Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eau Claire & Chippewa Counties: Thank You!

I spent last Wednesday through Sunday in the small town of Holcombe in northern Chippewa County to visit my family and participate in the annual whitetail hunt. I love my family, but we don't see eye to eye regarding the recall. While we were able to be mostly civil with each other, there were some tense moments during the extended stay. I had been prepared for that possibility, but Walker's latest ad featuring "Kristi" aired on WEAU NBC 13 every single commercial break, four to five times an hour, made things more difficult than they needed to be.

On the way to Holcombe, I drive through Cadott, and I was happy to see a pair of women with signs stationed halfway between the North Pole and the equator (give or take three miles). When I left on Sunday, those women or their co-activistas were still there, occupying the halfway mark. It was a heartening sight, even more so the second time around, and I democrabeeped them both coming and going.

I also want to send out mad respect to the Eau Claire area activists who occupied Black Friday in the general vicinity of Golf Road. The women stationed at the light that leads to Target (Janis, Joelle?, and the woman with the sign) said the crew I'd noticed around 2:00 a.m. had collected around 90 signatures. While that corner had been the only other one occupied when I'd decided to take up occupancy across from Best Buy, when I came back for my second round, I found that there were circulators everywhere around 8:00 a.m. Special thanks to everyone from my home stomping ground in Chippewa County and Eau Claire who put in the time to collect signatures, and special thanks to everyone who stopped to sign.

I'll have a more thorough Black Friday report later, but for now I wanted to recognize these amazing volunteers, some of whom I spoke with, some of whom at which I only beeped and waved. You are an inspiration to me. It's clear from the heavy rotation of anti-recall ads in the market that Walker wants your souls. Thank you for continuing to struggle on the Forward line to help create a better future for Wisconsin!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Briefest of Updates - 300,000 Signatures!

I have recall updates from Black Friday and today yet to type up, but I wanted to let you know that A United Wisconsin has announced that we are over halfway there with more than 300,000 signatures!

As of today, I've only got 300 of those signatures, but the recall challenge and my blog still managed to make it into the recall spotlight. I smell a fresh influx of trolls on Twitter. Too bad for them that I'll be too busy collecting signatures to Billy-Goat-Gruff them up. I'm already scheduled to spend all day tomorrow outside of the Oshkosh Public Library to collect signatures during the book sale tomorrow. :D

Keep those signatures coming in, everybody! Let's double the number before Christmas! We're averaging around 100,000 signatures every four days! Forward line, march!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Forward Line Days 7-8

After two days off for Emerge, I had a slow start on Monday. I stood at the park and ride near the outlet malls for around two or three hours and wound up with 17 signatures--just enough to reach my daily goal, but not a single signature more. I had a mix of responses, though nobody too obnoxious. One guy yelled twice loudly from his van window for me to put my sign down (shook my head and hollered "Nope!" while wishing I'd had time to yell "You'll pry it from my cold dead fingers!"), one woman yelled the word "jerk" out her window (it was unclear if she meant me or Walker), and there was a car of three young men coming back from hunting, two of whom wanted to sign, one who didn't want to but only made minimum fuss because his buddies outnumbered him.

Today things went a little better for me numbers-wise. I managed 39 signatures in front of the public library this afternoon/early evening. When I started, I had a continuous flow of signers. Most people were very positive at the library, with a couple exceptions. One pretty woman in a skirt was there with her daughter and said that she supported Scott Walker and planned to come back with a card for people to sign for him. I said that was perfectly fine, as did the librarian who had poked her head out. Pretty Lady was happy that he'd balanced the budget and supported abstinence--she listed something else but I don't remember it. She harrassed one of my signers afterward and then said to her, "Aren't you happy that Scott Walker balanced the budget?" I interrupted then and told Pretty Lady that Walker's balancing the budget wasn't special due to the balanced budget act and that he could have balanced it in other ways. She was just a little too bright and shiny in her responses, and you could see that underneath the gentle church lady demeanor, she seemed to be someone who thrives on adversity to the point of going out and making it. She said she'd come back out with her sign and card and I told her with a smile that I hope that she does. I did not tell her that I hope that it's on a day when I'm there so that I can see just how many people would recall Scott Walker versus how many people would thank him. I don't think that she realizes the factors that make library patrons more likely to visit me than her.

I had a couple of young men take a verbal snipe at me, saying that it didn't matter if we recalled Walker because he'd get elected again. I told him he was entitled to think that. Apparently his friend expected me to tell him something else and thanked me. Of course, why other people they may have taunted in other places may have responded unfavorably seems to have escaped them. Either that, or they just assumed that's what would happen.

