John Scepanski 519.80pc

John Scepanski

John Scepanski's activity stream


  • DAP meeting notes for May 1, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for May 11, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, May 18, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were four people at the May 11th meeting: John Stanley, John Scepanski, Karen Edson, and Ginny Brokish.  We’ve got to find a way to get better attendance.  Where are all our old reliables from when we’d get a dozen or even twenty people at a meeting?  How can we build membership?

     

    Karen showed us the progress she is making on the combined how to vote and how to get voter ID chart.  She had the DMV forms too.

     

    John St. talked about his attendance last Saturday at Active McFarland.  He was there to invite them to join the Second Congressional District Alliance (now officially named South Central Grassroots Alliance or “the Alliance” for short).  There were a number of McFarland high school students there.  John said the group was generally enthusiastic and appointed Dawn Shegonee (sp?) to represent them at the SCGA steering committee meetings.  They were interested in borrowing DAP’s button making machine to make buttons for Active McFarland.  One of the high school students has designed a logo for t-shirts.  Another student volunteered to work on the SCGA web site.

     

    John St. is also working on getting Senator Bernie Sanders to come to Wisconsin this fall for a SCGA fundraiser.  The 3rd Congressional District Alliance is also interested.

     

    JohnSki asked for suggestions to pass along to Progressive Partners on how to use social media more effectively.   Active McFarland has a Twitter handle now -- @Active McFarland.  We discussed a number of suggestions.  First, all individual members of Progressive Partners should have the option to be included on the email communications list, not just the single designated communicators for each member group.  Too often, messages intended to be forwarded to each communicator’s individual group members are not forwarded by the designated communicator.  That is where the “tree” system of PP breaks down.  Every PP group should have a Twitter account like Active McFarland.  Each PP group designated communicator should be informed of each group’s Twitter account name and then in turn should inform each member of their group, so that all individual members of PP can follow all the Twitter accounts.  There should be training at PP to show each group how to do this.  The same applies to Facebook as a resource.

     

    The Progressive Partners summer picnic is scheduled for Sunday, June 14th, from 1:00 to 4:00 at Swan Creek Park in Fitchburg.  Bring a snack to share.  JohnSki said he intends to go.  If anyone else is interested, contact John to share a ride.

     

    Families Working Together is having a garage sale in DeForest this week at 409 Yahara Street on May 14, 15, and 17, according to the DeForest Times-Tribune.  DAP members were referred to the article on page 7 of the Times May 7th issue for details on how to volunteer.  Funds raised will help a family on the Pine Ridge Reservation refurbish their house.

     

    John St. is playing phone tag with the DeForest Chamber of Commerce on the 4th of July parade.  Karen will check on renting a truck to build our float on.  The theme of the float seems to be, “I Scream for Democracy.”  We will build a giant ice cream cone along the lines of “You scream I scream we all scream for ice cream/democracy” or something like that.  Let Ginny or John know if you can help build the float and ride on it or walk along.

     

    The next SCGA meeting is May 14th at 6:00 p.m. at Hody’s in Middleton.  The hope is that SCGA can bolster local progressive grassroots groups.  We need to organize, for instance, to continue making and locating the big red signs and their associated website.  The 3rd CD group is interested and intends to hold a sign painting event this summer in Dodgeville.  They need people experienced in the sign project to help.  John St. said he intends t be there.  Anybody else?


  • published The Dems they are a-changin' ? in Opinion Blog 2015-05-09 17:53:37 -0500

    The Dems they are a-changin' ?

     MAY 9, 2015

    The Dems they are a-changin’: How progressives upended the debate — and forced neoliberals to adapt

    Neoliberal stalwarts like Cuomo, Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel are moving left — here's why it's not a fluke

    ELIAS ISQUITH 

     

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not a timid man. But like most politicians, he is cautious. He’s taken some risks during his years in Albany — like when he muscled through same-sex marriage, or when he imposed a statewide ban on fracking. Even in these rare moments, though, he was careful and deliberate. He only gambled when he saw no better option. And that’s one of the reasons why his recent endorsement of a wage hike for fast-food workers is a genuinely big deal.

    Writing in the New York Times, Cuomo, who usually bills himself as the consummate pro-business Democrat, declared that although he’d already signed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour by the end of 2015, the fast-food industry’s wage floor was still not high enough. And because the state legislature wouldn’t cooperate, the governor continued, he was going to direct the state’s labor commissioner to impanel a “Wage Board,” which would ultimately recommend a new fast-food minimum wage. There would be no need for legislative approval.

    Unlike his moves on marriage equality and fracking, Cuomo’s joining the growing movement to raise service industry wages came rather out of the blue. But when you situate the notoriously plutocrat-friendly governor’s announcement in the larger context of what’s happening within the Democratic Party right now, it doesn’t just make more sense — it also becomes quite telling. If even Andrew Cuomo has decided that spurning multinational corporations like McDonald’s by supporting the “Fight for $15” is in his self-interest, then the balance of power among Democrats has truly shifted in favor of the party’s activist, union base.

    Of course, this is hardly to say the Democratic Party is now the social democraticorganization of lefties’ dreams. The minimum wage for fast-food workers is just one issue, and in terms of threatening the party’s wealthiest supporters, it’s relatively harmless (political donations from the fast-food industry overwhelmingly benefit Republicans). But Cuomo’s op-ed for the Times, while significant, isn’t the most important sign that the Democratic base is steering the party in a more left-wing direction. In fact, it’s not even the first or the most conspicuous; but those designations belong to Democrats whose respective names carry at least as much weight.

    A political shift on this order is always a long time coming, so picking a start date is inevitably somewhat arbitrary. But if I had to point to one big, specific moment when it started looking like party elites would have to veer left to stay in the base’s favor, I’d go with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s surprisingly difficult reelection from earlier this year. As I wrote at the time, one of the main reasons why Emanuel had to fight off a left-wing primary challenger was because Chicago Democrats, especially African- and Latino-Americans, were angry over a first-term record they saw as too conservative on economics and education. Some even took to calling him “Mayor 1 Percent.”

    After running an apologetic run-off campaign — in which the neoliberal Emanuel and his supporters tried to refashion him as a true progressive — the mayor ended up defeating his opponent, Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, with relative ease. But while Garcia, by most accounts, ran a disorganized and borderline incompetent campaign, simply forcing Emanuel into the run-off was itself a major victory. No incumbent Chicago mayor had ever had to do it before, and it was widely seen by expert observers as an “embarrassment” for President Obama’s former chief of staff. In retrospect, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis’s unfortunate illness may have saved Emanuel’s career in electoral politics.

    Chicago was the first sign that a new Democratic Party base — one comprised of more people of color as well as educated and single women — was exerting its influence. But former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign has been the most conspicuous. Because while Emanuel’s pivot to the left wasn’t so much about policy as public relations, Clinton’s campaign has thus far been characterized by her assuming new, more liberal policy positions. Despite having been a believer in the “tough on crime” policies of her husband, Clinton endorsed outfitting the nation’s law enforcement with body cameras, and spent her first big policy address calling for mass incarceration’s end.

    However, if Clinton’s speech on criminal justice was an encouraging sign for the kind of Democratic base voters who support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, her address on immigration this week was, for reform advocates like the so-called DREAMers, a major success. As Vox’s immigration reporter Dara Lind argued in a post describing Clinton’s speech as “stunningly aggressive,” the onetime first lady not only “told activists exactly what they hoped they’d hear” but delivered an address that was “much better than they expected.” She not only promised to uphold and expand Obama’s recent, controversial executive actions; she also called on Congress to pass a reform bill that featured a “full and equal” path to citizenship.

    Again: None of these recent examples are intended to prove that the Democratic Party’s left wing is now calling all the shots. There’s precious little doubt in my mind that Cuomo, Clinton and Emanuel will all take policy positions in the coming years that drive the base voters I’m talking about up the wall — most especially on issues involving Wall Street and financial regulation. Still, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue, as some of the more cynical and pessimistic members of the American left have done, that the Democratic Party is the same intransigently neoliberal beast as it was throughout the ’90s and early aughts.

    Assuming you can find someone not currently under indictment, go ahead and talk to the folks in Albany and ask them what motivates Governor Cuomo. It ain’t the goodness of his heart.

     

    Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.


  • DAP meeting notes for May 4, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for May 4, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, May 11, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were five people at the May 4th meeting.

     

    JohnSki reported that the final report has been submitted for the village of DeForest grant for “What’s in YOUR Water?”  However, he submitted it too soon, as there are a few expenses still outstanding.  Those expenses will have to be covered by the general DAP treasury.  Sorry for jumping the gun.

