HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Thursday, November 22, 2012


In the year 1959, I was a senior at Menomonie High School in Dunn County. My three brothers and I, farm kids all, begged and cajoled our dad into getting our first television set, a black and white with rabbit ears antenna.

Before the purchase of that first television set, the four boys would gather around the radio on Sunday afternoons after church and listen to whatever game was being carried that was within our reach.

We would mostly hope that we could get a broadcast of the Baltimore Colts games because Baltimore had this big fullback named Alan Ameche who had played for the Wisconsin Badgers and we remembered his scoring heroics in "the greatest game" played on December 28, 1958, against the New York Giants - the first nation-wide televised NFL game that Baltimore won in another first, an overtime victory!

What made it all the more special for us Badger fans is that Alan "the horse" Ameche scored the winning touchdown from one yard out. So in 1959, we were Baltimore Colts fans. But the dramatic "greatest game" was our strongest talking point when we begged dad to get a TV. We didn't want to not SEE the next "greatest game"!

And then a miracle happened in little Green Bay, Wisconsin. A coach named Vince Lombardi was hired. He made us quickly forget about the Colts. The highlight of my senior year was when Lombardi sent many of his players out to the hinterlands of Wisconsin to speak to high school students. Menomonie High School was assigned to one of Lombardi's ends, Gary Knfelc, who gave a very entertaining and in-depth look at what was happening under the new coach.

We were hooked! From then on, every Sunday after Mass, we would rush home and turn on the TV, to watch the Green Bay Packers and maybe get a glimpse of Gary Knafelc.

Every Thanksgiving brought with it the hard-fought games against the arch enemy Detroit Lions - dinner was planned around the game. And so it has been ever since. I still miss the loss of that traditional Packer/Lion Turkey Day game. And Ray Scott.


I am thankful for many things this morning. I am thankful to have found Kim Wilson at a time in my life when my psyche was in shambles and she stood by me while I stumbled back, patiently giving me the time and the room to become whole. For that I am thankful, not just for today but for every day she continues to be my life's partner and I hers.

I am thankful for my two sons, Jon and David, both who have grown to be good, caring men of great talent and vision. I am thankful that even though they both live a long ways away from me, always make an effort to stay in touch with me and keep me abreast of what is happening in their lives.

I am thankful for all the good that was instilled in me by both my parents, Jack and Alice. Not a day goes by that I don't find myself doing something that reminds me of one or both. To my father, I am thankful especially for showing me that only through hard work does one accomplish goals. To my mother, I am especially thankful for teaching me to be accepting of all my fellow beings, black, white, red, yellow, gay, straight - to know that all people of different cultures are to be treated with deep respect and with a sense of justice.

I am thankful also for my three brothers, all of whom I love very deeply. I marvel at how different yet alike all four of us are, proud of the fact that all of us were educators at one time in our lives, and that my three brothers also learned the same values that I did from our parents.

I am thankful for my sister-in-law Kristi, who through example, has taught me the concept of self-control in all endeavors. She has exhibited a keen ability to be able to analyze any and all facets of her own life and in so doing has not only helped herself to a better life, but has served as a great example for me.

I am thankful for my close friends. Wil Denson has long been a mentor and pillar of strength for me. I am very thankful that my friend Doug Cox still loves me in spite of our political differences. Doug is the most generous and kind person I know, even though he pretends that this is not so. I am thankful that he was able to weather the terribly long storm of poor health that he went through the last couple of years and that the "old" Doug is back! I am thankful for every minute that we get to spend together!

I am thankful that I have survived heart surgery and several motorcycle accidents. By rights, I should be long gone by now!

Finally, I am thankful that I am still able to be an entertainer, whether it be making people laugh after dinner at conventions, or going into people's homes and making my home made pizzas for a party, or taking my guitar into senior centers and connecting with them through my music - all are things that make my life worthwhile and give me a sense of purpose.

Monday, October 29, 2012



I'm sitting at my computer this morning wondering if I really want to send this out to all of you, but I REALLY feel compelled to do something, so please bear with me a moment.....

We have all been bombarded with ads, emails, phone calls, etc. during the past month(s) regarding the upcoming election. Well, I've been able to handle all this until this week...now I'm just plain angry! Fifty years ago, many of you (myself included) were working for equal rights for women in the work place and in our personal lives. We've fought that battle, and now politicians are coming out of the woodwork making statements like "if a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, God must have intended that and that child is "A GIFT FROM GOD!" (Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock) Makes me wonder if I stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone!

Now, I'm a Christian and I've wavered at times in my life on the issue of abortion, but these politicians are putting me over the edge! I don't believe any rapist is an ambassador of the Almighty! This has gone beyond the issue of whether we feel we are Republican or Democrat. In my opinion, this is just plain extreme. Rape is rape! I believe
that a woman's decisions regarding her health and reproductive issues should only have to be discussed and decided between her and her doctor and her family. I believe many of you feel the same way.

The comments that we are hearing from MANY far-right political candidates are not fantasy. This is truly how they feel...ALL ABORTIONS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL, even in the case of possible death of the mother. You can fact check this one: Gov. Romney stated he would be "delighted" to sign a bill making all abortions illegal in this country. (This is what he said earlier in the campaign...recent statements he has made are less clear.) Now, I'm past the age where I have to personally worry about this issue, but what about our daughters, our granddaughters. I don't have any but if I did, I'd want them to have the freedom to make intelligent choices about their own bodies. We need to think in terms of the future and the generations of women to come.

My dear women friends, we have a very serious choice to make in nine days. I know I will be voting for candidates who understand that women can make intelligent choices, and who appreciate that women deserve equal pay for equal work. President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act which addresses that very issue. I'm afraid we have a lot to lose if we don't make our voices heard. Please share this with other female friends (and males, too) if you like.

Thanks for taking the time to read this....I appreciate all of you! Please vote on Nov. 6!

Most sincerely,


Saturday, October 27, 2012


Dear Red States:

We're ticked off at your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we've decided we're leaving.
We in New York intend to form our own country and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast.

We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).

To sum up briefly:
You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the former slave states.

We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren. You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.

We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs.

You get Alabama.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

We're taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico.


A blue-stater.


BOB CESCA: Republicans Filibuster Everything, Romney Blames Obama for Not Working With Congress

I don't know whether to be brutally outraged about the latest Romney ad or to congratulate the Republicans on an outstanding execution of political obstruction and subsequent projection. For now, let's go with brutally outraged.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously told the National Journal, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Not economic growth, jobs, healthcare or military strength. A failed Obama presidency was the primary -- and I would argue the only goal of the last two Republican congresses.

And so the Republicans proceeded to rack up the highest number of filibusters in American history. During the president's first two years in office, the 111th Congress, there were 137 cloture motions filed to end Republican filibusters. During the president's second two years, the 112th Congress, there were 109 motions filed to end Republican filibusters and we still have a few more months to go. 246 total cloture motions. Compare this to George W. Bush's first term when there were a total of 133 cloture motions filed. Not even a handful of "sensible" Republicans had the guts to break ranks and vote with the Democrats. Meanwhile, on the House side, the Republican majority has voted in near-lockstep against almost everything.
What bills have the Republicans filibustered?

Here's an astonishing one. The Republicans filibustered the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act -- basically, healthcare for 9/11 heroes. Every Republican senator voted to filibuster this bill. I suppose the Republicans are only interested in 9/11 heroes when they're used as political props.

On the House side, every single Republican, including Paul Ryan, voted against the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, which forces Congress to pay for new legislation through either budget cuts or revenue increases.