There was also one rude woman who yelled at me that if anyone should be recalled, it should be Obama. I tried to tell her you can't recall at the federal level. She went on to say that people have to do something wrong, that you can't recall someone just because you don't like him. "Wrong. That's exactly what recall is for. There are other means to remove politicians who break laws." I doubt she used her time in the library to look up her state constitution or to investigate what a recall is.

I also had another woman tonight who didn't understand what 'recall' meant in the legal sense and almost signed my petition when she actually supports Walker. While many may laugh and say it would serve her right, I don't want anyone to sign my petitions erroneously. (Someone else pointed out that if the GAB had called to see if she'd signed to recall Walker, that she'd answer 'yes' since she didn't understand what it meant. Still, I wouldn't want that.) She thought of recall more in the sense of remember, and therefore she thought it was an honor for Walker. As she was getting ready to sign she mentioned that she and her sister were generally on opposite sides of things, and that her sister was a state employee who didn't like Walker but that she was happy with what Walker was doing. I stopped her before she put pen to paper and told her that if she supported Walker, she didn't want to sign this petition. She thanked me and was friendly with me on the way out, recommending TV shows. I think she was embarrassed at the mix-up and wanted to make up for it in her own way.

Someone let me know about optimal times to revisit the library, including the upcoming book sale. I started getting cold but only needed two more signatures to complete another sheet, so I told myself that I would stay just until I filled it. When I snagged the last signature, I gathered my things to head to the car when another library patron flagged me down, and I added two more signatures to my collection before heading over to the warmth of HQ to check things over and transfer some of the info from the Walker sheets to the Kleefisch sheets. Since a circulator can fill in anything but the signature, I frequently have signers fill in the Walker sheet and simply sign the Kleefisch sheet because it saves them time and gets them out of the cold faster. It also offers me an opportunity to carefully look over their information while I'm copying it over. It costs me more time, but it's worth it.

With 17 signatures Monday and 39 today, I'm up to 252 total so far toward my goal. Bob B. came in as I was finishing, and he's up to a blistering 612 signatures after this evening. He's agreed to join the challenge, and I expect I'll come back after going up north to find that he's past 1,000. I didn't get all of the details, but Bob actually had to stop in at the police station this evening because someone was harassing the people signing his petitions. I've only had the one guy at Fleet Farm who harassed people, and all it took was for him to think that I was gay for him to leave. Other people have been having harassment issues as well: you can read about another instance here.

I'll be up north for a few days hunting to put meat in the freezer for myself and my extended family, but I'm hoping to still go out and try to pick up a few signatures. I'm not sure how well it will go over in Holcombe and Cornell, but I'm not letting that keep me from trying after hunting. I'm also going to try to head over to Eau Claire for a bit on Black Friday. Since BF activities start so early these days, I should be able to both hit the sales to hunt signatures and go hunting whitetail without conflict.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Emerge Interlude #1

With Emerge training this weekend, I didn't have any real opportunity to collect signatures. It was, however, exciting to find so many of my classmates helping to lead the recall efforts in their own backyards. I'm proud of my classmates' commitment to a better future for Wisconsin and their willingness to invest themselves in the long and tedious work of petitions.

I visited Gesu Catholic church on Marquette campus this morning, and as I sat through the homily, it occurred to me that either it was purposefully subtly coded as pro-recall or else the priest must have been thinking about recall in the back of his mind when he wrote it. In stressing that we needed to thank God for the things that have been given us, the priest insisted we 'recall' these things at least three times, possibly more, instead of just saying remember. It's hard to believe right now that anyone could accidentally use that word with the level of politically charged atmosphere currently in Wisconsin, and Jesuits usually keep themselves educated and informed. That alone might not have convinced me, but when the list of things that we should recall and be thankful for came up, the land/environment was first and education second. It seemed just a tad too convenient, but it was well-played in my opinion.

I'm enjoying seeing accounts from other activists in their recall efforts. Tammy sent me this one, and I'm currently contemplating the logistics of a small cart. If we exchange ideas, hopefully we will find ways to increase our success by learning from each other's successes as well as failures. For all of you out there with your boots on the ground: thank you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fourward! (If I Had a Hammer)

First, thanks to and for joining the 1,000 signature challenge as a tag team. So far they have an impressive 171 signatures. Their addition makes a total of 5,000 signatures pledged via the challenge!

Today was a fabulous day for numbers for me--I managed to snag 100 even, which is more than my past three days combined. This was my first really successful day standing in front of a business on the public sidewalk. Both times I tried this at Pick N Save, I had one signature per hour. In front of Fleet Farm today, I collected my 100 signatures in less than six hours. I showed up sometime between noon and one, ran out of petitions at three and ran back to HQ, and was back with more by 3:30. I hiked back to my car around six.

