On dueling tax cuts

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin) was the first Republican to come out against the House of Representatives-approved tax cut bill last week.

Johnson’s reasoning was that the tax bill reduces taxes for subchapter-C corporations (including publicly traded corporations, which comprise all of 0.1 percent of U.S. businesses) but not for any other business, including subchapter-S corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships or sole proprietors.

Three Republican economists give their take on tax cuts:

Last week was a surprisingly good one for Republicans on their signature tax bill. First, they smartly added the repeal of the ObamaCare individual mandate tax, a move that cuts taxes for lower income Americans and reduces the deficit to make room for even more tax cuts. It doesn’t get better than that. Then they passed the bill out of the House by a bigger margin than most of the vote counters expected. Republicans rightly are rallying together to get this done by Christmas.

Let us be clear, this is not a great bill. It sure could be improved, as we describe below. But it is a good bill, and it will create a more prosperous economy that we believe will benefit all income groups. We have advised Donald Trump that 3 percent growth can be expanded to 3.5 percent to 4 percent, due to more businesses relocating back in America, more capital investment as the return of investment rises, and more higher paying jobs as the economy grows.

By the way, 3.5 percent growth would feel like an adrenaline rush after the sluggish 1.6 percent growth in President Obama’s final year in office. ‎This also translates into at least $2 trillion more revenue to the federal government over the next decade and a declining national debt burden as a share of gross domestic product.

We hope Republicans stick with the repeal of the ObamaCare tax cut because this would deliver an enormous double policy victory. With the individual mandate gone, expect to see a mass rush for the exits as Americans freely choose new insurance plans that are affordable and tailored to the specific needs of their families.

We are especially pleased that the 20 percent corporate rate, the heart and soul of the bill, remains intact. Talk of raising the rate to 22 percent would only water down the growth and jobs impact. We also believe the immediate business expensing will encourage businesses to start spending more of the cash they are sitting on. Thank God the un-American death tax is repealed. A lifetime of taxes is enough.

Repeal of the state income tax deduction will force states and cities to start spending more judiciously and help weed out waste in city hall and state capitals. New York and Connecticut spend almost twice per person on state and local government what New Hampshire spends, and yet services are better in the “live free or die” state. No longer will Uncle Sam underwrite one-third of municipal services. We hope this leads to more privatization of services and tax cuts all over the nation.

The tax bill can and should be improved in the Senate with these fixes. The bill should cut the highest income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent as in the original Trump plan. Everyone should get a tax rate reduction, and the most harmful rate is the highest one. The tax bill should add more relief for small business. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is right. Small businesses should see their rates cut closer to 25 percent, not 35 percent. They create half the jobs. To pay for this tax cut, close more corporate loopholes and cap more deductions.

There should be no backdoor capital gains tax hike. There are reports that the Republican plan would raise capital gains taxes on some long held stock. This is a bad idea. The rate should be cut, not raised on investment capital put at risk. Lawmakers should use the JFK and Reagan models of the 1960s and 1980s as the historical evidence for even bolder tax cuts. We believe that with modest revisions in the Senate, this could be the biggest pro-growth reform since the Reagan years, and it’s about time.

The end of the state and local tax deduction would be opposed in Wisconsin except that only one-third itemize deductions on their federal taxes. The House bill keeps the property tax deduction up to $10,000. A property tax bill beyond $10,000 would require, on average, a house valued beyond $500,000, which, perhaps ironically, would probably affect supposedly rich Republican voters the most.

The issue, of course, is that if you live in a low-tax state, your federal taxes are higher than they would be without the state and local tax deduction. This might be one way to finally enforce reducing state and local taxes, which remain too high.

Johnson is correct that tax breaks for business need to be broader than just C-corporations. Whatever a business spends its after-tax profits on — pay for employees, dividends for owners, or back into the business — is preferable than paying taxes, which as you know are paid by business customers, not the business.



Presty the DJ for Nov. 21

The number one British single today in 1954:

Today in 1955, RCA Records purchased the recording contract of Elvis Presley from Sam Phillips for an unheard-of $35,000.

The number one single today in 1960 holds the record for the shortest number one of all time:

The number one British single today in 1970 hit number one after the singer’s death earlier in the year:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Nov. 21”

Slick Willie reconsidered

Ross Douthat:

In the longstanding liberal narrative about Bill Clinton and his scandals, the one pushed by Clinton courtiers and ratified in media coverage of his post-presidency, our 42nd president was only guilty of being a horndog, his affairs were nobody’s business but his family’s, and oral sex with Monica Lewinsky was a small thing that should never have put his presidency in peril.

