vcnewsreview.com Byron McNutt - Vilas County News-Review
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  • “I HAVE THE FEELING that the world I’ve known is ending. I have no idea what’s coming next, but on the basis of what we see, it doesn’t look great,” said author Salman Rushdie.
    “We’re in an age of
  • WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are you ready for plant-based burgers, sausages and steaks? Are meatless alternatives truly better for the planet than traditional beef, pork and poultry culinary entrees?
    Two companies, Impossible Foods and
  • WE’RE ALL ENTITLED to express outrage when we see or hear things we don’t like. The question is can we feel outraged too often?
    In our contentious world, it seems we are expected to be outraged about something two or three times a week. I’m thinking that is too much. If we are constantly outraged about
  • LABOR DAY IS A chance to take a break from our routines and honor the contributions of those who have built America into the world’s No. 1 economic power.
    As we relax and reflect, we need to 
  • DEMOCRATS INSIST THEIR primary goals in 2020 are to win control of the U.S. Senate and to make Donald Trump a one-term president. And they are willing to do and say anything they have to to make that happen.
    On the other side, the Republican Party would like to
  • WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS about the statement “The world in which we live equally distributes talent, but does not equally distribute opportunity. Paths are not always the same.” The emphasis was on the first part.
    You may have seen or heard a television commercial recently in which
  • IF THE 2020 presidential election was strictly a referendum on the character, temperament, diplomacy, decency and behavior of Donald Trump, the Democrat candidate, no matter who he or she might be, would have a very good chance of winning.
    But if the Democrat candidate insists on
  • DID YOU EVER IMAGINE there would be a time when people would decide that going shopping would not be a good or preferable way to spend their precious time?
    There are many reasons for
  • WHILE LOOKING UP timely topics for this column each week, I run across many surprising viewpoints and study results that others have seen in their crystal ball. This week, I’ll share a few things that I found especially interesting and insightful.
    For example, crime analysts at
  • IF HUMANS SHOULD have learned anything the past 100 years, we should have learned valuable lessons regarding nutrition and personal finances. The fact is we are barraged with so many mixed messages and tempted with bad choices.
    You would think our ancestors would have
  • WHAT MAKES US so sure autonomous vehicles and robotic delivery carts are safe options for the future? Will those evil cyberhackers and ransomware masterminds suddenly come out of the shadows and have mercy on us?
    More than $100 billion is being invested in 
  • AS MANY HAVE observed, one indicator of what makes a country great is the number of people who want to get in vs. how many want to leave. Some countries have borders to keep people in; others, to keep people out.
    As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, we should remember that it isn’t
  • DESPITE YEARS OF CONSTANT protests, medicine prices and drugmaker profits continue to soar. Consumers have been complaining about the spiraling prescription drug prices and politicians have promised action, but no progress has been made and they are losing the battle.
    Leigh Purvis, director of health services for
  • AT A TIME when the college student loan debt is approaching $1.6 trillion and roughly 10% of borrowers are defaulting on that debt, Elizabeth Warren, the liberal Democratic senator from Massachusetts, has proposed a plan to forgive much of that debt and make public college free.
    Warren’s plan would actually shift the debt burden to
  • AMERICAN NOVELIST THOMAS PYNCHON once said “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” Might this observation apply to the current field of 2020 presidential candidates?
    The wannabe presidents are
  • I’VE KNOWN A few very cagey farmers in my day. So when a couple of friends sent me the following stories, I knew I wanted to share them with you. It is especially funny when a smart, well-educated city slicker tries to outwit a crafty farmer.
    Scott Soder told the story of
  • IT’S BECOME COMMONPLACE. You’re at a coffee shop or restaurant and four people, they could be friends or a family unit, come in, sit down and prepare to place their orders. What a great opportunity for quality face-to-face bonding, but then, it happens. 
    All four people pull out their
  • AS THIS YEAR’S crop of young people graduate from high school and college, we tell them to remember that they have much going for them. They are not ordinary, average and typical. They are remarkable.
    They’ve got
  • ONE OF OUR biggest problems today is the rancor and triviality of our political debate. Some call it demolition politics. Stop and think about many of the big questions preoccupying the public conversation. Now, ask yourself “Is this really happening?”
    Despite our problems, this is a great country, the envy of billions of people and that’s why
  • RESEARCHERS AT MANY universities around the world have devoted time and resources to answering a question that has mystified tens of millions of Americans: Is my cat ignoring me? The likely answer? Cats know when you’re addressing them; they just may not care.
