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 of Tommy Thompson. We like Tommy, but he disappointed us by traveling to Mar a Lago to touch base with Donald Trump. This tells us two things. First, the 80-year old former guv is serious about running to regain his old office. Two, he’ll do anything to win. What would have been inspiring about a Tommy candidacy is if the guy had said to himself, “I’m 80. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody and I don’t need the job or the office space. I’m going to run to try to reclaim the Party I loved back from this fool.” Hell, the editor of YSDA is only 63 and he doesn’t give a damn about what his old liberal friends think. But nope. Tommy would sell his soul for a little more time in the spotlight.

Second, there’s only the three crummy GOP votes for Ketanji Brown Jackson. She’s clearly qualified, she has no skeletons in the closet and she’s the kind of mainstream liberal you’d expect a liberal like Joe Biden to nominate. She should be getting dozens of Republican votes. Instead, it looks like she’ll get Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney. Kudos to those three. It takes some guts to stand up to your party’s rabid base. But what about those other cowards — including retiring senators like Rob Portman and Patrick Toomey — who see that Jackson is well within the bounds of an acceptable pick and yet refuse to do the right thing?

Third, there’s the annual list of banned books from the American Library Association. Once again this year, the hard-right wins the prize for the most attempted cancellations. The right doesn’t like books about gender identity and race. I probably wouldn’t agree with or like, or just enjoy reading, some of those books myself, but that’s not the point. If I don’t want to read them, that’s my own choice. Where does anybody get off insisting that other people can’t read them?

Finally, there’s Kirk Bangstad. He’s the owner of the Minocqua Brewing Company, located, surprisingly, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Bangstad is very, very liberal in a part of the state that very, very much isn’t. Yet, he has made his liberal views part of his brand. He’s even formed a PAC that regularly goes after Sen. Ron Johnson, Congressman Tom Tiffany and other GOP stalwarts. Well, it turns out that the very, very conservative owner of the Lakeland Times is suing Bangstad for defamation. It looks to be a groundless, “SLAPP suit” designed not to win but to drain Bangstad’s resources and shut him up. I don’t agree with Bangstad on a lot of stuff. He’s too far left for my tastes, but he deserves to have a voice, and I respect his courage for saying very liberal things in a very conservative part of the state. If you want, you can contribute to his legal defense fund here.

If there’s a theme among these four random stories it’s freedom and guts. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Don’t go groveling or cave to some fool you don’t respect. Have enough confidence in your own ideas that you don’t feel the need to shut down somebody else’s views.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

One thought on “Wednesday Catchup

  1. I once met Tommy Thompson at baggage claim after it turned out we had both been on the same DC-to-Madison flight, and he was fun to talk to about things like comparing how those two cities dealt with snow. Years later, he did a fantastic job during his time as University of Wisconsin System President. And while I didn’t agree with Tommy Thompson much during his time as governor, I generally liked and respected him. But with his pilgrimage to Mar a Lago to kiss the ring of The Donald, he lost all respect I had for him.

    Liked by 1 person

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