Up All Night

  • Wisconsin’s Small Government Experiment

    Nobody in favor of small government has experienced it, though many of them have prospered despite pesky taxes. Are they really ready for what's coming?

  • You want tax cuts? Cough up those jobs

    It's time to stop pretending an apple is an orange. Political posturing and a broken tax code are at the heart of the latest Congressional squawk.

  • Obama

    Fixing the economy, 12 jobs at a time

    We didn’t learn anything new Monday. But Obama's appearance affords an opportunity to look at job creation, the bane of current global economic recovery efforts.

  • Remembering Jude on Mother’s Day

    It's my first Mother's Day without my mom. To her, I offer blessings, thanks and some overdue apologies.

  • A year and a day

    Thrills, chills and spills - the last year has been a little insane. Editor Jon Anne Willow regrets not planning a party for TCD's first anniversary, but hopes to do better next time.

  • (W)ringing out the old

    As 2009 winds down at long last, TCD's editor finds herself at a loss for words. Sort of.

  • No need for media-fueled, inter-generational Cola Wars

    The idea of a 3-way workplace cage match makes for interesting punditry, but at the ground level it doesn't hold much water.

  • The ordinary cruelty of children

    TCD's Editor takes a carpool shift and receives an unexpected glimpse into the harshness of playground politics - and the resiliency of kids.

  • The way of the Soul

    “Growing up” is too often a trick play, a series of potentially debilitating compromises of the soul. But it's never too late to mind your inner voice.

  • Tragic

    My mother recently died from smoking cigarettes, leaving me to grapple with the thorny issue of slow suicide by addiction.

  • Princess Peach, Sparrow and the new no-holds barred gender equality

    It’s spring break at my house and I’m trying to work more from home this week to maximize face time with the youngsters. It’s been kind of hit and run so far, but it’s still nice. Today I took a break in the afternoon to hang out in the family room with my 11 and 12-year old boys. As it was cold and gloomy, they were enjoying some rare daytime Wii play, which they chose to spend with a dubious game Michael had picked out as an Easter gift for the younger. It’s called Facebreaker K.O. Party, selected over my protest of its T rating. “Comic Mischief and Violence?” scoffed Michael. “Really, how could it be worse than Super Smash Brothers Brawl?” Sparrow The latter is a game that features major characters from all the Nintendo games throughout time. It’s a wacky romp through amusement park-type scenes where the object of the game is to knock other cartoon characters off the screen using such amazing powers as being sucked in by Yoshi’s super-long tongue and pooped out as an egg. I acquiesced to Facebreaker under the pressures of a tight shopping schedule and a mounting household campaign against my perceived over-protection of the kids. I came bearing popcorn and juice and took a seat on the sofa. I was just in time – the boys were setting up for a fresh match of Punch-o-matic, where their characters were chosen randomly for them. Harry’s was a thick man called Steve, a video game freak with pecs (and belly) the size of Rhode Island. Jesse, the one more fearful of being labeled “soft” in any way, drew Sparrow, a very buff but extremely feminine (and sexy) pugilist with wispy blonde hair and a surprisingly long reach. “No fair!” exclaimed Harry. “You always get Sparrow!” Super Smash Brothers Brawl “It’s not on purpose,” retorted Jesse, “and besides, you’re pretty good. You might still be able to beat me.” This was a little unexpected, so I sat up straighter and gave the screen my full attention. The boys were ruthless. Harry threw Steve’s considerable weight behind every punch, while Jesse had Sparrow hang back until Steve was winded. Then she came in for the kill, jabbing fast and hard. Though it made me a little sick to my stomach to see the glaze of bloodlust in the boys’ eyes, I have to admit I was rooting for Sparrow just a little. After all, Steve was a huge dumb guy and Sparrow was like a cross between Lara Croft and Cat Woman. Who can resist that? In the end, though, Harry’s superior skill won out. With a two-punch move, Steve lofted Sparrow across the ring. She hit the mat hard and as soon as she staggered to her feet Steve finished her off, messing up her face for good measure. The boys were strangely gleeful, delighting in Sparrow’s purple bruises and split lip, shown in close-up as Sparrow panted, head down but eyes looking up […]

  • Rethinking journalism

    let’s get small

    It’s been another terrible week for newspapers. Four Michigan cities will soon be without dailies; Reuters reported yesterday that Conley Media is cutting the Monday editions of the Waukesha Freeman and the West Bend Daily News (what will they call it now?); Cox Publications is cutting about 245 jobs at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Hearst Corp. is relieving about 200 employees of their positions at the Houston Chronicle; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is likely to see another round of layoffs very soon as well. These cuts represent staff reductions of 10 to 30-percent at their respective institutions, outpacing even the grim overall decline in American jobs exponentially. This is just one week, not even worse than last week, or the week before. We all get it. The newspaper iceberg is melting faster than polar bear habitat. Many journalists I talk to now have shifted their thinking from wondering when flood will subside to setting up their music stands on deck. This latter carries a certain air of tragic nobility, but it’s really a crying shame. Even iconic Madison newsman and WPRI think-tanker Marc Eisen seems unable to move beyond the mathematics of hopelessness. And that, if you have followed his illustrious and dedicated career, is not a good sign. Think about it: if the very people who hold our best hope for preserving journalism have given up, then what chance do we have? It’s time to think small In the now-notorious TIME Magazine article from February 5, 2009, former managing editor Walter Isaacson proposes that a micro-pay system for accessing online news content could help to rebuild plummeting newspaper revenue and decrease journalism’s reliance on the will and whims of advertisers. Regrettably, the article has been widely dismissed by many in the industry who are dead certain that readers will not pay for content. I beg to differ. We willingly pay for premium television, for cell phone service, for high-speed Internet, for satellite radio, for GPS service. We buy music on the web. We pay monthly subscription fees for web-based services and to download books to our Kindles. There was great resistance to all of these things at first, but in the end, appetite overtook the reluctance to pony up. I don’t understand why it would be different for news, which has never been consumed in such quantities as it is today. But despite how obvious it seems to me (and other, far more qualified minds), this thinking is widely dismissed by the dwindling journalism community itself as over-simplistic. “People will still find a way to steal it” is one argument, as is “Someone will always be willing to provide it for free.” So what? What about the thousands of pirate music sites you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting? As far as I can tell, the fact that people will continue to steal music didn’t keep iTunes from selling $3.4 billion worth of songs, 99-cents at a time, in 2008. That’s an $840 million increase over 2007, despite the […]