Thursday, July 31, 2014

Long range planning

[UPDATE: Only four tickets left!]

In 2004, Governor Jim Doyle appointed Louis B. Butler, Jr. to the Wisconsin Supreme Court making Butler the first African-American Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin's history. In 2008, his term expired and he was defeated in his reelction bid by Louis Gableman, the first time a sitting Wisconsin justice had been defeated since 1967.

The election was close, but Gableman won. Lots of the same big money still buying state and federal elections was involved, including Wisconsin Club for Growth and the ever ugly Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. About 19.34% of eligible voters turned out to vote.

Gableman's victory gave conservatives a four to three majority on the court. 

This is the crux of the issue.

You may remember this race because of an ad approved by Gableman and run by his campaign that showed a picture of Butler, an African-American with a law degree from UW-Madison, who had served as assistant state public defender, municipal court judge, Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge and assistant professor of law at Marquette University, next to a picture of an African-American rapist Butler had represented as a public defender. The ad implied that Butler had found a loophole to get his client out of jail early and the client had committed another rape.

In fact, that was not true. While Butler had won a new trial for his client, the Supreme Court had overturned that decision and the client served his full term before leaving jail and committing another crime.

The ad was so bad that Citizen Action of Wisconsin filed a complaint based on a rule that judges cannot knowingly misrepresent their opponents. The Judicial Commission decided that Gableman should be disciplined, but this decision was appealled and in 2010, the "Supreme" Court issued a split decision 3-3 (Gableman recused himself for once) with the right wing justices saying it was just free speech and the real world justices calling an intentional rule-breaking lie a lie.

Anyway, that's part of the reason why we currently have a dysfuntional, right wing Supreme Court majority - the Stranglerthe Liar, the Lobbyist, and the Cheater. [I am skipping over the achingly close loss by candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg to aforementioned Strangler in 2011. - voter turnout: 34.31%]

Which brings us to today. Who is surprised that the "Supreme" Court has decided (four to three)  that Scott Walker's Voter ID law is ok? Thank goodness, the US Justice Department doesn't.

If we don't work on voter turnout, if we don't vote, if we don't pay attention, then here is where we are and here is where we will stay.

Note that the Republicans' plan to depose Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson is wending its way through the system, as are their constitutional changes affecting recall election criteria. Constitutional changes require two consecutive years' passage by the legislature and a vote by the people, but that's how they got their anti-gay amendment through.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two steps, one step

The dance continues. Two steps one way, one step the other. We can only hope that eventually we will be moving forward, but who knows?

This morning, On Point Radio had a great interview with scientific historian, Naomi Oreske, about her new book (a "short little stick-of-dynomite book," according to the host, Tom Ashbrook), “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From The Future.” Climate change is coming and it will be much worse than having to crank up the air conditioner a few more days each year.

A new IPCC report focussing on transportation describes how increasing temperatures and wild weather will affect trains, planes, ships, and automobiles. From buckling rails due to intense heat to wild oceans, making shipping routes longer and more dangerous, to increasing costs to repair and replace heat and weather damaged roadways, it will be a different and much more expensive and dangerous transportation world. How many miles have you logged on your bike this month?

On the forward end of the two-step, new designs - from bicycles to batteries - and new understandings of what we really need and what we really don't need are growing and beckoning us to the new dance. 

Step forward, please.

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Remember - you can VOTE ABSENTEE IN PERSON from now through Friday, August 8. Check MyVote Wisconsin for details including how to register, where to vote, and what your ballot will look like.

Also, one of the things we DO need in my opinion is GREAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES. Please plan to attend one of the public "listening sessions" coming up on the future of La Crosse's public libraries:
  • August 5th: 4 p.m., South Community Library
  • August 12th: 5:30 p.m., North Community Library
  • August 16th: 10:00 a.m., Main Library
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Our US Senator, Tammy Baldwin will hold a fundraiser in La Crosse on Tuesday, August 5 at the Bodega Brew Pub, 122 S 4th Street from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (She won't be up for re-election for several years so I'm not sure why a fundraiser is needed now - except by 2018 it will probably cost $100 gazillion to run for senate even as an incumbent).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Update - More tickets - Bigger theater

Because we sold out so quickly, we have been moved to a larger theater at the Marcus Cinema complex and have more tickets available (41 as of this posting)!

THESE ARE ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE THROUGH THE TUGG SITE!

I have heard that some people have called the theater asking about tickets. This will do no good. Tugg works through booking agents; the people at the theater here are not involved! So, please direct folks to the Tugg site for tickets.

Check out the latest from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign on the so-called "grassroots" support for a certain high-funded candidate. Most of Scott Walker's campaign funds have come from out of state. Surprised?




Happy Monday miscellaneous edition


First - there is ONE TICKET LEFT for the CITIZEN KOCH screening on Thursday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marcus Cinema on Ward Avenue! Get it here: www.tugg.com/go/ivv2kj.

