Monthly Archives: February 2017

How to stay outraged without losing your mind

I don’t know if this article by blogger Mirah Curzer lists the four best ways to take care of ourselves in these hard political times, but her suggestions are darn good, and the whole topic is an important one.

If progressives are about anything, we’re about strengthening community and working together for the common good.  That taking-care must start with ourselves individually and with the others who are fighting the good fight with us. Despair and burnout are enemies as real and dangerous as Scott Walker and Dianne Hendricks.

Curzer has four suggestions, all of which seem sensible to me.

  1. Don’t get used to Trump or his Administration. Don’t dwell on every new day’s new outrage. We know he’s bad; we know he’s up to no good. You don’t need to read the news every day or memorize every detail of every outrage.
  2. Focus your energy on one or two issues. Don’t actively undermine others’ passions or insist that everyone share  yours. But do develop a focused area of expertise where you can stay on top of the issues, understand the short- and long-term strategy and track progress.
  3. Make activism fun. Take time to make friends. Laugh, sing, chat, and flirt while you’re marching or whatever. I’ll add: and allow activism to be fun for others. I’ve been in too many gatherings where someone’s  need for commiseration has led them to do nothing but recite an endless inventory of Walker’s or Trump’s outrages, building more despair that camaraderie.
  4. Take care of the basics. Pace yourself. Get enough sleep and exercise. Take grapes, not doughnuts, for meeting snacks.

Activists’ strategy session Monday, 6PM: Community rights

Paul Cienfuegos, a Portland, OR, based workshop leader, lecturer, and writer will be giving a short introduction to the topic of community rights on Monday,  Feb. 27 at the Jefferson Square Clubhouse, 717 DeForest St, DeForest, WI 53532.

Community Rights is a national movement of local level cultural and legal strategy for communities, both conservative and progressive. Its purpose is to rein in corporate power and return political power to the people and their communities.

The program will begin at 6 PM and will be preceded by a potluck supper at 5:30. If you come to the potluck, please bring a dish to pass. Utensils and beverages will be provided.

The DeForest Grassroots group will be accepting donations to defer their cost of bringing Paul to our area.



Rally for Healthcare Justice- Saturday, 11:30, Capitol Square

The current Republican White House and Congress are threatening to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to do further damage to Medicare and Medicaid.  If the Republicans have their way, every social safety net now existing will be looted.  We need to let our representatives know that America is better than this. We are capable of doing what every other developed nation does: provide access to health care for everyone.  

Meet at the NW corner of the Square at 11:30 AM, and we will march around the square.  At 1:00 PM, join the Capitol Pink Out Event inside the Capitol for speeches on the health care issue.  Bring a poster and be ready to share your story regarding access to healthcare!

Rally for Healthcare Justice
WHERE: Meet at the NW Corner of Capitol Square (2 East Main Street, Madison, WI 53703)
WHEN: Saturday, February 25th, at 11:30 AM

Make a phone call, send a postcard this week: WI Student Debt

One Wisconsin Now organizes weekly actions to fight back and advance a progressive agenda. This week, they’re encouraging progressives to contact state legislators in support of the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act.  This bill, introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen and Rep. Cory Mason, creates a state authority to help Wisconsin student loan borrowers refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage. The bill would also provide consumers with more information and expand an existing state higher education tax deduction to include student loan debt payments.

Points  you can make when you call or send a postcard to your state senator and assembly representative include:

  • Right now there are nearly one million Wisconsin borrowers with federal student loans that total roughly $19 billion. It makes no sense that under current law, they can’t refinance these federal student loans with the federal government.
  • These borrowers took on the personal responsibility to pay for their education and they worked hard to get it. They’re not asking for a bailout, but they ought to be treated fairly. Being able to refinance student loans, just like you can with a mortgage, means borrowers can save money with lower interest rates. And that means more new business start-ups, more families saving for their children’s education or retirement and more money being spent in our economy.
  • The Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act is a state-based plan that could help both student loan borrowers and our state economy. So we’re asking you to call, write or email your state legislator and urge them to support the it.

Click here for your legislators’ contact information.


Meet Candidates for Dane County Judge – McFarland, Sat. 18th, 9:30 AM

The best way to choose the candidate who will get your vote is to meet them side by side, and ask them the same questions. Active McFarland will host just such a forum on Saturday morning, February 18th, for the two candidates for Dane County Circuit Court judge, Jill Karofsky and Marilyn Townsend.

Jill Karofsky, left, and Marilyn Townsend, right, are candidates for Dane County Circuit Judge and will appear at a forum hosted by Active McFarland on Feb. 18.

The event will be held at the Skaalen Village Club House at 6055 Perrot Place in McFarland. Coffee and pastry will be served at 9:30 am, and the candidates will speak from 10:00-11:00 am, including a Q&A period.

Circuit judge is a state position, serving at the county level, and handles a wide range of cases, from misdemeanors and small claims, all the way up to large felony cases and major civil lawsuits, including those that protect our freedoms and rights from government and big business.

