After a few days enjoying a pointed defense of playing by the rules, it’s hard to describe our disappointment in Clear Channel outdoor advertising folding under pressure and taking down anti-voter fraud billboards that had the Left throwing fits.

It’s also unfortunate the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel didn’t bother to find out these signs were all over the state, and chose to regurgitate the slander that they were strategically placed in low-income and minority neighborhoods to intimidate local residents who probably weren’t planning to break any laws.

We’d need a whole book to properly explore whether those objecting to the billboards are in fact slandering the people they purport to defend, by backhandedly suggesting they’re likely to commit voter fraud. Better to concentrate on who’s behind the charge and its implications.

Last week in Milwaukee, voter fraud was explicitly labeled “a myth” by a billboard critic and spokesman for the Advancement Project. What’s that?

It’s another left-wing organization bankrolled by multi-billionaire George Soros, who’s demonstrated his disdain for elections by spending lots of money trying to end them for judgeships.

The Advancement Project is rather clumsy, last seen using its web site to celebrate a voter displaying the very photo ID they said she couldn’t obtain, thus being denied her right to vote. Umm…never mind.

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, another Soros-funded outfit, incited racial animosity over identical billboards in Ohio. They’re coming down too.

What’s frightening is that the unscrupulous Left is proving it can bluff and bully people into apologizing for the standards that make civil society possible. By choosing not to risk fighting back, Clear Channel, formerly in the free speech business, moves closer to having nothing worth taking a risk for.


The essential Senate seat

Even among those who have volunteered in political campaigns, presidential elections tend to distract people from everything else on the ballot. That can be costly.

If you doubt it, try imagining Tammy Baldwin in the United States Senate for six years, until halfway through what would be a second Romney term in the White House. A Baldwin victory over Tommy Thompson might make the difference between a Republican Senate and continuing sabotage by Harry Reid. The most radically-obsessed Leftist ever to hold office in Wisconsin would be able to do incalculable damage by blocking the reforms needed to pull the country back from the brink of economic disaster. It could also seal our fate by making confirmation of Supreme Court nominees unavailable to all but the looniest left-wing activist judges.

Tammy Baldwin’s presence in the Senate could guarantee that the whole country operates by the standards of the Dane County judiciary.

We simply can’t imagine that the tough Republican primary campaign has blinded anyone on the Right to what’s at stake in November; but then most people in Wisconsin probably can’t imagine Tammy Baldwin is as wildly radical as she is. Just last week it came to light that four sessions in a row, she cosponsored legislation allowing activists to decline to pay their federal income tax for the support of the U.S. military.

The legislation went nowhere, but she was happy to put her name on it until the current Congress. That doesn’t mean she saw the light. It means she was contemplating a statewide candidacy that depends on more than Dane County.

Nobody’s going to have a wide majority in the U.S. Senate. Tammy Baldwin could hold the single seat that literally disables a Romney presidency.

Tommy’s victory is essential.

Meet Big Brother

Con games come along every day. If you’re reasonably alert, you decline to be conned, but what if you had no choice?

This month, Arizona State University (ASU) announced creation of a system it claims can map sources of carbon dioxide emissions right down to individual buildings. ASU president Michael Crow called it “the next tool we need to help policymakers create effective greenhouse gas legislation.”

In other words, they’re devising mechanisms to make your fleecing by global warming con artists legally enforceable.

“For buildings,” ASU’s lead researcher told alarmist web site Climate Central, “we mine tax records, which gives us a surprising amount of information, including the square footage, the height, how old the building is, what fuel it uses for heating, and more. We don’t know how much glass is in each building…but we can use Department of Energy regional survey data on average pane thickness on retail buildings, say, of a certain size.”

Notice how there’s nothing about actually measuring anyone’s CO2 emissions?

That’s because they’re guessing. The information cited above, combined with vehicle traffic volumes, power generation, local air pollution reporting and satellite measurements of atmospheric CO2, gets mashed into a computer simulation that assigns emission levels to individual sources.

ASU says the simulation has already been performed on the city of Indianapolis and is underway for Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The real shock is realizing if people are held legally responsible for emissions on the basis of this video game—emissions which conspicuously aren’t causing the calamities other computer simulations predict—government inevitably will reveal itself to have no more interest in reducing emissions than in getting people to quit smoking:  There’s too much tax money at stake.

At least ASU has helped clarify what the global warming fracas is about

Big Birdbrains

Two weeks after Mitt Romney politely dissected Barack Obama’s economic malpractice in front of 70 million Americans, some people are still peddling the idea that the evening’s bombshell was an imaginary threat to the survival of an imaginary bird.

Meanwhile, Conservative reaction to Romney saying he’d end subsidies for Public Broadcasting proves it’s possible to be absolutely correct and still miss the point.

Whether PBS could survive without subsidies is utterly irrelevant. The real point of the Big Bird panic is that there is no conceivable excuse for the existence of a government-owned broadcasting network in the United States, and Liberals are afraid people might figure that out.

