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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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Uihleins spend big to help Ron Johnson defend Senate seat from Russ Feingold


The Uihleins — owners of Pleasant Prairie-based Uline Corp. — also are staking a claim in the hotly contested race between U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and his predecessor, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. Records show that the Uihleins and their company already have pumped at least $1.3 million into three outside groups putting up ads either helping Johnson, a Republican, or criticizing Feingold, a Democrat. The election, of course, is still 13 months away.

Most recently, Uline Corp. gave $500,000 to Club for Growth, making the company the biggest donor by far to the national conservative group this year. Uline's support represents more than two-thirds of Club for Growth's total take of $762,767 in 2015. The Uline money arrived a few months before the group launched a $700,000 ad campaign attacking Feingold. Club for Growth has announced that it hopes to spend more than three times that amount helping to re-elect Johnson.

Tom Russell, campaign manager for Feingold, said it's not surprising that out-of-state multimillionaires are "bankrolling" his opponent's campaign via Club for Growth. Russell said they are doing this because Johnson supported, among other things, the policies that led to the 2013 federal government shutdown. Earlier this year, Richard Uihlein chipped in $800,000 to two conservative political action committees running TV and radio spots on the race — $300,000 to Restoration PAC and an additional $500,000 to Americas PAC.


The Uihleins — who own property in northern Wisconsin — have come under scrutiny in recent weeks for asking Gov. Scott Walker's administration to approve two land deals that would benefit them. First, Elizabeth Uihlein is trying to buy 1.75 acres of prime lakefront property in Vilas County from the Department of Natural Resources. Richard Uihlein also wants state approval to tie down a 12-acre floating bog to keep it away from his family property. The politically active couple has given some $3 million in support of Walker's successful gubernatorial and unsuccessful presidential campaigns.

Guess it's time for Scuba to send another $25 to Russ.

Wisconsin: BAD groundwater bill scheduled for a hearing this Wed, Oct 7 in Madison

from my email ...

Hello Friends of Water,

A bad groundwater bill is going to hearing this Wednesday, October 7th at 2:30. If you can, please consider going to Madison to help see that this bill does not gain traction. A good summary and what you can do is below, sent to Central Sands Water Action Coalition from River Alliance of Wisconsin. There are some car pools being organized for Wednesday, so if can trek to Madison with us, please let me or others know.

Additionally, here is Dr. Kraft’s blog that explains the proposal http://wiswaterguy.com/2015/09/14/bill-introduced-to-ease-high-capacity-well-transfers-and-replacement/

Good afternoon Central Sands Water Action Coalition partners,

Senator Gudex's bill is going for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism next Wednesday, October 7th at 2:30. As folks have been discussing recently, this bill does nothing to fix the problems you are facing with groundwater overpumping in the Central Sands and the committee should know that voters are unhappy about it.

The committee chair, Senator Moulton, has co-sponsored Gudex's bill but I don't think he anticipates a lot of public opposition to this bill. So it's important he realizes this is a hot potato. The hearing on Wednesday is just that, a hearing. The committee will not be voting on moving the bill to the floor yet so a strong public response can influence how willing the committee will be to move this thing forward.

How can CSWAC members best weigh in?

1. Contact the Ag Committee members to voice your opposition

2. Pack the hearing on Wednesday

3. Testify against the bill

1. Contact Ag Committee Members and your legislators:

This is the first and most important step for the coalition to move on. You are a coalition comprised of hundreds of individuals who collectively can send a very strong message. If you can reach out to the group you represent to ask them to call or email their legislators and the committee to voice their opposition, it's the most immediate and tangible impact you can have on this bill.

In case anyone needs contact info for their legislator, they can find it here (just type in your address): http://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov

The Senate Ag Committee list and contact is found here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/committees/senate/1365

Ideally you would contact all members but at the very least, the Chair's office and Sen. Lassa, especially if she is your senator.

Talking Points:

Be brief, state your name, your address and why you care about the issue and how it impacts you personally;

Indicate that you oppose SB239;

SB 239 does not solve the growing water crisis in the state, it only locks down the a system that has led to the problem in the first place;

Any law to manage groundwater pumping needs to be fair, science-based and needs to address current and future water conflicts in the state. SB239 does none of this.

We have re-attached our analysis of SB239 if you would like additional information, but really, just stating your opposition is the main goal.

2. Testify against the bill on Wednesday

Many of you have first-hand experience about how over pumping is harming your property, quality of life and access to water. Others of you have paid out of pocket to seek recourse for unchecked pumping. Legislators need to hear over and over again that the problem is not the future of agriculture in the state, the problem is a growing water crisis that is playing out right now. The committee needs to hear these stories. As Scott mentioned, Big Ag will be out in full force telling their version of the story, so we really need to counter-balance that with thoughtful citizen testimony about how groundwater over pumping is harmful.

Testimony should be no longer than 3 minutes. Focus on personal stories. Several of you have already let us know you are planning to testify.

We would love to know how many of you are planning to testify. We will be sending out a follow-up email on Monday with some tips for preparing testimony.

We have reserved a hospitality room for CSWAC folks coming to the hearing on October 7. We will be in Room 425 SW from 11am-3pm. Come by early, we will have sandwiches and snacks in the room and can coach you on testifying if you're new to this. Also, it would be great to plan a few legislative visits that day since you're already coming to Madison and we can help arrange all the details in advance.

3. Even if you don't testify, consider attending the hearing and registering your opposition

This is important! Legislators need to get a clear message that they cannot roll back groundwater protection without a huge fight. A packed hearing room full of folks who oppose the bill will let Senator Gudex (and Senator Cowles, too) know that people are watching and ready to make a big deal of bad groundwater legislation.

Thanks for all you do and please do not hesitate to contact me or Allison with questions.

Talk to you on Monday!

America's ISIS

Legendary UW-Madison student prankster Leon Varjian dies


A legendary University of Wisconsin-Madison student government prankster best known for putting a foam Statue of Liberty on a frozen Lake Mendota and 1,000 plastic pink flamingos on Bascom Hill died suddenly in New Jersey, where he was a beloved high school math teacher.


Varjian was 25 when he arrived on the UW-Madison campus in fall 1977. He already had a degree in mathematics from New Jersey's Montclair State. (There, he set up the Miss Montclair Steak Pageant, a spoof of the university's beauty pageant.) He also had been a student at Indiana University at Bloomington, where he sponsored a Banana Olympics, which included a banana toss and a search for a banana hidden in a haystack.

Varjian didn't go to UW-Madison to earn a degree. He took one-credit classes in the late 1970s and early 1980s so he could remain eligible for student government. He was a student senator when he and sidekick Jim Mallon hit on the idea of making up a Pail & Shovel Party, and running a mock campaign later described as "one continuing performance-art piece on the corruption of government."


Varjian was such a legendary prankster, a case number was devoted to him in the book, "If At All Possible Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks." Varjian and Mallon didn't just prank elections, they openly squandered student government funds on beer, parties and other high jinks, including bringing the Statue of Liberty to Madison. It was to have been set up in the dead of night, facing campus, on the ice of frozen Lake Mendota. But the statue took three days to build out of chicken wire, papier-m ché and plywood. It was just the head, arm and torch so it would appear partially submerged. They also flocked Bascom Hill with 1,000 pink plastic flamingos — a tradition that was later embraced as a beloved fall fundraiser, recognizing alumni donors.

And when the student government funds ran low, Leon sent Jim Mallon to Vegas to try to run up some more cash. This before the State of Wisconsin started a lottery. RIP Leon.
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