Monthly Archives: November 2015

Even on Cyber Monday, you can buy local first!

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, it’s good to remember that our shopping dollars can bring cheer and holiday prosperity to our community as well as to our gift recipients. More than half of every dollar spent in a locally owned business stays right in our community, supporting local families, local causes, and the local tax base. Only about 10% of every dollar spent in a distantly-owned chain store stays in the community.
Dane Buy Local makes it easy to shop local, even on cyber Monday. Check out this listing of locally owned businesses that have selections available for online shoppers.

Strong legislative voice, Rep. Chris Taylor, in McFarland, Thurs. Dec 3, 7 PM

Assembly Representative Chris Taylor (D), Madison, is showing herself to be one of the strongest, clearest voices for community values in the Wisconsin legislature. Active McFarland will host a discussion with Rep. Taylor in the community room of the E.D. Locke Public Library, 5920 Milwaukee St., in McFarland, at 7 PM on Thursday, December 3.

Come to hear her insight on current issues and to chat!


Be conscious of our treasures; we have so many! Happy Thanksgiving!

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton WilderThanksgiving

Award-winning documentary, Gerrymandering, Sunday night in Waunakee

Sunday night, 6PM–The Grassroots Organization of Waunakee is hosting a free showing of the award-winning documentary, Gerrymandering. We’ve got a serious fight coming to get redistricting reform in Wisconsin before 2020–a critical step in restoring our right to self-government. The information in this movie will provide us with good understanding and arguments for our letters to the editor, candidate’s forum questions, etc.

Please join us for this important movie and lively discussion on Sunday, November 22, 6PM, at the EMS Community Room at 201 North Klein in Waunakee.


Open records effort – Political Cafe in McFarland – Saturday morning

Active McFarland member Sheila Plotkin will be describing the active open-records project she’s spearheading, over coffee at 9:30 AM this Saturday, Nov. 21 in the Skaalen Village Clubhouse, 6055 Perrot Pl.

The project is focused on getting constituent emails from Republican legislators who voted to abolish the nonpartisan GAB and gut our campaign-finance laws.


These emails will provide valuable data to demonstrate the extreme unresponsiveness of the legislators to their constituents’ wishes and provide information that will be valuable the next time they stand for election.

Come to discuss what’s going on and learn how you can help!




Income Inequality: What You Can Do – Saturday AM, UW Union South

The Madison Institute has invited distinguished speakers Lydia Zepeda and Barbara Lawton to participate in a Progressive Roundtable Discussion of income inequality and what we can do about it. All interested members of the public are invited to participate, Saturday morning November 14, beginning at 9:30 AM at UW Union South.  No admission will be charged; it’s sure to be a lively and enlightening discussion.


Professor Zepeda is an internationally renowned expert on local and organic foods and the labor issues related to food production and distribution. Lawton is Wisconsin’s former lieutenant governor.

Be prepared: What if anomalies appear in Wisconsin’s 2016 voting-machine output?

Like their counterparts in Wisconsin, elections officials in Ohio and Kentucky  declare election results final without verifying the accuracy of electronically tabulated vote counts. In Wisconsin, poll workers reliably check that the machines counted the right number of ballots to make sure we voters didn’t stuff extra ballots into the machines, but no one checks whether the computers counted our votes correctly–even sometimes when the output looks funky. (There is no other computer-dependent official or manager who does not have some routine way to notice when and if his or her computer output is incorrect. We just don’t tolerate that–except in elections.)

Following last week’s elections, questions are swirling around the Kentucky governor’s race, in which a Tea Party candidate who was behind in the polls beat the incumbent Attorney General by 9 percentage points for the Governor’s seat. According to Fox News, the Tea Party candidate “never held public office…was shunned by the state’s Republican political establishment when he challenged McConnell in the 2014 Senate primary…never took any meaningful steps to repair those relationships…refused assistance from party officials…was mostly self-funded, and did not court influential donors.” Democrats running for other statewide offices won their races, indicating that the voting machines counted votes for a Tea Party governor from tens of thousands of the same ballots from which they counted Democratic votes for Attorney General and Secretary of State. It’s possible, but it’s the sort of anomaly that would routinely be questioned, investigated, and resolved if the computers doing the tabulating were anything other than voting machines.

In Ohio, as explained at this link, the Secretary of State reported wildly fluctuating referendum results during the evening, including some instances of vote totals going down as more precincts reported in.  Again, it’s possible that an innocent and ultimately inconsequential glitch caused the suspicious results, but why should voters have to guess or take the word of elections officials that it was ‘just a glitch’? It’s the sort of curious circumstance that would surely be looked into and explained in any computer-dependent activity other than an election. Unfortunately,  we will never know because in Ohio, like in Wisconsin, they  don’t investigate or resolve voting-machine output anomalies when the electronically tabulations put the vote totals outside a small recount margin.

But in Wisconsin we could. Our state law mandates a paper record of every ballot; our poll workers reliably preserve a complete and accurate record of our votes; and our county boards of canvass are tasked by statute to attest that the results are ‘complete and true.’

Before the critical elections in late 2016, there is still time to work with our county clerks and county boards of canvass to make sure they understand the issues and are ready to notice any anomalies and take action to resolve them before they certify election results as final. Find our more by visiting this website, or by scheduling an Election Integrity Road Show for your community group.



Selma film & discussion, with judge candidate – Tonight at the Oregon Firefly Coffeehouse

Oregon Area Progressives is hosting a Community Open Mic tonight, Friday November 6, 2015 from 6-8:00 PM at Firefly Coffeehouse at 114 N Main St, Oregon, Wisconsin 53575.


Join the casual gathering for the 40-minute educational film, Selma-Bridge to the Ballot, and a discussion regarding voting and racial equality with special guest Everett Mitchell, candidate for Dane County Circuit Court Judge.