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)!


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:

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 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: 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 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  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 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.


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

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


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

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


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.

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:

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!!


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: The company's corporate headquarters (for now) phone number is 847 914-2500. (If you check out his profile, you'll see that poor Walgreens really really needs to pay ZERO US taxes so they can make more money.)


Good for the goose

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CITIZEN KOCH UPDATE and MORE things to do!

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

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

Tickets are available ONLINE ONLY at
We need to sell about 26 more by July 31 for this event to happen! Please spread the word!

== and now for something completely different! ==

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Here's a handy THINGS TO DO list for this week and next:

BUY TICKETS for the planned August 7 screening of CITIZEN KOCH! We still need to sell 38 tickets for this Tugg event to happen and we really want it to happen because a) secret campaign financing is a big deal and b) Mike McCabe, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign will be the guest for the post-film Q&A session! Please spread the word and encourage people to buy their tickets NOW. (Or you could buy tickets for them!) Tickets are available ONLINE ONLY at

Print out (back to back) and post or hand out these handy little event notices! (9 per page - cutting guide on p. 2)

Volunteer to help Mary Burke remove Scott Walker from office. Sign up for the Saturday, July 26 state-wide DAY OF ACTION (noon to 1 p.m., 126 Fifth Avenue South) or any day or evening from now until election day.

Plan to attend one of the three listening sessions hosted by the La Crosse Public Library Task Force on the future of public libraries in La Crosse:  
  • August 5: 4:00 p.m., South Community Library
  • August 12: 5:30 p.m., North Community Library
  • August 16: 10:00 a.m., Main Library
Get ready to VOTE in the August 12 primary. You can vote in person at the City Clerk's office for two weeks before August 12. For more information - finding your polling place, requesting an absentee ballot, etc. visit

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WE'RE ON! Citizen Koch screening August 7!

[UPDATE (7/18): In the first day of sales, about 20% of required tickets were sold. That's great! But we need to sell (as of now) about 40 more for the event to take place!

Check out this article from Mother Jones magazine: Public TV Snubbed This Film to Avoid Offending a Billionaire Donor. No one will ever know exactly why PBS pulled the plug - the filmmakers were able to make up the production funds through a KickStarter campaign - but the article is a good one.]

Finally, the theater has confirmed and we are on for our TUGG screening of Citizen Koch.

The event will be on Thursday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marcus Cinemas, 2032 Ward Avenue in La Crosse.


The even greater news is that Mike McCabe, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, will be live in the theater for the post-film Question and Answer session!

The way a TUGG event works is that an organizer must pre-sell a set number of tickets by a deadline in order for the event to take place. Those who pre-buy tickets to a "pending" event will not be charged until the event sells its minimum and is confirmed as "active." At that time, pre-bought tickets will be charged and those who bought them will receive an email confirmation WITH THEIR TICKETS WHICH THEY MUST PRINT AND BRING to the event.

Those who purchase tickets to an "active" event will be charged right away and their confirmation and tickets will be emailed.

For this specific event, we must pre-sell at least 56 tickets (it was 58 but I already pre-bought two of them!) by July 31. I think this is feasible. Please spread the word to make this event happen.

The tickets cost $11 each. This covers the cost of the theater rental and screening rights for the film. In addition, the promoter gets 5% of the proceeds which will be donated in full to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Please spread the word! Our state primary is just a few days after this event - August 12 - and it will be a good reminder about what we are fighting and fighting for.

If you have any questions about this event, please email couleeprogressive[at]

Monday, July 14, 2014

Still waiting ...

I am still waiting to hear from the TUGG representatives about confirmation of date and time for the screening of Citizen Koch. When I first heard about TUGG, I thought it was a great idea. Having an organization that connects viewers with films and theaters - what could possibly go wrong? Well, now I know what could go wrong. The theater doesn't respond to the TUGG representative and the TUGG representative apparently isn't as fired us as we are to get this thing finalized. And so, we wait. I promise that as soon as I know something, it will be posted here.