    Cats and dogs have fundamentally opposite personalities that can naturally lead to different relationships with their humans. Cats are usually more
  • HAVE YOU EVER been made uncomfortable by people who have accused you of benefiting from white privilege, male privilege or being an old white guy? You might as well retreat from that discussion because there is nothing you can say to defend yourself.
    Just what is white privilege? What is male privilege? I went online to research these two topics. I learned that white privilege is
  • RESEARCH COMPANY RAND CORP. recently issued a report that said 42% of Americans have multiple chronic medical conditions. That means they have physical or mental-health conditions such as diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure that lasts over a year and requires ongoing treatment.
    Of Americans, 12% have
  • HOW CONCERNED SHOULD we be about America’s $22 trillion national debt? The Treasury Department tells us that amount is $67,000 for every man, woman and child in this country, and the debt load is only going to escalate.
    President Donald Trump has proposed a 
  • WE SEEM TO be living in a time when people, Republican and Democrat, believe all facets of politics are imperfect. It’s just a fact; the people surveyed don’t expect any higher standard or any better to come of it. Yet, we can’t let our divisiveness threaten democracy.
    Social scientist Arthur Brooks said there is a difference between
  • GROWING UP AND surviving childhood was, at times, difficult to say the least. I know that is not news to many of you. As you now know, we all made it and now we are the “older generation.” Becoming a senior citizen came a lot sooner than we expected.
    There was someone in our circle of friends who would remind us to look forward to old age as not everyone gets there. When you do, you have
  • ARE YOU THE same person you were 25, 35 or 50 years ago? Should you be defined or held accountable for a few actions you may have done when you were a teenager or college student?
    Shouldn’t society be more interested in
  • NATURALIST DAVID ATTENBOROUGH has warned that climate change could lead to a “collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world.”
    Critics of the global warming movement say it would cost
  • DO YOU WONDER why the world seems worse than it is? Well, some say our primitive biases and fears are magnified by online algorithms.
    We have a natural tendency to seek information that confirms our pre-existing views and discount information that doesn’t. That’s called confirmation bias and social media algorithms lump us into
  • I WONDER IF Americans realize how geographically and economically small most of the countries in the rest of the world are. Conversely, many foreigners visiting or attempting to come here illegally have no idea how big America is; or maybe they do.
    We often forget how huge the U.S. economy is compared to
  • TWO DECADES FROM now, no one will remember whatever it is that seems so important to us today. But if we damage our democracy, everyone will remember that it was seriously desecrated between 2010 and ’20 by a partisan political system that was unwilling to legislate in a reasonable, common-sense
  • WHAT IS HAPPENING to our country? If you have asked this question, you are likely not alone. As America has grown more secular and polarized, its moral compass has become harder to tune to a true North, with no particular voice emerging as a moral authority.
    Fifty years ago, polls showed that
  • MODERN PUNDITS LIKE to say that Americans have never shouted louder or listened less. In today’s social media world, too many people have forgotten the lessons they learned as children: prepare with facts, argue vigorously and listen to other voices.
    Isn’t it ironic that people flee heavily-taxed Democratic states like New Jersey, New York, Illinois and California to low-taxed states like
  • IT HAS BEEN widely noted that millions of people spend their waking hours obsessed with global warming, the perils of inequality, the scourge of toxic politics, and where and when Duchess Meghan Markle will have her baby.
    Of less importance is the fact that poverty around the world is
  • ABOUT 35 YEARS AGO, I met and interviewed the honorable Robert Gollmar, who was a lawyer for more than 50 years and a judge for more than 24 years. He was a circuit judge in central Wisconsin and was most remembered because of his participation in the infamous Edward Gein murder trial.
    At the time, Judge Gollmar had just written a book titled
  • WE ARE CONSTANTLY reminded that there is a fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it. With that in mind, you might enjoy this story titled “The Haircut.” It wouldn’t be so funny if it wasn’t true.
    The theme of this story is
  • A NEW PAPER by researchers at UW-Madison paints a stark picture of climate changes taking place. The study said greenhouse gases are at the highest mark in human history.
    Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have surpassed those from any point in human history and by
  • ARE YOU COMFORTABLE riding in an elevator? How about a crowded elevator? Are you claustrophobic? Does it seem like every prime-time TV series about rescue squads features people trapped in an “out of control cage,” putting lives at stake.
    We don’t have very many elevators in rural America that traverse more than four floors, but most of us
  • IN TODAY’S SOCIAL media world, it is all too easy to despise other Americans if you don’t take the time to get to know them. When given a chance, we are likely to get along. It is important to realize that far more unites us than divides us.
