Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: The Blog

Still Here

The great leftist tech oligarchy hasn’t got to me yet. I just have some personal stuff going on. I’ll be back to regular programming at the end of the week.

Back With an Updated Format and New Features

Welcome back! As you may have noticed, Jed gave the ol’ girl a makeover. There are also some new features like a contact form, updated social media tabs, and a more consistent look and feel on mobile platforms. There are also some new backend features that will allow us to make posts with more features (once I figure out how to work it). The content will still be useless drivel, but at least it will look sharp!

Welcome to Boots & Sabers 3.0

Down for Maintenance

We’re going to take the blog offline for a while to do some much-needed maintenance. It has been having trouble with mobile devices and a bit behind on updates. If things go well, it should take a few hours. If things don’t go well, we’ll see you in the new year. We will try to migrate all of the old posts and comments, but we’ll see.

See you soon and Merry Christmas!

Hallelujah and Pass the Tylenol

Some of you may have noticed that the blog has been down for a couple of days. We had a server move that didn’t go as smoothly as expected. Now I have all of this pent up commentary but no time to write at the moment… more to come :)

2019 Predictions

RightWisconsin has asked for 2020 predictions. As I start to think about them, I thought it would be worth looking back at this year’s predictions and how they turned out:

Despite the yowls of the Communist Caucus in the House of Representatives, the House will NOT impeach President Donald Trump. It will finally dawn on the Democratic leadership that they are better off using their fights with Trump to agitate their base for the 2020 election instead of energizing his base by turning him into a martyr.

Well, missed that one. I overestimated the intellectual capacity of the Democratic leadership. It is a good reminder of just how long the Democrats have been talking about impeachment even through their fig leaf of a reason for doing so didn’t occur until late July.

To the delight of Republicans and the groans of Democrats, Governor Tony Evers will prove to be as ineffective as governor as he was as DPI Superintendent.

Correct!

The Dallas Cowboys will not lose the Super Bowl

Correct!

West Bend will NOT pass a school referendum on the April ballot (perhaps wishful thinking or misplaced faith in the electorate).

Correct!

Louis CK and Kevin Spacey participate in a disgraced celebrity baby oil wrestling match to raise money for their legal defense funds. It becomes a hit and runs for 19 seasons.

Not yet correct!

With the economic growth in China beginning to slow, the government begins to tighten the garrote on its wealthy elite -prompting an exodus of Chinese wealth to the West.

Correct!

Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Reince Priebus share a well-deserved beer. Well, not literally share… they will probably each have their own. And Reince will probably have a Lemon Drop Martini. You get the point.

Probably correct!

The stock market will recover in the first two quarters, but slip into bear territory by the end of 2019.

Thankfully, WRONG!

(for the easy win) Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes will say something stupid and racist. Wisconsin media outlets will yawn.

Correct!

State Senator “Red” Fred Risser will fall asleep during the budget debate.

Probably correct!

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has no impact whatsoever on any important issue as she returns to her seat on the back bench for the next five years.

Correct!

The state will not have a budget until after July 1st.

Correct!

Comments

Just a heads up… it looks like all comments are going into moderation. I’ll push them through as I have time. New posts are below.

Week In Review

I’ll be on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Week In Review this morning at 8:00 AM to discuss the issues of the week with One Wisconsin Now’s Analiese Eicher. Below are the topics we plan to cover, but feel free to call in and throw us a curve ball.

  • US House Speaker Paul Ryan won’t seek re-election
  • Walker signed bills on welfare coverage
  • President Trump on Syria
  • Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing
  • Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress
  • FBI Raid on President Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen

Week in Review 12/23/16

I’ll be n Wisconsin Public Radio’s Week in Review this morning at 0800 with Joy Cardin. Lon Newman, a former chairman of the Portage County Democratic Party, will hold down the conversation from the liberal perspective. On the docket is Walker’s hints at welfare reform, UW’s course about “The Problem with Whiteness,” splitting up the DNR, and the latest on the presidential transition.

Tune in!

 

Week in Review

I’ll be on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Week in Review tomorrow with host Joy Cardin. I will be discussing the issues with Eugene Kane.

Let’s see… on the docket we have court rulings about Right to Work and Voter ID, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and a lot more. We’ll even talk about the Democratic debate that I’m forcing myself to watch this evening (I use the word “watch” loosely).

Tune in at 0800!

Missed It By That Much

I missed an anniversary. On February 7th, 2006, my first column ran in the West Bend Daily News. That’s 10 years of columns – 500+ for a total of over 350,000 words. The blog predated the column by about three years. I had been blogging for a while and gaining some notoriety. At that point, blogs were still a relatively new medium and newspapers were trying to figure out how to keep relevant in the internet age. Conley management made the decision to reach out and include some prominent local bloggers, like James Wigderson and me, on their opinion pages.

The article introducing me to the pages of the Daily News said:

The Daily News Opinion page just got a little more locally opinionated on Tuesdays.

A new column by Internet blogger Owen B. Robinson of West Bend is beginning today.

For Robinson, opinion writing is an extension of his nature.

“I care about issues. I have a philosophy and approach to the world that I would like to see spread.

“Why do people write opinion columns? Because they’re opinionated and they think they’re right about everything.”

Not much has changed. And to prove that not much has changed, below is my first column. It was advocating for ending the county sales tax, which continues to live on. And Herb Tennies is retiring this year.

