Presto products are shooting a lot more than salads

What was Steve Burns, a staff member of Wis. Network for Peace and Justice, doing on an anti-shopping spree in Madison Friday?

Well, it was Iraq Moratorium day, and Burns decided his action this month would be to call shoppers' attention to a little-known connection between a Wisconsin company and deaths of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Burns learned that Wisconsin's National Presto Industries, known to the public for making Salad Shooters and Fry Daddies, has a dark side that it doesn't advertise.

The Eau Claire-based company produced artillery fuses during World War II, artillery shells in the 1950s, and during the Vietnam war, from 1966 to 1975, manufactured more than two million eight-inch howitzer shells and more than 92 million 105mm artillery shells.

These days, it's 40mm cannon rounds. An article by Nick Furse in Tomgram lays it out:

The Pabst Farms Mirage

I warned against Pabst Farms back in February 2008.
Another retail wonderland is the last thing Wisconsin needs to be
publicly-funding at this - or for that matter, any other - time. Such
subsidization merely realigns spending away from existing shopping
destinations toward the newer, shinier destination. A colossal waste of
public (and private) resources if there ever was one.

But wait a minute, things aren't going as planned.

I thought this was a slam-dunk economic development initiative?

One of those unstoppable catalysts that was necessary, creates jobs, and spurs further development.

So why can't the developers even sign tenants?

Maybe it has to do something with the duplicative, sprawling, inefficient, environmentally unsound, and bribery-laden path of our urban planning & economic development. Sites compete for capital, subsidizing businesses to locate in less

Two more cities join Iraq Moratorium today

Minocqua and Menomonie have joined the list of Wisconsin communities holding Iraq Moratorium events on Friday, Dec. 19, to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.

Wisconsin is a leader in the national grassroots movement which asks people to act, individually or collectively, on the Third Friday of every month to end the war and occupation.

The Menomonie event -- headed by Uppity Wisconsin's Steve Hanson -- is the result of a new organizing effort in western Wisconsin , with the theme of "Health care, not warfare."

Rice Lake, Superior, and Eau Claire.began holding events in November. Minocqua had been holding Saturday vigils but moved to the Third Friday to join the national network.

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ), a statewide coalition of more than 160 groups, has helped spread the Moratorium among its members. The Iraq Moratorium-Wisconsin project is aimed at western Wisconsin communities where the Third Friday activity has not yet taken hold.  Among the additional targets are Hudson, Chippewa Falls, and Ashland.

Pardon Jailed Wisconsin Veteran

President-elect Barack Obama has tremendously more on his plate than reinventing government and restoring some semblance of accountability to Americans.

Ensuring that the world does not enter into a second depression, halting a war or two, saving the environment, formulating an industrial policy on alternative energy, one can go on; all are problems of a massive scale.

But readers of Uppity Wisconsin may notice a comment from a veteran posted this week about another veteran who is serving a four-year sentence in federal prison.

License granted for a total war on recession

Update: Wall Street Journal: "We are running out of the traditional ammunition that's used in a recession, which is to lower interest rates. They're getting to be about as low as they can go. And although the Fed is still going to have more tools available to it, it is critical that the other branches of government step up."
- Barack Obama in a news conference in which he called for a government spending stimulus program.

The incoming Obama administration has just been granted a political license to pursue virtually anything it wants in fiscal policy in light of the seriousness with which the Fed is addressing the economic situation facing the world.

Reducing its key rate to a historic low, near zero, the Fed said it would use “all available tools” to fight the recession; in other words War against the recession by any means necessary.
Reads the Fed's statement:

For immediate release

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to establish a target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent.

Bush takes a victory lap

The Lame Duck probably expected his path to be strewn with rose petals and be welcomed as a liberator on his final visit to Iraq, but it didn't quite turn out that way. WashPost:

But during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush received a taste of the immense resentment many Iraqis feel toward his policies: Just after Bush finished his remarks and said "Thank you" in Arabic, an Iraqi journalist took off his shoes and hurled them both at Bush, one after the other. The incident lent an air of chaos and farce to a trip intended to highlight improving security conditions in the war-torn country.

"This is a farewell kiss!" the man, identified as Muntadar al-Zaidi, a reporter with the Cairo-based network Al Baghdadia Television, yelled as he threw the shoes. Bush had to duck out of the way, and narrowly missed being hit, according to on-scene reports. Maliki reached out his hand to shield the president.

Camp Hope to remind Obama of his progressive agenda

Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the Chicago-based group that staged a 500-mile Witness Against War walk to the Republican convention in St. Paul, will sponsor a presence from Jan. 1-19, in President-elect Obama's Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. It's called “Camp Hope: Countdown To Change.”

It's called Camp Hope because organizers

earnestly hope his presidency will signal the dawning of long-needed progressive change in the United States.

The 19 days of activities are designed to help build popular momentum behind the progressive goals of President Obama’s campaign -- and, one suspects, to remind him of those commitments.

It's what the left should be doing right now. Instead of assuming the worst about Obama, and giving up on him before he even takes office, progressives should spend their energy giving him and the new Congress the political base and cover they need to pursue a progressive agenda.

We know the forces of darkness will be pushing hard in the other direction. A show of support for progressive policies can help offset that provide a brace for Democratic backbones that are in danger of softening at the slightest pushback from the right.