Now, for something completely different, you may know that there's a lot of talk about closing the South Branch Library. The Library Board claims there's not enough money to keep it open, but a recent study group identified available funds and suggested possible efficiencies. If you have an opinion about whether or not the South Branch should stay open (and/or other library-related issues), please plan to attend a public hearing:

  • 4:00 p.m. August 5 at the South Branch
  • 5:30 p.m. August 12 at the North Branch
  • 10:00 a.m. August 16 at the Main Library

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lac-Megantic Oil Train Victims Remembered

La Crosse Citizens Called to Wake Up and Recognize the Dangers of Oil Trains As Canadians Lost in Derailment Disaster Last Year Are Remembered

La Crosse residents gathered near Central High School and the rail tracks Thursday to call for protection of local communities from the dangerous oil trains that pass near several schools, business, homes, and sensitive environmental areas every day.

The memorial service, organized by the local group CARS (Citizens Acting for Rail Safety), included a reminder by CARS member, Rev. Curtis Miller, that the explosion that killed at least 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec last July 6, was not a natural disaster but rather a fully preventable industrial accident.

Miller pointed out that citizen action is needed to demand reforms or we will continue to experience these disasters. At least 42 trains, each carrying atleast one million gallons of highly explosive Bakken crude oil, passthrough the heart of La Crosse every week.

The names and brief biographies of the 47 Lac-Mégantic victims were read aloud as their pictures were posted on oil train models provided by CARS. Many of the victims, from babies to octogenarians, were so incinerated by the force of the explosion they were not able to be identified by thecoroner. Three rail employees have been charged with criminal negligence. The bankrupt Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railway, Ltd. is named as a co-accused in the trial, but none of its top officials have been charged.

Ironically, a 103 car oil train, carrying at least three million gallons of volatile crude oil, passed near the gathering and high school during the memorial ceremony.

Following the ceremony, CARS member, Guy Wolf of Stoddard, reminded the group that the proximity of tracks to the river and its tributaries provides even more opportunities for disaster. High flood levels may undermine rail beds and bridges, and local emergency providers, some of whom are sited within the potential blast zone, do not have the training, equipment and staffing to deal with major spills or explosions. The tracks through La Crosse pass near at least four public schools, and the 1/2 mile “blast zone” includes nearly one-quarter of La Crosse residents' homes, businesses and/or work places.

CARS member, Alan Stankevitz, who maintains the comprehensive DOT111 Reader  pointed out that industry and government officials have known for decades that rail cars used in the transport of volatile Bakken crude oil and many other toxic substances are known to be unsafe because of their relatively thin skin and susceptibility to ruptures.

A 2012 USA Today article on increasing oil shipments by rail notes that, “Larger trains are harder to control, and that increases the chances of something going wrong.” More oil was spilled in rail accidents inthe U.S. last year than in the previous four decades, according to federal statistics.

And yet safety and emergency preparedness is lagging terribly behind the ramp up in domestic oil extraction. U.S. oil producers are slated to increasetheir output by about 750,000 barrels per day in 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s first projections. If export restrictions are eased by Congress, that figure may rise.

Besides the danger and fear of exploding trains, La Crosse residents' quality of life is being impacted by more, longer, and heavier trains. Noise, rumbling, and dust have caused structural damage and made some residents' homes nearly uninhabitable. Utilities workers have been delayed or blocked by parked oil trains. Residents of neighborhoods with access crossed by tracks worry that emergency responders and vehicles might be impeded by parked or moving trains.

Organizers of the event, are calling for the dangerous trains through the populated City to stop, for effective emergency preparedness and the release and dissemination of critical emergency response information to the people of La Crosse, and for sweeping change of oil transport at the federal regulatory level.

A national petition calling for a ban on the use of outdated and unsafe DOT111 tank cars is circulating at the website Known as “Pepsi cans on wheels,” this model of rail cars is known to puncture and explode due to substandard construction and the high volatility of Bakken crude oil.

