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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Martin Luther King event January 15

The 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration will be 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, January 15 at the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center, 929 Jackson Street, La Crosse. 

While the MLK Celebration remembers and honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the hope is to educate, inspire, and encourage the community to work together to eliminate oppression of all people. In summary, the goal with this annual FREE ADMISSION event is to influence people across communities to effect positive change for everyone in the La Crosse area.

This year’s featured speaker will be Dr. Duchess Harris, PhD, JD, who will deliver a unique keynote presentation entitled the, Chaos or Community: 50 Years with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Duchess Harris is Professor and Chair of the American Studies Department at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. She is the author of five books including Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA, describing the critical contributions to the emerging space program by Black women in the pre-computer days of the 1950’s when the mathematical calculations of these “human calculators” were needed for the nation's astronauts to fly into space and return safely to Earth.

Professor Harris is the granddaughter of Miriam Daniel Mann, one of the first eleven Black women to work at NASA beginning in 1943. She is also author of Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama (Palgrave- MacMillan, 2009, 2011) and co-author of Race and Policing (2017) with Rebecca Rissman examining incidents of mistreatment or death of minorities in police custody. She is also the curator of the Duchess Harris Collection , which is a book line that produces social justice books for 3-12 graders with ABDO Publishing.

Dr. Harris is a well-known advocate for social justice in Minnesota and on the national level, having served appointments to the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, Governor’s Council on Black Minnesotans, and as Constituent Advocate for the late Senator Paul Wellstone. She has worked on the national level with the Congressional Black Caucus. The evening program will also include music, entertainment, and the MLK Leadership Award recognition.

Denise Christy Moss (Retired English Teacher, historian, singer and actress) is Master of Ceremonies. Recently Denise has been a participant in the Silent City Tour of Oak Grove Cemetery, portraying Lillian Davenport, another early Black early La Crosse resident. Future projects in production include a theater project for schools demonstrating lives of early African-Americans such as Zachariah Moss, and other non-white residents in early La Crosse and in Cheyenne Valley, a community nearby Hillsboro located in Vernon County. Also on the horizon is a dramatization of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, and a musical pageant called “Masque of Bluffs and Rivers,” first performed in 1915, in which Ms. Davenport was also a participant.

The 2018 MLK, Jr. Leadership Award will be presented that evening to our community leader and Nathaniel Coleman, Jr. Nate is a full-time La Crosse Metropolitan Transit (MTU) bus driver, and founder and director of The Good Fight Community Center, a non-profit youth development program for ages 10 - 18 years old that utilizes instruction in boxing skills as the foundation to instill self-confidence, discipline, and good decision making while simultaneously providing academic tutoring, work and life-skills coaching. He deeply epitomizes the legacy of Dr. King as a role model community leader who cares, welcomes, and generously creates opportunities for everyone he encounters.

It is Nate’s willingness to go “the extra mile” that led him to create The Good Fight Community Center (GFCC), a youth program for ages 10 - 18 years. Outfitted with a full-size boxing ring, GFCC utilizes boxing skills instruction as the foundation to instill self-confidence, discipline, and good decision-making through simultaneously providing academic tutoring, work and life-skills coaching. Opened in August 2016, GFCC has over 120 members who are growing, learning and boxing together, inspired-on by a staff of volunteers. Nate is the unpaid chief executive officer. (Nate funded the Center’s start-up himself, after a business center told him that he simply didn’t have the necessary capital to start such a project).

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse first-year student and boxer, Faith Fisher, coached by Nate, states “when I first met Coach Nate, I instantly knew that I respected him. Not only because he’s my coach but because he showed passion for the sport that he loves and compassion for the kids that he coaches. He encourages us to have the same passion and has taught me the importance of perseverance and confidence. I think everyone he has mentored, can agree that he has created a genuinely safe and accepting atmosphere and is always willing to be there for us as a coach and friend.”

Nate’s co-workers, employer, La Crosse County and other community partners, and everyone involved with GFCC recognize that the Center wouldn’t exist without Nate’s “vision, persistence, and boundless enthusiasm for helping kids.”

Nate grew up in Chicago and graduated from South Shore High School in 1985. One teacher, Larry Shapiro, stood out as “the one that didn’t let him slide.” The GFCC education programs are named after this teacher. Nate continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and served as a U.S. Marine in Kuwait and Somalia. His work as a facilities manager at Fort McCoy was recognized with the Phillip A. Connelly Award for superb performance and stellar practices.

More recent and visible, Nate Coleman, has been recognized on locally on La Crosse’s WXOW – News 19 as a Jefferson Award Recipient. The Jefferson Awards, presented both locally and nationally, are a prestigious award that honors volunteers in the community. Nathaniel Coleman, Jr. deeply epitomizes the legacy of Dr. King as a role model community leader who cares, welcomes, and gives opportunity and generosity to everyone he encounters.

Nate is the proud father of three daughters, Crystal, Shauna and Tazmin.  

Musical selections for this special evening will come from the Viterbo Choir and Coulee Region Gospel Choir.