     

    There are five members on the newly formed Election Committee: Karen, Frank, Bill, Peter, and Janet.  Karen volunteered to chair the committee.  Although the committee will decide what it wants to do, we brainstormed a few items for the committee to consider: campaign signs, doors, voter ID, buttons, contact lists.  The committee wants to make sure we organize sufficiently ahead of time to be effective when helping with campaigns and other activities such as voter registration before elections.  Karen is doing a flyer to get information out to people.

     

    Peter has been to a lot of meetings lately and had a lot of information and some opinions to share.  On the upcoming Democratic state convention, he said that this is important because it is one of the few opportunities we will have to influence the party at that level.  Progressives in the party must take this opportunity to exercise what influence we can at this stage.  Lanning and Smith seem to be the progressives’ candidates for state chair.  Peter said progressives need to take over the party.  We should set up a hospitality table at the monthly county party meetings.  Dems have been avoiding specific issues, and we must change the current state party attitude that candidates should not address specific issues in detail.  Peter questioned why the conventions seem to be held always in the southern part of the state and why voting for state chair cannot be done other than in person at the conventions.  Maybe some party rule changes are in order.

     

    On another topic, Peter wondered if petitions are effective as a tool to influence decision making and whether or not we should encourage more petition circulation at all levels, including the national level.  What are the different methods of circulating petitions?  Can we get petitions out quickly via the internet?  Karen pointed out that while the internet is a quick and effective way to circulate petitions, much of the state of Wisconsin outside the urban areas does not have access to sufficient bandwidth.

     

    Not much is happening regarding our participation in the DeForest 4th of July celebration.  John St. and Ginny are going to call the DeForest Chamber of Commerce to find out what is going on.

     

    Future projects: do we need one?  Ginny wondered if we might have a petition drive.  There are on line tools like Credo.  MoveOn.org has one.  With Credo, you create a petition and they send it to their email list.

     

    Leonardo noted that Bernie Sanders has put a new complexion on the national Democratic run for president.  Sanders will force discussions of topics on the left.  Maybe it will encourage the extinction of the “DINOs” – Democrats In Name Only.

     

    We received some handouts describing the process to fulfill the new voter ID requirement in Wisconsin.


  • Active McFarland May 2, 2015

    Dear Friends,

    Here is the report for the May 2 Active McFarland Political Café. This next café will meet at the McFarland House Café on May 8.

    There is continuing discussion about moving the café meetings to another venue because of the problem of noise, which actually wasn't too bad at today's meeting. The McFarland Village Hall was mentioned. For warm weather months, meeting at an outdoor pavilion at a local park was mentioned as well.

    We welcomed Sheila Plotkin back to the meeting after her extended vacation traveling with Dick.

     

    Present:  Ron Berger, Denny & Jean Blackmore, Peter Johnson, Sig Middelfort, Sheila Plotkin, Dawn Shegonee, Clair Utter, and McFarland High School students Tray Blazek, Donovan Goben, Austin Moore, and Jessica Naze.

    Meeting Announcements:  Clair distributed a schedule and agenda for Village Committee meetings in the upcoming week that will be held at the McFarland Municipal Center. For further information, contact Clair at:[email protected]

     

    1) The main topic for today was introduced by Peter, who has been attending local meetings regarding ways in which people in the grassroots movement can participate in the Wisconsin Democratic Party, including the upcoming state convention that will be held June 5-6 in Milwaukee. Here is some information about it.

     http://wisdems.org/events/convention

     In order to become a voting delegate, you have to join the party two weeks before the convention.

     http://www.danedems.org/

     Peter reported that Joe Wineke seems to be emerging as the leading Democratic Party “insider” to become the next state chair. Martha Lanning and Jeff Smith appear to be the leading progressive/grassroots alternatives, and there is some concern that they could split their votes. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout has endorsed Lanning, which made a positive impression on some members of our group.

     Sig also encouraged people to attend the monthly meetings of the Democratic Party of Dane Country, which are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 in the Concourse Hotel. The purpose of our involvement in the Party is not to endorse the organization as it currently stands but to change it to become more responsive to the grassroots movement.

    2) Sig also reported on a letter writing campaign directed at members of the Joint Finance Committee regarding the budget. Sheila is going to work on distributing sample letters.

    3) Sheila is interested in organizing a door-to-door and/or a sign brigade campaign related to voter registration, which would include information about how to get a proper voter ID.

     

     

    4) Jessica suggested that we get ourselves customized t-shirts as one way to help publicize our group. She will be looking into a possible design for the t-shirts.

     

    submitted by Ron Berger

     

     



    -- 

    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]
     
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government

  • Active McFarland May 2, 2015

    Dear Friends,

    Here is the report for the May 2 Active McFarland Political Café. This next café will meet at the McFarland House Café on May 8.

    There is continuing discussion about moving the café meetings to another venue because of the problem of noise, which actually wasn't too bad at today's meeting. The McFarland Village Hall was mentioned. For warm weather months, meeting at an outdoor pavilion at a local park was mentioned as well.

    We welcomed Sheila Plotkin back to the meeting after her extended vacation traveling with Dick.

     

    Present:  Ron Berger, Denny & Jean Blackmore, Peter Johnson, Sig Middelfort, Sheila Plotkin, Dawn Shegonee, Clair Utter, and McFarland High School students Tray Blazek, Donovan Goben, Austin Moore, and Jessica Naze.

    Meeting Announcements:  Clair distributed a schedule and agenda for Village Committee meetings in the upcoming week that will be held at the McFarland Municipal Center. For further information, contact Clair at:[email protected]

     

    1) The main topic for today was introduced by Peter, who has been attending local meetings regarding ways in which people in the grassroots movement can participate in the Wisconsin Democratic Party, including the upcoming state convention that will be held June 5-6 in Milwaukee. Here is some information about it.

     http://wisdems.org/events/convention

     In order to become a voting delegate, you have to join the party two weeks before the convention.

     http://www.danedems.org/

     Peter reported that Joe Wineke seems to be emerging as the leading Democratic Party “insider” to become the next state chair. Martha Lanning and Jeff Smith appear to be the leading progressive/grassroots alternatives, and there is some concern that they could split their votes. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout has endorsed Lanning, which made a positive impression on some members of our group.

     Sig also encouraged people to attend the monthly meetings of the Democratic Party of Dane Country, which are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 in the Concourse Hotel. The purpose of our involvement in the Party is not to endorse the organization as it currently stands but to change it to become more responsive to the grassroots movement.

    2) Sig also reported on a letter writing campaign directed at members of the Joint Finance Committee regarding the budget. Sheila is going to work on distributing sample letters.

    3) Sheila is interested in organizing a door-to-door and/or a sign brigade campaign related to voter registration, which would include information about how to get a proper voter ID.

     

     

    4) Jessica suggested that we get ourselves customized t-shirts as one way to help publicize our group. She will be looking into a possible design for the t-shirts.

     

    submitted by Ron Berger

     

     



    -- 

    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]
     
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government

  • DAP meeting notes for April 27, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for April 27, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, May 4, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were seven people at the April 27th meeting.

     

    During pre-meeting discussion, John Scepanski asked if the notes he had written up for the previous meeting sounded too much like an endorsement of Joe Wineke for chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  DAP policy does not endorse candidates.  Members present did not think the notes sounded like an endorsement.

     

    There were two announcements.  On April 28th there will be a free webinar at 7:00 p.m., “Progressives and Framing: Past, Present, and Future.”  Registration information was provided.  On May 1st, there will an open mike sponsored by the Oregon Area Progressives on The Future of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Firefly Coffeehouse in Oregon.

     

    Karen reported on last week’s meeting of the Wisconsin Grassroots Network Task Force.  The primary issue was the development of regional progressive grassroots alliances in western Wisconsin.  One in the southern part of Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District meets in Richland Center.  Another in the northern part of that CD meets in Eau Claire.  They join the still forming Second Congressional District Alliance (still seeking a permanent name) which has been meeting around the Dane County area.

     

    There will be a meeting of the progressive media in Stevens Point later this year.  Various small outlets like little newsletters and radio stations are trying to coordinate communications among themselves.

     

    Peter reported on a gathering he attended put on by the Madison Institute, “Reflections on the Decline of Progressive Politics.”  Notables on the panel included John Nichols, Ed Garvey,
    Barbara Lawton, Peg Laughtenschlager, and Matt Rothschild.  Peter said they all were extremely upset with the leadership of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  The party, they said, has to stand for firm positions on specific issues such as student loans and minimum wage.  Peter shared a number of his own ideas on what the Dem Party needs to do and how to influence it to change.