Democrats lurching to a “Save Big Bird” strategy unintentionally reveal how the administration regards the mentality of voters it seeks to attract, and also reveals things about the role of PBS.

Sold as a cultural outpost to taxpayers who liked being told they were above the pedestrian fare served up by commercial networks—PBS unsurprisingly proved to be less an outpost than a beachhead.

Once established, it instantly set about seducing the public to embrace Liberal government’s ambitions. For decades, PBS has helped propel us toward wrong decisions about what makes a healthy society and what we should look to government to do.

Would it be better if PBS were an engine of Conservative thought? No. Government constantly spends the people’s money to herd them, by touting its agenda. This gross abuse is inevitably the core purpose of any government-owned media. There is no way to prevent the abuse except by making sure government-owned media doesn’t exist.

Trying it our way

We were told this might be coming about a month ago, so it isn’t a big surprise and doesn’t require a great deal of comment, but it does warrant a celebration.

In the 22 months since Scott Walker took office, Wisconsin government has gone from a structural deficit exceeding $3 billion to a budget surplus of more than $342 million.

Without increasing general fund taxes. Repeat: Without increasing general fund taxes.

On Monday, Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch announced a contribution of more than $108 million to the rainy day fund, the largest ever. It also marks the first time the budget has allowed for contributions to the fund in consecutive years.

This cannot be repeated often enough: During the winter of 2011, Wisconsin was bombarded every day with hysterical cries that Walker’s policy changes would dump teachers onto the unemployment rolls, devastate public services and crush government workers’ rights.

In the comparatively brief time since those policy changes were put in place, many school districts have hired more teachers, public services have not deteriorated, and government workers enjoy the right to keep more of the money they earn.

The same people who told us these changes wouldn’t work still seek to undo them through litigation. Monday’s announcement is one more persuasive reason why those nuisance suits need to be swept away by appellate judges with higher standards than those in the kangaroo courts of Dane County.

Betting on the future

Once in a while, something really is a coincidence, but probably not this time.

Take recent reports in the Milwaukee Business Journal that note new developments at Journal Communications, the parent company of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The short version is that news consumers, advertisers and investors are increasingly turning their attention toward the broadcast side, while over on the newspaper side, they’ve been heading for the exits: The broadcasting and mobile media side is the future; the newspaper is the past.

Some of what’s happening is brutally obvious. Technology making media more portable every day is guaranteed an advantage over anything that has to be printed on a piece of paper at a fixed facility and distributed by truck. But content counts, and there’s a big difference between old media content and new media content.

Old media is dictated by conventional wisdom, almost totally predictable, and organized around fending off challenges to an entrenched point of view. It’s almost a metaphor for the fixed facility it depends upon.  New media is the opposite, inviting challenges and taking them on rather than trying to wave them off as if they’re beyond the pale.

The developments reported in the Business Journal turn up at just about the same time Journal Communications is preparing to launch RightWisconsin.com The new multimedia, multi-platform website, with News Radio 620 WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes as editor, will launch in the next several weeks. Free registration is available at rightwisconsin.com for those interested in joining a new community of conservative thought.

It’s no coincidence: People making long-term decisions at Journal Communications understand where their future is headed.

Breaking through

Because we never hesitate to criticize the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we feel an obligation to give credit when it’s due—in this case, to the Journal Sentinel’s parent company, Journal Communications.

Newsradio 620 WTMJ is launching a new multimedia, multi-platform website called Right Wisconsin.  With mid-morning host Charlie Sykes as editor, rightwisconsin.com will create a new community of Conservative thought.

As Charlie himself puts it:

“The bias and the arrogance of the mainstream media have created an opportunity for conservatives, an opportunity we need to take advantage of.”

“RightWisconsin will be a digital community, a rallying point, a one-stop source for conservatives on the front lines [but it] will be more than simply another conservative website; it will have a full-time staff and multiple platforms, including mobile apps as well as Facebook and Twitter applications. It will aggregate conservative commentary from around the state—all in one place—feature key stories that other media won’t cover; links to stories that I’ve talked about on the air, podcasts, exclusive videos…a daily email blast, alerts, updates. ‘Essential Reads,’ daily ‘darts and laurels,’ a ‘Wisconsin wire’ of stories from around the state, and something we will call ‘Right Channel.’”

“We can do all of this because we have the resources of a major media company behind us, including the state’s biggest radio station and top-rated television station. In other words, we have built-in platforms for promotion as well as the infrastructure to make RightWisconsin multi-media.”

Charlie tells us RightWisconsin won’t compete with other conservative groups but will “provide another outlet for them.”

“And it will drive the left and their allies nuts.”

A beta of the site is to be launched before Thanksgiving. The full site goes live in 2013.  Sign up now and be there when RightWisconsin.com launches.