Sunday, April 10, 2011

And now for something completely different . . .

water on fireGASLAND is a new film about the process of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing of rocks to recover natural gas.

THERE WILL BE A SCREENING OF THIS IMPORTANT ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY ON SUNDAY, APRIL 17 EVENING (exact time and location TBA - watch this space!) The event will be FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Please SIGN UP to attend this film and see a trailer. Sign the petition to demand that Congress pass the anti-fracking bilL.

Fracking is touted as a way to increase US energy independence, but the process of injecting high pressure chemicals, sand, liquids has resulted in water contamination, noise and shaking making life unbearable for those living near drilling sites, and a host of other complaints including demands to know exactly what chemicals are being used.

You may remember that Scott Walker clone, Governor John Kasich of Ohio, has recently recommended that Ohio public lands - including parks - be opened up for oil and gas development, including fracking.

Fracking is already taking place in Wisconsin, with many urging a hold until more is known about consequences. Those of us who use natural gas for heating, cooking and/or transportation should know what are the real costs, environmental and human, of this "clean" fuel.

Please attend and drag your friends to this FREE screening. This is important!
"The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of 'fracking' or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a 'Saudia Arabia of natural gas' just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The 7.5 point solution

arrowJD has laid out a clear five point plan for progressives to fight back (I've added a few, so now it's the 7.5 point plan!):

1. Elect Kloppenburg - check (we hope) If you can help observe the recount, please call Julie at 920 904-2005.
2a. File recall signatures against Kapanke - check
3. Get Steve Doyle elected to the 94th Assembly seat. - in progress! Contact Laura Hundt to volunteer (608 345-2372) Verrrry important, because the big (rotten) guns will be out in this one!
4. Attend BUDGET HEARINGS (see below)
5. Elect an intelligent caring human being (not a heartless, brainless Walker robot) to the seat held currently by Kapanke
6. Recall Scott Walker later this year (have you registered yet to help with this effort? Do it, NOW!)
7. Flip the Assembly in November 2012
7.5 Pledge to sponsor (educate, help register and bring to polls) FIVE NEW VOTERS starting with the Kapanke recall this summer.

Budget Hearings planned

The Joint Finance Committee has announced only four three hearings in pretty out of the way places. The closest to us has been cancelled (Arcadia on Wednesday, April 13).

The legislative Dems are holding more hearings around the state. In La Crosse, on April 25 from 1 to 7 p.m. in UW-L's Cartwright Center.

You can go and just register and/or you can speak. You may also bring written comments for the committee (if you can, bring 20 copies).

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Maybe I'm wrong, but I think all these pundits saying 20% turnout is the best we can hope for on Tuesday are totally not getting it. I mean 100,000 people turning out on a cold wet day to protest was not peanuts. DemocracyNow said it was the largest protest EVER in our state.

I think there will be a huge turnout on Tuesday and that Prosser will go down down down. I think this is the start of people paying attention. But maybe I am living in a bubble. After all, in my first political campaign (canvassing for McGovern in '72) I was convinced that my candidate could not lose! Hahahahaha.

Anyway, this time I hope I'm right.

Forward into April!

i am a manThe signatures are in, but there's lots more to do.

Monday at 5 p.m. Rally for Working Families sponsored by the Central Labor Council. Let's remember, on this 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., that he was in Memphis helping African American sanitation workers organize a union. Meet at the Workers Memorial monument, Green Island Park, 2312 7th Street South (by Green Island Ice Arena).

Tuesday (ELECTION DAY) A National Teach-In on Workers’ Rights, Students’ Rights, Corporate Greed ... and MOBILIZING FOR CHANGE! 12:45 p.m. Welcome, 1:00 Live webcast from New York City moderated by Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Frances Fox Priven. 2:30 p.m. Local teach-in. Valhalla, Cartwright Center, UW-L (1741 State Street) FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


yinyangThis from the Dems:

[W]hile Dan is apparently too strapped for cash to keep his district office open, he evidently has enough money to finance a campaign office.

And while Dan apparently doesn't want to talk to us, has canceled town hall meetings, and has generally ignored public sentiment on the Walker Agenda, he is apparently willing to talk to his ever-shrinking number of supporters.


Rally to Recall Senator Dan Kapanke
58 Copeland Avenue (WEST side) at 2:30 P.M.
Saturday, March 26th.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Continue marching

marchingNow that the amazing giant Madison events and the Republican sculldugery are on break, it might be tempting to turn back to the laundry, dishes, work, volunteer time and other important stuff we were all doing before Walker crawled out from beneath his rock.

Well, no.

Petition signature gathering AND Kloppenburg GOTV continue to be the most important big events we can be involved in right now.

