Tuesday, April 29, 2008

True Cost of War: May 2nd Rally

by: Harry Waisbren

As part of the Iraq/Recession Campaign, Madison's chapter of Campus Progress is presenting our True Cost of War Event this Friday, May 2nd. We will be addressing how the true cost of war can not be seen only in its cost, but it must be assessed in terms of the essential services our government is choosing not to provide us with our own tax dollars.

The event will be starting at UW Library Mall at 4:00 with live music by Adam Isaac and the People (2008 Madison Area Music Award nominee for Artist of the Year – Pop Band category)

From 4:30 – 5:00 State Rep. Mark Pocan will be speaking about how college students have been affected by the disparity of funding towards the war in Iraq and college scholarships, creating jobs at home, and providing the affordable health care so badly needed by young professionals and veterans alike.

From 5:00 – 5:30 we will parade to Capitol Square, State & Mifflin at Veterans Museum

From 5:30 – 6:00 Watch the show and see where your money goes with guest hosts Lee Rayburn & John Quinlan

Madison local taxpayers have paid $309.6 MILLION for the Iraq War and Wisconsin $8.3 BILLION state-wide since 2003. How do you think our government should have spent YOUR $309.6 million in taxes?

How would you vote?

 238,255 Children receive Healthcare
 199,601 Adults receive Healthcare
 46,624 Children in Head Start Education
 5,400 Elementary teachers added
 46,028 College scholarships given
 377,581 Homes with renewable electricity
 6,930 Police/Firemen for Public Safety

Bring or pick up a Bush Buck at the Square and drop your ballot into the box where you would like to see your money go. Watch the show and see what our government is spending it on instead!

Friday, April 25, 2008


by: Barbara Wright

This Thursday, April 24, 5pm, about 16 people from the MoveOn Operation Democracy council came out in the pouring rain to release a report by MoveOn on the War and the Recession outside Sen. Kohl’s Office.

Speaking of pouring, this report shows how the billions of dollars we are pouring into the Iraq war could better be used at home for our critical domestic issues like healthcare, childcare, education and college grants and low interest loans. The report shows that all over the country voters understand that the current recession is directly related to the spending on the Iraq war.

Just this week two of the biggest manufacturing companies in the Madison area, Sub-zero and Stoughten Trailer have announced massive lay-offs. The housing crisis and gas prices are factors but the out of control spending of our taxpayer dollars in Iraq, money that could be used here at home to provide healthcare and Headstart and low income loans to ease the strain companies and their employees feel, is gone to pay for this illegal war.

As seen in the report, the message of the people polled is clear: End the war and then end the recession. Let's have some real homeland security, secure jobs, secure communities and true economic security. Oh, no press showed up but homeland security watched us from across the street. We all waved like the friendly folks we are.

April 27th Installment of Forward Forum

This week's primary focus is on issues of educational equity, and we'll be telling the inspiring tale of a Chicago inner city school where fifth grade students showed enormous creativity in improving educational conditions at their elementary school. Education programs based less on arbitrary testing requirements--and more on cultivating the full potential of our young people--on this week's Forward Forum.

We'll also be previewing this week's "True Cost of the Iraq War" event, upcoming on Friday, May 2nd, beginning at 4 pm on the UW-Madison's Library Mall. $ 309.6 MILLION is what Madison taxpayers have spent on the Iraq War since 2003, while Wisconsin taxpayers statewide have paid $ 8.3 BILLION. That money could have provided healthcare for 238,255 Children; added 5,400 Elementary teachers, provided 46,028 College scholarships; or added 6,930 City Police/Firemen. Among the principal organizers of this event is Forward Forum co-host Harry Waisbren; host John Quinlan will also be serving as an MC. For more info, go to our new blog at madprogress.blogspot.com , and click on "True Cost of War Iraq Events," and "What is the Iraq/Recession Campaign?" under "Blog Archive," at lower left.

Our guest at 7pm is Chicago-based educator, Brian Schultz, author of "Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom." (See http://store.tcpress.com/0807748579.shtml.) It's a moving tribute to what determined teachers can do to provide their students with real opportunities to use their innate creativity to improve the climate and other basic conditions of their educational environment. During the course of a remarkable year, Schultz's class of predominantly African-American fifth graders set off on a mission to repair and remedy the decay of their school, Carr Community Academy, which lies in the shadows of Chicago's distressed public housing complex, Cabrini Green. In the process, they successfully engaged with public officials at all levels of government, and made front page news in a series of articles originally appearing in the Chicago Tribune, and later, in various newsmedia nationwide.

