In his letter of resignation from the Oneida Vilas Transit Commission this week, Oneida County supervisor Bob Mott said that, after a conversation about yet another question brewing over at the commission, this time about the transit manager, he could not sleep.
No doubt. We wouldn’t be able to sleep, either, if we had spent the past few years not only as part of the transit commission’s culture of imposture and secrecy but as one of the driving forces behind it.
We say imposture because the transit commission has never really pursued the sort of noble mission it says it does. From the outset, its violation of a federal charter rule; its conflicts of interest, real or perceived; its clashes with private businesses; its stonewalling of county questions into its operations; its refusal to be cooperative in law enforcement inquiries; its eternal parade of empty buses; its open meetings violation — all these and more have made a mockery of public service.
No, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, either.
As we look back upon the last few years, it’s noticeable that most, if not all, the issues related to the transit commission have never been resolved. Questions still linger, its stonewalling goes on.
Now a new issue has emerged. Mr. Mott himself brought up the matter of a “current question regarding the transit manager” in his resignation, and this week Oneida County board chairman Dave Hintz advised keeping transit on the agenda of the county’s administration committee because of “other issues that potentially we will need to discuss.”
All this comes on the heels of an early July transit commission meeting in which, after a closed session, the transit commission voted to hire a lawyer “to address recent information related to the operation of the transit services, the investment of public funds, the possible employment of assistance from outside entity and accounting procedures related to the same.”
It just never stops.
To be sure, it is not uncommon to have agency employees or officials get into controversy or trouble, and neither is it uncommon for entire agencies to be swept over by misconduct. This happens in private life, and it happens in public life.
What’s important in those incidences is whether there is accountability for wrongdoers and whether the agency and its conduct is reformed. Most of the time these incidents do turn out to be outliers, and life goes on.
But every once in a while, an agency’s culture becomes so contaminated and rotten that reform is impossible, and more drastic measures need to be taken. That was the case with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before Scott Walker was governor, and it’s the case now with the Oneida Vilas Transit Commission.
As such, we call for Oneida and Vilas counties to shutter this operation, transfer transportation for the elderly, the disabled, and those with special needs to the appropriate agencies, and let us all move on from this travesty.
We also ask the Oneida and Vilas sheriff’s departments, district attorneys, and county chairmen to pursue a forensic examination of relevant records related to the transit commission. It must be determined if there has any been criminal conduct, and accountability must be demanded of all those responsible for this fiasco. We believe there is more than enough probable cause for such an investigation, especially with a rampant culture of secrecy still thriving.
Even Mr. Mott’s resignation was awash in magnificent deception. In an attempt to portray the transit operation in a positive light, he attached a sheet of statistics on funding distributions, and everything looked pretty good. But those figures are incredibly deceptive.
Suffice it to say that, even using Mr. Mott’s own numbers of about 40,000 one-way rides a year before the pandemic, that’s an increase of just 13,000 rides a year over the base ridership that the Departments on Aging provided to the elderly and disabled and special needs populations at the end of 2015.
Those base rides for the eldery, disabled, and special needs are mandatory — they would and should be given even if the transit commission didn’t exist, as was the case through 2015.
In other words, over the base population for the disabled and aging, and assuming that most people come back from where they go, the transit commission is providing rides to about 525 members of the general public each month, or to about 18 people a day over two counties. That’s just nine members of the general public a day in each county on average.
If we give the transit commission the benefit of the doubt, and assume that nobody comes back from their one-way ride, let’s just double the number and you still have only 35 members of the general public riding a bus on any given day, about 17.5 per county, and at a ridiculously subsidized cost.
That’s why we see all those empty buses. It’s not an illusion. Buses to specific destinations serving specific and mandatory populations provide most of the rides, and every other vehicle is a ghost bus. It’s simply not sustainable, and the transit commission should be dismantled.
We could dissect Mr. Mott’s letter further but why? Basic math leaves him with no credibility. Instead we would like to look at another very red flag inside that commission, and that is the absolute hostility to open government demonstrated by the commission in general and by Bob Mott and transit commission chairman Steven Schreier in particular.
