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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Actions this week!


credit: Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Your attention and interest and action are requested for several important RAIL SAFETY items coming up this week and in the near future. If you're not up for a day's worth of reading, please skip to ACTION ITEMS below!

As you may know, the La Crosse city council has been negotiating with BNSF about a proposed second rail line BNSF is determined to build through part of La Crosse. No one knows who owns the land the city has been using for the past several decades near the public golf course impacted by BNSF's plans. BNSF has recently offered to pay for several enhancements and improvements, safety training, and other items in return for the city's unconditional acceptance of the second rail.

The second rail is an issue because volatile Bakken crude oil by rail shipments have increased 4000% over the last five years are are predicted to continue to increase, pushing out passenger rail, crop by rail, food by rail and any other thing by rail. Keep in mind that climate activists have determined that at least 80% of fossil fuels must remain in the ground if our climate is to remain within the band to sustain human life on earth.

Several citizens, including the group CARS (Citizens Acting for Rail Safety) attending the September 12 city council meeting requesting to speak on this issue. The council made citizens wait for more than one hour while they held a closed session about Don Weber development issues. When the council returned from its closed session, they then spent another many minutes debating whether or not to hold a public hearing.

[A little background - a couple of years ago, the city council tried to change its rules to end the possibility of public hearings before the full council. Several of us spoke up about this and in the end the council decided not to change. However in spring, they did reorganize to eventually bring city council seats in line with the county board and during that reorganization they did reduce the possibility for citizen input before the full council. However, their rules (see XV) provide that if at least half of council members voting agree to hold a public hearing, there will be one.]

Ok, I have to call out council member Bob Seaquist as the Imperious Twit of the Evening prize winner. You can watch him here (starting at 25:25). He said that citizens had ample opportunity to speak before city committees about this issue (FALSE) and that by not appearing there, they'd lost their chance for input. Boo! If you are in Seaquist's district, I urge you to let him know what you think of this attitude.

Public hearing held. BNSF said the same things over and over. Safety, jobs, safety, jobs, blah, blah, blah. Some citizens were allowed to speak: not enough notice to citizens about city agendas and city business, property values will decline if a second rail is built, the city should wait until the Army Corps of Engineers decides on holding a hearing about the proposed rail through La Crosse's very sensitive wetlands. The city should negotiate harder - other communities have secured promises of much lower speeds. The city should provide opportunities for the public to speak to the council. The city should tell citizens who owns the land in question.

The end result is that action was delayed and the city will have a special meeting just for this issue at some point in the future, though whether or not there will be a public hearing is in question. In fact, a proposal to hold a public hearing on this issue was not approved by the council.

Also, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be at US Representative Ron Kind's annual Corn Roast (6 to 9 p.m. at the West Salem fairgrounds. Bring a couple of non perishables for area food pantries). If you can attend, please do so Sec. Foxx knows how many people are concerned about this issue.

And, you do know that new (and ineadequate) rules have been proposed regarding rail car standards and procedures "high-risk flammable trains" and that you can comment on these rules? Read more about it here.

So, finally, ACTION ITEMS:
> Contact your city council representative and request a citywide, council wide public hearing on the rail safety issues. Demand that all city dealings with BNSF be held in the open and with enough notice for substantial public input.

> Attend if you can the Ron Kind event and speak to Secretary Foxx about your rail safety concerns 

> Comment by September 30 on the proposed rules for enhanced tank car standards and operational controls for high-hazard flammable trains.




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Climate Emergency

I don't know what more needs to be done to convince people that a major disaster is unfolding before our eyhes. I told a friend, maybe we should run ads of the Koch brothers beheading the Earth (that's, after all, what's happening) and then people might take fossil fuel driven climate change seriously.

We went to a screening of Disruption the other night at UW-L. The film was free. There were no more than forty people there, mostly students and mostly students who are already in the student environmental movement. Where were the other students? The ones whose lives and world will be forever changed by what we do now and in the next twenty to thirty years?

I had looked into showing a film called The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community. But I wonder who will come to it and who should come to it? Maybe we will host a screening near the end of October or early November.

