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The Lakeland Times | Minocqua, Wisc.

Jim Tait 02/01-02/28/17

home : opinions April 26, 2017

Free market care
President Trump and Paul Ryan tried to improve Obamacare. They failed.

Trump then tweeted, "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for the people. Do not worry!"

But I do worry.

Friday, March 31, 2017


Open letter to the community
Our community has an important decision to make about the availability of compassionate, personalized and affordable healthcare services for local residents. And recent statements about the impact of a proposed 12-bed limited-service hospital in Woodruff by Marshfield Clinic may have left people with inaccurate impressions. We would like to share some facts.
(1 comments)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meeting the health care needs of the community is our No. 1 priority
That's the bottom line, and what we've been saying from the day we announced our plans. In fact, that should be the number one priority of any health care organization. Building our own hospital where our physicians will have access to the latest state-of-the-art technology and resources puts us in a position to serve the care needs of the next generation, the kind of care our patients deserve.

That means more access, more affordability and higher quality of care and overall better patient experience delivered by the same trusted physicians our patients have come to know and trust.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Democracy in action
This past week, with a few exceptions, citizens in more than 1,200 towns marched to community centers and town halls to take part in a Wisconsin political tradition, the annual town electors meeting.
Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day dopes
Expect more craziness this weekend. Earth Day is Saturday. This year's theme: Government must "do more" about climate change because "consequences of inaction are too high to risk."

They make it sound so simple:

1) Man causes global warming.

2) Warming is obviously harmful.

3) Government can stop it.

Each claim is dubious or wrong.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Doesn't look as if he's from around here
When John McCain, after graduating from Annapolis and spending 22 years in the Navy, made his first run for Congress from Arizona, he was challenged by a Republican primary opponent for not having lived long in the state. McCain, who, as a POW for 5 1/2 years, had been tortured by the North Vietnamese, effectively countered, "The place where I've lived the longest is Hanoi."
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Warrior Trump
Somehow, firing Tomahawk missiles at Syria suddenly changed people's opinions of President Trump. Now they call him a "serious" leader.

William Kristol said Trump's action "reassures you."

Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, long critical of Trump, now say he "deserves the support of the American people."
(1 comments)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Contempt for the law continues in Oneida County
Oneida County supervisors just don't get it, at least most of them, and we are beginning to believe they never will.
Friday, April 14, 2017

Government makes the poor poorer
For all the obsessing in Washington over income inequality, why isn't there more outrage over government policies that exacerbate the problem? There are hundreds of programs that increase poverty in America. Recently, at the Heritage Foundation forum on this very topic, my colleagues exposed many of these programs.
(1 comments)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Enough protection already
"Trump may have just signed a death warrant for our planet!" warns CNN host Van Jones.

"Disaster for Clean Water, Air," says the Environmental Working Group.

Give me a break.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Discovering the lost art of letter writing
Like so many good stories, this is an old one. But if this April somehow does turn out to be "the cruelest month" politically, this old story could even be timely.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Southern highways, northern poverty
We noticed a little item in our political digest this week about a proposed expansion of the I-94 East-West corridor in Milwaukee, specifically a call by the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin to widen the highway.
Friday, April 7, 2017

What Congress can learn from the Rhode Island Miracle
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more poorly designed program in the federal budget than Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income Americans. The costs are shared between the states and the feds, which means that the more money a state wastes under Medicaid, the bigger the check Washington writes to the state. No wonder the program costs keep spiraling out of control.
Friday, April 7, 2017

The time is right now
As we have written about in past editions, a wave of autism is sweeping the nation and the world. It is, in a word, an epidemic, and to call it anything less would be dishonest.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We Americans need to know each other
Let's admit it: America has become a land of strangers. Even before headphones, PCs and smartphones - all of which were heralded as breakthroughs in human communication but have turned out to be instruments of further isolation - we had begun disconnecting from each other.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The False compassion of liberalism
Last week on CNN I debated a liberal commentator who complained that the problem with President Donald Trump's budget blueprint is that it lacks "compassion" for the poor, for children and for the disabled. This woman went on to ask me how I could defend a budget that would cut Meals on Wheels, after-school programs and special-education funding, because without the federal dollars, these vital services would go away.
(2 comments)

Friday, March 31, 2017

At the least, a serious breach of the public trust
The Boulder Junction Town Board already has a lot of explaining to do about its wayfinding signage and kiosk project, but, with each explanation coming from the town, the situation grows ever more ominous.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump budget drains the swamp
Everyone in Washington hates Donald Trump's new budget. So it must have something going for it. This is a budget plan that will surgically remove trillions of dollars of wasteful spending from the obese $3.9 trillion federal budget. Many agencies will have to live with cuts of 5, 10 and 30 percent, while other outdated, duplicative or unproductive programs will go to the graveyard.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Oops! They did it again
Well that didn't take long.

Just a month after undergoing open-meetings law training - at the last county board meeting in fact - the Oneida County Board of Supervisors has violated the open meetings law, as The Times reports today.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kindest cuts
"Devastating!" shouts Chuck Schumer. Even Republicans are unhappy. Big spending "conservative" congressman Hal Rogers calls President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts "draconian, careless and counterproductive."
Friday, March 24, 2017

How do you know ______?
Someone asked me the other day, "How do you know_____?"

After I thought about it, that is a good question. In my effort to be nice and explain my ideas and social media, if I scare you please delete me on Facebook. Hopefully this will just make you think.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ignorant media
Has the media gotten worse? Or am I just grouchier?

Every day I see things that are wrong or that so miss the point I want to scream.

Four examples:
(1 comments)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sunshine Week: At a crossroads
This year, as we assess the state of open government in Wisconsin and across the nation, we find ourselves not the least bit optimistic about government officials but most optimistic about the people.

