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.


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


If you believe we can get at least 60 people to come to another screening in September, please email couleeprogressive[at] 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


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: 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


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.