Thankful to get the vaccination shot
Having recently received my first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, I wanted to thank all those that have worked so hard to produce a vaccine that will hopefully bring some normalcy back into our lives.
As a veteran I’ve been lucky enough to receive my first dose just days ago at the VA and witness firsthand how the entire vaccine process is coming together to get more than 70 million vaccine doses delivered by our distributors so far.
From the VA nurse that administered the vaccine, to the vaccine distributors that expanded capacity and harnessed modern technology to move the vaccine quickly and safely from the manufacturer to the VA and other points of administration, to the scientists who broke down the virus and developed the vaccine, to President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed which brought the public sector and private sectors together to develop a vaccine in record time, it’s been truly wonderful to see our country come together to achieve such an accomplishment in record speed.
Every so often our country does something that reminds us that no matter what separates us politically, culturally or geographically, we can come together to advance our common good. Thank you to all those that were involved in making the coronavirus vaccine a reality.
‘Experts’ take wrong mask approach
The Republican Legislature decided that masks in Wisconsin are not necessary. This knowledge is understandable since most of them graduated from a university with a science degree. They went on to earn a medical degree or a Ph.D. in epidemiology. In addition they have years of experience dealing with pandemics and viruses from AIDS, to SARS, to MRSA, and now COVID-19. Every major health organization in the state has endorsed wearing masks. This leads the legislators to their brilliant decision on removing any mandates concerning masks.
A person walks into a bar with no shoes, and no shirt, smoking a cigarette. They consume alcohol way over the limit and get into their vehicle having no license, unbuckled. They drive way beyond the speed limit going through all stop signs and lights. When pulled over they say their freedom is being taken away. They have their civil liberties and the authoritative law is taking their rights away. They point out we do not need these laws since people will use common sense. You might say that is a dumb assumption. Laws are there to protect the general public. They protect our overall safety and health. Exactly correct. This applies to wearing masks also.
The Republicans’ plan is to limit masks just when new strains of the virus are coming our way. These strains are even more contagious and more deadly. A smart time to limit public safety. The first COVID-19 case in Wisconsin was in February last year with the first recorded death in early March. Today (Jan. 27) in Wisconsin we have suffered 535,218 cases and 5,753 deaths. These are only the ones tested positive, and you have to worry about the long-term symptoms. So what could possibly go wrong with eliminating masks?
Racial bias claims are unwarranted
Recently the Leader-Telegram published another article lauding a certain UW-Eau Claire professor, this time for earning an award from the UW System’s Board of Regents. The professor, described in part as a liaison to the ACLU of Wisconsin, was awarded for efforts to “foster greater equity and diversity.” Equity, in that context, describes freedom from bias or favoritism.
Throughout this article quotes by the professor suggest that people of color in the UW System are victims of bias and favoritism. Such claims are unwarranted and should not go unchallenged.
There are numerous events celebrated by the university, the names of which are race-specific, e.g. Black History Month. Also on campus and university-sponsored are organizations with race-specific names, e.g. Black Student Alliance, Black Cultural Center, etc. Would the university host a race-specific named organization if its name began with the word “white”? I doubt it. So yes, institutionalized favoritism does exist on the UW-EC campus but its victims are not people of color.
Another example of favoritism are those at the university who have adopted the recent practice of capitalizing the letter “b” in the word “black”, e.g. “Blacks, Black people.” If the rules of language require this, university officials should be consistent and capitalize the letter “w” in the word “white”, e.g. “Whites, White people.” They do not. These and other examples tell us who the university is favoring and against whom it is biased.
A close reading of the above mentioned article will reveal no real evidence for the type of bias and favoritism claimed by the professor. It was insinuated only.
Farmers, consumers must band together
There is a solution to the farm bankruptcies mentioned in the recent front-page story “Western Wisconsin led nation in 2020 farm bankruptcies” and it is not milking more cows.
Farmers and consumers need a change in national agriculture policy. This change must come from the federal government but will require the organized efforts of all who care about our family farms, rural towns and a stable food supply. Farmers have been stuck in an economic system that causes volatility to farm milk prices and encourages over-production. Current efforts to help milk prices at the farm gate, like the Dairy Margin Coverage Program, do nothing to address oversupply. Taxpayers should not have to pay subsidies to farms when the federal program in place encourages oversupply, and farmers would rather receive a fair price than BAND-AID fixes.
Congress must address this problem. There is a growing Dairy Together movement to rebuild a viable dairy economy for family farmers and rural communities. Farmers and allies are encouraged to get involved in seeking real solutions. The best chance for dairy pricing reform is in the next farm bill and such a plan must address some key points: elevate milk prices, prevent oversupply, reduce price volatility, decrease government expenditures, respond to global market conditions, allow for growth when the market can accept additional milk, offer opportunity for beginning farmer entry, be mandatory, and have meaningful farmer input, implementation and governance.
Less than 1% of our population today works on farms, so farmers will need consumers to help advocate for these changes in federal milk policy to keep family farms on the land and our food supply secure. Learn more at dairytogether.com.
Wisconsin Farmers Union director
Verses in the Bible bring some clarity
I am troubled by the turmoil in our country. As a Christian, I try to model my attitudes and behaviors to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I often fail in my attempts — certainly on a daily basis. But I am encouraged and take comfort in Christ’s repeated emphasis on love and forgiveness.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Galatians 5:22-25, often referred to as the “fruits of the Spirit.” These are the attitudes and behaviors that, as a Christian, I am instructed to strive for. The heading in my Bible, just before verse 22, reads, “Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit, not by self-effort.” So I clearly cannot do it on my own.
I truly believe that those who do not call themselves Christians look at these “fruits” as indicators of the sincerity of our profession of faith in Christ. The verses immediately preceding (17-21) are listed as indicators of our “sinful nature.” To be taken seriously when professing to be a Christ follower, I hope to display far more of the behaviors and attitudes in verses 22-25 than those in verses 17-21. But every day is a struggle to “clothe (my)self with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
In a practical sense, I find myself analyzing the words and actions of myself and others in light of these scripture passages, especially those who call themselves Christians. When I send a text or email, or post on Facebook, whether I wrote it or forwarded/retweeted it, it becomes a reflection of me — who I am and what I believe. And fair or not, it also reflects on those who love me and those who I claim to share a common cause with. That should give me pause.