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.
Instead, over the course of a few weeks, both Gov. Tony Evers and the Republican-controlled Legislature pledged to carry the April 7 elections forward, then got bogged down in inexcusable partisan bickering, then the governor ordered the Legislature to Madison to postpone the election to May, seeing as how he couldn’t postpone the election himself, then no one showed up for the governor’s special session, so the governor got mad and said he was going to call the election off anyway, even though he had for weeks said the election should go forward, then the state Supreme Court ordered it to happen, and, for better or worse, it happened.
Got all that? Yes, it happened, an in-person election conducted during a period of time when people are ordered to stay at home and are forbidden even to go to church or have neighbors over for dinner.
The whole COVID-19 scenario may seem like an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” but the situation leading up to this election is more like a scenario ripped from the pages of Mad Magazine. It was that insane.
And there’s no other way to say it — the vast majority of the blame for this fiasco goes to Evers, who has just completely and utterly imploded his governorship. In the past few weeks, this would-be tinpot dictator has more aptly proved himself to be more of a tinfoil dictator, unable to adequately manage this crisis or even to take advantage of it, as most Democrats are wont to do. As the election approached, even his own party was furious with him.
Evers’ inglorious and devastating failure of leadership has shown him to be completely unfit for office, even to fill out the rest of his term. We would suggest a recall except, well, you know.
Not that any of this means the Republican legislative leadership should be proud of themselves. We’ll get to that in a bit, but suffice it to say now that they too betrayed the state with their partisan idiocy. They just couldn’t match Evers’ idiocy, or his betrayal.
So let’s take a look at what transpired.
First, as the crisis unfolded in mid-to-late March, the governor was all for the April 7 election. Indeed, Evers said it would be dangerous not to have it, as the GOP legislative petition to the Supreme Court on Monday pointed out: “He has explained that delaying the election would jeopardize public safety because ‘all of the local offices that are on the ballot would be empty’ and ‘those positions need to be filled to help get the state through the coronavirus pandemic.’ He has also observed that postponing the election could backfire if the ‘coronavirus situation’ ‘worse(ned) in May or June.’”
In addition to this pleading, which seemed to be more of a whining, the governor complained he had no authority to postpone the election anyway.
Then, Evers had a brilliant idea: Let’s postpone the election anyway.
To hell with continuity, to hell with a possible worsening or second wave of Covid-19, Evers decided to ask the Legislature to move the election to May, all mail-in of course. It’s hardly surprising all of his various schemes contained highly partisan priorities — such as suspending Voter ID requirements and important safeguards in absentee balloting, such as having witnesses.
To Evers, it didn’t really matter what date the election was ultimately held on, so long as he could disrupt the election’s integrity and maximize Democratic opportunity. After all, the lack of political integrity and Democratic opportunity are a loving couple in this administration, blissfully lurching hand-in-hand from one ideological crusade to another.
Of course, the Legislature rightfully rejected this proposal, as Evers must have known it would, and so he had another brilliant idea: He would just postpone the election himself.
Yes, that’s right, to hell with the lack of statutory authority, let’s move the election to June. And so the administration had to face (well, metaphorically at least) the Supreme Court, apparently with a straight face, and argue that they didn’t want the election on April 7, after all, and that Evers did have authority to move the date, after all.
Maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t have to face the justices physically, for they must have been laughing hard — envision side-splitting guffaws and maybe even heavy drinking — when they wrote the brilliant piece of satire they handed to the justices, disguised as a legal argument.
The majority of the court didn’t fall for it, of course, and so the election proceeded.
It must be said, as we mentioned earlier, the Republican legislative leadership does not have clean hands in this. They, too, were out for their own partisan interests. They saw an opportunity to maximize their political advantage because, one would expect, low turnout — caused by refusing to go to the polls or not getting absentee ballots in time, which apparently happened to thousands of people — would most likely impact the Democrats more than it would the GOP.
That’s speculative, of course, but that was the GOP’s real reason for sticking to April 7. Otherwise, they could have simply moved the election date to June or some other time while jettisoning the governor’s partisan provisions. After all, other states did reschedule spring elections, including those controlled by the GOP, such as Georgia, Ohio, and Indiana.
Moving the date involved no constitutional question — at least before Evers tried to do it by himself — because counties and municipalities and towns are all governed by state statutes.
Indeed, a responsible governor and a responsible Legislature would have worked together weeks ago to do just that. They would have moved the election date, temporarily extended the terms of those serving, and placed restrictions on local government actions during the time of the extended terms, to prevent partisan mischief, such as raising taxes.
How simple it could have been. Instead we got partisan madness. But it was Evers’ tinfoil that shone the brightest in the light of incompetence and failure.
Still, the governor’s failed litigative gambit does offer the GOP a chance to redeem itself.
For one thing, Evers’ move has likely squashed a governor’s ability to suspend or alter a state statute during states of emergency. The broad statutory language Evers used to claim such authority — “may issue such orders as he or she deems necessary for the security of persons and property” — does appear to give him sweeping authority during times of emergency, but Republicans argued that other statutory language restricted that power, especially when it comes to statutes.
We won’t know for sure until the court issues a more comprehensive opinion on its Monday decision, but the court majority appears to agree with the GOP, not Evers.
If that’s the case, then the GOP should move to challenge other emergency statutory suspensions that Evers has taken, such as suspending the statute and an accompanying rule requiring that students receive so many hours of classroom instruction per year.
Many parents are miffed that Evers suspended that statute, believing they are not getting their tax money’s worth if the state simply decides to forgo its obligation to educate our children as state law calls for. The Legislature needs to reconvene to suspend that law itself, if that is what it wants to do, or it needs to challenge the administration’s ability to do so unilaterally.
It should go without saying, too, that the Legislature should not contemplate, under any circumstances, extending the state of emergency once its 60-day length expires. The governor has shown himself spectacularly incapable of governing the state, and to give him extended emergency powers to boot would be irresponsible.
Finally, the governor cannot under any scenario suspend the constitution, neither the state constitution nor the federal constitution, and yet, among other things, that is exactly what he has done by closing churches and forbidding church services, including Easter and Passover services.
The federal constitution forbids any prohibition on the free exercise of religion, and the Wisconsin constitution buttresses that forcefully: “The right of every person to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed ….”
Evers apparently does not understand what “never” means. He has effectively suspended the constitution.
But, as state Supreme Court justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in a recent powerful dissent: “Emergency does not create power … The constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency. Its grants of power to the federal government and its limitations of the power of the states were determined in the light of emergency, and they are not altered by emergency.”
Our question is, if the GOP is willing to go to court to protect its constitutional powers to make the laws of the state concerning election dates, why aren’t Republicans willing to go to court to protect the people’s constitutional right to worship? Or, for that matter, our constitutional right to freely move about.
The public health emergency has tested us all and challenged our nation in ways we could never have imagined just over a month ago. But our nation has been tested before, and triumphed. Alway in those challenges, we have turned to our constitution for help, not away from it, and that has made all the difference.
Now we need to do so again, and our elected representatives need to join us, especially when we face not just an enemy virus but a governor who by his driven ideological impulses and his glaring incompetency, who by a destitution of character and a poverty of leadership, who by the paucity of an ability to think logically, consistently, or critically, is fatally unable to protect either our rights or our health.
The Democrats are rewriting history, celebrating the Obama record on the economy as if these were the salad days for America. In Washington parlance, that is called “misremembering.” The reality is that the Obama tax-and-regulate agenda led to the weakest economic recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.View
On its face, Gov. Tony Evers’ third emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic seems nonsensical.View
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
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
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
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
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.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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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