Friday, January 16, 2009

Closed for the Season, or at least until the media frenzy results in my being traded to a larger venue with more lucrative marketing possibilities

UPDATE - geez, I should have updated this a long time ago. I'm blogging now over at The TrogloPundit. Come check it out.


As noted over at Badger Blog Alliance, is shutting down for the forseeable future. The reason: I was coming to dread having to come up with something to write over here. It wasn't something I really wanted to do anymore, which led to me - at least, I think - mailing it in.

Oddly, I have neither feeling about posting over at BBA or at, where I'll continue to contribute once a week, at least as long as Jo lets me (and possibly longer).

Thank you to everyone for all the support and kind comments I've received over the last few years. I look forward to receiving far more of them in the years to come. And don't worry: when I start writing over here again, I'll let you know.

Meantime, don't forget to bookmark Badger Blog Alliance, and add it to your reader!

Friday, January 09, 2009

There’s nothing government can’t do.

It’s the first salvo of the year from the Wisconsin State Senate and its encouraged Democrat majority. Not likely the last. Three bills, introduced on Thursday: increase the state’s minimum wage and index it to inflation; mandate that bankruptcy-headed businesses pay their employees before paying other debts; and mandate health insurance coverage for autistic kids.

Good, populist bills – an indication, we both hope and fear – of what two years under complete Democrat control will be.

Three bills, two opinions. One: this is what happens when adults are in charge. Two: what are they, crazy?

The latter comes from WPRI’s Christian Schneider:

If the Legislature were to actually walk on to the floor and vote for a bill to reduce the number of jobs in Wisconsin by 5%, it probably wouldn’t be as effective as these three bills in unison.

...When mixed together, these bills constitute a noxious cocktail that the Wisconsin economy is going to have to swallow.
Chris “capper” Liebenthal has a different view:
This Is What Happens When Adults Take Over

Good news from Madison! Senator Decker has announced the first three major bills that they will be working on.
I have four children who can’t remember to put their shoes away. Ever. If this is what happens “When Adults Take Over,” then I’m handing my keys to them.

The three bills are all examples of populism at work: the minimum wage, because you just can’t live on that!

News flash: you won’t be able to support a family on the new minimum wage, either, no matter how long it’s been indexed for inflation. Of course, you won’t have to: there’ll be fewer low-wage jobs to go around.

The wage lien bill: hey, the employees should get paid. You want that, I want that. But requiring employees-first by law makes it riskier for banks to loan money. Thus, they’ll be tighter with credit. Thus, there’ll be less available capital. Thus, there’ll be more laid-off (or might-have-been-hired) employees.

The autism mandate: no one denies the difficulty of raising an autistic child, but forcing insurance companies to cover it will simply raise the cost of insurance, at a time when health care costs are already – and I know this, because I keep reading it in the paper – “out of control.”

Three bills. Three happier interest groups. Greater strain on the economy. Less freedom.

Yes, I’m invoking freedom, as hokey as that might sound. You’ve got a dollar in your pocket, you get to choose how to use it. That’s freedom. The government takes that dollar away – even for the noblest of reasons – and that’s freedom you’ve lost. That’s why government should be very circumspect in reaching for more tax money.

Okay, so what about the freedom lost by those employees, whose former employer didn’t pay them for three months before declaring bankruptcy? Hey, good point. Also for parents of disabled children – their freedom is certainly curtailed. And the guy who can’t get a job that pays more than minimum wage. He could use a freedom stimulus, I guess.

To this I can only say, uncomfortably: life isn’t always fair, and neither are people. That life and/or people did something unfair – something wrong, even something immoral – doesn’t give the government authority to spread that unfairness around to everyone.

Or…well, I guess it does, from the liberal point of view. Liberals – who despise any government constraint on personal freedom, no matter how minor, until it's in their political interest not to – won’t hesitate to constrain their neighbors financially. Because that’s compassion.

The moral of the story: there’s nothing government can’t do.

Well, there isn’t. There is no authority the government does not have. That dollar in your pocket? They can take it. Whether you like it or not. Whether you worked for it or not. Whether their taking it will make you think twice about earning another one or not.

Someone else needs it, so it belongs to the government.

That’s what they call “adult.”

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How Obama could please both the far Right and far Left at the same time, and why he won't.

New column over at An excerpt:

That won’t please the far – or even the middle – Right, either. Vastly greater government spending; government debt to support that spending; government interference in private business; increased government influence over private business. These are not good things.

It doesn't please the Left, either, although their philosophy of bigger-better-stronger government is well-served when everybody and their Governor are begging Congress for a few more billion.

No, any real enviro-Leftist worth the label should find the idea of government economic "stimuli" quite disturbing: Americans have finally toned down the consumption! Less waste, less fuel, less pollution, more squirrels!

How can a liberal, Democrat government – a liberal, Democrat president – even think about trying to change that?

