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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday - Jan. 15

UPDATE: Monday, January 15 at 7 p.m. at the English Lutheran Church (16th and King Streets). Details are still being worked out - speakers, music, video of portion of Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech, refreshments, opportunities for personal action. Please bring an offering for WAFER (food pantry). More details coming Jan. 5

If you would like to help, email.


Seeking refreshment bringers (finger foods, cookies, brownies, etc.), people to spread the word, people to help set up and clean up after refreshments. email Cathy if interested.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Progressive State of the Union date set

This just in:
Please put FRIDAY, JANUARY 26 on your calendars RIGHT NOW!

That is the night of the third annual Coulee Progressives
State of the Union at the Concordia Ballroom in La Crosse.Planning is just underway but we will have an ACTIVISTS' FAIR from about
5:00 to 6:30 p.m. (set up from 4 to 5), dinner provided by UW-L's Native
American Student Association (tentative), ONE great speaker (to be
announced) and music/dancing afterward.

It will be at the Concordia Ballroom, located at 12th & La Crosse Streets;
donations will be accepted on a sliding scale to help cover costs.

This year we are focusing on the environment and especially
what solid steps are being taken in our area by regular people JUST LIKE US
to reduce our contribution to global warming and what steps can each of
us take. (It's a scary thing - new warnings that the Arctic will be
ice-free by 2040. GACK!)

Look for final info around the first of the new year. And if you are
interested in participating - as an exhibitor or in planning (or both)
please contact us so we can get you on the list.

Thanks, and see you there!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sleeping with the enemy

[UPDATE: Kind discouraged about Iraq after meeting with Bush. Duh!]

Many of us feel Ron Kind is not a good representative. He's too iffy on important issues. Remember standing outside the Allied Health Center with the Wisconsin Farmers Union urging Kind to oppose CAFTA? Eventually he did, but the fact that he wasn't a leader against this bad law from the beginning is just one instance of his wishy-washy fence-sitting.

Now, we see, he's joined the Joe Lieberman branch of the non-Democratic party and represented the "New Democrats, a group of business-friendly centrists," at a meeting at the White House.

With Democrats like these, who needs an opposition party? We do!

If you've read any of the La Crosse County Democrats' newsletters you've noticed a list of values (amazingly similar to those of the Green Party). Congressman Kind must not have read them.

Now that the Democrats are in the majority in the House it would be nice to think that something progressive will get done (pick one: health care, education, cutting off Iraq war funding, ...) but judging by past experience, we are not holding our breath.

Who will oppose Kind in 2008?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A matter of degrees

If I invited the citizens of La Crosse down to the Mississippi River for a festival so they could dump their paints and household contaminents into the river creating beautiful patterns under the winter moonlight, and then encouraged them to drive their cars down to watch the patterns and hit them up for a donation of food for local food pantries, I guess the La Crosse Tribune would praise me.

Ya think?

Once again, Rotary light in La Crosse has taken over the city park so they can use up tens of thousands of kilowatt hours and encourage people to spew even more crap into the globally warming atmosphere by driving their cars around the park to see 1.6 million lights. Last year's light display used 48,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. Unless they've converted their display to LEDs.

Actually, there are 20,000 LED lights. Out of 1,600,000 (about 1% of the total). Hmmm.

(Check the Electric Power Pollution Calculator for more details.)

But at least, thanks be to God, the publicly owned city park is providing, "a true Christmas experience" for visitors.

Good grief.

Anyone in the Coulee Progressive community interested in preparing a presentation for the Rotary Club to get them to cut out this wasteful and environmentally harmful event and instead find some other way to gather money and food for good causes?

Please email me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Support local SOA protestors:

[from Guy]:

This weekend, approximately 60 students, staff, and community members are traveling to attend the protest at the School of America's in Fort Benning, Georgia. Working very hard to close down the Fort, the students and many others were successful in getting Congressman Ron Kind to support legislation to close the Fort this past spring, but much work needs yet to be done!. The Fort has been for more than 30 years a training ground for foreign military leaders in practices of "legitimate?????" torture, counterinsurgency, among many other despicable practices. Military operations decried by human rights groups across the world have recognized that some of the worst practioners of torture and abuse have graduated from this college, including officers in Columbia, all throughout Central America, Indonesia, Iraq, among a host of many nations.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!?

1) Support those who are attending the conference. Each student will pay in excess of $100, just before finals, to get on a bus, drive 20 hours, participate in a day/half of protests and organizing, drive back 20 hours to help create an international awareness of the issue. Expected crowd this year in excess of 20,000 people! The folks who attend will bring back strategies, goals, and ideas on how to close down the School of America's, all while keeping attention on the mistreatment of prisoners that our government and others are participating in globally.

2) HELP US BUY A PEACE BUS....if you can spare any donation to help this become a reality...please send us a donation. We spend more than $30,000 a year to bus people to protests, conferences, Fighting Bob, etc. How about supporting a bus that can be used as a classroom, traveling billboard, and transportation to and from so many opportunities. If the Army can drive around in a black "Darth Vader" semi...why can't we bring a bus of hope and change to schools and communities throughout the region? If you want to see what a Peace Bus can do...look at the Wheels of Justice website, and witness firsthand the incredible work that can be done by creating a mobile classroom http://wheelsofjusticetour.org/

3) The La Crosse Six are still in negotiations with Sen. Kohl. His office is working to set a time/place/ and agenda for a mtg to discuss Sen. Kohl's direction on the War in Iraq. Let's all thank June Kjome for keeping and prodding the Senator's Office. Just so you know...we are not sure Sen. Kohl has ever actually been to his office in La Crosse in years! He comes for press conferences, but doesn't find time to visit with constituents HERE IN LA CROSSE PERSONALLY. We know he is a busy man, but I am sure he has found time to visit with lobbyists from all over the country. Please Sen. Kohl, don't forget about people right here in your (our) State!

4) A Big thank you to Liz Rynertson [and Ray Starrett - ed.] and others who planned and hosted the wonderful UN Film Series at UWL this past week!

So PLEASE CONSIDER SENDING US A DONATION BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS!!

SEND TO:

La Crosse Coalition for Peace and Justice
c/o Guy Wolf
N3421 Mohawk Valley Road
Stoddard, WI. 54658

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Calendar!

We're trying a new web-based calendar which won't take up space on my personal limited pages and will allow you to post your own events! Try it out (or click on Progressives' Calendar icon - top right of this page.) Click for more.

Be sure to include LOCATION OF EVENT in the detail (click on one already posted for example. Please email me if you have problems.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

VOTE - then saddle up for the next ride

Due to severe SLEEPINESS there will be no live blogging of election night. But we will hope to update in the next few days.

And we need to start thinking about next year. I propose that GLOBAL WARMING - and specifically what the Coulee Region can actually DO (not talk about, study, discuss, wish on or dream about) to make major steps toward reducing our "energy footprint" - be our top priority.

Click for more.

Former Mayor, John Medinger, signed on to the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. And what has been done?

That's the question.

Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to take following three actions:

* Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;

* Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and

* Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system.

I suggest that Coulee Progressives make living up to this agreement one of its top priorities in 2007.

For an interesting report about how Germany is taking major and livable changes, listen to November 7th's Here On Earth broadcast with Craig Morris, a journalist and translator specializing in renewable energy, author of Energy Switch: Proven Solutions for a Renewable Future"

We are now planning for the 2007 Coulee Region Progressives State of the Union on Friday, January 26. More details soon - I'm feeling an energy conservation theme coming on.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vote vote vote vote!