TOMORROW (THURSDAY), March 24, JoAnne Kloppenburg will be in La Crosse. If you can come to one of the two events, please do!
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at UW-L's Cartwright Center, Port o' Call (1741 State Street)
  • 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Hmong Cultural and Community Center, 1815 Ward Avenue
Saturday and Sunday you will have the opportunity to
  • LIT DROP FOR KLOPPENBURG - meet at Jules, 327 Pearl Street, between 1 and 2 p.m. to pick up lit and route maps (each route will take about one hour). If you can help, RSVP at 783-0172 or email JD so they can be prepared.
  • GATHER PETITION SIGNATURES in Holmen, Onalaska, West Salem - for more info on this effort, please visit the recall headquarters, 116 Fifth Ave. S. Shifts start at 9:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. or call 608 287-6940, or email to sign up!
These are both worthy and important things! Don't stop now!! Without an independent Supreme Court, it will be difficult to hold the governor and legislative leadership accountable for the many potentially illegal acts they have already committed (here are a few: discussing political strategy with a person he believed to be a political donor, deploying state troopers to restrict access to the State Capitol, restricting access to the Capitol in violation of a court order, discussing political strategy in his Capitol office with a political operative, ...)

Oh, oh. running out of batteries. Just DO IT!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The tag team

wrestlingI'm pulling this out from the last post because it's very important and I want to link to a very good and thorough DailyKos article about this group, the American Federation for Children: Koch-Roaches are handing the baton to a new astro-turf clan.

Be aware that a right wing front group, the American Federation for Children (a right wing anti-public school group founded by a Michigan multi-millionaire) has been making robo calls in the 32nd district telling people that they should not sign recall petitions because they are, "only warranted if public officials have broken the law or engaged in immoral behavior." George points out that these guys have received a Politifact PANTS ON FIRE rating from a previous campaign.

Today I listened to To the Best of Our Knowledge (a WPR program) called, "Question Austerity." I highly recommend it, especially the interview with former Bush (sr) assistant secretary of education, Diane Ravitch, who was a charter school supporter until she realized THEY DON'T WORK and wrote a book about it, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. But what they DO do is funnel public money to private cronies.

That's just what the Walker proposals will do. First, denigrate and reduce the status (even further) of educated public school teachers (apparently already causing one suicide in Wisconsin). [Atttention, this did not start in Wisconsin!] Second, and this is the very important part, convince a segment of working people that somehow it's in their best interest to make people like them pay for an inferior education. Third, make it easier for anyone to run a school and anyone to "teach" in a school. Fourth, shrink the public school system until it's small enough to drown it in the bathtub (to paraphrase Grover Norquist).

Once public schools are on their knees, crony-run private schools can step in big time, siphon off public money (remember, their whole agenda is getting richer from public money) to cronies who can then funnel it back to the "right" politicians.

But who will need to be educated in their new world order?

Friday, March 18, 2011

This weekend and beyond

dobeeFirst - sorry about the incorrect time for today's Walker welcome party. I was passing along info I received from reliable sources and was unable to change this blog post because of work. Despite the time mix up, at least a couple of hundred people turned out to greet the guv who had to sneak into the building through a guarded back entrance. [Great picture and not so bad article from La Crosse Tribune.]

Scott "My People Love Me" Walker should be getting the message any day now. (Or, as I call him, Captain Queeg).

This weekend and beyond:

Kapanke Recall:
  • Saturday at 9 a.m. and at 2 p.m. - recall canvassing. At 5:30 p.m. Senator Jon Erpenbach will be at the recall headquarters.
  • Sunday at 9 a.m. and at 2 p.m. - recall canvassing. At 11 a.m. Senator Jon Erpenbach will be at the recall headquarters.
Be aware that a right wing front group, the American Federation for Children (a right wing anti-public school group founded by a Michigan multi-millionaire) has been making robo calls in the 32nd district telling people that they should not sign recall petitions because they are, "only warranted if public officials have broken the law or engaged in immoral behavior." George points out that these guys have received a Politifact PANTS ON FIRE rating from a previous campaign.

[The internet can take you into some very dark corners while looking for links: For a scary bedtime story, read this little piece on Americans for Prosperity - the OCTAGROUP of the right wing.]

But I digress ...

Kloppenburg for Justice events:
  • Any time - please sign up to phone bank for Kloppenburg. You can do this from home.
  • Saturday at 1 p.m. - meet a Jules to lit drop for Kloppenburg
  • Thursday at 11:30 a.m. - meet and greet the candidate at UW-L's Cartwright Center (Port o' Call)
  • Thursday at 1:00 p.m. - meet and greet the candidate at the Hmong Cultural & Community Center (1815 Ward Avenue)
  • VOTE NOW, RIGHT NOW, "absentee voting in person" at your city clerk's office - in La Crosse, City Clerk's office is on the second floor of City Hall and open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A town hall on the budget is coming up in early April. On tonight's Rachel Maddow program, David Cay Johnston highlighted a letter from UW-Stevens Point Chancellor, Bernie Patterson to Governor Walker showing the economic impact of Walker's "budget repair" on university employees. He pointed out that the poorer the employee, the greater the impact (in keeping with many Republican "tax the POOR" plans to alleviate the suffering of the wealthy).

POWER to the people

The CapX2020 project continues moving forward (after it leaves the Mississppi valley it turns into the "Badger Coulee Transmission Line.")

Last night, there was a meeting of the board of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Center that was open to the public (but only board members could ask questions.) In attendance were representatives (two public relations people and one environmental person) from American Transmission Company (ATC). There will be another meeting on March 24 at the Kickapoo Reserve - at this meeting, questions from the audience will be accepted.