Thus, Obama could please both sides by killing the bailouts on Day One.
Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Wish List 2009

Aught-Seven ended "neither with a bang, nor with a whimper, but rather…a bang waiting to happen…Powder’s dry, and it’ll go off soon." Or so I wrote at the time.

If 2007 ended with unresolved tension, 2008 ends…well, like a long exhale. So far, 2009 feels like a day-old balloon: still floating, but slack. No longer strained taut from the pressure.

Powder's spent, and we've drawn some R&R. Now we're just waiting for the Quartermaster's next pass through the line.

Anyway. If nothing else, my Wish List 2008 proved one thing: I should stick to wish lists, not predictions. With a few notable exceptions, I was wrong, wrong, wrong. The sun did shine. Snow did (and continues to) fall. Kids got owies, and I spent more time on my computer than working in my yard. On that much, for the second straight year, I was right.

Other than that? Judge for yourself, if you want. In the grand tradition of punditry, I choose to ignore my past misfires and instead plow forward to 2009!

This is the year Son #1 gets his first deer
. He was so close in 2008. Twice.

I'll do my usual George Thorogood imitation.

Sons #2 and #3 will add several Cub Scout awards to their shirts. Son #2, in particular, will place in a Lego-building contest. The Daughter will get her driver's license and will be a far more responsible driver than her father was at her age.

Yes, I'm that old.

The Wife and I will go dancing exactly once. She'll forgive me for not making it twice.

Brett Favre hangs up the cleats, this time for good. The all-time NFL fumbles record will stay with Warren Moon.

Elsewhere in sports, Baltimore Ravens safety Jim Leonhard makes an interception in the Superbowl; Bret Bielema spends the year feeling the heat; the Bucks and the Brewers play a bunch of games in unmemorable seasons; and Bo Ryan takes the Badgers to the Elite Eight, helping him land a recruit who almost guarantees a return trip and more.

The Packers will make the playoffs after adding one big-time free agent and one touted rookie to the defensive line. Donald Driver will remember how to make one cut after catching the ball, and his numbers will improve accordingly.

In state politics, all-powerful Democrats will be unable to restrain the liberal impulse, and will put forward every bigger-government, higher-taxes, business-is-evil and nanny-government proposal they've ever thought of in the past, plus a few more. Most will go nowhere, as Democratic leaders realize the voters will freak out, but some – the hospital tax, cigarette tax, gas tax, smoking ban, etc. – will become law.

The budget will be "balanced." Governor Doyle's staff will begin floating predictions of a $6.8 billion deficit two years from now.

The so-called Healthy Wisconsin will be the big hole in their liberal cornucopia, because President Obama will socialize health care at the federal level.

In federal politics, all-powerful Democrats will restrain the liberal impulse to retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan – President Obama will prove to be far more hawkish than his most ardent supporters expected. Otherwise, government spending and socialization are in.

Democrats and liberals will spend a lot of time vilifying President Bush, who will be nothing but classy and supportive of the Obama administration.

Republicans will learn just how much fun it is to be surrounded and outnumbered. They can't get away from us now!

The economy will improve in 2009, but not by much. What improvement does occur will be thanks to consumer confidence brought about by the mainstream media's positive economic coverage.

Entitlement reform and, closest and dearest to me, Social Security Reform, are over. By the time enough conservatives get enough political power to do anything about them, it'll be too late.

Yes, that's really pessimistic of me. One more bit of pessimism: I will again fail to land a dead-tree byline this year.

Wait…was that pessimism? Or reverse psychology?

Now for a few blasts from the past:

I get better at everything. Better at writing, better at working, better at Dad-ing and better at husband-ing. It's no secret how. It’s just a matter of doing it.

Politics doesn’t get any nicer, bipartisan, cooperative, or any less nasty, but we’ll all be a little less uptight about that.

Duh. There's a Democrat in the White House.

George Lucas finally admits that there’s way too much money in the franchise not to make the final three Star Wars movies, not to mention the inevitable re-make. Josh Whedon will agree to write and direct.

And, the Oldie-but-Goodie you've all been waiting for:

The kids learn to pick up after themselves without being nagged

I crack myself up.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes, I know, I misspelled Kennedy's name

Writing over at about political dynasties and why they're bad...and why they're not so bad, I spelled Caroline Kennedy's name wrong.

The upside is, I can almost guarantee that this is the biggest mistake I'll make for the remainder of the year.

Here's an excerpt:

We have an aversion to generational politics in this country. It reminds us of aristocracy. Of power handed down by birthright. There is no birthright here, or there's not supposed to be. You have to earn it, just like everybody else.

We know that’s not really true – not entirely. Some people have advantages others simply don't. Still – political power, at least, isn't supposed to arrive at your bedroom door like a shiny silver dollar the night after losing a tooth.

