Now that we're a few days into 2022, there's lots of stuff you should do. Not so much on the Events List, but in a group of urgent action items.
As we approach the anniversary of the attack on our Capitol, people all over the country are organizing remembrances and other activities. Here in Milwaukee, there are three January 6 events you could join:
- Defend Democracy voter registration drive from 10am — 1pm CST, starting from El Rey, 916 S Cesar E Chavez Dr, Milwaukee 53204.
- We the People candlelight vigil, 2:30 — 6pm CST at the Milwaukee Federal Building, 517 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee 53202.
- Textbanking with Field Team 6, a virtual event from 6pm - 7pm CST. To join this action, you will need to do some prep work first. So read the instructions before you join.
Contact Senator Johnson and Senator Baldwin to urge both of them to vote for the two voting rights acts pending in the Senate: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. If you've already done this, do it again. If you haven't, do it for the first time.
Send email to Assembly Speaker Vos and Senate President Kapenga to object to the Gableman sh*t-show: you know, the effort to "audit" the 2020 election in Wisconsin. You can download and send a drafted letter (feel free to edit) or you can concoct your own.
Contact Paul Geenen to work on Criminal Justice Reform and the new bill to set up a systematic data collection to help us better understand what needs to be done. Paul is arranging for a meeting with Senator Alberta Darling to discuss the recently drafted bill and to get Senator Darling's support. He's holding a preliminary meeting with participants on January 6 via Zoom at 12pm. The zoom link is https://us04web.zoom.us/j/79639787210?pwd=ejllSmFpd1I3TFNEOVQvd2V6RVJQdz09 Or you can use the Meeting ID (796 3978 7210) and passcode (A3Z7uR).
Catching Up with the News
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has declared that the US Senate will debate and vote on changes to the filibuster (mis)rule on Martin Luther King Day (January 17) so that voting rights legislation can pass with only 51 votes. He has not specified what his changes to the filibuster will entail, but a smart leader would not make such an announcement without some degree of certainty that he will have the necessary votes. Talking Points Memo has a good piece on this. As does the the Washington Post.
The Omicron variant apparently has an R0 number of 10! (The R0 number specifies how many people an infectious person is likely to spread the disease to.) To put that in perspective, here's a snippet from The Lancet, published December 17, 2021: "The original strain of SARS-CoV-2 has an R0 of 2·5, while the delta variant (B.1.617.2) has an R0 of just under 7. Martin Hibberd, professor of emerging infectious diseases at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (London, UK), reckons omicron's R0 could be as high as 10." Although fully vaccinated and boosted individuals may experience breakthrough infections, they are less likely to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19. Still, it's best not to get infected at all.
It's difficult to get up-to-date information about the spread of COVID-19 in our area and state, but on December 31, 2021, WKOW released some data from the state's Department of Health Services. And the picture is pretty grim. The DHS dashboard, with data up through January 2, 2022, shows the beginnings of a steep spike in cases and positive test results. You can see that high transmission is occurring throughout the state by looking at their map of Wisconsin. The DHS offers several ways of looking at the data — by county and census tract; by city, village and town; by school district; and by zip code tabulation area — though some of the breakdowns are not up-to-date. Only "58.2% of residents have completed the vaccine series." But it's not clear whether the statistic includes those who have received vaccines but not boosters.
Our electoral maps are in the news again. In case you missed it, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had an important piece on the state of play in the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday, January 3, 2022. The article looks at what the "least changes" decision the Court issued in November might mean. In particular, the map the GOP-dominated legislature adopted puts more Wisconsin voters into new Assembly districts — about 16% of voters. Governor Evers's map moves only about 14% of voters. So by this measure, the Governor's map should be preferred. Bottom line, though: "least change" is hard to define and the Wisconsin Supreme Court failed to do so in its November ruling.
And in a little bit of sports news: the Green Bay Packers clinched the #1 seed in the NFC. That means the team gets a bye (i.e., won't have to play on the first weekend of the playoffs) and will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Packers fans already know that the team has not lost a home game this season. Go Pack Go!
Wed Jan 5, 2022
Drinking Liberally Waukesha, 6:30pm - 6:30pm
Club 400, 322 Williams St., Waukesha
The meeting has moved to Club 400 and will be in the upstairs bar area. All attendees should be vaccinated and wear masks when not actively eating or drinking. More information.
Thu Jan 6, 2022
Environmental Justice in Sierra Club: Panel Discussion with Sierra Club Leaders, 6pm - 7pm
Join in the discussion during the sixth event in our Environmental Justice Series, Environmental Justice and Sierra Club, on January 6 at 6:00 pm. Register today.
Sat Jan 8, 2022
UN Association of MKE, 10am - 12pm
See more information.
Tue Jan 11, 2022
Environmental Justice in Sierra Club: panel discussion with Sierra Club leaders, 9am - 5pm
Hear from Sierra Club leaders about how climate and environmental justice and social justice are interrelated. Panelists will discuss Sierra Club's work related to electricity, transportation, oil pipe lines, land, wildlife, water and how these environmental issues overlap with economic and racial justice. Sign up on the web. FaceBook event.
350 Milwaukee Virtual Meeting, 7pm - 8:30pm
350 Milwaukee is part of the global organization building a grassroots movement in 188 countries to address global warming and solve the climate crisis. 350 Milwaukee usually meets every month on the second Tuesday. Check the following link for information on whether a meeting will occur. More information.
League of Women Voters-Public Issues Forum, 7pm - 8:30pm
Milwaukee City-County Climate and Equity Plan. Register required. Register here.
Wed Jan 12, 2022
Grass Roots South Shore Virtual Meeting, 7pm - 9pm
Check the link to see if Grass Roots South Shore will have a virtual meeting. More information or call Jim Balk, 414-218-5944.
Thu Jan 13, 2022
Voter Protection 101 Training, 5pm - 6pm
Join our Wisconsin Voter Protection 101 Training to learn the basics of Wisconsin election law so you can help people exercise their right to vote, and learn how you can get involved protecting democracy in your community! Register here.
Mon Jan 17, 2022
Milwaukee Dems Meeting, 6pm - 8pm
Milwaukee County Democrats meet monthly to discuss party business, hear speakers on current topics, pass resolutions, and network with other progressives. All interested Democrats are invited. Information about how to access the meeting will be sent after RSVP. This event notice will be updated with a new date and an RSVP link when the information becomes available.