John Scepanski 519.80pc

John Scepanski

John Scepanski's activity stream


  • What You WON'T Hear in Governor Walker's State of the State Speech

    37, 45, 48 – those are the numbers you won’t hear from Scott Walker tomorrow night during his State of the State address.
     
    Those numbers represent some hard truths about the state of Wisconsin under Scott Walker’s failed leadership:
    • 37 is for Wisconsin’s 37th in the nation ranking in job creation, according to the latest and most accurate federal jobs data -- the “gold standard” numbers, per Scott Walker -- down from 11th in the nation the day Walker took office.
    • 45 is for Wisconsin’s 45th in the nation ranking in job growth prospects, according to Forbes magazine.
    • And 48 is for Wisconsin’s 48th place ranking -- almost dead last -- in new business start-ups.

    (Source: Democratic Party of Wisconsin)


  • "Progress in the War on Poverty"

    We must not succumb to fatalistic propaganda.  We must not let someone else frame the discussion.  (Bcc to 100 DeForest area progressives and 25 other associates) 

    "Progress in the War on Poverty"

    JAN. 8, 2014               Nicholas Kristof

     

    America’s war on poverty turned 50 years old this week, and plenty of people have concluded that, as President Reagan put it: “We fought a war on poverty, and poverty won.”

    That perception shapes the right’s suspicion of food stamps, minimum-wage raises and extensions of unemployment benefits. A reader named Frank posted on my Facebook page: “All the government aid/handouts in the world will not make people better parents. This is why the ideas from the left, although always made with the best of intentions, never work. ... All of this aid is wasted.”

    Yet a careful look at the evidence suggests that such a view is flat wrong. In fact, the first lesson of the war on poverty is that we can make progress against poverty, but that it’s an uphill slog.

    The most accurate measures, using Census Bureau figures that take account of benefits, suggest that poverty rates have fallen by more than one-third since 1968. There’s a consensus that without the war on poverty, other forces (such as mass incarceration, a rise in single mothers and the decline in trade unions) would have lifted poverty much higher.

    A ColumbiaUniversity study suggests that without government benefits, the poverty rate would have soared to 31 percent in 2012. Indeed, an average of 27 million people were lifted annually out of poverty by social programs between 1968 and 2012,according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

    The best example of how government antipoverty programs can succeed involves the elderly. In 1960, about 35 percent of older Americans were poor. In 2012, 9 percent were. That’s because senior citizens vote, so politicians listened to them and buttressed programs like Social Security and Medicare.

    In contrast, children are voiceless, so they are the age group most likely to be poor today. That’s a practical and moral failure.

    I don’t want anybody to be poor, but, if I have to choose, I’d say it’s more of a priority to help kids than seniors. In part, that’s because when kids are deprived of opportunities, the consequences can include a lifetime of educational failure, crime and underemployment.

    Research from neuroscience underscores why early interventions are so important. Early brain development turns out to have lifelong consequences, and research from human and animal studies alike suggests that a high-stress early childhood in poverty changes the physical brain in subtle ways that impair educational performance and life outcomes.

    A careful review of antipoverty programs in a new book, “Legacies of the War on Poverty,” shows that many of them have a clear impact — albeit sometimes not as great an impact as advocates hoped.

    For starters, one of the most basic social programs that works — indeed pays for itself many times over — is family-planning assistance for at-risk teenage girls. This has actually been one of America’s most successful social programs in recent years. Theteenage birthrate has fallen by half over roughly the last 20 years.

    Another hugely successful array of programs involved parent coaching to get pregnant women to drink and smoke less and to encourage at-risk moms to talk to their children more. Programs like Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families America, Child First, Save the Children and Thirty Million Words Project all have had great success in helping parents do a better job with their kids.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/opinion/kristof-progress-in-the-war-on-poverty.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140109


  • Medicare Premiums to Stay the Same

    Some of you may remember receiving a false message over the last couple of years, saying that due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients' monthly premiums were going to increase drastically from about $100 a month to $247 per month and that the  annual deductible was going to soar.  That message was exposed early on as totally false.  It seems to have been concocted by opponents of "obamacare" who wanted to scare senior citizens into opposition to the Act.

    This is the truth.  According to the December 2013 issue of the AARP Bulletin (p. 6), citing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, "Standard premiums for Medicare Part B -- which covers doctors' services and outpatient care -- will remain at $104.90 a month in 2014, the same as this year ... and the annual deductible will stay unchanged at $147.  The news ... disproves a mass email that has been circulated since 2010, claiming that under the Affordable Care Act the Part B premium would reach $247 a month by 2014.  Officials say that the actual premium -- always calculated as 25 percent of the program's costs in the previous year -- has been held flat because Medicare costs have slowed, in part due to provisions of the new law."


  • LTE re DeForest, Windsor, Waunakee Move to Amend

    December 14, 2013

    To:                   Kevin Brown, Editor

    From:               John Scepanski

    Subject:            Guest column for the DeForest Times-Tribune, December 2013

    __________________________________________________________ 

    Let's Get Money Out of Politics -- Vote YES on the April Referendums

                At next April's election, DeForest, Windsor, and Waunakee voters will get to express their opinions on the influence of big money in government.  The elected boards of DeForest, Windsor, and Waunakee have agreed to place on the ballot referendums that, if passed, will ask our U.S. Congressional representatives to initiate an amendment to the United States Constitution that will put big money into its proper place.  If passed, such an amendment will look something like this.

    Proposed Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Section 1 [Corporations are not people]

    The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.  

    Artificial entities shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through federal, state, or local law.

    The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through federal, state, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

    Section 2 [Money is not speech]

    Federal, state and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure. 

    Federal, state and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

    The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

    Section 3 

    Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

                Is this the exact and precise wording of the constitutional amendment that we want adopted?  Probably not.  The precise wording of proposed amendments typically changes as they go through the various stages of approval.  We cannot guarantee what the exact final wording will be.  However, the final wording must make it clear that: 1) artificial legal entities like corporations and unions are not "persons" with regard to constitutional rights; and 2) money is not speech under the meaning of the First Amendment.

                While we realize that corporations and other artificial entities like them are necessary for the free and fluid functioning of our economic system, corporations are not naturally occurring beings the same as flesh-and-blood people.  We, the people, through our governments, enable groups to form corporations.  These corporations are given certain privileges that allow them to act in some ways as artificial persons.  Corporations can, for example, own property and enter into contracts.  However, rights are different from privileges.  Only real, flesh-and-blood people can possess rights as intended in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Corporations have legal privileges but not human rights.  Your YES vote on the referendums will send that message to our elected representatives.