...Let’s not be unfair: Carolyn [sic] Kennedy is surely not the best-qualified candidate for the seat, but…so what? What are the qualifications, exactly? What job skills are required? The ability to read speeches written by media staffers? To appear in public without embarrassing yourself?

If so, heck, even I'm qualified. And if I am, so is she.
It's an odd feeling, writing a [sic] while quoting yourself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Sarah Connor can teach us about raising Very Important Babies

From today's column over at

Imagine for a moment that before your child was born – before your child was even conceived – you knew he was coming. Somebody told you. His name; who he would be; things he would do; and that his birth is of absolute importance to everyone, everywhere. Not only will your baby be special, he’s going to save the entire human race.

Now go raise him.

Gee, thanks.

Now…oh, wait: I may have misled you just now. With Christmas coming up, you probably thought I was talking about Jesus.

I wasn’t. We might as well talk about him now, I guess – he does fit the profile. But, no, I was talking about John Connor. You know: from the Terminator. The movies and the TV series. The guy that led – or, rather, will lead – the human race in its war for survival, after the machines take over.

Connor's mother found out before he was even conceived that he was coming, what his name would be, and that he would be the lynchpin – the cornerstone, on whom the fate of the entire human race would someday rest.

Talk about pressure. Yeah, this kid is going to save us all, y’know, so try not to screw him up too much. Kind of important that he not die in a drunk driving accident (or the early first-century equivalent).

In the Terminator series, these revelations turned John’s mother into a borderline-psychotic whose obsession with keeping her son safe has had serious ramifications for his adolescent development. And even if it hadn’t, knowing that you’re raising the single most important person on the face of the Earth can’t be an easy thing to live with.

You wonder how Mary and Joseph handled it.

Did they, when Jesus was an infant, do any of the normal parent-infant things? Play peek-a-boo? Coo over his curly little toes? Smell his head? Laugh at the faces he made as he filled his diaper?

Did they discipline him? Did they have to? And how, exactly, does one take the Son of God over one’s knee?

Did they tell him what the Angel told Mary? Did he know why his childhood began in Egypt, instead of Nazareth? If so – at the risk of channeling Dr. Phil – how did that make him feel?

It’s one thing to be a normal, average teenager sitting in a school assembly. Quite another to be a teenager who spent yesterday afternoon dodging killer robots from the future, and quite another thing to know you might have to do that again tomorrow.

Now try on the whole Son of God thing.

Granted, being the mother of the Son of God must have its advantages. Sure, she’s working without a script, but it’s hardly as though she’s working alone. If God Himself put Jesus here – if Jesus is, in fact, God Himself in mortal form – then Mary didn’t have to worry so much when Jesus went off with some friends on Friday night.

She might have worried, anyway. Moms do that. But if anybody can take care of Himself, it’s…well, Him.

The thing is, Jesus didn’t start out as the robed and bearded sage who had every answer to every trick question: He started out as a baby, then a toddler, then a boy, then a young man. And he had parents, who had to raise him.

They probably hadn’t thought all of that through on Christmas morning, Year Zero. But then, how many parents – even those of us not raising humanity’s saviors – have?
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rose for Supe

New column up over at (like I post columns anywhere else these days). This time, it's about the upcoming race for Superintendent of Public Schools.

I've found, since sending this in, that there are at least two other potential candidates for the seat whom I did not mention*. Sorry about that. I'll likely write about the race again before the February primary. I'm very unlikely to change my mind, although you never know. Not when Rose Fernandez is running.

Here's an excerpt:

For all I know, she’s as liberal as the day is long. For all I know, she’s just as Sky-Is-Falling as Evers. For all I know, she’s a hemp-wearing tree-hugging peace monger who thinks Karl Marx had the right idea and wishes Ed Garvey would just be honest and join the Republican Party, already.

In other words, the race might cast Evers and Fernandez as the Democrat and Republican candidates, respectively. The liberal and the conservative. But she might not be. At this point, I don’t know.

And I don’t care.
Read the whole thing.

* The two candidates I didn't mention are Van Mobley, an econ professor from Concordia, and Lowell Holtz, the Beloit superintendant.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What if Mumbai happened here?

That's the topic of my latest column over at Here's an excerpt:

I guess we should be asking – not what if it happened here, but why hasn't it happened here? Why haven't we had suicide bombers in Houston? Car bombs in San Diego? Roadside ambushes, homemade mortars?

It's not that hard, really. Not that hard to make homemade explosives. Easy as pie to walk into a crowded mall and set them off. It happens in Iraq, and Afghanistan. Israel. It used to happen in Britain and Spain.

Why not here? We are, after all, the Great Satan. If the Islamofascists were really serious, they'd bring their game over here.

If they can, that is. Hey, I think I've answered my question.

So back to the original question: what if it did happen here?
Read the whole thing.


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