We all know Mr. Mott’s long record of hostility to open government, and also the record of the transit commission — for example, former chairman Erv Teichmiller’s refusal to be interviewed by law enforcement or to answer questions posed about transit by the two board chairmen of Oneida and Vilas counties.
We know about the commission’s refusal to turn over to the sheriff’s department the draft minutes of a meeting during the department’s investigation of an open meeting complaint, and we know the history of the commission trying to dodge annual audits required by its charter.
Then there’s Mr. Schreier. On July 15, we sent Mr. Schreier an open records request. As of this writing, on Aug. 12, we have not received the records. The request was for emails that could be compiled in a hour’s time, judging from our experiences in other records requests.
To be sure, we received word from county board chairman Dave Hintz on July 21 that Mr. Schreier’s records were being processed and records would be released after required review and redaction by the county.
A couple of very important points. First, as Mr. Hintz acknowledged on July 21, as an elected official, Steven Schreier is the custodian of his own records in his possession. It is his responsibility under the law to respond to the records request.
In his July 21 letter, Mr. Hintz wrote that, “Steven will respond to your request with the records that he is the custodian of in his county board supervisor role.”
More than three weeks later, Mr. Schreier has never responded. Even if he has no responsive records, he is required to respond to that effect.
More than that, as the legal custodian of the records in his possession, which is what we asked for, Mr. Schreier is “vested by the authority with full legal power to render decisions and carry out the authority’s statutory public records responsibilities,” as the DOJ compliance manual states.
As an elected official, he is that authority. He may well wish to have the county look over his records for redactions and required withholding if he wants, but the law demands that he fulfill the request concerning his own records in timely fashion, and it is his responsibility to have the county do any review within the reasonable time period of 10 days.
The law simply does not countenance time delays because an official chooses to have others look over the records, knowing full well it could be months before they get to them.
Delay is his obvious plan, and it is a game others in the county are increasingly playing these days, a dangerous political game we might add. But Mr. Schreier’s failure to make good on what Mr. Hintz promised makes his motivations clear.
We find it almost amusing that Mr. Schreier and Mr. Mott were outspoken this week in their support for having far-left referenda put on the November ballot so we could, in Mr. Mott’s words, “let the people decide.”
What rank hypocrisy. Mr. Schreier and Mr. Mott want to let the people decide when it comes to cleverly written referenda questions penned by leftist organizations, but if the actual people want to see what’s going on in Mr. Schreier’s government emails or with the transit commission, that’s a different story.
It’s a story of character, or lack thereof.
Mr. Mott is gone from the transit commission, at least, but Mr. Schreier remains at the helm of an already contaminated transit commission, no better than his predecessor, making any meaningful reform impossible. It is yet another reason why transit needs to be shut down permanently.
Once upon a time, in a far, far away place called Upside Down Land, people in a strange little universe known as the Oneida County Courthouse did everything in reverse.View
All summer long we have become accustomed to seeing Clean Boats Clean Waters volunteers at the launch ramps in their blue T-shirts and hats. We chat with them about where we have been, in what water we have had our boats or equipment and maybe chat about the weather or how fishing has been. If we frequent certain launch ramps enough, we see the same watercraft inspectors over and over, and they become almost like friends to us.View
In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden had this uninspiring assessment of America’s current predicament: “The president keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him: No miracle is coming.”View
If there was ever any doubt — and, after years of reporting, there should not have been — it can be said the leadership of Oneida County is totally contemptuous of public accountability, so secretive in the way it fashions so-called “public policy” and spends taxpayer dollars that it can truly be called a government of the special interests, by the special interests, and for the special interests.View
For decades, natural resource and species conservation policies have been dictated by big city politicians with no skin in the game, activist judges in faraway coastal states and the ebb and flow of partisan politics in Washington. Meanwhile, rural communities with no say in the hopelessly skewed process are left to live with the consequences.View
Last week I attended the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Webinar put on by the Vilas County Land and Water Department. I think the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Program is such a great program, and it is starting to become more popular with riparian owners, which is great to see.View