You'd think that by helping to pass these bills, Republicans could boast a solid record on fiscal responsibility, job creation, veterans affairs, anti-terrorism, senior citizens and, hell, 9/11 workers. Instead, they blocked all of it. Jobs for military veterans, tax cuts for small businesses -- you name it. Why? So President Obama and the Democrats could be accused of failure.

And it's working.

To name a few more:

H.R. 12 - Paycheck Fairness Act
H.R. 448 -- Elder Abuse Victims Act
H.R. 466 - Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
H.R. 515 - Radioactive Import Deterrence Act
H.R. 549 -- National Bombing Prevention Act
H.R. 577 - Vision Care for Kids Act
H.R. 626 - Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act
H.R. 1029 - Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act
H.R. 1168 -- Veterans Retraining Act
H.R. 1171 - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
H.R. 1293 -- Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
H.R. 1429 -- Stop AIDS in Prison Act
H.R.5281 -- DREAM Act
S.3985 -- Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
S.3816 -- Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
S.3369 -- A bill to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities
S.2237 -- Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act
S.2343 -- Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act
S.1660 -- American Jobs Act of 2011
S.3457 -- Veterans Jobs Corps Act

Monday, October 15, 2012


Every autumn, about the beginning of September, brings the annual influx of my little furry white-bellied friends, the deer
mouse, carrier of such things as the Hanta-virus, which it turns out, is carried in their urine and feces.

It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings.

Fortunately it cannot be spread between humans.

Rodents carrying the hantivirus have been found in many U.S. National Parks, but most people who are exposed to the virus have come in contact with rodent droppings in their own homes.

Early symptoms are similar to the flu and include chills, fever, and muscle aches.

Without going further into the very gory details, suffice to say that if severe enough, it can lead to your demise.

It's enough to make you go out and invest in a very large cat!

Instead, every Fall, here at my office, out come the good old reliable "Victor" mouse traps which I bait with either a very fragrant cheese or some thick peanut butter.

I then make the chart you see at the top of this post and the extermination, the war of attrition begins.

Here it is, the middle of October, and already I have 40 kills!  Yesterday I scored the daily double, arriving to find two traps with victims attached.

Okay.  I seem to have this under control.  But  this early morning as I made my way up the back steps to the office a familiar sickening smell filled my nostrils:  SKUNK!

For several years I had wood chucks that had burrowed under the foundation near the back of the place, nested and raised their young.

Although I know they can be destructive, I decided to try to live in peaceful coexistence and hope that they would move on, which they did.

But now I have at least one skunk that has decided that the former wood chuck apartment is just dandy for a long winter's nap.

This is intolerable.  The older I get the more difficult it is for me to destroy the life of any living entity, but come next Spring my problems will only multiply as the skunks do what comes naturally.

So today when my friend Steve (Roy) Rogers stopped in for a brief visit, we discussed a strategy.

Steve has dealt with skunks before so he has a handle on what to do.  We will live trap next week, cover the caged quarry with a black garbage bag to keep from being sprayed, take it out to the woods behind the house and there will be a 16 gauge execution.

It is not something I savor, but it is a must do

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Today I want to share an e mail I received from my "Cousin-in-law" who lives down in Jeb Bush country. I share it because I feel there is no way I could have said it any better!

My Darling Cousins:

I could point to emerging articles that cite a failure to communicate between the State Dept. and the White House on embassy security in Libya, so maybe Joe Biden was correct to say that they weren't told, if "they" are the White House. (You know what, I HATE parsing, but I just did it. Sheesh!)

I ask myself what is worse; the failure of Solyndra or the Keystone Pipeline? Yep, since 96% of the green energy initiative has been successful, I guess I'll go green.

Fact checkers are quick to weigh in on every moment of this presidential campaign, but it is only the Romney ticket that has said that they will not let fact checkers dictate what they say. I'd rather be caught in an error than state out right that I plan to ignore facts. In the end we have to make up our own minds.

It is clear that the Obama administration badly mishandled communications regarding the Benghazi attack; a terrible oversight. Still it was the Republican controlled House that blocked additional spending for embassy security throughout the Middle East. So what's a mother to do? You can't win for losing.

It's all one big adventure in Post Truth Politics in the U.S. big leagues. The Obama administration makes mistakes, and the Romney ticket dissembles and refuses to disclose.

Note from the Vikki World: The emerging mistake by the Obama administration in Benghazi doesn't even approach Bush's invasion of Iraq (and our personal privacy.) Bill Clinton could fuck Shirley Temple with a cigar on national television and his lies to the the American People don't come close to Richard Nixon's; in impact or in substance. I have come to loathe the GOP and have outright disliked every presidential candidate it's fielded throughout my life as a voter.

For me the deciding factor in this election are the upcoming Supreme Court nominations and the effect they will have on the systematic gutting of the right to a safe, legal abortion and access to low cost women's healthcare in the wake of the the primarily Republican "Pro-Life" movement. (You may well ask, exactly whose Life is it it that they are Pro?) I would not consider voting for a ticket that wants to see Roe vs. Wade overturned, nor one that treats women health as the GOP does. Can you say trans-vaginal ultrasound?

My other issue is that I have experienced adequate proof that trickle down economics does not work, and I am not signing up for more of that.

Finally it is only government intervention that can rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. There is no other source that has the money.

Something else I revile myself for saying but I have to, since it is the truth. I would NEVER vote for a Mormon. Period. Make no mistake. Their church calls the shots, period, and Mitt is devout. Consider the L.D.S. Church's overthrow of Prop. 8 in California which was so brilliantly (and Pulitzer-prize winningly) unmasked. Any church that requires financial statements from its members (apparently for purposes of tithing which is the key to getting "Temple Recommends") and then uses that information to send out letters saying "You can afford to pay $5,921.45 to overturn marriage equality," is not an organization I would care to see represented in the halls of power; let alone one of their members who may have turned around and mailed in a check.

I value my principles and I know which party reflects them. I refuse to be dissuaded from supporting what I think is just simply because politicians twist facts

I know where I stand. Everyone else may feel free to stand wherever they like. ;)

My love to you all.


Monday, September 24, 2012


We recently received two nice, shiny fliers from two organizations.  The first, from "Citizens For a Strong America" (read Koch Brothers money)attacking out of office Jeff Smith and the other from "60 Plus Association", Alexandria, VA. (read Karl Rove) inviting us to a "Healthcare Town Hall Meeting.

The flyer aimed at Jeff Smith had a not-so-subtle tone:  "another rotten idea for Wisconsin".

The first thing that caught my attention was the high quality card stock the flyer was printed on, the fact that it was printed on both sides, and how very small the type was for the sources  listed.

So I googled The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.  One listing said it is a "non-partisan, non-profit think tank" but it turns out it is not so "non-partisan" as it is funded by none other than the very wealthy Koch Brothers.

The flyer lists six unsubstantiated points, but, hey!  It is on such nice paper!  and in color, too!

The other flyer, inviting us to the town hall meeting advertises free food and refreshments, free t-shirts and prizes, among them a new Kindle Fire!

Again, heavy shiny card stock, two sides.  Set me to wondering how many of the 47% could actually have used this money beneficially.

My point is this:  Don't be dazzled by shiny objects and unsubstantiated claims.  Use the brains God gave you and do a little research!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Every autumn, about the beginning of September, brings the annual influx of my little furry white-bellied friends, the deer
mouse, carrier of such things as the Hanta-virus, which it turns out, is carried in their urine and feces.

It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings.

Fortunately it cannot be spread between humans.

Rodents carrying the hantivirus have been found in many U.S. National Parks, but most people who are exposed to the virus have come in contact with rodent droppings in their own homes.