I just read an article about the desperate search for Alberta tar sands producers to find new ways to export that poison. The title alone makes you want to cry, "If all else fails, let's go north."

Meanwhile, while the Democrats are nothing to be proud of, Republican control of the Senate, predicted for this midterm election by several polling institutions, would all but guarantee that we will get nowhere even faster on the climate change fight.

So, my plan to use less electricity and drive fewer miles this year is proceeding apace, but I don't know that it'll make one whit of difference in the hell we are creating for our children.

Oh, yes, and Republican appeals court justices are idiots, too.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Have they no shame?

The Republican machine is rolling along with its efforts to suppress and disenfranchise voters by any means necessary. Today, a three (Republican) judge federal appeals court panel reinstated Wisconsin's silly voter ID law less than two months from the November 4 election and after more than 11,000 absentee ballots have already mailed out without voter ID instructions required by their ruling.

Here is a very good article about it. Please do not throw up on your keyboard.

Are you a member of the Wisconsin ACLU yet? What about the League of Women Voters? Do it now because we hope and pray that they and the others involved in this suit will appeal this decision. 

What kind of people can't get a valid voter ID? Plenty.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Take two aspirin ...

We are burning up. New data, studies, predictions, and observations show that we are heading for the climate cliff.

On September 21, a large People's Climate March will be held in New York City. Buses are traveling from Minneapolis through Eau Claire and Madison. If you're interested, check here. You may also be interested in taking Amtrak (though you will need to leave at least a day early to account for scheduling difficulties caused by OIL TRAINS!)

If you can't make it to New York on the 21st, consider attending the not-yet-finalized LA CROSSE PEOPLE'S CLIMATE RALLY. Details will be available next week.

And in the meantime, it's time to act. We need to stop dirty fossil fuels, we need to demand a new renewable energy future. We need to use less energy, find new, less polluting ways to travel, and get serious about reducing our individual and community climate footprints.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Your input requested (and stuff to do)

The City of La Crosse has unveiled its COMMUNITY NEEDS SURVEY to help them decide how to spend community development money. Please note that the survey specifically DOES include community gardens in its choices but does NOT include LIBRARIES and PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. If you take the survey, please be sure to include these two very important community benefits in your responses. Also, good luck with that map!

Mark your calendar (and, here's a good calendar from which to mark)! 

August 22 - 24 = the 39th Annual Great River Folk Festival. This year, it will be at Riverside Park.

August 29 through September 1 = the La Crosse Area Bike Festival which will included sponsored rides, downtown music festival, safety info, and more!

By the way, the city has openings for Civilian Service Employees (part time citizen police aide). I really take issue with the title "civilian" as if the real police are not civilians. Another sign of the militarization of the police perhaps?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oil bomb trains and another warning about our fossil fuel ways

And for what? Stop the oil bomb trains. (If I do say so myself.)




And, if you didn't have a chance to hear it, please listen to this great and scary program from Wisconsin Public Radio. Host Kathleen Dunn interviews Paul Erlich (yes, the real Paul Erlich) and Michael Charles Tobias about our dangerous fossil-fueled future and their new book, Hope On Earth. This was the best program this year and one of the best I've heard in 40 years of public radio listening.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What he said

Paul Krugman: Standing Up for Liberal Principles (channeling Mike McCabe, I guess).

"Time was when 'centrist' Democrats would in effect urge appeasement: don't talk about inequality or say nasty things about privatization, or the right will get mad. But now it's clear that no matter what you do, short of destroying the entire legacy of the New Deal, the mere fact of being a Democrat will bring accusations that you're an atheist Islamic communist. So why not stand up for some liberal principles?"

Advocate for sustainability

The Lot C redevelopment has been moving forward without much chance for public comments. Those of us who would like to advocate for sustainability requirements on all new city or county developments will have an opportunity to speak on Tuesday, August 19 at 6:00 p.m.

the "Lot C visioning community team" will get together again to hear from Weber and team. The meeting will be in the basement of the County Building. The public will also have an opportunity to make comments.

Please plan to attend if you can. If you can't please contact your county board representative.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Make tomorrow your DAY OF ACTION!