Different members of the board asked questions dealing with timeline, route alternatives, environmental studies, and the process with the Public Service Commission (PSC). ATC demonstrated they are at the start of the routing process. They will identify all possible routes then choose a few preliminary routes. At that point, they will do environmental studies and cost estimate. Finally, they will choose a main and an alternate route.

ATC will then submit an application to the PSC. The PSC can review the materials and choose a different route if they wish. Per the article in the Winona Post, there are several problems with the line as it crosses the Mississippi involving several agencies including the DNR, the DOT and US Fish and Wildlife agency.

However, all this may change as Scott Walker appoints more "business friendly" members of these state agencies and boards. The PSC is key, though, and they rarely say no. The term of local guy, Mark Meyer, currently a PSC board member, expires this year. Who will Walker pick to replace him? We can only imagine.

So, while all this other stuff is going on, keep your eye on the CapX2020-Badger Coulee Transmission Line project and attend the March 24 meeting (6 p.m. at the Kickapoo Reserve Center) if you can.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scott Walker in La Crosse FRIDAY

Greet the Governor - 10 a.m. City Brewery (by the six pack) on Third Street. Bring your most brilliant signs!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quick Updates - UPDATED

kloppenburgAre you circulating Kapanke recall petitions? Meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at 116 S. Fifth Avenue South.

Rumor has it that Jon Erpenbach, one of the Fab 14 (or 13 - Tim Cullen's questionable), will be at the Recall Kapanke HQ on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. (11:00 it IS!)

Have you signed up to help the KLOPPENBURG campaign yet???? Sign up to do virtual phone banking from the comfort of your own home. Print and post the flyers announcing her VISIT TO LA CROSSE on Thursday, March 24.

(Hmong version of flyer also available.)

Remind everyone that you can VOTE TODAY RIGHT NOW absentee in person!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Money where your vote is - update

moneyYou probably heard of the little problem over at M&I Bank. Firefighters withdrew more than $100,000 (some say $192,000) from M&I bank on one day prompting the temporary closure of the Madison branch. As this excellent article points out, despite their protests to the contrary, if any bank deserves to take responsibility for their actions, it's this one.

In fact, there's been a MOVE YOUR MONEY project going on for a while now. It started when big banks and financial institutions received billions of dollars in taxpayer funded bailout money. Check it out - it even has a handy tool to help you find a local bank or credit union.

My own personal Move Your Money includes Menards and Festival Foods. Now, I AM adding Kwik Trip. On Friday, the police and firefighters sent a letter to KT's CEO asking him to take a stand by March 17. This great article gives more info about the overall movement to move our money AND get it back from those who took bailouts and push for tax breaks.

If you decide to boycott, please be sure to call, email and/or mail these companies to let them know what you are doing and why.

In case you were wondering ...

Rick Ungar (Forbes magazine) has been publishing many good and scary things over the past several months on what the political earthquake is really about.

Please read his latest: How The Wealthy Plan to Finance The American Aristocracy With Middle Class Dollars


Kloppenburg for JusticeSupreme Court candidate, JoAnne Kloppenburg, will attend two open forums in La Crosse on THURSDAY, MARCH 24:

From 11:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. she will be in the Port o' Call, Cartwright Center, UW-L (1741 State Street)

From 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. she will be at the Hmong Cultural and Community Center, 1815 Ward Avenue


Sunday, March 13, 2011


flagAlmost everything that's been done so far will end up in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Currently, the court has four conservative justices and three non-conservatives.

JoAnne Kloppenburg is an experienced and INDEPENDENT candidate.

Her opponent was a Republican Assembly leader originally appointed to the court by Republican governor, Tommy Thompson. While in the Assembly, he voted against legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and took other actions against gay/lesbian citizens. While on the court, he voted to relax recusal rules so that justices can sit on cases involving their campaign contributors. In December, his campaign released a statement saying that he would "complement" the (Republican) governor and legislature. During the primary, Club for Growth, spent over $320,000 in ads for Prosser and other business-backed astroturf groups are involved as well. He is a conservative with ties to Scott Walker.

This is it, folks. Voting is KEY.

Here's what you can do RIGHT NOW to start taking our state back from the corporate-backed puppets who are ready to sell our children, grandparents, jobs and resources to the highest bidders.

1. Volunteer for the Kloppenburg virtual phone bank.

2. Print out a Kloppenburg yard sign and/or window signs.

3. Print and distribute Kloppenburg flyers.

4. Write a letter to the editor.

5. Vote vote vote - you can early vote starting Tuesday. In La Crosse between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the City Clerk's office (2nd floor). For more info on early absentee voting, visit the state site.

6. Talk to EVERYONE you know. Tell them how important this election is. Don't let them say politics isn't important or they are too busy or they don't know anything about the issues. (I heard this a LOT when volunteering for Feingold in November).

7. Volunteer to help your neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. register to vote (if they are not yet registered) and vote.

This is a test AND it is an extreme emergency. Battle Stations!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Shit hits fan

According to Jennifer Shilling (who, if someone could actually explode from rage was one-eenth away from doing so), the Republicans rammed through their anti-union legislation and it was a dark day for our democracy.

You can read all about what happened in many places. The meeting was illegal (open meeting laws) and immoral (vote called without debate). It will be before the Republican-controlled Assembly tomorrow at 11 a.m.