    “Most of America regards the nation’s capital as hopelessly dysfunctional, a theater for political combat, where the needs of the people are
  • THERE ARE A number of polls published that show 67% of the country is unhappy with the performance of our government. That indicates that two-thirds of the citizenry isn’t happy and wants things to change.
    It’s been well documented that Americans are divided by
  • THIS IS THE season of dreams and miracles. Each of us has the opportunity to keep the spirit of Christmas alive if we make the effort.
    The year-end holidays are a great opportunity to look back on your life and think about the good old days. Take a few minutes and think back to when you were a child and
  • THE HOLIDAYS,  CHRISTMAS and New Year’s, offer a great opportunity to look back on your life and think about all the good old days, and how we can make the coming days better than ever. Remember, family is a treasure chest worth more than a mountain of gold.
    I recently came across this challenge from Dan Pearce, an artist, author and photographer, from
  • NOW THAT WE’VE had a month to digest the 2018 midterm elections, is it too much to ask our elected officials to focus their energies on the betterment of our state and country, not on their respective political parties. Answer? Probably.
    As concerned Americans, we deserve and we should expect that those leaders pledge to work together for the benefit of
  • HAVE YOU EVER heard someone say they hope to earn and save just enough money during their lifetime to live comfortably to the day they die? Sharing gifts and memories while alive is the best advice.

    Those people are saying they don’t need millions of dollars to be happy, yet they don’t

  • THANKSGIVING IS ONE of Americans’ favorite holidays, 19% compared to 46% for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t survived sporadic attacks over the nearly 400 years since the famous three-day feast in Plymouth, Mass.
    The rites and rituals of our national Thanksgiving have evolved over those four centuries and that process will continue, wrote
  • SOME OF THE things we are seeing today on the political scene are not representative of a civilized society. Extremists on both sides are pushing the boundaries past the limits of common sense, challenging the norms of democracy and putting the country in serious jeopardy.
    “Just because something is legal,” wrote
  • SUNDAY, NOV. 11, IS Veterans Day. I’ve heard people say they’d like to honor a veteran, but they aren’t sure if they know a veteran.
    Veterans are our neighbors. They are our teachers, law enforcement officers, the person who helps us at our favorite store, the elder at our church or she could be our coworker’s daughter who just got out of the Navy and now works at
  • HILLARY CLINTON TOLD CNN Oct. 9, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” Was that meant to unite or divide us?
    One has to wonder if
  • AMERICA, THE GREATEST economy in the world, is the incubator for most of the greatest ideas and revolutionary inventions in history. And it may be safe to say “You haven’t seen anything yet,” as a new generation of possibilities promise to disrupt the way we live, work and play.
    The United States has an enormous wealth of
  • IN TODAY’S RAPID-pace world, a desperate, overzealous reporter or a rogue news organization looking to make a name for themselves can disseminate a scandalous story on social media and millions of viewers will rush to judgment.
    We have a flash-mob mentality. It is relatively easy for someone with an ax to grind to wreak havoc on another person or organization. There’s always a
  • A GREAT NEWSPAPER has a critical impact on the community it serves. Your local newspaper gives its readers a voice they otherwise wouldn’t have.
    This week is National Newspaper Week. Working in today’s newspaper industry has its share of ups and downs, but the young professionals working in offices all across the country believe in
  • IS ANYONE FEELING bad about America? Does it seem our best days are behind us? Are you having a hard time making ends meet? Do you have college loan debt? Are you struggling to pay for health care? How about saving for retirement? Are you a victim of gender discrimination or racism?
    How did America get so distracted from its core values? What happened to
  • I THINK EVERY one of us would agree that having a president with a high moral character would be ideal. But history has shown that having that trait hasn’t necessarily equated to having a president that has been successful in keeping his promises and getting things done.
    With at least 200 million adults in America, there
  • THIS COULD HAPPEN. Let’s say you are one of 50 passengers crammed into Delta Flight 5332 from Central Wisconsin Airport to Detroit Metro Airport and 20 of your fellow passengers are traveling with either an emotional support animal or a service animal.
    Sounds like a scene from
  • POST-TRAUMATIC stress disorder (PTSD) isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
    An estimated 8 million U.S. adults experience PTSD in a given year. Of first responders, 37% have acknowledged contemplating
  • AS THE SUMMER season ends and we head back to a normal routine, I’d like to share an essay passed along to me about 10 years ago by a colleague. The essay is titled “Four Lessons About How We Treat People.” I don’t know the original author.