Tuesday is Election Day, and it's important that we each do what we can to Get Out The Vote for progressive candidates and issues. Your NO vote could help Wisconsin become the first state in the union to defeat a ban on a marriage ban!

Click on 'Read more!' below to find a couple of useful links with information about the issues, the candidates, and registering to vote. And, by all means, get thee to a polling place on Tuesday!

La Crosse City Clerk - find a sample ballot, polling place locations, and registration info. ( I know not everyone who reads this site is from La Crosse; check here for more information about registering to vote in other parts of the state.

Fair Wisconsin -- find out why a NO vote on the marriage ban is essential for our state's economy and people.

League of Women Voters - Check out their Fall 2006 Voter Guide; it's chock-full of great information.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
- See who's giving to your candidates, and how much.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Local movie on hate crime and gay students - Premiere 11/4 and 5

The Details: A movie premiere of "The Shadow of the Fire" on Saturday November 4th and Sunday November 5th at 3:00pm each day at the Rivoli Theater in downtown La Crosse.

My name is Scott Thompson and I'm a filmmaker from western Wisconsin. We'd like to extend an invitation to you to attend the premiere of a movie we produced in the area last winter called "The Shadow of the Fire", which is on the subject of hatred. In 1999, I wrote and co-produced "Greta's Song" with the Theatre du Mississippi, a film about domestic abuse.

Our current film, "The Shadow of the Fire," was shot mostly in Winona, with other scenes shot in Wisconsin and New York. In the film, three high school students are suspended for hate speech against an openly gay student who has just been found beaten into a coma. But it is a fourth student, from a very "normal" home, who seems to harbor the most hate of all.

The film is not violent. The goal of the film is to initiate discussion among people afterwards. We didn't set out to make an Oscar-winner, but I think it will cause people to talk with one another after its over.


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

Pass the word. See more about Thompsons' film at his website.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

June Kjome reports on peace activist court hearing date in LaX

In a previous article on KickTime we highlighted the citation of peace activists at Senator Kohl's office in La Crosse.  They appeared in court today and the charges were dropped.  June Kjome relates the following:

The court hearing did not happen  because the case was dismissed.  However, we did meet with our attorney and later this morning had a press conference to share our  purpose for doing what we did.  The press who came were from The La  Crosse Tribune, WLSU  (the Wisconsin public radio station on UW-l)  and Channel 19.


June also adds that "We are not certain what  we will do next.  We do not want to  give up on trying to talk with Senator Kohl.  We are tired of "form  letter responses" and  talking with aides."


I'll add a link here if the LaX Tribune covers their story tomorrow.


[and here's the link.]

Monday, October 23, 2006

Congratulations, Xong Xiong!

La Crosse's own peace and justice activist Xong Xiong was honored by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice as Peacemaker of the Year recently.

Congratulations, Xong, and thank you for all that you do for our community!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Asking the Right Questions at a Candidate Forum

Here's a letter that provides a great strategy for posing questions at debates and public candidate forums. When a candidate fails to know their own campaign literature, well...we need to ask who is pulling the strings?

[ed note: This post refers to John Murtha, the Republican nominee for Wisconsin's 29th State Assembly District seat, NOT John "Jack" Murtha, the Democratic Congressman from the 12th Congressional District in Pennsylvania!]

I received a piece of campaign literature in the mail from John Murtha, so I went to hear Kerry Kittle and him debate Friday night in Glenwood City. He said in the debate that he's an honest, fair, hard-working guy. I think he probably is. The questions were good and we could ask some too. So I did.

I asked about the things that were listed in Mr. Murtha's literature. It says he'll lead the effort to create a Government Accountability Board and the Office of Inspector General, but when I asked what those were he didn't really know.

His literature says he supports spending limits on local government, but when I asked if he thought local governments were wasteful, he didn't think so. So why would he want to have the State impose spending limits?

His literature says he supports creating Health Savings Accounts so families have control over their health care dollars, but if I can't afford health insurance, how can I put away enough money to cover my health care needs? He didn't know.

When asked his opinion on school spending and shared revenue for schools, John Murtha said that all the school buildings in our County are new and the funding formula seemed okay to him.

On creating jobs and the economy, this Republican said less regulation is needed and government should be a friend to business. How much friendlier can you get than to reduce the tax burden to single digits while residential taxes increase every year?

By the end of the evening, I still thought the candidate probably is honest, fair, and hard-working. But if he lets the Republican Party talk for him in his literature, it's likely he'll vote the way they tell him to in Madison, too. We've had enough of that already--and enough of the Republican machine that churns out its cloned campaigns followed by a flood of soft money into a district.

Go to a debate or forum before you decide who to vote for and ask the questions that will reveal who created the talking points.

Bonnie Irwin, Wilson, WI,
Co-Chair, Democratic Party of St. Croix County

Monday, October 16, 2006

Demand coverage!

A new study shows that most Wisconsin local news programs (remember, local news is where most Americans get their news) devoted 36 SECONDS of political coverage per broadcast and that only 23% of that 36 SECONDS is about the actual issues. The rest of the time was spent on "horse race" coverage.

Contact your local media and ask them to correct this. Challenge them to provide at least 2 minutes per night of real news about election issues - where do candidates stand, what are the consequences of candidates' positions, what have candidates' past records shown, etc. - from now until November 7.

WXOW (19) News director, Sean Dwyer
WKBT (8) News director, Anne Paape

Ask how much time their normal news broadcast devotes to covering and helping citizens participate in our democracy. For more info on the Joyce Foundation report, http://www.joycefdn.org/pubs/content/pubs-newslab.html

On a roll . . .

from Guy:

Thanks to all who supported the Environmental/Diversity/Peace Bus. We still need your help to meet our goal of raising $6,000. We have raised almost $3,800!! Much thanks to John and Liz Webster who worked so hard to support us in bringing Christiane Engel to La Crosse!!! Such incredible dedication!

Thanks to the Native American Student Association who helped us sponsor a VICTORY PARTY to celebrate the end of the Skull Valley Goshute Nuclear Waste Dump! This was an eight year fight for people across the country. It means that 60,000 shipments of nuclear waste are unlikely to pass our rails/roads on their way to Utah. NOW LETS SHUT DOWN THE YUCCA MT. DUMP!

Thanks to Xong Xiong who was presented the "Organizer of the Year Award" for young adults at the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice Annual Conference in La Crosse this weekend. And congrats to Patty Zanski, Deborah Buffton, and Christine Meisenheimer who received awards of recognition at this weekend's event.

Thanks to the UWL Environmental Council for launching the Campus Climate Challenge this past Thursday at UWL. A special thanks to Carrie for all her work~

Thanks to everyone who is canvassing, tabling, doing voter registration, helping with forums to make this election a great one for Progressives...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Blog this blog

If you are a Coulee Region progressive, we want you!

More posts would be better. More info on local happenings (what about the county's budget woes? Shut down Veterans' Memorial Park?), local environmental news, local events and fundraisers ...

Email Cathy to get a spot on the blog.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Things to do

In case you run out of things to do this month, here are some ideas:
  • Ride your bike north on the Causeway and check out the new billboard put up by June Kjome and Guy and Joan Wolf resepct life billboard

  • Be sure to attend the Respect Life concert Sunday evening at UW-L honoring the life and philosophy of Dr. Albert Schweitzer and featuring his granddaughter in a concert of Mozart piano music

  • Watch parts three and four of "Eyes on the Prize," the fantastic documentary about the civil rights movement on Monday evening at 8 p.m., but first!