Donations of non-perishable food items for the Hunger Task Force are encouraged. Primary contacts for the MLK Event: Keith Knutson (608 796-3496),  Thomas Harris (608 780-7153),   Shaundel Spivey (414 759-4017) or  Denise Christy Moss (414 379-6828). 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Coming this week (December 25-December 31)

Not many meetings or events this week. Just a TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26 meeting of the Upper Northside Logan Neighborhood Association at 6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church. (By the way, please SUBMIT YOUR EVENT FOR THE CALENDAR using the form or by emailing couleeprogressive at hotmail.)

Here are a few good books we've heard of recently and some old favorites. Please add your favs in comments.

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank is a little old, but if you want to know what's coming up for 2018 Republican Hell, read this book. Rich documents how conservatives get rid of all the social programs they hate by cutting taxes for their rich crony contributors (and themselves), going nuts on deficit spending, and  starving government of funds, necessitating (according to them) massive cuts in everything but the military. Sound familiar? A friend recently reminded that Kansas, one of the test labs for evil conservative policies, has messed up their state budget so much that many schools are holding classes only four days per week. (Oklahoma and Missouri, too.) Those of us who live in Wisconsin need only try driving a few miles down a state roads to see how great giving most people a six pack of beer's worth of tax cuts per week works out for funding the state's vital infrastructure.

No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein came out just a few months ago in response to the Trump administration. We can't just watch the news and shake our heads. People's lives are at risk in this new political paradigm.  "The book’s chief value lies in synthesis. Klein’s particular background and expertise allow her to pull together the disparate threads of what it would be misleading to call 'Trumpism', if only because of the unwarranted suggestion of system and control. How you view her political proposals will depend on your politics, particularly on the value one ascribes to what used to be called 'the extraparliamentary left'. She insists, rightly in my view, that there is a need to promote a positive alternative social vision, and that ostensibly “utopian” aims and proposals are a way to avoid being caught in a politics that is merely reactive or timidly reformist." - Hari Kunzru in The Guardian, June 22, 2017

Another old but new again (alas) book is The Origins of Totalinarianism by Hannah Arendt. It was mentioned last December by Washington Post columnist, Jeffrey Isaac. "Origins charts the 'grotesque disparity between cause and effect,' which made the horrors of the 1940s so surprising, and shocking, to so many. One reason the book resonates so strongly today is its fixation on the way many “bads” long taken for granted can come together to generate a maelstrom of evil and horror foreseen by no one, perhaps not even the protagonists themselves. The lesson: Freedom is fragile, and when demagogues speak, and others start following them, it is wise to pay attention. 

Again, it's short and you can get it from the library if you way. Read Prof. Timothy Snyder's book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons for the 20th Century fits here, too. (You can even check it out from the digital public library).

Donna Brazile's new book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, is important in that it sheds light on the sorry state of the Batmobile. Dem leaders' reneging on their DACA promise made in September, broken in December, is one more point of proof that something needs to change if the opposition is to really be ready to oppose. Too many Dem pundits, it seems, don't get that we are operating in a different dimension now.

Sarah Kendzior has recently opined that Trump is using Russian hacked Republican emails to blackmail them into submission (how else to describe the fawn-fest). The expert on authoritarian states published a book last year, a collection of essays from her time at Al Jazeera English, The View from Flyover Country. Omair Ahmad's review at Wired begins, "Please put everything aside and try and get hold of Sarah Kendzior’s collected essays, The View From Flyover Country. I have rarely come across writing that is as urgent and as beautifully expressed. I came across Kendzior on Twitter, as the Ferguson protests and the Black Lives Matter organisations took off. At some point between those protests and the Trump campaign, Kendzior made the point that while we talk of the decline of Middle America, the loss of jobs disproportionately harms women and minorities – thus privileging the resentments of the 'white working class' was only a sophisticated form of racism, privileging white distress over those who are affected worse. This is the type of insight that is missing from the big mainstream newspapers and as publications such as the LA Times, rush to normalise the horrible lot that Trump drags with him into the White House, the need for clarity and a moral stand has never been more important." 

Jane Mayer's book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, shows how methodical has been the plan to bring back the bad old days of bought politicians and policies. From her website: "Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?     The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against 'big government' led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system."

David Cay Johnston has a book coming out in January - It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America. He's the greatest and I highly recommend in advance. 

There are some hopeful movements. Here are three books


Kali Akuno was on DemocracyNow recently talking about his new book, Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi. The book "is a chronicle of one of the most dynamic experiments in radical social transformation in the United States. The book documents the ongoing organizing and institution building of the political forces concentrated in Jackson, Mississippi dedicated to advancing the Jackson-Kush Plan

A 2016 book, We the People: Stories from the Community Rights Movement in the United States  
"Instead of fighting against what we don’t want, this book can teach us to create from the ground up what we do want, basing our vision in local control and law. By refusing to cooperate with the unjust laws that favor corporate profit over local sustainability, communities can show the way forward, driving their rights into state constitutions and, eventually, into the federal Constitution."

Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis by George Monbiot is an optimistic look at how this mess may give rise to a new politics and new ways of community. This description accompanied his appearance at the Festival of the Future City, "In his new book, Out of the Wreckage, Monbiot seeks out the best new ideas and creates a coherent, inspiring story that describes the present and shows the way to a better future. He explains how communities can be rebuilt, how economies can be recharged without destroying the living planet and how politics can once more inspire and thrill."