THURSDAY MORNING AT 9 A.M. If you can, rally at Madison. If you can't, rally at the La Crosse County Courthouse.

SATURDAY if you can go to Madison, go. There will be school buses leaving from the Sears lot. Please sign up for a seat! If there are no seats left, please car pool.

More soon! (I also hope to get more bloggers on board soon so we can widen our scope).

Bad News - the fight takes a new turn

"The special conference committee in Wisconsin -- convened in order to strip out the fiscal elements of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, in order to pass the anti-public employee union proposals and avoid the state SenateDemocratic boycott of the three-fifths budget quorum -- just met for roughly five minutes and passed the bill."

The reason the bill could not pass before was because there were financial parts to it that required a quorum of the senate (20) to vote. With financial provisions stripped from the bill, the Senate and Assembly were able to pass parts of the bill.

According to Talking Points Memo:

"The bill to strip away most collective bargaining for public employee unions, and impose new limits on union organization, is now headed to the full chambers."

By the way, Kapanke voted FOR the bill. All the more reason to redouble our efforts.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


tractorsMarch 12 is set to be the biggest day ever in Madison. Family Farm Defenders and the Wisconsin Farmers Union are hosting a TRACTORCADE from noon to 3 with a rally at 3 p.m.

Rural communities will be disproportionately hurt by the cuts to education and BadgerCare, Walker's give back of federal broadband access fees, reduced access to government services in rural areas. If you are a farmer PLEASE WEAR GREEN. If you need more info about getting your tractor to Madison and/or routes and timing, please visit Pull Together to Support Working Families.

. There will be more school buses rather than coaches due to state tournaments. LaCrosse Bus (2) (Kobussen School Bus) Leave at 11:00 am from Valley View Mall (Between Sears & Theatre) and pick up at 11:55 am Kwik Trip in Tomah. Arrive by 2 p.m. and leave at 5 p.m.

BUDGET Town Hall Forum - Wednesday evening

At 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Hmong Community Center (Ward Ave and South Ave), there will be a Town Hall Forum to discuss Scott Walker's proposed budget and its impact on our community. Please come! We hope, this time, the media might show up too. Maybe...

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Fighting Fourteen!

Please support the WI Fighting Fourteen! They are not rich and some have been targeted for recalls in an atmosphere saturated with corporate campaign dough! Donate at ActBlue to help fight their recall campaigns.

Today, focus on Dave Hansen.

Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen is a former teacher, truck driver, and lifelong Green Bay Packer fan. He co-authored the 2009 Labor History in the Schools Act, saying "at a time when people are hurting, primarily as a result of a Wall Street dominated culture that promoted greed and get-rich-quick schemes over the value of hard work, it is important for our young people to learn about the important role that organized labor and working men and women have played in helping create the middle class."

Here's a great interview with this former Teamster and friend of the working person.

Dave Hansen doesn't have the Kochs or Club for Growth backing him. It's up to us to show our appreciation for this strong and brave stand. Donate at ActBlue

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Money where your mouth (and vote) is

I admit I listen to a local AM station in the morning to hear what's happening in our area. True, I have to endure quite a bit of FOX talk, sometimes from the host and often from callers, but it's a chance to hear what "the other side" thinks and occasionally sneak in a bit of truth or fact.

I hear a lot of "small business" people calling in and supporting Scott Walker. I wish they would identify themselves. I would like to avoid doing business with them, frankly. So many seem to believe that if only all the highly paid public workers would take a hike, life would be beautiful.

But I think they are forgetting who patronizes their businesses.

There are a lot of teachers, government services workers, police, fire fighters, librarians and others out there who purchase goods and services in La Crosse and the surrounding area. The money we pay in taxes, is paid to people who provide services and they circulate that money back into our communities' pockets.

Anyway, there are statewide efforts to boycott Scott Walker contributors, so if you believe in voting with our pocket books, you can check contributions online at Remember tocross check against Tom Barrett contributors since some businesses/employers donate to both sides of the aisle. And, individuals are free to donate to candidates they support, but if several donate to one candidate in a short period of time, it's probably a company thing.

You can also use the database and other online resources such as LinkedIn to check Walker advocates against businesses they own (for example, Walker has state on right path, by owner ofLa Crosse Floor Sanding.)

On my list of "I'm not shopping there any more and I've told them why" so far:
On my list of "more research/thought/clarification is needed":

Some businesses get it. Here's the word from one small business (alas, not in La Crosse) that certainly DOES: Silent no more. Some Wisconsin businesses have quit the right wing Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Recently, Madison restaurant owners pulled out of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association because of their support for Scott Walker. (Ahem! Attention La Crosse area restaurants!)

Here's a great article from the Nation about the national Chamber of Commerce, that apple pie organization that is supposed to support small businesses but has a rather darker side driving its agenda. In our state, it's the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) from which some businesses have withdrawn. For years, I've begged certain non-profits to withdraw from the local Chamber of Commerce which invariably supports Republicans whose policies hurt the clients they serve.

Wherever you are in this process, getting more information and thoughtfully considering how our actions support or hurt our own families, communities and causes is not a bad thing!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

*ACTION ALERT* Kapanke in Vernon County Monday

Recall KapankeDan Kapanke will be at the Vernon County Courthouse at 400 Court House Sq. in Viroqua at 8:00 a.m. on Monday - if you're able to make it, please attend and let him know what you think about the Walker bill (and remember, it's not JUST about collective bargaining! There's plenty in that bill that will harm our communities!)