     

    Peter and Karen both attended the recent convention of the Second Congressional District Democrats.  All of the candidates for DPW chair were there.  Senator Kathleen Vinehout, a favorite of many DAP members, endorsed Martha Laning.

     

    We discussed our participation in the annual DeForest Independence Day Parade and festivities.  John St. is checking with the Chamber of Commerce.  If we are going to do anything this year, we need volunteers.  Only a few people did most of the work last year.  Come to a meeting if you are willing to help build the float, ride on it.  We still need a truck or trailer on which to build the float.

     

    DAP needs ideas on how to recruit new members.  Visibility is important.   Lots of folks in the DeForest area know we’re out there.  We’ve had some success with movie nights in the past.  Personal contact works.  Some who go door to door advertise DAP.  Asking if people have voter ID is a good opener.  Use of the name progressive was challenged.  We should note that we are non-partisan as far as endorsing candidates goes.  We might go into the high schools with information on how to register to vote or with a presentation on how government works.

     

    We formed an elections committee.  Karen, Peter, Bill, and Frank volunteered to be on it.  Next meeting we will discuss what the elections committee will do: signs, lit drops, database, canvassing, what else?  The point is that we want to be prepared to work on elections before the last minute rush to get things done.  Janet needs to be notified of this committee.

     

    We need a new project to work on.  What might that be?


  • posted about DAP meeting notes for April 20, 2015 on Facebook 2015-04-24 14:55:25 -0500
    DAP meeting notes for April 20, 2015

    DAP meeting notes for April 20, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for April 20, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, April 27, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were five people at our meeting April 20th, including our guest, Joe Wineke.  We did not conduct any business and devoted the entire meeting to an hour and a half discussion with Mr. Wineke, who is running for chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) at this year’s convention June 5-6 in Milwaukee.

     

    Mr. Wineke points to his long and successful career as qualifications for the job: city council, state Assembly, state Senate, Chair of the DPW from 2005-2009, political director for a state-wide labor union, executive director of a labor-management organization, and a division administrator for a state agency. 

     

    His two priorities will be recruitment of candidates and messaging.  He believes that the party should run candidates in all districts for all elections, not just targeted districts.  Even if we lose a race, it builds the base of Dem voters for statewide and national elections.  The Democratic Party should have three or four messages, keep them simple, and run hard on them as if they were the Bible.  “I want Dems to play offense, not defense.”

     

    Mr. Wineke’s three top issues are economic security, educational opportunity, and equal rights.  He elaborated on the issues at length too great to state here. 

     

    Joe believes the winds of change are blowing for 2016.  He cited examples, including Governor Walker’s declining popularity polls.  Joe says he has the experience and the track record to show that he knows how to get things done.  He will be ready on day one to organize Wisconsin Democrats once again to take back the legislature, the governorship, and to defeat Ron Johnson and return a Democrat to Russ Feingold’s old Senate seat (hopefully Russ himself!).

     

    Next meeting we will have some pamphlets to share with details about Joe Wineke and his run for state chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.


  • DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes for April 13, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for April 13, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.  Joe Wineke, candidate for Wisconsin Democratic Party executive director, will be at this meeting.  PLEASE TRY TO MAKE IT TO GIVE JOE A GOOD SHOWING.

     

    There were five people at the April 13th meeting.

     

    We had a pre-meeting discussion about the disagreements between some Progressive Partners members and those who are trying to organize the 2nd CD Alliance.  The Progressive Partners quarterly meeting is this coming Saturday, April 18th, in Middleton.  JohnSki and Karen are attending and maybe John St.

     

    We debriefed on the “What’s in YOUR Water?” event last Saturday, the 11th.  While the attendance of 31 people was not bad, it could have been better.  Maybe the good weather kept some people away, who chose to spend the time outdoors.  Attendees came from a wide range of places, besides DeForest and Windsor: Madison, McFarland, Middleton, and other places.  It was a disappointment that those from the Token Creek Conservancy who had said they were coming did not show up.  We had hoped that they would give a brief overview of their efforts.  The Boy Scouts were a disappointment too, in that they notified Bill the day before that they would not participate because of the political nature of DAP.  One person said it might have been too long, although most of us thought not.  Someone remarked that there might have been too much of a political message and not enough science.  We all agreed that the afternoon was very informative and that most people in attendance got what they needed to become actively involved in water quantity and quality issues.

     

    We discussed the possibility of changing our name to exclude the word “progressives.”  Karen says that the term has taken on meanings and connotations that we might want to avoid.  No action was taken.

     

    Karen announced several upcoming events: the Token Creek Conservancy meeting which she will attend; a Wednesday meeting of the Middleton Action Team at 10:00 a.m. at Sofra’s in Middleton to meet Martha Laning, candidate for the Dem Party director’s job (Karen is going); a meeting on climate change at Science Hall, 7:00 p.m. Wed., put on by indigenous groups; and Saturday’s Progressive Partners meeting.  John Stanley led a round of applause for Karen in appreciation for all she does, which is considerable.

     

    Money made on Bradley for Justice sign sales at the Wisconsin Grassroots Network festival was turned over to JohnSki to deposit in our checking account.  We also received $12.35 in donations at Saturday’s event, which has been deposited.

     

    Karen brought up the possibility of buying GPS software to do research on pollution projects around the state.  It would cost around $200 but might be cheaper or even free to non-profit organizations.  Everyone thought it is a good idea and we will continue to look into it.

     

    Karen went over the handout she devised saluting the men and women of Wisconsin’s metropolitan water districts for the excellent work they do providing us with fresh, clean water.  The sheet informs the reader of what the law requires of municipal water systems and the reports and information available to users.  Once again, thank you, Karen, for all you do.

     

    If we do another public education project, the next one should maybe be on the pipeline situation in Wisconsin.  The evaluations from Saturday indicated an interest in that topic.  John St. said that we should expand the topic to include the issue of sale of energy out of Wisconsin.

     

    We did some preliminary planning on our 4th of July celebration activities in DeForest, including our parade float and volunteering to help set up and clean up and maybe help with bingo again.  John said the Chamber of Commerce is lacking volunteers right now.  Possible float themes included a butterfly catching democracy (?), “Ice Cream for Democracy” (“I scream for democracy,” get it?); “Democracy Takes Root.”  Should we rent a truck for the float this year or sponge off Nate again?

     

    John St. noted the April 30th next meeting of the 2nd CD Alliance planning group somewhere on the east side of Madison.

     

    Remember Joe Wineke next week.  Try to be there for Joe.


  • DAP meeting notes for April 13, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for April 13, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood.  Joe Wineke, candidate for Wisconsin Democratic Party executive director, will be at this meeting.  PLEASE TRY TO MAKE IT TO GIVE JOE A GOOD SHOWING.

     

    There were five people at the April 13th meeting.

     

    We had a pre-meeting discussion about the disagreements between some Progressive Partners members and those who are trying to organize the 2nd CD Alliance.  The Progressive Partners quarterly meeting is this coming Saturday, April 18th, in Middleton.  JohnSki and Karen are attending and maybe John St.

     

    We debriefed on the “What’s in YOUR Water?” event last Saturday, the 11th.  While the attendance of 31 people was not bad, it could have been better.  Maybe the good weather kept some people away, who chose to spend the time outdoors.  Attendees came from a wide range of places, besides DeForest and Windsor: Madison, McFarland, Middleton, and other places.  It was a disappointment that those from the Token Creek Conservancy who had said they were coming did not show up.  We had hoped that they would give a brief overview of their efforts.  The Boy Scouts were a disappointment too, in that they notified Bill the day before that they would not participate because of the political nature of DAP.  One person said it might have been too long, although most of us thought not.  Someone remarked that there might have been too much of a political message and not enough science.  We all agreed that the afternoon was very informative and that most people in attendance got what they needed to become actively involved in water quantity and quality issues.

     

    We discussed the possibility of changing our name to exclude the word “progressives.”  Karen says that the term has taken on meanings and connotations that we might want to avoid.  No action was taken.

     

    Karen announced several upcoming events: the Token Creek Conservancy meeting which she will attend; a Wednesday meeting of the Middleton Action Team at 10:00 a.m. at Sofra’s in Middleton to meet Martha Laning, candidate for the Dem Party director’s job (Karen is going); a meeting on climate change at Science Hall, 7:00 p.m. Wed., put on by indigenous groups; and Saturday’s Progressive Partners meeting.  John Stanley led a round of applause for Karen in appreciation for all she does, which is considerable.