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Support A New Local Scholarship

Did you know that La Crosse Area SURJ is starting an endowed scholarship? The SURJ book club has been setting up the groundwork to collect money for Project Proven at Western Technical College to go toward currently and formerly incarcerated people of color as they pursue education.
If you are looking to make a donation this holiday, or need an idea to give to a relative asking what you want this year, please consider donating. To donate, click here, select OTHER under designation, and put "SURJ" in the comments to get it to the right place.
Our goal is to raise $12,000. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ron Johnson Mobile Office in Onalaska Thursday

I think this means just his staff will be there, but I'm sure they'd love to hear our opinions about Ron Johnson's decision to support the Tax Scam now being perpetrated in Congress. Mobile office hours are 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Onalaska Town Hall, N5589 Commerce Road. (Don't expect to get there using public transportation). (You have to see the web page announcing it (take your magnifying glass!)

Remember this? According to Ron Johnson, people with pre-existing conditions (like sick babies or women who have been pregnant) expecting affordable health insurance is like people who crash their cars expecting low-cost car insurance. Yep.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Be prepared

MoveOn and many other organizations are planning ahead. No one knows what might happen in the next few days, but there have been rumors that Donald Trump may try to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House Council (1970-1973), has said that Trump may have already obstructed justice.

According to the MoveOn rapid response initiative, Nobody is Above the Law, if Trump does fire Mueller, "This would be a constitutional crisis for our country. It would demand an immediate and unequivocal response to show that we will not tolerate abuse of power from Donald Trump. Our response in the minutes and hours following a power grab will dictate what happens next, and whether Congress—the only body with the constitutional power and obligation to rein Trump in from his rampage—will do anything to stand up to him."

Megan G. has created an event in La Crosse, one of hundreds planned around the world. Check out the site and sign up to participate if necesary.

This brings up a book we mentioned earlier this year and brought up again in a recent conversation. In February, Yale history professor, Timothy Snyder, published a book called, ON TYRANNY: 20 LESSONS FROM THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. It's a short book that describes what has happened in the past, what the danger signs are, and how to avoid mistakes that have lead other societies in other times down the wrong path. 

Lesson one: “Do not obey in advance. Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do.”

We believe we are protected by rules and laws, but what happens when those in power don't bother about rules and laws? What happens when the rules and laws support or ignore inequality, illegal elections activities, genocide, war crimes, resource theft, life threatening pollution, racism, climate disaster, and war? What happens when laws allow "protectors" to murder people without penalty or to steal their money and possesions?
There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all! - Mario Savio

In 2004, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind wrote a frightening portrait of the Bush administration for the New York Times Magazine, Faith, Certainty, and the Presidency of George W. Bush.  Suskind describes an encounter he had with a senior administration official:
"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
"The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"
What if the new reality the current batch of "history's actors" creates overthrows democracy?
The last lesson in "On Tyranny" is to be as courageous as you can. Do you actually care enough about freedom that you would take risks? Do individuals actually care about freedom? Think that through. I think if enough of us take the little risks at the beginning, which aren't really that significant, this will prevent us from having to take bigger risks down the line. - Prof. Timothy Snyder, Salon, May 1, 2017
 UPDATE: Former Attorney General Sally Yates seems to agree. "Sally Yates calls for uprising of Americans to ‘stand up, speak out’ and relocate ‘core values’"

 

Events this week (12/18-24)

MONDAY, DECEMBER 18
5:30 p.m. La Crosse Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hear about bike-ped plans for Highway 53 and South Avenue. Meeting in City Hall Third Floor Conference Room.


7:00 p.m. La Crosse County Dem Party year end party at the Brickhouse, Fifth Ave S. & King St. Need not be a Dem to attend (you can join online or at the event). All hands on deck to make sure the party is inclusive and progressive in 2018.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19
6:00 p.m. Coulee Region Sierra Club winter gathering/potluck (Need not be a Sierra Club member to attend!) at N1965 Valley Rd (in Wedgewood). Bring some food to share if you can. Beverages provided.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20
6:00 p.m.  FREE Legal Advice from the La Crosse County Bar Association until 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, West Ave & Main. See this link for more details.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21
6:00 p.m. La Crosse County Board monthly meeting. They will consider the Citizen Climate Lobby resolution (passed without dissent at an earlier Executive Committee). If you want to attend to support it (no public hearing) they will meet in the County Admin Building (6th & State) room 1700. If you want to contact your County Board rep about it, please do!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22
4:00 p.m. Colorful Caroling with The Center 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection. Meet at 230 6th St. South

LA CROSSE SOUP is accepting pitches for its next event. All entries received by January 7 will be considered for the next event on January 14. Get more info/application at the link.

ARE YOU RUNNING? Candidates for school board or county board will have until early January to get their papers, including required signatures, together. Are you running? Do you need help gathering signatures? Please let us know!