Life in the Northwoods is beautiful, serene… and buggy! We certainly have our fair share of insects. Many of those insects are beneficial to the environment. Some of them are a nuisance, and others may even carry disease. But they all serve a purpose. Even the mosquito. Yes, the mosquito. I get that they are annoying. I get they bite. I get there is a small chance they can make you sick.View
The “post-game” analyses of the 2020 Democratic National Convention have gone on for longer than the convention itself. Critics continue to weigh in on whether Barack Obama or Michelle Obama was the more effective speaker and whether Joe Biden, in his 24-minute acceptance speech (remarkably brief by historical standards), put to rest questions about Sleepy Joe.View
I have long thought citizen science is a great way to get involved in the world around us. With everything happening in the world today, and more kids doing virtual learning or homeschooling, I also think citizen science is a great learning tool in which kids have the opportunity to get involved.View
Only hours before Bill Clinton addressed the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 18, a strange thing happened. The tabloids published newly discovered photos of the former president receiving a neck massage from a young woman. The pictures were allegedly taken in 2002 during a Clinton Foundation trip to Africa on the jet owned by Jeffrey Epstein, who was revealed years later to be a rapist, thug and serial exploiter of young women. The woman in those photos is Chauntae Davies, then 22 years old and a massage therapist employed by Epstein. She accused him many years later of having raped and mistreated her.View
This week, the Oneida County Board of Supervisors, an entity that is already one of the worst government bodies in Wisconsin when it comes to open government, took another turn down the dark road, voting to pay supervisors per diems for attending meetings virtually rather than actually showing up in person.View
It seems obvious that President Donald Trump is going to need a blockbuster economic revival if he hopes to win reelection in November.View
To say it has been a weird year for fishing would be an understatement, as I believe I have said previously in this very column. The post spawn funk seemed to go on forever, and the water temperatures shot up to what I would consider a sustained unusual level on many lakes. It was just a strange spring and early summer. In the last few weeks, though, things seemed to level off and fish were a little more reliable.View
To say this year has been a strange one for fishing would be an understatement. Water temperatures shot up quickly early on, the fish — especially the smallmouth — seemed to stay in their post spawn funk for far longer than normal, and in general, everything just seemed a bit upside down.View
Gov. Tony Evers’ second declared emergency order over the COVID-19 pandemic is clearly out of order, and the Legislature should act now to overturn it — if they haven’t by the end of the week — and for multiple reasons.View
As some readers know, my husband, Rod Gaskill, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in July of 2018. This year marks the second annual Rod Gaskill Memorial Bass Tournament, which will be held in Rhinelander on Boom Lake.View
At a U.S. House judiciary committee hearing this week, U.S. attorney general William Barr said what many people are thinking, and that is, just why aren’t Democrats and the media condemning the violent riots that have occurred in recent weeks across the United States?View
Sometimes good people do bad things, and sometimes good Supreme Court justices do stupid things, and that’s just what happened in a recent decision by the state Supreme Court.View
Being a bit of a geek, but also a tournament bass angler, I find comparing tournament results to be fun and, at times, quite interesting. While there are many smaller club tournaments on lake dotted across the Northwoods, there are three main trails in which bass anglers compete for a bit bigger purse.View
One of the worst failings of political journalism in our time was just illustrated again. When Joe Biden delivered a path-breaking address on climate change, he drew less media coverage than a rumored shakeup in the Trump campaign. Do you care more about the fate of Republican grifters — or the fate of the Earth?View
All during the pandemic, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers liked to talk about how, with his Badger Bounce Back plan, he would, every day or so, announce a new “turn of the dial,” which would slowly re-open the state, get workers back to work, and families back on their feet.View
Pollinators have become a hot topic lately, with their rapid decline in the last few decades. With two-thirds of the food we eat being possible because of pollinators like bees and butterflies, coupled with the increase in food demand brought on by larger human populations, it makes sense people would be worried and try to do what they can to create pollinator habitat and food sources.View
President Donald Trump showed strong leadership this week, best expressed in a single tweet: “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL.”View