I had a two-sided "Recall Walker: Sign Here" sign duct-taped to a broom with the handle tucked in my coat pocket, making it visible just over the top of my head, one side neon red, one bright blue. I'd heard a rumor that someone had been chased out of the parking lot earlier, so I'd parked somewhere else and walked to the sidewalk. I wore my Trap & Trail magazine shirt, my treebark hunting boots, and had the blaze orange fleece remnant from the custom gun case a sewed a couple years ago for myself--it doubles as a scarf when it's not on the gun, so you always have your case when you reach a vehicle. I'm not sure how long it took to attract a signer--probably only 10-15 minutes--and then things started hopping. At one early point I had six or seven signers gathered together on the sidewalk at once.

I had a lot of public responses to standing there, both good and bad. Lots of beeping and thumbs up, lots of thumbs down and a few free birds, and I did have a few 'gentlemen' yelling out their windows. Some yelled about Walker: "He's the best thing that ever happened to this state!" and "How can you recall a man for doing his job?" were favorites among his supporters. Others liked to try for personal attacks. "Stop wasting my tax money!" "Get a job!" I smiled and waved at both. "Get a life!" I smiled and yelled cheerfully, "Thanks! I already have one!" I flashed peace signs and blew kisses to a few other rowdies.

The worst behaved included a handful of young bucks in a Cadillac who had to yell out the window, drove back, cruised the parking lot, and came back to deliver more. For their last volley, they yelled, "You queer!" I laughed and shot back, "Thanks! Oh, did you mean that as an insult?" I think it bothered them that a half dozen people were waiting to sign. My other worst trouble maker of the day was also a homophobic bully. When he first pulled into the drive nearby, he rolled down his window and started yelling. This left a vehicle that was turning behind him stuck in traffic. I hollered to him, "Sir, I'd be happy to discuss it with you, but you're blocking traffic. Park and come talk to me." Apparently he went and did his shopping first, because I'd forgotten about him until he came tromping up later, mouth blowing full steam. I'm guessing from his tax diatribe that he's probably heavy duty tea party. Claimed to be self-employed with a successful business and paying more than 50% in taxes. Doesn't send his kids to public schools because you won't learn anything there. He was the kind of blowhard who doesn't let you answer back and insists on yelling over anything you say, simply because he feels self-entitled. Self-entitled to block traffic, self-entitled to spout whatever he wants and interrupt the other party instead of having an actual discussion. He got into it with two of the three signers left around me, maybe thinking he'd make them uncomfortable enough to leave without signing. I actually thought an older gentlemen who was signing the petition at that time was going to punch the whistling tea kettle, who was probably in his 40s. The blowhard stuck around, and when I turned my back on him he proceeded to move around in front of me. At one point he asked me what I do for a living, and when I answered it was none of his business, his response was, "You don't do a damned thing." I only half-listened as he continued to get all steamed up (somebody tip him over and pour him out already), and then he had to go on about his two friends who got jobs with the county, I think, and the only reason they kept those jobs is that they were "pussy jobs."

Those of you who know me might know what happened next. I interrupted him, which he hadn't been ready for since I'd just let him run unchecked at the mouth, so I actually managed a few words before he was talking over me again. "I'm sorry, did you say 'pussy' and mean 'weak'? Because a pussy is tougher than a testicle any day." It didn't register with him, and he went on again to explain what pussy jobs they were and how his friends were worthless (I wish his so-called friends could hear him), and I said, "Look, a pussy is way tougher than a testicle. Go grab a hammer and I'll prove it. Go on, get a hammer, I bet my pussy can take a lot more punishment than your testicle." At this point something started to sink in, though I'm not entirely sure what, and Ima L. Teapot backed away toward the parking lot shaking his hands in front of him, saying, "Great, just what we need, another homosexual!" and kept retreating while tossing gay slurs my way. I just shook my head at this non sequitur and was glad for the ensuing lull.

Encounters like these make me wonder at some people's mindsets. I'm certain that this man was a bully in high school, and he feels justified because the people he bullied had it coming to them. Of course, most misogynists and homophobes do feel that way. I still marvel at people who think that calling me gay is going to insult me. There's nothing wrong with being gay, so I don't find it insulting at all. When homophobes calls me gay, I tend to thank them and don't try to deny their assertion. As a heterosexual woman, I recognize that I have the advantage of invisible privileges that don't extend to my homosexual brothers and sisters. I feel that trying to correct someone like Mr. Steamed Up only reinforces his idea that calling someone gay is bad, because, in his tight little book, being gay is bad. Since he wasn't open to logic or to listening, and I wasn't giving him the response he wanted, he tried to get under my skin by trying to get under my sexual orientation. It was easier for him to save face by shrinking away from my imaginary gay cooties than it was to admit that he couldn't even win at picking a fight, let alone the battle itself. I'm sure he told his buddies something completely different, even his two worthless friends with the pussy jobs. That his behavior is evidence of his own insecurity will probably never occur to him.

