Steve Hanson's blog

Not all is dire

Russ Feingold

It's easy these days to be discouraged as a progressive in Wisconsin. Sometimes it seems that between gerrymandering, the makeup of the state legislature, and the laws coming out of Madison, that there's no real hope for the future.

Last night I was reminded that in fact there really is a growing discontent and that we still have progressive champions wanting to make a difference.

Remember - Voter ID is now required in Wisconsin

Bringit Wisconsin

Just want to remind you that the upcoming February primary is the first election in Wisconsin requiring ID to vote. Please don't forget, you cannot vote in future elections without a valid voter ID. Confused about what the rules are? The state GAB has a site to explain Voter ID to you - at least as long as we continue to have a GAB. Of course, they have not been given enough money to actually promote the site to people, so let's help out a little.  You can go to (there are multiple other URL's that work as well) to get all the current information about Voter ID. Spread the word.

Environment and Heritage yielding to state business again

The conservative revolution in the Wisconsin government has had a lot of casualties - schools, jobs, happiness ---

But perhaps the longest-lasting and least reversible casualties have  been the environment and the state's heritage. Two bills that are currently roaring through the legislature are particularly troubling. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Richard Gudex, R-Fond du Lac have introduced new legislation on fish farming in Wisconsin. As has been the trend, this is not a bill to ensure that fish farming be regulated to reduce its impact on the environment, but to turn fish farming into a free-for-all that will allow fish aquaculture in public waterways, lower requirements for flow-through on dams involved with aquaculture, and make aquaculture an "agricultural use" on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway - this will allow much-lessened restrictions on fish farming on land adjacent to the Wisconsin. Senate Bill 493 was introduced on Jan. 4 and a hearing was scheduled for it on Jan. 5 - making it nearly impossible for concerned citizens to follow along and get to the hearing. This has become a disturbing pattern. The companion Assembly Bill 640 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, so perhaps that will be a place where citizens can register their concerns.

The Uppity Fund - It's Back!

Every election cycle about this time we set up a fund on ActBlue that makes it easy to make a one-click donation to progressive candidates. This is my own hand-picked selection of candidates for state elections, as well as president. You can donate and divide your donation among all those candidates by clicking on the thermometer on the front page. You can also divide your donation up however you want on the donation page.

It's going to be a tough and pivotal election. Despite what you might think from the press coverage, elections are not completely about money, but money is sure heavily involved, and until we can manage to take more of the money out of politics we're going to have to play the game to survive. 

Indian Country TV Live Stream of Save the Mounds rally

As I am sure many of you are aware, the state legislature is in the process of fixing another of the state's protective laws to suit the needs of business by allowing companies to destroy Native American effigy mounds. Of course the explanation here is that this is only allowed if nobody can "prove" that there are human remains in the mound. This is ludicrous in that the age of these mounds makes it nearly impossible to prove that there are remains -  plus they are part of the states and the Native American heritage whether bodies are buried in them or not. At some point we need to start conserving our state and protecting it from the need to profit at any cost. There will be a rally at the capitol on Tuesday Jan 12 at noon. Indian Country TV will live stream the rally and you can watch it below or at their site at noon. In the meantime take a look at some of the other news and other coverage they provide on the player.

Watch live streaming video from indiancountrytv at

Katherine Cramer discusses her new book

I am looking forward to reading this book. Interview is from last week's Here and Now program on WPT.

Cramer is the director of University of Wisconsin's Morgridge Center for Public Service. Her new book, "The Politics of Resentment," connects Scott Walker's political rise to a rural resentment against the "liberal elite." This resentment, she says, represents how one's place-based identities influence his or her understanding of politics.


Surreality spreads

Bruce Hagen

Bruce Hagen, mayor of Superior, Wisconsin is contributing to the surreal vibe in the state. Yesterday he commented on a picture in Facebook of Michelle Obama by saying

Unbelievable! She and her Muslim partner have destroyed the fabric of democracy that was so very hard fought for!

When questioned about this the mayor stood his ground by saying that he and many others believe the President is not a Christian.

Possible new organizing group in the Chippewa Valley

Eau Claire Meeting

Last night I attended an initial discussion about a new organizing cooperative in the Chippewa Valley. Citizens Action is interested in helping to promote organizing and political action throughout the state. They have followed a successful model in the Milwaukee area of starting a local group that is paying for a professional organizer, and starting action in the area. They are hoping to extend this model to other areas throughout the state, and the Western Wisconsin region is of particular interest.

The Surreal Has Taken Over

Bob Gannon

We've seen a lot of stuff happen in Wisconsin over the last few years that beggars belief. School teachers have been made the subject of ridicule. Corruption becomes ensconced in law. The state Supreme Court has its own sort of continual judicial shenanigans. But I never really thought I would see a state legislator recommend that we all become a bunch of armed vigilantes, packing heat when we go to the mall just in case someone might use a gun.


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