Monthly Archives: December 2015

Wonder whether to help out next time you’re invited to a sign-making party? Science has the answer!

(W)e tested the effects of lawn signs by planting them in randomly selected voting precincts. Electoral results pooled over all four studies suggest that signs increased advertising candidates’ vote shares. Results also provide some evidence that the effects of lawn signs spill over into adjacent untreated voting precincts.”
On average, lawn signs increased the candidate’s vote share by 1.7 percentage points.SignsDontVote

Our values and the fight for America’s soul

One set of values “pits winners and losers against each other in a race for the American Dream, while the other wonders what might be possible if we work together to … create a culture of mutual respect.” Our job: Spread that second set.


Bill Moyers & Company posted a wonderful, right-on-the-mark statement of our values today, by Harry Boyte. It’s worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:

Since the beginning, two narratives have warred for the soul of America.
One is the “We’re Number One” America, in which the American Dream is a competition with few winners and others who bask in their reflected glory. This is the America of land grabs, robber barons and get-rich-quick schemes.
The alternative is the story of democracy in which America is a place of cooperative endeavor where people form associations, build schools, congregations, libraries and towns and fight for “liberty and justice for all.”

Free Movies on DVD for your grassroots group

One of the services that the Alliance provides for participating grassroots groups is a lending exchange of resources and skills among the participating grassroots groups. Today, we’re highlighting the Grassroots Organization of Waunakee’s (GROW) library of DVD documentaries, which they are making available on loan through the Alliance.


Among the titles:

Schedule one of these movies for your community, and for a really special evening, invite an expert speaker from the UW or other local organization.

To arrange to borrow one or more of these DVDs for a showing in your community, or to ask about a movie that is not on the list above (I just got tired of typing!) contact the Alliance at 

Tues. 7-8:30 – Pro/Con discussion of Iran nuclear deal. Hone your political conversation skills!

Talking politics with our friends and neighbors is one of the best ways we can counter the influence of paid political speech. But if  you’re like most of us, you don’t get much chance to practice your political conversation skills face-to-face with people who don’t already agree with you.  Reach Out Wisconsin is a citizens’ group dedicated to providing opportunities for people with differing views to get together, hear each other out, and talk politics in challenging but constructive ways. Each month, speakers with differing points of view on a political topic of current interest explain their views, and attendees break up into small groups to discuss.

On Tuesday night, Dec. 8, 7-8:30 PM Reach Out Wisconsin is organizing a forum on the Iran Nuclear Deal at Kavanaugh’s Esquire Club, 1025 N. Sherman Ave. in Madison.  The speakers will be Jennifer Loewenstein, former UW Assoc. Director of Middle Eastern Studies and Zach Urisman, the Political Director of Badgers for Israel.


Admission is free, and you can order drinks and food, so the atmosphere is relaxed and casual. Come and try it out! Don’t expect to change anyone’s mind about anything (participants tend to know their own minds before they arrive), but do expect to gain a deeper understanding of why others believe what they do, and more confidence in  your own political conversation skills.



Oregon Open Mic: Justice for all? Discussion with Kloppenburg & Jorgensen

The Oregon Area Progressives are hosting State Supreme Court Candidate Joanne Kloppenburg and Representative Andy Jorgensen at their Open Mic night at the Firefly Coffeehouse, 6-8 PM, at 114 North Main Street in Oregon.

Music by Larry Thelen; lively discussion by you and  your fellow citizens!
Oh, and bring a donation for the food pantry!


Hooray for Mount Horeb! THIS is how to deal with the haters.

Last night’s community reading of I Am Jazz, in support of a transgender student in Mount Horeb was a smashing success. Between 500-600 people made it a standing room only event at the Mount Horeb Public Library.

The reading was organized by a community parent who, like most of us, was appalled that a Florida “Christian litigation” organization successfully bullied, with the threat of a lawsuit, the Mount Horeb School District into cancelling the reading they had planned.



Real community values on display in Mount Horeb: Wednesday AM and PM

Recently a Florida-based  “Christian nonprofit litigation” organization, the Liberty Counsel,  threatened to sue the Mount Horeb school district if it carried out its plan to read the children’s book, I Am Jazz, to ease one of its student’s social transition in school. Not wanting to risk the expense, the school district cancelled the reading.

However, local community values are prevailing, and the people of Mt. Horeb have scheduled at least two other readings on Wednesday, December 2, of the true account of Jazz Jenning’s experiences as a transgender child.


A reading by the Mount Horeb High School’s Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) will begin at 7:35 a.m. at the school’s flagpole. The other, hosted by parent Amy Lyle, is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Mount Horeb Library.