That narrative could not survive the current wave of outrage over male sexual misconduct.

So now a new one may be forming for the age of Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump. In this story, Kenneth Starr and the Republicans are still dismissed as partisan witch hunters. But liberals might be willing to concede that the Lewinsky affair was a pretty big deal morally, a clear abuse of sexual power, for which Clinton probably should have been pressured to resign.

This new narrative lines up with what’s often been my own assessment of the Clinton scandals. I have never been a Clinton hater; indeed, I’ve always been a little mystified by the scale of Republican dislike for the most centrist of recent Democratic leaders. So I’ve generally held what I’ve considered a sensible middle-ground position on his sins — that he should have stepped down when the Lewinsky affair came to light, but that the Republican effort to impeach him was a hopeless attempt to legislate against dishonor.

But a moment of reassessment is a good time to reassess things for yourself, so I spent this week reading about the lost world of the 1990s. I skimmed the Starr Report. I leafed through books by George Stephanopoulos and Joe Klein and Michael Isikoff. I dug into Troopergate and Whitewater and other first-term scandals. I reacquainted myself with Gennifer Flowers and Webb Hubbell, James Riady and Marc Rich.

After doing all this reading, I’m not sure my reasonable middle ground is actually reasonable. It may be that the conservatives of the 1990s were simply right about Clinton, that once he failed to resign he really deserved to be impeached.

Yes, the Republicans were too partisan, the Starr Report was too prurient and Clinton’s haters generated various absurd conspiracy theories.
But the Clinton operation was also extraordinarily sordid, in ways that should be thrown into particular relief by the absence of similar scandals in the Obama administration, which had perfervid enemies and circling investigators as well.

The sexual misconduct was the heart of things, but everything connected to Clinton’s priapism was bad: the use of the perks of office to procure women, willing and unwilling; the frequent use of that same power to buy silence and bully victims; and yes, the brazen public lies and perjury.

Something like Troopergate, for instance, in which Arkansas state troopers claimed to have served as Clinton’s panderers and been offered jobs to buy their silence, is often recalled as just a right-wing hit job. But if you read The Los Angeles Times’s reporting on the allegations (which included phone records confirming the troopers’ account of a mistress Clinton was seeing during his presidential transition) and Stephanopoulos’s portrayal of Clinton’s behavior in the White House when the story broke, the story seems like it was probably mostly true.

I have less confidence about what was real in the miasma of Whitewater. But with Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, we know what happened: A president being sued for sexual harassment tried to buy off a mistress-turned-potential-witness with White House favors, and then committed perjury serious enough to merit disbarment. Which also brought forward a compelling allegation from Juanita Broaddrick that the president had raped her.

The longer I spent with these old stories, the more I came back to a question: If exploiting a willing intern is a serious enough abuse of power to warrant resignation, why is obstructing justice in a sexual harassment case not serious enough to warrant impeachment? Especially when the behavior is part of a longstanding pattern that also may extend to rape? Would any feminist today hesitate to take a similar opportunity to remove a predatory studio head or C.E.O.?

There is a common liberal argument that our present polarization is the result of constant partisan escalations on the right — the rise of Newt Gingrich, the steady Hannitization of right-wing media.

Some of this is true. But returning to the impeachment imbroglio made me think that in that case the most important escalators were the Democrats. They had an opportunity, with Al Gore waiting in the wings, to show a predator the door and establish some moral common ground for a polarizing country.

And what they did instead — turning their party into an accessory to Clinton’s appetites, shamelessly abandoning feminist principle, smearing victims and blithely ignoring his most credible accuser, all because Republicans funded the investigations and they’re prudes and it’s all just Sexual McCarthyism — feels in the cold clarity of hindsight like a great act of partisan deformation.

For which, it’s safe to say, we have all been amply punished since.

I said in print 20 years ago that if a man was willing to abrogate his vows to his wife before God and before the community, he couldn’t be trusted in anything else. That was certainly the case with Bill Clinton. Hillary wasn’t a victim, she was a willing coconspirator to get more power for herself. In this one case it’s too bad that adultery isn’t a criminal offense.