Tomorrow, August 12, is Wisconsin's partisan primary. Clerks of Court are predicting a 15% turnout. So, 15% of eligible voters will pick our candidates for the November election including our candidates for governor and attorney general. I hope you will VOTE TOMORROW (if you haven't already early voted).

There are some other things that need to be done, so here's a partial list just in case you have nothing to do tomorrow (or EVEN IF you do).

1.  VOLUNTEER to help defeat the criminal Scott Walker in November! With even more limitless campaign cash from who knows where, Walker is still polling even with Mary Burke (we assume Burke will win her primary tomorrow). So, to repeat: Volunteers can come to the Dem office at 126 Fifth Ave. S., La Crosse (across from the Hollywood Theater and three doors south of our 2012 office). The office is open 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 5 and 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It will take many people to get out the vote.

2.  READ and COMMENT on the proposed (woefully inadequate) new rail safety regulations. You have until September 30. Note that under the new rules, La Crosse (pop. < 100,000) would not warrant slower speeds and dangerous "pop can" rail cars carrying explosive Bakken crude oil (not for your car, but for the "world market") won't be phased out for years. A new study by the US DOT finds that most freight rail insurance policies wouldn't even cover a "moderate" event let alone a catastrophic explosion like the Lac-M├ęgantic disaster. And don't expect them to pay any fines either.

3.  URGE your US Senators (Johnson and Baldwin), Representative and President to get serious about climate change. Join the US Catholic Bishops, African leaders, scientists, forest people, island nations, Every day we delay means a worse future for our children and more cost for all of us. Sign up for the September 21 Peoples Climate March in NYC. 

4. READ and COMMENT on the proposed new carbon emissions rules. You have until October 16..Concerned Chippewa Citizen sent a very interesting behind-paid-firewall article about Wisconsin's non-compliance with EPA rules on fine particle emmissions and EPA plans to take over some Wisconsin air quality implementation plans. (Read the Federal Register version here).

Friday, August 08, 2014

After action report

[UPDATE: Like this.]

There were about 135 people in attendance at last night's screening of Citizen Koch. Thanks to all who helped spread the word about this event. The Marcus Theater, especially, was very helpful and welcoming; I think they would love to have more Tugg events at their facility.

There were some glitches, to be sure. Ticket-taking turned out to be more intense than I had expected. While most people had no issues, a few slowed things down a bit - those who printed their ticket confirmation rather than their ticket, those who left tickets for others to pick up later, those who just showed up and expected to purchase tickets at the door, and one who came with no ticket, confirmation or receipt (and wasn't on the list) but insisted that a ticket had been purchased! 

With all this going on, the movie started before I had a chance to make announcements, including the announcement that two people would be handing out literature just after the film. 

[Ok - here's the deal. You worked hard on the recall? Deja vu. Here's another chance to get rid of the criminal Walker. But it's not going to happen unless we start doing the door-knocking and phone calling that all of us love. So - Volunteers can come to the Dem office at 126 Fifth Ave. S., La Crosse (across from the Hollywood Theater and three doors south of our 2012 office). The office is open 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 5 and 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday nights.   TOMORROW there is canvass and a phone bank at 10 a.m. from the office at 126 Fifth Ave. S. It will take many people to get out the vote.]

I guess many movie goers are trained to split just when the credits started rolling and that's what happened last night. It's fine, people can leave when they want, but many missed the door prize drawing (I am still seeking #077!) and the speaker.

Mike McCabe has a great deal of experience tracking and uncovering money spent in Wisconsin elections. His organization, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, maintains a very valuable Follow the Money Campaign Finance Database, for example. I had hoped the post-film conversation could focus on this fall's election money and recent changes by the Government Accountability Board based upon the Citizens United ruling.

About half way through the session, in answering a question from the audience, Mike moved to talk about some other aspects of our political realities. (His new book, Blue Jeans in High Places, is available for pre-order now). I think what he was saying is that, basically, both parties need a "in-party" and "cross party" movement to bring (what used to be called progressive) ideas that benefit the majority of people in the  lower half of the economic system (such as universal health care and universal free education through college) into the steering room, much as the (Koch created) tea party did within the Republican Party. This is not a new argument.