While Schultz offered a framework for hope and creative action, the inspiring part of this story is how a remarkable group of pre-teenage young people stepped forward to meet these challenges, in a way that defies every negative stereotype out there about our nation's poor and minority youth. These young people were creative, resilient, strategic, and committed in ways that would put most adults to shame--constantly surprising their teacher and a growing group of supporters at every turn. Although their ultimate dream of building a new school was never realized, the sum total of small victories achieved along the way, and the life lessons each child took deep within them, had a value beyond measure.

Also joining us throughout the two hours is Forward Forum contributing editor Todd Price, who is a professor at National-Louis University in Chicago, and a graduate of the UW-Madison's doctoral program in curriculum and instruction. As he has periodically throughout the last two years, Todd will update us on recent developments in the fight to turn back the detrimental effects of the ironically-named "No Child Left Behind" legislation. Price and Schultz are colleagues.

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, one of many national and local figures the students contacted who later joined in collaboration with the students at Carr Academy, says it well: "Carr Community Academy is a crumbling elementary school in Chicago next to one of the larges and most perilous public housing projects--Cabrini Green. It also is the location of one of the most spectacular fifth-grade classes in the country."

Educational Equity Expert Jeannie Oakes of UCLA writes: "An amazing tale of incredible fifth-grade citizen activists that reveals what education in America's inner cities could and should be."
Author Jonathan Kozol writes: "Once I began reading, I couldn't put it down. The power here is in the details. It's a marvelous, important book and is badly needed at a moment when the values it upholds are under an unrelenting assault from forces of reactionary ignorance."

We are also still actively assembling a panel of educators, and are hoping to provide an update on the Madison-based African-American Pedagogy project, which has a goal of increasing achievement here for minority youth--in a city, county, and state that rank near the bottom in national rankings of graduation rates for minority students. We also hope to be joined by phone by Dr. Charles Waisbren, who will report on efforts to support an increase in minority student achievement in the Milwaukee schools. (Look for an update on this panel, later in the weekend, and on the Forward Forum website at www.forwardforum.net on the day of the show.)

Moving beyond testing--on a playing field that is far from level for all too many, identifying creative methods of making education accessible to all students, on this week's Forward Forum.

Please join in our conversation by calling 321-1670, *123 tollfree for US Cellular users, and 1-877-867-1670 toll free from outside the Madison area. Our show streams live online at www.wtdy.com . You can provide your feedback about this week's show on our new blog at madprogress.blogspot.com. Or contact John Quinlan with your ideas for future shows at 608-213-8409 or by writing to forwardforum@aol.com Show website: www.forwardforum.net .

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What is the Iraq/Recession Campaign?

by: Harry Waisbren

From the beginning, my inspiration to work to establish a strong Campus Progress chapter at UW stemmed from my excitement over the Iraq/Recession campaign (the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq only came out afterwards). This campaign is a $15 million nationwide effort to end the war and refocus our priorities here at home, and it is designed to raise awareness of the domestic costs that have been neglected due to Bush and John McCain’s singular focus on Iraq. I am especially excited as I believe our Campus Progress chapter can make a major impact by helping spread this message into our mainstream political discourse.

The campaign is supported by both John and Elizabeth Edwards, who are joined by quite the impressive coalition. This includes progressive organizations like MoveOn, the Center for American Progress Action Fund , US Action, SEIU, VoteVets, and Americans United for Change.

Campus Progress is the student arm of the Center for American Progress, but we plan on helping out with as many Iraq/Recession initiatives as we can. This issue is just too important, as our media is currently ignoring the reality that many of the essential reforms our country desperately needs can not be embarked upon while we remain bogged down in Iraq. With a McCain administration or with a continuing occupation of Iraq, this will remain the case.