Presty the DJ for Nov. 20

The number one British single today in 1955 …

… on the day Bo Diddley made his first appearance on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show. Diddley’s first appearance was his last because, instead of playing “Sixteen Tons”  …

… Diddley played “Bo Diddley”:

The number one single today in 1965 could be said to be music to, or in, your ears:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Nov. 20”

Presty the DJ for Nov. 19

The Supremes became the first all-girl group with a British number-one single today in 1964:

The Supremes had our number one single two years later:

The number one album today in 1994 was Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged in New York” …

… on the same day that David Crosby had a liver transplant to replace the original that was ruined by hepatitis C and considerable drug and alcohol use:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Nov. 19”

Fight on for her fame

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay:

Regular readers of this sports column—there have to be at least two or three of you, besides my mother, though I’m not so sure about her these days, frankly—must have been wondering when I was going to finally weigh in on America’s most important sports story:

The undefeated Wisconsin Badgers football team.

I believe the moment has arrived. The Badgers are 10-0 for the first time in school history, ranked No. 5 in the polls, and this Saturday in Madison, Wis.—a city that’s basically heaven, with better bratwurst and beer—they host those unctuous weasels from the east:

The Michigan Wolverines.

You know how I feel about folks from the University of Michigan. Well, you would know how I feel, if folks from the University of Michigan would ever stop talking about the University of Michigan. (Every third person at the Journal went to Michigan.)

I’ll get back to those Michigan weasels in a second. First, I want to address the issue of Badger disrespect.

A few weeks ago, I was freaking out, scratching my claws, screaming from the windows that the high priests and priestesses of college football were conspiring to deny Wisconsin from one of the four playoff spots. My Badgers aren’t in the cozy smoke-filled room of college football elitists—or historic darlings of the college football media, which is totally in the tank for the SEC; those clowns would vote a hamster cage into the top 10 if it was from the SEC.

It was like the Badgers were the Rodney Dangerfield of college football. We stayed undefeated, and somehow went backward. (Fun fact: Dangerfield starred in “Back to School,” which was filmed on campus at Wisconsin.)
(I know there may be some journalism ethicists out there who will object to the use of “we” and “us” to describe the Badgers here, seeing as I’m not actually a member of the football team. You’re right: it’s gross. Please mail a formal complaint to the Columbia School of Journalism. I hear it’s almost as prestigious a school as Michigan.)

I was mad a few weeks ago about the Badgers, but I feel much better now. Last weekend, Georgia and Notre Dame got thumped and did everyone a favor. Wisconsin leapt to No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings, and considering No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Miami have to play each other, they’re in a very good position to make the playoffs—if they stay unbeaten and win the dopey Big Ten conference title game.

Besides, I talked to Wisconsin’s football Godfather, Barry Alvarez, now the Badger athletic director, who told me to calm down.

“I wouldn’t worry or get too upset right now,” Alvarez told me. “There are still games left. A lot’s going to happen.”

The fact is, Alvarez reminded, it would be very hard for the committee to deny an undefeated team—with a conference championship—from a Power Five conference.

Basically, it would be Bucky anarchy. There’s no need to go crazy right now.

“People get overreactive,” Alvarez said.

Candidly, some of the grumbling about Wisconsin is fair. The Badgers are awesome, but do have a bit of a padded resume. We have played some good competition, and also steamrolled a few company softball teams. I think one school we played started a bunch of patio chairs in the defensive backfield. One may have had a llama at quarterback.

But you play who you play. Last Saturday, the Badgers handled an Iowa team that had rampaged all over Ohio State the week before.

And now Mr. Khakipants comes to town.

I cannot overstate how much I am looking forward to this. Last year, Wisconsin and Michigan were undefeated when they met, and the Badgers lost a tough one. It was painful. I couldn’t show up to work for six weeks.
It’s a little bit of a letdown that Michigan isn’t a juggernaut like we are. The Wolverines have lost two games. Two! That’s basically 20 games. They’re not even the best college football team in Michigan.

People expect more out of Mr. Khakipants, who gets paid $800 million a season, gets six private jets and may have bought that DaVinci painting the other night.

Fine. The Badgers—who are coached by Paul Chryst, a Madison native who played Badger football and I’ve heard is paid in State Street Brats gift certificates—will just have to beat an underperforming Wolverine team which is likely looking forward to Ohio State next weekend.

