catchup”

“Light Blue” Banned!

Since we released our e-book, Light Blue: How center-left moderates can build an enduring Democratic majority, earlier this month sales have been, uh, modest. Then we remembered that one of the very best marketing strategies for books is to get them banned. And there’s plenty of stuff in Light Blue that should get the bannersContinue reading ““Light Blue” Banned!”

The Portal Changes All

It was subtle, but it said it all. Last week in a column he cleverly titles “Open Jim”, new Wisconsin State Journal sports page editor Jim Polzin answers a reader’s question, which goes like this: “What does the Wisconsin men’s basketball team need in the transfer portal?” The “transfer portal” is a phrase that hasContinue reading “The Portal Changes All”

Simkin For Our Schools

I have been strongly critical of the current Madison School Board and the direction it has taken us in the last few years. There has been a breakdown in basic safety and order. Staff and teachers feel like this Board doesn’t have their backs. The Board seems focussed on kids who are disruptive and under-achievingContinue reading “Simkin For Our Schools”

Pledge of Resistance

In the category of ‘oh, why open up this can of worms?‘ comes a story from yesterday’s Wisconsin State Journal about Dane County Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner’s attempt to end the practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before board meetings. Her proposal would also eliminate any reference to an opening prayer. Let’s start with theContinue reading “Pledge of Resistance”

Bet on Evers

While it’s far from a sure thing, I am feeling increasingly confident that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will eke out a victory in November. Here’s why.  Let me deal with the headwinds first. It’s a mid-term election and mid-terms can be brutal for the party that controls the White House. Evers’ Democrats are likely toContinue reading “Bet on Evers”

Language Lessons

God help me, I listen to public radio and read the New York Times. People talk and write in those places in ways that normal human beings just don’t. What’s worse is that the gap between how liberal elites talk (or at least the language they accept) and how average Americans speak is growing andContinue reading “Language Lessons”

Please Make It Stop

It’s getting pretty hard to write about Michael Gableman. How many times can a guy use words like idiot, fool, incompetent and bungler, in a post? How many times can a reader stand to see “investigation” in quotes? How many references can one make to clowns and circuses before he gets a cease and desistContinue reading “Please Make It Stop”


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