This is the true cost of war, and it has certainly had a major impact on the lives of college students. This is money that could be spent on such priorities as additional college scholarships, aiding students with student loans, providing affordable health care, and creating new jobs by seriously addressing climate change. Furthermore, far too many members of our generation have had their lives lost or ruined due to the gross negligence of this administration, betraying any reasonable definition for what "supporting the troops" could possibly entail. Supporting the troops means a lot more than refusing to deny them people to shoot at, and I believe Kurt Vonnegut summed it up best when he said:

By saying that our leaders are power drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.
This is an argument that needs to be taken to John McCain and all other Iraq war supporters as they will continue to waste our money and our soldiers' sacrifices indiscriminately if we do not. Our main target for this message is the media as, quite fortuantely, Americans are already on board.

71 percent of Americans already believe that the “U.S. spending in Iraq is a reason for the nation’s poor economy.” Americans are fed up with this country's direction, and it must be emphasized that John McCain will mean another Bush term. It means we will continue to waste blood and treasure with no return, and if it is explained to Americans in this fashion, we will find out that they already agree that they want their money better spent.

This country needs a change of priorities. Our values must return to a place where the suffering of American citizens takes precedence over Haliburton raking in Billions despite a recession, or Exxon Mobile ranking as the most profitable company for a fifth year straight. And while the national unemployment rate increases by 13.6 percent (in seasonally adjusted terms from 4.4 to 5.0 percent), the only jobs being created are for the administration’s defense contractor allies. This can be seen in Bush’s most recent budget, which is a windfall for contractors. This isn't a new development either, as between 2000 and 2005 procurement was the “fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.” (Halliburton has been the biggest beneficiary of the administration’s generosity.)

College students do not need jobs as mercenaries---we need our friends in the military to come home. And they need to come home for themselves, as they will be facing the same economic realities as we are upon their return. We have a moral obligation to our soldiers, to our fellow citizens, and to ourselves to work to ensure that our country addresses this interconnected issue of misplaced priorities. We must address the causes of the war in Iraq, the causes for these misplaced priorities, and the causes of this immoral direction our country has taken all at once by empoying a Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.

The Cap-Times and the Progressive Movement

by: Harry Waisbren

I was inspired to use my column space at the Badger Herald to write an article about internet journalism and the Capital Times transition following our interview of the new editor of the Capital Times, Paul Fanlund. In general, the phenomenon of citizen journalism and the progressive blogosphere is perhaps my greatest passion, and I plan on writing quite often about both the current power and future potential of the blogosphere. I am so confident about the impact of the netroots because I think it has already been a revelation for this country, and in time, I believe it will further manifest itself into an information revolution that will change the face of America.

For this particular article I focused on how the blogosphere is uncomparbly adept at giving voice to experts who would not be able to obtain the access they deserve in the mainstream media. This has led to quite the disparity between the mainstream media and the progressive blogosphere, where experts able to truthfully assess current predicaments as well as almost prophetically predict future complications (especially capitulations by the Democratic party) are given much more of a voice in blogland.

This is largely because of our current system where we have completely out of touch media stars constantly telling us to listen to them because of their "journalistic standards". Many times when I read these people's material I keep thinking that I could just as easily see them hosting a show on E! or writing for a tabloid as them continuing to harp on Hillary's cleavage and Obama's bowling. Now don't get me wrong, there are some incredible journalists out there, and the blogosphere is entirely dependent on analyzing and spreading the work that they do. However, the mainstream media needs to be held to account for the destruction of the credibility of their profession if real reforms are ever going to be made, and this will require major changes in how our society analyzes a system that allows for so much useless noise and propaganda. If such reforms are indeed made, both the blogosphere and the nation as a whole would be helped exponentially because of it.

This is why despite my lack of journalistic credentials I feel very comfortable giving my take about major issues of the day. I feel it is my patriotic duty to question these people, as anyone who would rather I just keep quiet about what I really think and get to the back of the political discourse bus with the rest of the silent majority in this country does not really believe in democracy, much less journalism.

I am far past the point where I am trusting of a media source only because they are referred to as a "professional journalist". Neither Thomas Paine nor Thomas Jefferson had such a title, but that did not affect their ability to do the main duty of journalism: to act as a check on government malfeasance by educating the people. Furthermore, writing online allows for the direct citation of evidence through linking, making many of these sites vastly more credible than our highly propagandized press.

If the British had our technology in 1776 I am sure that they would have had blatant government propaganda on even their most credible media outlets as well. This has become such a large problem that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers explained that this is why the Democratic party is not pursuing accountability for the litany of impeachable offenses:

On Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” on Dec. 20, Conyers said the U.S. news media has become such a problem that any Democratic attempt to hold the President and Vice President accountable might end up achieving the opposite result.