    Maybe one or more of these lessons will inspire. In the next few months, maybe
  • WE SHARE THE American dream and responsibility for making it possible.
    Labor Day, we recognize and honor the achievements of
  • THE CONCEPT OF a free press is essential to the future of America. That’s why we should all be concerned when the idea is floated around that the press is “the enemy of the American people.”
    A free press brings
  • IT’S BECOME AN annual warning: the trustees of the combined Social Security trust funds, one for retirees and one for the people who claim disability benefits, along with Medicare spending, say the outlays will exceed its income for the first time since
  • LIFE CAN BE complex and frustrating. Sometimes, we can make it more complicated than it needs to be. Often, the simplest solutions and perspectives are the best.
    About 12 years ago, I clipped out a column by Shawn McMullen, a minister of the Church of Christ in Milan, Ind. He offered a list of simple and practical suggestions for daily living. Here is a sample of what he said.
    Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. When you say “I’m sorry,” look
  • WOULD IT SURPRISE you to learn that when it comes to the politics of economic envy, Americans can accept the idea of wealthy people, but middle-income families can’t accept the knowledge that it is unjust knowing that 60% of Americans have virtually the same standard of living despite dramatic differences in the effort they exert and the income they generate.
    That was the takeaway of a report published in April by the Cato Institute’s John Early, a former assistant commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It partly explains why so many blue-collar workers helped elect one of the wealthiest men president in 2016, while touting a pro-growth agenda.
    The study found
  • YOU HAVE PROBABLY heard someone called a “generation snowflake.” I have, too, but I couldn’t always tell if that was a term of endearment or meant to be an insult.
    A Google search said snowflake is a term used to characterize people who became adults in the 2000s and 2010s, as being more prone to taking offense and are less resilient than previous generations or as being too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.
    By the way, the term is considered derogatory. A snowflake is someone who says that he or she has a right to be heard, while denying people with different opinions the
  • WOULD YOU AGREE that many pet owners have a better relationship with their dog or cat than they do with their spouse or with their children? As a result, much has been written about this curious dynamic.
    Without a doubt, pets fill a void in our lives. They are given royal status in most homes. You’re nodding your head in agreement, aren’t you? Many people are more tolerant with their pets and would do more things for them than they would do for themselves or a family member.
    Experts have studied this behavior. Their findings are often posted on the internet. Several sources can be credited with the following observations, which were collected over several years. This column is
  • ONE OF THE things that impresses most of us as we grow older is how many nice people there are in this world. Even people we used to find annoying or downright irritating don’t seem to bother us so much.
    We discover that many of the ones we didn’t particularly like really aren’t as bad as we thought. Maybe you and I are a little smarter than we used to be? We have begun to understand why prickly pears are prickly and now we make allowances for them.
    Other people appreciate the change in the way we react to them and it makes them more friendly toward us. Taking this tack, we have found, makes for smoother sailing. Life becomes
  • HERE ARE SOME words to ponder as we pause to celebrate this year’s Independence Day. While things have changed dramatically in recent years, some things never change.
    “I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people and for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon these principals of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
    “I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to
  • A FEW YEARS ago, former New York City, N.Y., Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked “Why do you think we have such dysfunction in government at the federal level and, in some cases, at the state level?”
    He had a great answer. “In government, people second-guess you on everything. It’s so much easier to innovate and manage in the business world.”
    Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg News, is a multibillionaire. He said the explosion of the social media and partisan cable news causes a referendum virtually instantly on every single event of the day.
    He has a unique perspective. He
  • THE FOLLOWING ESSAY was written by David Weatherford and is titled “When Children Learn.” It has been hiding in my files for more than 19 years. I think it is time to share it with you.
    “When children learn that happiness is not found in what a person has, but in who that person is;
    “When they learn that giving and forgiving are more rewarding than taking and avenging;
    “When they learn that suffering is not eased by self-pity, but overcome by inner resolve and spiritual strength;
    “When they learn that they can’t control the world around them, but
  • WHETHER YOU ARE traveling close to home or across the country, you are likely to see thousands of U.S. flags flying proudly in the wind. “Old Glory” is something special: the living symbol of our great land.
    What American doesn’t feel a special sense of pride when our young men and women in uniform are seen carrying the flag in some faraway country, fighting to win our freedom?
    What is it about our flag that makes it more than just a piece of cloth sewn together? It’s the symbolism. That symbolism reflects the history, the commitment and
  • HAS ANYONE WONDERED what the political environment would be like today in Washington if we could roll back the calendar about 18 months and Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election?