Last month, the Oneida County Land and Water Conservation Department put on a two-day webinar entitled “Healthy Shorelines for Animals, Plants and People.” The webinar in general was very well attended, which was commented on by many speakers.View
The most recent jobs report found that nine of the 10 states with unemployment rates above 14% are in liberal blue states. Ranked from highest to lowest, they are Nevada (25.3%), Hawaii (22.6%), Michigan (21.2%), California (16.3%), Rhode Island (16.3%), Massachusetts (16.3%), Delaware (15.8%), Illinois (15.2%), New Jersey (15.2%) and Washington state (15.1%). I call this the “blue-state jobs depression.” The states with the lowest unemployment rates are all conservative red states: Nebraska (5.2%), Utah (8.5 %), Wyoming 8.8%, Arizona (8.9%) and Idaho (8.9%).View
New York Times/Siena College has Democrat Joe Biden at 50% and Republican President Donald Trump at 36%; CNN has Biden at 54% and Trump 36%; Fox News has Biden at 50% and Trump at 38%. These recent national polls have left Democrats almost giddy with anticipation. But before Democrats put the champagne on ice, they would be wise to remember the prophetic words of an authentically wise Texan. Former Gov. Ann Richards said, on July 3, 1988, on CBS’s “Face the Nation”: “July does not a November election make.”View
The coronavirus shutdown has flattened multiple industries across America — everything from airlines and manufacturers to hospitals, retailers, oil and gas producers, and restaurants. Many of the 30 million small and large businesses in the country have reported a 30% reduction in revenues. Amid the carnage, one sector of the economy is thriving like never before in the history of the republic: the government.View
Under normal circumstances, running a tournament, or a series of tournaments, can be a big undertaking. This year we had a new twist to it all. As many know, I am the tournament director for the Wisconsin River Series. We usually have four qualifying tournaments and a two-day championship. Of course, our tournament in early May had to be cancelled due to the pandemic and the governor’s Safer at Home order.View
It’s the oddest thing. The more America’s Big Tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have contributed to keeping America’s economy afloat during the coronavirus lockdown, the louder the voices get to break them up or to tie them up into regulatory knots.View
Mob rule has been a staple of America’s leftist politics for a while now, and so it is hardly surprising the Left has now unleashed its version of it in the Northwoods, an uprising against honest debate and integrity that most assuredly will be countered and defeated.View
Here’s the fail-safe test for whether a political party is growing and strengthening or shrinking in size and prospects: Is that party spending its time, energy and effort seeking, recruiting and welcoming converts to its ranks, or is that party instead hunting down heretics within its ranks and, in the name of political purity, banishing them to some outer darkness?View
While there are still social distancing best practices in place and things are not exactly as we remember them, we have learned, in large part, to take our meetings and trainings online. As I have said before, this has afforded many of us the opportunity to attend and to learn many things we otherwise would not have.View
In the coming time following the pandemic and its lockdowns, there is likely to be an intense debate about economic recovery, as millions of Americans and small businesses try to get on their feet after the fierce blows that have put so many on the canvas.View
The crisis of the coronavirus-induced economic lockdown and now the violent protests in the streets have unleashed a depression-level financial crisis and unprecedented human suffering — especially in our inner cities. These events have also exposed a Grand Canyon-sized chasm that now separates how the left and the right see America today. To wit:View
Under ordinary circumstances, open dissent from high-ranking military officials, retired and active, against the actions of civilian political leaders would signal a danger familiar to other countries. Such rumblings from the military often indicate that constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy and that martial law, or even a coup d’etat, may be on the horizon.View
The recovery stage for our economy is finally here, and now the policy priority has to shift to getting people back on the job and getting businesses up and running. The best incentive to get businesses hiring again and get workers off unemployment is to suspend the payroll tax for the rest of the year.View
As we report in today’s edition, Linda Conlon, Oneida County’s public health officer, has apparently decided the economic hardships brought about by the Evers lockdown weren’t dire enough, so she has now adopted a policy that will surely cause even more economic damage, that is, to name businesses that were visited by persons testing positive for COVID-19.View
I was lucky enough to attend the furbearer advisory committee meeting last week. One thing I have to say with all of this “social distancing” protocol is it truly has given me the opportunity to attend several things I may not have otherwise. Whether it is logistically not viable or there are two meetings at the same time, I will admit there have always been several things I wanted to check into, whether for my own personal edification or for the newspaper, that I just simply could not get to.View
