Monthly Archives: April 2015

Pocan sponsors the Move to Amend amendment in Congress

PocanPortraitHooray! Today, the full Move to Amend proposal–the one that takes care of the underlying problem of corporate rights, going beyond the problem of campaign finance–was  introduced in Congress and our own representative, Mark Pocan, is among the leading sponsors.

The Move to Amend press release stated that the legislation will advance a constitutional amendment that “clearly and unequivocally states that: 1) Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and 2) Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.”

The Move to Amend coalition of over 380,000 people and hundreds of organizations has helped to pass over 600 resolutions in municipalities and local governments across the country calling on the state and federal governments to adopt this amendment. Sixteen state legislatures have passed similar resolution.

Thank you, Representative Pocan!


Free progressive ‘framing’ webinar with Scott Wittkopf

Scott Witfkopf, a George Lakoff protege, has recently formed his own organization to promote effective messaging in support of progressive values, Authentic Framing for the Future, or AF2 for short. He is rolling out the new endeavor with a free webinar on Tuesday evening, April 28, at 7 PM.

Those who have attended Wittkopf’s workshops can vouch for their value. If you haven’t heard and learned his and George Lakoff’s lessons, you need to!

Wittkopf wrote: “As many of you know, a new progressive language and type of messaging are necessary now more than ever before, as progressive ideas continue to decline, and conservative ideas continue their dominance over our politics and public discourse.  But why is messaging even important? What does this talk of “framing” even mean? What would a new messaging strategy look like, and where do we start?”

On Tuesday evening, Wittkopf will “share a great deal of new information from my recent work with Dr. George Lakoff at UC-Berkeley, share new ideas about progressive framing and language solutions, and take interactive questions.”

If you cannot participate on Tuesday evening, Wittkopf ann0unced that the webinar will also be archived for later viewing, and people who register will  receive the link to watch the archive any time they want.

For anyone who wants to effectively forward progressive vision and change in their community and beyond, this is the critical first step.

Get more information and sign up on the AF2 website.



Education Forum: Thursday, Richland Center


Pocan doing the right thing on TPP fast track

If you want to name any federal legislation more dangerous than any other to our economy, environment, health, and freedoms–including our right to self-government–it would be hard to do worse than the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Obama Administration’s ‘fast-track’ proposal to ram it through Congress without review, debate, or amendment.

PocanPortraitProgressive advocates for, well, everything that’s good about America and our way of life, are encouraging calls to members of the House of Representatives to stop this historically destructive proposal.

Fortunately, our representative Mark Pocan has issued a statement indicating his opposition to fast-track approval of the TPP and encouraging his fellow representatives to oppose it. Citing three decades of lost jobs and economic pain from previous trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA, Pocan wrote:

We cannot let history repeat itself by pushing a Trade Promotion Authority bill which paves the road for an agreement which undermines American sovereignty and puts our workers’ wages and jobs at risk.

If passed, Fast-Track would ram through trade agreements, negotiated in secret, through Congress without giving Members of Congress sufficient time to debate and limits Congress’ ability to make amendments. Essentially, this Fast-Track proposal provides carte blanche to the President and the U.S. Trade Representative on trade matters, while tying Congress’ hands.

With still too many questions left unanswered and a history of broken trade promises, Congress should not give away its constitutional authority to the President – regardless of party.  I urge my colleagues to oppose this trade promotion legislation because it does not do enough to protect American workers, our environment, and our economy.”

So if you call Pocan’s office about the TPP, (608-258-9800 or 202-225-2906), all you need to do is thank him.

Other suggestions for action on the TPP can be found at Flush The TPP.

McCabe’s Blue Jeans Nation needs crowdfunding support

Mike McCabe crowd-funded the publication of his wildly popular and highly recommended book, Blue Jeans in High Places, and now he’s crowd-funding the birth of the Blue Jean Nation movement to, in his words “help house the politically homeless.”

Visit his page at Indiegogo to learn more and help out the cause.BlueJeanNation

McCabe writes: “We set a goal of raising $15,675 in 30 days to get Blue Jean Nation rolling. If you help supply us with the seed, we’ll get busy planting. Whatever amount you are comfortable giving is the right amount. Gifts of all sizes will help immeasurably. Here’s what we need the money for:
Office space (single office, initial one-year lease)  $  6,000
Program expenses/events  4,000
Office equipment & supplies  1,500
Printing/Informational materials  1,500
Web hosting/Internet access/Telephone  1,100
Travel expenses  1,000
Postage/mailing costs 575
Total  $  15,675”

Progressive Partners Spring Meeting – April 18th

Rep. Dianne Conway Hesselbein will speak briefly about the state budget. Then participants will share and organize their ideas on what progressive groups can do to work together more effectively. We’ll close with sharing what our neighborhood groups are currently doing.

