Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

In 1970, 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day activities.  

No Internet, Facebook, Twitter, or cell phone crowdsourcing.

And we got the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts (sent to Congress by Richard Nixon, no less)

What could we do if everyone who believed in climate change hit the streets this summer?

When are we hitting the streets?

So you believe climate change is real-what do you want, a cookie?

What's worse? Not believing in man-made climate change, or believing it, but discussing it as if we were merely disinterested social scientists?

How many conversations about climate change have you been in in which folks:

1) Astutely identify psychological and economic reasons why people  deny the reality of climate change?
2.  Accurately assess the lack of intelligent media coverage of the issue?
3.  Focus with laser-like intensity on the influence of dirty energy money in our political discourse?
4) Discuss the impossibility of action in the current political environment?

Nothing wrong with these conversations-I have been in many of them myself-but what is our motivation? Is it  that we get it right intellectually-with a great deal of either smugness and/or knowing resignation?  What will just getting it right intellectually be worth in 2100?   

 "When are we hitting the streets this summer?"  That's the most important question we need to answer now.

Forget about the people who don't believe in climate change.    If everyone who believed in climate change hit the streets this summer:

-The Obama Administration would turn down the Keystone XL pipeline.
-We would stop plans to dig up and ship dirty coal to China.
-Conservatives would rediscover the carbon tax.
-A lot of people who don't believe in climate change would notice. ( motivated by the passion of those who are already motivated)

When are we hitting the streets this summer?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

We took the shot we had to take

Lots of folks who pretend to know better argue that we shouldn't have gone for a recall.   I think it was the shot we had, and the shot we had to take.  

Balloon Juice regular  DougJ   said it best:

Wisconsin Democrats took a pretty good run at Walker. They came up short, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Maybe recall elections are a trickier vehicle than we thought.
Doesn’t mean it’s time to retreat back into Vichy mode.
This seems right to me.   Lots of voters don't like recalls-and our side didn't win the battle of explaining why a recall was both constitutional and appropriate.   But more than that, it is crazy to think that just lying down and accepting the loss of bargaining rights (along with all of the other ALEC stuff coming down the pike) would have hurt us less than losing this election.

The only flaw in the recall was that it challenged our energy away from the protests.   People can't let this happen during and after the next Presidential election.  We need to work very hard for President Obama's reelection, but regardless of who wins, we will need to show up in the streets.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Q: What did these Wisconsin Governors have in common?

Gaylord Nelson (D 2 terms)
John Reynolds (D)
Warren Knowles (R 3 terms)
Patrick Lucy (D)
Martin Schreiber (D)
Lee Sherman Dreyfus (R)
Tony Earl (D)
Tommy Thomson (R-3.5 terms)
Scott McCallum  (R)
Jim Doyle (D)

A: None of them tried to abolish collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Face it Wisconsin

The DNC is just not that into us...

Crapping up Wisconsin, cont...

This has been making the rounds:

As reported in Lodi Valley News, Walker has hired Texan Dr. James Kroll to serve as Wisconsin’s “deer czar,” a position that gives Kroll considerable power over Wisconsin’s deer management policy. Kroll is an outspoken proponent of game farms, and an opponent of public lands and public game management, which he is on record as describing as “the last bastion of communism.”
The public lands Kroll despises include the state parks, state and national forests, and other publicly held property that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites—particularly in the northern part of the state—rely on for deer hunting. Hunters on public land may be surprised to discover that Walker regards their annual trek into a state forest as a radical left wing activity akin to marching in a May Day parade in Red Square. But so it is.
Actually, Dr. Kroll is quite correct that hunting on public land is a socialist activity.   In the same way that breathing the public air and looking at public sunsets are socialist activities.

That being said,  it is doubtful that the people who pull Scott Walker's strings would really advocate privatizing all public hunting lands.  