America is starting to reopen for business across the country — except for a handful of states where lockdown orders are expected to remain in place for weeks to come. With very few exceptions, the cities and states that have ordered their businesses to remain comatose and their millions of workers to go without paychecks are blue, blue, blue. This list includes New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Oregon. They all have Democratic governors.View
When people ask me my favorite sport to watch, I usually say football or baseball. In terms of my favorite league, college football stands on top.View
As many know, the fight against terrestrial invasive species has been heating up across the Northwoods (and other areas, of course). The Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) recently came out with its update of the non-native plant plan from 2005, targeting non-native species and putting special emphasis on some species of concern.View
Lake associations generally have slim budgets for projects to sustain or improve water quality and lake ecosystems. It’s even tougher for individual property owners to find money to take on lake enhancement projects, like a natural shoreline restorations.View
This week, NASCAR returned for the first time since March 8. The sound of roaring engines and cars zooming by delighted me as I watched on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It made me happy for a number of reasons.View
For my next adventure, I decided to sign up to do some rare plant monitoring. I though that would be a fun way to spend a day outside and get to also learn some new things. (subscriber access)View
The U.S. economy is at last moving into the recovery stage from the coronavirus, at least in most states.View
Every year I wonder why people do not go to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) spring hearings. Every year I wonder why people do not make their voices heard. Even when the option came about to fill out the questionnaire online, turn out was not what I would have expected from such a passionate group of people.View
In the strongest terms we can, we endorse Tom Tiffany for Congress in next Tuesday’s election, and urge voters to cast their vote for a representative who we believe will give the Lakeland area and northern Wisconsin a strong voice in Congress — a much more spirited and forceful voice than that of any representative in recent memory.View
Lakes and rivers seem to get a lot of “press,” if you will. But wetlands do not get a lot of that attention. UW-Extension Lakes has a series of CLMN (Citizen Lake Monitoring Network) webinars on YouTube now, the most recent of which was all about those wetlands. The webinars are hour-long informational sessions about various aspects of water. (subscriber access)View
As many who read the Outdoors section of The Lakeland Times are aware, the Lakes and Rivers Convention, originally slated to happen at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Stevens Point, was turned into an online event. It was still very widely attended, and there were so many great sessions that it was still hard to decide what to attend.View
In our many years of reporting on and analyzing state government, it is hardly an understatement to say that the GOP lawsuit challenging the authority of the Evers administration to unilaterally lockdown this state for another month and contesting the sweeping powers the governor and his health services secretary claim is perhaps the most important of our lives.View
There will be no graduation festivities this spring at dozens of American colleges and universities, including Ohio State, Brigham Young, Howard, Swarthmore, Notre Dame, Duke, UCLA and Yale. That means this year’s graduates and their closest relatives and friends will not have the benefit of sitting on hard chairs and listening to the commencement speaker.View
It was with total shock, and then a heavy heart, that I read an email Monday morning from our general manager, Heather Holmes. She forwarded an email to me from Jacob Friede’s mom letting us know Jacob’s life had been taken in a boating accident last weekend. I sat, staring at the computer, unsure what to think or how to respond.View
I’ve been in a mystery mood lately and decided to revisit one of my all-time favorite movies, “Clue,” this past weekend.View
To say I love a good murder mystery would be an understatement. From the writings of Agatha Christie to modern authors, there’s something alluring about the prospect of a mystery needing to be solved and finding the clues and piecing it together as you read.View
We start with the good news, which you can find here but not in many other media outlets: COVID-19 is not nearly as dangerous as we all thought it once was, nor increasingly does it seem to be so easily transmitted.View
Before the season was suspended, the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo was having a phenomenal season. But where does he rank among current NBA stars?View
There’s nothing quite like an old favorite to lift your spirits and bring some levity to an incredibly stressful. And so, as I was sitting at home looking through some of my favorite films to revisit and do just that, I came across a film I hadn’t seen in years, but always loved.View
