Free Speech on a Plate

My new column is up at the Isthmus – it discusses why the state bans benign vanity license plate messages, and suggests ways the state can profit from mulleted-Americans: As P.J. O’Rourke once said, for some people, free speech is a curse. So if people want to put “GEEK” or “NOSEX” on their plates, why […]

Translating the Senate Budget

On Monday, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Russ said he was committed to retaining a tax on “big oil,” along with a dubious provision that prevents those oil companies from passing the tax on to drivers.  On Wednesday, the Senate unveiled their version of the budget, which completely eliminates the tax altogether. You may say to […]

Commence the Festival of Pork

When historians look back at the crafting of the 2009-11 biennial budget, one motion will go down as perhaps the most representative amendment adopted by the Joint Finance Committee.  At roughly 11:30 at night, the committee passed their omnibus transportation motion, which will one day go on the Mount Rushmore of bad legislation. The motion […]

Watch Them Fall

Last year, I wrote a research report explaining how the minimum markup law on gasoline forced consumers to pay too much at the pump.  A month ago, the law was declared unconstitutional by a federal court.  Now, we’re seeing gas prices fall, to the benefits of consumers. These gains may be short lived, however, as […]

The Curious Case of Jon Erpenbach

It goes without saying that people in America think their politicians lie.  In fact, it’s a concept ingrained in the very fabric of our culture.  Books, plays and songs have been written as encomiums to political dishonesty – it’s almost as central a concept to our government as Congress itself. Yet when politicians fib, it’s […]

Wisconsin’s Drunk Driving Penalty Statute

In my previous post about Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws, I referred to Wisconsin’s lenient statute with regard to DUI penalties. While the NCSL chart listed all drunk driving offenses in Wisconsin as civil violations, this isn’t entirely accurate. Just to be clear, here is the actual criminal penalty statute for drunk driving in Wisconsin: 346.65 […]

Is the Zenn a Good Idea?

Milwaukee recently decided to further its quest in becoming yet another municipality to allow electric cars on streets with speed limits at 35 mph or less. The first such vehicle that seems to be a candidate is the Canadian manufactured Zenn. This car is a very good idea. It will be able to travel up […]

Gouged by a Nut Roll

I\’m pretty sure I\’m the only one in our office building that eats the Pearson\’s Nut Rolls out of the vending machine in the basement. I can see where people would think they\’re gross, but I\’m a sucker for nougat. Anyway, yesterday I noticed the price of said nut rolls has jumped from 70 cents […]