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home : opinions : opinions April 29, 2016

De Niro asks the questions that need to be asked
Ask serious scientists and doctors these days about the causes of autism, and most of them will tell you it's caused by a genetic predisposition likely coupled with an environmental trigger. (subscriber access)
Friday, April 22, 2016

EU, U.S. gang up on Google
European Union bureaucrats declared war on Google recently. Europe can't compete with Google, so, instead, Brussels will sue it for being too successful. Furthermore, the U.S. government is threatening the same punitive process of harassment, lawsuits and fines.

That's the basis for the EU's just-announced antitrust complaint against Google. The California-based technology giant is accused of installing software into the popular Android smartphone that favors Google features, such as Google Maps, over competitor products.

Friday, April 29, 2016

northwoods political digest
Lawmaker urges GAB to request funds for Voter ID campaign

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, went before the Government Accountability Board last week to urge GAB members to formally request funding from the Legislature for a comprehensive Voter ID information campaign.

Though Democrats and Taylor strongly oppose the Voter ID law, which she said suppresses individuals' ability to vote, most legal challenges were unsuccessful and Wisconsinites are now required to present a specific photo identification for voting.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Things don't go better with Koch
One thing about Donald Trump, whether you love him or hate him, he has certainly exposed the true politics of those populating the leadership of the Republican Party, and for that reason the Republican Party will never ever be the same, if it survives at all.

For many years, the "conservative" pundit class and activist leaders such as Erick Erickson at RedState prided themselves on their roles as messengers for the conservative movement in America. They routinely condemned the big, bad Establishment.

Friday, April 29, 2016

On Israel, Sanders is right (and Clinton knows it)
The most significant moment of the Democratic primary debate in Brooklyn - and perhaps any presidential debate this season - came when Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton over her refusal to criticize Israel's excessive use of force against the Palestinians in Gaza. For the first time in memory, a major American political figure insisted publicly that the Jewish state and its leaders are "not always right" - and that in attempting to suppress terrorism, they had killed and injured far too many blameless human beings.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Our little corner of the world
We are fortunate to live in the beautiful Northwoods with all the lakes, rivers, streams, forests, animals and seasons. However, we are entering a period of increasing uncertainty about the potential of climate change/global warming and how this might in the future alter our beautiful environment. Whether you think this potential is real or not, there are things you need to recognize about how the forested land in Vilas County offers a repository to offset your carbon dioxide emissions.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hospital hospitality
I write this from the hospital. Seems I have lung cancer.
Friday, April 22, 2016

How fracking has reduced greenhouse gases
The U.S. Department of Energy published data last week with some amazing revelations - so amazing that most Americans will find them hard to believe.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our 'catch and release' border
How could we have possibly foreseen the destructive forces perpetrated on the U.S. Border Patrol and our country's security by the one person who had the power to do so much to secure our borders?
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

northwoods political digest
Group: Cities face looming hunger crisis

The Hunger Task Force, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and other advocates from across Wisconsin urged Gov. Scott Walker this week to request aid for those struggling with hunger.

In a letter signed by more than 25 hunger relief providers and religious and fraternal organizations, advocates requested immediate relief for Wisconsin residents who are facing profound hunger. The groups say more than 30,453 people have become ineligible for federal food aid under the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program.

Friday, April 15, 2016

It happened here
It began with the global economic crisis.

All around the world, millions of people who had nothing to do with the stock market crash - who didn't earn enough money to save, much less invest, that much less speculate - lost everything nevertheless. They lost their jobs, then, in short order, their homes. They were scared.

The failure of democratic governance transformed their completely understandable fear into savage, uncontrolled anger.

Friday, April 15, 2016

President Obama, President Bush: We owe you a very big thank you
It's not often we give a big thanks to President Barack Obama or former President George W. Bush, but this week we feel we have to give credit where credit is due.

That's because the hallmark of both administrations is and was massive, naked political corruption. With Bush, it was shameless giveaways to big-business cronies and other special interests; with Obama, it's an ideological depravity of the worst sort, a disdain for American values and constitutional principles.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Northwoods political digest
Walker signs bill to expand WHEDA authority

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill expanding WHEDA's authority to provide guarantees on agricultural production assistance loans, which will expand WHEDA's drought relief loan guarantee to include loan guarantees for extraordinary farming costs related to any act of nature for which the governor declares a disaster.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The future of American conservatism
The race for the Republican nomination is not over, as the Wisconsin primary demonstrated this week, but, whether Donald Trump wins or loses, he has forever altered the political landscape inside the Republican Party.

