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Science March – Tri-Cities – Earth Day 4.22.17

by , posted on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 at 4:12 pm

I was at the Tri City version of today’s Earth Day Science March. It started at 11:00 a.m., stepping off from the Metra station and going to Island Park.

The first thing I noticed when I got to the assembly at the Metra station was the size of the crowd. I had honestly expected it to be thinner as many people I knew were planning on going into Chicago for that march.

If I had to estimate, I’d put the crowd at 500 plus.

The second thing I noticed were the dogs. There were many there, several sporting signs,

or t-shirts.

I took more than a few photos of signs, but here is one of my favorites on this Earth Day:

It was definitely a family affair. Lots of kids, in and out of strollers.

I am pretty sure I know this good reverend, but as I don’t think he recognized me, and I could have been wrong due to the sunglasses and hat, I didn’t press it. But I loved his sign anyway:

I took this shot of the March heading up Third Street in Geneva. From this vantage point it stretched three or four blocks ahead and at least three behind.

I took the video linked here on YouTube as we approached IL Route 38. The Geneva Police Department kindly blocked traffic to allow the march to cross. I still don’t know whether those who were honking were doing so in support of the Science March, or to object to the delay. I put the March at about six blocks long, so the lights cycled more than a few times before we all made it across, and we were crossing busy IL-Route 38, the only river crossing in Geneva. We definitely held up traffic.

We headed across the bridge and down the stairs to the bike trail leading to Island Park. If you’re not familiar with it, it is so named as it is an Island in the middle of the Fox River.

I took this brief video of some of the speakers before we all started to disperse.

As we were dispersing I met Katie, who is a science educator. I was speaking to John Rice, one of the leaders of Fox Valley Indivisible and she stepped up to us to ask him for information about how to get involved with that effort. I offered to text her info later, in exchange for a photo of her sign, which she graciously agreed to. Her sign is one of my favorites.

Most importantly, I see Katie’s desire to get connected to more ways to be involved is a sign that despite many predictions that the protests will peter out it’s still growing a movement out here. People really want to take back control of their democracy. It shows, again and again and again, in march after protest after meeting.

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Hultgren Q&A

by , posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I was at the Hultgren Q&A session at the Arcada on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. I actually went to the rally across the street, organized by Progressives of Kane County that was scheduled before the event, held a sign for a while, and really appreciated the passing cars honking in support. There were lot of attendees there from Fox Valley Indivisible, Action 14th District IL, Kane County Indivisible, and more, so i hope I have the actual organizer right. The rally was the only real opportunity the evening afforded to speak up – and appropriately and accordingly named the Hear Our Voices Rally – because the rules of the Q&A specified that only Hultgren was allowed to speak.

There were some really interesting speakers at the rally. Perhaps I should have been taping all of them, instead of holding a sign, but by the time I thought of that we were down to the last speaker and I just managed to catch the tail end of her remarks. You can watch that here on YouTube.

I was wavering about whether or not it was worthwhile to attend the Q&A where the rules allowed Hultgren six minutes for opening remarks, then three minutes to answer each question, but allowed the attendees to do nothing more than write questions down on cards. It was really more of a one-sided debate than anything, which may have been inevitable as it was coordinated by those perennial debate organizers, the League of Women Voters.

As the rally was winding down and while I was still trying to make up my mind, I thought I’d wander across the street and take some photos of the line, which I could see from my position across the street had already stretched around the corner and out of my sight.

I ended up taking video as I walked the length of the line as well. It’s here on YouTube.

After I had walked to the end of the line taking that video, I walked back to the front of the line, saw them say people could start going in, and walked back to the end and got in line. When I eventually passed in through the doors, they were telling us we could go up to the balcony if we chose. That caught my attention, as the theater seats 900, but the advance notices had said they would seat up to 800. As the advance notices also said the balcony would not be opened I figured that accounted for the difference. As you can see from this photo, the place was packed and the balcony was indeed occupied.

By the time the event started I could not see a single open seat, so I’d say there were at least 800 in attendance, and we might even have hit that 900 capacity.

I recorded the whole thing, with the exception of a minute or two dropped out due to inadvertently powering down my cell phone.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Again, I really think this was mostly just a one-sided debate. Audience members did provide the questions, and I want to give the LWV credit for choosing good ones out of the more than 400 they estimated were written. Once or twice they did do follow up questions as well, but for the most part it gave Hultgren all the opportunity he needed to recite his talking points. He did exactly that, often going off on tangents that were semi-related to the question, without answering the actual question.

