Where Free Marketers Meet and Take Action in Southeastern Wisconsin

School Choice Program Cut

06.13.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/47966021.html

In the secret budget negotiations (the Assembly Democrats have closed their caucus) where the state budget is being hashed out, the Democrats have decided that they’ve had enough of the school choice program.  They originally wanted to cut the number to 20,500, but they “compromised” at 21,500.

First, this is policy and does not belong in a budget that is only half-heartedly being debated anyway.  This way, goes the thinking, no one has to really be responsible, because they can say things like “Oh, well, it was the best deal we could get.”

But more importantly, people are choosing to send their children to these schools.  If you believe people can make decisions for themselves and their children, this is ridiculous–Democrats want to take the option away to make sure union-run schools have a monopoly on education.  This would at least be arguable if MPS was a decent school district, but it is pretty apparent that it is not.  The people who are howling over school choice should take a long look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why 20,000 children are not coming to their schools and what they are going to do about it.

Tim Sheehy comes to CYP Thurs. night, sick day ordinance struck down next day

06.12.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Coincidence?  I think not.  Behold the power of CYP! 

On Friday, June 12, 2009, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper struck down the City of Milwaukee’s paid sick leave mandate, stating that the mandate was, “invalidly enacted and unconstitutional.”

MMAC President Tim Sheehy called the ruling, “A victory for the City of Milwaukee’s economic competitiveness and the workers who depend on a growing economy for their jobs.”

And now for the state budget (it appears we also fixed global warming, too).

www.mmac.org for more info.

Thanks for the great event

06.12.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Thanks to everyone who attended our CYP event last night. It’s great to meet new people who are interested in the cause. And it was great to meet Tim Sheehy of the MMAC (www.MMAC.org)–we were proud to host him.
Tim, in his remarks, explained his way of viewing public policy in Milwaukee. Milwaukee and Wisconsin are in a tough competition for investment (and the jobs that come along with that investment). If the Milwaukee region does not compete, then it will lose companies, investment, growth, and jobs to other cities. We can’t adopt uncompetitive policies such as mandatory sick leave (which increases the cost of doing business in the Milwaukee area) or combined corporate income tax reporting (I’m probably the only person who cared, but trust me, it’s very bad for the state).
The next happy hour is: July 15th at the bar on the 7th floor of Hotel Metro.
Get your tailgate money in! After all this time, we may now run out of tickets.

The High Speed Rail and the Hare

06.11.2009 · Posted in News

When is traditional passenger rail (a la Amtrak) the same as high speed rail?  Apparently, when lots of “free” federal dollars are at stake.

According to the The Capital Times, the Midwest high speed rail plan “has a good chance of landing part of the $8 billion in federal stimulus earmarked for passenger trains.”  There’s just once catch, though.  Federal guidelines for prospective projects receiving funding define high-speed rail as 90-110 mph, while the Midwest “high speed” rail corridor from Chicago to the Twin Cities would host trains averaging less than 80 mph.

Frank Busalacchi, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and a leader of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, told federal officials last week that service in the 434-mile Chicago-to-Twin-Cities corridor would average 67 mph for local trains and 78 mph for express trains making fewer stops — well below the federal speed guidelines.

Is that a big deal?  Nope.  At least, that’s the opinion of Kevin Brubaker, deputy director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago, who suggests that “speed is only one of many factors that will be considered.”

“The speed issue is much ado about nothing,” Brubaker says in a phone interview. “What Secretary Busalacchi is saying is we don’t need bullet trains in the Midwest.”

Is it a meaningless issue?  The Wikipedia high-speed rail entry notes that:

High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions include 200 km/h (125 mph) and faster — depending on whether the track is upgraded or new — by the European Union, and above 90 mph (145 km/h) by the United States Federal Railroad Administration, but there is no single standard, and lower speeds can be required by local constraints.