“Ticking time-bombs should not be rolling by our schools and neighborhoods on a daily basis. And it's not just our community. Dangerous oil-bomb trains are threatening citizens and businesses all over the country,” said Duane Teschler of Veterans for Peace.

“What is truly evil about the train disaster in Lac-Mégantic is the fact that this disaster could have been prevented if human life and safety were valued as highly as maximum profits. This was not an accident but a criminal act. The proximity of rail lines to schools and businesses in our city make us realize that what happened in Quebec last year could very easily have happened here,” said George Nygaard, a member of CARS.

“I was more affected than I thought I would be thinking about the people who were killed in Lac-Mégantic. They could be my own friends and family members. This immoral system - where producing more and more dirty fossil fuels for export on the world market takes precedence over the lives of people living and working in communities all across the country - has to change. I don't want to see a La Crosse area resident interviewed on national news about an oil train explosion near Central High or major devastating contamination of the Mississippi River. Things will not change until and unless all of us wake up to these dangers and force things to change,” said CARS member, Irving Balto.

CARS, Citizens Acting for Rail Safety, sponsored the July 10 event.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Kudos!, kudos to those who speak up and speak out.

First, way to go Maureen Freedland! Maureen was interviewed for the 5 p.m. segment by Mitch Reynolds on La Crosse Talk PM today (1410 WIZM) about new information released to and by the state that an average of 42 oil trains per week pass through La Crosse. Citizens Advocating for Rail Safety (CARS) has been trying to get specific information about this for months. Now, apparently by federal order and thanks to an open records request by the AP, the railroads (BNSF and CP) were required to release this information. (The reporting threshhold is one million gallons, so there may be more Bakken crude oil passing through, less than one million gallons on a mixed car train.) Warning: if you listen to the audio (it's the second hour), please note that lots of called in mis- and dis-information is thrown about.

Next, Maureen Taylor, state chair of Michigan's Welfare Rights Organization, strongly, firmly, and with great conviction gave a Michigan reporter what for on MSNBC Live this morning. As you may know, thousands of Detroit residents who are at least two months behind and owe at least $150 on city water bills, have had their water shut off or are threatened with shut off. It's so serious that activists have appealed to the United Nations. And who knew that major businesses, sports franchises, and golf courses who owe thousands of dollars in water bills have NOT been threatened with shut off? For more about the Detroit water shut off crisis, read the LA Times article recommended by DKos' Progressive Liberal.

In case you missed it, the fine documentary, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, which was on Wisconsin Public Television last week, is now streaming FREE on the PBS/POV website. It's a very good and inspiring look at someone who's been fighting the good fight for more than 70 years! If you have high school activists in training, watch this with them.

And now, a couple of reminders:

Thursday at noon at Central High School - commemoration of Lac-Megantic rail explosion that killed 47 people. "This observance is to show support for their survivors and work toward rail safety in their memory. Towns and cities across the nation are observing similar ceremonies this week recognizing this tragedy and the hazards of moving explosive Bakken oil and other hazardous substances through communities. People attending in La Crosse will be given the chance to speak to the effects and concerns of trains in our community.
Listen to La Crosse Fire Chief Cleveland's national interview underscoring concerns for the La Crosse region."

And, your comments about the Badger-Coulee 345 kV high voltage transmission line project are due to the Public Service Commission (PSC) by July 15! Please check out the Citizens Energy Task Force (CETF) page and NoCAPX2020 for power line information. In a nutshell, these interstate high voltage power lines will carry dirty-coal generated electricity across our region - despoiling natural areas, reducing property values, possibly causing health hazards, and costing rate payers ever more money (in part due to the guaranteed 12+% rate of return promised to line builders!) to points east. Does Wisconsin need this? No! Could this money be better spent helping people, communities and businesses increase their energy efficiency? Yes! What if some of the $18 BILLION Wisconsin sends out of state to pay for power could be kept in state paying for solar panel manufacturing, solar gardens, wind generators and other renewable energy generation? Anyway, you can read others' comments and generate your own at the PSC (and understand that many PSC commissioners leave their posts for high paying jobs with the utilities they are now regulating and/or firms that advocate for those utilities). Click Case Documents to read others' and File a comment to submit your own.