“There is a very stark reality that with the corporatization of the media, we could end up with turning people, who should be documented in history as making many profound errors and violating the Constitution, from villains into victims,” the Michigan Democrat said.

This problem is very real, and we live in very frightening times. Fortunately, there is much reason to have hope despite this, as many members of our citizenry have banded together to try to address this problem through their participation in the progressive movement. This is why my article also included a discussion of the Capital Times's transition to a 24/7 online model, as it will make it very possible for them to be an active member in this movement through involvement in the blogosphere.

I am extremely excited about the potential of this new outlet, as there are many brilliant people on this campus with opinions that should be spread far and wide. All they need is the virtual microphone that a successful internet newspaper could provide, and the free flowing nature of the internet will certainly facilitate this feat. This is because the technology of the net allows for a vastly increased amount of material that could be published, none of which needs to have length constraints for space and formatting concerns.

Any news source that is truly committed to the interests of its readers would seek out such experts, especially since almost all of the experts they typically cite have been dead wrong on the most serious issues over the last few decades. I am proud to say that giving voice to the people silenced by this corrupted media framework had been a primary goal of Forward Forum long before I arrived, and it is specifically why I was so excited to begin working and learning from John in the first place. It has been quite the experience participating on the show thus far, and I am very excited about our plans to utilize the Mad Progress blog to increase the volume on the previously silenced speech even more.

Increasing the volume on this kind of speech is also specifically why I am so excited about the Capital Times transition. In my first post on this blog, I cited Madison's vast history in progressive politics as a reason for all of its citzenry to become much more involved in the current progressive movement. I truly believe that a large and well-structured new media based internet newspaper could do wonders for our efforts to connect what is going on inside the Madison bubble to the rest of the nation, and it will also have the capacity to connect the historic work being done elsewhere to the Madison citizenry as well.

So if you haven't already, give my article a look and further consider my arguments (and please let me know what you think). Also, please begin to discern what you can contribute to the Capital Times, whether it be through reading and learning from unconventional thinkers, discussing the issues in the comment sections and creating a virtual community, or by submitting your own writing to be discussed. Despite what the media in this country have been saying, American citizenship is not a birthright: citizenship is something you do!

In these times of unprecedented turmoil in America, it is all of our duties to work together to decipher how we can progress forward. That is the true patriotism that our founding fathers envisioned America's citizens would have, and that is the true greatness that is America.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

True Cost of War Iraq Events

I've been working to further establish a new student organization called Campus Progress and work on behalf of the Iraq/Recession campaign. There are also a variety of Moveon Iraq/Recession events coming up, as they are part of the incredible coalition formed. This coalition includes the Center for American Progress (and by extension their campus arm, Campus Progress), Moveon, True Majority, SEIU, USAction, as well as John and Elizabeth Edwards.

All of these organizations are working to start a real discussion around the country over the true cost of this war, in terms of what we could have spent this money on instead, as well as in terms of how it has had quite the detrimental effect on our economy.

I will have a lot more on this in the next couple of days, but for now here are the current details of what we have planned for the coming weeks:


Thurs., April 24, 5pm, Outside Sen. Kohl’s Office14 West Mifflin Street


309.6 MILLIONis what Madison taxpayers have spent on the Iraq War since 2003. Wisconsin has paid 8.3 BILLION statewide. How should local government have spent YOUR taxes?

Vote Below:
 238,255 Children receive Healthcare
 199,601 Adults receive Healthcare
 46,624 Children in Head Start Ed
 5,400 Elementary teachers added
 46,028 College scholarships given
 377,581 Homes supplied with renewableelectricity
 6,930 City Police/Firemen added

Join Us for the True Cost of the Iraq War Event Friday, May 2nd @ UW Library Mall
4:00 - 4:30 Live Band
4:30 – 5:00 Rep. Mark Pocan & guests
5:00 – 5:30 March to Capitol Square, State & Mifflin @ Veterans Museum
5:30 – 6:00

See where your money goes and hear the truth from Guest Speakers!
Bring your Bush Buck with you, drop your ballot into the box where you would like to see your taxes go, then wait and see who shows up to take it!
Bush Buck's available at The Dardenelles Restaurant on Monroe and Shakti at 320 State St.