                According to the national Move to Amend movement, it was not until 1886 that the idea of corporate personhood was first introduced in the United States.  The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution almost a hundred years prior never intended corporations to have the same rights as individuals.  "Since 1886, courts have handed out more human rights to corporations.  Armed with human rights and legal privileges, large corporations have amassed fantastic wealth and power, which has undermined our sovereign self-governance and created a democracy crisis."  (South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend)

                From the 1500s through most of the 1800s, corporations served our economy well, having privileges but not rights.  But beginning after the Civil War and culminating with the 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission, corporations have claimed ever-expanding rights that no legislature or peoples' referendum has ever granted them. These decisions mean that corporations chartered in the US -- even those with foreign owners -- have the same rights as citizens and voters do.  We don't think that's right.  Of the Citizens United ruling, Senator John McCain said, "I think there's going to be a backlash, ... when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that's going into political campaigns."  Former Senator Russ Feingold said, "This decision was a terrible mistake.  Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president."

                Specifically, as a result of these decisions, there are certain ways in which we, the people, have been losing our control over the conduct of the corporations we created. 

     

    Ÿ          Corporations have used our human Fourteenth Amendment rights (equal protection of the laws) to force state and local governments to revoke legislation that protected small and local businesses.

     

    Ÿ          Corporations have used our human Fifth Amendment rights (against self-incrimination) to refuse to allow health and safety inspectors on their premises.

     

    Ÿ          Corporations are using our human First Amendment rights (free speech and petitioning our government) to strike down the campaign finance and lobbying laws we adopted to fight government corruption.

     

                Regular citizens across the entire political spectrum are tired of big-money influence controlling and corrupting our government.  This is not a right-versus-left partisan political issue.  Legislators of both parties crafted the campaign finance laws that have been struck down by the courts.  Both political parties are now so beholden to corporate sponsors that neither can lead us back to the days when human rights were reserved for humans.  That is why we need a Constitutional amendment and your YES vote on the referendums coming up in April.

                Laws and regulations that have allowed corporations to be a vital contribution to our economy in the past and the present will continue. We, the people, will continue to be able to choose to give corporations any and all powers, privileges, and freedoms we believe to be useful and wise. The only difference will be that corporations will not be able to demand these as their rights.  They will need to gain them through normally debated and enacted legislation.

                As the Move to Amend National Law & Research Committee has explained,

    Please note that the “We the People Amendment” does not strip corporations from the ability to sue or be sued or to enter into contracts. It merely affirms that all [non-human] entities created under law (for-profit corporations, non-profit corporations, limited liability partnerships, incorporated unions, etc) are created under the auspices of local, state and federal law, and that any legal privileges such entities exercise are subject to the political process.

     

     

                (For the purposes of this article, I have borrowed from some of the material provided by national, state, and regional "Move-to-Amend" associations.)

                This amendment will pertain to other organizations, too, like unions and non-profit organizations. When this constitutional amendment is adopted, no on-paper entity of any kind will have legal rights. However, we the people, through our elected representatives, will be able to legislate powers, privileges, or benefits as we believe they should have them.

                In conclusion, we are working as free and independent citizens in DeForest, Windsor, and Waunakee to call for an amendment to the United States Constitution stating that, 1) Only human beings—not corporations, unions, non-profits, or similar associations—are endowed with constitutional rights, and 2) Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.

                We would like you, our fellow citizens, to join us in this effort on April First by voting YES on the referendums you will find on the ballots along with the candidates for office in that election.


  • published How dumb do they think we are? in Opinion Blog 2013-12-28 14:04:03 -0600

    How dumb do they think we are?

    FRIDAY, DEC 27, 2013

    PAUL BUCHHEIT, ALTERNET

     At a time of year when we’re inclined to show empathy for people less fortunate than ourselves, some of our top business leaders are notable for comments that show their disdain for struggling Americans.

      1. Environmental Wisdom from Exxon and Monsanto

    Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon...What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?

    Monsanto... While Monsanto, according to Food & Water Watch, has “wreaked havoc on the environment and public health” with PCBs, dioxin, and other dangerous chemicals, the company reported in its most recent  financial report to the SEC: We are committed to long-term environmental protection.

    2. The Art of Delusion: How Business People Fool Themselves

    ...McDonald’s, where a company representative vigorously defended his burgers and nuggets: We don’t sell junk food…We sell lots of fruits and veggies at McDonald’s…And we are not marketing food to kids.

    [Apple] ...a company that  hides overseas earnings, avoids  federal and state taxes, makes $400,000 per employee, pays its store workers an average of about  $12 per hour, pays its CEO $143 million a year, and operates overseas factories with working conditions that, according to the  Economic Policy Institute, “reflect some of the worst practices of the industrial era.” Their CEO Tim Cook says Apple has a very strong moral compass.

    Such delusional heights...Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is doing God’s work...

    3. Talking Down to the Down & Out

    ...people who seem to lack empathy for the less fortunate. Perhaps hedge fund manager Andy Kessler.... Ignoring the National Coalition for the Homeless conclusion that homelessness is caused by (1) a shortage of affordable rental housing, and (2) a lack of job opportunities, Kessler suggests they’re homeless because someone is feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing them.

     ...the Walmart executive who presumed to speak for his low-wage workers just before Thanksgiving by saying: Walmart associates are really excited to work that day.

     Now back to McDonald’s, which had these budget tips for its own low-wage employees: You may want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem as appealing as they did. Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash…Consider bringing a brown bag lunch and skipping the takeout…You might also consider a temporary part time job to dig out of debt quickly.

     ...Charles Koch, whose foundation tried to convince half of America that they were rich: If you earn over $34,000 a year, you are one of the wealthiest one percent in the world.

     4. Paying Taxes with Imaginary Money

     Tim Cook... Apple Corporation, blurted, We pay all the taxes we owe — every single dollar.

     ...Whole Foods CEO John Mackey protested, It’s not Apple’s fault that they’re seeking to avoid paying taxes.

     And Rand Paul added, What we need to do is apologize to Apple and compliment them for the job creation they’re doing.

     Exxon...used a “theoretical tax” to account for almost 90% of last year’s income tax bill. The Economist explains theoretical taxes: “Companies have two versions of the truth: the theoretical tax bill, calculated using accounting profits...and the actual cash tax they pay...”

     CEO of the Year: ...