I think it’s important that this event happened though, as there were several points where Hultgren was induced to give an answer about a position or a potential vote that we now have on record, such as the question about budget cuts wherein the moderator asked him for a straightforward yes or no answer to potential cuts to various programs.

In the meantime, I’d encourage everyone to keep calling, emailing, faxing, writing, doing whatever you can to push Hultgren to conduct an actual Town Hall. His contact info is here.

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Still No Hultgren – But Lots of Protests

by , posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 11:11 pm


This morning between 10:00 a.m. and noon I attended a healthcare rally. It was a little bit different than your standard protest. Rather than standing in one spot, groups of us were assembled on all four corners of Route 64 and Randall Road in St Charles, and when we had walk signals several of us would cross to another corner.

The ability to keep moving was an advantage in keeping our energy up, and in making sure those in cars stopped for the light got a good look at our signs, but it also helped to keep us warm. I had a lot of layers of clothes on, topped with my longest and warmest coat, two hats, two pairs of gloves, and was still freezing. I really think the fact that a couple of hundred of his constituents would spend their Saturday morning freezing to try to a message across would give Randy Hultgren pause for thought.

It was nice to see news crews from the Chicago stations, and photographers from local papers there, but I think the most encouraging part were the honks of support from passing motorists. They were constant. And I had not previously considered whether the majority of truckers were ACA supporters. Now I’m convinced of it.

Today’s healthcare rally was planned by Indivisible Illinois Congressional District 14…I think. I say that because there are so many of these groups mushrooming up that when I attended a meeting for Indivisible Fox Valley last week there were people there from two other groups and at one point we were discussing coordinating between the groups and it was decided that someone would first have to make a chart to figure them all out. And all of the groups I’m aware of have future rallies and protests planned. All of them.

I’ve named just two of the groups that I’ve interacted with in this post, but I know there are more, and I keep running into people I know, but not from any previous political effort of mine. Today I ran into a former co-worker. Last week I dog-sat for my downstairs neighbor so she could go to a rally at Trump’s place in Chicago.

I really don’t think these Republican constituent dodgers have any idea what they are up against. Their bubbles are thick indeed.

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Missing: Hultgren IL-14

by , posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Not that long ago I wrote about my Congressman’s attempts to kill me.  Since then I’ve joined in an ongoing game of “Where’s Randy?” with many — oh, so many — of my fellow residents of IL-14.  We’ve been calling his office, we’ve been visiting his office, we’ve been relentlessly commenting on his Facebook page with several concerns, but one unified message:  When’s your town hall Randy?

There has been a deafening silence in response to all of our Facebook pleas for a town hall.  Our calls to his office have yielded an array of answers from “no news on a town hall yet,” to “we’re looking for a venue, just let me take your name and number and we’ll get back to you when it’s scheduled,” to (and I am NOT making this up) “he’s leaving the country.”

Just now Randy the Elusive took the cowardly step of posting a recorded video to his Facebook page saying “I’m answering your most pressing healthcare questions from your recent phone calls, emails and meetings with me. Take a look.”

Yes indeed, please do take a look at the soon to be former Congressman Randy Hultgren reading cherry-picked letters and spouting vague talking points.

When you’re done with that, and if you are at all near the Chicagoland area, please do clear your calendar for this event on the afternoon of March 3.    

Guess Randy will be back from Africa by then.  We are working on a way to, er, greet Randy appropriately without disrupting this event for the Veterans attending, so if you think you can make it, please say so in a comment, or message me and I’ll respond with information about that.

Meanwhile, beyond spreading word of Randy’s cowardice I’m at a loss for how to get him to face his constituents, so any suggestions would be welcome.

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When your Congressman Tries to Kill You

by , posted on Saturday, January 14th, 2017 at 11:08 am

then sends you a perky email asking hultgren-200how you feel about that, I think it only courteous to respond.

Click below to see the text of my emailed response to Randy Hultgren:
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Welcome Kane County for Bernie Sanders – UPDATED

by , posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016 at 11:56 am
Ten minutes after the meeting ended

Ten minutes after the meeting ended

Last night I attended a Kane County for Bernie meeting that was intended to wrap up our effort, and to develop a list of suggestions that might be useful to the national campaign as it moves on into other states. After Bernie’s not-so-crushing defeat in the primary the day before I expected to be met with a bunch of depressed and morose volunteers.
Sure, many of us touched on our disappointment that Bernie had not won Illinois outright, but we were pleased that Bernie did win the areas we were working in, Kane and Kendall Counties with more than 57% of the vote, and Aurora (one of those urban areas where Bernie supposedly does not do well) with 52%.