This does not in any way lessen our resolve to remove him from office! As I've said many times, just because one does not throw more gasoline on a house fire, does not mean he deserves to continue serving. He had the chance when the Walker budget repair bill was first introduced to say, "This bill will harm my district. I cannot support it. I must work against it." Instead, he did nothing to stop it and in fact has parroted Republican talking points in support of it even after they were no longer valid.

He had his chance to show that he was truly representing the people of the 32nd district and he failed. It's time for him to go. Period.

And remember, this is just the bill for last year's budget. What about the new budget bill? That's even worse! And what about redistricting? Will we have to fight tooth and nail about those, too?

If you want info about signing or circulating the petition, please email CouleeProgressive.

UPDATE! Koch bus at **5:30 p.m.**

solidarityPlease plan to be at the Radisson before 5:30 p.m. tonight - the NEW eta for the Koch bus. Bring your signs and noisemakers!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

ACTION ALERT - Now or Never!

whistle[UPDATE ON RECALL PROCESS - see below]

Americans for Prosperity [sic], the Koch funded right wing group for rich people, is stopping in La Crosse on SATURDAY, MARCH 5 at 6:15 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel (previously, we reported they are coming Thursday).

Please plan to attend!! Bring your signs (this Mother Jones article, "It's the inequality, stupid!" might give you some ideas or this article by Richard Wolff, "How the rich soaked the rest of us").

A little background from SourceWatch:
"AFP is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries). ... AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation, which is aimed at making industries pay for the air pollution that they create. AFP was also involved in the attacks on Obama’s "green jobs" czar, Van Jones, and has crusaded against international climate talks." (read more at link)

From the "we wish they wouldn't have done it now" department: the state Dems have filed recall papers against Dan Kapanke. Ready or not, here it comes.

GET YOUR RECALL ON! Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. pick up packets to gather signatures to recall Dan Kapanke at 1307 Market Street. We will need approximately 18,000 signatures from ALL AROUND the 32nd senate district. Please check the district map (32nd) and contact anyone you know who can help.

You need not be registered in the district, but every person who signs MUST be registered to vote in the district. To circulate a petition, you must be a "qualified elector" and to sign a petition, you must be a "qualified elector". A qualified elector is a United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, who has resided in the district or jurisdiction for at least 10 days.

More details will be given when you get your packets.

I have committed to gathering at least 100 signatures. How about you?

Also on Saturday, there IS a bus going to Madison (see previous post below). While the Republicans have locked the people out of their house, protests continue. Don't stop now!

Saturday bus

There are a few spaces available on a bus leaving La Crosse at 8:00 a.m. and returning from Madison at about 3 p.m. If interested contact Curtis at 608-487-3552

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

ACTION ALERT: Walker in VIROQUA Thursday



Concerned Citizens and member groups of the Sustain Rural Wisconsin
Network will join a rally protesting state executive branch takeover of
local control and collective bargaining rights is scheduled for 8:30
A.M. this Thursday, March 3rd at the CAFE sponsored "Food, Fuel and
Future Summit"
in Viroqua WI.

Representative Lee Nerison, Senator Dan Kapanke and Governor Scott
Walker are scheduled speakers at this event.

Anyone interested in participating should meet at the driveway to the
Firehouse Restaurant, 804 S. Main Street (along Hwy. 14/61 and S.R.
Drive) Viroqua, WI. at 8:15 A.M.

Cow suits and signs will be available-or feel free to craft your own
message centering around the loss of local control for farmers and rural
communities presented by the governor's recent takeover of state
regulatory agencies rulemaking-including veto power on Livestock Siting
Law rules, cuts to aid to local government, badger care and local
collective bargaining.

[CAFÉ = is a pro industrial-confinement agriculture ("factory farm") group]


*/Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network/*/ is a statewide coalition of
individuals and organizations dedicated to preserving the environment
while maintaining the health and economic vitality of rural communities./

**Contact: Jennifer Nelson**

**Phone: 608-****476-2301**

**Email: **** **

The Wisconsin VERY BAD Idea

wis idea reverseAbout 100 years ago, our ancestors, specifically UW President Charles Van Hise, proposed The Wisconsin Idea - namely, "education should influence and improve people’s lives beyond the university classroom."

In 1912, Charles McCarthy wrote a book about it, expanding the original idea into a new plan for the public good. The plan would help educate the mostly rural population to better their lives in the new industrial world and use the power of the government to help even the playing field.

The Wisconsin State Historical Society has a great website describing the battles, challenges, and victories won for the people of Wisconsin and the rest of the country during the first few decades of the last century.

Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether those ideas can long endure.

The new budget unveiled by Scott Walker tonight, marks the battle line between the old and successful Wisconsin Idea and the new Wisconsin BAD Idea (or maybe it should be called the Wisconsin Evil Scheme).

It's not about Wisconsin or ideas. It's about a few wealthy people who want to own the world. It's a plan schemed up by the Kochs, Club for Growth, Grover ("shrink government and drown it in the bathtub") Norquist and the others to dump every good thing we've grown and developed - that has grown and developed us - over the past 100 years.