    “You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.” — Walter White

     


  • DAP meeting notes December 16, 2013

    DeForest Area Progressives

    meeting notes

    December 16, 2013

    NO MEETING DECEMBER 23RD FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.  NEXT MEETING WILL BE MONDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2013, AGAIN AT GINNY'S HOUSE, 3922 PARTRIDGE IN THE WINDSOR HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD, 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. AS USUAL.

     

    Six people met on the sixteenth. 

    The group okayed January 25th for our hosting of the Progressive Partners quarterly meeting.  Liz arranged for the facilities at the DMBWindsorNeighborhoodCenter again, as last April.  John sent in the $45 fee and $100 security deposit (returned as long as we leave the premises neat and clean).  The tentative lineup will be 10:00 a.m. to noon, reports, Q&A, planning from each group present; lunch from noon to 1:00 with informal interchange; and a program from 1:00 to 2:00 (probably something from Marcia on messaging, Lakoff theory, etc).  Yet to be decided is whether to have a simple BYO sack or box lunch or another potluck as we usually have.  We should plan to provide coffee, tea, water, soda, juice, etc., and maybe a selection from Windsor Breads.  Marcia, please put these final touches discussion on the agenda for the next meeting.

    A message from Beth Trotter alerted us to the fact that there will be a Windsor vacancy on the DeForest Area School District (DASD) Board this coming election.  The Windsor Rep is not running for re-election.  There are also two other spots up for election, and the incumbents are running again.  Please, some-DAP-per from Windsor run!  Remember, tea partiers are watching too.

    Most of the meeting was occupied with a very informative conversation with Brita Olsen, Political Director for the Wisconsin Democratic Party.  Brita is only a few months into the job, but she has other experience with the party.  She has lived for ten years in Madison, having graduated from the UW-Madison, and is originally from Manitowoc.  She spoke about fundraising, the three regions that have been established to implement the "72 county strategy," and a unique "Red to Blue" project to take back some tough districts from the Republicans.  Brita said that Dems in Wisconsin should not be discouraged, recognizing the facts that Democratic Party membership in Wisconsin has doubled in recent years.  The party has many more trained and experienced activists in place than ever before, much due to the organizing efforts of OFA and such in the last few years.  She expressed confidence that we can "go after" Walker in a meaningful way and succeed.  When pressed to identify three main ideas, she named 1) Medicaid/BadgerCare, 2) women's health, and 3) student loan debt.  Of course, limiting her to three topics was unfair, as we discussed many more than that, all of which we do not have space here to detail.  We all look forward to seeing more of Brita in the near future. 

    We also discussed a resolution opposing frack sand mining being sponsored by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice and the Madison Action for Mining Alternatives (MAMA).  All DAP in attendance approved signing on in support of the resolution.

    Marcia provided copies of the Wisconsin Grassroots Network's "NEWSPAPER DIRECTORY."  As part of the letters-to-the-editors project, each of us who writes letters should provide to Marcia whom we write to, when, and a summary of the topic.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.        

    John Scepanski


  • Progressive Partners January 2014 Quarterly Meeting

     December 18, 2013

     

    To:                   Progressive Partners

     

    From:               DeForest Area Progressives (John Scepanski)

     

    Subject:            PP January 2014 Quarterly Meeting

     

     

     

    The next quarterly meeting of Progressive Partners will be January 25, 2014:

     

    Place:               DMBWindsorCommunity Center

                            4438 Windsor Road

                            Windsor, Wisconsin

                            (This is the same place of the April 2013 PP quarterly meeting.)


    Time:                10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

     

    From 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. we will have a round table discussion like the one we had at the last PP quarterly meeting in Oregon.  Each group should come prepared with a spokesperson to discuss their activities, answer questions, request assistance, etc.  Time allotments will depend on how many groups are present.

     

    Lunch will be from 12:00 to 1:00.  It will be either brown bag or a pot luck.  We will let you know for sure later.

     

    The time period from 1:00 to 2:00 is reserved for a program presentation.  The subject has not been firmed up yet.  It will be something like a presentation on a PP priority like Move-to-Amend.  If you have a particular program you would like to present, please let us know.

     

     

     

    John Scepanski

    732 DeForest St.

    DeForest, WI 53532

    [email protected]

    608-846-3678


  • DAP meeting notes, December 9, 2013

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from John Scepanski

    December 9, 2013

    NEXT MEETING, GINNY'S AGAIN, 3922 Partridge, Windsor Hills neighborhood MONDAY, DECEMBER 16, 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

    There were 12 people in attendance on December 9th.

    JohnSki reported that Maureen McCarville will have two challengers for her DaneCounty Board seat this spring, which will require a primary in February.  One challenger is Terry Kelso, who was Maureen's opponent in the last election.  The other challenger is thought to be a 23 year old man from DeForest.

    JohnSki also reported that as of the November 30th report from DMB bank, we have $164.18 in our DAP treasury.

    Marcia asked members to think of questions to ask Brita Olsen, Political Director for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, who will be our guest at an upcoming meeting.  Let Marcia know your questions ahead of time, please. 

    Marcia has been working with some Kathleen Vinehout supporters on Kathleen's potential run for governor.  On January 13th, DAP will sponsor a gathering with Vinehout in DeForest, co-sponsored by our counterparts, Waunakee GROW and Sun Prairie SPARC.

    Liz has been working on a location for our January 18th hosting of the quarterly Progressive Partners meeting.  Instead of hosting it in Oregon at the bank as originally suggested, we have decided to host it in the DeForest area, thus Liz's work on location.  New possibilities include St. Olaf Catholic Church and the UCC church in Windsor.  Further action on this is necessary soon, so that we can get the announcements out to other PP members.

    The main business at this evening's meeting was meeting and discussion with George Ferriter, candidate for Assembly seat 42, challenger to Keith Ripp, and George's wife and campaign manager, Suzie.  Several members present volunteered to help George with campaign tasks such as canvassing.  George is village president of Doysletown.  Suzie is a member of the school board there.  Suzie has much family who live in the area.  George is a semi-retired mechanical engineer with Fairbanks-Morris in Beloit and commutes back and forth these days before his full retirement.  After his retirement, he intends to begin campaigning full time in January.  I will not divulge here campaign plans he discussed, lest these notes fall into enemy hands.  Suffice it to say that Mr. Ripp seems vulnerable, as he does not do much other than rubber stamp Governor Walker administration doings.

    One other thing we discussed briefly was the incipient Wisconsin tea party challenge to the relatively new "Common Core" school standards being promulgated by the State Department of Public Instruction under Superintendent Tony Evers.  Several DAP members expressed their own reservations about Common Core, too.                                   


  • Do you wonder what happened to "Occupy"?

