FW Comments Policy

This site has now opened comments on almost all posts, including for anonymous or pseudonymous posters. Comments stay open for a few days after a post’s publication, and then close automatically.

That’s new; for the site’s first four years, there were no generally open comments, with the exception of a weekly post on most Fridays.

It seems reasonable to have a short, simple comments policy, and I have now published one.

Friday Poll & Comment Forum: Favorite Holiday Film?

Here’s a poll and comment forum topic for the weekend of Christmas: What’s your favorite holiday film?

I’ve a poll with a few choices, and a comment form below. Some of the poll choices come from a list of top Christmas films at Collider.com.

I’ll put in my pitch for Elf: it’s a light and funny film, and offers proof that, like Buddy the Elf, one really can make a song out of anything. More about the film is online at Wikipedia.

Update: When will Whitewater see its first accumulated snowfall this season? When you thought it would…

Over a month ago, I asked in a Poll & Comment Forum: When will Whitewater see its first accumulated snowfall this season?  The standard was at least one inch, and I think we’re close enough today for Saturday, December 17th to be Whitewater’s first snowfall.  It’s not much snow, but it’s enough to be noticeable, and easily more than just frost.  (There’s an imprecision in a poll like this that’s harmless; it’s not bridge-building or automotive engineering.)

The largest group of respondents was on the money: the first snowfall was between 12/16 and 12/31, as they predicted:

(I was way off: I’d predicted November 28th; it would have been better to stick with the sharp prediction of over 42% of respondents.)

Friday Comment Forum and Poll: Favorite Christmas Book

What's your favorite Christmas book? I've a poll with a few choices from a list on Amazon, and a forum for comments on your own favorite (those or others). As always, comments are moderated only against tolls and profanity. Otherwise, have at it. <a xhref="http://polldaddy.com/poll/5744441/" mce_href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/5744441/">Favorite Christmas Book</a>

Weekend Poll & Comment Forum: What’s your favorite holiday song?

It’s December — already — and Thanksgiving’s just a pleasant memory. However enjoyable that day (and it is), there are (to my knowledge) no popular Thanksgiving songs. Thanksgiving is a quiet holiday. The same cannot be said of Christmas (a naturally more exuberant holiday), or anything in December, for that matter. This is not a quiet month.

What’s your favorite holiday song? I’ve a poll with a few possibilities (from a list of popular radio songs), and space for comments to this post.

Comments will be moderated against profanity or trolls, but otherwise have at it.

My favorite: O Holy Night.

Weekend Poll & Comment Forum: Would you ever run for governor?

Beyond recalls, or any recent election, consider this simple question: Would you ever run for governor? Good year, bad year, any year: would you venture that campaign?

In my own case, I’ve no ambition for any political office, let alone a statewide one. (I am also reminded of William F. Buckley’s quip when he ran for mayor of New York City as a third-party candidate in the ’60s. When asked what he would do if he actually won, Buckley replied that he’d demand a recount.)

I’ve a poll and comment forum below. Comments will be moderated against trolls and profanity; otherwise have at it.

Poll & Comment Forum: When will Whitewater see its first accumulated snowfall this season?

Here’s a meteorological poll: When will Whitewater see its first accumulated snowfall this year? Let’s say accumulated means at least one inch – less would just be a dusting. When will that much snow first stick on the ground?

The National Weather Service has an online archive of past Wisconsin snowfall data at the ready.

I’ve a poll and comment forum below. I’ll say earlier this year than last year, and pick November 28th as the first day with one inch minimum accumulation.

Comments are moderated as always against trolls and profanity; otherwise, have at it.




Poll and Comment Forum: Android or iPhone?

Ok, smart readers: here’s a question about smartphones. (‘Smart readers’: that’s all of you, with the exception of anyone visiting who thinks Whitewater’s Tax Incremental District 4 has actually been managed well.)

I use an Android phone, and it’s one in a series of Android phones I’ve used since the launch of that operating system. (Before that I was a longtime BlackBerry user.)

Now, though, I wonder: should I jump ship to the iPhone 4s?

Droid or iPhone? I’ve a poll and comment forum on the topic, and your opinions are my enrichment.

Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise, have at it.

Friday Poll and Comment Forum: Texas or St. Louis in 2011 World Series?

