Thumbs down to Republicans dodging debates. We have to give Paul Nehlen and Jeremy Ryan credit. They did what the rest of the Republican field vying for the 1st Congressional District seat has so far avoided: They held a debate. While at times waxing bizarre, the two Republicans engaged each other Tuesday in Delavan. The other candidates have participated in Republican Party forums, but they haven't done a real debate, such as the one Democratic candidates Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce held July 8. A debate involves a moderator, ground rules and, ideally, rebuttals. Debates give voters an easy way to assess candidates and compare their positions. What are the other candidates so afraid of--that they might have to explain their positions?
Thumbs down to Pocan's call to abolish ICE. President Trump's opponents make some good points about his character flaws and trade-policy blunders. But they often go to extremes in their reactions, as happened recently with Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan. His bill to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement is among the worst proposals advanced by Democrats since Trump took office. Surely, Democrats can think of ways to fix ICE without eliminating it. As Steve Walters notes in his nearby column, Pocan can afford to push left-wing ideas because his district includes ultra-liberal Madison. But Pocan's scorched-earth tactics aren't doing his more moderate Democratic colleagues any favors.
Thumbs up to preserving Yerkes Observatory. The University of Chicago plans to close the historic home to one of the world's largest telescopes by Oct. 1. The observatory is a source of pride and tourism for Williams Bay, and we're hopeful the university can find a buyer who's willing to maintain public access to it. Williams Bay Village Board President Bill Duncan told Wisconsin Public Radio last week the university is involving the village. "As I’ve visited with some of the university folks, I think there’s a real recognition of the historical value of Yerkes, and it's partly in their DNA. I don't think they just want to see it crumble," Duncan said. Both the university and village are trying to balance the need to cut costs and a desire to preserve history. Neither wants to turn the land into a bunch of condos.
Thumbs up to schools raking in safety and security grants. Areas school districts have been successful in receiving thousands of dollars in safety and security grants from the state. And it's not just public schools. Several private schools have also received funds. While some have criticized the inclusion of private schools, we appreciate the state is recognizing all children--regardless of which school they attend--deserve protection from mass shootings. The Janesville School District still is waiting on its $382,289 request, though we suspect it will receive most of that, judging from the success other districts have had with their requests.