Why else would the governor choose as his secretary of our Department of Health Services a Heritage Foundation advisor who has argued that "States could save $1 trillion by dropping Medicaid," or a Department of Natural Resources chair whose main goal is to "help businesses"? Idealogues on a mission, not public servants vowing to make our state better. Stepford department heads working to crank back history, not knowledgeable, experienced leaders solving real problems.

Personally, I believe Progressive era reforms - everything from child labor laws to work-time and workplace safety rules to public education (and watch out, voting women!) - have been the target all along. These reforms were part of a move not just to raise up the common people but to combat the power of corporations, monopolies and the super rich. Sound familiar?

I believe the plan is to disappear anything with the word public in it - from public schools to public utilities. Anything worth doing can be done by a private business (but using public funds to pay for it). They've done it in the military, for gosh sake, using private (crony) contractors, from Halliburton and KBR to Logistics Health, to do the work, often at higher cost, that used to be done by public employees (in this case, soldiers, sailors, airmen/women and Marines).

Privatizing everything will ensure more cash for crony campaign contributors who polish their reps by donating to worthy causes like football stadiums (when students can't afford to pay tuition).

This is crazy world, to be sure. (Firefighters are "slobs" and Walker supporters smuggled into the Capitol through steam tunnels! Yikes!!) If we can survive eleven more months, we may come out in one piece but we'll be much the worse for it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reading Is Fundamental

readingThere have been so many great articles published about this issue, so many GREAT articles, I thought I would share the links. I might print some of these out to pass around on the bus tomorrow, too. Share with your friends and family.

1. Wisconsin taxpayers do NOT pay for state workers' benefits! David Cay Johnston is a Tax Analysts' columnist. The Washington Monthly calls him "one of the country's most important journalists"

2. Scott Walker's War a wonderful and heartbreaking article by Bill Lueders, Isthmus

3. Koch prank no laughing matter by Mary Bottari

4. Budget Despair Bill Facts and Figures - mountains upon mountains

5. It's the Inequality, Stupid from Mother Jones, one of the greatest mags ever (complete with eye-popping graphs)

6. Really, this should be #1. I've been forwarding this to everyone I know or barely know or don't really know. What Conservatives Really Want by George Lakoff

There's so much more, but start with these. Maybe I can update after tomorrow's rally.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

RECALL (Kapanke) update

More soon - briefly.

It takes quite a while to recall someone. Here are the steps in a nutshell.

1. You have to get a committee together with at least two or three people willing to be the treasurer and sign the official papers. You need to have a financial account set up.

2. After you file the papers, you need to collect about 18,000 signatures (the required minimum is about 15,500 but you want to collect more to make sure) and you have 60 days to do that.

3. Then you turn the signatures in and the clerk or certifying officer has up to 31 days (minimum 10) to certify. If there are challenges, it may take the whole 31.

4. Then a recall election is schedule for 6 weeks after the certification. If there are more than two candidates, the primary is 6 weeks after and the recall election is 4 weeks after that.

Ok - so, do you want to have your recall election in the middle of the summer when people are on vacation and students are not at university?

Even though many of us are chomping at the bit to get rid of Hanke Kapanke (tip to Geo), if you want to do it right, it's going to take some time.

More info next week. Hold on, it's coming.


aftHistoric vote today at UW-L. Eighty-seven per cent of the faculty voted Wednesday and today on whether or not to join the American Federation of Teachers and 87% of those who voted voted YES! More than 100 people turned out near the campus clock tower to celebrate (with more celebration continuing even now). Next, it's the academic staff's turn. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow, Dan Kapanke is due to return home to French Island. Please rally on the Clinton Street bridge at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday is a BIG rally day in Madison. A coalition of progressive groups is holding a noon time rally at the Capitol. Another rally will begin at 3 p.m. Here's the bus info: CRUE - (Coulee Region Educators) will have a bus leaving the mall lot at 10 a.m.

AFSCME will have one bus - first come first served - leaving at 11:30 am from Valley View Mall (between Sears & Theatre) Second pick up at Kwik Trip in Tomah. Drop off at Butler and E Washington, Madison (2 blocks from the square) and RETURN 5:00 pm Other locations, too (see the Wisconsin Legislative Council of AFSCME bus page).


Vote with your pocket book. Boycott Scott Walker donors and email/call to tell them why (that's a very important bit!) The biggies: Kwik Trip, Menards (JR Menard is executive vice president of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce), Johnsonville Brats, Walmart (but of course), Northwestern Mutual Life, M&I Bank, Miller/Coors, SC Johnson, Sargento.

There are some tricky ones. For example, Wisconsin Credit Union League Action Fund. First of all, what the HELL!? Credit unions - aren't they one step above (barely) communists? Yet, there they are on the list of PACs donating $5,000 or more to Walker. I must have a discussion with my credit union about this one. Well, make your own decisions, but really - where do these folks get the money to buy their politicians??? Think about it.