One game’s left in the World Series, after which winter begins. Having arrived at a seventh game in the most improbable way, how will this series end?

Fan video from Game 6, bottom of ninth:

Below is a poll that will remain open until game time, and a form for comments that will stay up through Sunday morning (for predictions now, and post-Series observations thereafter).

I’ll say Cardinals 7, Rangers 5, leaving Texas close yet again, but not close enough.

Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise, have at it.

Friday Poll and Comment Forum: Removing Spectators from the Assembly Gallery

Here’s a video of the gallery of Wisconsin’s Assembly, where spectators are being removed for wearing 8.5 x 11 inch pieces of paper taped to their shirts. Silent, peaceful citizens, sitting with messages, removed for displaying written words on their clothing. Mere words.

Leaving aside Rep. Kessler’s legal justification (whether their rights in this case are absolute), there’s a simpler question: do they — should they — have the speech rights they’re trying to exercise in this context?

We have fallen so far, so fast, that for the majority party, the answer is that they should not. Should citizenship and residency, constitution and law, mean nothing against a majority’s desire to enforce its will, and stifle opposing voices?

Those who ordered this removal are as thin-skinned as they are ignorant.

Readers cannot say they’re uncertain of my views: removing these spectators for these reasons was wrong, and deeply un-American.

That’s just one view, however strongly expressed; what do you think?

Below I have the video, a poll, and a place for comments.

The post will remain open until Sunday morning. Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise, have at it.

Friday Poll and Comment Forum: What’s Bucky’s mistake in an ESPN commercial?

Bucky Badger’s in a new ESPN commercial, embedded below (h/t Althouse).

Looking at the commercial, where do you think Bucky goes wrong (assuming you think he goes wrong at all)? Multiple answers are possible.

So, what do you think?

The post will remain open until Sunday morning. Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise, have at it.

Friday Poll and Comment Forum: Is Home Ownership Still Part of the American Dream?

If fewer Americans by percentage own homes, is owning a home still part of the American Dream?

Three quick assumptions: (1) there is an American Dream, a set of goals most people in this society have, (2) that set of goals includes (or included) home ownership, and (3) those goals may be common even if they don’t matter to everyone. (Some people will decide against homes or cars, for example, even if they could buy one.)

So, what do you think?

I’ve a poll and forum for comments below. The post will remain open until Sunday morning. Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise, have at it.

Weekend Poll and Comment Forum: Merchants’ bans on politicians

Reason‘s Nanny of the Month for August 2011 features something different this month: a ban Reason supports. In Michigan, private tavern owners are banning public legislators over an anti-smoking law they say is killing their businesses. Patronage has plummeted, and the barkeeps have decided to strike back by excluding those who have hurt their taverns’ profits.

Michigan Bar Owners Ban Lawmakers for Banning Smoking! (Nanny of the Month, Aug 2011)

They’re banning pet pigs in St, Charles, Missouri (even small, hypoallergenic ones like Pepper!) and Nice Cream in Illinois (even though it’s packed with natural ingredients and the owner says its bacterial levels are well below state-approved levels!), but neither of those could claim the top slot because – well, this time Nanny of the Month is doing something different…

For the first time ever Nanny of the Month is cheering a ban.

That’s right, starting September 1, more than 500 Michigan restaurant and bar owners are banning state lawmakers from their establishments. State Senator So-and-so wants a brew? Too bad. Politicians won’t be served until they revisit the state’s 2010 smoking ban, which, owners say, has devastated business, and left bars like Sporty O’Tooles on the verge of collapse.

What do you think? Do you support a merchant action like this? Merchants may lawfully prohibit certain potential customers, so long as they do not run afoul of anti-discrimination statutes (this ban on anti-smoking legislators would be legal).

Although efforts like this can backfire, I’d support a tavern-owners’ ban on anti-smoking politicians (even though I don’t smoke). It’s a good idea, now and gain, to remind legislators’ that their actions have consequences for common people, and that as politicians they aren’t immune from diverse consequences of their legislation, either.

Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise have at it. This post will be open until Sunday morning.

Weekend Poll and Comment Forum: Who Benefits Most from a Strong Third-Party Challenge in 2012?

There’s much talk about the possibility of a third-party candidate in 2012. What would a third-party candidate (not of the Libertarian Party, necessarily, but more of a protest-celebrity candidacy, e.g., Sarah Palin) mean for the 2012 general election?