Early symptoms are similar to the flu and include chills, fever, and muscle aches.

Without going further into the very gory details, suffice to say that if severe enough, it can lead to your demise.

It's enough to make you go out and invest in a very large cat!

Instead, every Fall, here at my office, out come the good old reliable "Victor" mouse traps which I bait with either a very fragrant cheese or some thick peanut butter.

I then make the chart you see at the top of this post and the extermination, the war of attrition begins.

Here it is, the middle of October, and already I have 40 kills!  Yesterday I scored the daily double, arriving to find two traps with victims attached.

Okay.  I seem to have this under control.  But  this early morning as I made my way up the back steps to the office a familiar sickening smell filled my nostrils:  SKUNK!

For several years I had wood chucks that had burrowed under the foundation near the back of the place, nested and raised their young.

Although I know they can be destructive, I decided to try to live in peaceful coexistence and hope that they would move on, which they did.

But now I have at least one skunk that has decided that the former wood chuck apartment is just dandy for a long winter's nap.

This is intolerable.  The older I get the more difficult it is for me to destroy the life of any living entity, but come next Spring my problems will only multiply as the skunks do what comes naturally.

So today when my friend Steve (Roy) Rogers stopped in for a brief visit, we discussed a strategy.

Steve has dealt with skunks before so he has a handle on what to do.  We will live trap next week, cover the caged quarry with a black garbage bag to keep from being sprayed, take it out to the woods behind the house and there will be a 16 gauge execution.

It is not something I savor, but it is a must do

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Hard to believe that it has been over two months since my last entry and I would suppose that the few readers I may have garnered in the past have long since given up on me. I guess I just didn't have that much to write about. Until yesterday. Yesterday I had to run into town because I was once again having difficulty getting one of my prescriptions filled due to a SNAFU between my doctor and my druggist. Before I left the house, I hooked my cell phone (in it's relatively new pouch with a plastic clip on the back for that purpose) to the lip of my left front pocket. Previously I had been carrying it without a case but it had an annoying habit of taking pictures of the inside of my pocket, and occasionally I would hear this little voice saying "please say the name of the person you are calling". Very disconcerting. Anyway, I first stopped at Walgreen's to see if my prescription had at last been filled and of course it had not, so I proceeded to drive across town to the clinic and pick up the prescription in person. I returned to Walgreen's to have it filled and since I knew it would ttake a while, I decided to use that time to grocery shop at the nearby MEGA foods supermarket. After I finished getting what I needed to make supper, I returned to Walgreen's and picked up my prescription at the drive up window, then headed back out here. As I was unloading groceries I looked down at my left pocket and -- no phone. Already starting to panic (I'm good at the early panic) I rushed out to the car thinking to myself" "Please God, let me have taken it off and put in on the passenger seat." No such luck. So I proceeded to search the car, under the seats, even in the back seat. Isn't it weird how when you lose something you look in places that you know the item could never be? So I went in the house, told Kim that I had lost my phone and that I was going back into town to retrace my steps. As I drove into town I mulled over where I had been and when I had last seen the phone. I remembered that I still had it when I left the clinic because I thought about calling Kim to complain about the whole prescription thing so I knew that was one less place I had to go. My first stop was back at Walgreen's because when I had taken the prescription for filling, I actually went into the building. I asked whether anyone had turned in a cell phone in a black case with a velcro latch and the answer, of course, was no. So I went down the road to MEGA foods and went to the service desk and asked the same question and got the same response. I decided I would canvass the entire store in hopes of -- to no avail. As I went past the service desk something (luckily) told me to ask the girls to give me a minute to get back to my car and then dial my cell number. I got into my car and waited but no phone ring. I started leaving the lot and suddenly I hear my phone ringing! And it's close! I pull over, swing the driver's door open and get down on my haunches trying to find where the sound is coming from. The ringing continues for a while, then stops. I rush back into the store with my good and bad news: Yes, the phone is in my car- no, I can't find it. I ask them to give me a minute and then dial the number again. Back in the vehicle and the ringing starts and it is definitely right on the drivers side of the car. I can even feel the vibrations when it rings but I'll be damned if I can locate the phone! The girls keep dialing and I keep looking, getting more frustrated by the minute - I mean, IT'S RIGHT HERE SOMEWHERE! Then something makes me look up the side of the seat instead of down - and there, neatly velcroed around the seat belt (as if I put it there myself) is my ringing phone. Now how weird is that???????? I went in the store, phone in hand and thanked my helpers. They, too, were stunned with the story. Don't ask me how this happened. I have no idea. I guess when I released the seat belt upon arriving home, it somehow pulled the phone and case off my pocket, forcing itself between the velcro and the case and when it reached its pinnacle, the force of it closed the velcro. TOO WEIRD!!!! ________________________________________________ As long as I am finally writing again, here is some catch up on a few things. Since I last wrote, I went looking for gainful employment by day. I applied as a courtesy driver at all the Eau Claire dealerships with no luck, then went out to Hallie and asked to fill out an application at the Toyota dealership. Katie Shumacher, the wonderful woman who makes the place run, hired me on the spot. Not as a courtesy driver, but as a what I call "car wrangler". Let's say that there's a Toyota dealership in Rochester, MN that needs a Venza of a color they don't have and Markquart has one and needs a Toyota Pathfinder in exchange. That's where I come in. I take the Markquart auto to the other dealership, fill out paperwork, and return in the vehicle needed back at Hallie. It has been fun work so far - but I am still screwing up on paperwork once in a while and this week I didn't get called to drive at all so I am worried that maybe I have worn out my welcome. My other gainful employment is due to my wife Kim who I now refer to as my "Nursing Home Agent". She takes entire afternoons to call al the area facilities and gets me what money she can and it has been both fun and a godsend. In fact, I am going over to Chippewa Falls this afternoon to do a show.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


In a move befitting his style, earlier this week Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker, with absolutely no advance warning, repealed the Wisconsin Equal Pay Law, on the books since 2009, because "money is more important for men".

For Scott Walker, it was no doubt the most logical step in his ongoing war on women and the working class, as the Equal Pay Law protected not just women but any protected class.

But for the Republican who was most enthusiastic about rescinding the law, it was really about fairness. After all, according to him, money IS more “important” for men.

Over at the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg writes a detailed account of the repeal and the effect it will have in the state. Goldberg also interviews Republican state senator Glenn Grothman, who was an enthusiastic fan of repealing the law. According to Grothman, not only is there no actual pay gap between the sexes, if there was one it wouldn’t matter anyway. After all, men need money more than women do, since they have families to support. “You could argue that money is more important for men,” he told Goldberg. “I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.”

Grothman’s views on women in the workplace is very 1960′s sitcom to start with, but his understanding of breadwinning is even more so. Many families have two breadwinners, as both partners either chose to or have to both be in the workplace. And the majority of families lead by just one parent have mothers at the helm.

Then again, when asked about his source for his figures that prove there is no wage gap between the sexes, Grothman stated it was Ann Coulter.

Ann Coulter!!! Now, that’s sound research to base legislation on.

If women of Wisconsin who have read the news of the signing don't have their blood a-boil today, then I have no respect for them whatsoever.

Women: you have a chance to strike down the evil that lives in the Madison state house! If every working woman of voting age makes a vow today to cast their vote to recall Walker, your united voices will be heard.

The year is 2012- not 1957. It is time that all of us working stiffs take back what is ours!


Saturday, April 7, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I went around to all the local automobile dealerships, applying to be a "courtesy" driver - you know - the guy who gives rides to people whose car is being worked on at the local garage.

