History


Earth Day has its roots in Wisconsin

Wisconsin and Earth Day go back a long way together. Truth be told, without Wisconsin, Earth Day might not even exist. Dismayed by a disastrous oil spill off the coast of California in 1969, our own Senator Gaylord Nelson conceived and set in motion the gears that made Earth Day 1970 a phenomenon to be reckoned with.

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Black history in Wisconsin

The writing of the the state constitution involves Black suffrage. In 1846, a first draft of the constitution allowed black men to vote. This draft was not adopted. The successful 1848 State Constitution explicitly barred Black men from voting while it allowed all white men, even immigrants who were not citizens, to vote. After statehood, three referendums were held on suffrage for Black men (1849, 1857, and 1865). All were defeated. Citizenship was defined as being white and male.

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Contaminated brownfields: how did it come to this in America?

The business is long gone, the buildings removed but the aftermath is not.  Left behind is a “brownfield,” a nice word for a site contaminated with deadly poisons, and no one left to pay for clean-up if that’s even possible. And what to do with it once it is cleaned up? Another industrial site, another fence line community in the poorer part of town where the people of color live. There are thousands of brownfields all over America. How did it come to this? No one intended to damage the Earth and make humans sick. We blundered into it.

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The return of the dumb terminal

Starting in the late 1960’s a little understood corner of the United States government began developing a means of connecting geographically separated research labs and universities. These remote computers allowed researchers to more quickly share data between projects and allowed research to work on projects without being required to be in the same room, or even the same state. The more complex this network became, the more obvious it became that system administrators needed to connect to and control computers without being on the remote computer’s keyboard. This is ...

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Capella: four stars that appear to be one

As I mentioned in the February 1st issue article about the constellation Auriga the Charioteer, the name Capella means “female goat” or “little female goat” in Latin. Like many objects visible to us in the night sky, Capella is not just a single star. It consists of two binary pairs. A binary pair is two stars revolving around a common center, somewhat like two ice skaters holding hands while they spin.

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THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Back when … well, whenever, things were better. Right? People loved each other more, spent more time with family. Life was simpler.Exactly when was that?Was it the 1950s, Back when the U. S. and Russia detonated nuclear weapons above ground, when milk tested positive for radiation? When school kids routinely practiced scuttling under their desks in case of a nuclear attack?When everyone smoked cigarettes?When women had to find a back alley abortionist to end an unwanted pregnancy and the only means of birth control were condoms and diaphragms? (Okay, ...

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THE VIOLENT END OF THE GILLILAND BOYS

In the completion of my recent book, Murrder in the County: 50 True Stories of the Old West, I discovered that three of the fifty murders profiled there were committed by members of the same family! Intrigued, I researched more about these folks and the result is now published under the title The Violent End of the Gilliland Boys. Fascinating and shocking, this story features more twists and turns than an Ozark’s dirt road.Christmas Day horse races 1872, Middle Fork Valley. Young Bud Gilliland waits, eager for another chance at his neighbor Newton Jones. Only this ...

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FROM HOPE TO HOPELESS?

My father was 23 years old in 1941. He was well aware of the terror occurring in the world and the need for it to be stopped. He enlisted in the US Army on November 29, 1941, as America learned of barbaric acts of terror and brutality by the Imperial Army of Japan, such as the Rape of Nanking. He knew that a hardline militarism, nationalism and totalitarianism represented a real threat to the freedom of people everywhere. He was well aware of the loud, racist and hateful rhetoric and continued lies and conquest of Europe's countries by Adolf Hitler.He was aware of ...

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ON THE BOOKSHELF – RINGSIDE SEAT

Today we are looking at a wonderful book about Wisconsin politics from the 1970’s to Scott Walker.RINGSIDE SEAT by Senator Tim Cullen takes us through the governorship of Scott Walker and all of the bombs he dropped on Wisconsin, moving our state to the extreme right and insuring partisan politics. Wisconsin has never been as politically divided as it is now.Senator Tim Cullen was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of UW-Whitewater. He served in the State Senate (1975 – 1987 and 2011 - 2015).In 1987 he became Secretary of the ...

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TAKE-NO-PRISONERS POLITICS IS NOT NEW TO THE USA…..

TAKE-NO-PRISONERS POLITICS IS NOT NEW TO THE USA…..Do you remember a few years ago when HBO presented the series of John and Abigail Adams? The Adams were portrayed as leaders and saviors of our fledging US democracy. HBO attempted to change the story of Adams presidency. What really happened is this:In 1796, President John Adams and his wife Abigail brought a take-no-prisoners politics to Washington D.C. This brought fear and division into the new country. It also brought out the worst behavior in Adams’ Federalist (Republican) supporters.In 1798, under ...

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