In 1998, Washington County was in a bit of a pickle.  Several large capital improvement projects, like an expansion of the University of Wisconsin Washington County, the courthouse addition, and new Highway Department facilities, were looming and there wasn’t going to be enough tax revenue to pay for them.  In the face of a crisis, the County Board did what governments always do – they raised taxes.

In this case, the new tax came in the form of a half penny county sales tax.  They also designated part of the sales tax to be used for debt service, but that didn’t kick in until three years ago.  Since 1999, the sales tax has removed over $49,400,000 from the pockets of people who choose to spend money in Washington County.  Since the new sales tax was primarily for one time expenses, the County Board put in a provision that says that the County Board can vote to stop collecting the tax in 2006 – this year.  If no vote is taken to stop the tax, then the tax will continue indefinitely.

In September of last year, the County Board passed an advisory resolution to continue the tax by a vote of 21-6.  The advisory resolution was necessary to gauge the board’s intentions on the tax so that county officials could properly budget.  Obviously, the board’s intention is to continue the tax.

A week from today, on February 14th, the County Board will vote on how to allocate this soon-to-be-perpetual tax.  The current plan is to spend 40%-50% of the revenue on debt relief and property tax relief, and the remainder on new capital spending.  The ratio will shift in later years and more of the revenue will be spent on property tax relief.

Given that the original reason for the tax has long since passed, why does the board want to continue it, you ask?  I’m glad you asked.

Some time ago, I called my county supervisor, Herb Tennies, and asked him the same thing.  He was very friendly and took a great deal of time to speak with me.  It’s a shame that he’s completely wrong.  He gave three basic arguments.

First, he said that approximately 25% of sales tax revenue comes from people outside of the county.  So, he argued, people from outside of the county are subsidizing Washington County, which is a good thing.

While this may be true, it is also true that 75% of the tax is still paid by the people of Washington County.  Furthermore, isn’t it a tad inappropriate to force people from outside the county to pay for our county government?  After all, the people of Washington County are the ones that use the county services, so we should pay for them if we want them.

Second, Mr. Tennies said that the sales tax is used to prevent property taxes from increasing.  He said that he will only vote to continue the sales tax if 50% of it is used for property tax relief starting in 2009.

It was silly to use one tax to offset another tax.  After all, the tax burden is the same.  It just comes from a different pocket.  It must also be noted that property taxes are tax deductible for federal taxes.  The sales tax is not.

Beyond that truth, we have too often been told that one tax will be used to reduce another tax and then seen both taxes go up.  The resolution says that 50% of the sales tax is to be used to reduce property taxes in 2009, but that’s three years away.  It only takes one vote by the board to change that.  Frankly, I will be shocked if 50% of the sales tax will be used for property tax relief in 2009.

Herb’s third reason for wanting to continue the tax was that the county needs the money.  He listed off a few projects for which they “need” the money.  It didn’t seem to occur to him that the county could “just say no” to some of the spending.  This mind set of his is far too typical in government and is why our taxes are so high.

Ifwe continue to leave this revenue stream in front of politicians, they will continue to find excuses to spend it.  This reminds us of two cardinal rules of government:

1) Any money left in control of government will be spent.

2) Any tax created will never be removed, even if the original justification for the tax is gone.

The reason that the County Board gave the taxpayers for levying a sales tax has long since expired.  This County Board should honor its promise to the taxpayers and vote to kill the sales tax.

Thanks for reading, folks.

Apple’s News App

Heh.

Apple’s forthcoming news app has been criticised over claims the company is hoodwinking bloggers into accepting its terms and conditions.

An unsolicited email from Apple inviting publishers to join the service presumes acceptance of the terms, unless they actively opt out.

It requires them to cover Apple if legal issues arise, among other things.

[…]

Other terms in the email allow Apple to place adverts next to publishers’ publicly available content without paying them.

So even though I didn’t ask them to redistribute my content, they will do so, hold me liable for any lawsuits, and not compensate me despite their being compensated for my content?

No thanks.

I agree with this guy.

And, in a blogpost entitled I Do Not Agree To Your Terms, he took issue with the requirement to opt out.

He wrote: “Let me get this straight, Apple: you send me an email outlining the terms under which you will redistribute my content, and you will just assume that I agree to your terms unless I opt out?

“You’re going to consider me bound to terms you just declared to me in an email as long as I don’t respond? That’s completely crazy. You don’t even know if I received the email!”

 

12th Birthday

Thanks to my wife for reminding me… B&S is 12 years old today. We’re almost to the bratty teen years.

B&S In the News

Hey, I know those guys.

The latest release this week of tens of thousands of documents gathered during the first John Doe investigation demonstrated employees in then-County Executive Scott Walker’s office doing mostly routine business. And one thing that seemed routine was Walker emailing thoughts on key policy matters to his friends in conservative media.

For example, in February 2007, Walker sent unsolicited emails in rapid succession to radio hosts Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling and Jay Weber and conservative blogger Owen Robinson giving them a heads up about a Milwaukee County Board and City Council press conference about the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee rail line.

It should go without saying, but what Walker did was not illegal. It wasn’t even uncommon. People who share political beliefs and values swap stories all the time. In fact, I seem to remember something in the constitution about freedom of association, but I could be wrong.

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