The German ICE (Inter-city Express), which I’ve had the opportunity to ride, routinely travels between 180-200 mph.  This is competitive with air travel over shorter distances (up to about 4 hours) from a travel time perspective.  Unfortunately, due to the “local constraints” noted in the Capital Times’ article, we can expect our “high speed” rail to lead to travel times at least twice as long as what Europeans, Japanese, and Chinese enjoy.

One question that needs to be asked of the DOT and other proponents of this project is why speed isn’t the main consideration (aside from cost effectiveness)?  After all, speed determines travel time and most of us value our time even if we are unable to put a dollar figure on it.  If “we” decide to subsidize high speed rail for all of the alleged benefits it provides such as economic growth, a cleaner environment, and happier commuters, shouldn’t we actually provide high speed rail?  Of course, the simple answer is that real high speed rail is very expensive and would be less politically feasible.  So, we will settle for the minor league of high speed rail with a modest price tag of $10 billion.

In this race, it isn’t the hare that loses, but all taxpayers.

Democratic Secrets Revealed; probably better if you didn’t know

06.09.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

If you’ve been paying attention to the budget, you’ve seen the Democrats in the state legislature do some terribly mind-numbingly dumb things.  Things such as pass a gas tax that they now acknowledge is unconstitutional.  I can tell you, the tax policy in the budget is truly heineous.  The budget contains discounts on higher education for illegal immigrants and a whole host of other bad things.  It’s led many people to wonder outloud, what were they thinking?

The Democrats put their thoughts in a talking-points memo which the MacIver Institute has found and published on their website. 

http://maciverinstitute.com/2009/06/dem-budget-talking-points-weak-laughable.html

When you read the talking points and trite responses, you realize they aren’t thinking very hard at all.

Come meet Tim Sheehy and hear him talk about the mandatory sick leave ordinance and how it will kill jobs in Milwaukee.   Thursday at Mo’s (Downtown) at 5:30-8:00.

Gold Now Coke Dealers’ Preferred Form Of Payment

06.08.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Apparently,  drug dealers are wising up to the outrageous spending the U.S. has been engaged in.  They are worried that with the Obama Administration spending like druken sailors, the ensuing inflation (and weakening of the dollar) will erode their profits. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/citydiary/5423734/Dealing-gold-in-the-Dominican-Republic.html

In a report entitled US Gold, Going, or Completely Gone? Rob Kirby, forensic analyst at Kirby Analytics, says almost 3,000 metric tonnes of gold compounds were exported from the US in 2008.”

Paul Mylchreest, of the Thunder Road Report, notes that a “very suspicious” 174 tonnes of gold compounds were exported to the Dominican Republican – “that well known hub of the world gold trade”.

“Maybe these gold compounds really are used in gold paint and that artist who normally puts colourful tarpaulins around islands and buildings has painted the whole of the Dominican Republic gold,” Mylchreest ponders. “I’ll go and check Google Earth.”

But, he reckons the transformation of the Dominican Republic into a key staging post in the cocaine trade between South America and the US, is a far more likely.

“Wouldn’t it be interesting if drug smugglers have seen the writing on the wall for the paper dollar and will now only accept payment in gold bullion?”

This is good news for Ron Paul.

D-Day Remembered

06.07.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

I’m sorry that I didn’t have a chance to post on D-Day yesterday.  On June 6th, 1944, a group of men braved the Atlantic seawall to ensure that freedom could prevail.  Many did not return.  For their bravery, their progeny were given freedom and an opportunity to dream of a more perfect world.  It is worth thinking about whether we have honored their sacrifice. 

I personally love history.  Many people think that history is some sort of albatross–that it doesn’t apply to their lives because it is the history of people a long time ago.  Untrue.  Dwight Eisenhower’s forgotten message meant for release if D-Day failed teaches us a powerful lesson about duty and accountability.

http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/quote-of-the-moment-eisenhower-duty-and-accountability/

Eisenhower wrote in his message to be released:

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air [force] and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.

