Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Questioning: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Piketty

Directed by Justin Pemberton

Following theater closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we'll be giving Capital in the Twenty-First Century a virtual theatrical release and sharing revenue with independent theaters across the country. Scroll down to find a theater near you to support in these uncertain times.
Based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty (which sold over three million copies worldwide and landed Piketty on Time's list of most influential people), this captivating documentary is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, a film that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, and shines a new light on today’s growing inequalities. Traveling through time, the film assembles accessible pop-culture references coupled with interviews of some of the world’s most influential experts delivering an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.
Starting May 1, view the film online and support local indie theaters. And on Sunday, May 3 attend a live roundtable with Thomas Piketty, Gillian Tett, and Ian Bremmer on at 10:00 a.m. hosted by The New Republic.

Monday, April 20, 2020

50th Annual Earth Day

April 22 marks the 50th annual Earth Day. The first was envisioned by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson as a teach-in about environmental degradation. You can read a good history of the event at the Earth Day 2020 website. Most importantly, a dozen or so strong environmental bills and agencies came from the awareness raised by this national wake-up call.

In 1970, the fear was poison in the air and water and pollution. If we stopped using DDT and lead, the environment could recover. If we started recycling plastic, it wouldn't end up in waterways and roadsides. We could change and change would make a difference.

This year, it's different. In addition to all the 1970 concerns, because gains against greed are never fully won, we have now to deal with mass extinction and the climate crisis

And we have the coronavirus so we must find different ways to continue our Earth advocacy. 

However, we have to find a way not just to commemorate Earth Day but to dedicate our efforts to making the major changes needed to reduce carbon emissions and slow the rise of global heating. We all need to get it this time. It's not just changing a light bulb. It's removing a natural gas heating system. It's replacing a fossil fueled vehicle. It's rethinking our meals, our work habits, our energy use, our vacations, our consumption, our use of plastics, our investments, our priorities. It's pushing for major changes in our city and in our state and in our country.
Watch and Share
Educate yourself and others
There is no perfect solution. But we have to try.
Public discourse has been polluted now for decades by corporate-funded disinformation - not just with climate change but with a host of health, environmental and societal threats. The implications for the planet are grim. Michael E. Mann

Monday, April 13, 2020

April 16 - Get on Board Day

Cross-posted from Coulee Region Sierra Club

National GET ON BOARD DAY is Thursday, April 16. On this day we thank the drivers and staff of public transportation systems; recognize the vital function public transportation plays in moving people to work, school, shopping, and appointments; and appreciate the vital role public transit plays in reducing transportation-related emissions.

This year because of stay at home orders, we can't have a big party, but we still want to show appreciation for those frontline workers who are making sure people can get to work, get groceries, and to important appointments. So, we encourage you to print out this graphic and take it to the bus stop near you when the bus will come by on Thursday, April 16 and wave to the driver to show your appreciation. If you want to write a letter to the editor or send a message of thanks via the MTU or SMRT Facebook pages or email OHWS Transit, do that, too!

We will hope to do something bigger when we are again able to gather and celebrate together. Please participate if you can! Here's the link to a PRINTABLE .PDF. Or click the graphic below to get a social media friendly graphic.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Delegates are STILL important

The Democratic Party will nominate a candidate at its convention in August. They will also debate planks to a pretty useless platform (candidates are not in any way required to abide by the party platform). And they will set rules for the party. 

In 2016 Bernie Sanders had enough delegates on these committees to make some pretty major changes in the way the party operates. The "Unity Reform Commission" ended first ballot "super delegates," for example.

While Sanders has suspended his campaign to concentrate on his work as a senior member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, he is remaining on the ballot to amass delegates who can push for more changes. At the state party level, delegates elect DNC members and that can also have an impact on the national party's direction.

In addition, there are still months to go and many unknowns about our country's financial, social, and political future and about the candidate currently 300 delegates ahead. As health stocks soared on news that Sanders is suspending and news that health plans may cost up to 40% more next year for those still employed, Biden's continuing rejection of a single-payer universal health care system may take on new meaning in a few months.

So, it's important for strong delegates to go to the state and national conventions to represent progressive policies and programs.

The process continues to evolve but deadlines are fast approaching so if you would like to be a delegate, sign up for a webinar (now through April 17) to help you navigate the process. Here's an overview for La Crosse county:

STEP ONE: County delegates are chosen at county caucuses which will be held ONLINE ONLY. La Crosse County will have 64 delegates in total to be split proportionally (based upon primary results) among the candidates. Dates of individual counties' caucuses will be posted by by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 20. County caucus dates will be either April 26, May 3, or May 10.

People wishing to attend the virtual county caucus and be considered as a delegate candidate must complete two forms: REGISTER TO ATTEND THE COUNTY CAUCUS AND COMPLETE THE DELEGATE SELECTION FORM BY 5:00 P.M. ON APRIL 17. It would also be helpful to email let the party know you are planning to attend. On these forms you will designate the candidate you wish to represent.

STEP TWO: You MUST virtually sign in to your county caucus between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. on the day of your county caucus. At that caucus, delegates and alternates will be elected to move on to the next selection step. Usually La Crosse county has more than enough spaces to allow everyone wishing to be a delegate to be one but if there are more candidates than slots, there will be elections for delegates and alternates. Again, the 64 La Crosse County Delegates will be divided by presidential candidates based upon the percentage of votes received on April 7.

