DeForest Area Progressives Blog

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Reaching out!

If you could do something about Cancer, wouldn't you?

If just bringing a couple of friends to a meeting to stop a loved one from becoming deathly ill, you more than likely would.

There is a cancer that is attacking the western part of this state, and it is spreading like some kind of horrible epidemic across the land.

Maybe you don't know enough about this cancer? Maybe you think sandstone mining is a good thing?  But this insidious blight, is ecologically and economically irresponsible and the damage it is doing to businesses, health, the land scape, other states (via Sand Fracking) communities, families, government, roads and over all well being, is not worth the crumbs it gives to out of area workers, not to mention the depreciative value it has on mass spread property and the destruction of top soil.

How can we fight this rotting disease from taking even more of the flesh of Wisconsin? We can raise an army. An Army of informed people, who will apply the cure by spreading the word. We are the penicillin, the shot in the arm that will stop this rotting skin from taking over pristine hills and farmland. We will stop it from leaving a bigger scar across the drift-less area in Wisconsin and keep it away from the door steps of other communities.

On July 20, the Wisconsin Grassroots Network will be showing the movie "The Price of Sand" and host a panel of experts on sandstone mining. These experts will cover the bases of why this mining is so detrimental and why it is actually bad for MANY businesses.  This Event will take place at the BEST WESTERN PLUS on university avenue. It will be a day for progressives to celebrate as we have not only a Progressive Partners meeting in the morning, but we will have an action that we can take directly afterward.

I implore, everyone who reads this, pull a friend or family member (or more) and come to this event. We will be looking for solutions to this problem and with your help the cure will already be on the way. Invite someone who you know or who may have never even thought of what sandstone mining is. Our cure and preventative is education and the light of knowledge. Our failure is our failure to dress and heal a wound that is destructive on so many levels. Come be part of the Wisconsin cure and Vaccine. Our Neighbors need our support to fight off this disease and we must protect ourselves lest it make everyone sick, I know I'm beginning to feel queasy all ready from it!

More information will be posted soon, at this site. Be on the look out for it!


John Stanley

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DAP meeting notes

 DeForest Area Progressives meeting, June 3, 2013, John Scepanski's notes


We met at the usual time and place: 6:00-8:00 p.m. every Monday, 6616 Lake Road.


Most of the meeting was taken up by reports of members on their activities:


  • road trip to Black River Falls conference on frac sandstone mining; new information, new friends, Marcia established relationship with Ho Chunk reps and got them interested in Wisconsin Grassroots Network
  • Marcia attended a meeting in Lodi with Columbia County Democrats.  John Sc. said he would have gone too but had a conflict.  We have some good friends and connections with the Columbia County Dems.
  • Lois, John Sc., and Liz participated in a listening session in Waterloo with Rep. John Jagler and Senator Scott Fitzgerald
  • Liz and Karen attended a Dane County Board meeting on the subject of
    Badger Care
  • Ginny, Leonardo, Karen, and John Sc. testified at a Windsor Town Planning Commission meeting on the subject of a proposed change in quarry blasting regulations.  We used the opportunity to educate the commission members on mining regulation in Wisconsin.  Note that there is much of the type of sand used for fracking within Dane County, so DAP territory is not immune to frac sandstone mining, hill and bluff removal, either.
  • attendance at a Wisconsin Association for Peace and Justice get-together in Eau Claire
  • Several of us attended the film festival in Whitehall in Trempealeau County and toured some of the sandstone mining sites upon several occasions


John Stanley reported on his activity with the Wisconsin Grassroots Network, setting up the July 20th sandstone mining educational event at MATC in Madison.  Save that date.  Unfortunately, that same date is the day of the next quarterly Progressive Partners (of the Wisconsin 2nd Congressional District) quarterly meeting in Fitchburg.  John Sc. volunteered to attend the Progressive Partners event that day, in order too show solidarity.  Most other DAP regulars will be working on the sandstone educational event with John St.


Several of us will be attending the Wis. Dem Convention this weekend, June 7-8, in Oconomowoc.  John Sc. is a delegate from Dane County and will be working closely with attendees from the Wisconsin Grassroots Network.


We have reserved a spot in the DeForest Fourth of July Parade.  Does anyone have access to a pickup truck or a car with a trailer?  Please let one of the regulars know or come to the next Monday night meeting.


Karen Edson reported, too, on various legislative actions and her growing correspondence with Wis. Rep. Keith Ripp.  Stay tuned on that!


Marcia is creating a database and email list of DAP members and associates.  She will report more on that later.


Much is going on as well with the Wisconsin Grassroots Network, in which several members of DAP are actively involved.  Go to for much information on WGN.


