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Unwise

In December of 2021 Darrell Brooks plowed his SUV into a crowd at a holiday parade in Waukesha. He killed six people and injured dozens more. A habitual criminal, Brooks was free on only $1,000 bail. His actions that day didn’t just end six lives. It also ended any serious discussion of reducing or eliminating…

The Candy Wars

My priorities are all messed up. Until a few days ago I hadn’t realized that for an entire year my beloved M&M’s candies were undermining the social order. For the past year I’ve been obsessing over trivia: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation and the concern about recession, crime, the Madison schools and junk like that.…

There’s Only One Hitch

Christopher Hitchens didn’t take many prisoners. The day after the Rev. Jerry Falwell died he went on Fox news to declare, “If you gave Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox.” Hitchens himself was buried, probably in something larger than a matchbox, in 2011 at age 62, the victim of cancer. He left…

Midwest: Heartland Caucus Is a Good Start

House Democrats are forming the Heartland Caucus. That’s good, but it needs to be just the first step. Led by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), a group of Democrats from the Midwest has formed the caucus. They hope to grow the group to around 40 members, but it already includes prominent members like Rep. Ilhan Omar…

The Pretentious Hypocrisy of the Varsity Collective

A Florida Gators booster group offered a hot quarterback prospect $13 million in advertising contracts (called Name, Image and Likeness or NIL) to sign with the team. That was a wonderful thing. It was the free market at work and it meant that a player was finally being paid something close to what he was…

Honesty and the Court

Here’s the way it’s supposed to work. A candidate for a judicial seat is asked a direct question about how she would rule on a hot button issue. The candidate demurs, instead talking in general terms about how her personal views will not impact her decisions. At the same time she winks and nods at…

Promise of Progress

Since the fall elections a strange thing has been happening in Wisconsin politics. Gov. Tony Evers and Speaker Robin Vos have sought a reset on their relationship. Evers met with Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LaMehieu shortly after the election and Vos has talked about working more cooperatively with the Democratic governor. It’s not…

A Developer’s Risky Move

Vermilion Development has done the right thing. Let’s see if they get punished for it. Vermilion is the developer of a proposed apartment complex on Sherman Ave. across from Tenney Park. Late last year they proposed a 445 unit development at the site of an old nondescript office building, which would be razed for the…

And Another Damn Thing

I got nothing this morning. I’ve read the papers and, meh, I dunno. Nothing’s really lighting a fire under me. But I’m going to ramble on for, say, 500 words or so anyway. This violates one of my main rules of life and writing: when you’ve got nothing to say, say nothing. This is not…

The Misuse of History

On February 7th we may see just how serious the Madison Common Council and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway are about the city’s housing shortage.  That’s the day the council is scheduled to take up a proposal, unanimously endorsed by the Landmarks Commission, to confer local landmarks status on the Filene House, a large nondescript office building…

Following the Money

The campaign finance reports are in. Let’s see what they tell us. The reports cover the last half of 2022 and they were required for anybody running in the spring elections. (They’re also required for anybody who has a campaign committee and is raising money for any election cycle.) The two major races on the…

Ask the Voters

As a rule, I don’t like referendums. It seems to me that people get elected to study the issues and to apply their values and best judgement to the facts. We don’t elect windsocks. We elect legislators. But there are exceptions. In some cases referendums are required by law to, for example, amend the state…

Prospects for the Home Teams

It’s the dog days of winter here in Wisconsin. Grey, grey, grey, punctuated by sleet. So, I thought it’d be fun to ask the YSDA Sports Department, located here on the 48th floor of YSDA Tower, to analyze the prospects for Wisconsin’s six major sports teams. And, no, I don’t care about hockey or volley…

Don’t Fight Bail Reform

The hard-left wants bail reform, but this isn’t what they had in mind. It has become a cause on the hard-left to call for the elimination of cash bail. The argument is that poor defendants have a hard time posting bail and so stay in jail longer than those with more means. And because more…

Jenkins’ Weird Column

Well, that was weird. Madison Schools Superintendent Carlton Jenkins keeps what can most charitably be described as a low profile in the community. But he penned a column on Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal editorial page in which he flew at 30,000 feet over the big, big picture issue of the need to invest in schools…

Flat Tax Won’t Help Economy

Wisconsin Republicans are arguing that we need a flat income tax — and a huge tax break for our wealthiest citizens that would go with it — to remain economically competitive. There’s no evidence to support that. Let’s look at the states sharing a border with us — Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. Minnesota has…

Mayor Needs to Get Religion

Lots of good stuff in the papers this morning. Let’s get to it. She’s not a believer. Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway continues to duck issues. The city has a very good plan to marry transportation with land use by providing for higher development densities along corridors that will soon be served by Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).…

Save UW Richland

Jay Rothman is making a solid, even obvious, business decision. I still think he’s wrong. Rothman, President of the UW System, has decided to shut down the UW Platteville – Richland Center campus. In 2014 that campus had almost 600 students and today it has only 60. When Rothman goes to the Legislature to ask…

Give One City a Chance

These are tough days for One City school. The charter school, founded by native Madisonian and former corporate executive Kaleem Caire, recently announced that it was shutting down its ninth and tenth grade programs this month and the last round of test scores showed poor performance from its students. Those scores were not good, but…

What a Drag

I was surprised to learn in yesterday’s morning paper that Madison East High School had to cancel its drag show. My surprise stems from not knowing that Madison East had a drag show. But, sure enough, somebody at East thought this made sense. The response was what you’d expect. Conservative talk show hosts and commentators,…

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