  • Attend the Wisconsin Bicycle Federations public meeting on Monday evening at the Onalaska Public Library to talk about planning for and improving bicycling facilities and atmosphere in our area

  • Go to one of the two death penalty forums on Tuesday (one at noon at the La Crosse Public Library and the other in the evening at UW-L)

  • Wednesday night, go see "Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories" and meet the filmmaker at UW-L's Graff Main Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m.

  • Volunteer to work against the marriage ban

  • Friday evening, attend a meeting to discuss starting a United Nations Association chapter in La Crosse, then

  • Head on over to the Concordia Ballroom for a fundraiser for sheriff candidate, Bruce Konetchy

  • And on Saturday, attend the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice's 16th annual Fall Assembly, held in La Crosse at Three Rivers School (901 Caledonia Street.)

For more options, check the calendar.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How low can they go?

This post, The Constitution has its Darkest Day While Harry Reid Sucks an Egg, by Howard Rodman, says it all.

Not only didn't the Democrats filibuster this bill or otherwise derail it (and they could have) but, in the end, many of them voted for it.

As Rodman notes, "This was and is one of the most important votes in our liftime, if you believe in the Constitution, the idea of justice, that kind of thing. Why did the Democratic leadership cave? Because they were afraid of being accused of being 'soft on terror.'

"Guess what? They're going to be accused of that anyway."


Democrat Ron Kind continues to vote for war funding and send silly letters to consitutents who beg him not to (see below). Democrat Herb Kohl meekly votes no rather than leading the charge against "the darkest blot on the conscience of the nation." Democrat Russell Feingold defends the merciless destruction of Lebanon by Israel as "self-defense."

And this is the opposition party?

I don't think so.

Who is? I don't know. Rae Vogeler, Green Party candidate, is an intelligent leader who would be a true progressive in the Senate. But she has little money and Kohl won't debate her and the loyal Democrats are afraid of losing a LieberKohl for someone who actually would stand for what they say they stand for.

Ron Kind lost 20% of the primary vote to Chip DeNure who was hardly a progressive's ideal, as he admitted himself. What if a real progressive opposed Kind in the next election?

What if? What if?

We don't have too much time left for polite "what iffin'" at this rate.

We need some real leaders. And we need some real citizens. And quick.



Monday, September 25, 2006

Seven Six peace activists arrested at Kohl's La Crosse office

[UPDATE: There were SIX protesters arrested, not seven.]

This just in (from Guy):

Seven Coulee region activists including octogenarian, June Kjome; veteran peace activist, Gail Vaughn; students, Matt Stewart, Jeremy Jansen and Bjorn Bergman; and Viroqua resident, Antia Zibton were arrested at 5:30 today in Senator Herb Kohl's Office in La Crosse. Supported by approximately 40 citizens who gathered outside the La Crosse Post Office, the seven spoke for more than 1 1/2 hours with former La Crosse Mayor, John Medinger, who is currently an aide to Sen Kohl.

The discussion covered US involvement in Iraq, a failing war on terror, the role of US coverup leading to war, the possible military threat to Iraq and a host of other issues. The activists all agreed that the United States must withdraw troops from Iraq and implement a real plan to bring peace to the Middle East.

They were fined $95 and asked to appear in La Crosse Municipal Court at 8:30 a.m. on October 25. Their attorney, Keith Belzer, accompanied police as they entered the building. John Medinger and the police attempted to convince the nine to leave the offices. Two of the protestors left. The remaining seven refused, requesting that Senator Kohl take a position to end the occupation of Iraq.

After being ticketed and released, the seven walked out of the Federal Post Office to the cheers and hugs of fellow citizens of the City.

We are particularly proud of the actions of these seven individuals who were very active in the anti-war referendum vote, and have worked tirelessly for an end to conflict in the Middle East. While the seven activists were in discussions in Senator Kohl's office, the remaining citizens engaged in a discussion about the tactics and practices of Dr. Martin Luther King.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED. WE NOW NEED THE SUPPORT OF THE GREATER COMMUNITY TO:

1) Attend the hearing on Oct. 25th.

2) Write (425 State St., La Crosse), phone (796-0045 Fax: 608-796-0089) or email Senator Kohl's office.

3) Support the seven folks with phone calls, emails, and letters of support. (Some of the students could use some extra cash if they fail in court.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

DEMAND PEACE

After today's release of the classified National Security Estimate, news that torture in Iraq is worse now than under Saddam, another $100 billion in the works from your pocket to Halliburton and other war contractors, Iraq is THE issue.

Yet, apparently the Democrats plan to run in 2006 on ... the economy!

Senator Herb Kohl has been a supporter of the Bush occupation of Iraq. It's time for him to change and support the Declaration of Peace. Come and persuade him - Monday, September 25 at 4:30 p.m. Kohl's La Crosse office is in the U.S. post office, 425 Main Street.

As Guy notes: "More US sons and daughters have now died in the Iraq war than in 9/11.
The top CIA retired expert on radical Islamists has denounced the policies of President George W. Bush

"The 'war on terror' - and by terrorists - has directly killed a minimum of 62,006 people, created 4.5 million refugees and cost the US more than the sum needed to pay off the debts of every poor nation on earth.
The war is costing $11 MILLION an hour....

"If estimates of other, unquantified, deaths - of insurgents, the Iraq military during the 2003 invasion, those not recorded individually by Western media, and those dying from wounds - are included, then the toll could reach as high as 180,000.

"Twenty-one former generals and high ranking national security officials have called on United States President George W. Bush to reverse course and embrace a new area of negotiation with Iran, Iraq,and North Korea.
Torture is now being legalized...

"Dennis Kucinich, ranking Democrat on the Government Oversight subcommittee on National Security and International Relations, sent an email out stating that the Bush administration is once again building a case for war based on lies so it can invade Iran."


This will not stop unless the people make it stop. Join us.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A FULL Calendar!

Hold on to your hats! We have a FULL calendar of progressive events and activities this month and next. Be sure to check the highlights on this page or get more info (and more events) on the calendar page.

We are also trying to schedule a screening of the new Robert Greenwald film, Iraq for Sale during "Patriotism over Profit" screening week, October 8 - 12. It will be tough - there are already several good events planned. Check back often for details.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thanks, Chip

Chip didn't win Tuesday but he gave the voters of the 3rd district who oppose the continuing (perpetual) occupation of Iraq someone to vote for. He ran his campaign without much money or resources.

As he says, "If there had been a more mainstream Democrat who challenged (Kind) on the war, it would have been closer.”

So, let's start recruiting right now. Who will commit to running against Kind in 2008. You think "the war" will be over by then? The only question is how much over $1 TRILLION will we have spent by then and whether or not we're also spending it to occupy Iran.

Thanks, Chip, for giving us a voice.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why I am supporting Chip

Chip DeNure is running in the Democratic primary (September 12) against our current Democratic Congressman, Ron Kind. Kind is good on some issues, notably environment and education. BUT he has totally dropped the ball in representing his constituents on the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq.

As others have pointed out, he held a public meeting then did exactly what most of his constituents begged him not to do. And he thinks he can get away with it because he wrote a letter! Sorry, no.

I disagree with Chip on several issues, but, as he said, he is a one issue candidate in this election. Chip would work to get the US out of Iraq. Kind will not.