“Heresy” by Melissa Lenhardt is a western. There will be mayhem, shootouts and standoffs. There will be horseback races, whiskey and tired cowboys at the end of the day. Cattlerustlers who need to be set straight. The only difference? Women get all the action in this novel.View
I am like a kid in a candy store when I have a new field guide. I love them, and there are so many of them out there. Enthusiasts can find field guides dedicated to plants, animals, insects, fish and any other thing, truly, that may be of interest. A field guide to edible plants is always fun to flip through. But I have to say there are some I will likely never try. Mushrooming is huge with some people, but I do not know enough about it to feel safe just picking up a field guide and heading out into the woods.View
We’re hearing a lot as we approach the spring election about the importance of having nonpartisan redistricting after this year’s census.View
Some of the best movies find their roots in real life, and “Dark Waters” is no different.View
The evening sun dips into purple above the treetops, casting a mellow light across Birch Lake, where grandson Tucker and I, jig rods in hand, hunch over holes drilled in the ice. No one else is around. Earlier in the day, Tucker (7) walked around the edge of the lake with his mom and dad and dogs Bruce and Pizzy, while younger grandson Perrin (6) and I tended the jig rods.View
When Americans are confronting the most threatening national crisis in a generation or more, it would be uplifting to offer a few encouraging words about the president of the United States. And a few is about as many as can be offered at this point. Not only is his performance to date far below what his country needs, but he also shows no sign of having learned the lessons that might allow him to improve.View
With many Northwoods residents stuck inside, or staying home, we are all looking for more things to do at home and more ways to stay occupied. While I have always enjoyed gardening, I can say with a degree of confidence, that I am not the best at it. But I think that is part of the beauty of gardening. You do not really have to be “good” at it to enjoy it. My situation has changed over the years, meaning I have had different soil types to deal with, I have had to create gardens out of lawns and other areas, and I have, most recently, had to downsize quite a bit.View
Last Friday afternoon I sat on the lakefront screen porch, needing only a fleece for warmth, and listened as the melt water from the roof hit the leaves on the ground below. It was a lovely sound after a snow melt that had been agonizingly slow, highs in the upper 30s, low 40s at best, and back to well below freezing overnight, the decline in snow all but imperceptible.View
Throughout the history of film, there have been many movies that have meant a lot to a person, a movie that is special and brings out many emotions. For me, that movie is “How to Train Your Dragon.”View
This is a bewildering and stressful time around the world, but it was even more bewildering and stressful in Wisconsin this week as voters marched to the polls, or in many cases didn’t, to cast ballots in the state’s spring elections — elections that should have been postponed.View
Why in the world is the federal government, 20 years into the 21st century, continuing to pour tens of billions of tax dollars into little-used mass transit rail projects? In a digital age with increasingly popular and affordable door-to-door ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, universal use of cars by all income groups and the revolution of smart driverless vehicles around the corner, subway systems and light rail are as old-fashioned as the rotary phone. The federal government and urban planners in at least 25 cities are frantically spending money to lay down tracks that, in 10 or 20 years, they will have to rip right out of the ground.View
The recent decision by Oneida County circuit judge Michael Bloom to dismiss the walking quorum complaint against Rhinelander mayor Chris Frederickson and four city aldermen is a case study demonstrating both how good-old-boy politics still dominates in Oneida County and how the state’s activist judges are, case by case, rewriting the state’s open meetings and open records laws.View
I have never been one to understand it, to be honest. People are fond of saying, “we get an extra hour of daylight!” Or “we are losing an hour of daylight!” My question is: how many hours a day do you sleep? Are you awake at all in the morning or evening? Because there really is not that much difference in the amount of daylight we get that next day. It is adjusted — with time being a construct of humanity to keep things orderly.View
First, a confession: I really like presidential debates. Why, you ask? Because these debates give us voters the chance to watch and evaluate the candidates while they stand shoulder-to-shoulder and have to answer the same questions. Away from their carefully orchestrated campaign events, without their teleprompters or an audience of planted, friendly supporters, candidates in a debate are under pressure and facing criticism from both opponents and moderators.View