I struck out all morning and my last chance was Markquart Motors out in Hallie, exit 92 off Highway 53N. After filling out an application for employment I was offered a job not as a courtesy driver but as what I call a "car wrangler" - that is, when I get a call from Markquart, I am assigned a car to drive to a dealership that wants to swap that vehicle for one on their lot that Markquart is interested in.

The following tuesday, I got my first call to duty! I was assigned a Toyota Scion iQ (pictured). My fellow driver, Don Luedtke, was assigned a full size Toyota.

After affixing a dealers plate to the rear of the vehicle and getting briefed, I followed Don, as he has been on the job for quite some time and knew exactly where we had to go to deliver the vehicles.

On an ordinary day, driving the Scion iQ would have been a lot of fun - it is not much larger than a "Smart" car. However, once we got out on Interstate 94, I became aware of how windy it was - with cross gusts up to 45 mph - and it was a bit like riding a bucking bronco!

I made it, white-knuckled, in to the dealership, went through the necessary paperwork, switched the plate over to my return vehicle, a top of the line Camry with all the bells and whistles.

Needless to say, the trip back was much easier with the heavier vehicle.

I have had two more days of work since then and I am really enjoying my new-found "day gig". as an adult, if you think about it, I made my living driving so I feel quite comfortable at this job.

The other really cool aspect about it is that I am getting a chance to drive a lot of the brand new models of Toyotas on the market.

Good to be employed!


Sunday, March 25, 2012


A couple of weeks ago as I was making my way to my automobile outside a grocery, an elderly man accosted me, pointed to my Recall Walker bumper sticker and said, quite unpleasantly: “One Walker is worth a hell of a lot more than fourteen runners!”

Taken aback, I just said “okay” and went on my way.

But as a comic, I am supposed to be adroit at the dazzling “come back”. Turns out, there are a number of reasons why I should have agreed with Mr. Unpleasant’s theory:

I have to agree with you there, sir. The governor is certainly not a runner.

Cutting eduation funding. He never ran on that during his campaign. Making it more difficult for the elderly and poor to vote .. he never ran on that. Voiding contracts with public employees .. he never ran on that. Cutting wages on those workers .. he never ran on that. Raising taxes on public employees .. he never ran on that. Pushing through late-night, closed-door legislation .. he never ran on that. Hiding non-fiscal poiicy changes in a fiscal legisltive proposal .. he never ran on that. Claiming budget relief needed after his $140M crony tax breaks took us from a $3M balance at swear-in time to a $137M deficit .. he never ran on that. Gerrymandering voting districts to give his party advantage .. he never ran on that. Reducing health care for the disadvantaged .. he never ran on that. Taking credit, as though it was his initiative, for federally mandated programs .. he never ran on that. Refusing to negotiate on his take-it-or-leave-it policies .. he never ran on that. Avoiding calls from the fourteen senators while readily accepting a call from a supposed Koch .. he never ran on that. Filling in wetlands to cave to his real estate backers .. he never ran on that. . Expanding mining in our pristine northern forests .. he never ran on that ...

No, sir, he certainly wasn’t a runner!


In an all out attempt to keep the one credit card that I am still using paid up each month, this past month I began taking stock here at my office of various collections I have procured over the years. When a man is about to turn 71 years of age, he realizes that he is in the "autumn" of his life- if not the dead of winter - and there is another benefit to selling my vast collection of NFL football helmets: After I'm gone, Kim won't have to wade through all the stuff i have accumulated.

It had been a while since I used eBay and I found out a couple of things. eBay's selling fees have skyrocketed and the cost of shipping has also taken to the moon!

Nonetheless, it was with a great deal of pleasure earlier this week,that I wrote a check to VISA that got me back to even!

Sometimes I wonder if the Mayans are right and the world will end on December 21, 2012. If I could only be certain, I would max my card out!

Here's another active daydream that I have: I go to the doctor and he announces that I have six weeks to live. I immediately go to Scheels and purchase a high powered rifle and apply vigilante justice to those who are truly in need of it.

I often wonder what society would be like if a law were passed that gave everyone permission to kill one person without being punished.

After an initial spurt of mass murder, the USA would become a much nicer place in which to live because nobody would want to piss off anyone who hadn't used their free pass.

These are the things I think about because I have way too much time on my hands and far too little work.

I have been attempting to address that ongoing situation quite actively the past week. I have decided that I need a day job - something that a man of my age with a bad right leg could still manage and I decided that being a DRIVER would be just about perfect.

So I went around to all the local auto dealerships and filled out applications to be the driver of the "courtesy" van - I come equipped with a portable GPS, which would be most helpful.

I have also done some applications for driving the elderly to appointments and making certain they get home again. But it seems there are other seniors who beat me to the punch as I continue to fill out applications and get "No, we don't need you now" for an answer.

So far, the only glimmer of hope is with Markquart Toyota where they have assured me that I will be getting some occasional work as a shuttle driver to Milwaukee to drive a new Toyota back to Eau Claire.

Still I maintain a positive attitude!

As the old joke goes: My friend said: "Cheer up. things could be worse." So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Bon Iver - Bonnie Bear? WTF? Haters Keep On Hatin'

Kim and I watched the Grammys for the first time ever as we had to see if Justin Vernon, once our next door neighbor and the producer of both my CD's, would indeed, win a Grammy as Best New Artist of the Year.

We both cheered and applauded when the announcement came.

My personal history with Justin goes all the way back to the year 2000. Having just gotten out of the hospital from a quadruple bypass, I was unable to do the things necessary to implement upkeep on my little bungalow office.

So down the road (Justin's parents Gil and Justine lived scarcely a fourth of a mile from me on Highway I), armed with snow shovels, come both Gil and son Justin, to clear my roof of the huge snow fall recently received.

As I recall, Justin is a senior in high school at the time and just getting started as a guitarist and singer/songwriter. I show him my prize guitars and we talk music for a while before I thank them profusely and before they leave, I promise them pizza somewhere down the road .

For the next few years I follow Justin's guitar playing and am astounded at how he passes me in ability at light speed. It is truely uncanny how quickly the boy picks up the instrument! And not just guitar!

When I finally decide to record two CD's worth of my original songs, Justin and I discuss whether he would be interested in being my project manager and overall recording engineer, song arranger, and buddy.

Although our age difference chronologically is pretty astronomical, we are totally unaware of age when we are together working as a team and we spend glorious afternoons in the basement of his parents home, arranging and recording my "stuff".

I cook up large batches of ham and bean soup which I bring with me to recording sessions and by 3PM the recording session is joined by Mother Nature's Horn Section.

Throughout the recording session, Justin instinctively knows what I want and when I am not certain, he nails it with creative input of his own.

On a song I wrote for my wife, Kim, Justin plays everything but the rhythm guitar track that I lay down first. He lays some really tasty fills in on Gibson electric guitar, puts down a tasty bass line, and adds the exact drum line I was looking for.

His sabbatical to Ireland upon high school graduation pays off when we record a salute to my lost friend Gerald FitzGerald entitled "Irish Heart" and Justin plays Irish whistle with a depth of emotion that still brings me to the edge of tears when I listen to the track.

Justin is at my side for my CD release party, along with 16 other musicians who contributed to the CD's and that evening marks an all-time high for me as a musician.

To have someone as talented and grounded as Justin tell me after the show that he is so proud of me has me walking on air for months.

At this point, Justin, who has at times "house sat" my little office while I was away on vacation, start to lose track of one another as he has moved to Carolina with several of his band mates from DeYarmond Edison.