    I suggest that maybe the "Occupy"movement went to Walmart over the Thanksgiving holiday, as this article from Salon.com hints.

    FRIDAY, NOV 29, 2013

    Tens of thousands protest, over 100 arrested in Black Friday challenge to Wal-Mart

    After rallies across the country, burning question remains whether more Wal-Mart employees will defy retaliation

    Protesters outside Walmart in Los Angeles, November 7, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

    Organizers say 111 people were arrested in eight Black Friday civil disobedience actions against Wal-Mart, with more arrests expected at a ninth and final such demonstration now underway in San Leandro, California. Those actions are among 1,500 total protests promised for today by the union-backed group OUR Walmart, which last year said it mobilized 400-some Wal-Mart employees to strike.

    “Wal-Mart workers and community supporters, we refuse to live in fear and refuse to accept scraps,” employee Martha Sellers told reporters on a mid-day call. She was joined by arrestee Betty Shove, who said she’d been “harassed” for OUR Walmart activism, and was “standing up for every member that cannot, that will not, because they’re too afraid to lose their job.”

    In May, as workers kicked off a several-day strike and caravan to Wal-Mart’s shareholder meeting which was followed by the firing of twenty-three participants, United Food & Commercial Workers strategist Dan Schlademan told me, “we’re certainly going to prove it’s growing this year.” But as I suggested this morning, how today’s Black Friday activism compares to last year’s depends on how you count. While strikes were the centerpiece of Black Friday 2012, this year the campaign focused on civil disobedience actions, which involved a mix of current Wal-Mart employees, fired workers, and other supporters. OUR Walmart said it hit its goal of holding at least 1,500 protests, and that those involved tens of thousands of people, but said it did not yet have a count of how many Wal-Mart employees were involved. In a September statement, the campaign pledged “widespread, massive strikes and protests for Black Friday.”

    In a Friday evening statement, Wal-Mart said, “In reality, we counted fewer than 20 current associates participating in events.” Asked about that claim, a spokesperson for the UFCW’s Making Change at Walmart campaign e-mailed, “That’s laughable and it is disrespectful to workers and supporters who are raising real concerns about low wages at Walmart. Walmart workers have been striking all month and were out protesting across the country today.”

    Asked mid-day Friday if a decline in the number of employees striking today compared to last year would reveal something about OUR Walmart’s organizing or Walmart’s pushback over the past year, OUR Walmart’s Schlademan noted there had been strikes throughout the past month, including “cities that have never gone on strike before.” He told Salon, “this movement continues to grow, Wal-Mart workers’ courage continues to grow, Wal-Mart workers willing to strike continues to grow. Today is a day about protest, and that is growing as well. So everything that we’re seeing continues to demonstrate that this is a growing movement.”

    Schlademan, an architect of OUR Walmart, added, “Wal-Mart is on the run more than it’s ever been in terms of having to answer to the kinds of jobs it’s creating.” He said this Black Friday had been “a day of protests – this isn’t a day of strikes. The strikes have been happening all month.” Asked how many total employees had participated in those strikes, Schlademan said a count wasn’t yet available.

    Historian Nelson Lichtenstein, who directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara, told me he didn’t see evidence of “a mass movement among Wal-Mart workers,” but did detect “a sentiment that these retailers have gone too far” which extended beyond “just the chattering class.” “There’s no kind of insurgent movement that’s going to actually strike these stores,” said Lichtenstein, “but on the other hand there’s a sense there’s a real problem here.” Lichtenstein, the author of The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business, argued that Congress’ curbing the filibuster and approving a full complement of National Labor Relations Board members created the possibility that the NLRB would eventually take muscular action to restrain Wal-Mart from retaliating, and that if workers were thus free to speak out without losing their jobs, “then other workers would say, ‘Well, I guess I can speak out too,’ and that would have a snowball effect.” In the meantime, he credited Wal-Mart and fast food workers’ activism with shifting local politics in a more pro-labor direction. (Wal-Mart denies that it broke the law by firing workers for missing work during strikes.)

    Asked last week whether it would be a worrying sign if fewer workers were on strike this Black Friday than last year, Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Kim Bobo told me, “I don’t really so.” Bobo, whose group planned to arrange protests at 150 stores today, said, “I don’t think the only way workers organize and show solidarity and push the company is by striking. Often some of the most interesting things workers do [are] done internally without striking,” including store-by-store actions that take place out of public view. “The media likes the strikes because it’s very visible and very whatever,” she added, “but I don’t think it’s actually a particularly good indicator of the strength or lack thereof of the organizing.”

    As the past week’s scrutiny on a Wal-Mart employee-to-employee charity food drive showed, Walmart strikers have captured a share of public imagination that past slick PR efforts never did. But faced with an apparent onslaught of intimidation, it’s not clear whether Wal-Mart’s courageous minority is much closer to building a bigger mass movement than it was one year ago. As I argued this morning, the most important test of today’s activism will be to what extent it proves to have advanced that goal.

    Placerville employee Dorothy Halvorson, who was arrested this morning in Sacramento, told me beforehand that she believed civil disobedience “makes people realize how serious we are, and how strongly we feel about what we’re doing.” She added, “I wholeheartedly believe in making a change – if that’s what it takes, then I will do it.” Halvorson said increasing community support and media attention showed her the cause was “definitely getting stronger,” and that she’d be back at work Monday ready to urge more co-workers to join her. “I will tell them what I did, if they want to hear – and hopefully they do,” said Halvorson. “And I’m sure it’s going to be all over. Last time it was too.”


  • November 18, 2013 meeting notes

    DeForest Area Progressives

    meeting notes

    November 18, 2013

     

    NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE NO MEETING NOVEMBER 25TH, DUE TO THE HOLIDAY.  Next meeting will be Monday, December 2nd, 6:00 - 8:00, at Dawn Fish's with special guest, Dane County DA Ismail Ozanne, candidate for Attorney General.  Dawn's address is 6822 Valiant Drive in Windsor.

     

    Seven people and two big, friendly dogs met at Schutte's house.

    Ginny and Marcia had made a field trip to Platteville on behalf of Wisconsin Grassroots Network to meet with representatives of school districts.  We discussed the problem with working together when individual organizations "silo" themselves.  That is, the organizations become too narrowly focused on their own turf and subject matter to see how they relate to and can operate effectively with each other.  Much of the discussion surrounded unions and union problems.  Retirement funds were discussed.  Terminology was addressed such as the use of "earned benefits," rather than "entitlements."

    Eileen shared her particular interests in health care, nutrition, and environmental issues.  She is a nutritionist by profession.  The discussion turned to the Affordable Care Act and its implementation.

