Opinions

Thu
04
Apr

Latest twists on Smollett case ring with injustice

I was livid when it was revealed that the supposed hate crime against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett turned out to be a hoax. When charges were filed against Smollett in Chicago, I thought it was essential to send a message to celebrities everywhere that your golden pulpit comes with consequences when you misuse it.

According to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, there aren’t consequences, at least not the same that you or I would be if we cried wolf. The office decided it wasn’t worth the time — after already spending $130,000 pursuing the case — and decided to drop all charges against Smollett after he spent two days performing community service and forfeited his $10,000 bond. “Alternative prosecution,” they called it.

I call it a celebrity getting off easy.

Thu
04
Apr

Baby genocide, not climate change, is ‘our World War II’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines when saying that the imperative of addressing climate change is “our World War II,” adding that the world is in big trouble within 12 years if we don’t. Her analogy to World War II really struck me.

In addition to history books, much of what I’ve learned about World War II comes directly from veterans and the stories I’ve overheard them retelling. When I was a teenager, I worked at a fast-food restaurant. One of my favorite memories was listening to the group of World War II veterans retell war stories as they enjoyed their coffee together Monday through Friday, 6:30-9 a.m., like clockwork.

I never asked them why they fought in the war, or what they thought they were fighting for. I didn’t need to. Their stories made it clear. At least from my interpretation, fighting for freedom and liberation, fighting for their countrymen and fighting to prevent genocide, were some of the main reasons why these men risked their lives.

Fri
29
Mar

Dark truths hate to be brought to light

Well, thank heavens that got clarified.

After being found guilty of 62 counts of child porn possession, sex assault and child enticement, former teacher Tim Schmidt made it clear that his abuse of power and predation on children was thrown way out of proportion by the news media.

The Shawano Leader’s reporting of Schmidt’s assault, on both the actual student and the children whose photos he downloaded on the internet, was slanderous and defaming, he said.

Defaming? Because we didn’t present a “fair and balanced” response? Should we have sought out someone who argued that, really, sexual predation on children is not so bad?

Slanderous? Because he wasn’t charged with a crime, wasn’t convicted — oh, wait. Both of those are true.

Fri
29
Mar

Time to decide what ‘reality’ we want for America’s Dairyland

“Reality.” It’s a word I’ve run across lately more than I’d like.

The reality is, or so I’ve been told, that little can be done to save the hundreds of dairy farmers who are going out of business and being wiped from the landscape of America’s Dairyland. The reality is that farms that have been in families for generations are being sold off, piece by piece. Farms that once supported a family can no longer pay the bills on milk prices that have been in the trough for nearly five years. Meanwhile, farm debt and bankruptcies, farmer suicides, and rural mental health issues are all on the rise, and our Main Streets are dying.

In 2018, Wisconsin lost nearly 700 dairy herds, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. USDA statistics show that across America, 2,731 (or 6.5 percent) of licensed dairy farms were lost from 2017 to 2018.

Fri
29
Mar

Hagedorn will protect people’s liberties

To the editor:

Fellow Wisconsinites, our liberties, guns, and freedoms we enjoy in Wisconsin are slowly being stolen from us. There are many judges who write their own laws instead of following the Constitution. We have judges ruling the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, should be thrown out. We have judges ruling the unborn do not have a right to life. We have judges ruling religious liberties are not relevant anymore.

We, the Wisconsinites, have let judges make laws instead of delivering what the Constitution declares what is law. Our Constitution lays out the law of the land, and this is final. A judge that wants to make law should be running for a seat in the legislative branch, not the judicial branch!

Sat
23
Mar

What’s in a name when it comes to stone-cold killers?

New Zealand became the latest country to experience an act of terrorism when an Australian man walked into two different mosques in Christchurch and killed almost 50 people. That incident, like many in the United States, prompted a call for banning the type of gun used by said terrorist.

It also prompted another interesting reaction from the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, who made a plea this week to Parliament that the man responsible for the attacks would not be referred to by name. To give him a name would give him an undeserved notoriety, according to Ardern.

“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name,” Ardern said in a National Public Radio story.

Sat
23
Mar

Babies in the womb deserve chance at life

To the editor:

A number of Democratic governors, senators and representatives have expressed the desire to legalize late-term abortions, even at the time of birth by letting the child die. I call this infanticide. Have the government and the citizens of the United States come this far? The country that sat in judgment at Nuremburg?

There have been over 50 million abortions in the United States. Germany was reluctant to legalize abortions because of their past, but encouraged by the U.S. and the U.N., abortions in the first 12 weeks have been permitted in Germany since 1996.

Sat
16
Mar

Public records are yours, so make use of them

Public records: Documents made by a government agency which are required to be kept and maintained.

Reporters love them. They form the backbone of many news stories. A reporter’s pay can be based on drumming up stories, so public records are of great value. Watch the newsroom waters churn when juicy public records are thrown in. Political scandal, big names, big money, controversy, sex or violence! Hold on to your boat. Those fish bite hard, man!

Reporters can do a whole story on a public record. Example: A psychiatrist gets his license revoked by the state for having sex with a patient. Oh, that’s a good one. Hold the press! Translate the legalese into everyday English, get a couple of comments from participants and it might be on the front page the next day.

“Unnamed sources,” “it was reported,” “some people say” — these just can’t compare to the black-and-white of a mug shot, lawsuit or your mayor’s e-mails – all public records.

Sat
16
Mar

Snap judgment: Selfish selfie sends starlet to get stitches

Most of the people you meet tend to be fairly intelligent and understand right from wrong, good from bad and smart from stupid. Every once in a while, though, there’s someone who defies convention and does something that makes you scratch your head and speculate whether their parents might be brother and sister.

The latter seems to be a case with a woman in Arizona who went to the Wildlife World Zoo west of Phoenix and tried to get a selfie with a jaguar. Now, if she’d done it by standing where she was supposed to and had the big cat positioned in the background, that would have been just fine. However, she tried to climb over the big concrete barrier that normally keeps folks like us from becoming lunch for the animals, and the jaguar, feeling threatened by a stranger trying to invade her space, did what any animal would do and lashed out, digging her claws into the woman’s arm.

Sat
09
Mar

Democrats need to trim down the candidate pool

It’s not 2020, and yet we’ve already got Democrats coming out of the woodwork announcing they’re running for president against Donald Trump. There have been so many announcements over the last couple of months that it’s hard to keep track.

Instead of the time-honored tradition of an American election, I feel like I’m witnessing the exodus from a clown car. You see one candidate emerge, and then another and another, and you look at that car to see how many others are going to pop out.

With other activities, this would be fairly funny. For me, it says one think about the Democratic Party — they’re disorganized. You expect a few candidates for one party as the primary approaches, but there are more than a dozen declared candidates with the first election about a year away. If Democrats are eager to unseat Trump next year, they’re going to need a more manageable stable of selections.

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