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Anthem wars rekindle


While the NFL continues discussions with the players’ union regarding a national anthem policy, players who demonstrate are emphasizing they are protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.

They are not against the country, military, flag or “The Star-Spangled Banner” itself.

President Donald Trump wants players to “find another way to protest” and contended “most of them are unable to define” what they’re demonstrating against.

Players, however, have made clear their position numerous times.

“I think part of the problem is that when you continue the rhetoric that this is controversial or this is somehow a negative thing, people treat it as such,” Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said after resuming his demonstration before Thursday night’s game. “But we’ve seen in other leagues when they’ve decided to amplify the voices of their players to also emphasize the importance of the issues that we’re raising, and change the narrative away from the anthem, that not only is it more acceptable, the fan base gets educated on what we’re talking about, and we can actually make some movement.”

Jenkins stopped his demonstration last season after the NFL committed $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.

Jenkins and a few teammates wore a T-shirt before the game that read on the front: “More than 60 percent of prison populations are people of color.” On the back, it said: “Nearly 5,000 kids are in adult prisons and jails. #SchoolsNotPrisons.”

The league and the NFLPA have yet to announce a policy for this season regarding demonstrations during the anthem after the league initially ordered everyone to stand on the sideline when the anthem is played, or remain in the locker room.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy declined comment Friday and reiterated his statement Thursday night, saying “constructive” discussions are ongoing with the union.

“I understand that it’s a business and you want to protect your bottom line and all of that, but at the end of the day, I think the smartest thing right now is to not have a rule and provide a better option,” Jenkins said.

Teammate Chris Long showed his support for Jenkins, as he did last season, by putting his arm around him.

“Malcolm is taking action and he can always sleep good at night knowing that he’s not being a fraud,” Long said. “He’s (demonstrating) and he’s working in the community, like a lot of these guys are doing.”

In Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Defensive end Robert Quinn stood and raised his right fist.

“If you continue to misinterpret what we’re doing, reach out to me, take a look at my website, take a look at my Twitter, all my social media platforms,” Stills said. “I think you’ll get a better idea of why we’re doing what we’re doing and maybe you can come to the other side and start supporting us.”

Stills said “it would take a lot” for him to stop protesting.

“A good first step for us as a league would be acknowledging what they’re doing to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid,” Stills said. “You can’t say as a league you support the players and their protests and then blackball the players who initially started the protests. To come to the drawing board and talk about solutions, we need to start there as a league, and then we can start drawing up other solutions to some of these other problems.”

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began the movement in 2016 and was joined by teammate Eric Reid. Both are unemployed—Kaepernick didn’t play last season, either—and have pending collusion grievances against the NFL.

Kaepernick tweeted support for Stills and Wilson.

Wilson said he feels more free to express himself with the Dolphins than he did with the Kansas City Chiefs, but didn’t elaborate.

“You get a lot of backlash for doing this,” Wilson said. “Nobody wants to bring the negative attention to themselves, but when you have a platform like this and you’re able to speak on certain situations, you want to do that. We’re not harming anybody.”

Writing on Twitter from his New Jersey golf resort, Trump said Friday players “make a fortune doing what they love,” and those who refuse to stand “proudly” for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

Quinn had a powerful message for critics.

“It’s not a protest. It’s an awareness,” he said. “I think ‘protest’ segregates this country. The awareness we’re trying to raise—this country preaches freedom and unity. That’s all I’m trying to do. If you believe in something, no matter the consequences you stand by it. I want heaven here on Earth. I believe we preach too much negativity throughout this whole world. I think the message that needs to be spread is peace, love and happiness.

“Hearing the slander that we’re protesting the flag, that’s not it. It’s not a protest. It’s no disrespect to any servicemen or women out there. They salute with their hand over their heart, I hold my fist up. How can you look at that any different? That salute is just as meaningful to them as my fist in the air.”

Three Seahawks players, Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson and Duane Brown, left the field following team introductions and before the start of the anthem Thursday night.