On a somewhat related note, a new film is underway: Citizens United - The Movie is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign and has just announced signing Ed Asner in a leading role.

VOTE VOTE VOTE! Today is the beginning of "absentee voting in person" in Wisconsin. Starting on Monday two weeks before an election and ending the Friday before election day, you may vote at the City Clerk's office (in La Crosse - for other communities, see https://myvote.wi.gov/). This is a great way to vote when it's convenient for YOU. Details (for La Crosse):  City Clerk's Office is in City Hall (400 La Crosse Street - 2nd Floor). Vote between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 608 789-7510 (press 5) with questions. If you haven't been paying attention, you can get info on Dem candidates here. The Wisconsin Green Party has one state-wide candidate in the August 12 election - Ron Hardy for State Treasurer.

Yesterday, I got behind a slow moving vehicle driving to La Crosse from Stoddard. It turned out to be Principia College's entry in the 2014 American Solar Challenge! Thanks to this year's work in mindfullness meditation, I was able to creep (it seemed) the 40 miles per hour up the beautiful river road without too much trauma (there was one black-smoke-belching monster honkin' truck that just couldn't wait to careen around the impediment to return to life in their fast lane). It seems one La Crosse police officer just couldn't abide it either (would that they would be as concerned about the constant stream of oil trains ... but that's another issue). I gave the support team a big thumbs up, since it's challenges, inventions and dreams like these that will move us into a better future.
Do you have a dream expedition in mind? National Geographic is offering $50,000 for some lucky explorer's dream project. Deadline for submissions is August 31. Get all the info from National Geographic.

Those Dutch people are amazing. If you are interested in architecture, planning, living with global warming, etc., read this interview with a Dutch architect about embracing rising sea levels. Then watch this video about Amsterdam's newest neighborhood.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

... waiting to happen


[UPDATE - now there are only TEN tickets left! Buy yours here: www.tugg.com/go/ivv2kj. Also, see Army COE contact info below.]


Please read Alan Stankevitz's excellent letter to the editor in Sunday's La Crosse Tribune. If you have been reading this blog or Alan's great DOT111 Reader, you know that millions of gallons of volatile Bakken crude oil pass through our city and many others every day. Every day, an accident waiting to happen. Not just an accident, but, potentially, a disaster.

Local communities and state and federal legislators have requested an Army Corps of Engineers public meeting about BNSF plans to construct a second rail line through La Crosse, including adding lots of fill and possibly pilings in part of the marsh. Alan urges us to "press the Army Corps of Engineers for this meeting." Contact:  David Studenski, phone 651 290-5902, email david.a.studenski@uwace.army.mil or write to him at 1114 South Oak Street, La Crescent, MN  55947.

In the meantime, the comprehensive Railroad Progress Report, recently published by CARS (Citizens Acting for Rail Safety), is a great way to find out what's happening on this issue in our area and find links to contact elected leaders and other officials.

New, tepid, oil train regulations have recently been  introduced by the Obama Administration, regulations that many say don't go nearly far enough. Will they help La Crosse? Well, no. Even though the new regs proposed reduced speeds through cities with populations of 100,000 or more or high threat urban areas. La Crosse does not meet either of these criteria, so trains are free to barrel through, past our homes, schools, and businesses, at dangerously high speeds.

The new rules will open for public comment once published in the Federal Register at www.regulations.gov.  Please read up on this issue and be prepared to submit comments when you can.

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Update on CITIZEN KOCH tickets for the La Crosse screening on Thursday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marcus Cinema, 2032 Ward Avenue, La Crosse:

I just learned that there are only 14 tickets left!! We ARE going to sell this out! Yes!!

Remember tickets are available ONLINE ONLY from www.tugg.com/go/ivv2kj. Your ticket purchase will also get you a live post-film Q&A session with Mike McCabe, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign AND a discount on a full priced beverage or spin of the wheel at the Bodega Brew Pub!




Friday, July 25, 2014

I'll be there.

Calling Tom Joad.

Assembly Speaker, Lawmakers Ask Feds to Relocate Refugee Children Elsewhere.

No words can describe my emotions.


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On the brighter side, we have only about 30 tickets left for the August 7 screening of Citizen Koch (6:30 p.m. at the Marcus Cinema on Ward Avenue). At the risk of repeating myself, remember, that in addition to a fun and informative film, your ticket purchase will get you in on a post-film Q & A session with guest Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (featured in the film, by the way) AND a discount on a full priced beverage or spin of the wheel at the Bodega Brew Pub, 122 S. 4th South in La Crosse.

Tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY and are available up to 2:30 p.m. on August 7! Get your tickets now before they are sold out!


