THINGS WE ARE LEARNING

 “The question today is whether we can learn something from coronavirus that might not only help us mitigate the harm of this pandemic, but build a new infrastructure of care that allows us to better protect the most vulnerable — and us all.” Gregg Gonsalves, Yale epidemiology professor and Amy Kapczynski, Yale Law School professor. We are learning – or should be learning – some important lessons from the pandemic sweeping the country. This tragedy shows how fragile and vulnerable we are as a society. We are finding out that many of our ...

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A SIMPLE WALK IN WONDERLAND

 This morning, like most mornings, I will walk this plain, little country road. Typical, it carries a few cars, more pickup trucks, a tractor now and then and the occasional bike, motorized and pedaled. The road arouses little interest in the eyes of many who clearly see only a trash can to fill up with what they toss out the window or that blows out of the truck bed. Out of car, out of mind; a road not much remembered. And yet this unremarkable road correctly walked often leaves me speechless with awe and gratitude. Great music dances out of the ...

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LEO THE LION: A FEATURE IN JUNE’S NIGHT SKY

 June has arrived quietly and unexpectedly, like a stray cat waiting at our door. For stargazers, there are many great things to see, including Leo. But because of Daylight Savings Time, it doesn’t get really dark until about 10 p.m. One must be especially motivated to wait that long to see the stars. But, believe me, it will be worth the effort. So many stars! On an average dark night, we will be able to see 10,000 stars. What an incredible treat! Leo the Lion occupies the western sky at this time of year. It sets around midnight. This year there ...

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EMPOWERED WORKERS OVERCOME FEAR

 (This article is reprinted from Union Labor News, May 2020. Rebecca Meier-Rao is Executive Director of Worker Justice Wisconsin.) I began my position as Executive Director of Worker Justice Wisconsin (WJW) in mid-February. About a month later we had to shut our office doors due to COVID-19, and we began advocating for the rights of workers remotely. Thankfully, the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters had donated laptop computers to us the week before our office closed, which made our transition to working from home much ...

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SMART EXPERTISE PRODUCES MUCH-NEEDED MASKS

 (This is reprinted from Union Labor News, May 2020) SMART expertise produces much-needed masks. After two months of coronavirus, most of us have become connoisseurs of face masks. The best ones achieve a good seal with an embedded aluminum strip that crosses the bridge of the nose. Where do those come from? Thirteen million of them have come from unions. The idea for making them came from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) which proceeded to get more than two ...

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RESTORING TRUST IN TRYING TIMES

 By Senator Jeff SmithAt times, there is a real disconnect between science and politics in our country. But, in the case of how we handle a pandemic, it can be dangerous.For decades, we’ve been fed the philosophy that government can’t be trusted. Don’t get me wrong, too many politicians throughout history have brought that on by corrupt and often selfish behavior. Problems within government can become sensationalized and people begin to think that is the standard rather than the exception. It begins to impair our judgement of government and the important ...

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10 BOOKS THAT CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE READING NOW

 (This article is reprinted from Yes! Website under the Creative Commons License.)(This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.)A record number of Americans are concerned about climate change, a recent study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication found. If you’re among them, you may be interested in learning more about the climate crisis and what you can do about it. Luckily, you don’t have ...

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THE SACRED COW IN A TIME OF PLAGUE

 We are finding out – very painfully – that there is much more to “national security” than weapons of war. The current pandemic sweeping the nation adds angst and urgency to the situation. We are seeing the results of excessive military preparedness and insufficient investment in all other government activities that actually make our lives secure. The U.S. military is the largest and most expensive in the world. It has been since WWII. We spend more on defense than the next eight top spenders combined. We have military bases in 140 other countri...

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TOO MUCH MONEY IN POLITICS

 State Senator Tom Tiffany is running to fill US Representative Sean Duffy's seat in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District. He served in Wisconsin's Assembly from 2011-2013 and the Senate since 2013. Since Tiffany says he will "drain the swamp" in Washington just as he did in Madison, it makes sense to look at his record. Tiffany represented Wisconsinites at midnight on a Friday night in November 2015 when he supported, and the Senate passed, a bill that doubled campaign contribution limits from $10,000 to $20,000 and allowed ...

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AN UNEXPECTED MIRACLE

 In this time of the pandemic, in the midst of suffering, people are reaching out to others. People are helping strangers in very loving ways. I had a similar experience in an April snowstorm of 1956. At that time, I was working for Marathon County Schools as a speech therapist for the 124 one-room schools. I had agreed to take children to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for possible admission into their summer speech therapy clinic. It was a different time from now. It was an era of greater trust when folks didn’t worry so much ...

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