    Would there be talk of impeachment? Would there be calls for special prosecutors and special counsel investigations? Would investigators be pouring through the Clinton Foundation records and into the Clinton ties to foreign governments?
    Does anyone believe the hostile environment in Washington would be any different now with Clinton in the White House? The Republican Party-controlled Congressional committees would be digging for dirt against the
  • OUR NEWLY-MINTED high school and college graduates will soon realize life can be difficult, frenzied, unfair and exhausting, and that’s on the good days.
    Simply keeping up with the demands of home, family and career can leave one feeling like a marathoner on an ever-quickening treadmill. It’s easy to fall into a mindless existence where routines are embraced in the name of expediency, where life becomes a daily variation on a single theme.
    Charles Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, had a philosophy that stressed the importance of never forgetting our friends. He told us that our achievements will be forgotten, our accolades and
  • MILLIONS OF HIGH school and college graduates are poised to hear advice they don’t want from commencement speakers they don’t know and won’t remember.
    They will be told, in one way or another, to pursue their passion. Remember, passion doesn’t strike like lightning. It often starts as a small fire that you feed twig by twig then, branch by branch.
    As we celebrate this exciting moment in their lives, it is a challenge to predict which graduates will lead spectacularly successful and accomplished lives, while others settle for
  • WHEN WAS THE last time you changed your mind about an important issue? Many people will jokingly claim “I thought I was wrong once, but the more I thought about it, I realized I was right.”
    Have you thought about how hard it is to get a person to change their mind about something unless some sort of personal crisis erupts? Joe Queenan, a freelance writer from New York, opined on this subject in an article in the May issue of The Rotarian.
    “My liberal friends could never be persuaded to vote Republican,” said Queenan. “And my conservative friends could never bring themselves to support a
  • WITH ALL THE turmoil and discourse in Washington, how is it we haven’t heard anything about employee morale issues in the vast bureaucracy? Don’t you wonder what the mental and emotional condition is in the workplace? Think how depressing it could be to be in that hostile environment.
    With several investigations underway, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been ordered to hand over 1.2 million documents to Congress as part of the probe into the DOJ corruption prior to the 2016 presidential election.
    Documents could be one page, 25 pages or 100 pages. Does the DOJ have to provide 50 copies or 100 copies? Do the copies have to be on paper or an electronic file? Who will be assigned to
  • DO YOU NEED something more to worry about? Well, it appears you’ll need a good job and a lot of money to buy and use all the innovative “smart” stuff that is coming our way.
    What used to be simple, easy and low cost is now, very technical and expensive. Many of the brilliant new products have even made it possible to eliminate your job. That is how progress is measured in today’s world.
    Modern technology has brought us to the point where it takes more gear for a backyard cookout than the pioneers required to conquer the wilderness.
    If you are feeling stressed, keep in mind that
  • DID ANYONE REALLY think there wouldn’t be a price to pay for all the disruptive changes that we’ve made an indispensable part of our lives for the past 15 years?
    As long as it’s free, social media seems like a harmless idea. Now that we’re aware of the lack of privacy and data security, we are learning how hacks, leaks and exploitation of our personal information is disrupting our lives.
    There are dozens of disruptive changes coming down the road that will require all new rules and regulations to protect us from the effects of
  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 11:15 AM
    WHEN THE GENERAL public posts personal notes and comments on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, it should not be construed as reliable news.
    Layman bloggers are not credible reporters or journalists because they are not held to ethical standards. They are not a professional news gathering service and have no obligation or commitment to be fair or balanced.
    Those anonymous posters can hide in the shadows and are rarely called on to defend or answer for misleading or inaccurate news posts. Facebook does not distinguish between
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:08 AM
    WHEN AMERICA’S FOUNDING Fathers enshrined freedom of the press in the First Amendment, they could not have anticipated a world in which citizens would construct an alternative reality based on misinformation.
    The result, said Steve Almond, has been an erosion of faith in our fourth estate. Citizens begin to reject science in favor of conspiracy theories that are emotionally satisfying, but false.
    We seem to be trapped in an era of fake news. Too many stories we hear are fraudulent, by either design or negligence, wrote Almond. Many stories are frivolous, but we
  • Tuesday, April 3, 2018 10:26 AM
    I SAW A photograph recently of some older people and as I scanned over the picture, my eyes stopped on this one particular, gray-haired, slightly-balding man. A second later, I realized that the guy was me.