Again, the most important thing any of us can do is talk to our less intelligent relatives, friends and neighbors. That guy who owns the small business and is sick of paying for greedy bottom feeders like teachers and police officers? Who do they think is going to buy their products or services if their pay is cut so deeply? That guy who works without benefits and doesn't want anyone else to have them either? What does he think is going to happen to his pay when the bottom drops out of the "how low can we go" line unions have been holding with respect to wages, working conditions, time rules, etc. At this rate, we will all be serfs soon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Special Election - Assembly 94th - May 3

TONIGHT there is a candidate forum at West Salem Middle School (405 Hamlin St.) for 94th Assembly District candidates. Please come and be ready to rock!


Quick update: Tonight (Wednesday) there's a rally at 5 p.m. at City Hall in support of city/county workers.

Thursday there will be a BIG rally (possibly with a guest star - honestly, I don't know who!) from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the UW-L Clock Tower. This rally will celebrate the UW-L faculty union vote. Pass it on.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quick Updates

I need a CLONE!!!! or someone to help keep this up to date! Random updates in a flash:

Madison rallies at noon (WMC board meeting at Monona Terrace) and 5 p.m. No bus from La Crosse - CAR POOL!


WEDNESDAY - rally at 5 p.m. at La Crosse city hall to support city/county workers AND 94th Assembly district candidate forum at West Salem HS at 7 p.m.

THURSDAY - rally at 4:30 p.m. at UW-L (location unknown at this time)

FRIDAY - rally in Gays Mills (details unknown at this time)


The Democrats' response to Scott Walker's "fireside chat" tonight was abominable! Senator Miller looked as if he had just thrown up, it looked like they'd set the thing up in a bathroom, Miller's delivery was terrible and the message was sloppy and unfocused. I *was* surprised because interviews I've seen with these senators over the last few days, including Miller, have been quite good. It's almost as if the secret police were about to break in or something. Very disappointing. Thousands of people are counting on these folks, ready or not. If they're not in the Capitol, it seems like they ought to be talking to SOMEONE (maybe George Lakoff) to get it together.


Tomorrow and Thursday, UW-L faculty will be voting on whether or not to form a union. More than 70% of faculty signed cards to ok this election. AFT is hoping for a strong, decisive vote to send a message. No matter what comes from the Walker power grab, having a union will be better than not having one. UW-L academic staff are not as far along but this should help them get it together.


Please take every opportunity to engage folks in conversation over this issue. There are so many reasons to hate this bill, this process, these consequences and this plan. Pick one - elderly neighbor? Medicaid and SeniorCare, public transportation, etc. Working guy? Union or not, working conditions and wages will decline for everyone if this goes through. Plus with thousands of people earning less or losing their jobs, who is going to patronize the business he owns or works for?


more tomorrow I hope. Email me if you can help!


democracy now!Amy Goodman, award-winning host of Democracy NOW!, the only daily news program that's not afraid to tell the truth, will be at Madison's historic Orpheum Theater on Thursday, February 24.

Check for details.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The fight continues

FIRST - watch this: A Simple Solution to Wisconsin's Budget "Crisis"

Tonight's town hall meeting at the Hmong Community Center was big. The parking lot was packed as was the meeting hall. What was most encouraging to me was the range of people attending.

Remember, if you can, go to Madison - check for bus info or car pool. If you can't make it there, think about paying for a pizza or a party platter of subs for those who are there day and night. Or go through Madison food delivery service.

What's happening in Madison

Senator Erpenbach fears the Republicans will attach the anti-union legislation to an unrelated (like voter id) bill that they may take up as early as Tuesday (for which they do not need any Dems).

The Madison Labor Council (SFCL) authorizes call for national general strike if anti-union bill is enacted.

Police would use force if ordered.

"Miracle on the Hudson" co-pilot Jeff Skiles is in Madison supporting the protesters.

Coming up in La Crosse:

WEDNESDAY - Rally at La Crosse City Hall, 5 p.m.

Kapanke recall? Watch this space next week.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

the benefits of vegetables

So lets say you work for a farmer who pays you in fruits and vegetables - strawberries, tomatoes, corn, potatoes and squash. You negotiate with the farmer to get fewer strawberries, tomatoes and corn and more potatoes and squash. Another worker gets more strawberries, tomatoes and corn and fewer potatoes and squash.

At the end of the season, the other guy looks at his pile of potatoes and squash and looks at your larger pile of potatoes and squash and says that you are greedy and have too many potatoes and squash and obviously you have stolen some of his potatoes and squash.

That's what I thought of tonight as I was thankful that I'd stored up a lot of potatoes and squash to get me through the Wisconsin winter of Scott Walker.

The People Speak

agitateWake sleeping giant ... CHECK!

The epic battle, not just for important union and worker rights, but really for our progressive Wisconsin, continues. If you can get to Madison to join the tens of thousands of fellow citizens, go. Buses are available on some days (check AFT-Wisconsin for details). Or check with local unions or Democratic party offices to see about car-pooling.

If you can't make it to Madison, here are some other random suggestions:

1. Find out about local actions and get involved.

2. Email each and every one of the 14 Democratic State senators to THANK THEM for standing the line.

3. If you are on Facebook, join Recall Scott Walker (not just a FB group), I Support the WI 14, and Boycott Scott Walker Contributors at least.