     

    Money made on Bradley for Justice sign sales at the Wisconsin Grassroots Network festival was turned over to JohnSki to deposit in our checking account.  We also received $12.35 in donations at Saturday’s event, which has been deposited.

     

    Karen brought up the possibility of buying GPS software to do research on pollution projects around the state.  It would cost around $200 but might be cheaper or even free to non-profit organizations.  Everyone thought it is a good idea and we will continue to look into it.

     

    Karen went over the handout she devised saluting the men and women of Wisconsin’s metropolitan water districts for the excellent work they do providing us with fresh, clean water.  The sheet informs the reader of what the law requires of municipal water systems and the reports and information available to users.  Once again, thank you, Karen, for all you do.

     

    If we do another public education project, the next one should maybe be on the pipeline situation in Wisconsin.  The evaluations from Saturday indicated an interest in that topic.  John St. said that we should expand the topic to include the issue of sale of energy out of Wisconsin.

     

    We did some preliminary planning on our 4th of July celebration activities in DeForest, including our parade float and volunteering to help set up and clean up and maybe help with bingo again.  John said the Chamber of Commerce is lacking volunteers right now.  Possible float themes included a butterfly catching democracy (?), “Ice Cream for Democracy” (“I scream for democracy,” get it?); “Democracy Takes Root.”  Should we rent a truck for the float this year or sponge off Nate again?

     

    John St. noted the April 30th next meeting of the 2nd CD Alliance planning group somewhere on the east side of Madison.

     

    Remember Joe Wineke next week.  Try to be there for Joe.


  • posted about April 18, 2015, Progressive Partners quarterly meeting agenda on Facebook 2015-04-14 16:20:43 -0500
    April 18, 2015, Progressive Partners quarterly meeting agenda

    April 18, 2015, Progressive Partners quarterly meeting agenda

    2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT PROGRESSIVE PARTNERS  

    Progressive Partners Purpose Statement:  

    PROGRESSIVE PARTNERS exists to support and facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration among autonomous community-based progressive grassroots groups and community allies 

    Progressive Partners Agenda 

    April 18, 2015, Middleton, WI 

     

    1-1:30  Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (79th District) 

    Explanation of the process for passing the biennial state budget 

    Discussion of how to influence what is finalized in the budget 

     1:30-3:00 facilitated by Charlie Uphoff and Rebecca Alwin 

    The purpose of this discussion is to identify what Progressive Partners could do to facilitate better communication and collaboration among progressive grassroots groups. 

    Discussion question: How could progressive groups within the 2nd Congressional District more effectively communicate and work together locally and perhaps statewide?   

    1. Individuals will write their own responses to the question above, using a separate card for each suggested action.  Each card should also identify barriers that have prevented this action from happening.  Each individual will rank his/her cards, with 1 being the most important. 

     All suggested action cards will be collected, shuffled, and randomly redistributed among attendees.   

     

    1. Each person will read aloud to the whole group the cards they've been given.  After each card is read, the group will decide whether it is related to one already read or should begin a new cluster. 

     

    1. Each sheet with a cluster of cards will be given a name by the group. When all the cards have been put on a sheet, the sheets will be placed on separate tables.  Participants will choose which cluster most interests them and move to the table with that cluster of cards.  

     

    1. Each small group will have a cluster of suggested action cards. They will identify the top 3 to 5 suggested actions in their cluster that need attention, then propose solutions that will address or remove the barriers that are preventing the suggested action from being implemented. They will also be asked to identify and write down who will do what and when.  The written report from each group should identify who will initiate the actions to be taken and when.  Each small group will choose one person to report their decisions to the whole group. 

     

    1. The small groups will report who has taken responsibility for the initiating actions.  The facilitators will collect the written reports from each group after their oral report.  Charlie Uphoff will assemble notes on what is decided and email the notes to the contact for each Progressive Partners group and anyone else who gives their email address today. 

     

     

    3:00-3:30   Share what each of the community groups is currently doing. 

          Ask which group or groups will host the next Progressive Partners meeting 

     


  • Active McFarland April 11, 2015

    Dear Friends,

     Here is the report for the April 11 Active McFarland Political Café, which resumed after a three-week hiatus. We look forward to seeing you at the next café at the McFarland House Café on April 18.

     Present at the April 11 café:  Ron Berger, Jean & Denny Blackmore, Ann Kleinhaus, Sharon Payne, Ron & Joanne Ruzicka, Dawn & Art Shegonee, Clair Utter, Barb Voelker

     Event Announcements:

     On Thurs April 16, Active McFarland will host a talk by election-integrity activist Karen McKim. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM and be held in the community room of the E.D. Locke Public Library in McFarland.

     On Sat April 25, Pow Wow 2015 will be held at Madison College.

     http://madisoncollege.edu/pow-wow

     1) Jean & Denny and Ron R. & Joanne gave us an update on the publicity plans for the Thurs April 30 Vel Phillips event, which will include the showing of the documentary “Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams” followed by a panel discussion. The event will begin at 7:00 PM and be held at the United Church of Christ in McFarland.

     2) Clair distributed a schedule and agenda for Village Committee meetings in the upcoming week that will be held at the McFarland Municipal Center:

     Mon, April 13, 6:00 PM:  Village Board

    Tues, April 14, 6:00 PM:  Public Works Committee

    Wed, April 15, 6:30 PM:  Personnel Committee

    Thurs, April 16, 7:00 PM:  Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Committee

     3) Today’s discussion was wide-ranging and included discussion of the March 28 Wisconsin Grassroots festival and the current state of the Wisconsin grassroots movement. Among recent developments is the launching of Mike McCabe’s Blue Jeans Nation citizens group.

     

    http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/mike-mccabe-launches-blue-jean-nation-aims-to-restructure-partisan/article_1e45604d-25bf-5677-9611-2e31c2bc1388.html

     

     

    submitted by Ron Berger

     

     



    -- 

    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]
    http://[email protected] 
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government

  • Active McFarland campaigns

    Hello Active McFarland,

    There were 7 of us on highway 51 Saturday afternoon. It wasn't a bad day except for the 25 mile an hour  wind. Our signs were supporting Ann Walsh Bradley and the last one saying Vote No Constitution Amendment. Traffic was pretty steady and we started getting getting tooting horns and thumbs up right away. I decided to start counting favorable responses ( horn toots, thumbs up,waves) and non favorable responses ( middle fingers, thumbs down, vulgar comments ) . If you come out with the Sign Brigade it doesn't take long to figure out what is a favorable or non favorable response. Saturday was a fun day. I counted 83 favorable responses, not including many smiles, and 7 non favorable responses. We had several hundred cars go by us in 2 hours. I'm sure most of them read our signs. I have to say it was a great day even with the wind.
    We are doing one more Sign Brigade, in front of Walgreens, Monday April 6th between 3:30 and 5:30. Come and stand with us. If not, remember: VOTE TUESDAY APRIL 7th
    Jerry Collins 
    -- 
    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]
    http://[email protected] 
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government

  • DeForest Area Progressives meeting notes, 3/23/15

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from March 23, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, March 30, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.

     

    There were nine people at the March 23rd meeting.

     

    Announcements:

     

    • If you have items for the silent auction at the WGN Festival this coming weekend, get them to John Stanley, Ginny, or Karen to take when they go for set-up.
    • If you can, go to the Rodeside Grill Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. to help stuff packets for the WGN Festival.
    • There will be a legislative Joint Finance Committee listening session on the proposed state budget this Thursday in Reedsburg.

     

    There are at least seven and maybe more DAP members volunteering and helping at the WGN Festival this weekend!

     

    Ginny got 25 Ann Walsh Bradley for Supreme Court lawn signs.  Janet took 12.  Frank took 4.  Others are taking individual signs to put in their own lawn.  Ginny and others will be selling the remaining signs at the WGN Festival.

     

    Karen reported on the Tar Sands meeting she attended along with about 200 other people in Lake Mills.  Pipelines 61 and 66 will add 560,000 (!) barrels A DAY to the …er… substance being piped through Wisconsin.  Karen is writing up her notes from the meeting, which she will share online and at a future meeting.  Karen talked to Patrick Myles, Dane County Supervisor and member of the Zoning Committee, about his meeting with “Taconite Tom” Tiffany, the senator who is pushing the pipelines, iron mining in northern Wisconsin, and other things like that.  The senator wondered why Patrick is opposed to economic development and new jobs.  Guess he just don’t get it, huh?