    The experience made me reflect. Was this just a very bad picture or is that the way people I meet on the street see me? Do they see me as just another aging senior citizen, as a member of the community who is heading into or has already entered the winter of his life?
    I’ve also noticed that many friends I’ve known for decades are having serious medical problems, and more and more of them are dying. Shocking! They are dying at the unbelievably youthful age of
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018 10:50 AM
    Life as we know it: 40 years from now, people will read books that analyze and second-guess today’s crazy events. Many of those books will be written by thoughtful authors who have not yet been born. Makes you wonder about the accuracy and veracity of what we’re told about our nation’s history.
    Because of certain recent, horrific events, many Americans are taking the calls for actions by our high school and college students to be wiser and more moral than those of adults.
    There was a “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., March 24, with sister marches in other major cities. They were organized by survivors of the Feb. 14
  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:08 AM
    HEY, AMERICA, RUSSIA is laughing at us. President Vladimir Putin has our political class in Washington chasing their tails. Who is responsible for this paranoia?
    Isn’t it obvious? We’re being played. It’s psychological warfare and they are using our obsession with honesty, fairness and perfection to divide us and our overreaction to events is playing right into their hands.
    Putin got this mess started by interfering in the 2016 election. It wasn’t hard. But it didn’t have any effect on the outcome. Much ado about nothing. But it got us thinking, thus the
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:33 AM
    THERE’S NO WAY to make sense of the senseless. We all want something done about mass shootings, especially when they happen in our schools, but what new law will fix the myriad of problems?
    Before we talk about restricting gun ownership and hardening our schools, let’s talk about one forgotten topic and one idea that deserves consideration.
    First, why aren’t we demanding less violent movies from Hollywood and less mayhem from video game makers? We assume 95% of people can separate fantasy from reality, but what about that other 5%?
    A hundred million people, including
  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018 11:58 AM
    THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
    About 10 years ago, a local doctor stopped by the office to share the following story with me. I get a lot of stories and emails. Sometimes, there is one that comes along that has an important message. This is one that I want to share with you.
    The doctor said it was a busy morning, about 8:30 a.m., when an elderly gentleman in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He told the staff he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9 a.m.
    “I took his vital signs and
  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:00 AM
    “I AM AN American.” That little phrase speaks volume. To be born an American citizen of American parentage is something we can all be grateful for in these challenging times.
    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said recently “Polls show that 800 million people around the world would choose to come to America if our immigration quotas would permit it.”
    But that’s not realistic. So, how do we decide who the lucky 1.2 million legal immigrants should be? “Don’t we have the right, the obligation to determine and select who comes here and
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 11:37 AM
    IF YOU THINK growing older is synonymous with diminished mental activity, think again. There’s an old saying that the old can do anything the young can do, it just takes longer.
    As proof, I ask you to look at the wide range of activities available to senior citizens today. Very few of us are going to be content to stay in that old rocking chair. They do still sell rocking chairs today, don’t they?
    Someone once said “Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their
  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:06 AM
    WOULD SOMEONE CALL a timeout? Before the social and economic divisions in this country take us to a breaking point, we all need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: What kind of world do we want to live in?
    We need to step back and realize that life is too short to waste this much time on trivial disputes. This rancor can’t be good and it is hard to see how it can end well if we continue down this slippery slope.
    By almost any gauge, these are the greatest of times to be alive in history. We are on the verge of incredible innovations and discoveries, yet here we are finding fault with so many things, and
  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 11:12 AM
    COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PARENTS and children, especially teens, is often an area of concern for families. Because of advances in technology, one can argue that the landscape has changed dramatically since the 1960s, the ’80s and even from the early 2000s.
    While the mode of communications is different, there are some things that are the same today as they were in 1988. It’s what is said and how it is said. The following ideas were offered by students at Madison schools and shared by the UW-Extension Office.
    Remember that we’re almost adults and don’t need to be talked down to.
    Be honest with us. Sooner or later we
  • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 11:36 AM
    WE’RE ABOUT A full month into the new year. Many of us made resolutions for self-improvement. Unfortunately, many of us have already broken a few of those resolutions, but there is still time to get back on track.
    Regarding resolutions, I have a friend who couldn’t wait for Lent to start Wednesday, Feb. 14. He has vowed to give up his New Year’s resolutions for Lent. He said it will be easy.
    A former colleague, Esther Bielawski of Delphos, Ohio, once passed along the following list of less-thought-of resolutions we all should consider and a recipe for a joyous new year. She noted “Remember
  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018 11:02 AM
    I FIND IT hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and then turn on the water. It’s bad decisions like that that make good stories.
