Welcome to PRImings

You typically find the word “primings” in older books about guns and  newer books about beer.

Where guns are concerned, the word goes back all the way to the Sixteenth Century, and refers to the powders or other materials one had to carefully place in the weapon’s “pan” in order to ignite a charge. Without good and dry primings, decent people were left vulnerable and, essentially, unarmed.

Nowadays, in the age of  long-distance, rapid-fire, anonymous sniping,  primings might seem pretty antiquated. Just about anyone and everyone can shoot off in any direction at any time without any real thought or preparation or, it seems, motive other than to hurt the guy on the other side.

But enough about social media and our level of political discourse.

We’re launching a  new Wisconsin Policy Research Institute product today – Policy PRImings – that  we hope will provide some thoughtful fodder for whatever debate or policy battle you’re interested in.

It’s not all we’ll be doing. We’ll still hire the best minds we can find to produce detailed, substantive (yes, sometimes dry) white papers that provide the underpinning for good policy in this state. We will also continue to publish our hard-copy magazine, Wisconsin Interest, two times a year. We will continue to organize events and speakers for folks who want a free-market perspective on how to help this state prosper.

But we’ve also recently redesigned our website – www.wpri.org – and are regularly adding topical, relevant, interesting content on important issues we think need to be more closely examined and discussed. Policy PRImings is a periodic compilation of that new web content and other WPRI offerings that we hope will have an impact on the policy debate. You’ll get analysis, commentary, policy briefs, occasional podcasts and video and this column – and you’ll get it on a regular basis. It will certainly be more than the 140 characters somebody somewhere is tweeting at you every twenty seconds, but it will be a relatively quick read in comparison to some of the other things we produce. And it is gratis.

We hope you’ll pause to take a look at PRImings today, and pass it along to friends of all political and policy stripes you think might be interested in a little more than the latest regurgitated retweets. (Just click on the tab that says “forward this email to a friend” at the bottom of the PRImings page).  They can also go to our website – www.wpri.org – and add their name to our mailing list.  

“Primings” is an old word in some respects. But the need to use accurate, objective facts to launch good policy is greater than ever in a world with so much incessant, meaningless sniping. Anyway, if you’re more into modern drinking analogies than old gun metaphors (as, I confess, I am), you should appreciate the value of good “primings” as well.

The Oxford Companion to Beer – something akin to a Bible for Wisconsinites – defines priming sugar or “primings” as something added to stimulate fermentation and produce natural carbonation.

At WPRI, we pride ourselves on a sober appraisal of what’s needed to move this state forward – but I hope you get a charge out of our PRImings as well.

Mike Nichols is the president of WPRI.