Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Local Event: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Member Editorial: Environment

Noted Environmentalist Bill McKibbon Brings Global Warming Message to Hayward 

A report by Joan and Fred Kramer 

A packed house in Hayward heard Bill McKibben Thursday evening, Feb 21, deliver an energizing call to action to slow climate change. Bill McKibben has authored many books on the environment and founded the grassroots climate change campaign 350.org which has coordinated over 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time magazine called him the planet’s best green journalist.

Bill McKibben drew national headlines Feb 17 as one of the organizers and featured speakers at a Washington rally to urge action on global warming and to urge President Obama to say no to the Keystone pipeline. The organizers estimated a crowd of 40,000 and hailed it as the biggest environmental rally in history.

He urges all to become activists to spread the urgency of the global warming message. He outlined what is happening; Global warming is a reality that demands attention now. The glaciers are melting and the Arctic ice is receding at an alarming rate. The ocean is becoming more acidic. One factor increasing the severe weather patterns is that global warming has increased concentration of moisture in the atmosphere resulting in more record breaking downpours. During the last years, temperatures have risen one degree and are moving towards two degrees. In human health terms that does not sound so dire. But at three or four degrees the human body is really sick.

He believes one of the most significant signs of increasing awareness is that in the last year 210 campuses have formed groups calling on their colleges and universities to divest their investment funds of fossil fuel companies. His primary emphasis now is traveling to campuses encouraging them to support this movement. This divestiture movement is based on the successful divestiture of investments in South African companies that helped to end apartheid in that country.

To stay informed and to find ways that citizens can be involved go to the website of 350.org.

Further comment: Why did the major newspapers and television networks not give more coverage to the huge 40,000 march Sunday October 17? Instead they focus on the talking points of the large oil and gas lobbies about the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the Gulf. It seems a worthy story since it focusses on promising thousands of jobs (their inflated numbers), but those stories don’t tell the reader that the Canadian oil from shale will be traded on the global market after its journey across the US and will not help The United States become more energy independent.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sequester Impact on Wisconsin - From The White House

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Sen. Baldwin Expresses Disappointment in Walker's ACA Decision

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Final Report on the Impacts and Costs of Eliminating Election Day Registration in Wisconsin

The bottom line on eliminating election day voter registration.

  • It will cost the state $13 million to $14.5 million. (It is not fiscally responsible.)
  • It will subject the state to new Federal regulations and oversight. (If a person truly believes in state's rights, they would oppose eliminating same-day registration.)
  • It increases the workload and burden of local election officials, the GAB, and other service agencies including the DMV. (It increases the size and complexity of the government.)
  • The GAB passed a motion opposing eliminating same-day registration due to the wide spread and significant complications and disruptions to our currently well functioning system. (Bad for taxpayers. Bad for voters. Bad for efficient government.)

(click the link at the top of the pdf viewer to see it full sized, or use the zoom tool at the bottom of the pdf viewer to increase the size)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Good Are Claims About Metal Mining Jobs?

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Monday, February 18, 2013

VOTE! Tuesday, February 19

Tuesday is the WI Supreme Court primary election.

Click here for more information on the candidates.

Click here to find your polling location.
First, select "Regular Voter."
Next, submit your name and date of birth.
Then, select "Election & Polling Place Info" from the menu on the left.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Impact of Sequestration

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BCD Member Editorial: Mining

An editorial submitted to the blog by member Merri Ann Gonzalez:

Reading the paper today I see a huge contrast on many fronts. In one article Hauge director of DNR Bureau of Wildlife management is quoted as saying that feeding and baiting of deer increases the spread of CWD (via prion in urine/feces/saliva), yet in another article I see that Gov. Scott Wanker in speaking with the NRA talked about changing deer hunting in WI to include allowing massive landowners to fence and have hunts on their property to attract wealthy hunters. Then the piece on the front page about counting the number of homeless people in both Polk and Burnett county which depicts a NY policeman giving a shoeless man a pair of boots on a cold night. On the other hand our Gov. is refusing to accept FEDERAL FUNDS to expand Medicaid to those least able to afford medical care in our area. 
Still more contrast is that Gogebic Taconite wrote a mining bill that not only has the potential but is well documented in other states to have actually caused extensive polluted pools of arsenic, lead and mercury. This mining bill has the potential for chemicals to leach into the wetlands, tainting our aquifer, and lets face it, the big money maker in our area is the tourist dollar. If this mining hits one of the sulfur veins that are all over our area the result will be sulfuric acid run off. If you have a fish tank, you know that the PH of water is crucial for the survival of fish. Cathy Steppe (DNR sec.) allowed a honey dipper to spread 300% of the allowable amount of human excrement on a farm with only a wrist slap. I have to wonder how many downstate/MN/IL fishermen will be here fishing among billowing clouds of soap suds as this seems to be the next step. Even Gogebic Taconite admits there WILL be pollution. They also admit that in other areas there were a handful of temporary jobs as they have their own employees and heavy equipment. So essentially they just want to come here and rape our natural resources and then will be on their way to the next state where they are allowed to rewrite the environmental protection laws. These opposite ends of the spectrum ideologies are not indicative of the WI I had known and loved. 
Merri Ann Gonzalez

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chair Report - February 15, 2013

New Meeting Time…First I would like to let everyone know that we are moving our monthly meeting time up by ½ hour. Starting with our next meeting on February 19 at the Whitetail Wilderness Restaurant & Bar we will begin our meetings at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. The meetings will still be held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at the Whitetail unless otherwise noted. We always welcome you to come an hour early and begin the evening by joining with your fellow democrats for supper. The Whitetail Wilderness is located about a mile north of Webster on Hwy. 35.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fitzgerald, GOP Should Listen to Citizens of the North, Not Insult Them

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Daily Show: Jon Stewart vs. Gun Industry Lobbyist Gayle Trotter

BCD Member Editorial: Civility

Richard Costerisan submitted the following letter for publication by the Inter-County Leader.

What ever happened to civility? 
Let’s take a moment to contemplate why we have such venomous public and private verbal discourse in our life, religion and politics today. What ever happened to civility? Why is civil discussion on the decline in America? Our First Amendment right to free speech is being overshadowed by hate, fear, and desperation. Debate is manipulated by those with the most power or money.
It never used to be this bad. Sure, there have always been those who would win the debate at the cost of others. But, for most of us, winning was not as important as assuring that the common good was the highest priority. No matter what side of the issue you found yourself on, coming to some compromise with your opponent in any debate was always precluded with what was best for our people; our country.
So, what happened to change this? Today the mantra is to win at any cost. Don’t worry about the others, just make sure you protect yourself and get what you want. If you can’t win, make sure the other guy can’t either. Brinksmanship and going to the edge are common tactics used in our private and political lives. The political reality of the day is “the rewards go to the winner.” The more you win, the greater the rewards. Money and power rule. It’s a proven formula that civil discord gets the attention of the media. People tend to remember discord more than harmony. Acrimonious political attacks imprint on voters and work to change minds. 
To combat incivility society must speak up whenever they witness uncivil and offensive behavior and language. Disturbing behavior must become unpopular. Society must demand civil behavior and reward those who promote it. Those who project discord as a means of winning must be denied victory at every turn. As citizens we must learn to speak up when the media uses discord to promote ratings or readership. We have a responsibility to the common good to ensure that misinformation is challenged wherever it occurs. We have our differences but we cannot let them define us. We must always work to find common ground that protects our society.
KRC Research in Washington D.C. has been measuring public civility in the United States since 2010. Their most recent survey was completed in April 2012.  The poll queried 1,000 adults. Here are some of their findings:
  • 81 percent of the respondents said incivility in government is harming the nation’s future.
  • 63 percent believe there is a major civility problem in the United States.
  • 55 percent expect civility to worsen, while 14 percent said it would improve. Comparatively, the 2010 survey showed 39 percent expected civility to worsen, while 26 percent believed it would get better.

As U.S. citizens we deserve better. But, unless we demand more civility in our lives, the media and in our political sphere we cannot expect change anytime soon.
Richard Costerisan