UPDATE: Citizen Koch screening

The date has still not been confirmed by the theater! But we are shooting for an early August screening of the important documentary, Citizen Koch. Once the date is confirmed information about pre-purchasing tickets will be available here and through others. The good news: Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, has agreed to lead the post-film discussion! This is a great organization and Mike knows just about everything about campaign finance, dark money, illegal campaigning in the state. 

Check back often! As soon as the date/time is confirmed, we will post it here!! 

And, finally, Tom Tomorrow is a genius. 


Sunday, July 06, 2014


Ok, it's been a while (like THREE YEARS) since the last post on this blog. There is so much going on now, I felt the need to turn it on again. So, here's a schedule of important events coming up next week. Please attend if you can! I've included links to specific websites for more information. Please educate yourself about these very important issues! 

Please check back often for updates and new information on important issues like the Badger-Coulee high voltage power line, unsafe rail cars, frack sand mining, the Sierra Club's Coulee Region Goes Solar campaign, Community Solar Gardens, energy efficiency opportunities, political campaigns, and much more!

Every Sunday, I will try to post a calendar of upcoming events of interest to the progressive community. If you have events, please email Also, if you'd like to post on this blog, please email.

MONDAY, JULY 7 at 4 p.m. at the County Administrative Building (room 3220), the County's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will consider a piece of legislation that would fund a railroad safety analysis. With increasing traffic of larger, longer, and less safe trains (and the possibility that a second rail line will be constructed through sensitive areas), the proposal would study whether current infrastructure - rail crossings, bridges, etc. - are safe or might require upgrading or repair. If you wish to make a comment in support of this proposal, please attend! 

TUESDAY, JULY 8 at 7 p.m. at the Cartwright Center, UW-L, CRUE (Coulee Region United Educators) will host a screening of CITIZEN KOCH. "A searing exposé on the state of American democracy and the fracturing of the Republican Party, CITIZEN KOCH investigates the money behind the Tea Party and traces the impact of unlimited election spending by corporations and billionaires. Alternately terrifying and funny, CITIZEN KOCH is an essential and powerful portrait of our political times." One of the teachers featured in the film will be on hand after the screening for questions. 

[NOTE: A second screening is being planned for late July or early August through TUGG. Details have not yet been finalized. Check back next week for ticket information.] 

TUESDAY, JULY 8 at 7:15 p.m. at the La Crosse Democratic Party Headquarters, 126 Fifth Avenue South (Suite 102), there will be a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Mary Burke. Read more here. 

THURSDAY, JULY 10 at noon at the corner of Losey and Green Bay, CARS (Citizens Advocating for Rail Safety) will hold an event commemorating the one year anniversary of the deaths of 47 people killed when a Canadian Pacific train carrying tar sands crude oil exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. (Hear a good story about this event, including a La Crosse connection, here). 

CARS has been working in La Crosse to alert people of the increased risk of derailments, toxic spills, and explosions as more and more trains, carrying more and more unsafe cars full of explosive crude oil pass through the middle of our community. About 25% of citizens live and/or work within 1/2 mile of the tracks - the danger zone for an exploded train car. Heavier and more frequent loads are causing damage to houses and reducing quality of life for families living near the rails. Parked trains are blocking utilities workers and may pose danger for residents who live in neighborhoods with limited access roads that could be  blocked by parked trains. In addition, the oil is dirty and enviromentally devastating, For more info on the oil train issue, check out the comprehensive DOT Reader

Remember, there is a primary election coming up on August 12! If you need to register to vote, get more information about your polling place or early voting, or request an absentee ballot, please visit MYVOTE, a Wisconsin voter information site and portal. 

I'm off Facebook because of all their shenanigans, but if you use FB, pleases share this link.