     

    Most of the meeting was engaged with Shawn Haney, Clerk of the Town of Vienna.  Shawn told us about the manure digester run by Clear Horizons company in the Town of Vienna.  It is not going well and the company is looking to sell the digester.  An agreement was signed with the town in 2010 and the digester went into operation in spring of 2011.  Shawn shared a lot of detail, which is too much to type up here.  We learned much about towns and how they operate and what is going on with the Town of Vienna.  Did you know that there are more cows than people in the Town of Vienna?  (about 6000 cows and about 1500 people :-)  The town is dedicated to farm production with a little bit of commercial development around the interstate for operating revenue.  We look forward to working with Shawn and the town more in the future.

     

    Marcia attended the Town of Windsor board meeting on non-metallic mining.  Some people are worried that the town is not protected enough against abuses.  Ginny said we should make sure the needed rules and regulations are in place to control these operations.  There is going to be one more meeting on the subject before the board makes its decisions on what conditions to place on mining operations in the town.  You can go to the town website for detailed information on this subject.

     

    Ginny put out 27 flyers in area businesses advertising the April 11th “What’s in Your Water?” event we are holding at the DMB Windsor Neighborhood Center from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Way to go, Ginny!   Go to our website to RSVP and sign up to be there.            www.deforestareaprogressives.nationbuilder.com   

    Ginny is coordinating snacks for the event: John St. is bringing his nacho machine, pretzels, fruit, water (Bill is going to approach the Culligan company to donate bottled water – there will be no soda or other adulterated drinks at the event), Karen is bringing water drop shaped cookies.  Bill will be meeting again soon with presenters.  Marcia is trying to get a representative from the Token Creek water conservancy to attend (she did).  Bill said there will be materials from the Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited.  John St. is contacting more associated groups.  JohnSki sent out numerous emails to area institutions and organizations, and elected officials and their staffs.  Bill has been canvassing neighborhoods east of Highway 51 and mentioning the event in his contacts.  He has sheets of information on how to contact your elected representatives, as half of our goals include how to get some action done on the matters.  Bill will put together the packets.  We provided input on what to put in them. 

     

    Thanks again to the Village of DeForest for providing a $1,400 grant through the Friends of the Yahara River Headwaters to help offset expenses for “What’s in Your Water?”

     

    Bill described a letter he got from Clean Wisconsin about what is in the proposed state budget, and it does not look good for water conservation.  For just one example, the budget cuts back the DNR’s Science Service staff.

     

    On the April 7th election coming up, Karen coached us on absentee voting.  We are recommending a no vote on State Issue 1 – the selection of the Supreme Court Chief Justice.

     

    We decided to postpone a decision on the issue of changing the DAP meeting date and time to help the Wisconsin Grassroots network change their meeting date and time.

     

    Who is going to the state Democratic Convention in June?  The big item there will be the selection of a new state executive director to replace Mike Tate.

     

    With Marcia going out of town for a couple of months, we selected Ginny to facilitate the next meeting at her house.  Who wants to be a future facilitator?


  • meeting notes for Mrch 23, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from March 23, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, March 30, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.

     

    There were nine people at the March 23rd meeting.

     

    Announcements:

     

    • If you have items for the silent auction at the WGN Festival this coming weekend, get them to John Stanley, Ginny, or Karen to take when they go for set-up.
    • If you can, go to the Rodeside Grill Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. to help stuff packets for the WGN Festival.
    • There will be a legislative Joint Finance Committee listening session on the proposed state budget this Thursday in Reedsburg.

     

    There are at least seven and maybe more DAP members volunteering and helping at the WGN Festival this weekend!

     

    Ginny got 25 Ann Walsh Bradley for Supreme Court lawn signs.  Janet took 12.  Frank took 4.  Others are taking individual signs to put in their own lawn.  Ginny and others will be selling the remaining signs at the WGN Festival.

     

    Karen reported on the Tar Sands meeting she attended along with about 200 other people in Lake Mills.  Pipelines 61 and 66 will add 560,000 (!) barrels A DAY to the …er… substance being piped through Wisconsin.  Karen is writing up her notes from the meeting, which she will share online and at a future meeting.  Karen talked to Patrick Myles, Dane County Supervisor and member of the Zoning Committee, about his meeting with “Taconite Tom” Tiffany, the senator who is pushing the pipelines, iron mining in northern Wisconsin, and other things like that.  The senator wondered why Patrick is opposed to economic development and new jobs.  Guess he just don’t get it, huh?

     

    Most of the meeting was engaged with Shawn Haney, Clerk of the Town of Vienna.  Shawn told us about the manure digester run by Clear Horizons company in the Town of Vienna.  It is not going well and the company is looking to sell the digester.  An agreement was signed with the town in 2010 and the digester went into operation in spring of 2011.  Shawn shared a lot of detail, which is too much to type up here.  We learned much about towns and how they operate and what is going on with the Town of Vienna.  Did you know that there are more cows than people in the Town of Vienna?  (about 6000 cows and about 1500 people :-)  The town is dedicated to farm production with a little bit of commercial development around the interstate for operating revenue.  We look forward to working with Shawn and the town more in the future.

     

    Marcia attended the Town of Windsor board meeting on non-metallic mining.  Some people are worried that the town is not protected enough against abuses.  Ginny said we should make sure the needed rules and regulations are in place to control these operations.  There is going to be one more meeting on the subject before the board makes its decisions on what conditions to place on mining operations in the town.  You can go to the town website for detailed information on this subject.

     

    Ginny put out 27 flyers in area businesses advertising the April 11th “What’s in Your Water?” event we are holding at the DMB Windsor Neighborhood Center from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Way to go, Ginny!   Go to our website to RSVP and sign up to be there.            www.deforestareaprogressives.nationbuilder.com   

    Ginny is coordinating snacks for the event: John St. is bringing his nacho machine, pretzels, fruit, water (Bill is going to approach the Culligan company to donate bottled water – there will be no soda or other adulterated drinks at the event), Karen is bringing water drop shaped cookies.  Bill will be meeting again soon with presenters.  Marcia is trying to get a representative from the Token Creek water conservancy to attend (she did).  Bill said there will be materials from the Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited.  John St. is contacting more associated groups.  JohnSki sent out numerous emails to area institutions and organizations, and elected officials and their staffs.  Bill has been canvassing neighborhoods east of Highway 51 and mentioning the event in his contacts.  He has sheets of information on how to contact your elected representatives, as half of our goals include how to get some action done on the matters.  Bill will put together the packets.  We provided input on what to put in them. 

     

    Thanks again to the Village of DeForest for providing a $1,400 grant through the Friends of the Yahara River Headwaters to help offset expenses for “What’s in Your Water?”

     

    Bill described a letter he got from Clean Wisconsin about what is in the proposed state budget, and it does not look good for water conservation.  For just one example, the budget cuts back the DNR’s Science Service staff.

     

    On the April 7th election coming up, Karen coached us on absentee voting.  We are recommending a no vote on State Issue 1 – the selection of the Supreme Court Chief Justice.

     

    We decided to postpone a decision on the issue of changing the DAP meeting date and time to help the Wisconsin Grassroots network change their meeting date and time.

     

    Who is going to the state Democratic Convention in June?  The big item there will be the selection of a new state executive director to replace Mike Tate.

     

    With Marcia going out of town for a couple of months, we selected Ginny to facilitate the next meeting at her house.  Who wants to be a future facilitator?


  • Active McFarland Political Cafe - March 21, 2015, report

    Dear Friends,

     Here is the report for the March 21 Active McFarland Political Café. We will not be holding a café on March 28. That is the day of the Wisconsin Grassroots Festival, which we encourage everyone to attend. We look forward to seeing you at the next café at the McFarland House Café on April 4.

     http://www.wisconsingrassroots.net/festival2015

     Present at the March 21 café:  Ron Berger, Jean Blackmore, Monica Bolle, Jerry Collins, Bob & Julie Crego, Karen Edson, Patrick Miles, Jessie Naze, Sharon Payne, Mariah Rogers, Ron & Joanne Ruzicka, Dawn & Art Shegonee, Madison & Mathew Whitting, Clair Utter

     For the most part, the café consisted of an update and discussion of various Active McFarland activities. These include:

     1) Wisconsin Grassroots Festival:  Active McFarland will share a table with other grassroots groups at the Festival, with Jerry Collins being our representative at the table. Dawn & Art Shegonee will be sponsoring a break-out session on the “New People’s Emerging” movement. Bob Crego will be there to represent the Wisconsin Grassroots Network.

     2) Mariah Rogers and Madison Whitting will be contacting Ann Kleinhaus to collaborate with her on her environmental podcast project with McFarland intermediate school children.