    During a lengthy discussion on the move-to-amend subject, it was noted that the Windsor Town Board is meeting Thursday to determine whether they want to put a referendum on the ballot in April like the one in DeForest and Waunakee.  It is an item on their agenda.  John will attend along with Janet, who is scheduled to give a short presentation.  (Good news!  Note that the board did pass a motion, directing their attorney to draft a resolution to place the move-to-amend issue on the April ballot.  They will discuss wording at their next meeting and probably pass an implementing resolution then.)  Remember too that the Village of DeForest move-to-amend referendum resolution comes up again at the DeForest Village Board meeting on December 3rd with Trustee Dixon Gahnz sponsoring the little changes we asked him to make in the resolution.  It will be a substitute resolution that the board will vote on again, so some DAP attendance is desirable.  John intends to be there and will welcome other bodies in support.

    Further on the move-to-amend issue, we discussed the invitation to John Nichols to present in DeForest/Windsor sometime in January or February in support of the referendums.  Dawn has tried to contact John but has not heard back from him yet.

    Even further on move-to-amend, Mary threw out an idea that has been done in other jurisdictions to promote yes votes on move-to-amend referendums: an art show and essay contest.  Mary knows artists who have participated in these shows in the past, and she herself has a quilt she made for one of them.  Dawn and Karen volunteered to help Mary get it done.  They will report back at future meetings.

    The sign committee ought to consider at least one sign with a move-to-amend theme.

    Speaking of the signs projects, the website (www.WGNsigninfo.com) is not quite up yet.  Chris M. has the prose material ready to support the short phrases on the big red signs.  The big red signs are ready to go up in the DeForest/Windsor area.  The "Burma Shave" signs are not ready yet.

    Mary reported on the KXL pipeline.  See her email that went out to 100 DeForest area progressives regarding a training in how to protest (and get arrested!) if the pipeline gets approved.  Karen mentioned also the Enbridge pipeline that goes through Michigan and Wisconsin and under Lake Michigan.  There was a horrific spill in Michigan a couple of years ago.  The substance that is sent through those pipelines is heated, liquified sludge that is very dirty and corrosive.  It is sent to U.S. refineries for processing and then sold overseas.

    Karen and Marcia went to Eau Claire last Friday to hear a presentation put on by Dr. Crispin Pierce of UW-Eau Claire, Dr. Michael McCawley of West Virginia University, and Bob Kincaid of A.C.H.E. (Appalachian Community Health Emergency) on "Dangers Unseen: Blasting, Ultra-fine Particles and Human Health."  The particles are the size of a human hair and can go through membranes to cause health hazards.  Karen demonstrated with a visual aid she made.  The particles come from coal mines and sand mines.  The subject is, of course, directly pertinent to sand mining in Wisconsin.

    Let's plan to have a good turnout for Ismail Ozanne at the December 2nd meeting.  Dawn used to work for him as his secretary, so let's make Dawn look good.

    Oh yeah, the date of January 18th has been set for our hosting Progressive Partners.  Please put it on your calendars and be prepared to discuss logistics and substance for the agenda.  We will be talking about it at every DAP meeting between now and then.

             - John Scepanski, informal and unassigned recorder and note-taker


  • Meeting Notes 11/4/13

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting Notes

    November 4, 2013

     

    We met at Dawn's house, and there were six people present.  NEXT MEETING WILL BE ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11th, AT GINNY'S HOUSE, 3922 PARTRIDGE, IN THE WINDSOR HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD.  Note that we need other homes to meet in, so as not to wear out our welcome at Ginny's and Dawn's.  Who's ready to step up?

     

    Those of you DAP-pers who are going to the Firefly Coffeehouse in Oregon this Thursday to meet Kathleen Vinehout, potential candidate for governor of Wisconsin, should meet in front of Marcia's house between 5:00 and 5:15 p.m.THIS Thursday, the 7th, to carpool.  We will leave promptly at 5:15.  The affair runs from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Firefly open mic.

     

    Karen gave a very interesting sketch of what she and Marcia learned this past weekend at CELDF's DemocracySchool in Iowa.  CELDF is Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.  She started with a visual aid of "The Regulatory Triangle," then moved into colonization, the regulatory fallacy, corporate privilege, and nature as property.  Iowa groups have taken to calling themselves "county protectors."  Karen's report contained much more than can be rehashed here.  WGN hopes to bring CELDF's DemocracySchool to Wisconsin. 

     

    The now infamous Bill 349, having to do with removing local control over environmental factors, has been postponed until next year or the end of this year.  Those who put themselves on the line against the bill can take some satisfaction in that postponement.

     

    Ginny and Dawn reported on signs.  Dawn passed around some of the phrases she has come up with that will potentially go on the signs.  Ginny, Dawn, Leonardo, John St., and Karen all painted signs recently.  THANKS, GUYS!  They painted backgrounds that are now ready for lettering messages.  Ginny presented a receipt for materials, which John Ski will write a check for reimbursement.  Hardware is in the ground on which signs can be wired in nine locations in and around DeForest.  The signs are 4 feet by 5 feet in size.  We can thank Leonardo and Frank for that work.  Some of Dawn's sayings might be considered for bumper stickers and buttons, as well.

     

    There is a protest being organized against the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce organization.  DAP-pers interested should bring a flashlight to "shine" light on the WMC building.

     

    We heard some reports on some of the activities of the Wisconsin Grassroots Network (WGN) related to the WGNsigninfo.com website, which is not quite ready yet.  Interested parties will be able to go to the site to contribute writings on various topics to elaborate on sayings that appear on the red and white 4'x5' signs and "Burma Shave" signs.

     

    During a discussion of "move to amend," we decided to try to revise the DeForest Village Board Resolution No. 2013-081 to soften the reference to corporations in the explanation to Question 1, so that it is not so harsh.  The fear is that the harsh reference might result in "no" votes.  We should consider, too, the "Whereas" clause that mentions DeForest Area Progressives by name, as it might be too partisan.  John Ski is to contact Trustee Dixon Gahnz on this matter and report back.

     

    In regard to our hosting Progressive Partners next January in Oregon, we have plenty of paper plates, plastic utensils, and such left over from our last hosting of PP.  Dawn and Ginny volunteered to make sure all of that stuff gets to the January meeting in Oregon for the pot luck, dish to pass luncheon.  The schedule will probably run from 10:00 a.m. to noon with discussion continuing through the potluck lunch and ending about 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon or whenever we have to vacate the premises at the bank.  The first hour will probably be reports from groups present on what they are doing and what they need help with.  Those groups should bring printed notes to pass out along with their contact information.  Marcia will emcee that discussion.  We might want to invite George Ferriter, candidate for Assembly District 42.  Further discussion of this project will ensue at future DAP meetings.

