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A few weeks ago I wrote a diary about Enbridge Line 61, an expansion of an existing pipeline that Enbridge would like to run Tar Sands dilbit through. This pipeline runs right through Wisconsin, and is being pushed through stealthily with few public hearings and much secrecy.

Wisconsin: A Pipeline Runs Through It

Today, several outlets have been publishing information about the rail lines that carry crude oil throughout the country. desmogblog has a story today with details that the US Department of Transportation and the rail industry have tried to keep from public scrutiny, saving the information only for those who "need to know."

Anyone paying attention understands that it isn't just pipelines and pipeline accidents that the citizenry need to fear: transporting oil is dangerous no matter how it is done. An op-ed from the LA Times this past May outlines several fiery rail accidents involving oil transport. The New York Times did a story in January, and points out that crude oil is shipped in rail cars that are designed for contents that don't burn, rather than safer tankers.

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HALP! The Univision site seems to be no longer streaming World Cup now that we are in the semi-finals.

What is a poor girl without cable TV to do? Any recommendations from World-Cup-Watchers out there? 5-nil Germany and I can't see it!

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Enbridge Energy is quietly working on a significant expansion of their pipeline Line 61 to carry toxic "tar sands" oil through Wisconsin, putting the watersheds for Lake Superior and Lake Michigan at significant risk.

The expansion could triple the capacity and includes 3 new storage tanks on Lake Superior, modifying the two existing storage tanks, increasing pumping pressure at 3 stations and installing 9 new pump stations. In 2014, capacity would become 560,000 bpd (barrels per day) and by 2015 could be near 1.2 million bpd-an almost unprecedented amount of pressure.

-- Wisconsin Sierra Club

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Hello Sconnies!

A fellow citizen is working on an open-source timeline of Walker's abuses to the good State of Wisconsin. You can find it at Note the adorable favicon.

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Today was the mandatory public hearing on the proposed new rules put forward by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

"The rule order amends Chapter Adm. 2, relating to use of state buildings and facilities. The objective of the rule is to obtain compliance regarding use of state facilities including the Capitol building. This objective will be achieved by codifying historical department practices and more clearly detailing certain provisions of the administrative code as informed by judicial interpretations." (You can read the new rules here).

You'll remember the old rules. Those are the ones that were put into place unilaterally to suppress freedom of assembly and freedom of expression (guaranteed by our state constitution) in Wisconsin's State Capitol (in other words, to quash the Solidarity Sing Along).

The old rules were just found to be unconstitutional: singers were arrested for singing, for holding 8.5 x 11" printed signs, for wearing slogans on their clothes, for gathering in groups larger than 4 without a permit, and when that proved untenable, for gathering in groups of 20 or more without a permit. Singers were issued citations at their homes and workplaces, sometimes days after the supposed "infraction."

Dive below Scott Walker's Secret Router for proof that Wisconsin's stalwart protestors continue to be the funniest and most creative. It's three years and counting, folks!

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Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 05:58 PM PST

Stop Hatin' on 80s Music!

by badscience

I know, I know… people's musical loves and hates are profound and personal, but a few comments in musical diaries last week got me all riled up, defending music from that "detested decade." Sure, someone has got to pay for all the therapy needed to remove Taco's "Puttin' on the Ritz," Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" and/or McClaren's "Buffalo Gals" from the eternal tape loop in their heads, but there was some great stuff too.

I've always identified with Rob Fleming, Nick Hornby's malcontent anti-hero who had well-defined, rigid and highly-judgmental attitudes towards music. Here is my Rob-Fleming-style "more than top-5" list of bands from the 80s that don't suck. I think my highly-refined and specifically-defined collection of music-I-like ran its course from age 13 to about 25, when graduate school shifted the focus of my identity from music to other things. But for a few years there, peaking in my college radio show on WOZQ (1983-84) when I laid down the LAW in music to my underserving peers, my fingers were on the PULSE and I knew WHAT WAS WHAT. It took Rob till his 30s to figure out what a snob he was.

Journey below the notational flourish if your connection won't balk at embedded video aplenty and you don't mind my long-winded Rob Fleming-ishness.

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There's a thunderstorm outside, complete with juicy gray-green clouds, lightening bolts and fat raindrops. Just a moment ago, I heard a horrible digital bleeping sound that sent the cat streaking across the room, followed by a horrible digital voice informing me that there is a flash flood warning for my county until 6 pm.

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Everyone in the house was like "What is that awful beeping noise?" and I proudly said, "That is our new weather radio!"

And now there is thunder rumbling outside. The digital display is scrolling SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING and a voice read this aloud after the alarm sounded.

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You never know what is going on in your behind your neighbor's closed doors, but sometimes when you find out, it scares the crap out of you.

I live in a fairly calm suburb of Milwaukee. Most of the neighborhood crime is crime of opportunity. The area is politically mixed: a lot of hard-core conservatives with a generous mixing of progressives/liberals (or at least Democrats). The Recall Walker campaign allowed us to take the political temperature of much of our state.

I get periodic Neighborhood Watch emails about these crimes, and the one I got this morning was a doozy. However, it wasn't the crime that scares me, it is the victim of the crime that scares me.

Beyond the fried cheese curd, if you please!

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This is a video documenting a conversation between Shirl LaBarre of Hayward, WI and what must be a tree face come to life. The production values are laughable but that isn't really the story here.

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Update: 3:00 press conference for which I am trying to find a link has occurred. Local press has covered itself in glory, once again, by blaming the victim. From a fb status of a friend who listened to the presser

Listening to the press conference on the murdered Tosa officer. Our reporters are AWFUL!!!! Besides asking flat out stupid questions, two of them asked questions inferring she may have had a 'relationship' with someone at the firehouse. Seriously?! The woman was repeatedly shot in the face with her own gun by her husband and our sorry-ass reporters try to infer a possible affair? They should all be fired.
Also, for your reading pleasure, more details about the murder including past threats from the murderer.


On Christmas Eve morning, I was out doing some last minute shopping (confession: desperation shopping). As I drove from one shop to another through quiet Wauwatosa Village, my route was blocked by a police car from a somewhat distant suburb. Caution tape was around the buildings for several blocks. More police cars were at each intersection around the local elementary school, church, fire station and quiet neighborhood houses. I passed a big crime scene van set up a block or so away as I made my detour.

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Something about last night's message sure got under someone's skin. Perhaps someone powerful. Perhaps someone with skin in the game who isn't in the public eye. Or perhaps someone in law enforcement with his own ax to grind. We'll probably never know. But boy howdy, we sure had a lot of cops on our bridge last night!

Our message: PALERMOS - NEGOTIATE! Not too inflammatory on the face of it. This message probably means nothing to most of you.


It was pretty busy on the bridge when the cops got there; noise of rain is out of town so we had fewer "officials" for our action, the photographic contingent was dispersed taking pictures, our livestreamer was making the rounds, we had lots of newbies on the bridge, some of whom spoke little English, and a long-ish message. I was holding a sign myself and finally had to abandon it so I could speak with the police officers who had gathered at the mouth of the bridge. Then the Sheriff's Department arrived and all hell broke loose.

Leap over the variously-nicknamed ornamental doohickey for the details.

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