For the GOP establishment, the party is over. In fact, the party may well be over for the party itself. That is to say, the GOP will never, ever be the same, and, depending on the party's elite, it might not ever again be a viable national political entity. (subscriber access)

Friday, April 8, 2016

State needs to redefine its apportionment criteria
In a case that leaves us puzzled, to say the least, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided - unanimously, at that - that total population counts can be used to draw political voting districts.

Yup, in Evenwel v Abbot, the court said the state of Texas could indeed use total population counts to draw state Senate district boundaries. In the case, two residents argued that such a count diluted their votes.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Once again: Beware the rising tide of censorship
During Sunshine Week, we bemoaned the rising tide of censorship not only in the government and its increasingly closed doors and suppression of information but in the larger culture.

The tides have only swelled in size in that short time. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Northwoods political digest
Walker signs liquor license bill

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law this week that allows municipalities to transfer an unused reserve "Class B" liquor license to another municipality that is contiguous with, or within two miles of, the transferring municipality.

The bill also allows a municipality to designate a premier economic development district, and to issue two "Class B" liquor licenses in connection with an economic development project within the premier economic development district.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A better choice
Trump! Clinton! Is that all there is? No. Fortunately, we have other choices.

A recent poll shows that if the election were held today, 11 percent of Americans would vote for a Libertarian, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. That's surprising, since last election Johnson got just 1 percent of the vote. (subscriber access)

Friday, April 1, 2016

The free-trade paradox
No issue is more entwined in paradox than that of free trade versus protectionism. Here's an example: Polling suggests that voters recognize the benefits of free trade more now than at anytime in many years, even as the presidential candidates advocate more protectionism. (subscriber access)
Friday, April 1, 2016

The art of Donald Trump
Hooray for Donald Trump!

I can ice skate in Central Park because Trump got the skating rink fixed after New York City couldn't.

Couldn't, you ask? Really? How is that possible? New York City government couldn't fix an ice rink? (subscriber access)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What would Donald/Hillary/Bernie do?
"If Donald wins the general election, who the heck knows what he'd do as president?" - Ted Cruz

March 15, 2017 - In the most devastating attack on American soil, a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile carrying at least two nuclear warheads struck downtown Seattle just after 8 a.m., killing tens of thousands of residents at the height of the morning commute. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Missing: Any challenge for the common good
For the presidential campaign of 2016, the best estimate is the candidates, their political action committees, the political parties and so-called "independent" committees will raise and spend $5 billion - which would be twice as much as was spent in the 2012 presidential campaign. With the singular exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has fueled his campaign with more than 4 million individual contributions...
Friday, March 25, 2016

The president is a disgrace to the nation
We do not agree with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on a lot of things, but we very much agree and applaud his characterization this week of President Barack Obama's trip to Cuba.

In short, as Rubio posted on Facebook, it was "one of the most disgraceful trips ever taken by a U.S. president anywhere in the world."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Northwoods Political Digest
Wisconsin's average veterans' unemployment rate declines

Wisconsin's 2015 unemployment rate for military veterans declined to 3.6 percent and tied for 14th lowest in the country, according to data published by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the office of Gov. Scott Walker has announced.

The annual average unemployment rate for all veterans 18 years of age and older was a full percentage point below the national rate of 4.6 percent, according to the BLS report.

Friday, March 25, 2016

There has to be a better way to pay for health care
Late last year, while playing tennis, I reached up to serve and felt a painful pop in my shoulder. The inflammation got worse over the next few months. Now anytime I try to put my arm above my head, pain shoots up my arm. I often wake up at night with an agonizing throb in my shoulder. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What Bernie Sanders - and his supporters - must remember before November
Exactly one year before Election Day - on Nov. 8, 2015 - Bernie Sanders was asked whether his agreement with Hillary Clinton on basic issues outweighed the conflicts that he proclaimed at every campaign appearance.

Speaking on television rather than on the stump, the Vermont senator conceded reluctantly that he and Clinton concur on some issues. But then he added an entirely gratuitous endorsement:

"And by the way, on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day." (subscriber access)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sunshine Week: The Lakeland Times' 2016 open records grades
In honor of Sunshine Week - a celebration and advocacy of open government - The Lakeland Times presents the newspaper's 2015 awards and grades for openness in conducting public business.