Kim and I do catch them in concert at the Mabel Tainter while they are home.

That band eventually breaks up, Justin comes home broken hearted in romance, and quite ill physically. But it is these two elements, coupled with lots of time alone at his dad's cabin in the woods, that brings out his first Bon Iver album - "For Emma - Forever Ago" and as it is said: "the rest is history".

The flurry that Bon Iver causes in the world of Tweet, to me, is both comical and pitiful. Who are these angry, angry fans who feel they must lash out because their favorite didn't win? Haters. There will always be haters. But I know Justin Vernon pretty well.

The fact that he told the academy to "stuff it" if his band would not be included in the spot they wanted him to do tells me that the Justin that I knew is still with us. Honest. Grounded. Making music for the right reasons. And you can bet that if Bon Iver garners no further awards, it will not stop Justin from making really good, honest music from today forward.

On your own terms, Justin -- on your own terms!


One of the saddest days of my life is the afternoon when we end up with the final mix and I give him a big hug and tell him that this is the best time I have ever had!



Wednesday, February 8, I was up, packed, and on my way south by southeast on Highway 94 - the first leg of a journey to Waukesha, Wisconsin, to obtain Donald Driver's autograph with and for my buddy, Tom Johnson. I took this first photo just as I got up to speed north of Osseo. Osseo would be my first stop for breakfast.
The Norske Nook is an obligatory stop anytime I travel east on 94 and this morning was no different.

I took a seat at the counter, right next to the tower of freshly baked pies and ordered my one egg, white toast, and coffee black. My stomach was giving me some trouble - some queasiness that I found would just not go away for the entire trip. I sat next to an old timer who was poring over the newspaper and complaining to the waitress about this "goddamn recall petition". He didn't look to be a man of extravagant wealth and it always astounds me when people take a political stand against their own interests.

Just the morning before as I was about to enter my car with the "Recall Walker" bumper sticker, I was confronted by yet another less than wealthy looking gimpy guy about my age who rasped: "ONE WALKER IS A DAMN SIGHT BETTER THAN FIFTEEN RUNNERS!"

For an instant, I didn't quite grasp the gist of his message so I merely said "okay" and went on my way. As I drove home I realized that the "15 runners" was a put down of the 15 Democrats that left the state in hopes that the public would look more closely at what Herr Walker's proposed "repair" budget contained.
So five minutes after leaving the parking lot, I had lots of good come backs, the best being: I would agree with you sir, if Mr Walker was indeed a straight walker, but as we are finding out, he appears to be a "Crooked Walker".

But I guess, in hind sight, "okay" probably pissed him off enough. I wouldn't want him coming after me with his one good leg. Although it would have been a pretty fair fight as I have a gimpy leg also.
I made it in safely to the Johnson's home in Windsor, Wisconsin, (just outside of Madison) and as both Tom and Stan were teaching evening courses that night, went out to dinner with Stan's lovely wife, Nancy, to a quaint little Italian restaurant.

Still my stomach would not let me get far into my spaghetti and meat ball and I brought home much food.
Thursday late afternoon, Tom and I piled into my scion xB and we drove down to Waukesha to get in line with many others who turned out to get Mr. Driver's autograph. Donald, as I expected, was most gracious to all who were in line and I got a chance to shake his hand and tell him that not only was he a great football player but also a great man who has done much for the community of Green Bay and as a living good example for the entire state of Wisconsin.

I returned home by Friday noon, still not feeling well. Today I am feeling somewhat better. I have more to blog about. But first a break!


Friday, February 3, 2012


Did you know that the words "race car" spelled backwards still spell "race car"?

And that "eat" is the only word that, if you take the first letter and move it to the last, spells its own past tense, "ate"?

And if you rearrange the letters in "Tea Party Republicans," and add just a few more letters, it spells: "Shut the hell up you free-loading, progress-blocking, benefit-grabbing, resource-sucking, violent hypocrites, and deal with the fact that you nearly wrecked the country under Bush and that our current president is black, so suck it up and get over it."

Isn't that interesting?


A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.

The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.

The little girl said, 'When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah'.

The teacher asked, 'What if Jonah went to hell?'

The little girl replied, 'Then you ask him'.

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.

As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, 'I'm drawing God.'

The teacher paused and said, 'But no one knows what God looks like.'

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, 'They will in a minute.'

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.

After explaining the commandment to 'honour' thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, 'Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?'

From the back, one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, 'Thou shall not kill.'

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.

She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, 'Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?'

Her mother replied, 'Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.'

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, 'Mummy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?'

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.

'Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.'

A small voice at the back of the room rang out, 'And there's the teacher, she's dead.'

A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, 'Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face.'

'Yes,' the class said.

'Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?'

A little fellow shouted,
'Cause your feet ain't empty.'

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:

'Take only ONE . God is watching.'

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.

A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples..'

At the wedding reception someone yelled,

"Would all the married men, please stand next to the one person who has made your life worth living."

The bartender was almost crushed to death.

A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph 's Hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?"

The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number of the patient?"

The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said, "Norma Findlay, Room 302."

The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room."

After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."

The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news."

The operator replied, "You're more than welcome.
Is Norma your daughter?"

The grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in Room 302.
No one tells me shit."