Lois is going to Guatemala for a visit during the week of July 8th.  She will report back to us all on topics of interest upon her return.


As you can see, much is going on with DAP.  Besides the usual dozen or so regulars, where are the rest of you?


John Scepanski

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Mning Resoutions at State Dem Convention

Since many DeForest Area Progressives have a deep interest in the mining issues as they play out in Wisconsin, I thought you'd be interested in the mining-related resolutions to be considered at this weekend's Wisconsin Democratic Party convention.  Inside the parentheses are the congressional district Dems who sponsored the resolution.  "Adopt" means that the DPW committee on resolutions recommended a vote by delegates to adopt the resolution.        John





WHEREAS, Wisconsin has a beautiful environment with clean air, water, and other natural resources;

WHEREAS, many of Wisconsin’s natural resources are not renewable if destroyed or contaminated;

WHEREAS, protection of our ground and surface water is a state public trust responsibility; and,

WHEREAS, new mining methods have been developed that could potentially endanger those natural resources that factor in to Wisconsin’s quality of life;

THEREFORE, RESOLVED, the DPW will not support modifications to legislation for existing mines or creation of new mines that may jeopardize Wisconsin’s natural resources.  



WHEREAS, there is a massive land grab by the Wisconsin sand mining industry;

WHEREAS, frac sand mines, processing plants, and transportation facilities generate huge clouds of silica dust, which causes health hazards, while putting drinking water at risk; and,

WHEREAS, many citizens and communities have serious concerns about industrial frac sand mining adversely affecting their health, safety and general welfare;

THEREFORE, RESOLVED, the DPW supports state legislation to protect property owners, buyers, and neighbors with required permits, and strong public health protections.



WHEREAS, the Wisconsin State Senate and Wisconsin State Assembly passed on straight party line votes mining bill SB1;

WHEREAS, Governor Scott Walker signed SB1 despite the opposition of a majority of Wisconsin citizens; and,

WHEREAS, neither the Governor nor the committee chairs consulted with Native American Leaders as required by the treaties of 1837, 1842, and 1854, in violation of the tribes’ Constitutional rights;

THEREFORE, RESOLVED, that the DPW support the Wisconsin Native tribes in their fight to prevent construction of the Gogebic Taconite Mine.



WHEREAS, the Mining Bill recently passed by the Wisconsin Legislature fails to protect Wisconsin jobs, local government interests, the environment and ignores the sovereignty of our Native American brothers and sisters; and,

WHEREAS, the bill was passed with votes of legislatures (sic) who voted against their constituents wishes;

THEREFORE, RESOLVED, that the DPW opposes this legislation and any startup construction until it is amended to include the interests of all affected by the building of any mine in this state.

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New Capitol Crackdown

New crackdown on Capitol protests may be imminent

JESSICA VANEGEREN and STEVEN ELBOW| The Capital Times | [email protected]

Another state-backed crackdown on the persistent Capitol protesters is likely to begin after April 1.

According to a “statement of scope for administrative rules and emergency rules,” obtained by The Capital Times Monday, the state is planning to promulgate emergency rules — a fast-tracked method to pass a new law quickly without public input — to once again define what sorts of permitted activities are allowed in the Capitol.

The statement of scope document was approved by Gov. Scott Walker Friday.

On Monday, Stephanie Marquis, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Administration, confirmed in an email that the department had submitted the scope statement to the Legislative Reference Bureau for drafting purposes and the new emergency rules would be issued sometime after April 1.

“It is not anticipated that the rule changes will have any new impact upon any person or group that follows the permit process,” Marquis said in the email.

She added that the intent of the new rules is to codify the current policy as well as update the rules in conformance with recent court rulings.

The scope document says the changes are needed because of the protests that began in 2011 in response to Walker’s ultimately successful effort to turn back collective bargaining rights for public employees.

“Beginning in February 2011, groups of persons began to occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol building without permits,” the document reads. “This included appropriating rooms and hallways in the Capitol building for purposes such as camping and storage of bulk supplies.”

It goes on to read: “Groups of persons continue to occupy rooms in the Wisconsin State Capitol building without permits, including the Capitol rotunda. These groups constitute an exception to the norm … It is imperative that the department continue to gain greater compliance from user groups in order to protect public safety and welfare.”

The statement of scope says among the objectives of the new rules is to codify the permit process, define such terms as “event” and “exhibit,” and clarify that “even common materials can pose a hazard when used or deployed in a hazardous manner.”

The document also discusses the possibility of closing the Capitol as a public forum, mirroring policies at the U.S. Capitol and several state capitol buildings, but adds that the measure “is not recommended.”

Because the rule changes are being proposed as an emergency rule, they do not need legislative approval, which means no public hearing will be held on the changes before they become law.