April 18th 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Middleton Outreach Ministry
3502 Parmenter St, Middleton, Wisconsin 53562

SPARC Garage Sale


April 30-May 2, 2015
751 Eddington Drive


  • Thursday April 30: 7:30am – 5:30pm
  • Friday May 1: 7:30am – 5:30pm
  • Saturday May 2: 8 am – noon

We need your help to make the garage sale a success, and there are 4 ways to help:

  1. Donate! Garage sale items can be dropped off after April 18 at the Mugan’s home, 751 Eddington Drive. Please call ahead to make sure that someone will be there. Karen can be reached at: 577-9141. Also, spread the word that Al Guyant is willing to pick-up items that people are able to deliver before the sale. You can arrange for pick-up by calling 825-8844.  Note: as in previous years, unsold items will be donated locally to support local families.
  2. Volunteer!  We need volunteers to help set-up, sort, and price on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the sale, volunteers to work on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and also a take down crew to transport any unsold items to donation sites.  Sign up online to volunteer!
  3. Shop!  Stop by during the sale and support SPARC with your purchases.
  4. Spread the Word!  Please share this announcement and let your friends and neighbors know that proceeds will benefit theSPARC Local Action Fund 501(c)3, which goes to programs like SnackSmart to provide snacks to hungry kids in Sun Prairie Schools and help SPARC continue to hold community events like candidate forums and community conversations.

Thank you, Sun Prairie, for your continued and generous support of our efforts to connect our neighbors around local actions that move our community forward!

Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC)
Heather DuBois Bourenane (608)

Join our community on facebook and follow us on Twitter @PrairieAction.

South Central Grassroots Alliance

Progressive grassroots groups exist in communities all around Wisconsin, but nowhere more than in the Second Congressional District, an area gerrymandered after the 2010 census to concentrate most of Wisconsin’s progressives in one place, with a Janesville carve-out to put Paul Ryan’s house in the 1st. We won’t stop working for better redistricting, but as long as we’ve got it, we might as well make the best of this progressive hot spot.

So let’s power up the progressive grassroots in Wisconsin’s second most solidly progressive district. (Hats off to Milwaukee’s Fourth!)


Grassroots members active with WGN and with several of the district’s grassroots groups have long felt the need for a well-organized regional group to provide a supportive hub through which:
+ grassroots activists can strengthen and support progressives through the exchange of ideas, collaboration, and mutual support;
+ existing grassroots groups can publicize their events;
+  newly forming community grassroots groups can find support and connection; and
+  interested people not yet affiliated with a community group can follow progressive grassroots activity in their area.

So, several of us started meeting in late 2014 to form this regional organization. As of March 2015, the South Central Grassroots Alliance (Alliance) is still in the formative stages. John Stanley (DAP) and Karen McKim (GROW) have been organizing the planning meetings.

Any interested progressive grassroots activist who wants to help us make this dream a reality is welcome to read through the main documents we’re working on (linked above and below) and to join us at a planning meeting. To find out when the next meeting is, email us at
In short, we are envisioning an umbrella group transparently governed by a steering committee consisting of representatives sent by participating grassroots groups. Activities of the Alliance will depend on what the Steering Committee decides, but could include:

  • a website of our own, and a Facebook page that will contain information about the progressive grassroots movement in the Second Congressional District;
  • a continuous opportunity for interested people (candidates, media, citizens looking for civic involvement) to contact the Alliance to be put in touch with existing grassroots groups;
  • a notifications network (email? MailChimp? Twitter? we don’t know yet…) onto which individuals or groups can sign up to be notified of developments and events in area grassroots groups;
  • a sharing/lending library of resources often useful to grassroots groups, such as a digital projector or a button-making machine, and a skills bank of progressive grassroots activists who are willing and able to share specialized skills such as legal, web, or graphic design;
  • organizing and sponsoring regional training sessions in organizing and civic-action skills; and
  • any other activities that participating grassroots groups believe could help to grow and strengthen the progressive grassroots movement.

Some have asked how the Alliance will differ from the long-established Progressive Partners, which organizes informal quarterly gatherings of grassroots groups and their progressive allies. The Alliance will support Progressive Partners in continuing these quarterly gatherings. But where Progressive Partners cherishes its informality and organic leaderless style, the Alliance will be much more organized with a continuous presence on the Internet; a clearly identified steering committee and officers so that activities can be organized and people can know who to contact with issues or suggestions; and written bylaws that will enable people who have not been regular participants to understand how decisions are made and to participate if they wish. Where Progressive Partners cherishes its independence, the Alliance will be clearly and actively affiliated with the Wisconsin Grassroots Network, will send a representative to participate in WGN governance, and will work with WGN in its efforts to create and support new grassroots groups around the state.

Again, please contact us at (at least until we get our own email account) with any questions or suggestions; if you want to know when and where the planning committee will next meet; or if you’d like us to come meet with your grassroots group to discuss the plans and get your input.