This event sponsored by Campus Progress

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20th Installment of Forward Forum

This week's show is destined to be a great one I do believe, packed full of experts to discuss some of hte most important issues of the day.

We begin our first hour with a live in-studio interview with current Capital Times Executive Editor Paul Fanlund, who will soon take the helm as editor of a dramatically different version of The Capital Times, when the paper ceases daily publication at the end of this week, just months after celebrating its 90th birthday. The paper's transition to a 24/7 online version, supplemented by a Wednesday printed editorial section, and a Thursday arts and entertainment section, is a development being watched worldwide by newspaper industry leaders, and those with an investment in the success of New Media.

At 7:30, we then go to one of our favorite guests, Sharyl Kato, executive director of the Rainbow Project, joins us by phone at the bottom of our first hour to explain educational efforts underway, during April, which is Child Abuse Prevention month. This week, for example (April 20-27), a Pinwheel Project Display will be planted in honor of Dane County child abuse and neglect victims, on the Zor Shrine property--one which will be visible from the Beltline.Founded in 1980, the Rainbow Project offers specialized services for young children, through seven years-of-age, & their families, who are 1) in stress, 2) or those who may be at risk due to the effects of domestic violence, child abuse & neglect, 3) social-developmental & behavioral problems, or 4) parent/child & family relationship issues.

Then at 8:00 we will be interviewing Will Williams of Veterans for Peace. We'll be discussing the state of military veterans in our country and what is being done to change it. Specifically, we will discuss the intricacies of the new bipartisan GI Bill circulating through Congress, as well as John McCain's refusal to co-sponsor it. This will then culminate in a discussion over what it really means to support the troops, and why the media portrays supporting the troops so differently.

Lastly, we will end with a preview of a special event ten days from now on the UW campus, sponsored by a wide variety of UW and national groups working for peace, with further details to come next week.

Hope you can catch it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

April 13th Installment of Forward Forum

This week's show will focus on issues of social change including LGBT rights, Supreme Court campaign reform, the National Media Reform conference, and the current backlash against homeless people in Madison.

In our 7pm hour we will have:

  • Our weekly update on this month's Out And About Events on the UW-Madison campus, with Cory Schultz, Communications Director for the LGBT Campus Center. Great speakers, music and an array of other events are planned this week and through the end of the month. For more info: www.wisc.edu/lgbt/
  • An interview with Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, with a focus on what you can do to prevent the hijacking of future Wisconsin Supreme Court elections by corporate-funded special interest groups. See www.wisdc.org/ .
  • This week's review of the week that was in politics, the media and other topics in the news
  • A preview of this year's National Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis, June 6-8, with conference organizer, Yolanda Hippensteele, on the phone from California. (This event began in Madison five years ago; 200 attendees were expected, almost 2000 came. The event, and the movement behind it have grown by leaps and bounds ever since, and dozens of Madisonians are expected to attend this year's event. See www.freepress.net .)

Our 8 p.m. hour also should be great, and we'll provide:

  • A panel discussion with advocates for people who are homeless, discussing community responses to recent backlash against the homeless. As we've reported, multi-millionaire developer Fred Mohs began the recent "dialogue" about homelessness by pulling his support for free parking for a downtown church that offers shelter services. Recently, Isthmus Daily Page blogger Dave Blaska wrote a widely-read incendiary piece calling for a return to workhouses and other Dickensian punishments for homelessness and poverty--that may or may not have been tongue in cheek--which through innuendo and without substantive facts suggested that homeless people as a class of people were vicious vagrants who were likely behind recent murders in Madison. (As Mayor Cieslewicz said in a response to a question I asked at Downtown Madison Rotary on Wednesday, "We need to slow down here. There has been no evidence to suggest such a link, and homeless people as a group should not be blamed.")
  • A panel including the organizers of the a broadly-based group of community leaders that came together this last Thursday at the Community Action Coalition's office to speak out against the hate-filled rhetoric being hurled at people who happen currently experiencing the trauma of homelessness. (See www.cacscw.org.) Linda Ketcham (executive director of the Madison Urban Ministry--www.emum.org), community activist Lisa Subeck, and Joe Lindstrom of the Homeless Consortium of Dane County will all be joining us to discuss this important issue.

