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home : opinions May 24, 2017

Trump's biggest enemy: The Republican Party
Some people never learn, and by that we mean the establishment of the Republican Party. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 5, 2017

Due process in the cross hairs
It's time for the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee to do its job and make a decision regarding the conditional use permit applied for by Marshfield Clinic to construct a hospital in Minocqua.
Friday, May 19, 2017

Congress: Demand White House transcript
If Donald Trump disclosed highly classified state secrets to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, he may be vulnerable to impeachment - not because he broke the law, which evidently he did not, but because he committed an act that would be considered criminal and perhaps treasonous if perpetrated willfully by any other government official.
Friday, May 19, 2017

Cruel and stupid
President Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, ordered federal prosecutors to seek maximum penalties for drug-related crimes.

This is both cruel and stupid.

Friday, May 19, 2017

3 Memorable American presidents and the truth
There have been three memorable American presidents, the story goes. President George Washington could never tell a lie. President Richard Nixon could never tell the truth. And President Donald Trump cannot tell the difference.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Improved health bill
The House repealed Obamacare!

OK, they didn't really - but they passed a bill that repeals some bad parts of it, like the individual mandate tax, medicine cabinet tax, flexible spending account tax and health savings account withdrawal tax. Good.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It's time to come together to improve health care for residents in Wisconsin
The Founding Fathers purposely made it difficult for elected officials to enact sweeping legislation. Our Constitution's separation of powers demands coordination and consensus to pass especially meaningful and impactful laws. For that reason, most of the significant pieces of legislation passed in the last 60 years, after lengthy debate, ultimately achieved bipartisan majorities on final passage.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Donald Trump's death panels
The real death panels are coming.

Back in 2009, during the shrill hours of debate over the Affordable Care Act, Sarah Palin warned us solemnly that defenseless Americans "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Oneida County: Where government lawlessness lingers longer
Under the category of What Else Is New ....

Once again Oneida County district attorney Michael Schiek has determined that the county has violated the open-meetings law, but once again he doesn't believe anybody should be held accountable.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The grifters do 'tax reform'
If you were paying attention to what we learned about Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, then you know the president of the United States was once the impresario of a student-swindling Trump University, the founder of a Trump Foundation designed for tax evasion and illegal self-dealing, and the chief executive of a The Trump Organization that has long relied on various techniques of grifting, from rip-offs of workers and contractors to serial bankruptcies.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Missing Kate O'Beirne
My adopted hometown of Washington has been accused, not always unfairly, of being a city full of scheming climbers who are frantically courting the company and the favor of the powerful. In this and so many respects, Kate O'Beirne - the conservative leader and writer who died too soon, at 67 on April 23 - was anti-Washington. Kate was not about making contacts (although the powerful, especially Republicans, regularly sought her approval). She was always about making - and about keeping - friends.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Break the chains
My head spins.

Before President Trump was elected, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai came on my TV show, upset because President Obama ordered his agency to regulate the Internet.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

All you need is growth
As sure as the cuckoo clock chimes at midnight, the left is bloviating that Donald Trump's tax plan will blow a $5 trillion hole in the deficit. Many of the people complaining loudest were in the Obama administration and helped preside over a $9 trillion tidal wave of new debt. Now they are fiscally chaste.
Friday, May 5, 2017

The next president
Will Donald Trump be re-elected in 2020?

Probably not, say people who bet. They give Trump only a 23 percent chance. They do pick him over all other politicians, but the favorite is "other."

I know this because I follow the betting odds at ElectionBettingOdds.com.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Coal's colossal comeback
Buried in an otherwise-humdrum jobs report was the jaw-dropping pronouncement by the Department of Labor that mining jobs in America were up by 11,000 in March. Since the low point in October 2016, and following years of painful layoffs in the mining industry, the mining sector has added 35,000 jobs.

What a turnaround. Liberals have been saying that Donald Trump was lying to the American people when he said he could bring coal jobs back. Well, so far, he has delivered on his promise.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When it comes to science, beware the scientists
As we report in today's edition, a major controversy has erupted around the Trump administration's decision to not ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is widely used on fruits and vegetables and which has been linked to numerous neurodevelopmental problems in children, including higher incidences of autism.

The mainstream media and environmental organizations pretty much went berserk, especially given that the Obama administration had approved the ban and it was almost in place before the Trump EPA aborted it.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Can special elections to the US House predict our political future?
Is there an emerging national pattern to be found in special House elections, such as the one that just happened in Georgia to fill the reliably Republican House seat once held by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, most recently held by the current secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and for which, in the first round of voting, a rookie 30-year-old Democrat finished first, 28 points ahead of the Republican former Georgia secretary of state?
Friday, April 28, 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.

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."

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.

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

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

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.

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:

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

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