Read the grades in today's newspaper, and a reader will know just how somber our assessment is. Over the years, the number of bad grades has mushroomed, while the number of good grades has dwindled.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunshine Week: The Lakeland Times' 2017 open records grades (A-C)
In honor of Sunshine Week - a celebration and advocacy of open government - The Lakeland Times presents the newspaper's 2017 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.

The rating scale:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunshine Week: The Lakeland Times' 2017 open records grades (D-F)
In honor of Sunshine Week - a celebration and advocacy of open government - The Lakeland Times presents the newspaper's 2017 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.
(1 comments)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunshine Week: The Lakeland Times' 2017 open records grades (Incomplete)
In honor of Sunshine Week - a celebration and advocacy of open government - The Lakeland Times presents the newspaper's 2017 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.

The rating scale:

A - Excellent. Passionately committed to open government and accountability. The public is lucky to have these officials. They have full knowledge of the open records' and open meetings' laws.

B - Good. These records' custodians do an above-average job. They may need more knowledge and education about the law but are committed in principle to openness and side more often than not with open-records' advocates.

C - Average. These custodians need more immediate education about open government laws. They tend to respond slowly to records' requests, and they are as likely to withhold information as to release it. Still, these officials have never landed in court over an open records' dispute.

D - Below Average. These custodians do not believe in open government or in the release of open records. They usually land on the side of secrecy. These officials are suspicious of the public. They have very little knowledge of the open records' and open meetings' laws, and have even less interest in learning about them.

F - Failure. These people should be removed as records' custodians. They cannot be trusted by the public and couldn't spell FREEDOM if you spotted them F-R-E-E-_-O-M.

I - Incomplete. While it is too early to rate an overall performance in their current positions, we will record any recent actions and use their track records to calculate a "trending" rank.

This year, the newspaper is again listing failing grades first and the grades of excellent open-records' advocates last. We do so not because we want to downplay the passion and ethics of those who understand and defend open government but to draw attention to the rapidly increasing ranks of the many attacking it.

Consider them wanted posters in the post office of public records.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Yes to 4 percent growth
Imagine if in 1961 John F. Kennedy's advisers had told him, "We will never put a man on the moon." Or what if Ronald Reagan's advisers had assured the Gipper, "The Cold War is unwinnable. We should sue for peace." Actually, many naysayers told JFK and Reagan exactly these things. Fortunately, these presidents were visionaries. They asked: "Why not?"
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Is it Watergate yet?
As Donald Trump and his subordinates lash out wildly in their campaign to suppress discussion of his presidential campaign's alleged collusion with the Kremlin, they conjure visions of a truly monumental scandal. With their latest attempts to manipulate the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intimidate the Washington press corps, they clumsily encourage comparisons with Watergate - although, as usual with this crew, it isn't so simple to distinguish malevolence from incompetence.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Beneath the sheets at the sheriff's department
Some might consider our reporting of an affair between two Oneida County sheriff's department officers to be a bit tawdry, but what's tawdry is not the reporting but the behavior.
Friday, March 10, 2017

Killing Big Bird
Next week, Donald Trump releases his new budget. It's expected to cut spending on things like the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Good!

Friday, March 10, 2017

States are going broke because they broke the bank
Governors and state legislators say they are running out of money again, and many are demanding tax hikes to close budget gaps.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The bloated military
Donald Trump once wanted to cut military spending.

Before running for president, he said Congress' automatic "sequestration" cuts didn't go far enough, that they were "a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Call your legislators to support transparency
A few weeks ago, Gov. Scott Walker launched a new attack on government transparency in Wisconsin, using his proposed state budget to try to eliminate requirements that most public notices be published in newspapers.
(8 comments)

Friday, March 3, 2017

School start date
A bill is currently circulating in the state legislature that would allow school districts to begin classes earlier than Sept. 1. I am opposed to this legislation. The current start date, which has been in place for 17 years, is a perfect balance between educational and economic priorities.
(1 comments)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Why that Russian dossier can't be ignored
To see Michael Flynn depart his White House post in a miasma of misconduct - amid memories of his "lock her up" speech about Hillary Clinton at the Republican convention last summer - was satisfying. To hear that he might be replaced as national security adviser by someone saner is reassuring.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Let's talk Trump
To the Liberals President Trump is an enigma. They've never seen anyone like him and he's moving so fast they're bumping into each other trying to explain why we should all loathe him. Their whimpers and tantrums on election eve have turned to shrieks of terror as their visions of reality begin to slowly sink in. He's our President regardless of what your little signs say!
(1 comments)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The good-old-boy game is getting old
This past Tuesday, the good old boys of Oneida County again staged a game of theatrics, staged to dupe the public about just how open and transparent they are, or want to be.
Friday, February 24, 2017

A note from Marshfield Clinic Minocqua
Much has been in the media lately about how Marshfield Clinic and Howard Young Medical Center are changing to meet the health care needs of the communities we serve. We would like to offer you some key points to consider as we move ahead together through these challenging and exciting times.
(1 comments)

Friday, February 24, 2017

The carbon-tax scam
I have nothing but respect for former Secretaries of State Jim Baker and George Shultz, but come on, gentlemen: You've been snookered.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Repeal! No, wait!
Republicans promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But now they are hesitating.

I understand why.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A rogue board, by any other name
We're not sure what, if any, laws officials in the Town of Boulder Junction have broken, but we are pretty sure the town government itself is broken.

While we have asked the Vilas County district attorney, Martha Milanowski, to look at what we believe are pretty blatant and brazen actions, we also implore residents to get involved in grassroots oversight and for voters to take control in town elections.
(1 comments)

Friday, February 17, 2017


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