No biggie.
The ESPN people are going to be on campus to do their “College Game Day” party for a bunch of cord-cutters, which is fine. If someone can hold up a sign that says WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTS: HARBAUGH’S KHAKIS ARE LULULEMON, I’d be grateful.

Meanwhile, the game is scheduled to begin on Fox at noon Eastern, or 11 a.m. Madison time, which is cruel, since 11 a.m. on a Saturday in Madison is basically still Friday night.

Who plays football at 11 a.m.? This isn’t T-ball!

It doesn’t matter. We can play at 4 p.m. or 4 a.m. Camp Randall will still rattle. Likewise, you can rank us fifth, or 15th, or fifty-first. You can predict we’ll be in the playoff, the Boca Raton Bowl, or the AL East.

It’s cool. The haters are an honor.

“We just have to take care of business,” Alvarez said. “Control what we can control.”

We’re 10-0. Jump on the Bucky bandwagon. We may not be America’s best college football team, but we’re definitely the most fun.

Message of the next nine days

James Wigderson:

We’re going to start this morning by wishing all of the deer hunters headed into the woods this weekend a safe and successful hunt. On Facebook, Nathan Schacht points out that Wisconsin’s 600,000 deer hunters would be the eighth largest army in the world, between South Korea’s army and Iran’s army.

That’s a lot of firepower assembled to deal with the hooved-rodent menace, but still enough of the White-tail Cong survive to be a hazard on Wisconsin’s roads. According to State Farm Insurance … Wisconsin is a high-risk state for deer-vehicle collisions: 1 in 77 vehicles tagged a deer the hard way in 2016.

We saw a stupid bumper sticker the other day: “Animals Are My Friends. I Don’t Eat My Friends.” Oh yeah? Go hug your Uncle Grizzly and he’ll invite you to dinner. And once you’re out of college most friends don’t cause your car to need major body work.

So ladies and gentlemen in your blaze orange uniforms: shoot a Buck to save a Buick, and make venison chili to celebrate. And if you have too much venison, RightWisconsin will gladly take some off your hands.

So will the Presteblogger.


The public–private divide

With the last fall state tournament taking place in Wisconsin, Ally Jansen writes:

High school sports play a significant role in the lives of many young individuals. Once tournament time rolls around for the sport that is currently in season, everything else fades in importance and the focus locks in on winning the next game.

Battling for the chance to play once more.

Fighting to remain as long as possible.

Every team prays that they have what it takes to make it to the final destination: the state tournament championship game. Any athlete who has a love for the game carries the dream to bring home a gold ball for their school and community.

Each year, a select number of teams will make it to the Wisconsin state tournament; and each year, these teams contain a mix of both public and private schools. The difference between the athletic teams of these two types of schools is the way the teams are created. Public schools take their pick of players from the students available at their school; smaller schools take every student they can get- sometimes it is a miracle just to have enough kids for a team. Bigger schools with more students have the chance to hold tryouts, picking the talent they want and cutting what they don’t.

But private schools are completely different. These are schools that cost almost as much as college tuition to attend, and their athletes are not just students from the area. These athletes are recruited from around the country to attend these specific schools at a reduced cost, or even for free. These schools eliminated the idea of local talent, which gives them a leg-up on their public counterparts.

The state tournament is divided into divisions; the number of divisions depends on the sport involved. Schools are divided based on their enrollment numbers, with higher divisions correlating with smaller schools. A private school may be as tiny as the smallest public school, but that does not make the competition fair. The public school has a small number of students, and an even smaller number of athletes to choose from. The chances of having multiple gifted athletes are minute; whereas the private school hand-picks student-athletes from around the country, which significantly increases their chances of having multiple gifted athletes.

Anybody should be able to see how pitting these two types of schools against each other, based only on enrollment numbers, is unfair.

Each year, in almost every sport, the state tournament will see a public school play a private school.

In many cases, the public school is not victorious.

I once saw a small school from my area lose a football state championship when the other team’s kicker made a field goal. Fair enough, right? That is, only until you consider the fact that the kicker was from Texas, and this was a Wisconsin state championship game.

Something needs to change. In the past, these two types of schools did have separate tournaments at the season’s close, and a fairer playing field was imminent. The decision to combine them was a mistake that needs to be reversed.

Sure, sports are about more than just winning. But when did high school sports become important enough to move these young kids away from their family and hometowns? If they are truly as gifted as recruiters from private schools think, I am a firm believer that they will receive recognition and success, no matter the school they play for or the state they are in.

