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Today's Opinion

Walker won’t commit to more vouchers

LAUREL — To Gov. Scott Walker for not committing to an expansion of the statewide school voucher plan. The program was expanded statewide two years ago but was capped at 1,000 students outside the Milwaukee-Racine area. The Republican-controlled Legislature and Walker have hinted at wanting to eliminate the cap but the governor has been mum on the subject since the election. Adding more vouchers may make sense long term, but public schools must serve all students and they’ve been under heavy financial pressure since Walker cut their budgets to balance the state budget four years ago. Going slow is good strategy.

Van Hollen takes a poke at the press


Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who didn’t run for re-election and will be leaving office on Jan. 5, took a jab at the press in an interview this week with The Associated Press.

Van Hollen served two terms as attorney general and surprised many political insiders when he decided not to run for a third term. This week he also said he would not be a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court as some had speculated he might.

That’s not ethics; it’s just politics

The poor attendance at the city’s Licensing and Permit Committee meetings by two aldermen is interesting, but it’s not really an ethical issue. It’s just politics.

Local Columnists

Cuba-U.S. relations shift with favorable winds

By Arthur I. Cyr

Winds of change are blowing in the Caribbean, and warming the historically rigid and frigid relations between Cuba and the United States. On Dec., President Barack Obama announced plans to resume diplomatic relations, along with an exchange of imprisoned individuals.

Obama urged Congress to act to lift the embargo of Cuba, which has been in place since late in the Eisenhower administration. He stated our country has been alone in pursuing that policy, reflecting news media commentaries.

Testing the voucher schools

While I enjoy the holidays with my family this time of year, I feel a dark cloud lingering over us. Honestly, I am waiting for the “bomb.”

I expect Gov. Walker’s bomb to drop in January. He previously dropped a self-described “bomb” nearly four years ago when, to address a deficit, K-12 education received $800 million in cuts, the largest cuts to education in Wisconsin’s history.

My white (album) Christmas


1968 was a messed up year. Everybody was convinced that things were going south. At times, this was literal truth. The Alabama governor whose main campaign promise was to keep black people out of college got 14 percent of the presidential vote and carried four states.

This was the year of the Generation Gap. Our parents were on the side that held a deep loathing for a world in which hundreds of kids get clubbed and tear gassed in Chicago, but had an odd sense of nostalgia for a world where Hitler killed millions.

Syndicated Columnists

Obama’s fourth quarter


Politics in a democracy is a team sport that leans heavily on individual high performers. This explains the paradoxical closing of President Obama’s most difficult year in office.

He ends 2014 in surprisingly buoyant spirits, having proved that he still has the power to push policy in new directions in foreign affairs and on issues ranging from immigration to climate change.

Quotas could harm women


Women deserve more seats in the highest corporate echelons. But a mandate is the wrong way to get there.

Germany seems to disagree. After months of debate, the German Cabinet recently imposed a quota for women on big companies’ boards. The policy was a response to the fact that women are underrepresented in leadership positions: They comprise 46 percent of the labor force but hold just 15 percent of supervisory board seats at Germany’s 200 biggest companies.

A win for the Cuban people


President Obama’s historic opening to Cuba is long overdue — and has a chance of hastening the Castro dictatorship’s demise. Critics of the accord should explain why they believe a policy that has failed miserably for half a century could ever work.

What is it about Cuba that makes reasonable people take leave of their senses? The United States maintained full diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, hardly a couple of peaceniks, opened the door to China. History argues powerfully for engagement as the best way to deal with repressive, adversarial regimes. Yet hard-liners insist Cuba must be treated differently.

Politics in Video

Voice of the People

There are many reasons to oppose streetcar expansion
Referendum on trolley is the right thing

Local residents want to be heard like consultants
Protesters should go home and look for work
Lapel pin shows support for Boys and Girls Club

Orchestra concert was a sweet treat
City’s failed to prove need to expand streetcar