====================

Geo's idea: Dump the Jerk! Vote for Burke!  If you'd like to help make this happen, tomorrow is the Statewide Day of Action - canvassing and phone banking for Mary Burke for Governor. Meet at NOON at the La Crosse Democratic headquarters, 126 Fifth Avenue South. You may also wish to volunteer at the phone bank. Contact Taylor to volunteer. 

Also, US Senator Tammy Baldwin will be in La Crosse for an evening reception in support of her campaign on Tuesday, August 5th, 5:30pm - 7:30pm at Bodega Brew Pub. To RSVP or contribute: www.tammybaldwin.com/LaCrosse


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The Green Party of the United States is holding its THIRTIETH anniversary celebration at the site of its beginnings - Macalester College in St. Paul. Listen to this interview with party member and event coordinator, Lee-ahnee Gale. Should you be Green? Read the Ten Key Values of the Green Party.
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Google and inversion tactics (see below). We're looking for a list of "US" (haha)  companies that look like US companies but aren't paying US taxes because on paper they are based in other countries. They are like the people who sneak onto the city bus by using their old expired student ID, except in this case, the bus is the whole country.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's a GO!!!

Thanks to several people's hard work and email lists, we've met our threshold and that means the CITIZEN KOCH screening on August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marcus Cinema on Ward Avenue is a GO!

Tickets are only available ONLINE through Tugg: http://www.tugg.com/go/ivv2kj

There are still tickets available - let's sell this thing out! Reminder - Mike McCabe, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, will be there for the post-film Q&A and the Bodega Brew Pub will give you a discount off a regular price drink or a spin of the wheel if you show your ticket stub!!

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Ok, now, let' consider inversion. Walgreens is considering renouncing its US corporate citizenship for the lower taxes of Switzerland by purchasing a small Swiss company and moving (on paper at least). Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was interviewed today about US corporations who enjoy the benefits of US "citizenship" (Walgreens, for example, relies heavily on American taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid programs) but are choosing to merge with foreign corporations or changing their corporate addresses to Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Ireland or other tax havens

Others considering or already making the leap include Medtronics, a Minnesota bio-tech company; HerbaLife; Haliburton; Apple; and Pfizer (drug companies often rely on US taxpayer funded research in developing new drugs and medicines). 

Democrats have introduced a bill to fix this problem, warning it could cost the U.S. $17 billion over the next decade.  

The Congressional Research Service has identified at least 47 corporate inversions over the past decade. Bloomberg reports that CEOs of inverted corporations are receiving generous bonuses. 

Senator Durbin, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and others, noting Walgreens' profits from US taxpayer programs, are encouraging a boycott of Walgreens should they go through with their inversion plans.

At the very least, you might consider contacting Walgreens' CEO to let him know what you think of this scheme: gregory.wasson@walgreens.com. The company's corporate headquarters (for now) phone number is 847 914-2500. (If you check out his profile, you'll see that poor Walgreens really really needs to pay ZERO US taxes so they can make more money.)








  

Good for the goose

PR Watch notes that by complaining about a TREK BICYCLE open letter in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin's Republican Party has essentially endorsed the basis for the John Doe criminal probe. The TREK letter doesn't say anything about supporting or opposing a candidate, it simply responds to the untruths said in and implied by Scott Walker's creepy anti-Burke television ad

As you may remember, Jay Heck of Wisconsin's Common Cause, called the June release of documents associated with the John Doe investigation, "a bombshell." The investigation looks into coordination between the candiates in the 2011/2012 recall elections and outside groups, including Karl Rove's. Such coordination is illegal under Wisconsin law. The documents speak for themselves.

All this brings us back around to the subject du jour, namely, pre-selling enough tickets to get CITIZEN KOCH at the Marcus Theater on Ward Avenue on August 7 at 6:30!

We still need to sell 14 tickets by July 31 for this event to occur!!





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CITIZEN KOCH UPDATE and MORE things to do!

A new reason to buy your tickets now for the August 7 (6:30 p.m. at the Marcus Cinema on Ward Avenue) screening of the documentary, CITIZEN KOCH with special guest Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign leading the post-film Q&A.

JD says, "The Bodega is making an offer: bring your CITIZEN KOCH stub into the Bodega for a credit off a regular priced beverage or a spin of the wheel. Thanks to Jeff Hotson for this generous offer."

Tickets are available ONLINE ONLY at http://www.tugg.com/go/ivv2kj
  
We need to sell about 26 more by July 31 for this event to happen! Please spread the word!

== and now for something completely different! ==

CARS public hearing at Central HS
CARS (Citizens Acting for Rail Safety) has been so active over the last several months, it's amazing! For a recap of all the actions and events they've hosted or facilitated AND, more importantly, for important ACTION ITEMS you can help with, please visit the CARS Railroad Progress Report.  Also, highly recommended if you wish to keep track of the oil trains issue, please subscribe to the DOT111 Reader.