Let’s separate private and public schools into two tournaments again. Let’s even the playing field. I am a firm supporter of “Public Power,” as the kids are calling it these days.

With three divisions of football remaining, here is the complete list of state team champions over the past year (with private schools listed in italics):
Boys swimming: Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial, Monona Grove.
Team wrestling: Kaukauna, Ellsworth, Stratford.
Girls hockey: Schofield D.C. Everest.
Boys hockey: Hudson.
Girls basketball: Appleton North, Beaver Dam, Madison Edgewood (over Greendale Martin Luther), Howards Grove (over La Crosse Aquinas), Loyal.
Boys basketball: Stevens Point, La Crosse Central, Appleton Xavier, Milwaukee Destiny (a Milwaukee Public Schools charter school), Barneveld. (Marshfield Columbus Catholic and Manitowoc Roncalli also played at state.)
Boys golf: Hartland Arrowhead (over Milwaukee Marquette), Madison Edgewood, Fond du Lac Springs.
Boys tennis: Milwaukee Marquette, Racine Prairie (over Madison Edgewood).
Girls soccer: Brookfield Central, Whitefish Bay, Waukesha Catholic Memorial, Brookfield Academy.
Girls track and field: Milwaukee King, Wittenberg–Birnamwood, Algoma, Chippewa Falls.
Boys track and field: Kimberly, Appleton Xavier, Coleman, Madison La Follette.
Spring baseball: Kimberly, West Salem, La Crosse Aquinas and Athens.
Softball: Chippewa Falls McDonell Central, Juda/Albany (over Stevens Point Pacelli), Laconia, Rice Lake, Kaukauna.
Summer baseball: West Bend West over Milwaukee Marquette.
Boys cross country: Middleton, Valders, Durand.
Girls cross country: Sun Prairie, Freedom, Dodgeland.
Girls swimming: Middleton and Madison Edgewood.
Girls golf: Hartland Arrowhead, La Crosse Aquinas.
Girls tennis: Mequon Homestead and Milwaukee University School. (Three of the four teams in Division 2 were private schools.)
Boys volleyball: Milwaukee Marquette.
Girls volleyball: Burlington, Lakeside Lutheran, Lake Country Lutheran (over Eau Claire Regis), Clayton (over Oshkosh Lourdes).
Boys soccer: Milwaukee Marquette, Whitefish Bay, Mount Horeb and Racine Prairie.
Football: Bangor over Black Hawk in Division 7, Fond du Lac Springs over Iola–Scandinavia in Division 6, Amherst over Lake Country Lutheran in Division 5, Lodi over St. Croix Central in Division 4. (No private schools are playing today.)

Given that around 15 percent of the schools in Wisconsin are private schools, the argument could be made that private schools are overrepresented at state. The issue is particularly noticeable in girls volleyball. One Division 1 team, two Division 2 teams, two Division 3 teams and two Division 4 teams, out of a total of 20 state teams, were private schools this year. In 2014, three of the four state girls volleyball champions were private schools.

You may notice a number of repeat schools italicized in the previous list — Milwaukee Marquette, Waukesha Catholic Memorial, La Crosse Aquinas, Madison Edgewood and Appleton Xavier, to name five. Fond du Lac Springs is a perennial in football. Burlington Catholic Central has been well represented at state boys tournaments.

You may also notice a number of repeat schools not italicized in that list, chiefly Hartland Arrowhead. Cuba City has been dominant in girls and boys basketball for decades. Kimberly plays today for its fifth consecutive Division 1 football title, having won 69 consecutive games. If you were a freshman at KHS in the fall of 2013, you never saw your Papermakers lose a football game, and the Class of 2018 may be able to say the same thing after this afternoon’s game. Wisconsin now has open public-school enrollment, so if a high school football player wants to play for potential state champion Kimberly, only the Kimberly School District can stop that. (School districts can set limits on how many open-enrollment students can come in, but school districts cannot prevent students from open-enrolling out of the school district.)

The issue has to do with what people consider to be legitimate reasons to not have your child enrolled in the school district where they live. Republicans favored private school choice for Milwaukee Public Schools students because of the crappy state of MPS schools. That extended to public school students statewide. If a better educational opportunity exists in another school district for a family’s child, why should that child not be able to take advantage of that opportunity? The flip side, however, is whether an athletics should be part of that “educational opportunity.”