As I said, I had expected sorrow, but what happened at that meeting was not a wake but a wake-up. I sat there listening, with my legs still aching from canvassing and my mind kind of foggy with exhaustion as it had been all day, and I gradually started realizing that talk was turning from how the national campaign can tweak things going forward to how we can go forward.

How can we organize Kane County progressives to run for local elections?
How can we continue to help the Bernie Sanders campaign, beyond making calls to other states?
How can we stay in touch with each other and grow the movement?
How, how, how?

A lot of great questions, with some preliminary answers, including the formation of teams to hone messaging, to develop tech training for volunteers, and to research election laws in two adjacent states with upcoming primaries. And an agreement to meet back in the office on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. to be trained in whatever those teams develop.

Because at this point, it looks like we are going on to Wisconsin, followed by Indiana.

At one point in the evening I offered up this blog as an online space where local progressives can post and follow local progressive news and races over the long term. The blog is not going anywhere and anyone is welcome to post, comment, read and stay aware.

To Kane County’s Bernie team I extend a heartfelt Welcome!

I came very late to the Kane County for Bernie effort and wish I had put in a tenth of the effort that so many of you in that room last night have given. You are the future of progressive causes and elections in Kane County, and you give me great hope for that future.

You can respond to the event invite for Monday’sTuesday’s event here.

You can donate to Bernie here.

You can volunteer here.

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Hultgren’s vote – for the record

by , posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 10:30 am

I don’t intend to engage in hyperbole, hysteria, or histrionics this morning – that’s apparently something that Randy Hultgren sees as his job – but I don’t want Hultgren’s vote last night to continue the government shutdown, and default on the nation’s debt, to pass unremarked.

Last night Randy Hultgren was the only member of the Illinois Congressional delegation to vote to continue the wildly expensive government shutdown.

That’s right, the only one, of either party.

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Fox River Flood

by , posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

After last year’s drought it was a relief to learn, just the other day, that our soil moisture has officially reached normal levels. But as they say, when it rains, it pours. And it’s not only been raining, it’s predicted to start again at around two this afternoon and keep raining until around midnight. Here are a few pics of current conditions – these pics are from St. Charles, but there are problems up and down the valley.

First, the Illinois Street Bridge is closed, not because there is water on the bridge, there isn’t. I remember this bridge closing in 2008, because water had filled the bridge arches and was hitting the side of the deck – a problem for this particular bridge as it’s sitting on the riverbed, rather than anchored in it, so the force of water broadsiding the deck has the potential to unmoor it. Not a big potential, but it exists, so in an excess of caution it was closed. Just a guess, but I suspect the same sort of thing is going on now, since there is no water on the bridge.

Illinois Street Bridge is closed

Illinois Street Bridge is closed

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And the Record for…

by , posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

warmest summer on record for Chicago is probably going to revert back to 1921 in the next week, per Tom Skilling. We really have had a stunning turnaround in temperatures since August began. August is not a month I normally associate with cool temps, but with a high today in the mid-80s, and the 10 day forecast predicting highs in the 70s or low to mid-80s, it’s much, much cooler than the July from hell we just experienced. And we have been getting rain, just not enough of it to make up for baking our way through June and July with no rain in sight. Too late for farmers relying on corn crops, even if it had rained enough to make up our deficit, which it has not. Lawns are still pretty brown around here and I can’t remember the last time I saw someone – anyone – mowing grass.

But to realize we are at the mid-point of an August that has been downright mild, with a ten day forecast that’s also mild, made me start to wonder if the drought pattern is breaking, however late that might be happening for farmers. So I went looking for long-term forecasts and found this one from Accu Weather: above normal temps and below normal snowfall for this area for the upcoming winter. Not the best of conditions for the cornbelt to head into Spring with, following this summer. And it’s kind of reminding me forcibly of the winter of 2011-2012, or as we’ve taken to calling it around here “what winter?”

There’s a lot of discussion in the Accu Weather blog about El Ninos and what-not – stuff we’ve all learned to pay attention to, as it can affect the severity of winter in the Midwest. But I’m having a hard time thinking of a thing like an El Nino as a “long-term” factor in weather. Just now I am thinking that the real long term factor we need to be paying attention to is global warming, since experts are starting to note it has arrived, and that means we have to start questioning what “normal” is when we are talking about the weather.

Personally I suspect the new normal means we’ll be flirting with, and breaking, a lot of weather records we’d just as soon not break, on a consistent basis and for quite a while to come – probably for the rest of my life, possibly for the rest of my grandchildren’s lives.

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It’s Sunday Morning

by , posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2012 at 7:21 am

do you know where your temperatures are?

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