NOTICE TO ALL WHO USE FACEBOOK TO PUBLICIZE YOUR EVENTS! FB has always been a pain for those without accounts (without accounts for very good reasons). If you can even see a page without logging in, it constantly pops up SIGN IN NOW windows, won't let you scroll beyond a certain point, and jumps back to the top whenever it feels like it. A new annoyance - a window DEMANDING that you log in - has made it even more difficult to get information about events from FB. Please please please, make sure your events are described on non-FB sites, too, like blogs, web pages, etc. You are welcome to have them included on this calendar - use the form or email couleeprogressive at hotmail. You are welcome to blog here or write about your event here. Please email for details!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

This week's events (Dec. 11 - 17) and Progresstival update!

But first:


And now, coming up this week:

MONDAY, DECEMBER 11
6:30 p.m. Weigent-Hogan Neighborhood Association monthly meeting and potluck at 401 West Avenue South.

7:30 p.m. Alt Truth Project: Skin of our Teeth There was a very good La Crosse Tribune article about the Project and the play today. It's at the Pump House.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12
noon League of Women Voters Lunch & Learn - Mayor Tim Kabat on Water Quality & Climate Change (lunch at 11:30 if you RSVP in advance) at Moxie's.

4:00 p.m. Holiday Farmers Market at the La Crescent Community Building.

6 p.m. FILM: He Named Me Malala part of WTC's Make Change series. Film will be in room 401 Integrated Tech Center, WTC

6:30 p.m. Citizens' Climate Lobby monthly meeting. Please view or read th e national call recording (see link) before the meeting if possible. Meets at 401 West Avenue South.

6:30 p.m. League of Women Voters Book Club will discuss World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Jason Heller at JavaVino (please RSVP at link).

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14
11:30 a.m. The Women's Alliance of La Crosse will hold its Food, Fun, and Silent Auction at the Waterfront to raise funds for scholarships for area women.

6:00 p.m. Showing Up for Racial Justice - La Crosse  will discuss  White Supremacy Culture and Us at 140 23rd St. S.

6:00 p.m. La Crosse Common Council Meeting - probably no public hearings but if you would like to show support for La Crosse United to Amend's successful petition drive to have a referendum on the April ballot on the "We the People" (corporations are not people and money is not speech) amendment, please come to City Hall Council Chambers before 6 to register. There will also be a resolution "to create a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans." This is "fair maps" resolution that the county board recently passed unanimously. However, there are some city council members who do not believe it is the city's business. If you can't attend the meeting, please contact your council representative before Thursday!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15
Some news may be coming from the Mayor on Friday. There are two media interviews scheduled for that day as well as a 9:30 a.m. press conference.


6:00 p.m. Soup meet/greet/fundraiser for McCabe for Governor, Come at your convenience for a brief meet and greet or for the entire evening.  Mike will speak on several occasions but otherwise we will engage in lively and enjoyable conversation with one another.  There will be simple food for the sustenance of our bodies and music for sustenance of our souls.  Please come and enjoy this time together. The Wilson Schoolhouse Inn (https://www.wilsonschoolhouseinn.com/) is located at 5720 US Hwy 14-61, on your way out of town direction Coon Valley. We will be parking our cars on Waterford Drive, and it is a short walk over to the Inn from the Drive.  A path will be marked with attendants for assistance.  For those with need, it will be possible to enter the driveway directly to the Inn from the highway for drop-off and pick-up. If able, please RSVP for our accommodation planning but come in any case to enjoy this time with us. 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17
10:00 a.m. Winter Farmers Market at Myrick Park Center.

 2:00 p.m. Vernon County Dems monthly meeting featuring gubernatorial candidate, Tony Evers, at 210 South Main Street, Viroqua.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SPEAKER SET FOR FEBRUARY 3 PROGRESSTIVAL!

Paul Cienfuegos is a leader in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional so-called “rights” and assert The People's inherent right to govern themselves. He has been leading workshops, giving public talks, and organizing local communities across the US since 1995 when he founded Democracy Unlimited in northern California. Paul moved to Portland, Oregon in 2011, co-founded Community Rights PDX in 2012, and helped to launch the Oregon Community Rights Network in 2013. David Barsamian's internationally syndicated show 'Alternative Radio' has broadcast five of his speeches. Paul is the founding director of the new national Community Rights support organization - Community Rights US - which was launched in October 2017. More info at www.CommunityRights.US.

As a long time activist, Paul believes that we won’t ever win the society we all yearn to live in until we stop just responding to the latest corporate outrage from a defensive position, and begin instead to exercise our rightful authority as We the People, The Sovereign People, to govern ourselves and to say NO to a wide variety of normalized but quite harmful corporate activities, and YES to the kind of healthy and just communities we desire to live in - all of which can be best accomplished through local Community Rights law-making campaigns.

Paul has led introductory workshops in Minnesota and Wisconsin over the past year and will hold a . It's possible there will be an introductory workshop in La Crosse on February 4 (seeking co-sponsors! Email couleeprogressive at hotmail if interested!)  

Stay tuned for more updates! 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Dec 5 Speaker / Wisconsin Voter IDs are FREE [UPDATE]

This event has now been opened to the public: George Mendez, an Emmy Award-winning former NBC studio manager, will talk about being Mexican American and Irish American working behind the scenes at a major network at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 5, in 2302 Centennial Hall, UWL. The event is free and open to the public.

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

[UPDATE: HERE IS THE ABSOLUTE FACT FROM REID MAGNEY, WISCONSIN ELECTIONS COMMISSION.]