His first draft said, “the troops have been withdrawn” as if some awesome third party god was making a decision.  But Eisenhower scribbled out those words, and pressed on.  He took personal responsibility for making an all but impossible decision and he took full personal responsibility for failure, even when there were other a hundred other scapegoats–the weather, the planners, the intelligence corps.  In our modern life, we do a lot of CYA.  D-Day, the men who lead it, and the men who died fighting it remind us an ideal worthy of consideration.

h/t Paul Fussell (The Story of War).

Dumb it down some more, please

06.04.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

As a person who knows what joint and several liability will do to the cost of insurance in this state, this is a great exchange among members of the Democratic assembly caucus:

Currently, there’s a lively debate on joint and several liability language, which some are having trouble comprehending.

“Can you put it in layman’s terms?” Speaker Mike Sheridan asked.

“I’m a non-lawyer and I’ve dumbed it down as far as I can,” said an LFB staffer.

“We need a book ‘Legislating for Dummies,’” Schneider cracked.

Rep. Rob Turner suggested the proposal isn’t “ready for prime time” if the lawmakers are having trouble understanding it.

Pocan said there would be a clearer explanation for lay people handed out to the caucus by Monday.

From Christian Schneider at www.wpri.org/blog/

May be making people who are only 20% at fault for the damages  liable for 100% of the plaintiff’s damages doesn’t make sense to anyone, and even the silver tongue orators of the trial lawyer lobbyists cannot change that fact.  It should be called the “deep pocket rule”–if there is an accident and someone who causes it has “deep pockets” then he/she pays.

I guess they closed the caucus to the press soon thereafter.

You know what else is killing business?  Mandatory Sick Leave!  Talk to Tim Sheehy about it on June 11th at our Social Hour.   Mo’s, 5:30-8:00.  Why not join us?

CYP–grow your own outreach organization

06.04.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Many people have mentioned that they like what we’re doing, except that it’s not convenient for them or not targeted for their particular demographics.  The easy response is that for CYP to be successful at what it’s doing, it has to be very targeted and very convenient for our target audience (although, granted Heather Treptow is making us all better people by making us go to swankier restaurants–if it were up to me, we’d probably have all the meetings at Leff’s Luckytown, but I digress).

But that doesn’t mean there is no hope!  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  If you have three people or so, you can start your own outreach organization.  CYP members have some experience in this, so we can help, and we are more than willing to do so.  The important part is the outreach–the welcoming attitude of people doing something worthwhile but also fun.  I personally think these things should be narrowly targeted.   If you’ve got that, then let us know, and we’ll help out with setting up the blog/email system and tell you some things we’ve learned. 

We don’t run this organization from the top down, and I don’t think we’re going to try to expand it from the top down, either.  I’m not too interested in telling people what to do; I will give you enough help and advice that you can figure it out yourself.

It’s a pretty simple system.  Once it’s up and running, the time commitment is pretty minimal.  Let me know:  [email protected]

And sign up for the tailgate already.  See “upcoming events”.

“I wasn’t driving. I was parking.”

06.01.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

One simply can not make this stuff up.

The embarrassment that is state Sen. Lena Taylor continues.  Apparently in addition to driving on the wrong side of the road and then using her position as a legislator and attorney to wriggle her way out of the properly issued citation back in January, she thought it necessary to solicit votes as people waited in line to cast a ballot during this falls election.  In addition, after walking away from the police, officers asked her for identification and she stated she didn’t have any.  The officers, who had seen her driving, properly asked her why she was driving without proper identification and she made the clever statement highlighted above, one only an attorney could make with a straight face (I have a law degree, I know the power of legal rationalization).  JSOnline has the full story.

When will the citizens of Milwaukee County, particularly the city of Milwaukee,  assert  an oversight role and hold elected officials accountable?  Legislators are to be held to a higher standard.  Sen. Taylor’s erratic behavior is an embarrassment for the people of her district.  Unfortunately, this is an all-to-common occurrence in the city.  Michael McGee terrorized his district as an alderman.  Now Sen. Taylor is beginning to establish a similarly disdainful attitude toward law enforcement.