STEP THREE:  Attend the ONLINE ONLY congressional district caucus on May 17. You must be a county delegate in order to run as and vote for CD delegates. At this meeting, delegates to the August national convention will be elected. The Third Congressional District is allocated THREE MALE and THREE FEMALE delegates and these will be elected by those who attend the CD caucus. 

If you really want to be a delegate, then, it's helpful to encourage your friends to attend the county and CD caucus with you so they can vote for you at the CD level.

STEP FOUR:  Attend the DNC convention in Milwaukee during the week of August 17. It's not yet know if this will be an in-person or an online only event. You can get more information including updates at the DNC convention web page. 

If you have questions about any of these steps, please email couleeprogressive at hotmail.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Bernie out (vote for Bernie)

BERNIE Sanders announced he's suspending his campaign (skip to 22:00!)After thanking staff and volunteers, he said he will work with Joe Biden to forward a progressive agenda and he will remain on the ballot to gather delegates who can help influence the party and its platform. Not me. Us.

Learning during isolation

Rep. Vos suits up to
excise WI's voting rights.
While we ponder the THREE PERCENT in-person turnout in Milwaukee forced by all the Republicans (it's NOT just Trump - he is just the guy who stands on the sidewalk juggling flaming bags of dog poo while his gang loots the bank), here are some suggestions for coronavirys time at home:

Some of us have the luxury of being home and having extra time. For those of us fortunate enough to also have internet access, there are incredible opportunities for learning. Here's a short list:

Coursera offers great free (audit) courses in a variety of issues, including
* Unraveling the Cycling City offered through the University of Amsterdam
* The Science of Well-Being, from Yale University
* Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change from U of Chicago

EdX is another portal for world-class learning. Current courses on offer include:
* Climate Change: The Science and Global Impact taught by Dr. Michael Mann
* Electric Cars Introduction, the first of an EV series from the Technical University of Delft
* Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Challenging Poverty, Vulnerability, and Social Exclusion - one of several courses offered by SDG Academy, an initiative of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Brush up on or learn a new language at DuoLingoBBC Languages, or Open Culture. (By the way, OC also includes links to great lectures by all kinds of people from Carl Sagen to Leonard Bernstein and Toni Morrison).

Learn about square-foot gardening, container gardening, lasagna gardening, keyhole  gardening, bag gardening, vertical gardening, and wild gardening.

And, the Orwell prize long list is out in case you are looking for pertinent reading material.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Republicans take extra time away

In an echo of Bush v. Gore and a preview of voter suppression to come, the U.S. Supreme Court took away the minimal extra time to vote granted by a federal court judge on Sunday.

If you have't yet voted absentee or if you've requested but not received an absentee ballot, your only voting choice is to go to the polls today. Before you go, look up your polling place at because many polling locations have changed due to fewer poll workers. Wear a mask and gloves. Take your own black ballpoint pen. Some may be able to Vite from their cars.

If you HAVE an absentee ballot, it must be POSTMARKED by today if returned by mail. It MUST be witnessed. Or you may take and drop it off at the clerk's office. The MUST be a witness signature and full address on the envelope however you return it.

If you have not yet registered to vote, you will have to do that in person.

If you want to help call folks today to remind them to get their absentee ballots in, please contact Evan for instructions.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Judge gives Wisconsin voters more time

BREAKING: Judge William Conley just ruled.

  • EXTEND THE DEADLINE to request absentee ballots to Friday at 5pm
  • EXTEND DEADLINE to return ballots until Apr 13
  • WAIVE witness requirement

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Couleecap assistance for COVID-19 unemployed

Couleecap Launches New Program for La Crosse County Residents Unemployed Due to COVID-19
Couleecap is launching the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program for low-to-moderate wage workers whose employment has been ended or reduced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The program, which is funded by the Great Rivers United Way and La Crosse Community Foundation, will provide limited financial assistance for critical expenses, emergency budgeting help, and referrals to programs available to people in need.
A simple, online application process will determine recent unemployment, income eligibility, and critical needs of the household so appropriate assistance can be determined.  All participants will be provided referrals to the Wisconsin Unemployment Office, other government programs for which participants can apply, and local resources, such as food pantries.  Program participants will also receive information on emergency and unemployment budgeting, including tips for reducing or eliminating expenses during a crisis.
“We are getting calls every day from people in our area asking for assistance because their jobs have been terminated or their hours have been cut. They don't know how they are going to pay their bills until unemployment benefits kick in,” says Ashley Lacenski, Community Development Director for Couleecap.  “As a community action and financial counseling agency, we are able to help.” 
“We truly appreciate the responsiveness of the donors who are making this program available,” says Hetti Brown, Executive Director of Couleecap.  “When I reached out to them for help, they didn’t hesitate.”
Residents seeking assistance can complete an application at  General household information, recent pay statements, and documentation of reduced or terminated employment will be required.  For phone assistance, residents may contact Sara Berger at 608-632-6512 but given the volume of calls Couleecap is receiving, online assistance will be faster.  Funding is limited and, therefore, the highest needs will be determined through the application process. 
Other Couleecap resources are available to help people impacted by the current emergency.  Agency food pantries in Sparta and Prairie du Chien have expanded hours, Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, with curbside pick up and limited home delivery.  To find details, visit the Couleecap website.  Other services may also be found on the site.
About Couleecap, Inc.
Couleecap, Inc. is a private non-profit 501c3 charitable organization. Couleecap helps people in need with housing, food, transportation, and more. Created in 1966, we are a community action program that fights poverty and promotes self-sufficiency in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon counties. Learn more at couleecap.orgFacebookTwitter, and YouTube.