In fact, this is happening. And independent Senator Bernie Sanders is considering entering the Democratic primary in 2016, since Elizabeth Warren says she will not run. Warren may be the kind of "fourth door" candidate McCabe has in mind. She's a progressive and a populist, working to hold big finance and regulators accountable and questioning some of her own party's policies.

Time after time, polls show that the majority of Americans - even those who consider themselves "conservative" - support progressive/populist programs and agendas. Progressives have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with timid Democrats, including the President. The House Progressive Caucus' budget plans are never revealed in the media but usually win in the polls.

I agree with much of what Mike said and I think many people in the audience did, too. But I think what many people heard was, Democrats are scared, timid, and ineffective. And that made some people mad.

His point, that there are thousands of potential (old term: progressives/populists; McCabe's preferred new term: blue jean rebels) voters out there and we need to engage them and offer a home that's not already stunk up by old party perfume that turns them totally off - is, to me, exactly right. And we need to encourage and support progressive/populist, honest, and passionate candidates who can bring people in, no matter what their political/non-political/a-political label. I think.

Unfortunately (back at the movie now), hackles were activated by those interesting trigger words, non-judgmental consideration was trumped by emotional party affiliation or something, and a dissatisfying time was had by some.

But, the movie was thought-provoking and many people attended and enjoyed themselves (or at least got fired up) and so, I guess, Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Surprise! x2

Imagine my surprise today when I learned that we have even more tickets available for tomorrow's Citizen Koch screening! And, after I sent everyone a message telling them we are sold out. Go figure.


UPDATE: Well, THAT was too good to be true! After further investigation with Tugg, I learned that the second upgrade was an error.The Marcus doesn't have a theater large enough to upgrade us from our current SOLD OUT size of 151. So, we will definitely have to try another screening in September or October. If you want to help organize it, please email.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The importance of paying attention

I have been told that people are planning to come to the screening of CITIZEN KOCH this Thursday but they don't yet have tickets. If you know someone in this situation, please tell them not to come.

TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT!

I was also told last week that people were calling the Marcus Cinema to get tickets.

TICKETS WERE ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE through Tugg.

If you believe we can get at least 60 people to come to another screening in September, please email couleeprogressive[at]hotmail.com and we can do another event. Or, a DVD and/or digital download with bonus material will be available this fall. You can purchase the film and show it to friends (but you will have to pay screening rights to show it to a crowd).

Several years ago, I tried working with the La Crosse Public Library to develop a collection of eye-opening (ie political) dvds for check out. The one I purchased for them - I think it was Fear and Favor in the Newsroom (still good and relevant for today) - ended up in their book sale about a year after I donated it to them. 

We need to pay more attention to what's important, how we are part of a problem and part of a solution, time lines, deadlines, and who's doing what to whom. But life is speeding by - the kids need to get ready for school, the meeting lasted too long, my water bill is due today, I'm out of eggs, the car needs an oil change, etc. and lots of things pass by that shouldn't.

Pay attention!

For example, today at 4:30 at the South Community Library is the first of three public meetings on the future of La Crosse's Public Libraries. Don't sit it out! Don't be a not-paying-attention (NPA) who stops by the South branch next winter and is surprised to see that it's been closed! 

And today from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. you can stop by the Bodega Brew Pub, 122 South 4th St. and meet our US Senator Tammy Baldwin who is holding a fundraiser there.

Here's PAY ATTENTION news fresh from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, for example:

Money keeps rolling in for Walker
Governor Scott Walker raised more than a million dollars in July, building his cash advantage over presumptive Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker has raised more than $68 million over the years seeking the governor's office and then trying to keep the job, making him far and away the most prolific campaign fundraiser in Wisconsin history.
 
With next week's primary election just around the corner, we updated the Campaign 2014 feature on our website in recent days, and posted lists of the biggest donations to Walker and Burke in the first half of this year.

And what does all this money do to our democracy and our government? Forty charts speak volumes.



Sunday, August 03, 2014

SOLD OUT x 2!