The reason people get more upset over private-school athletic dynasties than public-school athletic dynasties is the accusation that private schools recruit, either openly or covertly,1 students who otherwise would go to public schools. Private schools have the right to set their own admissions standards and even, I suppose, give tuition discounts (up to 100 percent) to whichever students they like, including gifted athletes. Whether that is right depends on your point of view. Whether private schools, which are smaller in enrollment in the public schools within the metropolitan area from which they recruit students, should compete in the same enrollment division as small-town or rural schools is Jansen’s point.

There have been proposals to do something about that. Minnesota weights enrollment by the percentage of students who get free or reduced-price lunch. Illinois has a multiplier for private schools. Both were considered and rejected in Wisconsin. So was a so-called “success factor” that would have pushed schools that get to state, public or private, up an enrollment class.

The latest proposal from a small-town school superintendent who sits on the WIAA Board of Control is to eliminate the public or private distinctions, but instead assign schools based on the U.S. Census classification of the community they’re in, moving up schools smaller than a certain size if they fit in the City or Suburban category. That would move some, but not all, private schools upward, with the added effect of moving many public schools to smaller enrollment classes. It’s being considered for basketball, possibly as early as next year, and my guess if it’s approved and it has no big issues, it will extend to other sports in the following year.

This is not a universally loved plan. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

Milwaukee-area athletic directors and administrators in attendance at the area meeting in Greenfield two weeks ago essentially dismissed the idea like a shot swatted into the fifth row. There was absolutely no interest in discussing it further. Zero. In every other meeting state-wide, there was a general interest in continuing the discussion.

What that means is anyone’s guess. The plan we see now doesn’t have to be the one that is voted on early next year and there is obviously no guarantee anything will pass.

What is clear is that schools in the Milwaukee area need to make sure their opinions are heard and that they contribute to the process. Otherwise, you might not like what you get.

“My hope is that through the coaches advisory, sports advisory and advisory council process that they tease out some things that make it better or make it more closer to the end product,” said board member Luke Francois, who crafted the plan.

Monday’s area meeting at Mount Horeb High School was the last of seven the WIAA held around the state. Schools in Mount Horeb’s region have been the loudest in the push for greater competitive equity in the state. Francois, the superintendent at Mineral Point, represents the area.

As the plan reads now, any urban schools with an enrollment below 600 would play in Division 3. That means you Salam (enrollment 151) and Heritage Christian (165). Ditto for Milwaukee Juneau (203) and Milwaukee Academy of Science (200). Defending Division 4 state champion Destiny (285) could handle the move up a division on the boys side, but the girls team won one game last season.

Using the most current enrollment numbers, the enrollment disparity in the division would be 588-61.

As one administrator noted Monday, “That’s not good for kids.”

When the plan was discussed at Greenfield, it was ripped for segregating schools and some wondered its passage would set the up WIAA for a lawsuit.

I don’t like the plan. If the issue of competitive equity is going to be dealt with, it should be done in a manner that doesn’t just help smaller schools in one sport. It should apply to all sports and do so in a way that doesn’t target schools because of their location.

Otherwise, you’ll get what we have now, which is many people in this part of state feeling like they’re targeted because of their success.

But that’s just me talking. I’m not a coach or an AD or a principal of students who would be affected by this. Those are the people who need to make sure they’re heard on this topic.

The WIAA plans to convene its basketball coaches advisory committee as soon as possible. At that meeting, the group can vote in favor or vote against what has been proposed or amend it and then make a vote. It will then continue to move through the committee structure and eventually back to the board of control for its January meeting. At that time a final vote is expected to be taken.

”This is where I’d look to my friends in the southeastern part of the state to help us tweak this to help us address their concerns,” Francois said.

Many of the sentiments in that Journal Sentinel opinion could be said to express the attitude that “we’ve got ours; the hell with you.” There is a line roughly from metro Green Bay to metro Madison east of which population growth, including school enrollment growth, is taking place (except in the city of Milwaukee), and west of which population growth is not taking place. Schools east of that line are able to spend more money on activities, including athletics, because they have more students and more money.

Another option would be to simply assign private schools to their own state tournament classes. The WIAA could, for instance, change from five basketball divisions to four public-school divisions and two private-school divisions and keep the state tournament at three days. (In fact, adding a division would add a session to state and thus bring in more money, something lost when the WIAA went from four divisions to five, eliminating the Division 1 quarterfinal round.) That would negate the rationale for the merger of the WIAA and the former Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association in 2000. Private schools don’t appear to want to be handicapped, but public schools the size of private schools claim they’re already being handicapped.