 Most likely, The Deer Czar will work with (Secretary of Dismantling the DNR) Cathy Stepp in order to gut regulations on vanity cage hunts game farms,  privatize management rights to State forests, and sell off selected areas of those forests for private preserves for the kind of folks who contribute to Republican campaigns.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Taking down Billboards

5 years ago, Sao Paulo, Brazil  removed all billboards from the city.  Apparently, people like the law.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Quiet Hunting

This is the quiet hunting season in the Northwoods-just enough snow to ski, and the Snowmobile trails aren't yet open.  You don't have to go out far to away from human sound.

I couldn't find my waxless skis, so I took out the old Asnes and headed out to the Lumberjack trail, hoping that whatever I had on the bottoms would work on a day that seemed warm and cold at the same time.   The description of the trail as "ungroomed" is not accurate-it is often groomed by some guy with big boots and several large dogs (Or, some guy being stalked by several large wolves maybe) and by the random skier or snowshoer.  You takes your chances.  

Chances went my way today-the Sun was shining, the glide wasn't great, but I wasn't sticking or slipping, and it was absolutely still and peaceful.  

The Wisconsin Hunter Heritage Bill is Government Social Engineering

The purpose of the bill is to "recruit" hunters, anglers, and trappers, since interest in these pastimes is declining among young people.

But one might ask: "why is it the government's job to nudge people into doing something they don't want to do? Maybe young people just want to play World of Warcraft instead."   And the answer is: to meet important social goals.  We need hunters and trappers to manage animal populations, and we need people outdoors in order to build an ethic of caring for the land.

In other words: Government Social Engineering.   Nothing wrong with that, but the same logic applies when we nudge people to use public transportation and more efficient vehicles.    There are things the government can do to "get" people to do what they wouldn't do otherwise.

The Sports Heritage Bill and Laws that encourage energy efficiency may be well designed or poorly designed, but you can't be in favor of one and criticize the other merely because it is "social engineering"

Friday, December 09, 2011

Crapping up Wisconsin, continued

This looks very bad, but its about what we could expect:

-The DNR would have to approve or deny an iron mine application within 360 days of deeming the application complete. Current state law doesn't lay out a deadline.
--Contested case hearings on DNR permitting decisions would be eliminated. The hearings allow testimony and cross-examination in a quasi-judicial setting; they've been a crucial recourse for conservationists in the past.
--No one who isn't directly injured by a mining operation could bring a lawsuit challenging DNR permit enforcement or alleging violations of mining laws.
--The DNR would have to issue a mining water withdrawal permit even if the applicant can't show the withdrawals won't hurt the public welfare or the quantity or quality of state waters if the agency decides the mine's public benefits exceed the harm.
--Half of the revenue from a state tax on ore sales would go back to the state's general fund. Currently all the money from the tax is distributed to local governments where the ore is mined.
--The bill acknowledges mining will probably result in "adverse impacts" to wetlands but presumes it's necessary.

Its hard to imagine any case under rules like these in which a permit wouldn't have to be granted.    Fortunately, mining companies generally act as good environmental stewards of the land, even without strong oversight, right?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Republican Franchise means you make the burgers the Koch way

Via, Joe Romm, a great article in the National Journal on why so many Republican politicians-including Presidential candidates- have changed their minds on global warming and became deniers at the same time the evidence for climate change became even more certain.

The answer: The Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity:

"What it means for candidates on the Republican side is, if you … buy into green energy or you play footsie on this issue, you do so at your political peril. The vast majority of people who are involved in the [Republican] nominating process—the conventions and the primaries—are suspect of the science. And that’s our influence. Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it.”
As I said, in order to be a Republican candidate, you are told exactly what positions you will take.   While on some level those positions are "ideological", that isn't the case with global warming. This is purely about supporting the interests of the Koch brothers and others like them over the interests of the market and the people of the United States.  Simply put, there is no free market right to pollute.

The clearest and most "free market" way to deal with Global Warming pollution would be through a carbon tax in order to create incentives for developing the most efficient market alternatives. Money from the tax would could be funneled back to those, like long distance truckers, most effected by the tax.

The second most "free market" way would be through a cap and trade system.  Paradoxically, the Reagan administration proposed the second idea, and Al Gore something like the first.

But Republicans today oppose both.   The reason they oppose both is that they know the kind of blizzard that would come down on them if they did.