Blogs

Hmm -- Indivisible Guide web site is down

Update --- Seems to be back up and running --- good deal.

I note that the Indivisible Guide seems to also be Invisible at the moment.  Their site is failing in ways that would lead me to believe that either they are just being overwhelmed with traffic or that they are under a DDOS attack.   SO --- if you need a copy of the guilde I DID just download a fresh version a couple of hours ago which you can download here.

Who Has Been Watching Spending at DOT?

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Let me see how much you spent,” my mother said when I returned from the store. As the oldest of five children, I was often sent to the store to buy groceries. When I returned home, my mother checked the grocery bag, the receipt and counted the change.
 
I knew I could buy no more than exactly what was on her list. She knew how much everything should cost. I needed to answer for every penny I spent. Everything needed to add up.
 
This simple accountability seems to be completely missing at our Department of transportation (DOT).

Audits Raise Cautions about Pension Fund Management

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“GOOD NEWS” read the text with a short article about how our pension funds grew 8.5%. My friend forwarded the article with a cryptic note, “apparently the lies keep working.”
 
In what seems to me to be an effort to get ahead of a bad story, the agency responsible for investing almost $100 billion in pension funds – the largest single pot of money anywhere in state government - issued a press release touting an 8.5% increase in its core fund.
 
As radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story.

Alternative to the inauguration

I know a lot of you are looking for something else to do today to avoid watching the coronation of our new president. 

a.  The Esquire Channel, if you happen to be able to get it, is showing a marathon of Parks and Recreation.

b. You can watch coverage of the protests in Washington on Democracy Now! - https://www.democracynow.org/ -- though it looks like their live feed is having a little trouble keeping up with the demand.

c.  Tell your family you love them. Tell your friends you have their back, particularly those who will need to have you stand behind them for the next four years (which means, you know, everybody). Be calm but watchful. It's not a sprint, it's a very very  very long jog ahead of us. We need each other more than ever.

d.  Go out and participate in the arts in some way. No better way to get back at an incoming administration that is considering de-funding the arts to be one of their top prioirities. See a play.  See that independent movie you've been meaning to watch. Read a book, dammit.

e. Turner Classic Movies is showing A Face in the Crowd tonight -- it's apparently totally by accident, but it's completely appropriate and a wonderful film.

f. Be good and kind - someone needs to be.

School Visit to the “ARCTIC Zone” Prompts Thinking Anew about Education

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Two six-graders recently showed me around their classrooms. Desks were not in straight rows. Students were not waiting their turn with raised hands. I looked around the room. There actually were no desks at all, but tables and different types of chairs.
 
One student was actually writing on a table with a red marker. I must have looked aghast. The table was designed to be written on, teacher Ali McMahon told me. “We use the table as a way to think out complex ideas,” she said. With a white board tabletop everyone sees the ideas and adds to them.
 
I recently visited Northstar Middle School in Eau Claire.

Healthcare Rally in Eau Claire

healthcare rally eau claire

More than 200 attended the health care rally this afternoon in Eau Claire. The rally was organized by the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op of Western Wisconsin. Several people spoke on behalf of maintaining the ACA or an equivalent, including Rep. Dana Wachs. The crowd was spirited and strongly in support of strengthening the ACA rather than eliminating it. This rally was one of many across the nation today in support of affordable and accessible health care for all.

DNR scrubs away climate change

I highly recommend following James Rowen's web site, The Political Environment. He has been following the continuing saga of the state DNR's changes to their web site, in which they have scrubbed the site of mentions of humans causing climate change. The DNR has stated that their mission is to manage state "adaptation" to climate change, rather than actually researching the cause, or -- you know, doing anything about  stopping or slowing it. Most recently it turns out that a northern WI newspaper is taking credit for the change, because they pressured the DNR to stop taking an "activist" role on climate change. This is another part of the continuing state standards in which ideology (and campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry) is everything, and science is nothing. The Wisconsin I grew up with is quickly disappearing for no good reason, and I expect that the incoming administration in Washington will make it all too easy to justify even worse encroachments on the environment. Solidarity.

New DNR Report: Who Should Pay to Protect and Encourage Fish and Wildlife?

Kathleen Vinehout
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
Wisconsin is number one in hunting! Don’t take it from me. The Department of Natural Resources has studies to back it up.
 
A new DNR report noted Wisconsin had the number one Boone and Crockett Trophy whitetail entries from 2005-2010 and the number one black beer harvest of all states.
 
Wisconsinites hunt deer at nearly three times the US rate and fist at twice the US rate. We lead the nation in world record musky caught and are the reigning world record holder of brown trout.
 
According to the DNR report, which included options to fund wildlife management, Wisconsin is number one in annual revenue from hunting - $2,833 per hunter or $2.5 billion.

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