Thanks for posting about ways people can get a free ID to vote in Wisconsin!

Just to clarify, if you don't have a Wisconsin driver license, state ID card or other acceptable photo ID, you can get an ID card for free from the DMV. Just make sure you check the box that says you need the ID to vote.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has a helpful video: https://youtu.be/o31j2r16RAM

To get a state ID card, you need certain documents including a birth certificate. The full list is here: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/how-to-apply/id-card.aspx. If you don't have all the documents you need, bring what you have and DMV will help you by verifying your birth records in Wisconsin or another state, through the ID Petition Process (IDPP). The ultimate goal is to get you a state ID card for free. If DMV can't issue you an ID card immediately, they will mail you a document with your photo on it that can be used for voting. The document is good for 180 days, and can be renewed multiple times.

Finally, it's important to know there are exceptions to the photo ID requirement for voters who may find it difficult to get to the polls on Election Day because of age, disability, infirmity or illness. These people can contact their municipal clerk's office and ask to become permanent absentee voters, and they will never need to provide a photo ID. You can learn more about it here: https://www.bringitwisconsin.com/absentee-voting-and-exceptions-permanent-absentee-voters-video

Thanks,
Reid Magney
Public Information Officer
Wisconsin Elections Commission
 
[END OF UPDATE]

Some confusing info has been circulating lately about voter IDs as part of a great and worthy campaign to help raise funds for needy families in our area.

By law, people who are eligible to vote in Wisconsin but who do not have a WI driver's license or other approved Voter ID may obtain a Wisconsin Voter ID FREE OF CHARGE even if they do not have a birth certificate. To repeat: there should be no cost to obtain a WI voter ID even if the applicant does not have a birth certificate.

Here is the WORD from the Wisconsin Election Commission's own website titled, LEARN HOW TO GET A FREE VOTER ID EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

If people are not sure if they have the right ID, they can learn more here.

Here is a brochure about the Wisconsin Voter ID. "A document petition process is available at the WI DMV if you apply for a State of Wisconsin ID card and your documents to prove U.S. citizenship, name and date of birth, and/or legal name change are unavailable. If you do not have the documents mentioned above, DMV staff will work with you to verify your records through other means. You can still get a free State of Wisconsin ID card on the day you visit the DMV even if you are unable to provide the documents listed above."

Here is a Wisconsin Elections Commission release about "FREE Photo ID for voting  now available with one trip to DMV. "

To be sure, there are major problems with Wisconsin's voter ID system which was deliberately designed to disenfranchise voters and there's no reason to believe things will be a whole lot better going forward. Confusing info may give people the wrong impression that they would have to pay to get an ID for voting, the process to get the free voter ID may be confusing, some DMV employees may give out inaccurate info, and DMV offices, the only place you can get a FREE VOTER ID, often have limited hours or are in locations hard to access by public transportation. Our regional DMV is accessible by bus at least, but only during very limited hours.

And it is confusing because there is the regular Wisconsin ID which requires an application and documents (that people may have to pay to get or replace) and a fee. And, people who have or get a regular Wisconsin ID may use it as their photo ID for voting. So donating to help people get rides to and/or pay for getting a regular Wisconsin ID will be helpful.

But there is a separate procedure for people who just want to get a FREE WISCONSIN ID CARD FOR VOTING PURPOSES. And that application process is free.

So, if you hear otherwise, please offer these links for correct info.




Sunday, December 03, 2017

This week's events (December 4-10)

Please plan to attend at least one event this week if you can! If your event is missing from this list, please use the form to let us know or email couleeprogressive at hotmail.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5
2:15 p.m. Environmental Studies Capstone Community Service Learning Presentations - hear our future leaders talk about their work with community groups and agencies in Rm 3214 Centennial Hall, UWL.

5:00 p.m. Fundraiser for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet at Earl's Grocery and Saloon (401 3rd S)

5:30 p.m. City of La Crosse Judiciary and Administration Committee The committee meeting starts at 6 p.m. but please come before then so you can register to show support for a spring ballot resolution in favor of ending the Citizens United understanding that corporations are people and money is speech. We've also heard that there may be a resolution brought to the committee asking the City to follow the lead of the La Crosse County Board in going on record against hyper-partisan gerrymandering. And we've also heard that some Council members may be opposed to such resolutions. So, the more people who show up in support, the better. [UPDATE: SEE MEDIA ADVISORY BELOW.]

6:00 p.m. Washburn Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at St Paul's Church, 420 West Avenue South

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6
4:00 p.m. State Senator Jennifer Shilling listening session at the Cashton Memorial Library

5:00 p.m. Feminism on Tap Holiday Social at Wine Guyz

6:00 p.m. La Crosse Arts Board and Human Rights Commission Public Discussion to examine public art and its role in promoting social justice. "This session’s purpose is to gather information to analyze social justice challenges and opportunities in the city’s public artwork, events, and more." The session will be at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House (8th and Main)

7:00 p.m. Coulee Region Women in Elected Positions will include local women leaders talking about their experiences running for and serving in government. The program will be in the basement of Eagle Residence Hall, 1500 La Crosse Street, UWL (park in the UWL parking ramp or take the #4 bus)

7:00 p.m FILM: SUSTAINABLE at the Myrick Park Center.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7
2:15 p.m. Environmental Studies Capstone Community Service Learning Presentations - hear more of our future leaders talk about their work with community groups and agencies in Rm 3214 Centennial Hall, UWL.