    Life can be complex and frustrating. Sometimes, however, we make it more complicated than it needs to be. Often the simplest solutions, interpretations and perspectives are the best.
    I found the following list of thoughts about 12 years ago. I don’t have the source, but it was a collection of thoughts that were common for 25- to 35-year-olds. They represent a few of the problems with the human condition. They make
  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018 10:59 AM
    ISN’T IT INTERESTING that we never run out of issues that divide us? Nearly every topic means something important to each of us. Instead of uniting us, they divide us further. About 160 years ago, Abraham Lincoln warned “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We also are reminded “If we reward bad behavior, we will get more of it.”
    Question: Can the government in America force a Christian baker to design a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding?
    Apparently we need the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the answer to that question. That’s the dispute in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. A decision in the case is expected by
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018 11:30 AM
    “IT IS NOT clear yet what the tax reform law is going to mean for the average taxpayer, but Washington special-interest lobbyists have just landed in hog heaven,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Common Cause, the self-styled citizens’ lobby.
    In December, U.S. Congress delayed a possible government shutdown by passing a stopgap funding measure, a continuing resolution, keeping the government spending levels at status quo until Friday, Jan. 19, to buy Congress time to hash out a deal.
    Also in December, the Republican Party Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed a $1.5 trillion, 10-year, tax cut package meant for middle-class American households that actually 
  • Tuesday, January 2, 2018 11:43 AM
    THE MANTRA NEVER stops. The liberal left and their progressive friends fail to acknowledge why the rich should expect to get richer when the economy grows. Any tax cut will naturally benefit the top 10%. That doesn’t mean the wealthy should avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
    While IRS data shows the top 10% of earners pay more than 71% of all federal taxes on income, that doesn’t justify a new tax code that the Tax Policy Center says will give about 80% of the benefits to the richest 2% of households.
    It gets annoying when leading Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “extremist” economist Paul Krugman and “class warfare protagonist” Professor Robert Reich
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2017 12:16 PM
    WHEN IT COMES to Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency phenomenon what are we to believe? Are digital currencies the wave of the future or the product of nefarious hucksters and con artists?
    Yes, we’re living at a time of unprecedented innovation and disruption. Technology and social media are changing the world and no industry, no economic system, is safe and nothing is sacred.
    There was a pre-2010 world, now we must adapt to a new post-2010 world. Can we survive such monumental disruptions to our basic foundations?
    Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton recently warned that
  • Tuesday, December 19, 2017 11:16 AM
    THE HOLIDAYS ARE a time when lifetime memories are made. What happens in your lives the next two weeks will be etched in your minds forever. Ten, 20 years from now, you may tell people around you of some event that happened during the year-end holidays of 2017.
    Joyce Maynard tells us “As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.” And it is wise to remember what Joe Addison once observed “Something to do, someone to love, something to hope for, these are the essentials to happiness in this life.”
    This can be
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:08 AM
    THERE IS NEVER a wrong time to pick up a phone or send a message, telling a friend how much you miss or care about them.
    The following essay, sent nearly 20 years ago, tells us no matter where we go or who we become, never forget who helped us get there. As we approach this holiday season, perhaps you will enjoy and find inspiration in “Friendship . . . what is it?”
    In kindergarten, your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red crayon when all that was left was the black one.
    In first grade, your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.
    In second grade, your idea of a good friend was
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017 11:21 AM
    American evangelist Billy Graham once said “May your troubles be less, your blessings more and may nothing but happiness come through your door. Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil, it has no point.”
    Graham, considered the most influential preacher of the 20th century by many, celebrated his 99th birthday Nov. 7. That reminded me of an article I received about five years ago when Graham was 94. Community leaders in Charlotte, N.C., welcomed their favorite son, Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.
    Graham initially hesitated to accept the invitation because
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 10:07 AM
    IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO write and pass a bipartisan tax reform bill because no tax code can benefit everyone without penalizing someone else. It’s unrealistic to give acceptable answers to “What’s in it for me?” As always, the devil is in the details.
    Special interest groups and their lobbyists spent hundreds of millions of dollars hiding tax breaks, loopholes and credits in the current tax code. They are now spending more money trying to make sure any new tax code protects their sacred cows.
    Dramatic changes are being made even though no one knows what challenges the government and the economy will be faced with in the back end of this
  • Tuesday, November 21, 2017 11:09 AM
    THANKSGIVING CAN BE a lot like Christmas, but it is without the tree and all the presents.