It should be a great show, and we hope you tune in!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wisconsin Inconvenient Truth Event

by: Harry Waisbren

I am quite proud that I have been able to volunteer for next week’s presentation of “Wisconsin’s Inconvenient Truth”. Precisely, it will be next Wednesday, April 16th from 5:00-6:30 PM in the basement of Gordon commons, room A1, and I am certain that it will be a harrowing yet hopeful discussion over what Wisconsin’s environmental future will hold if we do not take action to prevent global warming.

This is because the presentation will not only focus on how bad it has already gotten, but also on how much potential we have to fix the problems as well. The speaker, Ryan Schryver, is quite the expert too, as he is a clean energy advocate for Clean Wisconsin who was trained by former Vice President Al Gore and several of the nation’s leading scientists to give this presentation as part of the Climate Project.

When I interviewed Ryan for a Badger Herald article I wrote about this event, I was startled to learn about the degree of effects from global warming that we are feeling right now. Wisconsin’s weather patterns have already changed egregiously, as evidenced by the fact that spring now comes three weeks earlier than it has historically. Even more disconcerting was the description he gave over the increasing patterns of extreme weather that we have been experiencing unabashedly this winter.

“It’s somewhat of a paradox, in that we can expect to see more prolonged and frequent droughts, but at the same time when we get storms we can expect them to be more intense,” explained Ryan. “And so this winter, the weather patterns were very much in line with what we expect to see as a result from global warming, where we have nice weather in between major snow storms.”

Ryan also explained how this state of affairs brought particularly caustic results last August, when “Gov. Doyle declared a state wide emergency because of the widespread drought that was ravishing our farmland, and less than one week later a federal disaster area was declared in almost 10 counties because there had been almost 19 inches of rain, and there was massive flooding.”

Considering the city of Madison’s pathetic response to the increased snow this past winter, I am very concerned over the fruits such extreme and unpredictable weather patterns will bear. However, despite all of this, Ryan was one of the most optimistic environmentalists that I have ever met in regards to our capacity to tackle this immense challenge.

“It’s affecting everyone, and that’s why we’re seeing this overwhelming support to do something,” Ryan argued. He emphasized that these drastic changes have already led to a coalition of “strange bedfellows, where you have bear hunters from Northern Wisconsin walking hand in hand with Birkenstock wearing hippies.”

This is why Ryan’s presentation will also look at Wisconsin’s energy use, specifically how our own lives are contributing to the problem. This will then lead into a discussion over what we can do to fix some of the problems.

He particularly stressed the importance of preventing a new Alliant coal plant’s construction, explaining that it would make it almost impossible to reverse many of the trends we have been seeing. Fortunately, activists like Ryan have already been working to foster a grassroots response to prevent this, but they certainly need all the help they can get to ensure success for such an integral issue.

Quite fortunately, he is also confident that our state leadership is on the right track as well. He cited a global warming task force created by Gov. Doyle, describing it as a “large coalition of people sitting down who are, right now, in the process of figuring out how we get these major reductions that we need.” Despite the frightening images of “drowning polar bears” and “penguins doing back flips”, Ryan believes that our growing Wisconsin coalition of grass roots activists and progressive state politicians really can get a handle on our environment once again.

“I think that there is a general message of hope out there,” emphasized Ryan. “I wouldn’t get up and do the job that I do as a professional environmentalist every morning if I didn’t think we could solve this problem. And we are not talking about people going back and living in caves or anything like that. We are talking about a better world. We’re talking about a world where we have jobs that are based on clean energy, we’re talking about a world with cleaner air in general, and we’re talking about a world where we don’t have to worry about these extreme weather patterns.”

I am excited to have this talk next Wednesday and to learn how I (and hopefully other Badger Herald and Mad Progress readers) can do more to contribute to a sustainable environmental future in Wisconsin. This message of hope wrapped in a call to action could not be over a more integral issue, and it certainly could not come at a more integral time.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April 6th Installment of Forward Forum

by: Harry Waisbren

This week's show will certainly be quite informative, as we take a look at the lending/mortgage crisis and a critique of failed economic policies, followed by an exclusive interview with a Madison-raised author about the disturbingly pervasive presence of slavery in today's world.