     3) Vel Phillips event:  Ron & Joanne Ruzicka, Jean & Denny Blackmore, and Ron Berger are moving forward with plans to organize an April 30 evening event at the United Church of Christ in McFarland, which will feature a showing of a PBS documentary on Vel Phillips to be followed by a panel discussion on race relations in the U.S.

     4) Bradley campaign:  Jerry purchased yard signs for the Bradley campaign that he distributed. Also, below are dates and times for the Hwy 51 sign brigade in front of Walgreen’s, with a list of those who have currently signed-up. Sharon Payne has prepared 7 signs and we will need a minimum of 5 people per sign brigade to make this a success. Below is a sign-up genius where you can sign up, or just show up when you can make. We are far short of our goal for most days and are sure we will need you!

    Tues Mar. 24, 3:30-5:30 PM:  Ron Berger, Monica Macarra, Sharon Payne

    Thurs Mar. 26, 3:30-5:30 PM:  Jean & Denny Blackmore, Joanne Ruzicka, Art Shegonee

    Tues Mar. 31, 3:30-5:30 PM:  Ron Berger, Jean & Denny Blackmore, Sharon Payne

    Thurs Apr. 2, 3:30-5:30 PM:  Ron Berger, Jean & Denny Blackmore, Ann Lynch-Oasen, Sharon Payne

    Sat Apr. 4, 2:00-4:00 PM:  Ron Berger, Jean & Denny Blackmore, Sharon Payne

    Mon Apr. 6, 3:30-5:00 PM:  Jean & Denny Blackmore, Sharon Payne

     http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0a45aaae28a75-jobs

     5) Patrick Miles of the Dane County Board of Supervisors gave us an update on the ongoing controversy about insurance requirements for the Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin.

     6) Clair Utter would like to meet with those interested in discussing local Village issues, particularly plans for the Veredian development to the east side of the Village. Clair can be reached at [email protected]

    submitted by,

    Ron Berger

       Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]

    Website: www.activemcfarland.org or

    http://[email protected] 
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government


  • DAP meeting notes from March 16, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for March 16, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, March 23, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Draft agenda to follow.

     

    There were seven people at the March 16th meeting.

     

    Karen is going to the Tar Sands Educational Event March 19th in Lake Mills, if anyone would like to carpool.

     

    Ginny said that mineral extraction is on the agenda for the next Windsor Town Board meeting.

     

    There is a fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. on March 26th for Justice Bradley’s campaign.  Save the date, more information to follow.  Who is available for phone banking and doing doors for the campaign?  Contact Janet (846-4472) if you can.  We discussed and made some arrangements to get lawn signs for Bradley and distribute them.  Roger Springman is “wildcatting” - doing a separate order - again.  Janet is getting 12 signs and already has places for them.  Ginny will put in an order with Roger.

     

    Incidental to the rush of activity at this meeting for the Bradley campaign was a short discussion on how disorganized we are for elections.  We need to do better.  We need a DAP/EAT – Election Action Team – to get us going three months before elections, instead of three weeks (all due respect to Janet and Marcia for their efforts to get us going before now).

     

    Ron Wolfe from Waunakee GROW would like to come to talk to us sometime about transportation issues.

     

    John St. and Karen  reported on Wisconsin Grassroots Network things:

    • Go to the Rodeside at 4:00 p.m. on March 25th to help put together folders for the WGN Festival coming up soon on March 28th.
    • The next 2nd CD Alliance phone meeting will take place on March 26th beginning at 7:00 p.m.
    • Help is needed March 27th to set up for the Festival at Wisconsin Heights High School.  Karen will find out the time.
    • WGN is looking at changing its meeting day of the week and is thinking about Mondays, if DAP can change its already-Monday meeting day.  Everyone needs to think about it and we will bring it up again next meeting.
    • Karen passed out flyers and a tentative schedule for the Festival.
    • Leonardo will again be taking photos to display on the website, YouTube, and elsewhere.  DAP will purchase digital camera cards for Leonardo to use here and at other DAP functions and get those pictures on the websites.
    • DAP will again sell buttons at our informational table.  Thanks, Karen, for designing and making the buttons.
    • Karen has paper tickets, if you don’t want to buy your tickets on line.
    • Bill and Karen are presenting at the Festival on the subject, “Will You Have Water to Drink?/Pipeline 61 and other threats.”  Karen will include in her presentation community rights as a tactic.*
    • Marcia is presenting on “The Power of Grassroots Organizing.”
    • Interested parties should go to the WGN website – WisconsinGrassroots.net – for information and to register for the Festival.

     

    This Thursday there is a very important meeting of the 2nd CD Alliance organizing confab.  Much activity has taken place with draft values statements, proposed bylaws, discussions and Q&A.  DAP is proud to note that we are the only formal member so far with our resolution to that effect passed several meetings ago.

     

    Doug Cunningham, John Stanley, and another person are working on connecting the little liberal communications outlets around Wisconsin.  Some are little newspapers, newsletters, and low watt radio stations and local TV.

     

    We will meet at the Windsor DMB Neighborhood Center at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 11th to set up for the afternoon’s “What’s in Your Water?”  Ginny will get the key.  Ginny will also be responsible for the snacks and may call on others to help.  Karen is making water drop shaped sugar cookies.  Bill will emcee the afternoon.  Who is going to staff the sign-up table and make sure everyone signs the sheet when they come in, get their materials folders, and name tags?  JohnSki has purchased ads in the DeForest Times-Tribune and Hometown Shopper.  The ads will be 12 column inches and will run in both papers on both March 26th and April 2nd.  The grant from the village of DeForest is paying for the ads.  John has also distributed email invitations to numerous DeForest area institutions, organizations, and individuals.  Let’s hope they all go to our website to RSVP.  Have YOU done so yet?

     

    We discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently being put together, and what it means to American workers and other subjects of interest to us and other progressives around the country and the world.  Many protections like dolphins-in-tuna, whales, and anti-cigarette advertising will be removed if TPP passes and goes into effect.  Interestingly, OFA (Organizing for America, formerly Obama for America) is in favor of TPP, because the president is.

     

    *Incidentally, there is a workshop coming up on the subject of community rights in Sauk County.  We will be notified when a time and place are known.


  • SPARC Candidate Forum Sunday 3/22

    SPARC Candidate Forum Sunday 3/22 - please help us spread the word!

    Heather DuBois Bourenane

     

    3/16/15

    Dear friends of SPARC,

    Many thanks to all who submitted questions for our upcoming public forum for the mayoral and city council candidates on Sunday, March 22 from 2-4pm at the Westside Community Building (300 W. Main Street).  The event is free and open to all.

    We received many excellent questions and spent a good deal of time narrowing down to the themes and issues at the heart of your concerns.  We think you'll agree that the final questions will give us a good sense of where the candidates stand on some of the most important issues facing our community.

     

    I'm attaching the questions and the agenda, which have been given to the candidates in advance, and also the event flier. 

    You can help us promote the event in 3 ways:

    1. Forward this message to friends and neighbors & invite them to join us
    2. Share the event on social media and RSVP on facebook
    3. Print copies of the attached flier and help us post around town, at your work, etc

    Many thanks for your continued support of SPARC and our efforts to help Sun Prairie voters make informed decisions on the issues that matter most to us when they vote on April 7.

    See you on Sunday!

    SPARC


    -- 

    Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC)
    Heather DuBois Bourenane (608)
     572-1696
    SunPrairieAction.org
    [email protected]

    Join our community on facebook and follow us on Twitter @PrairieAction.

    "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." - Howard Zinn
    "One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. 
    It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work."
     
    - Georgia O'Keeffe


  • posted about What will the new economy look like? on Facebook 2015-03-17 15:10:53 -0500
    What will the new economy look like?

    What will the new economy look like?

    What will the new economy look like?  This article apeared in Salon.com.

    -----------------------

     Robert Reich: Economic redistribution is our only hope

    The former secretary of labor explains why new technologies have rendered the 20th century economic model obsolete

    ROBERT REICH, ROBERTREICH.ORG            This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

    It’s now possible to sell a new product to hundreds of millions of people without needing many, if any, workers to produce or distribute it.

    At its prime in 1988, Kodak, the iconic American photography company, had 145,000 employees. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.

    The same year Kodak went under, Instagram, the world’s newest photo company, had 13 employees serving 30 million customers.

    The ratio of producers to customers continues to plummet. When Facebook purchased “WhatsApp” (the messaging app) for $19 billion last year, WhatsApp had 55 employees serving 450 million customers.