“I think there are a lot of people that are supportive of the players and then there are a couple of people that have been very vocal against it. Those people have power,” Brown said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Angela Major 

Seven members of the Janesville Jump Team jump at one time Friday, August 10, 2018, during the National Show Ski Tournament at Traxler Park in Janesville.

Five Republicans vie for nod to replace Rep. Ryan

Five men are seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for the 1st Congressional District seat.

Paul Nehlen, Nick Polce, Jeremy Ryan, Kevin Steen and Bryan Steil are hoping to replace Rep. Paul Ryan, who is retiring after 20 years in Congress.

A sixth candidate, Brad Boivin, will be on the ballot, but he has withdrawn from the race and endorsed Steil.

The campaign took some odd turns. First, Twitter banned Nehlen for racist statements, and some Republicans, including Paul Ryan, denounced him as racist.

County Republican parties did not invite Nehlen to their candidate forums. They also didn’t invite Jeremy Ryan, an enthusiastic marijuana smoker, whose ideas, for the most part, are liberal.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary election will face the winner of the Democratic primary Nov. 6.

The candidates responded to these questions:

Q: Will you support a path to citizenship for people brought to this country illegally as children? What about their parents who have lived here and paid taxes for many years?

Nehlen: “We have a legal path to citizenship now. I do not want laws relaxed or changed. In every instance, every illegal alien should be deported and must get in line just as every legal immigrant who came before them.”

Polce: “At this point, I do not support a pathway to citizenship for those who came here illegally.

“Immigration reform needs to begin with border security and improve the laws that are part of our broken immigration system. ...

“We can begin by funding a wall. The next step is to increase, if necessary, funding for border enforcement ...

“Then we modify or remove existing immigration law to end loopholes ... (including) addressing family migration and ending the visa lottery system. ... closing the H1-B loophole and taking action on the H2-A/B visa shortcomings that do not address the needs of businesses that require year-round labor support in industries like dairy.”

Ryan: “Allow people who are here to be here legally. If they commit crimes, they’re gone.

“After a certain number of years paying taxes here and contributing to our society, they can be allowed citizenship, which could be revoked if they start committing serious crimes.”

Steen: “Build a wall, fast-track workers, register families and remove criminals.

“There is already a path to legal citizenship for people to come to America; the laws in America need to be followed.”

Steil: “Most Republicans and Democrats can agree that our current immigration system is broken and in need of reform. Our first step must be to secure the border.

“After we have secured the border, we need a comprehensive reform of the legal immigration system that also addresses the individuals here. Part of the solution is matching legal immigration to our workforce needs here in Wisconsin.”

Q: Name the three greatest threats to the United States right now.

Nehlen: The absence of a well defended wall or double fence to secure the future existence of our people and a future for our children; the absence of a national bank of the United States as opposed to the Federal Reserve, which ought to be abolished; the “hostile elite” who have taken perch in the highest levels of government, media, banking, entertainment and in policy think tanks antithetical to the strength and sovereignty of this nation.”

Polce: National debt/profligate federal government spending, skyrocketing health care costs, China.

Ryan: “Our debt is constantly climbing, and we can’t afford that. This allows foreign nations who control our debt to control us at least partially.

“We need to do away with the Federal Reserve and finally take control of own our own money. All the Federal Reserve does is charge us money so that the elite can continue controlling us. We need to have a central bank owned by the people.

“Both the Democratic and Republican parties don’t care about people. They only seek to control and divide. ... They keep us focused on where we disagree so as to keep us in shackles.”

Steen: “Too much government spending and the enormous debt load. Or in other words, tariffs/inflation.

“A China/Russia partnership.

“Lack of energy sources/stability in oil market.”

Steil: “Health care costs are too high. I will work to lower costs, protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and put individuals and doctors in control of health care decisions. I will also protect Social Security and Medicare for current recipients and future generations.