The even bigger issue, perhaps, is how society feels about sports. You can tell high school students and their parents that it’s much easier to earn academic scholarships in college than athletic scholarships, and the message goes in one ear and out the other. You can pass on the percentage of high school students who become professional athletes — 1 percent or less. You can point out that high schools produce more professional musicians than pro athletes. No dose of reality seems to work on high school students with unrealistic expectations, or parents forcing aspirations on their own kids that they themselves couldn’t reach.

How long have you been working here up until today?

Remember a few weeks ago I posted about the good fortune of Wisconsin’s having Paul Chryst as its coach, with his former predecessors’ tenuous job status.

That was when Gary Andersen, Chryst’s predecessor, resigned (to avoid probably being fired) at Oregon State and when the man who hired Andersen’s predecessor at Oregon State, Mike Riley, to coach at Nebraska, Cornhusker athletic director Shaun Eichorst, was fired.

The next shoe fell earlier this week when Arkansas fired athletic director Jeff Long, who hired Andersen’s UW predecessor, Bret Bielema, to be the Razorbacks’ coach. It should be obvious that if you’re not doing well in your job and the guy who hired you gets fired, that’s not a good sign for your job security.

Along that line, Saturday Down South reports:

The main reason many believe Arkansas fired Athletics Director Jeff Long is because the next move for the school will be to fire coach Bret Bielema.

Wally Hall of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was a guest on The Paul Finebaum Show Wednesday and said that Long was liked by some members of the Board of Trustees, but that support disappeared in recent days. A detailed report of Long’s “business tactics” was developed and once that was circulated, the AD’s job security was in jeopardy, Hall said. Suddenly, there was a 5-5 split on the board, and instead of receiving a  contract extension, Long’s future was in doubt.

“For it to happen today was a little surprising,” Hall said. “I felt like it was going to happen through my sources and things that were going on, but for it to happen two weeks before the end of the season, and Jeff has two more weeks on the football selection committee, that was almost like somebody was wanting to get even. ‘You embarrassed me, I’m going to embarrass you.’”

Believe it or don’t, there may be a trade of sorts in the works. There is speculation that Riley might return to Oregon State. Saturday Down South takes the next step:

Bret Bielema, the guy who Long smuggled from Wisconsin, is entering uncharted territory. For the first time in his head coaching career, his AD is gone. For the second time in his head coaching career, he’s in serious jeopardy of missing a bowl game.

Bielema’s Arkansas squad has as many wins (4) as Nebraska. In case you forgot, the Huskers just hired a new athletic director themselves, and a new head football coach seems inevitable at this point.

You probably didn’t forget that Bielema did alright coaching in the B1G before Arkansas. In fact, Bielema was better than alright at Wisconsin. A 68-24 mark with a couple of B1G titles and 3 Rose Bowl appearances wasn’t too shabby for the former Iowa nose guard. …

Yes, I hear you, Nebraska fans. What about Scott Frost? Isn’t he the obvious, slam-dunk, break-the-bank hire? Yes. Of course. If you’ve read anything I’ve written about the Huskers in the past several months, you know how I stand on that.

But it’s not a slam dunk that Frost will wind up in Lincoln. Despite those splashy names that are getting thrown around at Florida and Tennessee, both programs have deep pockets and seem more than capable of making a serious run at the Wood River, Neb., native.

Bielema, however, would be the ultimate consolation prize.

After all, Wisconsin’s model of success is the one that Nebraska is so desperate to emulate. Who knows that model better than Bielema?

The guy spent years turning 2- and 3-star recruits All-American offensive linemen while punishing B1G teams in the ground game. His success in the B1G speaks for itself, too. For Nebraska, a program that can’t seem to even hang in the top 25, Bielema’s résumé would be as good as anyone on the open market. …

I can already picture Bielema’s offense running for 400 yards against some B1G West foe and hearing 90,000 at Memorial Stadium give that “this is what we’ve been waiting for” type of applause.

Bielema would be welcomed in open arms in Lincoln. He wouldn’t have the brash, defensive attitude of Bo Pelini. Bielema wouldn’t have the hapless, we’ll-get-em-next-time demeanor of nice guy Riley. Bielema would bring energy and a chuckle to a program that hasn’t had enough of that in the 21st century.

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