     

    The Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC) is hosting a community conversation with Ruth Conniff, editor of The Progressive magazine Wednesday, November 6, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sun Prairie Public Library, 1350 Linnerud Drive, Sun Prairie.  The conversation will be on Diane Ravitch's new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Threat to America's Schools.

     

    John Ski also handed out an invitation to a fundraiser for George Ferriter, candidate for Assembly District 42, to be at the home of Rita and Ralph Pulver, 444 Roosevelt St., Rio, Wisconsin, on November 9th from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.


  • The Role of Police at Protests in a Democratic Society

    David Couper, former chief of the Madison, Wisconsin, police department had some insightful things to say about protests at the Capitol in his book, Arrested Development.  I was especially impressed by his philosophy that the police, among their other duties, were there to ASSIST the people in exercising their rights of protest.

    Couper, Arrested Development, pp. 193-5

     

    "Large Protest Regarding Public Policy at the StateCapitolBuilding"

     

    The second major example of the department's new and evolving crowd-control methods occurred years later in April, 1985, when a large, organized protest was held on the grounds of the Capitol protesting public investments in South Africa.  In the years since the Mifflin block party, we had handled hundreds of protests, demonstrations and large crowds such as the annual Halloween celebration downtown that at its height had more than 100,000 revelers in attendance without noteworthy incidents.

     

    This protest was against also the apartheid policies of South Africa.  While the Madison police normally don’t have jurisdiction over state property, we were called in to assist the Capitol police.  Governor Tony Earl had called Mayor Joel Skornicka for aid, who then called me.  By the time I arrived on the scene to make an assessment, many of the demonstrators, who now filled the Capitol grounds, had begun constructing wooden shanties; symbols of the segregated townships outside the larger cities in South Africa.

     

    I saw that a large number of the demonstrators were not from Madison but had come from other cities in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest.  The initial attitude of the demonstrators wasn't friendly toward the presence of police.  They were not the usual protest people we had worked with over the years.  At first, neither of us knew what to expect from the other.

     

    I needed to talk to the governor before we got involved in this emotionally charged situation.  I told him that it would be preferable if we kept things low-key and didn't make any immediate demands on the protesters.  I asked that my department be the lead agency in handling the situation.  The governor agreed.

     

    I wanted to avoid a confrontation for as long as possible, but even as I spoke, protesters had entered the Capitol building and staged a sit-in in the central rotunda.  The Capitol chief and I had agreed that his officers would handle the inside of the building and we would handle the outside.  At the end of the day, the Capitol police would follow their standard practice of locking down the building.  When that happened the demonstrators would be asked to leave. And some did.  Those remaining were carefully escorted outside and the doors locked behind them.  This happened without incident or arrests.

     

    While we had used our soft strategy effectively during numerous demonstrations and sit-ins during the past decade, this crowd was by far one of the largest and most diverse we'd ever dealt with.  I saw this as another opportunity for us to put into practice and highlight what we had learned about handling crowds and how police in a democracy operate.

     

    I presented our plan to the governor.  We would assign uniformed police officers, without hats, batons, or any riot control gear, to enter the crowd and dialogue with the protesters.  But this time we went beyond merely talking with them and calming them down -- we instructed these officers in some of the alternatives to divestment and how divesting might severely impact everyone in South Africa, blacks and whites.  We encouraged protesters to form discussion groups in the crowd.  Those assembled came to see the police as not trying to prevent protest but rather to facilitate it; they soon realized that the police who present (sic) were informed, smart, and willing to engage in political discussions.

     

    This protest was an occupation and, literally, a massive sit-in and campout on the Capitol grounds.  This meant that a large number of the protesters were doing more sitting than protesting.  The point of contention, I knew, would be when some legislators got tired of all this and ordered us to expel the protesters from state property.  If that happened, the businesses and government buildings on the Capitol Square and downtown area would be vulnerable to damage and vandalism.  It was a waiting game on both sides.

     

    We briefed our officers on these issues and reasserted to the protesters that our role was to facilitate the protest, not prevent it.  We also let them know that we, too, were against racism and any system of discrimination.  The presence of our diverse workforce in terms of gender and race also spoke a clear message that day.  The protesters knew we were here to stay and not in any hurry to end things.

     

    Our strategy was always to keep us from becoming the issue, and to keep talking.  The protest went on for six days.  As time went on, we started negotiations with the leaders concerning dismantling the scores of illegal shanties that had been constructed on the lawn of the Capitol building.  The presence of the shanties was, of course, an issue of enormous contention, as people are not generally allowed to build structures on the grounds of a state capitol and many members of the community believed the police needed to do something about it.  We often heard, "Look at this mess, who's going to clean it up?"

     

    Everyone expected that if we moved to dismantle the shanties, it would create the issue that could ignite the crowd.  It never happened.  We were able to negotiate a smooth withdrawal and permitted a few symbolic shanties to remain standing for a few more days.  It was a win-win ending.  A positive ending brought about by police willing to be patient and withhold action.

     

    I believe the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators went home feeling that they had made a powerful. and well-heard protest against apartheid, petitioned their government for redress, been heard by that government, and witnessed a democratic police in action; police who served as facilitators and protectors, who acknowledged their right to assemble and protest the actions of their government.

     

    Now, you may ask how you get police officers to enter a potentially hostile crowd without protective gear.  One of the strategies we used was having a reserve force in readiness.  A few blocks away, out of the view of the public and media, was a team of police officers kept in reserve with helmets, batons, and tear gas.  They were on standby in case any person, including police officers, in the crowd was in danger of harm.  That was how I could justify asking officers to enter such a large crowd.  Again, speaking softly and carrying a big stick works effectively for police when the stick is out of sight.  The difference here was our big stick wasn't our first or only strategy.  It was only one of our strategies -- and only one of last resort.


  • Local Control Under Attack

    Dear Editor:

    Local control is under attack again.  There is a bill on the fast track in the Wisconsin legislature that seeks to remove powers from towns, villages, cities, and counties, and place those powers in state agencies.

    LRB-3146/1 is called the "Regulatory Certainty Act."  It abolishes local authority to regulate land use having to do with water quality and quantity, expansion of mines and other large industrial operations, and other related air and water issues.  Currently, towns have authority to protect the public health and general welfare of their residents.  This bill would take that power away from towns and place it in the state bureaucracy.  It also limits the ability of local governments to negotiate reimbursements for damage done to roads by heavy truck use.