As we report today, the Minocqua town board recently fired public works employee Mark Heil after only about a week as a full-time employee, though he had been employed part-time since last October. Specifically, Heil was fired for using a town front-end loader to plow a private driveway on Church Road, in violation of town policy.View
There’s an old saying about baseball and life that no one ever had a 1.000 batting average. It turns out that’s not exactly true. At least when it comes to the Trump economy, anti-Trumpers defied the near-impossible statistical odds and somehow have batted 1.000 on their predictions. They managed to get it wrong every time.View
The power of the president to grant pardons as stated in the Constitution is unconditional, as President Donald Trump has observed. But as he prepares to bestow that favor on Roger Stone and perhaps other felons who have protected him, someone should advise him that a corrupt pardon is nevertheless a crime that can be prosecuted, if not overturned.View
At a recent county public hearing to consider a hotel project planned for Hwy. 51 where once stood the Bay View Inn and a laundromat, the project’s developer, Glenn Schiffmann, who was obviously exasperated, said what many in the room must have been thinking: There’s just too much government. We agree with Mr. Schiffmann and we are just as exasperated.View
In the seven presidential elections since 1992, the Republican presidential nominee has won the popular vote exactly once. The lone GOP candidate to receive a majority of the national vote was George W. Bush in 2004. Bush’s election-day victory over Democrat John Kerry, who had, in most observers’ views, “won” the debates between the two, was explained by the respected Democratic pollster Peter Hart: “Voters preferred I Like over IQ.”View
The Republican and Democratic primaries for the seventh congressional district are Tuesday — the winners will face each other in May to determine who replaces Republican Sean Duffy as our representative in Congress — and in both parties the choice is straightforward and clear. On the Republican side, we believe voters should nominate Northwoods state Sen. Tom Tiffany as the best candidate for northern Wisconsin.View
As on the Republican side, the Democratic primary for the seventh congressional district this coming Tuesday — the winners will face each other in May to determine who replaces Republican Sean Duffy as our representative in Congress — offers a clear choice. That choice is Tricia Zunker, the president of the Wausau school board and an associate justice on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court.View
In a story in last Friday’s edition, Minocqua town chairman Mark Hartzheim was quoted as saying he could not remember roads being in as poor a shape as they are right now. He’s not alone. Everyone knows it. Everyone talks and complains about it. The problem is, no one is doing much about it.View
After President Trump finished his triumphant State of the Union speech Tuesday night, House speaker Nancy Pelosi did something no one was anticipating: She stood up and ripped apart the printed copy of the speech, calling it a manifesto of untruths.View
President Donald Trump rightly touts the economy-wide savings from his deregulation initiatives. But one federal agency didn’t get the memo. Some members of the Surface Transportation Board, which has oversight over the nation’s network of freight railroads, wants to resurrect price controls on the industry.View
It’s a rough start to the year 2020. Politically, the nation, at least its major media, seems to be consumed by ongoing attempts to remove President Trump from office, and, in general, political polarization has reached ever new heights around the world, from Brexit in Britain to Hong Kong protests.View
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, President Donald Trump again talked positively about negative interest rates. That’s not a very good idea considering negative interest rates are a warning signal of deflation, which can be as bad for an economy as runaway inflation.View
For those who wanted Oneida County to borrow up to $2 million from the state Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) to fund some pretty important capital improvement projects, Tuesday was a bitter blow to their big-government dreams.View
Almost all of us know (because President Trump boasts of it in nearly every speech) that our 3.5% unemployment rate has reached a 50-year low. But this official decline in joblessness doesn’t tell the entire story of the improvement in the job market in the United States. And it doesn’t fully capture the change in direction between what happened under President Barack Obama and Trump.View
Over the holidays, I read Elton John’s biography, “Me.” He writes about his friendship with Freddie Mercury, the ultratalented lead singer of the rock group Queen. Mercury tragically died of AIDS at the age of 45 in 1991. Mercury was one of the last people to die of the disease in Britain during the epidemic years.View
It was a sweet and important win for the average person and for accountability when, as we report in today’s edition, cable giant CNN agreed last week to settle a defamation suit filed by Kentucky high school student Nick Sandmann, who counterpunched against the network for painting him as a racist.View