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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 40,134

Journal Archives

One of the things I like about kayaking is the chance to observe wildlife.

I was out on the Chain-o-Lakes near Waupaca, Wisconsin on Sunday. These are beautiful, crystal clear lakes teeming with wildlife. After paddling a short distance from the launch we drifted up to a weedbed and observed two sandhill cranes wading in the shallows.

They saw us, but continued preening, pretty much ignoring the two kayaks and their quiet occupants.

The wind nudges us in a little closer.

And closer.

Eventually they waded away from us and we paddled some more, then called it a day.

Running Scared: Georgia’s Democrats have registered more than 85,000 minority voters (and


In 2008, under the best possible conditions for a Democrat, Barack Obama lost Georgia by just over 200,000 votes, or 5.2 percent of Georgians who voted. Four years later he lost again by just over 300,000 votes, or 7.8 percent of Georgians who voted. By any measure the state is a reach for Democrats. And yet, the party is optimistic, both now—Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter, its Senate and gubernatorial candidates, respectively, are running close races—and for the future.

The “why” is easy to answer: Georgia has roughly 700,000 unregistered black voters. If Democrats could cut that number by less than a third—and bring nearly 200,000 likely Democrats to the polls—they would turn a red state purple, and land a major blow to the national Republican Party. Or, as Michelle Obama said during a campaign rally on Monday, “If just 50 Democratic voters per precinct who didn’t vote in 2010 get out and vote this November—just 50 per precinct—then Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter will win.” Given 2,727 precincts in Georgia, that’s just 136,350 new voters.

Enter the New Georgia Project. Led by Stacey Abrams, Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives, the project is meant to do just that—register hundreds of thousands of blacks and other minorities. Their goal, says Abrams, is to “directly or indirectly collect 120,000 voter registration applications.” That could be enough to push Democrats over the top. And it makes the project one of the largest voter registration drives in recent Georgia history.

So far, it’s been a success. “In addition to the 85,000 we have collected as an organization directly,” says Abrams, “we have also supported the efforts of 12 organizations around the state. We know there are groups doing registration in the Latino community, in the Asian community, and in the youth community, and we wanted to support their efforts as well.” These groups, she says, have collected 20,000 to 25,000 applications, putting the New Georgia Project in striking distance of its goal two months before Election Day.

Wisconsin: Voter ID Assistance


Voters must show a photo ID to receive a ballot at the November General Election. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has stayed the injunction against the voter photo ID provisions of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23. Information about how to obtain Voter ID has changed. This page will be updated as soon as the ramifications of this ruling have been been clarified. Please check back soon!

The League of Women Voters of Dane County announces a project to assist eligible voters in obtaining the required ID to vote, and a fund-raising drive to assist area voters to obtain the documentation necessary to get a Department of Transportation (DOT) ID for voting purposes. Citizens seeking assistance can call our office and leave a message requesting help. Tax-deductible contributions to help fund this project may be mailed to LWVDC, 2712 Marshall Court, Suite 2, Madison, WI 53705, or make a contribution now through PayPal using the Donate button below.

Donate here.

Although the Wisconsin DOT provides a free photo ID card to residents who request it for voting purposes, the documentation required to prove name, date of birth, citizenship, identity, and Wisconsin residence are not necessarily free. A certified birth certificate costs $9 to $30, depending on the state of birth, and may take weeks or months to obtain. Application requirements vary by state, but can be difficult. Thirty-five states request a copy of a government ID to send a birth certificate. Each state has different requirements for ID for people who do not have a government-issued photo ID. In addition, for anyone whose current name does not match their birth certificate, a marriage license or other document verifying the name change is also required. This has the effect of making ID requirements more challenging for women.

The Madison City Clerk’s office found that 10% of voters in the July 2011 special election did not have appropriate ID. This is consistent with the report of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School entitled Voting Law Changes in 2012, which estimates that 11% of Wisconsin voters lack acceptable photo ID. The Brennan Center report provides additional breakdown, noting that 23% of people over the age of 65 do not have photo ID acceptable for voting, and that the burdens of addressing voter ID requirements fall disproportionately on minority and low-income voters. There has been considerable confusion in Wisconsin about required documentation. People without computer access may not know how to get a birth certificate from a distant state. Transportation challenges and the cost of identity documents may make the process overwhelming.

Five petitions to save mail processing plants facing closure

From my email ....