Just hours after he delivered a State of the State address that he hoped would set the tone for his campaign to avert a recall election threat, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was hit with exactly the sort of news that embattled politicians fear most.
Two former aides to Walker — one of whom was in the employ of his campaign until just days ago — have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in the ongoing John Doe investigation of wrongdoing by aides, political allies and campaign donors with links to the embattled governor.
These charges follow closely on the filing of felony charges against Tim Russell, a former Walker deputy chief of staff and one of the governor’s closest aides over the past decade.
The aides charged Thursday were, according to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, engaged in fundraising and other political activities during work hours while on the staff of Walker when he served as county executive.
Chisholm explains in a pair of detailed complaints that Russell and the newly indicted aides established a “secret email system available to and used by select ‘insider’ staffers for both official and unofficial business.” That system was built around a wireless router that was kept in an armoire in the office of Walker’s deputy chief of staff — just a few feet from Walker’s office. Its existence was “never disclosed to county employees outside a closely held group within the Walker administration.”
The complaint discusses the exchange of thousands — yes, thousands — of emails involving fundraising and political activity. Many of these email exchanges involve the deputy chief of staff who is now charged with four felony counts of misconduct in public office, Kelly Rindfleisch, and top political aides to Walker, including Keith Gilkes, who went on to serve as the governor’s chief of staff.
Walker admits that during the campaign he was in constant communication with Gilkes about fundraising and campaign strategy.
Rindfleisch was in constant communication with Gilkes and other campaign aides.
Despite the fact that it is illegal for county officials to use their offices for campaign work, Rindfleisch revealed in one email that “half” her taxpayer-funded work was “for the campaign.”
Another individual who appears to have been in email contact with the Walker aides was Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party of Wisconsin chair who now heads the Republican National Committee.
Additional emails went to the campaign of Brett Davis, a Walker ally who was running for lieutenant governor in a 2010 Republican primary. Davis lost that race, but now works in the Walker administration as a top appointee of the governor. The manager of the Davis campaign for lieutenant governor was Cullen Werwie, who exchanged emails with Rindfleisch.
Werwie, who now serves as Gov. Walker’s spokesman, has been granted immunity in the John Doe investigation.
For Rindfleisch, Walker’s former deputy chief of staff, the charges are very serious — major felonies that carry with them the prospect of multiple years in jail. The 57-page complaint against her, and against a lower-level political operative named Darlene Wink (who has agreed to aid prosecutors), provides a rough outline for what political observers have begun to refer to as a classic “pay-to-play” political operation, where key government aides are involved in both policymaking and campaign fundraising from parties that are interested in those policies.
The added twist: Rarely if ever has an investigation into this sort of activity revealed that discussions about money and policy were mixed on a “secret email system.”
The investigation is ongoing. It continues to expand at an exponential rate, touching more and more of Walker’s inner circle, including aides in the county executive’s office, 2010 campaign aides and donors, and aides in the governor’s office and Walker’s current campaign. Notably, Rindfleisch, who was paid by Milwaukee County taxpayers during the 2010 Walker campaign, left county employment after Walker’s election to help organize the new governor’s inauguration. Rindfleisch then went to work as a top fundraising aide with the governor’s political operation, Friends of Scott Walker, with which she was employed until January 2012.
This John Doe investigation is still in the early stages of sorting through mountains of information obtained in FBI raids and related investigations of Walker aides and donors. Key players are cutting immunity deals and agreeing to talk. That means that the charges and complaints will continue through the recall campaign demanded by the 1 million Wisconsinites who petitioned for Walker’s ouster.
The potential that the John Doe inquiry will be a major political problem for Walker now seems a good deal greater than it did just days ago.
Here’s why.
The latest complaint ties wrongdoing to Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
This new complaint makes the connection to Walker’s current spokesman Cullen Werwie, who has requested immunity in the John Doe probe. The private email network in the county executive’s office was aiding both Walker’s campaign and the campaign of a Walker ally, Brett Davis, who was running for lieutenant governor. Werwie was Davis’ campaign spokesman. (In addition to Werwie, Davis is now a top Walker appointee.)
The complaint features a reference to an email from Walker showing at least some knowledge of problems with politicking in the office. He is primarily concerned that there be no media stories about political operations being run out of the county executive’s office — following the revelation in 2010 that one of the aides charged Thursday, Wink, was doing political work on county time. “We cannot afford another story like this one,” reads the email, which was included in the complaint. “No one can give them any reason to do another story.” The governor even counsels his political wingman about the use of laptops and websites during the workday.
The complaint released Thursday is the most detailed and serious yet directed at the official and political activities on behalf of Walker.
And few will debate that these charges are the most serious to arise thus far from the John Doe probe. They bring the investigation dramatically closer to the governor.
This does not mean that the governor is going to be indicted, or that he is guilty of wrongdoing.
But it does raise the classic question from the Watergate era inquiries into the misdeeds of aides to President Richard Nixon. Of Nixon it was asked: “What did he know and when did he know it?”
With the latest charges and the fresh complaint, it is now entirely reasonable to say with regard to Scott Walker: “What did he know and when did he know it?”
John Nichols is the associate editor of The Capital Times. jnichols@madison.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012


-Message to Our Supporters-

Congratulations! Over the last two months, over a million of you, from truck drivers to teachers, signed the petition to recall Scott Walker. With each signature you said you would not allow our state to be steamrolled by Walker’s radical polices. No more will you tolerate his drastic cuts to our prized education system, watch jobs flee our state in droves, and no more will you sit on the sidelines as Scott Walker assaults our working class institutions and values. The day that over 1,000,000 signatures were turned in, was the day that the people of Wisconsin won the first battle in the war to take back our state.

What’s next?
In just the past 30 days, Walker raked in over 4.6 million dollars, 1.6 million of which has come from only 17 individuals. Additionally, over 60% of these contributions defending Scott Walker have come from out-of-state interests. Walker received over $500,000 dollars from Bob Perry, the Texas home builder and key funder of the “Swift Boat” smear campaign against John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Clearly, these payoffs from Walker's big corporate allies have flooded into our state to defend their candidate. Please donate $12 to tell Walker that the people of Wisconsin will not be bought.

Thank you for your hard work and support! United Wisconsin made a promise to you to force the successful recall election of Scott Walker. We still have work to do. In the next few days, you will be asked to tell us what you feel is most important to focus on to ensure getting Walker out of office. We know that victory requires putting the people first.
We cannot meet this outrage with silence. Please donate $12 dollars to help defend Wisconsin against out-of-state interests. Your $12 dollars will send a clear message that we may not have millions of dollars, but we have the will of over a million Wisconsinites.
Together we can take back our state.
Thank you all for your hard work,

Your friends at United Wisconsin



While our grassroots activists were collecting more than 1.9 million signatures to save Wisconsin, Scott Walker was secretly flying all over the country on a corporate cash bonanza to put Wisconsin up for sale to the highest bidder.

The total haul for Scott Walker? More than $4.5 million in just five weeks, with $1 million from just four right-wing donors in Texas and Missouri.

We don't have billionaire donors bank-rolling our grassroots campaign in exchange for massive corporate tax breaks or massive handouts. We have extraordinary supporters like you who are committed to putting government back on the side of the people.

Make a grassroots donation of $10 or more right now to counter Scott Walker's corporate cash bonanza and receive a limited edition "I recalled Walker" bumper sticker for free.


Scott Walker's latest campaign finance report shows that he has doubled down on financial support from Texas billionaire Bob Perry. He's a good ol' boy of George W. Bush and Karl Rove who ponied up more than $4.45 million to launch false attacks trashing Senator John Kerry's heroic Vietnam War record in 2004.

Bob Perry specializes in funding smear campaigns against Democrats and he has now given Scott Walker a record-setting donation of $490,000 to flood the airwaves with false and misleading television ads.

Scott Walker has made it clear that he stands with New York hedge fund managers and right-wing billionaires from Texas, Kansas and Missouri.

Stand with our grassroots campaign to save Wisconsin from Scott Walker's fire sale and help give us the resources we need to defeat Scott Walker in the general election.

Donate $10 or more right now and receive a limited edition "I recalled Walker" bumper sticker for free.


We'll never match Scott Walker's corporate millions, but we do have more than a million Wisconsinites who don't want to see their state sold off to the highest bidder.

Please make a donation today so we can win this historic fight for Wisconsin's future by defeating Scott Walker and his billionaire friends.

Thank you,

Mike Tate

Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin


Saturday, January 21, 2012


This just in:

The same week that 1 million signatures were turned in to recall him from office, Scott Walker continued to make national headlines with his assault on Wisconsin values. In a move he claimed would save Wisconsin from the “the encroachment of ObamaCare in our state,” Walker announced he is turning down a $38 million grant from the federal government to develop the central element of the national health care reform law, a competitive health marketplace. This reform would have outlawed insurance discrimination based on gender, age, and preexisting conditions, and guaranteed a fair marketplace where consumers have a number of high quality coverage options.

It is clear that the real threat to public health is not ObamaCare but WalkerCare. Under WalkerCare the needs of health insurance industry CEOs come first, and nearly 65,000 people, including nearly 30,000 children, will be forced off BadgerCare.

The more Wisconsin voters learn about WalkerCare, the more certain will be Walker’s defeat in the upcoming recall elections. We need your help to get the word out. Please give $100, $50, or what ever you can afford to help us build a major campaign to educate the public about the threat of WalkerCare.

Walker began his assault on health care reform this fall when he filed for a waiver from new federal standards which cap excessive health insurance profits and overhead. If Walker gets his way, Wisconsin consumers will lose $14 million in rebates owed to them by the large national health insurance corporations.

Then, Walker’s bureaucrats used the unilateral power given to them by Act 10, the same law that stripped union rights from most public employees, to move a plan forcing nearly 65,000 people off BadgerCare in the middle of the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression.