“One thing that should be abundantly clear, even to the most casual observer, is this is an administration that is utterly contemptuous of the public,” says Bob Jambois, who is representing several of the protesters who have been cited. “They don’t care what the public has to say.”

One of the prime targets of an attempted crackdown that began last summer has been the Solidarity Singers, who have conducted noon-time singalongs in the Capitol rotunda every Monday through Thursday for the last two years to skewer Walker and other Republican leaders in song.


The citations are the result of a change in command that occurred July 23 when David Erwin became the Capitol Police chief and instituted a much tougher approach to the protesters.

“It has been a colossal failure,” says Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison. “They should have left the rules alone, but instead they have brought in a police chief that wants to hit a fly with a baseball bat.”

Taylor has been one of the most critical voices against the ongoing efforts of the Walker administration to curtail free speech at the Capitol.

There have been a few disruptions blamed on a handful of Capitol protesters. The Solidarity Singers, a group made up mostly of current or retired public workers, have conducted their singalongs largely without incident. Erwin has demanded that the singers obtain a permit, but the group has refused.

The Department of Administration, however, says in the statement that the singers have disrupted a number of permitted events, “including, but not limited to, a Red Cross blood drive, a high school science exhibit, school group tours, general public tours, and legislative committee meetings and sessions.”

But Jambois says the singalong has taken place without incident for two years, so adopting an emergency rule at this point makes no sense.

According to state law, “an agency may promulgate a rule as an emergency rule without complying with the notice, hearing and publication requirements ... if preservation of the public peace, health, safety or welfare necessitates putting the rule into effect prior to the time it would take effect if the agency complied with the procedures.”

“What is the emergency that needs to be addressed for people coming to sing a song or people coming to hold up a sign,” asks Taylor. “This is really just a way to side-step the (rule-making) process and put rules in place that will further limit activity at the Capitol.”

Steven Elbow

Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.

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Support of Rhonda Lanford

The beauty of contrasting opinions is that we can have them, express them, and still carry forward in a very constructive way, learning from one another. What is the use of never having different ideas or opinions? We then live in a lock-step world and continuing narrowing of mindsets. So a hearty welcome to different viewpoints. 

After a thorough review of both candidate's qualifications. I lean strongly towards the selection of Rhonda Lanford. Some of my criteria is personal, some more from the realm of factual. 

I will be brief in this postl, but may expand on it later. Am short of time. 

Rhonda has a long history of roots in Wisconsin, many more years in practice, a deeper immersion in Wisconsin Law, consequently. She is also a dedicated volunteer in a multitude of community services serving a wide range of individuals. 

If I were to choose, just via a bit of common sense. I would choose the more experienced candidate, in the law, and one who has actually brought cases before the court so as to be aware of both aspects of court prepping, the representational and the judicial. Rhonda has that since she has observed closely the judicial as she has brought cases before the Circuit Court. 

Rhonda is free of entanglement with the Walker Administration. That accounts for a strong plus. Just last year both Rebecca, at $4,000. and her husband, at $5,000.00, received merit bonuses from the Walker administration. Just the mere fact of the potential for influence from Walker is enough to foster concern. Walker's track record is not clean when it comes to employees of influence. It is unfortunate that there is this sort of connection, but until it runs its course, I feel less comfortable having confidence in anyone  having been appointed as well as having received a merit bonus after only a short time employed by Walker.  The mistrust of Walker extends to those he most strongly influences, and the potential for more influence.  Not a good feeling.   I am far more comfortable with someone like Rhonda who has no ties to Walker.  

Marcia Riquelme 

 I wish there were another way to put this, but that is my 2 cents.

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My Choice is Judge Rebecca St. John

DeForest Area Progressives has had both candidates to our Monday night meetings.  With all due respect to both candidates, my choice is Judge Rebecca St. John.  Below is a statement from a former boss of mine, with which I totally agree.          John Scepanski

Why I Hired Judge Rebecca St. John and Why I Am Supporting Her Election

 By Peg Lautenschlager, former Wisconsin Attorney General

 In 2004, I hired Judge Rebecca St. John from a pool of hundreds of applicants to be an assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of justice.

I was impressed then, as I am now, by the qualities that make her an outstanding judge: a first-rate legal mind; a fierce independence; an outstanding work ethic; and a passion for using her considerable skills to make communities safer and make the criminal justice system work better for all of us.

It is not surprising that given something to argue about, lawyers will. So it is not surprising that some attorneys, who have been supporting Judge St. John’s opponent from the beginning, are arguing about what Judge St. John wrote in her judicial application.

It is one thing to have differences of opinion. It is another to distort a candidate’s words and misinform voters about her. I recognize the difference. Many of the attempts to discredit Judge St. John fall into that latter category.