In our 7 pm hour, Jose Garcia, co-author of "Up to Our Eyeballs, How Shady Lenders and Failed Economic Policies Are Drowning American in Debt" (with special guest/guest co-host, local financial expert Niel Moser).

In our 8 pm hour, E. Benjamin Skinner, Native Madisonian and author of the landmark book based on his four continent investigative reporting--"A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery." Ben will be speaking in Madison on at the membership meeting of the United Nations Association-USA Dane County chapter, this Tuesday, April 8th, beginning at 6:45 pm, in the auditorium of Meriter Commons, 333 W. Main St. Free and open to the public; parking free.

We will also be previewing two important community events:

In our 7 pm hour, Cory Schultz will join us to discuss Out and About Month Events on the UW-Madison campus. Cory is the Communications Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's LGBT Campus Center. For details, go to http://www.wisc.edu/lgbt/events.html

In our 8 pm hour, Bruce Moffatt, Exec. Director of the Wisconsin Community Fund joins us to preview WCF's 25th anniversary celebration, this Thursday, April 10th, from 5 to 7:30 pm at the Edgewater Hotel. Join WCF and its supporters for great company, drinks and hors d'oeuvres with people from all over the state working on cutting edge issues of social change. Featuring a 6 pm ceremony recognizing the social justice foundation's founding donors. See http://www.wcfund.org/aboutwcf25th.htm for more details.

I am quite disappointed to say that I will be unable to take part in a show with such a knowledgable array of guests, but I am quite excited about the meeting I must attend instead. I have recently become Moveon's campus coordinator for UW, and we will be discussing the Iraq Recession camaign that is just about to begin. Much more on this soon!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Clinton Employing Racist Attacks?

by: Harry Waisbren

During last week’s show, our incredible panel debated whether or not Hillary Clinton has been using racially inspired attacks during the campaign. Both Abha and Rev. Haslanger adamantly disagreed with my assertion that Clinton had crossed a line, and Rev. Haslanger made a particularly good point that the rancor of such attacks can be exaggerated by the echo chamber of surrogates spinning anything that either candidate does. However, I maintain that despite the spinning there is clearly enough evidence of campaign malfeasance that his theory does not adequately exonerate Clinton.

In fact, I am far from the only one who has come to this conclusion. Sen. Ted Kennedy professed this same disappointment prior to his endorsement of Obama, as the New York Times reports that he had become “furious by the tone of the Democratic campaign, including the words and actions of former President Bill Clinton.” It certainly is no stretch to say that Kennedy’s fury was the result of what had been very recent statements from Bill in South Carolina that many deemed to be racist.

Keith Olbermann also adamantly denounced the Clinton campaign strategy following Hillary's period of innaction in respone to the racially tinged statements from Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro. In fact, Olbermann devoted an entire special comment to the direction of the Hillary Clinton campaign and her increasingly negative attacks on Obama. Olbermann went so far as to say proclaim “Senator, you are now campaigning, as if Barack Obama were the Democrat, and you… were the Republican.”

These attacks continued following the Ferraro outcry, including Hillary jumping on the bandwagon of the racist free for all against Jeremiah Wright. Clinton used Wright in her negotiations with superdelagates, and reportedly suggested that Obama could not win because of the controversy. Clinton went so far with these racist attacks that even a major Clinton ally wrote that Clinton owes Obama an apology.

Now I do not believe that Bill or Hillary Clinton are either remotely racist. However, she is clearly getting horrible advice from her campaign staff, and she has yet to rectify the tragic direction that her campaign has went. In fact, her advisers have given her such irresponsible advice that Bill Richardson cited them specifically as a reason why he decided to endorse Obama despite his long history with and past loyalty to the Clintons.

Clinton has been convinced to take her “kitchen sink” approach way too far, to the extent that I have lost deep respect for both of them. As I argued during the show, instead of employing such divisive and reprehensible tactics, Hillary should have tried to catch up to Obama by making a speech on gender like he did on race. I cited my previous post regarding the gender bias against Clinton being just as transparent as the race bias against Obama, and Hillary clearly had just as much incentive as Obama did to call for a higher level of discourse during a history making presidential campaign.

The country is desperate for change in this coming election, and Clinton using old biases and triangulation strategies is just not going to cut it. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Clinton's approval ratings have been plummeting and why she has seen her superdelegate lead almost completely erased.