Please support Citizen Action of Wisconsin, so we can continue to get the word about the devastating consequences of WalkerCare. We need to make Walker’s assault on health security a major issue in the upcoming recall elections.

When Walker announced his latest assault on health care reform, I happened to be in Washington, DC at the largest gathering of state health care reform advocates. I can tell you that even advocates from deeply conservative “red states” are stunned by the radicalism of WalkerCare. My mobile phone has been ringing of the hook with media inquires. Walker has clearly overreached yet again, and his attack on BadgerCare and health care reform can play a major role in defeating him in the upcoming recall election.

The 1 million signatures that were turned in this week is truly historic, and shows that there is a grassroots movement beyond anything we have ever seen in Wisconsin. The next step is to win the public debate on the issues that matter most.

Please give $100, $50, or what ever you can afford to help us build a major campaign to educate the public about the threat of WalkerCare.


Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin

P.S. Listen to our Battleground Wisconsin Podcast every week to get the latest updates and news about Scott Walker’s assault on Wisconsin values.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This is my favorite photo of the office, my little haven out in the middle of nowhere. I really like days like the one pictured because I can fire up the wood stove and get it so warm in here that I can strip down to my long johns!

This past Monday, while my friend Tom was visiting, after supper, in front of a good hot wood stove, we got to reminiscing about a couple of gigs on which he had kept me company for the road and Tom mentioned that he'd seen me at gigs when the audience was really with me, and gigs where there was a distinct feeling of disconnect.

We talked about what performers refer to as "a hell gig" - mine being an after dinner 45 minute set for Phillips Plastics. Should have known there was going to be trouble when the woman who contacted me told me that my fee was too high, talked me down $100, and when we got there we found a table piled with door prizes - enough prizes that by the end of the evening, everybody won something - and not cheap crap, either!

I tried my best to loosen them up and get them to laugh but I became aware that in their estimation, I really sucked. After about ten minutes, some of them got up, went out to the bar, ordered up some drinks, and talked loudly among themselves.

Guess it could have been worse. No prime rib for me, but at least I got my downsized check.

The only bright side of that gig was that it was on our way to Green Bay, the very place we were looking for as we had tickets to a Packer game.

I went into that job thinking it would be really fun!

Then Tom brought up the gig I did down near where he lives. It was one of the winters in which I had slipped and fallen on the ice and I actually did the luncheon from a wheel chair.

So Tom and his good brother Stan came with me to be my "roadies". Can't remember where the supper club was except it was going west out of Madison near Mt. Horeb.

This was for a farm credit organization - so we got there early so as not to be in the way when the members started showing up to sign in for lunch. Farm folk love a "free" meal - who doesn't? so it was a big crowd. Then just before they all sat down, a number of Amish signed in and took seats way in the back corner.

I began to worry when the crowd that had gathered didn't take the conversation level up to a roar - which usually is a good sign that they are tipping a few and relaxing, will be sitting down to good cooking soon, and surfeiting themselves enough to be a good audience -

But this crowd stayed timid right up until the saying of Grace.

By the time they finished eating I was a nervous wreck, mostly because I was certain the Amish were going to really find the show disgusting.

I did my first bit and got an amazingly good response. By mid-show, everybody was laughing - and the Amish were laughing harder than the "Englishers"!

So it goes to show you never can tell. right?


I love what's going down in politics right now! It's been a long time since the ordinary good guy American has some signs of hope!

This first e mail is one I got today from Mike Tate .. just want to pass it on as it talks abut the first step in getting rid of the King:

Dear Lawrence,

While volunteers from counties all across Wisconsin were turning in more than 1,000,000 recall signatures on Tuesday, Scott Walker was in New York City holding a $2,500 a plate dinner hosted by former AIG Chairman Maurice Greenberg at Citigroup's world headquarters.

Instead of facing the people of Wisconsin, Scott Walker decided that he would rather beg for more unlimited corporate cash from the Wall Street swindlers and fat cat bankers that destroyed the global economy to line their own pockets.

Will you show Scott Walker and his billionaire Wall Street pals that you stand with our One Million Strong people-powered movement by making a donation of $5 today?


Your donation of $5 or more will go directly to our legal defense fund to protect the voices of more than 1,000,000 Wisconsinites who want Scott Walker recalled from frivolous lawsuits and challenges filed by hot shot Wall Street-funded attorneys.

Scott Walker is in denial over the 1.5 tons of Democracy that you delivered on Tuesday. He didn't think working, middle-class people could do it. He didn't believe that the people of Wisconsin would rise up and take on his corporate army.

But you did. Now Scott Walker's last hope is to game the court system to toss out the historic number of signatures you turned in on Tuesday.

Their shady Wall Street legal shenanigans will fail. And that's because of the strength and determination of grassroots supporters like you.

More than 1,000,000 Wisconsinites are fighting Scott Walker's extreme vision that puts the interests of Wall Street and powerful corporate lobbyists ahead of working, middle-class families.

Protect their voice and stand with them. Make a donation of $5 or more to our legal defense fund right now.


Thank you for your support,

Mike Tate
Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin


So I did! And I have done before! Not much - I don't have much - but every little bit helps! I hope you will consider funding the war on Walker too! Together we can make another glorious chapter in the history of THE GREAT PROGRESSIVE STATE OF WISCONSIN!


Then there's this! One of the greatest things that has happened in my lifetime is the conscientious attempt to keep our wild life thriving. For me, it was exciting to see large flocks of wild turkeys working their way through corn stubble, to see an occasional coyote along the road, and right outside my door I have seen badger, fox, and eagle.

Now in addition to the polar bear, the wolves, tigers, and god know what else, the North American Bison, which was brought dangerously close to extinction at the end of the 19th Century, and which I thought was making a huge come back, is once again being threatened.

There are few North American wild animals as iconic as wild bison.

Once hunted to near extinction in one of the most shameful episodes in American history, only the bison of Yellowstone National Park survived in the American wild. Today this wild herd still numbers only around 3,500.

But each winter, when they descend from the park in search of forage free of Yellowstone’s deep snow, these magnificent animals are hazed back into the park, rounded up in holding pens or shipped to slaughter, all out of exaggerated fears that they could spread disease to cattle.

With winter well under way now, Yellowstone’s bison are once again at risk of hazing, capture or even slaughter as they search for food outside the park. Will you help them survive?

Help fund our efforts to increase tolerance and expand habitat for wild bison around Yellowstone, and prepare new homes for Yellowstone’s bison on tribal lands. Text WILDLIFE to 90999 now.

Last month, we achieved an important milestone in our efforts to restore wild bison to more places, when Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer approved moving 68 wild Yellowstone bison now in quarantine to tribal lands of Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservations to start new conservation herds.

Defenders staff played an important role in these negotiations and in working with tribes to prepare areas for bison, and caring supporters spoke up time and time again in support of the tribes’ requests to help secure new homes for these bison.

Unfortunately, our work is far from finished.

Support our efforts to increase human tolerance and safeguard even more wild bison and other imperiled wildlife. Text WILDLIFE to 90999 now to make a $10 donation.

To date, Defenders of Wildlife is the only national conservation group to help fund bison restoration on the tribal lands of the Assiniboine, Gros Venture and Sioux Tribes. In the months ahead, we aim to increase our efforts to protect this animal we consider to be one of the most important biological and cultural species in North America.

Your $10 mobile contribution now will not only help offset the costs of completing the necessary fencing and other infrastructure needed to make their homes on tribal lands, but it will also support work to expand habitat for bison around Yellowstone National Park, oppose the annual hazing and slaughter of Yellowstone’s wild bison, increase human tolerance, and advocate for other wildlife-saving initiatives.