Isthmus did a small profile of the two candidates. Among other differences, it seems, Karofsky has more experience in criminal law, as a prosecutor and victims’ advocate, while Townsend has more experience in labor law and employment rights.


A week of love for our public schools – Feb 14-17

I love my public school WEEK OF ACTION

Show your teachers, community, elected officials and decision makers why you love your public school!  Click here to download a printable statewide action guide.

WHO:    All Wisconsin parents, educators, & community members who support and appreciate public schools
WHEN:     February 13-17, 2017 – with special focus on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14
WHERE: Every school district in Wisconsin
WHAT: A statewide effort to send the message “I love my public school!”
WHY:     Because strong public schools are the heart of our communities, and we want to spread the love!
HOW:     It’s easy! Just follow these four simple steps:

  1. BE THE LOVE. Hold one or more of the following events (or think of your own!) from Feb. 13-17
    • Valentines: Send Valentine’s to the educators and staff in your school. Don’t forget administrators and your district office! Make a party of it by holding card-making parties with parent groups, student orgs, and other local teams. KEEP IT SIMPLE. The message is: I LOVE MY PUBLIC SCHOOL because….
    • Welcome Walks: Welcome staff and students to school (ideally on the morning of Valentine’s day but whenever works for your team/s) by lining the street/sidewalk with signs telling them why you love your local schools.
    • Special Events: invite speakers or hold a party to honor local difference-makers in your schools
    • Media Message: Write a letter to the editor or op-ed for your local paper sharing why you love your schools
    • Take a selfie with the I   MY PUBLIC SCHOOL BECAUSE…sign on the back of this form. Share on social media.
    • Let local and state-level decision makers know you care!  When decision-makers see us making public schools a priority, they’ll know we want them to make public schools a priority, too. Let your legislators and local leaders know WHY you love your public school. Send your legislators a Valentine (or better yet, deliver one in person!), sharing the reasons why you love your public schools.
    • SPECIAL DELIVERY EVENT! Let decision makers know how much YOUR community loves its public schools!
      JOIN US ON MON. FEB. 13 AT 12:30pm (after the WPEN meeting) on the Capitol steps (State Street entrance) to deliver Valentines to the Governor and our legislators as a group. RSVP here to join us.
    • Use #ILoveMyPublicSchool *and* #ILove_______PublicSchools [insert your city/district here] SHARE photos, reports, posts and testimonials on all social media platforms. Tag your district/teachers/staff and send the love out.
    Let us know your plan & tag us in your posts to get your actions on the map! Wisconsin Public Education Network will regularly update a love-map at to show where people around the state have been giving love to their public schools.  Facebook (@WisconsinNetwork) or Twitter (@WiscEdNetwork). Email:

Whatever your cause: Get the Money out of Politics – Feb 14th

Please join the folks of South Central Wisconsin United to Amend (UTA) on Tuesday, February 14th, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm for their regular meeting at Sequoya Library, 4340 Tokay Blvd, Madison (map). They have the best-run meetings you will find in any grassroots group, and great group of volunteers. The Democracy Reform Movement is growing and needs your help!


UTA promotes amending the US Constitution to overturn a series of judicial rulings. These rulings, the most notorious is Citizens United, gave ‘personhood’ rights to corporations and declared money to be a form of constitutionally protected free speech. These rulings make it impossible for We, the People, to write laws regulating money in politics, which makes it difficult, if not impossible to make our elected officials work for us.

Citizens around the state continue to demand an end to the corruption in our election system. Already this year, nine more communities will have the UTA referendum on their April ballots: The cities of Monona and Racine, the villages of Fox Crossing and Blue Mounds, plus the towns of Neshkoro, Crystal Lake, Caledonia, Blue Mounds and Jordan. There have already been 96 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, 2.7 million people (46% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 18 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 700 towns, villages, cities and counties.

UTA is working with state legislators to get AJR 8 and SJR 12 re-introduced into this year’s legislative agenda. Please check out their new Citizen Lobbying Guide and encourage your representatives to cosponsor these bills.

If you haven’t done so already, please add your name to the growing list of citizens who are taking a stand against corruption in our election system. Sign our petition.

School vouchers’ effects on public schools: Stoughton, Feb. 16

Since the early 1990’s, Wisconsin has spent more than $1 billion on school vouchers. Dr. Julie Mead, Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, UW-Madison, has researched how these vouchers  have affected school resources and enrollments, school district financing, and student outcomes. She will speak in Stoughton on Feb. 16, to help citizens, parents, and educators connect the dots to show how school choice, vouchers, and privatization are all part of the same strategy. The event is free and open to the public.  Sponsored by Active McFarland, Oregon Area Progressives, Stoughton Dems and Progressives, League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, Grandparents United for Madison Public Schools, and Wisconsin Public Education Network.

Remember the good stuff. It’s true.

Credit: Mary Ray Worley


Take care of yourself!

We’re all suffering from depression, grief, and frustration at the turn our beloved nation has taken. If we’re going to be able to help turn this around, we need to take care of our own spirits, and each others’. Here are some pointers.
Feel free to post other suggestions about how to bolster spirits and avoid burnout and despair.