Commentary

Wisconsin farm | Screenshot from the film “Get Loud: The Fight for the Soul of Agriculture” on YouTube

Vanity Fair’s ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’: A horror movie version of rural America

BY: - December 9, 2022

I first heard about the new “Wisconsin Death Trip” story from a friend in North Carolina. “After reading this Vanity Fair piece, not so sure I wanna come visit y’all,” she wrote.  Wisconsin winters often scare away visitors from the South. But a Nov. 30 glossy magazine feature by journalist, best-selling author and Dartmouth professor […]

Michael Monthey, an apprentice in the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program, moves a herd of grazing cows to a new grazing area on Scott Mericka's farm in Dodgeville.

Farmers and workers vs. Big Food

BY: - December 7, 2022

During a Tuesday forum sponsored by a coalition of farmers, community leaders and sustainable agriculture experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dennis Olson, a researcher with the United Food & Commercial Workers union, laid out a vision for changes to our food system that would address the needs of farmers, workers and everyone concerned about […]

A beat up, battered US flag hanging on a baseball backstop

The war on democracy isn’t over

BY: - December 2, 2022

Let’s celebrate the good news: When the Republican chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission quietly certified the results of the 2022 election this week, the Big Lie fizzled, along with doomsday scenarios involving GOP candidates refusing to accept the results and armed militia members waging a campaign of intimidation — or worse — against voters. […]

Jordan Laatz, a UW-Whitewater student who is a member of the university's Native American club, braids white corn cobs together so that the cobs can be hung and dried before being processed and distributed to Oneida Nation tribal members. (Photo by Julian Emerson)

Honoring our food – and those who grow it – this holiday season 

BY: - November 24, 2022

For years I had heard from my friends familiar with agriculture in the U.S. about the many benefits of eating food grown locally or regionally, and about the importance of supporting the people growing and raising those products. As I listened to them and learned more about the local food movement, bit by bit what […]

Little girl (two years old) is sitting on the floor and playing with her building blocks. She is building a high tower and are just about to put another block to it. She is sitting with her back against the viewer, totally lost in her play.

Stability or disruption for Wisconsin schools?

BY: - November 23, 2022

Parent-teacher conferences just ended — a process akin to speed-dating, during which my husband and I met with our high school sophomore’s teachers in a flurry of quick, 10-minute Zoom sessions. As frenetic as the process was, it was reassuring to talk to the grownups who are teaching our daughter and to hear what she’s […]

Susan J. Demas graphic of Tudor Dixon using Andrew Roth photo

Republicans served up ‘red wave’ Kool-Aid. Pundits drank it up.

BY: - November 18, 2022

The election was four weeks out. Every sign pointed to Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon careening toward an epic loss. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was, by all indications, running a smart campaign that connected with voters on kitchen-table issues, which does, as she often pointed out, include abortion rights. Her authentic bond with her running mate, […]

WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 05: Former President Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Former President Trump endorsed Republican candidate Tim Michels in the governor's race against candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, who is supported by former Vice President Mike Pence. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Republicans step back from Trump, but Trumpism is alive and well

BY: - November 17, 2022

Wisconsin Republicans are moving away from Trump. Who can blame them? Trump-endorsed candidates, among them GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, sustained heavy losses in the midterm elections. And Trump’s rambling, petulant speech announcing that he is running for president in 2024 was not exactly inspiring. “Two years ago, we were a great nation,” Trump declared, […]

Question Mark Wood Cube on Blue Background

What you don’t know about the UW System’s new charter schools should worry you

BY: - November 15, 2022

The UW System’s Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO), created by the Wisconsin Legislature in 2015,  is well on its way to overseeing more K-12 schools than the superintendents of most of Wisconsin’s 423 school districts. Currently, the OEO, the UW System’s charter school authorizer, lists 10 independent charter schools it has authorized on its website. […]

Gov. Tony Evers taking photos with UW-Madison students on State Street on Election Day, Nov. 8 2022 | Photo by Baylor Spears

Five top takeaways from the midterms in Wisconsin

BY: - November 10, 2022

This week’s midterm elections were most notable for what didn’t happen. There was no “shellacking” of Democrats. The much-talked-about red wave failed to materialize. Armed vigilantes did not descend in force on polling places to harass and intimidate voters. Neither, for the most part, did a flood of baseless accusations of fraud derail Democratic victories, […]

Student of color raising his hand showing only the hand holding a pencil in a classroom background

Why is the UW System working with the controversial Hillsdale charter school network?

BY: - November 5, 2022

Controversy surrounding Hillsdale charter schools led the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University in Wisconsin to threaten to sever ties last month with Lake Country Classical Academy — Wisconsin’s first Hillsdale-affiliated charter school. The tribe cited “inflammatory, derogatory, and racist comments captured by hidden camera” by the president of Hillsdale College, Larry Arnn. Arnn’s comments, which […]

Who would Michels’ flat tax plan benefit?

BY: and - November 3, 2022

Republican candidate for governor, Tim Michels has proposed a “flat tax” for Wisconsin if he’s elected. When pressed for details, his only answer has been that after the election he’s “going to sit down with all the smart tax people,” and “figure out how low we can get the tax…”  Fortunately the smart people at […]

Woman holding up a sign: "Thou Shalt Keep thy theology off my biology!"

Wisconsin women’s health is threatened like never before

BY: - November 1, 2022

As a board-certified OB/GYN, I have the privilege of providing health care to women throughout their lives. In some ways, health care has gotten better for women and girls, even since the beginning of my career. The first major improvement was passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during President Barack Obama’s first term. Before […]