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WIs.community is now running and available for people to sign up.  We currently consider it to be in initial production  - you can get an account, you can participate, you can ask for a new community space if you have a great idea for how you might use the site.  The site is changing less drastically day-to-day, and we are looking for people who are interested in having a community on the site.

Wiscommunity is a place for information and discussion around Wisconsin. It's intended to be a utility for people around the state to use for any number of purposes. It will feature discussion groups, mini-sites for businesses and organizations, news articles, and more. At the moment we're looking for people and groups to partner with and would like to help them build a presence on the web. 

If you're interested, Please SIgn Up for our August Community Meeting and Training!

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Counting our chickens before they're hatched

Foxconn Workers

All of Wisconsin is apparently agog over the Foxconn plant announcement that is coming this afternoon. Still, color me skeptical. Rumors are that Wisconsin is offering a huge tax break to Foxconn in return for building the plant, and the state has certainly paved the way by stomping on unions and generally making the living wage a past dream, something that Foxconn is certainly going to appreciate. But rumors abound that the state is offering somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000 per job in tax "bounty" for the plant. I'm not sure that the state will be able to actually agree to pony up a tax break that big, particularly in view of the current inability to pass a state budget even without the complication of a huge tax break for business. It's not at all clear where this leaves the local governments that will still need to provide services for the plant, their employees, and more.

Tie vote in Senate motion to proceed on health care bill

Not surprisingly, after a 1/2 hour long vote in the Senate, the motion to proceed on considering the health care bill has resulted in a 50-50 tie - after Senators Ron Johnson and John McCain voted last to provide the 50 votes. The roll call has just finished (all Democrats held their vote for the roll call) and it appears a certainty that Vice President Pence will shortly vote to break the tie in favor of proceeding.

Debate will then begin on a large variety of possible bills, the only one of which that appears likely to proceed would be a "skinny" repeal bill of Obamacare, dropping the provisions that have been deemed impossible under reconciliation.

Senators Murkowski and Collins were the only no votes among the Republicans.

Update -

Health Care: Steps Toward the Future

Kathleen Vinehout

An older man contacted me recently with a problem. A visit to the doctor left him with thousands in unpaid bills. Medicare deemed the tests “routine” and not a “medical necessity.” But the gentleman was told, for his occupation, the tests were absolutely necessary.

 

He was left with a medical bill costing more than his 2017 income.

 

The top-notch staff at the Department of Health Services (DHS), discovered the man was likely eligible for Medicaid. But the man wasn’t interested.

 

The Life Of Land After Frac Sand

Since the late 2000s, growth in hydraulic fracturing has created a new demand for sand deposits around western Wisconsin. Of highest value is hard, fine-grained sand perfect for cracking underground rock formations that hold oil and natural gas. But beyond the short-term economic ups and downs that come with any activity tied to the energy industry, what happens over the long run at the sites where frac sand is mined?

Town Hall in Menomonie with Ron Johnson Aide

Tom Petri, one of Ron Johnson's aides, held a town hall meeting in Menomonie last night to talk with Senator Johnson's constituents. Approximately 120 people attended the town hall, which was mostly respectful and grateful to Mr. Petri for coming to hear their concerns.

Talk Is All Health Care at the Art Fair

Kathleen Vinehout

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“My father-in-law is losing his health insurance,” Pam told me. She stopped to chat as we perused the booths at the Stockholm Art Fair.

Stockholm, population 66, has one of the best art fairs in western Wisconsin. Judging by the license plates, the fair is high on the list for Minnesotans too.

Music, Music, Music

Richard Thompson

We're partnering with Trebble.FM to bring some music to the site. We'll have a curated set of music that will rotate from time to time.  This week we're bringing you the inimitable Richard Thompson. This is a nice tool, lets you pull together embeddable music players from a lot of on-line sources. It's still in beta and - not quite perfect, but good enough to use as it is. Enjoy.  If you have suggestions for people you would like to hear and see, let us know.

Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz Threatens Stranger in Emails: ‘Watch Your Back , Bitch'

by Justin Elliott ProPublica, July 13, 2017, 4:30 p.m.

This story has been updated with a response from a spokesman for Marc Kasowitz.

Marc Kasowitz, President Trump's personal attorney on the Russia case, threatened a stranger in a string of profanity-laden emails Wednesday night.

The man, a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified, read ProPublica's story this week on Kasowitz and sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: "Resign Now."

Town Hall to be held with Ron Johnson Aide in Menomonie

This is on our events calendar, but it's particularly notable. Due to a great deal of commitment and work on the part of members of the Citizen Action Organizing Co-op of Western Wisconsin, one of Ron Johnson's aides will hold a town hall meeting in Menomonie on Monday the 17th of July. This is notable since Johnson has refused in-person town halls, and in fact has had very few town hall meetings where one of his representatives has attended. This is a rare opportunity to make your opinions known to your state senator.

6:30-8:00 PM

Menomonie Public Library

600 Wolske Bay Road

Menomonie, WI 54751

What Robert Mueller Learned From Enron

This story was co-published with The New York Times. It seems safe to assume that nobody read Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails with a Kremlin-connected lawyer more closely than Robert Mueller. Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, will surely be making calls to everyone involved in the now…

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