    Unfortunately, this bill and its companion, LRB-3408/1, are on a fast track and might even be out of committee before you read this letter.  They are being ushered through the legislative process by the party in power in Madison, the party of big business and big money.  Ironically, it is the same party that claims to want to preserve smaller government and local control.  That party's actions do not match its stated philosophy.

    There is one way to prevent further deterioration of our local government home rule tradition in Wisconsin.  Next time, vote for the party of the people.  Next time, vote Democrat.

    Sincerely,

    John Scepanski

    DeForest


  • published Unhappy with Wisconsin economy in Opinion Blog 2013-08-22 17:05:19 -0500

    Unhappy with Wisconsin economy

    Are you unhappy with the reports of Wisconsin's lagging behind the rest of the midwestern states and the nation as a whole?  I am too.  I learned from the blog, Waukesha Wonk, that new research by the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future indicates that recent economic policies have slowed our state’s recovery.

    Here are three reasons why this is so:

    1.  A new rail terminal in Madison and high-speed railroad tracks through Wisconsin were supposed to open this summer.  A factory in Milwaukee was supposed to build the railroad cars for the new system and others like it throughout the United States.  But, because our governor turned down the hundreds of millions of federal dollars that would have made these things happen, there is no new terminal, there are no new tracks, and the railroad car company closed down and moved elsewhere.

    2.  In the current governor's first year, fifteen thousand five hundred jobs were lost in Wisconsin state and local governments due to his and the Republican state legislature's actions.  It was the second largest loss of public sector jobs in the United States in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The public sector workers in Wisconsin who kept their jobs lost about eight percent of their spendable income, due to new requirements that they pay larger percentages of the costs of their health insurance and retirement contributions.  Those workers would have spent most of that income at local retailers' businesses: grocery stores, hardware stores, and such.  That’s nearly a billion dollars a year lost to local Wisconsin retail businesses.

    3.  Wisconsin's unemployment rate remains around seven percent.  Meanwhile, just across the border, Minneapolis-St. Paul has an unemployment rate of only five percent. 

    Progressive commentator Ruth Conniff wrote in Isthmus (7/18/13), "...any business owner can tell you that consumer demand...drives business growth and job creation."  In order to stimulate consumer demand, we must put money in the pockets of consumers.  Jobs like the ones we lost, the ones that were downgraded, and the ones we DIDN'T get in Wisconsin are what put money in the pockets of consumers.  Money in the pockets of consumers gets spent.  The governor has made some wrong assumptions and some wrong decisions about how to get the Wisconsin economy rolling again.

    Meanwhile, what do we get in Wisconsin?  An old-fashioned, open-pit, low-grade iron ore mine way Up North.

    Modern infrastructure, built and operated by local employees, public and private sector jobs, income spent at hometown businesses: these are the kinds of things we need to get our economy moving again.  Our current Republican state government has made wrong assumptions about what makes an economy go.  Want to know the solution to this problem?  Next time, vote Democrat.

    Sincerely,

    John Scepanski


  • August 19, 2013, meeting notes

    DeForest Area Progressives (DAP)

    August 19, 2013, meeting notes

     

    There were 11 people present.

     

    Karen E. reported that the Trempealeau County Board was voting that night on a sandstone mining permit moratorium.  There was further discussion on this.  Two new members, Cheryl and Tom R. spoke to actual frack mining in the southern Illinois region where they just moved from.

     

    John St. spoke about the sign projects and partnering with Wisconsin Grassroots Network on them.  John said we have got to get going on this, but first we need to touch base with WGN.

     

    Cynde L. said that Janet M. needs canvassers for Move to Amend in the village of Waunakee.  Janet wants to get Move to Amend going in the towns of Windsor and Vienna and the village of DeForest too.  Move to Amend is the nationwide effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to counteract the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's action in its Citizens United decision.  If accomplished, the new Constitutional amendment will define person as a flesh and blood human being.  Corporations and corporate-like entities would then no longer qualify for civil rights protections the same as human beings under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

     

    Oregon Area Progressives will dedicate its open mic in October to the subject of frack mining.  We should attend to share our expertise in the subject of sandstone frac sand mining.  John Ski is to contact Charlie Uphoff of OAP to get the date and time.

     

    Cynde L. asked if we can do something outdoors while the weather is still good -- an outdoor movie night or something like that.

     

    We discussed our involvement with the Palermo's strike.  We decided that our commitment is probably at an end and we should give all of the remaining collected food items to our local food pantry.

     

    Mary S. asked about the frac sand mine tours.  She and Beth T. volunteered to go over the sign-up list, set some dates, etc.  They will report back next Monday.  It is likely that we will arrange some day trips of about two hours (one way) out and back, and it probably will concentrate on TrempealeauCounty.

     

    The next movie night was set for September 9th.  The movie will be Stealing America.  Next social evening will be September 21st, event to be determined; another karaoke?

     

    Bob Fest is coming up September 7th at the AlliantCenter.  Everybody go!

     

    Wisconsin Grassroots Network will meet again next Wednesday, as usual.  Karen E. reported on last Wednesday's WGN meeting.  Much is being done to restructure the WGN organization, moving toward becoming a 401c3.

     

    Good meeting, gang!  Good to see so many in attendance for a change.

     

    John Scepanski, note taker


  • August 12, 2013, meeting notes

    DeForest Area Progressives, August 12, 2013, John's Notes

    There were five DeForest area progressives present.

    Karen thanked all those who helped her move this past week.

    We took a picture to forward to Beth Whittemore, Oregon Area Progressives, to include with materials at the Progressive Partners' table at Bob Fest next month.  Consensus agreed to contribute $10 toward costs for the table.  John Ski will take care of it from the DAP treasury.