Why can't we just get along?


Here is this week's letter from Senator Larson:

This past year has been one of little progress, especially in the area of job creation and economic growth. Below we look at the partisan road blocks that have prevented our state from moving forward.

As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or opinions you may have about our community or our state.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

Wisconsin at a Standstill, Forward No More

Wisconsin is the birthplace of progressive reform, the home of progressive leader Fighting Bob La Follette, and boasts the motto "Forward" on its state flag. Our state's history and traditions center around the ability of Wisconsinites to work together to keep our state moving in the right direction.

Unfortunately, under Governor Walker's control, Wisconsin has become divided like never before, bringing common sense reform and work on real solutions to a stand still. Like a car that has run out of gas, our state is currently stalled, even on issues that garner bipartisan support. Below we will examine issues that remain untouched and ignored by Governor Walker and Republican legislators.

Job Creation and Support for Small Business
Governor Walker's major campaign promise was to create 250,000 jobs by 2014. To reach this promise, he should have been creating approximately 5,200 jobs each month. However, his promise remains unfulfilled. Under Governor Walker's leadership, which began in January 2011, the number of jobs Wisconsin has created is quickly approaching zero as we have lost jobs every month since his budget went into effect. Over the past year, Governor Walker has created less than 1% of the jobs he promised.

Governor Walker also called for two special session this year under the guise of prioritizing job creation in our state. Unfortunately, the governor chose to take advantage of this fiscal crisis to give away our school funds and middle-class tax breaks to large corporations in one of the biggest special interest giveaways in state history totaling $2.3 billion.

Democrats, on the other hand, made jobs their main focus this session by:
Unveiling a jobs package of 10 bills on the first day of session designed to put our unemployed Wisconsinites back to work
Introducing legislation to encourage investment in start-up businesses, increase access to capital for small businesses, and expand grant programs to provide training in manufacturing
Proposing an additional package of nine bills aimed at giving our workers much-needed training and connecting skilled workers with potential employers
Despite our hard work, dedication and commitment to advancing these job creation measures, extremists continue to throw up partisan road blocks. As a result, these measures are currently languishing in their assigned committees unable to move forward.

Other Legislative Priorities On Hold
Job creation and economic growth are not the only issue areas with bills being held hostage by the majority party. There are many other legislative initiatives that Wisconsinites would like to see move forward that are being held up by Governor Walker and Republican legislators. Below are just a few examples of bills that continue to be ignored by Governor Walker and Republican leadership despite having bipartisan support or approval from the majority of Wisconsinites:
Strengthening Wisconsin's lax drunk driving laws through increased used of ignition interlock devices
Returning the $35 million cut from our technical colleges, which are crucial for producing skilled workers
Ensuring voters can get the documents needed to obtain a photo ID free of charge
Requiring ethics reports to be filed by members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to prevent fraud
Applying our Open Meetings Laws to the Wisconsin State Legislature
Providing adequate funding for women's health services such as breast exams, pap smears and birth control
Immediately removing the caps on FamilyCare that were wrongfully imposed by Governor Walker and his administration
Turning down $38 million federal grants to help Wisconsin implement portions of federal health care law, which provides coverage for pre-existing conditions and ensures the majority of funds are spent on patient coverage not profits
Allowing cooperation between municipalities in order to save money
Restoring funding to the recycling program, preventing a cost-shift to local government who already faced cuts to shared revenue in the budget
Wisconsin deserves better. Traditionally, it has been the Wisconsin way to put our partisanship aside in troubled times to get things done. Governor Walker has soundly rejected this tradition.

Wetlands Destruction Bill Passes Committee
This past Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment ignored a scientific and balanced approach to wetlands preservation by rejecting efforts to craft a consensus bill. Rather than turn the bill into something that hunters, anglers, environmentalists and neighbors could stand behind, Republicans voted against a tradition of bipartisan work and in lock-step opposed amendments to decrease flooding and preserve wildlife habitats. As a result, Senate Bill 368, legislation that significantly diminishes environmental protections that keeps our water safe for drinking and recreation and protects our valuable wetland resources, is now available for scheduling on the Senate Floor.

Concerns were raised during the hearing about how passage of this legislation will likely irreversibly degrade our wetlands and contribute to increased flooding. Wetlands are critical in protecting the health of our community. They purify runoff from cities, farms and construction sites, reducing our water treatment costs and ensuring we have cleaner water for drinking and recreation. Furthermore, wetlands are able to store large quantities of water to help prevent devastating shore erosion and flooding in our neighborhoods. The protection provided by wetlands is crucial in the Milwaukee area, which was devastated by flooding in June 2008 and 2009, and July 2010.

Wetlands also play a prominent role in Wisconsin's environment and tourism industry. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, nearly 40% of Wisconsin's 370 species of birds live in or use our wetlands as well as many mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles, such as white-tailed deer, waterfowl and walleye. Additionally, Wisconsin's wetlands are home to one-third of the plants and animals on our state's endangered and threatened species list. The nature and wildlife featured in Wisconsin's wetlands provides the perfect setting for recreational wildlife watchers, anglers, hunters and boaters.

Senate Bill 368 became a clear choice of priorities with legislators opting to side with hunting and fishing groups along with environmental scientists or aligning themselves with special interests seeking easier profits. The following are some of the more problematic provisions that remain in this legislation:
Eliminates protections for areas designated as having significant ecological, educational or recreational value
Rolls back the "avoid and minimize" rule that ensures developers consider alternative non-wetland sites to avoid unnecessary destruction of our valuable natural resources
Allows for automatic approval of some permits after only 30 days, leaving our communities at risk if the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hampered in their review process
Changes mitigation rules to allow high quality natural wetlands to be replaced with lower quality artificially created wetlands elsewhere in Wisconsin

January is Reproductive Awareness Month
This week is national reproductive awareness week. Access to reproductive health care services is directly linked to bettering health care outcomes for women. In addition to the primary purpose of allowing women to plan and prepare for pregnancy, basic reproductive health services also aim to save lives by preventing and treating life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS and breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer through pap smears, breast exams, and screening and treatment for STDs.

I am supporting a resolution to proclaim January 22 through January 28 of this year Reproductive Rights Awareness Week in Wisconsin. This resolution encourages public awareness, conversation and support for reproductive health statewide. Some of the issues highlighted in this resolution include:
Emphasizing the importance of prenatal care in decreasing our infant and maternal mortality rates
Recognizing that reproductive services encourage prevention and treatment of health problems including ovarian cancer and cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and osteoporosis
Supporting access to contraception for all women to better prevent unintended pregnancies
Acknowledging that issues related to women’s reproductive rights are personal issues that should be decided by women with their families, health care providers or clergy members
The unprecedented assault on women’s reproductive rights by Governor Walker and Republican legislators over the last year have reinforced the need to raise awareness about the grave consequences women face if access to reproductive care is restricted. The attack on women’s health began in Governor Walker's 2011-2013 Biennial Budget, which restricted access and funding for preventative health care services for women.

The health care options for Wisconsin’s young women was also negatively impacted with the repeal of the Healthy Youth Act, which helped ensure that Wisconsin’s youth were kept informed about contraceptive and sexually transmitted disease prevention. According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, approximately 87% of Wisconsin voters support requiring sex education instruction that includes information about both abstinence and contraception.

We owe it to women across the state and future generations to not only bring awareness to the importance of reproductive health services, but to also support these services whole-heartedly to ensure that Wisconsin women will have adequate access to vital and life-saving reproductive care. I will continue to support legislative proposals that keep our state moving in the right direction on women’s health.