4. Keep up with what's happening through FB, Twitter or Mother Jones blog updates or The Uptake.

5. Watch Assembly Floor Session Part 4 and pass it on. Guy suggests purchasing it and distributing it to churches, schools, civic organizations, etc.

6. Read about your new masters (if Republicans win this one).

7. Email Scott Walker to challenge this blatant lie: "Saturday morning, Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, said the Governor's office is receiving about 1,000 e-mails an hour, all supporting the budget bill and the elimination of collective bargaining."

8. Look ahead. No matter what, many very important issues will be decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Currently, the court has a 4-3 conservative majority, including two justices who have very questionable ethics pasts. The April election will pit appointed incumbent, conservative David Prosser against progressive-friendly JoAnne Kloppenburg. We must flip this court! Please do all you can to support, work for, contribute to and ELECT JOANNE KLOPPENBURG to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

9. Educate yourself! and then talk to and challenge any neighbor, friend, co-worker, acquaintance, asshole n grocery store line or whoever expresses support for the bill. They are obviously completely clueless.

Some points to consider:

* This bill is part of a strategic reactionary anti-government national movement. It was not written with the people, families, businesses or economies of Wisconsin in mind. It is part of a national plan to bring Republican "you're on your own" living to Wisconsin and the nation. It was concocted at the November 2010 Republic Governors' Association meeting in San Diego with right wing groups, lobbyists and big business.

* There is no historic budget crisis looming. In fact, Wisconsin would have posted a surplus for the year had Walker not passed tax breaks and shelters for cronies and donors in January.

* This bill would give unprecedented power to the governor over state health programs including BadgerCare, SeniorCare and Medicaid.

* This bill would be devastating for women's health and reproductive rights.

* This bill will end federal funding for public transportation (just in time for that new Transit Center in La Crosse!) - from AMOS: "Because the bill destroys the collective bargaining agreements required by federal law, the bill would make Wisconsin ineligible for receiving federal funding for public transit."

* This is a battle for ALL workers. Listen to Noam Chomsky's take. Listen to economist David Cay Johnston on the Dylan Ratigan show.

[updates coming soon.]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011



Last Friday, word got out that Governor Scott Walker was going to introduce a "Budget Repair" bill that would end public employees' union rights. Since then, protests small and large (and getting larger) have been spreading around the state, especially at the state capitol.

For info on the THURSDAY BUS go to AFT Wisconsin.

Now, look, Scott Walker did not think this up on his own. In fact he and other Republican governors got together shortly after the election in a strategy conference hosted by the Republican Governors Association to see who could go for the biggest cuts (I can only imagine how THAT went. This bit was particularly chilling: "Of the incoming GOP governors, Wisconsin's Mr. Walker appears among the most zealous in his cost-cutting proposals. In an interview, he ticked off an array of proposed pay freezes, changes to health-care funding and reduced benefits to state workers").

(But first, "Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has violated the state of Wisconsin's campaign finance laws 1,115 times since 2009 by failing to disclose information about contributors." Ok, now on with the story.)

It wasn't just governors who met in San Diego. That three day event also included many lobbyists and rightie groups. I'm just saying, if you were PAYING ATTENTION, this would not have been a surprise!

Now, let's look into the crystal ball and see what the next targets will be:

* Ok, this one's already out of the bag - One university to rule them all

* Bye, bye Badgercare - Hello death panels

* Anti-birth control agenda (and all that implies)

* Family planning? Nope.

Well, it's kind of getting depressing. More tomorrow. Time to make posters.

[Oh and VOTE KLOPPENBURG FOR WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT - It's going to be verrrrry important. More soon.]

PLEASE WATCH THE ED SHOW - Scott Walker EXPOSED. "Walker's cuts would lead to the loss of 9,000 private sector jobs and cost the state about $111 million in lost tax revenues."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Keep on truckin'

Nearly a year has passed since the last post on this blog. For some reason, we are busier than ever even as it seems our commitments have lessened. But progressive issues continue to need attention and action, so, while there may not be time to update the headlines daily or all the events (you CAN put your own events on the calendar yourself!) at least we can put the word out about actions requiring immediate attention.

If YOU would like to post events here, please email couleeprogressive.

For now:

YOU CAN VOTE NOW for the February 15 primary. In La Crosse, go to the City Clerk's office and you can vote right there. (More info.) David Prosser is the Republican-connected incumbent (originally appointed to the court by Tommy Thompson) who has been getting lots of ad time paid for by the right-wing Club for Growth and other independent rightie groups. Any of the other candidates would be better unless you want crap like this and worse to continue. Here's a chance to change the balance of the court.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign invites you to take part in a CITIZEN VIGIL AT THE STATE CAPITOL. The vigil will continue on February 22, the next day the legislature is scheduled to be in session. You can sign up online.

CapX2020 moves forward and it's not just informed citizens who want to stop it. Read this excellent article from the Winona Post about problems CapX2020 is having with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Among others, the Wisconsin DOT has concerns about how the proposed routes will impact the Great River Road National Scenic Byway.

Public employee unions are under attack. Despite FACTS showing that public employees earn, on average, LESS THAN private sector employees, Republicans are determined to get rid of unions in our state. It's too late to unelect the villains elected by the uninformed, but at least we can do what we can to counter the propaganda. When was the last time you wrote a letter to the editor? Maybe it's time!