Naturally, the LP’s executive director expresses umbrage at the assumption that there’s not already a viable third-party effort in the Libertarian Party, itself. See, LP responds to Wall Street Journal editorial.

It’s summer, with a long year ahead; why not have fun speculating?

In the Wall Street Journal, pollster Pat Caddell and pundit Doug Schoen are sure there will be a third-party candidate (of the John Anderson or Ross Perot-type):

The political order as we know it is deteriorating and disintegrating, and politics abhors a vacuum. So there is very good reason to believe that a credible third party, or even fourth political party, may be on the ballot in 2012. The American people clearly are looking for alternatives. Now.

Public Policy Polling, surveying the possibility of a third-party candidacy, concludes that third-party bids (even from the left!) would help Obama more than Gov. Romney:

But we took a look at seven possible independent candidates against Obama and his strongest GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, and found that the chances of defection by GOP-inclined voters are stronger than are cracks in the Democrats’ armor. Despite their grumbling, Democrats remain pretty united behind Obama, and six of the seven possible independent candidates would hurt Romney more than the president.

(Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight shares the view that Pres. Obama would be the Democrats’ strongest general-election candidate, rather than, say, a Hillary Clinton candidacy. That seems right to me.)

If there should be a third-party candidacy, of a candidate like Perot or John Anderson, what would it mean?

I’d guess it would (1) help Pres. Obama, (2) help a recall against Gov. Walker if the recall were held at the same time as the presidential general election (as it might be), and (3) might help Democrats running for state or local offices. A less formidable Republican presidential candidate (weakened in whatever way) might produce a weaker retention campaign on behalf of Gov. Walker. Some in the GOP may doubt Gov. Romney, for example, but I think he’d do better in Wisconsin than most other Republicans; his weakness in whatever form would hurt, not help, other GOP candidates.

(I see that Reagan is the exception — as a challenger, he won an absolute majority, and an electoral college landslide, despite a relatively strong third-party candidate. I’m doubtful any candidate will have that kind of electoral college strength, and landslide victory, next year.)

Below is a poll on this topic, and space for commenting, too: Would a strong third-party candidate help Pres. Obama or his GOP Challenger?

Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise have at it. This post will be open until Sunday morning.

Friday Poll and Comment Forum: Cats or Dogs?

Here’s a question that I’ve not yet offered, and that’s overdue: Cats or Dogs?

FREE WHITEWATER has catblogging, but no dogblogging. Generally, I’d pick cats, recognizing that a good dog counts for a lot, even if cats are particularly fascinating (and worthily independent). So, for me, cats over dogs, but not by much — just a whisker. As for my own dog, I’d not make the choice, as he’s a very sold and sharp canine.

Here you go: which do you prefer?

Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise have at it. This post will be open until Sunday morning.

Friday Poll and Comment Forum: Food Truck Edition

So should a city be able to ban — or effective ban by severe restrictions — food trucks in a town (as Atlanta has done with street vendors)? What do you think?

Here’s a poll, for those who’d like to participate by voting, and below is a comment forum for opinions expressed that way.

My view:

Additional food vendors help consumers, and won’t hurt restaurants who — by virtue of their storefronts — can sell on service, value for price, etc. Many patronize merchants in town, as I do, for their expertise and value-added guidance. I look for good customer service, and return to those shops. A nice restaurant, for example, is a nice restaurant for both its food and its atmosphere. (I’ve yet to start restaurant reviews, but I will!)

In fact, there’s probably an untapped clientele in Whitewater that will patronize merchants who show potential customers the benefits of good guidance and expertise.

Where merchants of this high-quality need a break is from excessive municipal fees, taxes, and regulations.

An appealing restaurant has no reason to fear a food truck. Any restaurant has reason to worry about being over-taxed, required to pay all sorts of fees that are simply additional taxes, and waste time with busy-work regulatory compliance.)

There’s a powerful difference between being sympathetic to small businesses (of course) and endorsing concerns that use government to prop themselves up at the expense of competition (a bad bet for ‘disfavored’ businesses, and for all taxpaying consumers).

Comments will be moderated against profanity and trolls; otherwise have at it. This post will be open until Sunday morning, and stay at the top of the page. Other posts may appear during that time, but they’ll be below this one until Sunday.