    JohnSki made several announcements:

    • Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and DeForest's County Board Supervisor, Maureen McCarville, will hold a listening session at the DeForest Library on September 5th.  The subject is the 2014 DaneCounty budget.  All DAP members are encouraged to attend and participate and bring friends.
    • Middleton Action Team is co-hosting "Organizing for Climate Change Action" at the Monastery, 4200 County Road M tomorrow, August 13th, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. and requests assistance with costs, which they estimate at $300.  The group consensus was that we should contribute $25.  JohnSki will take care of it from the DAP treasury.  The presentation includes a showing of the documentary film, "Do the Math."
    • The Dane County Democratic Party 's regular monthly meeting this month will feature Madison Mayor Paul Soglin as speaker.  It is August 14th, 7:00 p.m. at the Concourse Hotel in Madison.
    • The Columbia County Democrats informed DAP that they met on August 8th to discuss strategy for 2013-14 and to hear reports.  Also, they introduced George Ferriter, who is running against Keith Ripp for the Assembly District 42 seat.  The Columbia County Dems are building a network to help Mr. Ferriter, and they hope that we DAP-ers will join in.  More on this at future meetings.
    • The Columbia County Dems (Margo Miller) are also promoting "JFK - An American Profile," a one-man play Saturday, September 7th, at 7:00 p.m. at Northwoods Banquet Hall, N6510 U.S. Hwy 51, Portage.  Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door ($5 students).  Tables are available for $100 (8 people at a table with recognition in the program).  Tickets can be purchased on line at https://secure.actblue.com/page/jfkevening.  Mary Arnold has informed us that she is taking a table for Columbus Democrats.  Should we do a table for DAP?

    We discussed the Doug Cunningham radio show and the financial trouble it seems to be in.  Consensus was that we should contribute $50, and JohnSki volunteered to do that from the DAP treasury.  We should be encouraging everyone we know to listen to Doug's program, call in, call the station (The Mic), and encourage businesses to advertise on the show.  Doug broadcasts 5:00-6:00 p.m. every day during drive time, so it is a good time to advertise.  Contact Tim Scott at Clear Channel to advertise.


  • published Bob Fest Table in Progressive Partners Blog 2013-08-05 14:09:13 -0500

    Bob Fest Table

    From Beth Whittemore:

    Hello, so we met tonight and we are going to make a display board of the Progressive Partners. So we will need a picture (jpeg) or any other thing that you want to display representing your group.
    2. We most likely won't need people to staff the table for more than an hour or an hour so please let us know what your preference is for time, AM or PM. Bobfest goes from 8:30- 5:00 pm.
    3. Bring the materials you would like to have available along with a contact person's name and when you meet, if you hold regular meetings, so that others will be able to join your meetings if they are interested.
     
    Call or email me if you have questions.
    Take care.

    Beth
    Whittemore
    225-2462

  • July 22, 2013, notes

    DeForest Area Progressives (DAP)

    July 22, 2013

    John's Notes

     

    Seven people were present.

     

    John-Ski read Mary Arnold's note in the card she sent with a $50 contribution in memory of Judy Ewald, who passed away recently.  Among other comments, Mary wrote, "We had a lovely conversation and I really enjoyed Judy's spark and enthusiasm.  Please use this donation in any way Judy would approve.  We'll all miss her."  Donation deposited in treasury, which is now at $587.40.

     

    John also referred to a note received from Attorney Alan Harvey with two articles on frac sand mining enclosed.  Alan regretted not being able to make the sand mining educational movie and panel discussion held in Madison on July 20th and said he would be interested in any other such events in the future.

     

    The League of Wisconsin Conservation Voters sent a note, desiring liaison with DAP.  Karen Edson will follow up.

     

    Sixteen people in attendance at the July 20th sand mining movie and panel discussion signed up for tours of the mining region!  Wow!  There were over sixty in attendance in all at the event!  Marcia expressed her pleasure at the attendance and outcomes.  All agreed the goal of the evening was reached.

     

    Leonardo and Marcia are at work collecting a list of elements of sand mining ordinances with the view of composing a model ordinance to share with jurisdictions that might have mines coming in in the near future for permits.  Marcia and Leonardo passed out a list of 24 standards that might be included in such a model ordinance.  There are more standards than the 24. 

     

    We discussed the issue of water levels and how they might be affected by mining and large scale industrial agriculture.

     

    Plans were made to attend the next day's Sauk County Zoning Committee's meeting to testify in solidarity with Linda and Eric who are coordinating the efforts there.

     

    Ginny talked about the possibility that Doug Cunningham's radio program on The Mic might be nearing its demise.  We need to call the station and express our support and appreciation for Doug's show.  We need to urge small businesses to advertise on the show.  The business phone number for the program is 274-5450.  Also, go to the Facebook page for the program and "LIKE" it.

     

    A number of us attended the meeting and picnic of Progressive Partners on July 20th.  It was a busy day with this picnic and the sand mining event in the evening J.  There was much discussion during the meeting portion of Progressive Partners about inter-group, as well as individual, communication: Google Calendar, Facebook, websites, email lists, etc.  What communications do we post?  How do we connect groups and individuals with passions and issues?  The group brainstormed issues they were involved in, and I jotted down over twenty different items during that discussion.  The partners of Progressive Partners are indeed very active!  Finally, we heard from a potential candidate for governor on the Democratic ticket, Mark Harris, Winnebago County Executive.  Mark impressed this observer as one who is very astute on tax issues and budget, as well as a person interested in progressive human issues.

     

    Someone reported that there is a challenger to run against Keith Ripp.  We will hear more about that soon.

     

    Senator Kathleen Vinehout needs co-sponsors on her mining legislation: SB 138, 139, 140, 141, and 142.  Please call your legislators and ask them to co-sponsor those bills.

     

    The projector needs a new bulb at a cost of around $350. It is Wisconsin Grassroots Network's projector. They let us keep it at our facilities and use it as we please. Should we replace the bulb?  Where can we get a discount on one?

     

    Please note that several of our DAP members are regulars at the Wednesday evening meetings of Wisconsin Grassroots Network and are active with WGN.

     

    We discussed other things at this DAP meeting, but I did not note them down, so I cannot include them here.  The July 29th meeting was cancelled due to Karen's moving.  See you August 5th.

     

                                        John Scepanski


  • published Affordable Care Act resource in Opinion Blog 2013-07-30 16:09:35 -0500

    Affordable Care Act resource

    Are your not-so-progressive friends giving you a hard time about the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act -- "obamacare" ?  Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform for some real good scoop.  Or, better yet, refer them there ... if they'll go.
     
    The Myths & Facts click is especially valuable.

                      

                                              John


  • Capitol Singers Actions a Walker Diversion?

     

    FYI, I posted this message on the Lisa Mux's WaukeshaWonk.com blog in response to a comment there, speculating that the crackdown on the Singers in the Capitol Rotunda might be a clever diversion by the supporters of the Governor Walker administration.

    Lisa, you bring up a very important point here. We must grab back the news media with better substance. Not to say that the Singers are not substantive and important. We all hail them as icons. Still, we must (to be cliché-ed about it) “keep our eyes on the prize” and “our noses to the grindstones.” We must elect Democrats and to do so we must continue to spread the progressive message among the grassroots. John Scepanski, DeForest Area Progressives