Judge St. John’s application is a 57 page document. It is posted in its entirety on her campaign website at

Asked to “explain in one page or less why you want to be a judge/justice” Judge St. John wrote (page 9 of the Judicial Application Supplement):

“I want to be a circuit court judge because I have a tremendous respect for the role that the judiciary -and circuit court judges in particular - have in the administration of justice and sustaining our structure of government. The quality of the judiciary depends on the quality of its circuit court judges. The circuit court is the first - and, for many or most litigants, the only - step in the judicial process, and many circuit court decisions are accorded deference when appealed.”

It is clear Judge St. John understands and respects the role of an independent judiciary in our democratic form of government.

It is clear Judge St. John believes it is a Judge’s duty to overturn laws that are unconstitutional. And knowing her as I do, I have no doubt Judge St. John will courageously exercise that responsibility if and when an unconstitutional law is brought before her.

Paid for by Citizens to Elect Judge Rebecca St. John, Michael Bauer, treasurer Produced in house

Peg Lautenschlager: Why I Hired Judge Rebecca St. John and Why I am Supporting Her Election

I am also concerned about the criticisms of Judge St. John’s analysis of two cases dealing with criminal procedure, one of which I was involved with as Attorney General (Armstrong). Those of us who have prosecuted these awful crimes – the individuals were convicted of murder and sexual assault – understand these cases aren’t ideological. It is about providing finality to victims, absent either a constitutional or other established basis for reversal.

It is not easy to dismiss the fact that Judge St. John has earned the endorsement of 34 judges, many of whom have decided important cases. They include Judges David Flanagan, Frank Remington, and Paul Lundsten. In addition, Sheriff Mahoney, Mayor Paul Soglin, a long list of some of DaneCounty’s finest attorneys, victim advocates, and educators also support Judge St. John.

I know Judge Rebecca St. John. I know her work as an attorney and I know her work as a judge. I have read the words she wrote and I have heard her speak about her work as a Judge. She has my full, unequivocal, and strong support.

# # #

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History We Need to Know

Exactly a century ago, on February 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, authorizing a federal income tax. Congress turned it into a graduated tax, based on “capacity to pay.”

It was among the signal victories of the progressive movement — the first constitutional amendment in 40 years (the first 10 had been included in the Bill of Rights, the 11th and 12th in 1789 and 1804, and three others in consequence of the Civil War), reflecting a great political transformation in America.
The 1880s and 1890s had been the Gilded Age, the time of robber barons, when a small number controlled almost all the nation’s wealth as well as our democracy, when poverty had risen to record levels, and when it looked as though the country was destined to become a moneyed aristocracy.
But almost without warning, progressives reversed the tide. Teddy Roosevelt became president in 1901, pledging to break up the giant trusts and end the reign of the “malefactors
of great wealth.” Laws were enacted protecting the public from impure foods and drugs, and from corrupt legislators.

By 1909 Democrats and progressive Republicans had swept many state elections, subsequently establishing the 40-hour work week and other reforms that would later be the foundation stones for the New Deal. Woodrow Wilson won the 1912 presidential election.
A progressive backlash against concentrated wealth and power occurred a century ago in America. In the 1880s and 1890s such a movement seemed improbable if not impossible. Only idealists and dreamers thought the nation had the political will to reform itself, let alone enact a constitutional amendment of such importance — analogous, today, to an amendment reversing “Citizens United v. FEC” and limiting the flow of big money into politics. 

But it did happen. And it will happen again.

This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.
Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at


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The Arrogance of Authority


A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.

He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs."

The rancher said, "Okay , but don't go in that field over there.....", as he pointed out the location.

The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, " Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!" Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher. "See this badge?!  This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish.... On any land !!


No questions asked or answers given!!  Have I made myself you understand ?!!"

The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull......

With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.
The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs.....

(I just
love this part....)

"Your badge, show him your BADGE........ ! !"


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Special Social Media Workshop Meeting, Jan 7th at DAP office 6pm

Three very experienced Social Media (electronic) resource folks from our own Progressive contacts and groups will offer us hands-on guidance on using facebook, twitter, our website, and how to post great news, images, and comments on our website and other places we choose! This is how the world is communicating these days! We are lucky to have friends and colleagues who are happy to help us tune up our skills, learn for 1st time, and discover our progressive voices online! 

Join us for refreshments (some rich donor will spring for pizza if you bring your beverage you'll like it even better!)  -- good company and great discoveries about Social Media and growing our grassroots outreach! Yes We Can!  See you at 6:00pm, Jan 7th! 

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Conservative Case for Assault Weapons Ban 12-20-12

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