“Southeast Wisconsin’s economy is beginning to grow again. ... (I will) fight for affordable, high-quality education to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

“Washington spending is out of control. I’ll use my private-sector background to work to cut government spending, reform the budget process and implement more oversight of government programs.”

Q: What actions (no more than three) should lawmakers take to improve federal taxing and spending and why?

Nehlen: “Lawmakers ought to embrace tariffs on the funding side, and President Trump correctly leverages tariffs to protect industries, as tariffs and excise taxes funded the federal government up until 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment establishing income taxes.

“On the spending side, we have to dramatically shrink the size of the federal government, eliminating many departments (spending and salaries) redundant to state-level departments, thereby eliminating redundant spending and associated taxation.”

Polce: “End the use of the omnibus (spending bills). Each spending bill that funds the different departments of the federal government ... should come before the floor for an up or down vote. ...

“The spending through the omnibus bill process is one of the reasons we have a $21 trillion national debt. Our debt makes our kids and grandkids poorer and can cause national security challenges.

“Stop raising the debt ceiling. By law, Congress sets the limit for how much the federal government can borrow to fund its operations. Congress should not authorize another future increase in borrowing. ...

“One way to get a handle on our spending is to prevent the federal government from borrowing and force Congress to focus on the excess spending.

“Stop raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. ... Because of this, we will shortly face a funding shortage in Social Security. ..

“We must address this spending instead of taking money from Social Security.”

Ryan: “Legalize cannabis. Allow billions upon billions in extra tax revenue and even more billions in prison and enforcement savings.

“End Citizens United. This will make it harder for corporations to buy tax breaks and politicians. The current system is pay-for-play; donate thousands, receive millions. ... That’s why I’m the only candidate not taking any donations.

“Shift tax breaks from giant corporations to small- and medium-size business. This will keep money more local and allow far more jobs.”

Steen: “We need zero-based budgeting in departments of Education, Labor and Housing and Urban Development.

“We need to freeze all non-essential programs from the budget.”

Steil: “Lower taxes, so the hard-working people of southeast Wisconsin can keep more of their own money. We also deserve a government that spends our money wisely and efficiently. I will work to reform the budget process and focus on more oversight of government spending. I will also fight for legislation that cuts needless government regulations to help create high-wage Wisconsin jobs.”

Steil cited an example of such regulation: “A provision, known as R2T4 governs aid when students withdraw from school. This provision has 213 pages of instructions and guidance alone. ... These types of rules and regulations need to be streamlined to reduce administrative costs and ultimately keep education affordable.”

Obituaries and death notices for Aug. 11, 2018

Gerald A. Bartlet Jr.

Deborah Donovan

Jerry W. Hardy

Betty Lou Hovde

Joseph F. Osmond

Carol Passmore

Pamela Kay Polmanter

Alvin Edroy Stenli

Kenneth James Tansor

Judith K. Wixom

Grading real world skills: New scoring system added to Janesville report cards


Smart is one thing.

College- and workplace-ready is another.

Starting this fall, Janesville School District students in grades six to 12 will be given a “citizenship and employability” score as part of their report cards.

The score is designed to give “feedback and information to students and families regarding respect, responsibility, and engagement in the classroom,” according to a memo from Allison DeGraaf, director of learning and innovation.

The memo, which was directed to Superintendent Steve Pophal, was included the agenda packet for the school board’s Tuesday meeting.

Students will receive a score of 1 to 4 in respect, responsibility and engagement in learning.

Four, the high score, means the student has exceeded expectations. The other three categories are “meets expectations,” “developing” and “needs improvement.”

The category of “respect” includes following rules; interacting respectively with diverse groups; and being courteous to students, staff and community members.

“Responsibility” includes meeting deadlines, seeking help when needed, arriving on time and accepting responsibility for their own actions.

“Engagement in learning” includes engaging in classroom activities, participating in a positive manner and using technology at appropriate times.