Dear Scuba:

Today we are asking you to sign and share a group of five petitions for mail processing plants scheduled to close in 2015. These petitions also have provisions to protect six day delivery of mail, rural post offices, keeping strong service standards and repealing the requirement to pre-fund retiree healthcare at levels mandated in HR 6407. The link to these petitions follow: PETITIONS

We challenge each and everyone who has a free moment this week to call your Congressman at 202-224-3121. Ask them to support keeping our nation's mail processing plants open, support keeping strong service standards (overnight delivery of local mail) and six day delivery of mail.

We need more letters for our mailing campaign. We are coordinating meetings with the media and our elected officials in various areas. Please send your cards and letters to: SAVE OUR POST OFFICE, P.O. Box 5041, Terre Haute, IN 47805.

Thank you!


The PO plants in question are in:

Eugene, OR
Roanoke, VA
Lexington, KY
South Bend, IN
Florence, SC

The Nation: The Speech on Diplomacy That Obama Should Have Given Last Night


The Speech on Diplomacy That Obama Should Have Given Last Night
Not taking military action isn’t the same thing as doing nothing.

Too often in the United States—most especially since 9/11—we equate “doing something” with “doing something military.” George W. Bush gave a traumatized, near-paralyzed US public two options: we either go to war, or we let ‘em get away with it. Faced with that choice, it was hardly surprising that 88 percent or so of people in this country chose war. But the reality is that when there are no military solutions—which is most of the time, for those who care to notice, including on September 12, 2001—the alternative is not nothing, but active non-military engagement. Diplomacy becomes even more important. President Obama has said it over and over again: there is no US military solution in Iraq or Syria. He’s right. And yet military actions—in coalitions, with local partners, counter-terrorism but not counter-insurgency—were pretty much all we heard in his speech last night.

Obama’s four-part strategy to “degrade and destroy” ISIS (which he persists in calling ISIL, referencing the Levant, the old French colonial term for Greater Syria or al-Shams) tilts strongly towards the military. First, airstrikes, in Syria as well as Iraq. Second, military support to forces fighting ISIS on the ground, including support to the “moderate” Syrian opposition who challenge ISIS. Third, counter-terrorism strategies to “cut off its funding, improve our intelligence, strengthen our defenses, counter its warped ideology and stem the flow of foreign fighters.” And fourth, the only one not solely or primarily military, humanitarian assistance. What’s missing is a real focus, a real explanation to people in this country and to people and governments in the Middle East and around the world, on just what a political solution to the ISIS crisis would really require and what kind of diplomacy will be needed to get there.


Second, instead of a Coalition of the Killing, President Obama should have announced a new broad coalition with a political and diplomatic, not military, mandate. It should aim to use diplomatic power and financial pressures, not military strikes, to undermine ISIS power. Such a coalition would be far broader and far less fragile than a military alliance. All the regional governments have their own limitations on military action. Turkey knows that supporting, let alone joining, US-led airstrikes or other attacks on ISIS in Iraq or Syria could threaten the lives of its forty-nine diplomats and their families now held by ISIS. US ally Saudi Arabia will have to be pushed hard to stop arming and financing ISIS and other extremist fighters, but its dependence on US arms and military protection gives Washington plenty of leverage if it chose to use it. Turkey could be pushed to stop allowing ISIS and other fighters to cross into Syria from Turkish territory. US allies Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others need to be pushed to stop financing and arming everyone and anyone in Syria who says they’re against Assad. (Those include the Al Qaeda franchise al-Nusra Front as well as the so-called “moderate” opposition fighters of the Free Syrian Army, who themselves beheaded six ISIS prisoners captured in August.)


Finally, an arms embargo on all sides should be on the long-term agenda. This obviously isn’t something that will happen right away. But discussion about why it’s necessary could begin tomorrow. The United States has no leverage and no legitimacy in pressing Russia and Iran to end their support for the Assad regime in Damascus as long as Washington and its regional allies continue to arm and train the wide range of anti-Assad rebels. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others, especially among the gulf states, have no reason to stop arming their various chosen factions as long as the United States ignores its own domestic requirements under the Leahy Law and the Arms Export Control Act to stop arms sales to known human rights violators in foreign militaries. A viable arms embargo will be on all sides or none. And once it’s on the agenda, it becomes a step towards another crucial goal, too often dismissed as impossible: a weapons of mass destruction–free Middle East, with no exceptions. Such a move would begin the process of inspecting and ultimately eliminating Israel’s powerful but unacknowledged nuclear arsenal, would confirm the non-military use of Iran’s nuclear power program and would end the propensity for WMD production in too many countries in the region. And it would be a fitting coda to a hard-fought and likely years-long diplomatic process.