I know - Chip is in favor of concealed carry and thinks he knows better than any woman what she should do with her own body and he has some idea that the Bush administration isn't telling the truth when it comes to 911.

Fine.

We voters have tried the carrot and cajoling. We've tried lobbying, writing and talking. We've passed a resolution demanding troops home now. But Kind is deaf on this most important issue.

So, I am voting for Chip. Because we can't go on like this. Billions of dollars that could have paid for health care, scholarships, social programs, business incubation, infrastructure repair and much more - gone.

If Chip wins, then we can start lobbying him about the other things. But we'll be one step closer to being out of Iraq.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why I won't support Russ

Russell Feingold is a very attractive candidate to many progressives. He takes good and gutsy stands on many issues.

But I won't support him any longer. And when I wrote to let him know why - his support for Israel's unholy war against the civilians of Lebanon - he wrote back:



Thank you for contacting me regarding the situation in the Middle
East. I appreciate hearing from you, and I share your concerns
about the recent violence and ongoing tensions in the region.

I have long supported Israel's right to defend itself against
Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. The kidnapping of
Israeli soldiers and missile attacks against Israeli citizens are
unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. I stand firmly with the
people of Israel and their government as they defend themselves
against these outrageous attacks.

The President should appoint a high-level special envoy to the
region to work toward a permanent solution to this conflict. Such
a solution must address the very real security concerns of Israel, as
well as the need for Lebanon to be a productive partner in
establishing a long-term peace in the region. Syria, Iran and
countries throughout the region also must condemn the actions of
Hezbollah and take strong actions to return stability to the region.

I have great sympathy for the innocent civilians who are suffering
because of this conflict. I have supported efforts in the U.S. Senate
to help the victims of this conflict, and I will continue to work to
help address the humanitarian impact of this conflict.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, I will
continue to follow this situation closely. Please feel free to contact
me again with any additional thoughts you may wish to share
about this important matter. Thank you again for contacting me.


Sincerely,

Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator


I don't consider leveling half a country and forcing nearly 1 million people into refugee status and killing nearly 1,000 civilians, over one-third of them children, to be "defending."

It was a trial war, planned and supported by the Dick Cheney gang as reported by Seymour Hersh in a recent New Yorker article.

This was not defense. But it's a good line.

The fact that Russell Feingold is willing to use a good line to defend a war crime confirms for me that he is no better than the rest of them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A CALL TO ACTION!

From Guy:

We have the official PowerPoint program presented to the Rochester City Council on the new proposed ATC 345 kV Transmission line(S) to La Crosse and across southwest Wisconsin. Western Wisconsin will not only encounter one line crossing the Mississippi River, but potentially three, and it/they will likely travel down along the Mississippi River Corridor from Prairie Island to La Crosse (Xcel is proposing a new coal plant in Durand).

This is a major travesty of significant environmental and social impacts. While environmentalists, conservations, and cities have fought to protect the Mississippi River and its bluffs and cities, this line would cross significant portions of Tribal Lands, three large urban areas, and large areas of Federal Lands (meaning the Upper Mississippi River Refugee.)

As the PowerPoint articulates, "using existing line corridors does NOT address planning issues". This means new lines on new corridors.

If you would like the PowerPoint presentation for your group, class, church or community organization, please email.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lieberman/Kohl

Joseph Lieberman probably helped Al Gore "lose" the presidency in 2000. The poster-DINO (Democrat in Name Only), Lieberman has supported censorship, restrictions on women's autonomy, equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens and, of course, the Bush "doctrine" - you have it, we want it, we take it.

Ned Lamont beat Lieberman in the Demo primary and is now Connecticut's democratic candidate for the senate.

In Wisconsin, we have our own Lieberman problem and his name is Herb Kohl. Yes, he has cast some "good" votes on some issues but a quick check at Project Vote Smart gives a better picture of the fence upon which he is perching.

He just voted to criminalize adults who help minors seek out of state abortions. He voted in favor of the banking industry written bankruptcy bill. And he continues to support the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq.

There's no Lamont to run against Kohl in a primary BUT there is another choice. Rae Vogeler is running as a Green Party candidate. She is a credible, smart alternative for those who are tired of holding their breath every time Kohl casts a vote.

Vogeler will support human rights, women's rights, education, health care, labor and middle class families AND she will oppose the continuation of the occupation of Iraq.

If you are tired of feeling like your choices are limited, check out Rae Vogeler's site and see if her ideals match yours.

Monday, August 21, 2006

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH at Ward Ave. Cinema

[UPDATE 9/25/06: This film will be at the Ward Avenue Cinemas at least through August 31. It will only be shown in the evening - at 7:35 and 9:40 p.m. Starting September 1, the film will be in Viroqua at the Vernon Square Cinema for one week. Viroqua area progressives plan a discussion one night after the film - check with the theater for more details.]

Thanks to June, we just learned that An Inconvenient Truth will be at the Ward Avenue Cinemas through at least Thursday, August 24. After months of begging by many in La Crosse, this important film is available to residents of the Coulee Region.

Please attend! And bring many people with you! This film has been described as life changing by many. This is one example.

For more info, Visit this site.

And, for god's sake! GO TO THE MOVIE!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Spokes & Folks and the Solar Bike Tour

(An update from Guy Wolf)

SPOKES AND FOLKS!!

Obbie and Roz are working hard to celebrate International Bike Day---Sept 22nd.
They want to reinstate the "Spokes and Folks" festival that was created a good number
of years ago by a worthy group of UWL Greens and others who decided to defy law
and ride their bikes in downtown La Crosse, while holding up traffic, to make a critical
point about our fair city.....It was not bike friendly!! So after a wonderful municipal judge
named Nix (since retired) decided that it indeed was a great crime against humanity
to block traffic with bikes, he sentenced the Greens (now Progressives) to come up with
an idea to promote bikes and human powered transportation ...and whaaaallllaa!!
You had the origins of our festival. And we eventually got better bike access, some
safer roads, MTU bus connections, etc. We are still working at it....

I believe it is a grand idea to reignite the festival. Not only have bikes grown in significant
numbers across the City, but folks like myself, my dearest and many others are
now biking in from the hinterlands to work and play. In addition, Buzz Bocher (ever so
faithful), Red, and many others have made the Green/Blue Bike Program a huge
success (it is time to recognize that success; hundreds more bikes!). If you haven't
noticed, there are now even more bike racks at UWL, Viterbo, and across town --
including many added this summer!. My dearest would even suggest that Gundersen
Lutheran now has a shortage of racks (hear that Nick?!) and people are once again
tying their bikes up to trees!

And because we love parades and speeches, and celebrating our love for our home
and the planet, I believe we should wholeheartedly support this plan to make Sept. 22nd
a glorious day! Sept. 22nd is a Friday and it will be a good day at Cameron Park
for events---all day-- perhaps even a potluck at the market that evening!

The colors will be grand!

And now for some additional good news!

Remember that crazy group of retired professors from Iowa that rode through
our fair city the last election cycle (2004) to promote SOLAR BIKES and to talk
about GLOBAL WARMING? (See pictures of our event here or here.) Well , they
want to come back on another tour. AND THE DATE IS SEPT. 22nd.!! And the
League of Rural Voters will be coming along as well.... to help sponsor the event!

They liked us so well, thought that the publicity was great, and loved the parade
leaders--Obbie and RoZ, that they would like to ride into town Friday Morning...
due a clean energy rally/press conference--and I would suggest we do this at Cameron
Park where we are hosting the festival, preceded by a parade that starts at UWL,
travels through Viterbo, WTC, and ends at the Park.