4:00 p.m. League of Women Voters Voter Services Committee Meeting Interested in Voting Issues? Want to become active in educating the public about Voter Registration or Voter ID requirements? The Voter Services committee is active in providing these opportunities to the public.  All are welcome! 1818 Redfield Street

4:00 p.m. McCabe for Governor People Powered Billboard event at the corner of Mormon Coulee Road and Losey Boulevard

5:30 p.m. Fundraiser for US Senator Tammy Baldwin at W5847 Coulee Springs Lane (please RSVP by emailing mai at TammyBaldwin dot com or phone 608 273-1816)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8
5:00 p.m. Empty Bowl Soup Supper Fundraiser for area food pantries at Onalaska High School, 1500 Hilltopper Drive

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9
9:00 a.m. SURJ Social at the Uptowne Cafe

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10
10:00 a.m. Merchandising in Human Flesh topic of the Unitarian Universalist meeting at their center, 401 West Ave. South

10:00 a.m. Winter Farmers Market at the Myrick Park Center

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Media Advisory from La Crosse United to Amend on December 3, 2017
Contact: Pam Knudtson, lacrosseunitedtoamend@gmail.com

La Crosse United to Amend will present petition with more than 3,600 signatures to City's Judiciary and Administration Committee on December 5
 
Members and supporters of a resolution declaring corporations are not persons and money is not speech will present their petitions to the City's Judiciary and Administration Committee at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5 at the City's Council Chambers. City Clerk Teri Lehrke has certified more than 3,6000 signatures (20 percent more than required) on the petitions ensuring an April 3 referendum on City of La Crosse ballots. La Crosse United to Amend will present the certified petitions to the J&A Committee with a recommendation that the city endorse the referendum.
 
La Crosse United to Amend is a local non-partisan organization, over 60 members strong,  dedicated to making the public aware of the threat the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, commonly known as Citizen’s United, poses to American democracy. This decision allows large organizations to give unlimited amounts of money to elected officials without disclosure and has drastically altered the course of government. "As a result, our voices, as individuals, have been greatly diminished," says Pam Knudtson, the organization's chair.
 
The group began collecting signatures on September 3 and easily gathered far more than the 3,000 required well before the 60 day deadline. If a group gets 15 percent of the number of persons who voted in the last governor's race in their municipality to sign a petition for the referendum, the city must put the referendum on the ballot in the next election or pass the resolution. La Crosse United to Amend hopes the City will put the resolution on the April ballot to provide more opportunity for the group to educate the public about the "We the People Amendment," which clearly states that a corporation is not a person and money is not speech.
 
La Crosse would join more than 115 other municipalities in Wisconsin who have already passed this resolution by overwhelming margins. Nineteen states have also passed it.
 
The full City Council will receive the petitions and recommendation on December 14.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More manure from the right

from Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters:



This manure-filled water came directly from Kewaunee County residents Erika and Rob Balza’s kitchen faucet.
Enough is Enough
Stop the Manure Mob on December 13th
 
When it comes to fighting against public health and the environment, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) stands alone.
 
Already this year, WMC has fought against getting lead out of our children’s drinking water, pushed to allow industrial mining to poison our water with sulfuric acid, and worked to eliminate laws that keep our air safe for breathing.
 
Now, WMC is conspiring with the state’s Big Ag money machine to keep water that looks like this running from local faucets. That’s right – while manure-filled water is literally running from kitchen faucets, WMC is fighting against new rules to keep manure out of our water.
 
Enough is enough.
 
On December 13th, you have the chance to attend a hearing to make sure the DNR Board and your legislators know how important it is they stop trembling beneath the soiled boots of polluting special interests. It’s time for them to stand up for Wisconsin’s public health by passing a set of strong rules controlling the spread of liquid manure in sensitive areas like Kewaunee County.
 
The Dairy Business Association and WMC –  the Manure Mob – want to use all their political influence to weaken these rules. However, we need stronger protections, not weaker, to ensure safe drinking water for Wisconsin families.
 
Join us in Madison to tell the DNR Board you will not tolerate showers of liquid manure and drinking glasses full of bacteria-laden water.
 
PLEASE NOTE: the DNR requires you to register with them separately before December 8th at 11 a.m. Please sign up here, then follow the the directions to ensure your spot at the meeting!
 
We look forward to seeing you in Madison,
Image
Seth Hoffmeister
Northeast Organizer
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters

Monday, November 27, 2017

More events & actions

Tuesday, November 28 is "Giving Tuesday." We all have our favorite organizations and causes. I'll list a few here. Please COMMENT to add yours to the list. 


State/National: Mercy Corps, Shelterbox, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, Malala Fund, ACLU, Wisconsin Bike Fed, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Waterkeeper Alliance, Southern Poverty Law Center, ... the list is endless really. What are some others? Please COMMENT.

If you're not sure about a charity, you can always check to see how well they account for donations and how many donations are spent on projects at the Charity Navigator.