    A friend, operating from his home in Tucson, recently invented a machine that can find particles of certain elements in the air.

    He’s already sold hundreds of these machines over the Internet to customers all over the world. He’s manufacturing them in his garage with a 3D printer.

    So far, his entire business depends on just one person — himself.

    New technologies aren’t just labor-replacing. They’re also knowledge-replacing.

    The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms, is generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions, and even learning from one another.

    If you think being a “professional” makes your job safe, think again.

    The two sectors of the economy harboring the most professionals — health care and education – are under increasing pressure to cut costs. And expert machines are poised to take over.

    We’re on the verge of a wave of mobile health apps for measuring everything from your cholesterol to your blood pressure, along with diagnostic software that tells you what it means and what to do about it.

    In coming years, software apps will be doing many of the things physicians, nurses, and technicians now do (think ultrasound, CT scans, and electrocardiograms).

    Meanwhile, the jobs of many teachers and university professorswill disappear, replaced by online courses and interactive online textbooks.

    Where will this end?

    Imagine a small box – let’s call it an “iEverything” – capable of producing everything you could possibly desire, a modern day Aladdin’s lamp.

    You simply tell it what you want, and – presto – the object of your desire arrives at your feet.

    The iEverything also does whatever you want. It gives you a massage, fetches you your slippers, does your laundry and folds and irons it.

    The iEverything will be the best machine ever invented.

    The only problem is no one will be able to buy it. That’s because no one will have any means of earning money, since the iEverything will do it all.

    This is obviously fanciful, but when more and more can be done by fewer and fewer people, the profits go to an ever-smaller circle of executives and owner-investors.

    One of the young founders of WhatsApp, CEO Jan Koum, had a 45 percent equity stake in the company when Facebook purchased it, which yielded him $6.8 billion.

    Cofounder Brian Acton got $3 billion for his 20 percent stake.

    Each of the early employees reportedly had a 1 percent stake, which presumably netted them $160 million each.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us will be left providing the only things technology can’t provide – person-to-person attention, human touch, and care. But these sorts of person-to-person jobs pay very little.

    That means most of us will have less and less money to buy the dazzling array of products and services spawned by blockbuster technologies – because those same technologies will be supplanting our jobs and driving down our pay.

    We need a new economic model.

    The economic model that dominated most of the twentieth century was mass production by the many, for mass consumption by the many.

    Workers were consumers; consumers were workers. As paychecks rose, people had more money to buy all the things they and others produced — like Kodak cameras. That resulted in more jobs and even higher pay.

    That virtuous cycle is now falling apart. A future of almost unlimited production by a handful, for consumption by whoever can afford it, is a recipe for economic and social collapse.

    Our underlying problem won’t be the number of jobs. It will be – it already is — the allocation of income and wealth.

    What to do?

    “Redistribution” has become a bad word.

    But the economy toward which we’re hurtling — in which more and more is generated by fewer and fewer people who reap almost all the rewards, leaving the rest of us without enough purchasing power – can’t function.

    It may be that a redistribution of income and wealth from the rich owners of breakthrough technologies to the rest of us becomes the only means of making the future economy work.

    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 new movie "Inequality for All" is in Theaters. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.


  • commented on Election Integrity Project 2015-03-17 13:59:50 -0500
    Voter suppression is, of course, as insidious as voting machine tampering.

    JS

    This article appeared in Salon.com.

    “Radicals of a different sort”: How the reactionary right is plotting to steal the White House

    HEATHER DIGBY PARTON

    Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of what Think Progress’s Ian Millhiser called “the most perfectly radical presidential speech in American history.” It was the “we shall overcome” speech Lyndon Johnson gave before a joint session of congress in 1965, in which he said to a body composed of a large number of white supremacists of his own party (and a country filled with them), “we shall overcome,” echoing the rallying cry of civil rights activists in the South. He demanded of Congress that it pass the Voting Rights Act to make good on a centuries-old promise of full civic participation for African-American citizens.

    This period in history has been the subject of controversy lately because of the portrayal of Johnson as being reluctant to push the act in the movie “Selma,” but as Millhiser points out, that’s irrelevant to the greatness of the speech he gave that day, which announced a pending indictment of America itself as a “failed nation” if it refused to act in the face of what had happened on that bridge and elsewhere. That is a radical notion, to be sure. If any American president today uttered the words, he’d likely be impeached.

    Millhiser draws upon his book “Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted” to illustrate the America in which Johnson was speaking, a time of astonishing economic growth accruing to the benefit of generations who had lived through depression and war. In those days before the historic blunder of Vietnam engulfed the national consciousness, Johnson was able to use America’s idealism to finally force the nation to push through the institutional racial barriers that had been standing since the earliest days of the Republic and that even a bloody civil war had failed to properly dismantle. However he got there, it was a propitious use of a moment in history, to say the least.

    Millhiser looks briefly at the man Johnson had just defeated in the 1964 election, Barry Goldwater, and makes an interesting observation about him that has resonance to the ongoing issues with civil rights we still see today:

    Johnson’s speech was, in many ways, a test of just how completely he had vanquished his opponent in the 1964 presidential elections, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, and whether the ideology that drove Goldwater’s campaign could finally be cast aside in America’s golden age. Goldwater, for reasons that I explain in more detail in Injustices, was a somewhat unlikely champion for white supremacists. He’d supported weaker civil rights bills in 1957 and 1960. And he supported integrating the Arizona Air National Guard when he served as its chief of staff. Ultimately, however, the Barry Goldwater of 1964 cared more about a narrow, philosophical objection to government intervention than he did about the rights of African Americans struggling to break free from Jim Crow.

    That would be an apt description of the libertarian right today, would it not? Sen. Rand Paul famously said that tolerating injustice, inequality and discrimination was “the hard part about believing in freedom,” which simply translates into believing in the “freedom” of the powerful to do whatever they choose. After all, the only people for whom such a belief is truly “hard” are those who are forced to live as second-class citizens.

    Johnson gave that speech 50 years ago almost to the day. The Voting Rights Act was passed and many more African-Americans and other racial minorities were able to participate in our democracy as full citizens. It resulted in such a sea change in American politics that the regional coalitions that formed the two parties in Johnson’s time have switched places. Ironically, today practically the only Southern Democrats are African-American and the Northern Republican is as rare as an albino elephant. There are very few conservatives in the Democratic Party and you’d have to waterboard any Republican to make him admit to being the “l” word.

    But one thing has continued: the reactionary right’s relentless quest to deny African-Americans the right to vote. In fact, after having calmed down a bit for a few years, they are more aggressive about it than ever, passing voter ID laws designed to make it difficult for people to vote. And while they will caterwaul 24/7 that there is no racist intent, America’s history proves otherwise, particularly since there is no evidence that their alleged “concerns” over voter fraud have any basis in fact. Just this week, the state of Ohio had to reluctantly announce that yet another waste of taxpayer’s money has proved that there is no systematic “voter fraud” in the state:

    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been on a mission to weed out purported voter fraud in the state since he took office in 2011. After launching an investigation into what he called an “expanding loophole” allowing non-citizens to vote in Ohio and potentially decide elections, he announced Thursday that 145 non-citizens were registered to vote illegally in 2014, amounting to just .0002 percent of the 7.7 million registered voters in the state. Husted’s office would not provide any information about the 27 people it referred to the Attorney General’s office for further review.

    But in 2013, his office sent 17 potential cases — .0003 percent of total ballots cast in the state — to the AG who eventually referred them to county prosecutors. Most reports of voting irregularities were dropped by the county prosecutors because the “voter fraud” problems were determined to have been caused by simple mistakes and confused senior citizens, according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer investigation. Voter fraud in Ohio is a fifth-degree felony and could carry up to a year in prison. But of the cases referred to prosecutors’ offices in 2013, most irregularities were caused by voter confusion or mistakes made by elections officials and not deliberate attempts to commit fraud, the investigation found.

    For example, Cuyahoga County looked into 15 cases referred from Husted’s office and chose not to pursue criminal charges against any of the individuals, concluding that the voters were confused about the “Golden Week” during which people can both register to vote and also cast their absentee ballot.

    He did find two non-citizens who registered to vote, so all that work was surely worth it. No word on how much all this cost the state but evidently there is no limit on how much time and money can be spent by frugal, small government, liberty lovers on these quixotic scavenger hunts for the Sasquatch of the electorate: the fraudulent partisan voter.