Now these gentleman and the tour made a great difference in our community! It
created momentum for our green bike program, several "older" folks have
purchased the marvelous solar powered assisted bikes and there are simply
lots more bikes and even biodiesel vehicles here in LaCrosse!

The solar bike tour wants to come and talk about solar bikes, renewable energy
-- WIND -- and Global Warming, something that our City and County has growing
interest & concern and creating action plans to help move our region into a
sustainable future.

These "professor" types would be available for a WLSU Newsmaker Show
prior to the parade. And would love to show off their newly adapted solar
powered vehicles. And we could certainly highlight our Blue Bike Program
and perhaps get bikers from businesses, schools, and the hospitals to
join us! This would be a great way to get press, increase turnout for the
rest of the festival and perhaps invite others to join us...like the environmental
clubs at the high schools!

(AS AN ADDED INCENTIVE, IF YOU HELP US ORGANIZE THIS EVENT,
I WILL HOST A PARTY THE NIGHT BEFORE ON SEPT. 21st at MY HOME..
to WELCOME THE SOLAR RIDERS IN FROM THEIR JOURNEY!!
ANYONE INTERESTED?)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Congratulations, Viroqua

Congratulations, Viroqua!

Yesterday, the La Crosse Tribune reported that Viroqua residents have secured the necessary signatures to put a questions about troop withdrawal on their November ballot. According to the Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice, they will be one of nine communities (including Wisconsin's biggest city, Milwaukee) hoping to go on record in favor of immediate troop withdrawal.

More below.

Click on the snippet below to read the full article:

Viroqua to put war to a vote
VIROQUA, Wis. — Either the Viroqua City Council or the residents of the city soon will weigh in on the war in Iraq.

A group of citizens has gathered the necessary signatures to force the council to vote on a resolution to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq or place the question on the ballot this fall.

David Wennlund of Readstown and Anita Zibton of Viroqua circulated the “petition for direct legislation” that reads “Resolved: The United States should bring all military personnel home from Iraq now.”

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Getting connected

A good group of Coulee progressives had a great time talking and networking tonight. We hope more similar events can be scheduled.

This is an open invitation for YOU to blog here - just register with blogger.com and email for permission to post.

Again, we hope you will check the progressive calendar often and let us know if there's an event we should add.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bring An Inconvenient Truth to La Crosse!

Despite assurances by the film's producers, An Inconvenient Truth has so far NOT appeared in La Crosse.

People have reported life-changing effects of this film which brings home the realities of the climate crisis we are beginning to experience.

Please call the Rivoli Theater (785-2058) to ask them to get and show this important film.

While you're at it, please contact Carmike (Valley View Mall) Cinema and Marcus Theatres (Ward Avenue) requesting that they get and show this important film in La Crosse.

If the film doesn't come to a commercial theater, Open Eye Documentary and Independent Film Society will seek a way to include it in the 2006-2007 season.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Student Essay Contest

Antiwar.com is sponsoring a student essay contest. Two classes: Juniors, 9th grade and younger and Seniors, 10th - 12th grade. Prize money is involved as well as publication on the very popular website.

For more details, visit http://www.antiwar.com/essay/?articleid=9227

Here are highlights:

Antiwar.com is committed to promoting a vigorous and informed worldview on the part of young people, particularly in the areas of international relations, U.S domestic policy, and nonintervention. The reason for this is obvious: the young hold the future in their hands, so we had better do what we can to help them prepare. To this end, we at the Randolph Bourne Institute/Antiwar.com are pleased to announce the first annual Antiwar.com Student Essay Contest.

Your essay should discuss peace and the problems of intervention, using as a prompt any of the quotes in the Antiwar.com "Quotable" database (or you can provide your own quote, provided you document it). Example: "Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" by Benjamin Franklin. You might use this quote to discuss the PATRIOT Act and the perils of abridging essential rights for elusive gains against terrorism. Use, if possible, a combination of historical events (e.g., the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII) and theoretical sources (e.g., Rights of Man) to discuss.

In other words, students are requested to produce an essay that balances the writer's own insights with current events and historical research. Antiwar.com seeks to encourage students to engage their intellects – using data, facts, and the lessons of history – to advance their moral beliefs.

Essays will be judged in two categories: Senior (entering grades 10-12) and Junior (entering grade nine or below), with separate prizes awarded to the winners in each category. First prizes are $400; second prizes, $200; third prizes $100; and honorable mentions $50. Winners will be notified in December 2006; their schools will also be notified. The winning essays will be published on the Antiwar.com site.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back from the War (on Poverty)

For six weeks every summer, a federal Department of Education program, Upward Bound, provides a residential "practice college" for area high school students. During the six weeks, students take math, science, English and foreign language classes; hear lectures by university professors and learn how to do well in a college lecture class; get study help from residential college-student staff; experience life away from home, and learn to live with a roommate and share a bathroom with 20 or so others.

There's an academic year component, too, including weekly tutoring, monthly workshops on careers, college preparation, community service, current issues and more; college visits and leadership training.

Statistics continue to show that even high achieving high school students go to and graduate from college at a lower rate if they are from low-income homes or homes where they might be the first in their immediate family to go to college. UB changes that statistic.

But the Bush administration hates UB.

For the past three years, Bush has zeroed out funding for Upward Bound. Only the program's success and strong efforts by its graduates and current students, staff, families and others who know the benefits have helped it find a place back in the budget.

Now, the appointees at the Department of Education are working to strangle UB from the inside out by changing the rules about who can enter Upward Bound. A fight is coming.

The War on Poverty continues. And warriors are still fighting.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Two week break

Wow. What a difference two weeks makes. The last update to this iste was May 25. Two weeks later, more than 30 more U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, a great peace rally was held at Cameron Park Market and Chip DeNure is running against Ron Kind for the Third Congressional district seat.

Yikes.

Summer is busy and updates will be coming, but not every day. We hope the calendar will be updated more often and apologize for missing posting info about the June 2 Rally for Peace.

Others are invited to post here. Please email us for info.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On the radio

Mike Hayes was defending the extra-judicial government data-mining of phone records recently. "If it will help catch a terrorist," he, and many of his listeners, are up for anything.

Greg Palast details how spying on phone records is not in any way intended to catch terrorists. Rather,
... now ChoicePoint and George Bush want your blood. Forget your phone bill. ChoicePoint, a sickened executive of the company told us in confidence, "hope[s] to build a database of DNA samples from every person in the United States ...linked to all the other information held by CP [ChoicePoint]" from medical to voting records.

But it won't stop, despite Republican senators shedding big crocodile tears about "surveillance" of innocent Americans. That's because FEAR is a lucrative business -- not just for ChoicePoint, but for firms such as Syntech, Sybase and Lockheed-Martin -- each of which has provided lucrative posts or profits to connected Republicans including former Total Information Awareness chief John Poindexter (Syntech), Marvin Bush (Sybase) and Lynn Cheney (Lockheed-Martin).

But how can they get Americans to give up our personal files, our phone logs, our DNA and our rights? Easy. Fear sells better than sex -- and they want you to be afraid. Back to today's New York Times, page 28: "Wider Use of DNA Lists is Urged in Fighting Crime." And who is providing the technology? It comes, says the Times, from the work done on using DNA fragments to identity victims of the September 11 attack. And who did that job (for $12 million, no bid)? ChoicePoint, Inc. Which is NOT mentioned by the Times.