    Families gather for a festive, bountiful, traditional meal. It’s almost the same at every home, with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean dish, cranberry sauce, rolls and it wouldn’t be complete without the pumpkin pie.
    This joyous occasion is a family reunion where the feelings are generous and all problems are either resolved or at least forgotten for the day.
    Just like at Christmas, family members travel from near and far. For those who haven’t shopped early, Thanksgiving reminds us that barely four weeks remain before we gather again for the holidays. It’s often
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:49 AM
    OVER ANY PERIOD of time, there are things that go right and things that don’t go as intended. How we react/respond to those situations makes all the difference.
    Following is an old story with a timely message. During the coming holiday season, see if there is something you might be missing.
    An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
    At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2017 12:27 PM
    VETERANS DAY PRESENTS an opportunity for Americans to reflect on the military service of their fellow citizens and to consider the country’s obligations to those veterans. While Veterans Day is officially Nov. 11, because it falls on Saturday, Friday will be considered a federal holiday.
    Since 1776, 48 million Americans have served in the armed forces. We honor all veterans who have risked their lives for freedom. Veterans Day is a day to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and enthusiasm to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
    More than 2.5 million Americans have served their country since the 9/11 attacks. Each volunteered knowing that it likely meant a combat deployment. In recent years, many of these young men and women have
  • Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:05 AM
    THE GREATEST WASTE of our natural resources is the number of people who never achieve their potential.
    In a full-page message in an August 1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal, United Technologies Corp. said “How we perform as individuals will determine how we perform as a nation. Aim so high you’ll never be bored.”
    Get out of that slow lane. Shift into that fast lane. If you think you can’t, you won’t. If you think you can, there’s a good chance you will.
    Even making the effort will make you feel like a new person. Reputations are made by searching for things that can’t be done and doing them. Aim low, boring. Aim high, soaring. What
  • Tuesday, October 24, 2017 11:19 AM
    CHINESE GENERAL AND military strategist Sun Tzu is credited with saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
    In today’s crazy world, how do we know when it is okay to be partners with our enemies and when to keep our distance? The needs of the world and politics make strange bedfellows.
    It’s important to realize we live in a global economy and we’re a big part of the world market. Most countries depend on trading partners around the world to supply scarce resources to provide essential pieces and parts to maintain their existence.
    It can be
  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017 10:42 AM
    HAVE YOU EVER tried to put together a 1,500-piece jigsaw puzzle that, except for the framework, has 1,000 slightly different shaped pieces that are basically the same color? That must be like the challenge faced by those people drafting the controversial overhaul of the U.S. tax code.
    Making the chore harder, can anyone remember a time when Republicans and Democrats were aligned in a way that they worked as a team and agreed on a strategy to accomplish a fair and balanced solution to the puzzle?
    There are those who believe the government needs more revenue. They hold out for tax rate increases, bracket adjustments, cuts to deductions, the elimination of loopholes and anything else that results in
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 12:22 PM
    YOU’VE BEEN READING a lot about the disruptive times we’re experiencing. The fact is many of the disrupters are proposing cures for problems that we didn’t know even existed. Why else would Apple think we need a smartphone that will cost $1,000.
    When visionaries like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos of Amazon or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook share their visions, it only makes sense to pay close attention.
    This past summer, Musk, CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc. and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., spoke to a gathering of U.S. governors at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island.
    Musk warned the governors
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2017 11:18 AM
    WHEN THE POWERFUL try to paint the press in broad strokes as the enemy of the country, it undermines the entire system of trust that our news system is based on. We are obligated to push back.
    It is terrifying when public figures in our highest offices, including the presidency, try to discredit the media en masse by using personal attacks, name-calling and public shaming, said the editorial board of New York’s Queens Tribune.
    As we celebrate 
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017 11:22 AM
    IT’S ONE OF those emotional, divisive issues that has ardent, impassioned supporters on all sides: What should America do about illegal immigrants?
    President Donald Trump riled members of both political parties recently when he announced plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) a program launched by President Barack Obama in 2012.
    Trump later softened his position when he wrote on Twitter “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!”
    DACA allows
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 12:35 PM
    WE’RE ALL GUILTY of committing confirmation bias. That’s the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of our own existing beliefs and theories.
    Maybe that’s why our country is mired in partisan quicksand. We’re being governed by the liberal left and the far right. The moderates of the parties can’t get the two extremes to meet in the middle.
    Identity politics has Americans divided along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual identity, said James Baker III and Andrew Young. Countless