    This is just one of dozens of investigations that have been done over the past few years that have yet to turn up the kind of voting irregularity that could change election results. But if they succeed in keeping even a few racial minorities away from the polls either out of confusion or fear, these crusades will have done the job for which they were intended: vote suppression. This, along with other practices like the purging of legitimate voters from the rolls and “caging” initiatives, can make the difference in close elections and they know it.

    Conservatives sincerely believe the nation is better off if certain people are making decisions and those people are qualified by the fact that they have money and property. As founder John Jay is said to have quipped, “the owners of the country ought to be the ones to run it.” But inconveniently for them, we do have a democracy and today the GOP is facing a serious demographic challenge, which makes it almost imperative that they find a way to stop Hispanics, young people and African-Americans from voting in big numbers or they simply will not be able to win national elections. One might expect them to take a second look at that ideology and see if maybe it could use some revision for the 21st century, but that’s a problem too. This ideology, which confers “freedom” in degrees commensurate with how much money you have, is fundamental to their beliefs and is not easily changed.

    Fifty years ago brave civil rights activists in the streets and a president and other officials who knew the moment for change had arrived put justice and equality ahead of a property owner’s right to discriminate and the state’s right to deny the vote to their citizens. It was a radical move, necessitating a serious challenge to federalism. Unfortunately, the story did not end there. Millhiser reminds us at the end of his piece that Johnson and company may have been radicals in their time but today the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts overturned much of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and Sen. Rand Paul, who lugubriously proclaims that liberty is never harder for him than when his philosophical integrity forces him to support the constitutional rights of racist property owners over everyone else’s, is running for president.

    Those people are radicals of a different sort and they stand ready to overturn and subvert progress wherever they find it.

    Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

  • “Radicals of a different sort”: How the reactionary right is plotting to steal the White House

    TUESDAY, MAR 17, 2015

    “Radicals of a different sort”: How the reactionary right is plotting to steal the White House

    For all America's progress, the right's quest to control who votes just won't die. Here's their latest disgrace VIDEO

    HEATHER DIGBY PARTON

     

    Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of what Think Progress’s Ian Millhiser called “the most perfectly radical presidential speech in American history.” It was the “we shall overcome” speech Lyndon Johnson gave before a joint session of congress in 1965, in which he said to a body composed of a large number of white supremacists of his own party (and a country filled with them), “we shall overcome,” echoing the rallying cry of civil rights activists in the South. He demanded of Congress that it pass the Voting Rights Act to make good on a centuries-old promise of full civic  participation for African-American citizens.

    This period in history has been the subject of controversy lately because of the portrayal of Johnson as being reluctant to push the act in the movie “Selma,” but as Millhiser points out, that’s irrelevant to the greatness of the speech he gave that day, which announced a pending indictment of America itself as a “failed nation” if it refused to act in the face of what had happened on that bridge and elsewhere. That is a radical notion, to be sure.  If any American president today uttered the words, he’d likely be impeached.

    Millhiser draws upon his book “Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted” to illustrate the America in which Johnson was speaking, a time of astonishing economic growth accruing to the benefit of generations who had lived through depression and war. In those days before the historic blunder of Vietnam engulfed the national consciousness, Johnson was able to use America’s idealism to finally force the nation to push through the institutional racial barriers that had been standing since the earliest days of the Republic and that even a bloody civil war had failed to properly dismantle.  However he got there, it was a propitious use of a moment in history, to say the least.

    Millhiser looks briefly at the man Johnson had just defeated in the 1964 election, Barry Goldwater, and makes an interesting observation about him that has resonance to the ongoing issues with civil rights we still see today:

    Johnson’s speech was, in many ways, a test of just how completely he had vanquished his opponent in the 1964 presidential elections, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, and whether the ideology that drove Goldwater’s campaign could finally be cast aside in America’s golden age. Goldwater, for reasons that I explain in more detail in Injustices, was a somewhat unlikely champion for white supremacists. He’d supported weaker civil rights bills in 1957 and 1960. And he supported integrating the Arizona Air National Guard when he served as its chief of staff. Ultimately, however, the Barry Goldwater of 1964 cared more about a narrow, philosophical objection to government intervention than he did about the rights of African Americans struggling to break free from Jim Crow.

    That would be an apt description of the libertarian right today, would it not? Sen. Rand Paul famously said that tolerating injustice, inequality and discrimination was “the hard part about believing in freedom,” which simply translates into believing in the “freedom” of the powerful to do whatever they choose. After all, the only people for whom such a belief is truly “hard” are those who are forced to live as second-class citizens.

    Johnson gave that speech 50 years ago almost to the day. The Voting Rights Act was passed and many more African-Americans and other racial minorities were able to participate in our democracy as full citizens. It resulted in such a sea change in American politics that the regional coalitions that formed the two parties in Johnson’s time have switched places. Ironically, today practically the only Southern Democrats are African-American and the Northern Republican is as rare as an albino elephant. There are very few conservatives in the Democratic Party and you’d have to waterboard any Republican to make him admit to being the “l” word.

    But one thing has continued: the reactionary right’s relentless quest to deny African-Americans the right to vote. In fact, after having calmed down a bit for a few years, they are more aggressive about it than ever, passing voter ID laws designed to make it difficult for people to vote. And while they will caterwaul 24/7 that there is no racist intent, America’s history proves otherwise, particularly since there is no evidence that their alleged “concerns” over voter fraud have any basis in fact. Just this week, the state of Ohio had to reluctantly announce that yet another waste of taxpayer’s money has proved that there is no systematic “voter fraud” in the state:

    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been on a mission to weed out purported voter fraud in the state since he took office in 2011. After launching an investigation into what he called an “expanding loophole” allowing non-citizens to vote in Ohio and potentially decide elections, he announced Thursday that 145 non-citizens were registered to vote illegally in 2014, amounting to just .0002 percent of the 7.7 million registered voters in the state. Husted’s office would not provide any information about the 27 people it referred to the Attorney General’s office for further review.

    But in 2013, his office sent 17 potential cases — .0003 percent of total ballots cast in the state — to the AG who eventually referred them to county prosecutors. Most reports of voting irregularities were dropped by the county prosecutors because the “voter fraud” problems were determined to have been caused by simple mistakes and confused senior citizens, according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer investigation. Voter fraud in Ohio is a fifth-degree felony and could carry up to a year in prison. But of the cases referred to prosecutors’ offices in 2013, most irregularities were caused by voter confusion or mistakes made by elections officials and not deliberate attempts to commit fraud, the investigation found.

    For example, Cuyahoga County looked into 15 cases referred from Husted’s office and chose not to pursue criminal charges against any of the individuals, concluding that the voters were confused about the “Golden Week” during which people can both register to vote and also cast their absentee ballot.

    He did find two non-citizens who registered to vote, so all that work was surely worth it. No word on how much all this cost the state but evidently there is no limit on how much time and money can be spent by frugal, small government, liberty lovers on these quixotic scavenger hunts for the Sasquatch of the electorate: the fraudulent partisan voter.

    This is just one of dozens of investigations that have been done over the past few years that have yet to turn up the kind of voting irregularity that could change election results. But if they succeed in keeping even a few racial minorities away from the polls either out of confusion or fear, these crusades will have done the job for which they were intended: vote suppression. This, along with other practices like the purging of legitimate voters from the rolls and “caging” initiatives, can make the difference in close elections and they know it.

    Conservatives sincerely believe the nation is better off if certain people are making decisions and those people are qualified by the fact that they have money and property. As founder John Jay is said to have quipped, “the owners of the country ought to be the ones to run it.” But inconveniently for them, we do have a democracy and today the GOP is facing a serious demographic challenge, which makes it almost imperative that they find a way to stop Hispanics, young people and African-Americans from voting in big numbers or they simply will not be able to win national elections. One might expect them to take a second look at that ideology and see if maybe it could use some revision for the 21st century, but that’s a problem too. This ideology, which confers “freedom” in degrees commensurate with how much money you have, is fundamental to their beliefs and is not easily changed.

    Fifty years ago brave civil rights activists in the streets and a president and other officials who knew the moment for change had arrived put justice and equality ahead of a property owner’s right to discriminate and the state’s right to deny the vote to their citizens. It was a radical move, necessitating a serious challenge to federalism. Unfortunately, the story did not end there. Millhiser reminds us at the end of his piece that Johnson and company may have been radicals in their time but today the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts overturned much of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and Sen. Rand Paul, who lugubriously proclaims that liberty is never harder for him than when his philosophical integrity forces him to support the constitutional rights of racist property owners over everyone else’s, is running for president.

    Those people are radicals of a different sort and they stand ready to overturn and subvert progress wherever they find it.

     

    Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.