"Genetic surveillance would thus shift from the individual [the alleged criminal] to the family," says the Times -- which will require, of course, a national DNA database of NON-criminals.


Get with it, people. This is administration is NOT INTERESTED in "catching terrorists." Heck, they are busy creating new ones every day.

Remember, Richard Clarke said,
“[O]n June 21, I believe it was, George Tenet called me and said, 'I don't think we're getting the message through. These people aren't acting the way the Clinton people did under similar circumstances.' And I suggested to Tenet that he come down and personally brief Condi Rice, that he bring his terrorism team with him.

“And we sat in the national security adviser's office. And I've used the phrase in the book to describe George Tenet's warnings as ‘He had his hair on fire.’ He was about as excited as I'd ever seen him."

Former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado also directly told senior Bush officials loudly and clearly that, in his words, "The terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming."
Hart was co-chair (with former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H.) of the U.S. Commission on National Security, a bipartisan panel that conducted the most thorough investigation of U.S. security challenges since World War II. After completing the report, which warned that a devastating terrorist attack on America was imminent and called for the immediate creation of a Cabinet-level national security agency, and delivering it to President Bush on January 31, 2001, Hart and Rudman personally briefed Rice, Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. But, according to Hart, the Bush administration never followed up on the commission's urgent recommendations, even after he repeated them in a private White House meeting with Rice just days before 9/11.

“And he said, ‘Something is going to happen.’”


Security? Security!?

Here's Air Force Colonel P.J. Crowley (ret.)

The Bush administration has not matched its homeland security rhetoric with the resources that actually make us more secure. As in other areas vital to homeland security, port security is an unfunded federal mandate. The administration talks the talk of a genuine public-private partnership involving federal, state and local governments and the private sector. However, it does not walk the walk. In the face of growing federal budget deficits, the Bush administration is attempting to push most of the cost of these new security standards down to states and the private sector.

What about the journalists who are now having their phone calls monitored? What about the claim by Governor Bill Richardson (NM) that his calls were monitored?

Every day a new lie is uncovered. What about the Quakers who've been spied upon? or the peace groups spied upon? or the animal rights groups spied upon? or the grandmothers spied upon?

It's really no surprise that WIZM listeners would be ok with this. The six plus hours of daily propaganda from spinmeister Rush and Spinnity Hannity, the FOX News of the radio, is hard to resist. We can't blame them for being ill-, mis- and un-informed.But being ignorant does not trump the Constitution. Yet.

Where will "if it catches a terrorist" end?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Coming this week

Monday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at the La Crosse Public Library: A free screening of the film WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION by award-winning independent filmmaker, Danny Schechter. FREE AND OPEN TO ALL. Bring your own comfy beanbag or lawn chair. Sponsored by Open Eye Documentary and Independent Film Society.

Wednesday, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. a RIDE OF SILENCE to honor those who have been killed or injured in bike-car collisions. If you know someone who has been killed, please wear a black arm band. If you have been injured please wear a red armband. Ride begins at 4:30 at the UW-L Clocktower and will go down La Crosse Street to City Hall. Please email Cathy for more info.

Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center at UW-L: The Struggle Against Myths, Propaganda, Violence and Annexation in Palestine and Israel - Long time Nonviolent peace activists and Christian Peacemaker team members, Jerry and Sis Levin, will report on the nonviolent Struggle against Israel’s continuing the U.S.-encouraged effort to dismantle the land of Palestine.

Be there!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Coming events

This week it's time to write your letters to the editor and gear up for a summer of activism.

TONIGHT at 7:00 p.m. in the Ward Room, Wisconsin State Senator, Dan Kapanke will be at a form presented by WISPIRG and UW-L Progressives talking about Wisconsin's new Energy Efficiency and Renewables law. BE THERE!

Coming events in May include a May 12 fundraiser for Chris Danou, candidate for Wisconsin's 31st Senate district, a May 15 movie, Weapons of Mass Deception, at the La Crosse Public Library; the May 13/14 Campout for Peace in Viroqua; and a May 17 Ride of Silence to remember those who have been killed or injured in bike-car accidents.

Read more at the Progressives' Calendar.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Anti-war music

This came from Jim:

The La Crosse Choral Union will Perform Ralph Vaughn Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem at their May 7 concernt at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral, 530 Main Street. Dona Nobis Pacem is a powerful and moving piece of anti-war music. Ralph Vaughn Williams wrote it in 1937 just as it appeared that the world would be engulfed in another global war. Vaughn Williams had experienced the incredible carnage of WW I serving as a ambulance driver and wrote Dona Nobis Pacem (from the Latin Mass meaning "Grant us Peace") as a plea to avoid the hatred, suffering, and destruction of another war.

Tickets for the concert may be obtained at the door for a suggested donation of $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, and $5 for students. Tickets may also be purchased in advance from Choral Union members.


Also featured on the program are Nancy Matchett’s new setting of the Quaker hymn “How Can I Keep From Singing On?” and Tom Benjamin’s “O Sing a New Song.” These pieces won the first and second prizes in the Choral Union’s recent composition contest, which honors the memory of soprano Sigrid Mount.

The Choral Union is the University’s symphonic chorus, made up of UWL students, faculty, staff, and community singers from throughout the Coulee Region. The Choral Union will be accompanied by an orchestra of faculty, student and community musicians, under the leadership of Dr. Paul Rusterholz.

Vocal soloists in “Dona Nobis Pacem” are sopranos Nancy Matchett, Katharina Schneider, Linda Zoerb, and baritone Hans Laping. For more on Vaughn Wililams' Dona Nobis Pacem click here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Support your local farmers

The Cameron Park Market (Fifth Avenue and King Street) opens its season on Friday, May 5. The Market will be open on Friday evenings from May 5th through October 29th, 4pm to dusk and will host food tastings and musical events throughout the summer, showcasing the region’s farmers every week with vendors specializing in: organic vegetables and fruits, honey products, artisanal cheeses, free range meats, eggs, dairy, maple syrup and baked goods.

Other county markets, including the Saturday morning "courthouse square" market, the Sunday morning Onalaska market and the Wednesday morning Bridgeview Plaza market will open in early June.

With gas prices increasing weekly and the average "food-mile" at around 1,500, you can bet locally grown food will be an even better deal this summer, not to mention it's fresh and grown by people you can actually meet and talk to.

If you don't grow your own (why not!?) or even if you do, it's your Progressive Patriotic duty to support your local farmers.

For more info: check this site. (As soon as I get a link for the Cameron Park Market, it will go into the Progressive Business page.)

Call a special session

The latest on the murder of SB1 is that the Assembly voted late Tuesday to block an effort to bring it to the floor for a vote. Now we are asking the Governor to immediately call the Legislature into a special session on Senate Bill 1, creation of a Government Accountability Board. If you'd like to sign the letter, please email Bev Speer with your name and the name of your organization no later than Friday morning at 9 a.m.


According the The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign,

Two legislators who were initially recorded as voting "yes" – Representatives Frank Lasee of Green Bay and Al Ott of Forest Junction – later asked to have their votes changed to "no."

There was evidence of violent arm-twisting to ensure the ethics reform legislation was not taken up. Several Republican sponsors or self-proclaimed supporters of SB 1 – including Representatives Steve Freese of Dodgeville, Eugene Hahn of Cambria, Dean Kaufert of Neenah and Terry Musser of Black River Falls – voted to kill their own bill.

