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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.

UNION!

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).

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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.

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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!

THURSDAY RALLY @ UW-L

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!

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

DEMOCRACY NOW!

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 http://tour.democracynow.org/2011/02/madison_wi_4.html 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 www.aft-wisconsin.org 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

Blitzkrieg!

Subtitle: PAY ATTENTION, DAMN IT!

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!