We're going to have a FULL HOUSE at our August 7 screening of CITIZEN KOCH! Thanks to all who have helped spread the word about this important event. If you want to do a little reading up on the subject, check the links below.

But first, US Senator Ron Johnson is doing a "telephone town hall" on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 6:35 p.m. CT. If you are interested in participating, please email your phone number, name and city to: RJohnsonPress@ronjohnson.senate.gov by 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

Johnson will also hold town hall meetings this month. The closest to La Crosse are:

Friday, Aug. 8, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.- Reedsburg Recreation Center, 134 Locust St., Reedsburg  

 

Saturday, Aug. 9, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  - Prairie du Chien City Hall, Community Room; 214 E. Blackhawk Avenue, Prairie du Chien
His staff is also having some listening sessions, but all of them are on Wisconsin's east coast. Clearly, Johnson is working to limit the carbon footprint of his office staff by declining to have anything to do with most of western Wisconsin.
Some issues you might want to bring up:
 Get more ideas here.

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

Have you voted yet? You can vote "absentee in person" at the City Clerk's office (2nd floor, City Hall) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. through Friday, August 8. Don't let them keep you from voting (it's more subtle than you might think).

=============== 
If you need to get a little more riled up before Thursday's movie, read these:



Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday mish-mosh

STILL FOUR TICKETS LEFT!   tugg.com/go/ivv2kj

Coming up next week:
  • August 5   - 4:30 p.m. - listening session about the future of La Crosse Public Libraries at the South Community Library
  • August 5   - 5:30 p.m. - fundraiser for US Senator Tammy Baldwin at Bodega Brew Pub, 122 Fourth Street S.
  • August 6   - 6:30 p.m. - volunteer meeting at La Crose Democratic Party headquarters, 126 Fifth Avenue S. for training and information about the next 100 days of getting out the vote to depose Scott Walker. Call 608 317-3825 if you plan to attend.
  • August 7    - 6:30 p.m. - screening of CITIZEN KOCH at Marcus Cinema with post-film Q&A guest, Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Remember - you can vote this week and next in person at the City Clerk's office in City Hall (2nd floor) between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Check here for more details on registering, polling places, ballot, etc).

Here's a new article about the continuing erosion of campaign finance rules from the Cap Times to get you motivated.

Organizers are predicting historic turnouts for the world-wide Peoples Climate March on September 21. It's not too late to turn the ship though every day we delay takes us closer to the edge.

Which brings me to oil bomb trains. Now, we know that burning fossil fuesl, like oil, are making our planet very sick. So, rather than arguing about what configuration the trains (or pipelines) carrying the poisons should be, shouldn't we instead be demanding an end to new oil production and an immediate shift in focus and funding to renewable energy production? I am all for safer rail transportation, but in the end, the issue is that what's being transported is not just dangerous to communities, but poisonous to our whole planet and future. 

By the way, the proposed oil bomb train rules have been published and you can comment here.

And, you can engage in some guerilla energy art posting by grabbing these new resources.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Long range planning

[UPDATE: Only four tickets left!]

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

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

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

This is the crux of the issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two steps, one step

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

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

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

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

Step forward, please.

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

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

Also, one of the things we DO need in my opinion is GREAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES. Please plan to attend one of the public "listening sessions" coming up on the future of La Crosse's public libraries:
  • August 5th: 4 p.m., South Community Library
  • August 12th: 5:30 p.m., North Community Library
  • August 16th: 10:00 a.m., Main Library
===========================

Our US Senator, Tammy Baldwin will hold a fundraiser in La Crosse on Tuesday, August 5 at the Bodega Brew Pub, 122 S 4th Street from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (She won't be up for re-election for several years so I'm not sure why a fundraiser is needed now - except by 2018 it will probably cost $100 gazillion to run for senate even as an incumbent).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Update - More tickets - Bigger theater

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

THESE ARE ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE THROUGH THE TUGG SITE!

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

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




Happy Monday miscellaneous edition


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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, July 27, 2014

... waiting to happen


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Friday, July 25, 2014

I'll be there.

Calling Tom Joad.

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

No words can describe my emotions.


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

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


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

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


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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's a GO!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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