Assembly Republican leader Mike Huebsch and Senate Republican leader Dale Schultz were signaling they plan to alter the legislative calendar – a move that will allow state lawmakers to begin soliciting campaign donations from lobbyists.

Last year, majority Republicans extended the legislative session through December 2006 to block Governor Jim Doyle from raising the state's minimum wage. However, by doing so they unwittingly hindered their ability to collect campaign contributions from lobbyists. They later reached a deal with Doyle allowing a modest increase in the minimum wage, but now have to change the calendar to allow lobbyists to give to their campaigns in the months before this fall's elections.

Don't let this go. It's very important for our future. Do you want Wisconsin to be the next FLOHIDO????

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Senator Kohl's march to Iran - ACTION NOW

This is from a dailykos diary. Note that Sen. Herb Kohl is on the list of people marching us to war on Iran. Call him (Washington office: Phone: (202) 224-5653, Fax: (202) 224-9787; La Crosse office Phone: (608) 796-0045, Fax: (608) 796-0089) or use his online form RIGHT NOW! and volunteer to support GP candidate for U.S. Senate, Rae Vogeler.

(And, by the way, Ron Kind was a co-sponsor of the house version of this bill. For a discussion of it and how it fits in with the PNAC plan to take over the Middle East, read Rep. Ron Paul's (R-TX) April 5 speech before the House.)

21 Dem Senators Follow Santorum Into War With Iran Hotlist

Kossacks are rightly paying a lot of attention to what must surely qualify as the most critical issue of the moment: the march to war with Iran. You're read how the Secretary of State is trying to bribe governments to use their airspace for an attack. You've been pointed to Steve Clemons' warnings of imminent war. And you've digested Juan Cole's passionate plea to rise up against this impending war.

What are the Democrats doing to stop this madness?

Many are rushing to join the insanity. Last week, the House voted 297-21 in favor of the Iran Freedom Support Act that Dennis Kucinich describes as a "stepping stone to war." But wait, you say, our heroes in the Senate, working with a few sane Republicans, won't allow us to fall into the same, step-by-step march to war took place in 2002-03.

Well, you'd be wrong. Rick Santorum has introduced a similar version of the Orwellian named Iran Freedom Support Act in the Senate and its chances of passage look pretty good.

It has 58 (fifty-eight) (FIFTY-EIGHT) cosponsors. Judging from the numbers, there must be a few Democrats on that list.

Here they are:

Akaka (HI)
Baucus (MT)
Bayh (IN)
Boxer (CA)
Cantwell (WA)
Conrad (ND)
Corzine (NJ)
Dayton (MN)
Dorgan (ND)
Durbin (IL)
Feinstein (CA)
Johnson (SC)
Kohl (WI)
Landrieu (LA)
Levin (MI)
Lieberman (CT)
Lincoln (AR)
Mikulski (MD)
Nelson (FL)
Nelson (NE)
Stabenow (MI)


Please read the rest of the post at the link above and take action now. With Bush poll numbers sinking and increasingly hostile rhetoric from the White House and Tehran, and the planned MOAB2 on June 2, we don't have much time. (Remember, MOAB was tested just a few days before the U.S.'s 2003 attack on Iraq.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Skull Valley

Those who saw the film Skull Valley last fall (presented by Open Eye Documentary and Independent Film Society know what a tangled web is the PFS (Private Fuel Storage) plan for above ground, private nuclear waste storage on the lands of the Goshute Indians.

The plan has been pushed for years, suffering setbacks and victories. In February, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a license to PFS to build its storage facility. But in January the Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area was added to the National Wilderness Preservation System (as part of the Defense Authorization Bill.) The new wilderness area includes land PFS wants to use to build a rail spur to the Goshute site.

This is a new opportunity to stop PFS.

Here's what Kevin Kamps of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service says:

Now we have another strategic opportunity to stop PFS in its tracks, and we hope your group will join us by signing onto the letter pasted in below. We’re thankful to the 45 groups that have already signed on, and hope that the rest of you will also do so as soon as possible by copying and pasting the letter below, signing it and emailing it to me and Jason Groenewold at HEAL Utah. Our deadline for submitting this group letter is May 8th, so please sign on as soon as possible.

A significant hurdle to the project was placed in the way recently when Congress designated wilderness in the area where PFS was planning to construct a rail-line for the purposes of transporting nuclear waste to Skull Valley. Not to be deterred, PFS is still pursuing a right-of-way to construct a transfer facility that would allow them to move the waste from rail to truck in order to get the waste to Skull Valley.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering whether to grant a right-of-way for the rail-line or to issue a permit to construct the transfer facility since both would impact public land managed by the BLM.

Jason at Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah drafted the coalition letter below that addresses the criteria against which the BLM will make its decision, and we would be honored if your organization would sign on to it.

Thanks,

Kevin Kamps
Nuclear Waste Specialist
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Washington, D.C.
(301) 270-6477 ext. 14
kevin@nirs.org
www.nirs.org


May 8, 2006

Ms. Pam Schuller
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South 2300 West
Salt lake City, UT 84119

RE: PFS Proposed Right-of-Way Application

Dear Ms. Schuller,

We respectfully request the BLM to deny a right-of-way for Private Fuel Storage (PFS) to transfer or haul high-level nuclear waste to the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation. The proposed PFS project is inconsistent with BLM’s management plan for these public lands; the project is not in the public’s interest; PFS is not qualified for receiving a permit for the project; the project conflicts with Federal Land Policy and Management Act, other laws and regulations; and PFS lacks the technical and financial capabilities to carry out the project.

Private Fuel Storage had proposed constructing a rail-line across federal lands in order to haul high-level nuclear waste to the Goshute Reservation, and it had requested a right-of-way from the BLM for these purposes. However, with the passage of the Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area, granting such a right-of-way would violate the Wilderness Act as well as BLM’s management plan for this area. Therefore, a right-of-way for the rail line should be denied by the BLM. BLM must also deny the construction of a transfer facility because BLM’s Resource Management Plan prohibits the use of public lands for storing hazardous materials or hazardous waste.

A right-of-way or permit to operate a transfer facility should also be denied because it is not in the public interest. The overwhelming majority of Utahns are opposed to the storage or disposal of nuclear waste in Utah. Furthermore, a private, above-ground nuclear waste storage site protected by a chain-link fence contravenes the intentions of Congress for how our country should handle these dangerous wastes. Our public lands should not be used in a way that undermines national policy.

PFS is a shell company comprised of various utility companies. It has not demonstrated it is qualified to manage the project in a way that would protect public health, especially as it relates to security. The transfer facility would be built in close proximity to Interstate-80. If an accident or intentional act of sabotage were to occur at the transfer facility, it could have tremendous health and economic impacts on the region. PFS is not in a position to adequately protect the site, and therefore, a permit should be denied.

Both right-of-ways should be denied because granting a permit to transfer and store high-level nuclear waste would violate the Pony Express Resource Management Plan which governs how the BLM is to manage this parcel of land. The management plan states, “no further authorizations will be made for the treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste on public lands” and “public lands will not be made available for inappropriate uses such as storage or use of hazardous materials.” High-level nuclear waste would be handled and stored at the site while it is being transferred from rail to truck, which violates the BLM management plan.