World AIDs Day film showing  To mark national AIDS awareness the film, Countdown to Zero - the fight to end AIDS, an HBO VICE special report will run 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, in 3110 Student Union. An informational session on the effects of AIDS in third-world countries will follow the film. Sponsored by ONE at UW-La Crosse.

Anyone interested in working to set up a one-day (three hour) introductory training in La Crosse in early February on Community Rights with Paul Cienfuegos, please email couleeprogressive at hotmail. Community Rights is a movement to put the people back in control of their communities and government.

If you haven't yet contacted your representatives about the worst tax bill in history and the plan by the anti-FCC to end net neutrality, please do it soon.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Coming events - November 27 through December 4

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27
6:00 p.m. Bluffside Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at First Congregational Church, Main Street & Losey Boulevard.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28
6:00 p.m. MAKE CHANGE FILM & CONVERSATION: Off the Rez food, film, and discussion at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House (8th & Main). Donations will help make change in 2018.

6:00 p.m. Logan Northside Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1010 Sill Street.

6:30 p.m. Poetry Night at Turtle Stack Brewery, 125 Second Street South.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
4:00 p.m. Jennifer Shilling listening session at Bekkum Memorial Library in West Salem.

7:00 p.m. Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth will meet to discuss ways to deal with a proposed industrial hog slaughter facility in Viroqua. Meeting at the Landmark Center, Viroqua.

7:00 p.m. FILM: Expanding Gender - Youth out front hosted by Queer Cinema at the UWL Student Union Theater.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30
noon Social Justice Teach-in at the UWL Student Union Theater

5:00 p.m. Fundraiser for District 95 State Representative Jill Billings at the Old Schoolhouse, 5720 Hwy 14/61

6:00 p.m. FILM: Growing Change - Inside Venezuela's Food Revolution at the UWL Student Union Theater.

6:00 p.m. Jen Onsum: My Life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy in room 1400 Centennial Hall, UWL

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1
CANDIDATES, START YOUR PAPERS! Those wishing to run for school board or county board  may start their papers today. Each office has its own requirements (see our Run For Something page for links) including a certain number of signatures on nominating petitions. Papers will be due in early January.

7:00 p.m. Driftless Makers' Exchange an opportunity for local artists and crafts people to sell their works at Pearl Street Brewery

7:00 and 9:30 p.m. FILM: Dunkirk at the UWL Student Union Theater

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2
See link for start time  Wisconsin Progress Candidate Training in Tomah

10:00 a.m. Care & Share Expo at the La Crosse Main Library

noon Driftless Makers' Exchange at the Pearl Street Brewery

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3
10:00 a.m. Waking Up White Sunday program of the Unitarian Universalists, 401 West Avenue South.

10:00 a.m. Winter Farmers' Market at Myrick Park Center

 1:00 p.m. Leveraging Local Media to Support Your Grassroots Organization presented by For our Future (must PRE-REGISTER AT LINK) at 2020 Caroline Street (French Island)

Please let us know if we've missed an event.







Sunday, November 19, 2017

What to do this week (Nov. 20-26)

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20
4:30 p.m.  Fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate, Mahlon Mitchell at the Bodega.

6:00 p.m. Holy Trinity-Longfellow Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Holy Trinity Church

6:30 p.m. La Crosse County Dems monthly meeting including elections for 2018 board at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House (8th and Main).

6:30 p.m. Hintgen Neighborhood Assn  monthly meeting at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21
6:30 p.m. Grandview Emerson Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Emerson Elementary School

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25
10 a.m. Friends of the Refuge Bake Sale at the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge

By the way, the Coulee Region Sierra Club is offering environmental education grants for teachers and organizations in the Coulee Region (Crawford, Grant, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties) . The application is due in early January.











Thursday, November 16, 2017

Big Events to start 2018

Seeking volunteers, organizations, help spreading the word about:

1. (working title) INDUSTRIAL AG in the DRIFTLESS: A CONFERENCE FOR CONCERNED CITIZENS ON JANUARY 20

Please help spread the word about this January 20 event being planned for our area. There are many aspects to industrial operations in sensitive areas from environmental pollution to health issues to infrastructure degradation. Organizers are seeking co-sponsors and organizing volunteers. Post forward, publish.

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Across western Wisconsin industrial operations in rural areas threaten vital resources and ways of life for towns, farms, families, and small businesses. Industrial animal feedlots (CAFO) manure spills have killed thousands of fish and polluted countless wells. New industrial hog slaughter facilities are planned in sensitive geological areas. Hog manure pits are sited on top of sinkholes. Other proposals threaten our rural water and air.

A Driftless regional conference on how ordinary citizens feel about the industrialization of our communities and lands and what we can do to organize and have our voices heard is being planned for JANUARY 20, 2018. We need help from organizations, businesses, and groups. We are seeking volunteers and help getting the word out to all groups, from environmental protectors to fishing and hunting advocates, from small towns who have lost local control to small businesses and tourism operations depending upon clean air and water for their livelihoods.

If you can help in any way, please contact Crawford Stewardship Project (fjahnke at crawfordstewardship dot org) or Coulee Region Sierra Club (crsierraclub at gmail dot com) An organizing call will be arranged for late November.