The following grades are calculated using several measures, including how responsive officials have been this past year to open records' requests, how diligently they have strived to keep the workings of government open, how willing they were to communicate with the media and with the public, as well as their past track record.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Beware the rising tide of censorship, wherever it is
Sunshine Week is about open government, about the need for transparency and accountability if we are to retain control over our own destinies. That requires that people be able to fully monitor what their government is doing.

In the past few years, these pages have documented a steep decline of openness in government, and we and others have sounded the alarm that our once democratic institutions are becoming elitist consortiums serving not the people but special interests.

The doors of government have been closing.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The real sunshine week story: You
We present just a sliver of the thousands of citizen emails sent to lawmakers and the governor protesting last summer's assault on the state's open-records laws. And those were only the emails we saw during an open-records inspection in Madison, not the full scope of the record.
Friday, March 18, 2016

Libertarian lite
In this year's Republican presidential primaries, Sen. Rand Paul got little traction. In 2012, his father failed. That year, the Libertarian Party candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, got just 1 percent of the vote.

We libertarians must be doing something wrong. Maybe our anti-government message is too radical, says Jerry Taylor. Maybe we should soften our approach.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A political year desperate for humor

Boy, do I miss Ronald Reagan's robust sense of self-confidence, which enabled him to use self-deprecating humor to confound his political adversaries. In 1987, after his presidency had hit a serious rough spot with the exposure of the Iran-Contra weapons-for-hostages deal and with a publicized feud between the first lady, Nancy Reagan, and the White House chief of staff, Donald Regan, President Reagan went to Washington's Gridiron dinner.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Northwoods political digest
Officials honor Nancy Reagan

Former first lady Nancy Reagan died this week and officials of both parties were quick to remember and honor her life.

House speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Ronald Reagan could not have accomplished everything that he did without his wife Nancy.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Bradley's foul mouth; the Left's foul intentions
Supreme Court justice Rebecca Bradley sure let us know how she felt when, as a young college student, she let loose with some blunt language about Bill Clinton and various constituencies within the Democratic Party and the political Left.

No doubt about it, some portions of two letters to the editor and a column in a student newspaper were peppered with derogatory and clearly offensive slurs.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Illegal immigration is humanitarian crisis
The horrific reports coming out of Washington about unaccompanied immigrant children, as we report in today's paper, should underscore a very important but often overlooked point about illegal immigration: The injustices brought about by allowing illegal immigration to take place affect not just Americans but the immigrants themselves.

Liberals would have us believe that open borders help the impoverished escape to America, achieve the American Dream, and live happily ever after. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Northwoods political digest
Sexual assault victim amnesty bill gets Senate public hearing

A sexual assault victim amnesty bill authored by state Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) received a positive public hearing in the Senate this past week, Petrowksi says.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Who has a 'glass jaw'?
Immediately after the combative Republican debate in Houston, Texas, Donald Trump, the clear front-runner for the 2016 GOP nomination, sought to dismiss Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's fiery attacks on Trump's business ethics. Rubio accused the real estate billionaire of hypocrisy on immigration in his own hiring and production practices. Trump's rebuttal in a post-debate interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo: "One thing I learned from sports - I was actually a very good athlete - when you're a choker, you're always a choker."
Friday, March 4, 2016

Republicans can give workers a $1 billion pay raise
If Donald Trump's gravity-defying ascendancy has validated anything, it is that for Middle America, jobs and economic security are still the dominant issue. Republicans have talked up tax reform, regulatory relief and fiscal restraint - and those are all critical to growth.
Friday, March 4, 2016

Strange appeal of socialism
When I was a smart-aleck college student, I had a sign on my dorm-room door that read: "Reality is for those who can't handle drugs."

Maybe the 2016 version should go like this: "Bernie Sanders and socialism are for those who can't handle reality."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In defense of George Wallace
David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute - which champions individual liberty, limited government, peace and free markets - has been outspoken in his criticism of 2016 Republican front-runner Donald J Trump: "Not since George Wallace has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so central to his campaign."
Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Our View: Familiar face in the news again
As we report in today’s edition, former Minocqua police officer and current Adams police chief Todd Hanson is in the news again.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Our View: Moving in the right direction
Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State address this week was almost as notable for what he did not say as for what he did – we’ll address those matters elsewhere – but one thing the governor correctly homed in on was the ongoing need for education reform.
Friday, January 18, 2013

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