The citizenship and “employability” standards were developed by a group of teachers and administrators and were piloted last spring, DeGraaf said.

The standards were developed, in part, because of feedback about grading practices from parents and teachers.

At the high school level, 90 percent of a student’s grade is based on test scores. Students are allowed to retake exams to improve their grades. Homework makes up the remaining 10 percent.

However, the lowest score a student can receive on an assignment—even one they didn’t turn in—is 50 percent. Students have figured out that reduces the value of homework assignments from 10 percent to 5 percent.

Advocates for standards-based learning say it gives students a chance to master the material, and in the long run, that’s what really matters.

Opponents of such grading techniques say they don’t match real-world expectations. It’s not enough to be smart, you also have to turn in work on time, get along with other people and treat supervisors with respect.

The district has always acknowledged that “employability” or “soft” skills were an important part of learning, DeGraaf said.

The new scores give teachers a tangible way to rate those skills.

The scores will not appear on high school transcripts at this time, DeGraaf said.

However, students who scored highly could include those reports on college or job applications.

Bryce, Myers vie for 1st District nod

Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers hope to win the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the 1st Congressional District seat.

Voters will decide the issue in Tuesday’s primary.

The winner will take on the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 6 elections, when voter will choose a replacement to retiring Republican congressman Paul Ryan.

The candidates responded to these questions:

Q: What actions should lawmakers take to improve federal taxing and spending. List no more than three.

Bryce: “Speaker Ryan has spent a lot of time touting the tax cuts middle-class families will receive in his so-called ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.’ What he consistently fails to mention is that those tax cuts are set to expire in 10 years.

“As a member of Congress, I would lobby to make those tax cuts permanent while eliminating tax loopholes for corporations and the very wealthy.”

Myers: “We need to repeal the recent Republican tax reform bill that gave over $1 trillion to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

“Republican tax reform was passed through a process that lacked transparency and public input. I will demand that any major legislation be subject to a vigorous, open debate and transparent process because citizens deserve an opportunity to provide input and improve legislation that impacts them.

“We should use the $1.5 trillion we will save by repealing Republican tax reform to invest in our infrastructure and put Americans to work by rebuilding our roads, bridges, and public schools.”

Q: Name the three greatest threats to the United States right now.

Bryce: “Lack of access to health care, the decline of the middle class and Republican attempts and subsequent actions to roll back voting rights.”

Myers: “Climate change is an existential threat to our planet. ... We are already seeing that droughts and extreme weather are devastating entire countries and causing social unrest, which makes our world less stable and will lead to more war.

“The Citizens United Supreme Court decision fundamentally changed our democracy. ... The richest Americans, biggest corporations, and special interests cannot be allowed to control our political process, silence the American people, and reshape the future of our country to benefit the wealthy few.

“The threat of nuclear war will be one of our greatest threats until nuclear weapons are no more. Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong-un control enough nuclear weapons to destroy our planet many times over. We need to de-nuclearize so unstable leaders no longer have that power.”

Q: What would be your approach to working with Republicans to make positive change? What issues show most promise for bipartisan solutions?

Bryce: “I believe we can find common ground when working on veterans’ issues. There is a lot to be done to help those that have worn the uniform for our country.

“When I returned home after my tour in Honduras in the 1980s, I worked with homeless vets. ... There is so much that this country owes them and so much more we can do to help them.

“I believe that this is something that Republicans and Democrats can find common cause and work together on.”

Myers: “I will work with Republicans by developing personal relationships with those whose constituencies support my policy priorities.

“I expect to receive the most bipartisan support for climate-change solutions and Medicare for all. ...

“There is already significant bipartisan support for market-based climate changes solutions, like a carbon fee and dividend program, which I will support when I am in Congress.

“A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health-care system may not seem to be an area where we can find bipartisan agreement, but I’ve spoken with many small business owners who identify as Republican who support my plan because our employer-based health care system is one of the most significant costs for small businesses.”