Friday, February 27, 2009

Please Ponder

"Celebrate diversity with ruthless conformity."

When it's mandated by the government, it's not your choice

This morning, a local television station had a story on how healthier choices can reduce the chance of a person getting cancer. Sounds much like the other stories that have been reported for years.

Who doesn't appreciate the fact that eating better and working out will lead to a healthier life? A healthier life means you will be less likely to contract many diseases.

Yet, we are still a fat nation. We eat too much. We don't exercise enough.

This morning's story had a little bit different ending: government should take steps to cause people to make healthier choices.

Are we to the point where people can say, with a straight face, government should cause people to make "choices"? Government mandating behavior through policy seems to cut against the concept of people making "choices".

As we wonder down this path of more collective decisionmaking, paved with rhetoric of hope and change, I'm bracing for more instances where the government will empower better choices (i.e., coerce people to act differently).

Is it too obvious to say that liberty is on the decline?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

George W. Bush = Lyndon B. Johnson?

Peggy Noonan asks: "When George W. Bush first came on the scene in 2000, did you understand him to be a liberal in terms of spending?"

Her answer includes this description of conservatism: "And as all but children know, conservatism is hostile, for reasons ranging from the abstract and philosophical to the concrete and practical, to high spending and high taxing. Money is power, more money for the government is more power for the government. More power for the government will allow it to, among many other things, amuse itself by putting its fingers in a million pies, and stop performing its essential functions well, and get dizzily distracted by nonessentials, and muck up everything. Which is more or less where we are."

When I worked on the 2000 campaign, I did not run into anyone who thought compassionate conservatism meant big spending. In hindsight, maybe that was an oversight.

Do School Buses Need Two Strobe Lights?

I've always wonder about the strobe lights on top of school buses. These enormous bright yellow vehicles already have many lights and reflectors.

When I started reading this editorial in response to the school bus accident in Adams County, School Bus Safety Issues Raised Again in Accident, I thought it would be a proposal for two strobe lights on each bus.

Rather, it makes a great point: legislation is not always the answer in the wake of tragedy. "[D]rivers must use Tuesday's accident as a reminder of their responsibilities when they get behind the wheel. Simple common sense can save lives."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hurt Feelings at UW

The Legislature has managed to hurt the UW's feelings, according to this article. Here's the point where I started weeping because I felt so bad for the UW:

"UW-Madison officials also said many faculty members were dismayed by the onslaught of criticism over recent personnel scandals involving inappropriate paid leaves and two professors convicted of sex felonies against children. Whether they should or not, faculty members at a certain point start taking the criticism personally, Wiley said.

"When they keep reading about it every day in the paper, they get the impression they are personally under attack," Wiley said. "The impression it leaves is that the Legislature believes they are all just a bunch of lazy and criminal faculty. The steady barrage of this kind of things weighs on them."

This is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. UW is admitting that the efforts by some legislators to vilify it are working. Expect the press releases to keep coming.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Automatic Doors

I just got back from Washington DC. This is all I got . . .

One morning, I sat at Union Station waiting for a friend. At the exit I sat near, there were three sets of double doors. Commuters all exited through the same doors. The ones on the left. The automatic ones.

The doors were open so often that I could clearly read a sign on display outside: "Due to cold weather, please use non-automatic doors." It then stated an exception for the handicap.

Why did everyone ignore the sign? Did they enjoy the feeling of elegance associated with having the doors opened for them? Was the sign unclear?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jensen Trial

For those interested in following the Jensen trial, Wispolitics has an insightful blog on it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

911: I'm being watched!

Well, I guess being watched in a blogging context is a good thing.

For this, and this, I thank Marquette Warrior.

Yosemite Sam Politics

I enjoyed this article for two reasons: (1) it has insight into the minds of politicians and (2) it referred to Yosemite Sam. I had a poster of Yosemite Sam on my childhood bedroom wall--and by childhood, I mean my wife refused to let me hang it in our home.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Choice Compromise on the Move

The school choice compromise (Senate Bill 618) passed through the Senate Education Committee today. The four republicans voted for it. The three democrats voted against it. It passed the Assembly committee yesterday.

Senator Lurther Olson had raised concerns about the compromise initially, specifically related to the money for SAGE. He voted for the proposal today in committee. Have his concerns been addressed?

The $25 million for SAGE, which has nothing to do with choice, still bugs me.

The argument that raising the cap "saves" money is less persuasive since Doyle backed off the State's 2/3 commitment to public education. (See the bottom of page 5 of this Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo.)