Finally, Private Fuel Storage lacks the technical and financial capabilities necessary to obtain a permit. Half of the original partners in the consortium have either pulled out of the project or frozen their financial support for the project. Therefore, the BLM and the public would be in a vulnerable position if nuclear waste were to contaminate the site and PFS walked away. This is especially worrisome since the Department of Energy has stated it is prohibited by statute from providing funding or financial assistance to the PFS project because it falls outside the scope of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Related to its inability to demonstrate technical capabilities to properly manage the site, PFS has admitted that it has no way to repair leaking shipments of nuclear waste other than to ship them back across the country to the place of origin.

For all of the reasons listed above, we respectfully request that the BLM reject the right-of-way request made by Private Fuel Storage for a rail line and the construction of a transfer facility on public lands managed by the BLM.

Sincerely,

Son of TABOR

Unable to pass off TABOR on an informed Wisconsin public last time around, state Republicans have put new lipstick on their pig and are trying to pass it off as something new. TPA is just one more way to cut social services and further unravel our social fabric. We don't want it. This is from Guy:

Last week, over 500 of you took action by making calls, sending letters, signing postcards and letting your state representatives know that ANY form of TABOR has no business in our constitution – you made all the difference. The first TABOR vote was overwhelming defeated. The final TABOR compromise was passed in a private back room Assembly caucus while the public slept, and even then by only one vote.

Now TABOR moves to the Senate for a vote on Wednesday, May 3 – together, with your continued help, we can stop it there. Call your State Senator TODAY, and tell them to oppose any version of TPA. The toll-free NO-TABOR hotline is 1-800-844-2847. If you ever considered calling, make sure you call NOW!

TABOR, otherwise known as the Taxpayer “Protection” Amendment (TPA), will constrict the state and local government’s ability to provide needed services. Funding for our K-12 schools, crime labs, technical college and UW systems and unemployment services will dwindle to the point of crisis. TABOR’s formula is flawed, and is unable to account for the spiraling inflation of energy and healthcare costs. And because it will be cemented into our constitution, it will be very hard to change.

We must stop it now.

Please contact your state senator TODAY, and tell him or her to oppose TPA. Fiscal policy does not belong in our constitution.

What can you do?

1. Call your State Senator TODAY, and tell them to oppose any version of TPA. The toll-free NO-TABOR hotline is 1-800-844-2847. If you ever considered calling, make sure you call TODAY! A sample script is below.

2. Send an Email opposing this Amendment:

Click Here for the “Who Are My Legislators” website at http://waml.legis.state.wi.us/
Type your home address into the box. Press enter.
Click on the Email Legislator link.
Cut, paste and edit the script below, and add your home address.

3. Watch the online video on why TABOR failed in Colorado, and why it will fail here. Visit http://www.cbpp.org/taborvideo.htm to view this 10 minute video.

You’ve already made a tremendous impact on the Assembly – together we can make sure the Senate hears our message loud and clear – TPA is bad for Wisconsin. Every call and email counts!

SAMPLE SCRIPT

Dear Senator XX,

Please oppose any form of TPA. Our state constitution is not the proper place for rigid budget formulas. This gimmick simply shifts the funding burden unto local governments, ignores the real problems facing our future, and avoids making hard choices on spending issues. TABOR was a failed experiment in Colorado, and we don’t need to repeat the mistake here in Wisconsin.

Sincerely,
(Please put your name and address here)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Coming events

From Lynn C.: Two significant ballot issues will be put before Wisconsin voters this fall concerning reinstatement of the death penalty and restricting the legal interpretation of marriage. There is much debate that often deteriorates into argument. Waysmeet Quaker Center would like your help in sponsoring a local workshop to help people learn how to reestablish dialogue around these and other controversial subjects: Non-violent Dialogue Training with "LARA" (Listen, Affirm, Respond, Add) technique. If you are interested in participating in this training on Saturday, July 15, or Sunday, July 16, 2006, please email Lynn ASAP!

Upcoming events. More details at the calendar.

May 1 - Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson, 10 a.m., Viterbo Fine Arts Center. Free tickets to the event are available at the MC reception desk.

May 2 - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign demonstation at the State Capitol at 10 a.m. to protest Republican Assembly leaders blocking a full vote on SB1, bipartisan ethics reform legislation.

May 2 - Fundraiser for Peg Lautenschlager, 5 to 8 p.m., American Marine, La Crosse. For more information call 608 255-2006 or e-mail.

May 4 - Parker Palmer "The Courage to Teach", 4 p.m., San Damiano Chapel, Viterbo. Space is limited, and people may call Chris Sanger at 608-796-3070

May 5 - Parker Palmer, "Work as a Vocation", 8 a.m. and noon, Reinhart Center 107, Viterbo. Contact Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704 for details.

May 6 - Three Rivers Intertribal Pow-wow, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mitchell Hall, UW-L

May 8 - Dan Kapanke and Wisconsin's energy future. A forum hosted by UW-L Progressives and WISPIRG at 7 p.m., Ward Room, Cartwright Center, UW-L

May 12 - Reception and fundraiser for progressive Democratic candidate for Wisconsin's 31st Senate district, Chris Danou, in La Crosse. Email to register or for more info.

Please email with calendar items!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weapons of Mass Deception

We finally had a chance to watch "Good Night and Good Luck." I assume some national news people have seen this film. Apparently they were not as moved as we were.

On May 15, Open Eye Documentary and Independent Film Society will show the film Weapons of Mass Deception, the Danny Schechter film about the media's cheerleading in the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. The film will start at 7 p.m. and be shown at the La Crosse Public Library in a FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC venue.

Most Americans get their news from local TV news. Now THAT'S a depressing thought considering local evening television "news" usually consists of two or three local stories, one mention (when time permits) of an issue of national importance (with no attempt to place the issue in any context or provide background) and at least one story about a cat who flew to France accidentally or a bird that can play happy birthday on the piano.

We need more good information and we need it now. This web site and the links we provide is one small voice. We need a lot more.

Friday, April 28, 2006

What did you expect?

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has been reporting daily on the soap opera going on in the State Assembly. A bi-partisan campaign ethics reform bill, SB 1, has passed the Senate and has the Governor's nod. But the Assembly leadership, including Mike Huebsch of West Salem have just pulled the football once again. Here's the latest from the WDC:

"After briefly toying with scheduling a vote on Senate Bill 1, the Democracy Campaign-backed bill that would toughen state ethics enforcement, Assembly Republicans voted behind closed doors yesterday not to bring up the legislation before the end of the legislative session next week.

"Representatives Terri McCormick of Appleton and Sheryl Albers of Reedsburg were the only Assembly Republicans to vote to bring the bill to the floor, sources who attended the meeting told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Several Assembly GOP members said they and their colleagues did not believe there needs to be tougher enforcement of ethics laws and they worried that the proposed new enforcement agency would have nothing to do but investigate state lawmakers. Under SB 1, the new agency would be responsible for administering elections, regulating lobbyists, enforcing campaign finance laws and the state ethics code, as well as having the new authority to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.

"Other Republican lawmakers indicated that action on SB 1 would be seen as a slap at convicted ex-Speaker Scott Jensen, who is due to be sentenced in less than three weeks."


So, Mike Huebsch, who got nearly 75% of his campaign funds from out of district in 2004, has killed a good first step at cleaning up politics in Wisconsin. The WDC invites those who can make it to Madison on Tuesday, May 2 to assemble at the State Capitol (by the Fighting Bob statue) at 10 a.m. to demonstrate support for SB 1.

And, if you can't go there physically, please call Huebsch (608) 266-2401 or (888) 534-0094 or at home in West Salem at 786-3512 (or you can email him) and demand a vote on SB 1.