An arms embargo. How quaint.

It never had any hope of being a profitable mine. The goal is to fleece investors and taxpayers.


GTAC Finds More Wetlands Than It Initially Expected In Penokees
Discovery Could Lead To Increased Costs For Mining Company

Gogebic Taconite has announced that it may again have to readjust its plan for mining iron ore in northern Wisconsin after discovering more wetlands in the Penokee Hills than it initially expected. The announcement comes a week after GTAC said it was pushing back its timeline to apply for a mining permit from next spring to next fall.

GTAC Spokesman Bob Seitz said the company will need to do more drilling and configuring. “Really we’re required to re-evaluate how the site is laid out because the law requires us to avoid wetlands — avoid, then minimize, then mitigate,” he said.

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Director George Meyer said he’s not surprised that they’ve found more wetlands. He said with Lake Superior-effect snow piling on that region, the Penokees have the highest precipitation in Wisconsin. The National Weather Service office in Duluth says the average annual snowfall in the Hurley area is 167.5 inches.


The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe is downstream from the proposed mine. Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins said that he’s worried the groundwater has already been degraded from drilling and sampling by GTAC, and that more testing is needed. “The thing about the way the laws were written is objective scientists and a regulatory framework essentially don’t exist,” said Wiggins. “So how do we know there isn’t something really negative going on there?”

For my 40,000th post, thank you DU.

Thanks for separating the wheat from the chaff. DU is the best site on the internet for vetting information so one can determine what is bullshit and what is not.

Thanks for presenting new and different perspectives on issues where the corporate media presents a mind-numbingly well coordinated menu of propaganda.

Thanks for providing logical and convincing counter-arguments to the bullshit.

Thanks for making me aware of and sensitive to issues seldom reported elsewhere – education debt, rape culture, human trafficking, and a host of other matters.

Thanks for differing with me and forcing me to re-examine my beliefs.

Thanks for keeping the light shining on the real threats to our nation – dark money in politics, our fragile nuclear power plants, corporate ownership of our media, fracking, our crumbling infrastructure, etc, etc, etc.

Thanks for making me laugh out loud, shed tears and grin at pictures of squee.

Thanks for the links to amazing and beautiful music, photographs and videos.

Thanks for the original writing, art, photography and other content provided by our members.

Thanks for educating me about science, arts and literature, among other topics.

Thanks for helping pull the Democratic Party back to its core principles.

Thanks for helping to heal our nation and working to bring peace to our planet.

And most of all, thanks for giving me hope when my cynicism threatens to boil over.

Thanks DU.

Wisconsin's black children remain trapped in poverty, study says


African-American children still face dismal odds in Wisconsin. The state ranks last in the country in the overall well-being of African-American children based on an index of 12 measures that gauge a child's success from birth to adulthood, according to a new report being released Wednesday by the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families.

The measures, while not new, are bleak:

■ Four out of every five African-American children in Wisconsin live in poor households, compared with roughly two out of three Latino children and three out of 10 white children.

■ Seven out of 10 African-American children live in single-parent families, compared with fewer than four of 10 Latino children and roughly two of 10 white children.

■ Fewer than one in 10 in eighth grade are proficient in math, compared with almost one in five for Latino children and a bit less than one in two for white children.

More at the link.

Net Neutrality

If you see one of these ...

... please click the link. I, for one, do not want to see foxnews.com run at faster speeds than democraticundgerground.com. Do you?

Wisconsin: Today's History Lesson

> When Wisconsin volunteers marched off to the Civil War the state’s governor, Alexander W. Randall, was authorized to use $100,000 for defense.

> The state’s total military equipment at the beginning of the war was six obsolete brass cannon, 135 flint lock muskets, 796 percussion muskets and 811 rifles, all outdated. There were also 101 old pistols, 158 sabers, 44 swords and 56 tents. The first Wisconsin regiments sent to the Union army went east without weapons.

> Twice as many Wisconsin men died of disease as were killed in Civil War battle.

> Some Wisconsin regiments were made up of nationality groups. The 15th infantry regiment was largely Norwegian and was illustrated by the fact that 115 out of 899 men were named Ole.

From the book The Wisconsin Story: The Building of a Vanguard State by H. Russell Austin.
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