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2. (working title) FOSTERING an ECOSYSTEM of ACTIVISM - PROGRESSTIVAL 2018 on FEBRUARY 3 from 2 to 5 at the Concordia

Please keep this date open so you can attend, network, share ideas, sign up, listen, discuss, and be ready to make 2018 a very active year for progressive issues. We have secured the Concordia Ballroom and will provide regular updates as more details are finalized. If your group, organization, or agency would like to table at this event, please email couleeprogressive at homail. The plan is for tablers to set up between 1 and 2, and for activist networking to occur between 2 and about 4 p.m. We'll end the event with a speaker (to be determined) followed by a quick group clean up. Because there are so many candidates and a limited number of tables at the space, we will have a CANDIDATES' CORNER (spelling TBD) table for candidate literature but we are saving tabling space for the many great groups and organizations wishing to bring in new volunteers ideas, and energy.

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If you know of other major events we should let people know about, please email couleeprogressive at homail.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Your action required - health care and smears

First, from MoveOn:

We are in a red-alert moment on the tax fight—which is now also a fight to save health care for millions of Americans.

Just yesterday, Republicans inserted a repeal of the health care individual mandate into the Senate bill—which would unravel the Affordable Care Act, resulting in 13 million more Americans without health insurance and premiums skyrocketing for everyone else.

And as soon as tomorrow, the House could vote on its own version of this tax scam—which Senator Bernie Sanders called "destructive, obscene, and immoral" in a recent email to MoveOn members. It would raise taxes for 36 million middle-class families, just to pay for giveaways to corporations and billionaires.

It's critical to join the tax fight now—and tonight, you can take part in a national organizing call with Sen. Bernie Sanders and other special guests to learn what actions we can take together to stop this GOP attack on tens of millions of families' livelihood and health care.

Click here to RSVP for the Ready to Resist call with Sen. Bernie Sanderstonight, Wednesday, November 15, at 7 p.m. Central Time

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And now, a story about a non-story in the land of the right wing echo machine.

Who among us has not said, FB posted, Tweeted or otherwise conveyed our heat-of-the-moment thoughts about our parents, colleagues, friends, loved ones, pets, teachers, physicians, favorite band, elected officials, or other generic group? And who among us has then awakened to those thoughts highlighted in a FRONT PAGE La Crosse Tribune article similar in look and tone to those about murderers or other notorious criminals?

How could this happen? Welcome to the echo chamber of the right wing smear machine (RWSM)

As the Tribune tells it, "The tweets caught the attention last week of conservative Milwaukee radio talk show host Mark Belling and the conservative media outlet Campus Reform ..." In other words, billionaires' right wing smear machine reads a college student's personal tweet, tweet gets spin treatment, spin story goes out to clone media outlets (I guess including the LaX Tribune (and we do mean LAX in this situation)), and presto: college student tweeter = major criminal with front page headlines.

This isn't new (see this 1996 article, or this 2007 Nation Magazine article about "The New Right-Wing Smear Machine") and it's not just a Wisconsin phenomenon. Last year's "Anatomy of a Smear," by famous climate scientist Michael E. Mann writing in Huffington post describes how a bit of his testimony before the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee was spun into propaganda gold by the national RWSM.

In Wisconsin, apparently, a smear campaign often starts with Media Trackers whose purpose seems to be blasting out "fake news" (we used to call this LIES) about their enemies. A similar non-story about Tony Evers was amplified by Wisconsin media recently (one hilariously headlining their FRONT PAGE piece, "Middleton teacher case becomes focus of governor's race" Well, no it didn't) but was so false that it failed to ignite (but probably had the desired effect to ignite the Republican base who may not bother to find out if the story is true or not).

At least the student targeted here is in good company. The RWSM is hard at work in Alabama, smearing women who are finally reporting their experiences with Creepy Clown Cowboy Roy Moore, and smears have long been used to silence environmental and peace activists.

This is one reason social media is so dangerous to our political health. We may think we are immune, too well educated or whatever to fall for their fake stuff, but just the act of seeing something over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, breaks people down, even people who know better. ("New research finds repeated false statements are more likely to be perceived as truthful, even when we have enough knowledge to contradict them.") Just one little crack or hole can let in a whole campaign's worth of polluted thought. And forget the Russians, the RWSM has whole organizations dedicated to bringing up fake new, false accusations, unfounded rumors, and much much more. Diane Ravitch lists some of the Bradley Foundation funded Wisconsin organizations that are the mirrors that concentrate the smears based on One Wisconsin's investigations into the funding and leadership of these groups.

But to get back to little La Crosse, what can we do to keep our only newspaper, our monopoly on printed news, from falling into the spin machine? Well, I think - FEED BACK. Call and write. Tell them how this is undermining their credibility and the good work of the great reporters who work at the Tribune and report on important stuff. Ask them why a college student's tweets belong on their front page? Do you have a subscription? Cancel it. Don't let this slide because it will just grease the skids for more and more RWSM crap masquerading as news. And really we can't afford that,

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More links I couldn't fit in above (for your consideration):
Facebook is dangerous for democracy - and here's why
Social media and democracy: optimism fades as fears rise
Is social media destroying democracy?