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

Monday, July 28, 2014


I found an online catalogue that I find refreshing as the items for sale fly in the face of convention. I suppose that's why I like it.

Anyway, I immediately sent in my order for this tee shirt as it really reminded me of The Vasectomy Song, which I wrote way back in 1979. I also found out some history of the operation itself.

Did you know it was once illegal to advertise where to get a vasectomy? This shirt was originally designed for the first publicized vasectomy clinic in Chicago (late 1960's). Each customer got a t-shirt. A portion of the sales from each shirt goes to support the great reproduction rights advocate Bill Baird. Bill was once arrested for distributing condoms to unmarried people. Although not an attorney and unable to hire one, he fought two reproductive rights cases in front of the Supreme Court.... and WON!

My song was eventually recorded by The Limeliters, a folk singing trio that I saw in concert as a student at Eau Claire State University. I was a fan of theirs as well as a fan of The Kingston Trio.

Folks might find it interesting to know how it happened that The Limeliters decided to record the song. I had been working in the lounge of the Holiday Inn, downtown Minneapolis, just the week before the trio made an appearance at Orchestra Hall in the city. They apparently saw my advertising that the Holiday Inn displayed on all the elevators, and decided they would like to hear some of my novelty songs.

Alex Hassilev called my house in Eau Claire! He asked if I could send recordings. I told him I would much rather meet with the trio and sing the songs to them in person, as I was a fan. That got me a free pass to the concert, which was a reunion tour with Glenn Yarborough, who had established himself as a single artist with "Baby the Rain Must Fall".

Yarborough was not at the meeting in Hassilev's room. It was Hassilev, bass player, Lou Gottlieb, and a woman who was introduced to me as Tommy Smothers' ex-wife.

I sang The Vasectomy Song and they really responded with enthusiasm. I recall Hassilev telling Gottlieb: "The Kingston Trio would KILL to have this song!" They asked if I would mind if they used it in their shows and might possibly record it at a later date. I said that was fine, but that I wanted credit for the song and if recorded, expected residuals.

So I wrote out the lyrics and then taught them the melody by singing it with them a few times. It was an evening to remember.

They, in fact, used the song in their live shows. I know this for a fact as I accidentally caught a folk concert out of Canada that they were a part of, and they closed with it.

After a year or so, I received a residual check for $75.00. Then nothing. At a much later date, through the diligent work of Elizabeth Fischer, who I dubbed "my marketeer", I received a larger check.

I suppose it probably is time to pursue residuals further. I have seen the song recorded on youtube, also. I am a member of ASCAP, but it really hasn't done me much good.


The above is not really what I had set out to blog about today. But I suppose my subject matter, our beloved governor, made me think of vasectomies.

Here's the question that has been gnawing at me for the past month with new revelations about "the Man": Excuse me, but could you tell me again just why you are going to vote for Walker this coming November?

Here's what's been going down:

During his first year in office,newly elected Governor Walker replaced the state’s Department of Commerce with the “Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation” (WEDC), a quasi-private entity that would, Wisconsin was told, spur economic development and drive a job creation recovery in the state. Instead WEDC has been plagued with allegations of corruption, cronyism and incompetence – and despite unbending support from Gov. Walker, WEDC has failed to recharge Wisconsin’s economy.

Jenny Dye, of One Wisconsin Now, reported that the lack of appropriate oversight and reporting made the success of WEDC incentives in achieving job retention, job creation and investment goals difficult if not impossible to analyze. A 2013 audit of the agency’s 2011-2012 performance found that only 45 percent of recipients of 59 awards had submitted contractually required reports on their progress toward meeting their contractual terms. The report also stated that some awards were made to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects, and were given amounts that exceeded program limits. Further, one-third of the 30 WEDC economic development programs did not meet their expected goals.

Gov. Walker, campaigning for office, promised to create 250,000 jobs over the course of his term. Recent jobs figures and independent analyses portend he will fall disastrously short of that goal as Wisconsin remains mired as the second worst state in the Midwest for job creation and in the bottom third of states nationally.
Audits and analyses of the WEDC have found an organization rife with problems. Funds have been spent on things like iTunes gift cards, liquor and tickets for sporting events. Funds that have gone for economic development have not been properly tracked, been given to ineligible recipients and in many cases have been ineffective.
Meanwhile, Gov. Walker’s campaign and the Republican Governors Association have reaped over $2 million in campaign cash from donors, who have in turn received a disproportionate share of public economic development funds.
For the people of Wisconsin, has reality of WEDC matched the rhetoric of Gov. Walker? By any objective measure, the answer is a resounding “no”.

(My thanks to my wife, Kim Wilson, for this information)

In addition:

Walker’s WEDC is in the news again, this time for using taxpayer-funded loans to help Wisconsin companies ship jobs overseas. A WKOW 27 News investigative report found that at least two multinational companies who received millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded loans from the WEDC later laid off Wisconsin workers and moved those jobs to Mexico and other foreign locations. One company even received a second WEDC loan after outsourcing jobs.

Report highlights:

• “In April of 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and announced it was moving those jobs to Mexico. Less than a year later, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with up to $1.36 million in additional tax credits for a proposed $54 million expansion at that same Pewaukee plant.”

• “In July of 2012, Plexus announced it was laying off 116 workers from its Neenah facility…Plexus Corp. did not identify where it relocated those jobs to in 2012, but also has offices and interests in the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Romania, Malaysia and Thailand.”

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (a nonpartisan watchdog group working for clean, open and honest government and reforms that make people matter more than money in politics) found that the companies cited in the investigation for outsourcing jobs to foreign countries gave generously to Gov. Walker’s campaign.

Wisconsin is ready for a transparent jobs agency that lets taxpayers know how their loans are being used to create jobs in-state. Wisconsin is ready for accountability. Wisconsin is ready for job creation. Wisconsin is ready for a new direction with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

Tea Partiers will tell me that this is not the truth. Unfortunately, however, this IS the truth. SOME OF US, I GUESS, JUST CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

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