Question: So What Is Thanksgiving Anyway?

Well you may have heard the president stated that there is a war on Thanksgiving. Not sure what he’s talking about.

But yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published two different takes on Thanksgiving, and I want to share them now because it confused me and I’d like your thoughts and opinions.

In their Green Sheet feature, they stated that George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving:

In 1789, Americans observed a day of thanksgiving set aside by President George Washington to mark the adoption of the Constitution of the United States

And then on the front page of their news section, they published one around the ‘historical story’ that most of us were taught as children. The one that ignored the plight of Native Americans and the genocide perpetrated upon them by the arriving colonists.

And Wikipedia seems to indicate it was off and on again over the early years of the nation…and they also say it early on was to celebrate the Constitution. And that yes, the early Pilgrims and Puritans had their own celebrations based on the harvest and their own religious beliefs.

But if the actual national Thanksgiving is related to the Constitution, how did we revert to including Native Americans and Pilgrims and what not in the holiday instead of keeping it as a national holiday of law and order and democracy and republican government?

And wouldn’t it be far better to celebrate in Washington’s suggested manner? A celebration of nationhood and unity? Maybe we should have a war on Thanksgiving and bring it’s celebration back around to being thankful for our US Constitution!

Why are the folks who voted against more war ‘blood lust’?

This headline was pulled from a reader comment that came in from our feedback function. Since they did not place it as a comment on the original post: And Who Are the 60 Blood Lust Representatives Who Voted Against the House Resolution on Syria?, I am going to respect their anonymity and not use their name. But I do want to answer their question.

There would not be a shooting war between the invading Turkish army and the Syrian Kurds inside Syria if the American troops were still there as a buffer. For once we were keeping the peace and Turks weren’t dying and Kurds weren’t dying and Syrians weren’t dying and there weren’t another two million refugees fleeing their homes to avoid a war.

Yes, I intentionally wrote an incendiary headline. But to me, any American (and particularly elected members of the House) who doesn’t find the president’s unilateral and chaos inducing troop withdrawal from Syria abhorrent has as much blood on their hands as the president.

The Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

emphasis mine

Farmers Offered Band Aids, Not Solutions!

Wisconsin legislators are introducing three bills this fall that will help struggling farmers. The bills take direct aim at a number of financial stumbling blocks that farmers face and are well warranted. But while helping, they are simply treating the symptoms and not curing the disease.

Let’s look at the bills:

Taxpayers would help farmers pay off their student loans, transfer their operations from one generation to another and create incentives to start small farms under a package of bills announced Tuesday.

The legislation is aimed at giving Wisconsin’s farming industry a boost at a time when bankruptcies are decimating its ranks — especially among dairy producers.

“We think they will help farmers transition into the future,” Rep. Dave Considine, D-Baraboo, told reporters Tuesday. “The three bills strengthen opportunities for Wisconsin farmers at every stage of their careers.”

Under one bill, $224,000 would pay for two new employees within the University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability in Madison to help farmers with financial decisions related to the transfer of their operations to a new generation or new owners. 

Another bill would set aside $250,000 annually for the state agriculture agency, which would provide up to $50,000 for producers who want to start a new operation on no more than 50 acres. The grants also would be awarded to producers who want to add a new product to their existing operation or want to pay down their debt after adding a new product. 

Beginning farmers still paying off student loans would receive up to $30,000 over five years from the state to go toward the debt under a third bill. By 2024, the state would set aside $600,000 annually for the program under the legislation. 

All three of these bills will be genuinely helpful. We all know that student debt for nearly everyone attending college or even tech schools is a burden. With the value of real estate and cost of other farming assets, transfer of ownership within a farming family certainly is daunting. And just like other startups, startup farmers can certainly use help.

But the biggest stumbling block for smaller farms and family farms is being left untouched. And that’s the extremely low price being paid for fluid milk. And that results from over production of milk across the nation and particularly in Wisconsin.

It is unlikely that demand for milk will increase anytime in the near future so reducing the number of milk producers is necessary. And given the other environmental issues around Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations here in Wisconsin…I suggest the next thing the legislature takes up is reducing the size and number of CAFOs.

Now that seems like governmental intrusion into the free market…and it is. Except that agriculture (and dairy farming in particular) is already highly regulated. And to protect the family farm and the air and water quality in the state for the rest of us…let’s go for it. Reduce the number of large producers until we get the production of milk down to where the market is.

Let prices move upward as supply decreases…let small farmers make money on milk production after years of struggling. And then those first three proposals above will have a serious chance of helping Wisconsin farmers survive.

USA Today Network – Wisconsin Sucks

Blogging Blue has published a couple of things recently about the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (digital presence Zach brought us The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Laughable Plea For Subscribers and earlier I presented Journalism In Milwaukee Takes Another Hit.

Just to make this clear I am a long long time subscriber to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel…probably like 35+ years or so. I get the daily and Sunday paper delivered to my door. I have a letter here on my desk that I received about two weeks ago that said as of September 1 2019, my subscription would be $53 per month. So that’s the background.

I just finished writing an article (Costs: Tariffs OK, Minimum Wage OMG) that I wanted to link to an article that I read in the print edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday September 2, 2019. But no matter what words or phrases I used, I couldn’t find it in the search at JSOnline.

Well after looking closer, I see that the article originated in the Green Bay Press Gazette, another paper in the USA Today Network – Wisconsin. But I can’t read it or copy it or share it out because it is behind the Press Gazette’s paywall. (btw: it was published in Green Bay August 29, 2019 – a nice break down of minimum wage suggested solutions, median wages across the state, living wage calculations across the state, job loss/no loss projections, and other Wisconsin relevant wage data that would drive any data wonk crazy)

USA Today’s digital presence is a hot mess. Even when you do it right, their search function is touchy, iffy, and sometimes doesn’t find things that you eventually manually just find.

And this isn’t the first time that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has printed articles from other members of the USA Today network. But as a subscriber, I’d like to see it on JSOnline too. Not search hither and yon for it and then not be able to access it.

And then there are the articles that I read on JSOnline that never make it to print. MJS wants subscribers? They better treat them all the damn same. I can understand publishing something on Tuesday online and it doesn’t show up in print until Thursday or whatever…but I should never ever be left feeling that I am missing something.

Yes…certainly all of the USA Today network papers should share articles…one of the major advantages of having a network…no one has to rewrite the same story a dozen times across the state. But if shared it should be shared equally. If you are going to print it in the paper I subscribe to…I should be able to find it and read it my paper’s digital presence…and vice versa.

And actually, I would suggest anyone who subscribes to one Wisconsin network paper should have access to every other paper’s digital site across the network. I shouldn’t have to subscribe to 12 different papers to get state news.

Maybe the newest merger will improve their digital presence, but I am not holding out much hope for that. They may continue to lose subscribers…including me when my renewal comes up…after removing the sports section today (because I don’t read it) I had a 14 page news section with 3 full pages of hearing aid ads…and the 3 pages of Green Sheet, i.e. comics and crossword and this day in history…and this was a heavy news day for them, hurricane and all).

Eventually there will be no news…I pray I don’t see that day.