Later, the older gentleman beeped and waved when he drove out of the parking lot after he and his wife finished their shopping. "I just wanted to make sure that jerk didn't punch your lights out!" I laughed and waved. I still wonder if he'd stuck around after signing if he might have ended up punching out Teapot's lights.

There were lots of wonderful people to meet, though. I was excited to have a woman stop by with her daughter, who had just turned 18, and I was happy to tell her that she could sign even though she wasn't registered to vote yet. I was honored to witness her first official election-related act as an adult. Another woman saw me and used the roundabout to make a U-turn to come back to sign. A man from UAW-578 stopped by, and we talked a little about the marches and rallies earlier this fall. A former Fleet Farm employee signed and asked me if they'd given me any grief, since he knew they were really strict about solicitations on premises. Earlier a woman who'd been in Fleet Farm had said to me that they were inside trying to figure out a way to get rid of me, but that they couldn't because I was on the public sidewalk.

No one officially said anything to me until I'm guessing the night supervisor came on shift around twilight, and he walked over to tell me that he respected my right to be on the sidewalk as long as I respected that there was private property behind me. "We have a strict no solicitations rule." He started looking around. "I don't see a car over here, you aren't parked in the lot are you?" I think he hoped I'd say yes so he could have a way to get rid of me, but I was truthfully able to say that I had parked somewhere else and walked over. I'd done my best to stay on the sidewalk and let people come to me for the past 80 signatures.

Even though I wore long underwear under my jeans, I started to shiver just a little toward the end. After the manager talked to me, there was a brief lull, and I thought about calling it a night, but I didn't want to leave right after he'd talked to me. Then people started to stop again, though I was stuck for a while at 95 and had to challenge myself to stay out for a full 100. After I got home and was going over my signatures to see if corrections were needed, I noticed a surname that matched someone in my husband's fantasy football league. "Huh, I wonder if this guy is related to Lippy?" My husband asked, "What's the name?" I told him. "That IS Lippy!" Since I've only met him in passing twice, I hadn't recognized him at the time.

So, I ended my day with 100 new signatures and a running total of 196 for the week. That seems like a big number, but I know that my signature-Yoda, Bob, has more than 260 so far, and he'll be in Madison tomorrow at the big rally and will probably come home with even more. I have Emerge training in Milwaukee this weekend. I'm looking forward to learning with and from amazing women, and then I'll be back on the recall circuit, possibly with hammer in hand.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Forward Line 3/Challenge Update

I'm pleased to announce that Twitter's @BatmanWI has also joined us in the 1,000 signature challenge. That's four of us now who've officially signed on for the challenge.

As days go, day three on the Forward line was not much to brag about. Apparently strapping on the Rollerblades for four hours after not using them for a couple months left an impact on my muscles, most notably on the shoulders. (This may also have been fallout from the rock that lodged in my skate on Wednesday.) Crawling out of bed to roll again was a little tougher than expected--nothing major, just general stiffness. I only managed 13 signatures today. Twelve were on doors, though some of my signers were not on my list. At an apartment complex for seniors, a woman noticed I had my "Recall Walker" clipboard while I was buzzing the apartments on my list and pointed it out to the older woman (possibly her mother?) she was dropping off. The banter was amusing. The younger woman told me that while they'd been out they saw a Walker bumper sticker, and she'd joked to her companion that she wished she had some eggs to throw at the car. The older woman's response? "That would be a waste of perfectly good eggs." Feisty grandmothers are a good way to start the collection process.

I've been finding that when signers recommend visiting specific neighbors about signing, the response is mixed. I've found mostly that when people say, "so-and-so works in trade X, they should sign," more often than not so-and-so isn't interested. I suppose that Midwestern politeness, in which you don't talk about politics, is partly to blame, and people try to assume their neighbors' views based on their occupations. One woman, however, gave me a very helpful tip today about a couple that had just moved to a condo and put their house up for sale, so I wouldn't have had accurate information about where they were living now. Another woman politely debated the politics of recall with me toward the end of my doors, which slowed me down, but truthfully, if I hadn't spoken with her I'd have missed collecting the signatures of a pair of sisters, in the nun sense of the word, because they pulled in as I was leaving. Also, on my way back to my car, another woman who'd been gone had just arrived home, so the delay may have helped more than it hurt. The extra time spent standing in one place, though, did result in my fingers beginning to go numb, which made it very difficult to remove my skates. Thankfully, I had scissors for the duct tape.

After a brief stop home to change and grab some warm cookies, I taped a sign to a broom and tried to gather signatures at my local Pick N Save, at which Bob had success, but I may have gotten there too close to sundown. I only attracted one signature, though a couple would have signed if they'd seen me before they were lodged firmly in the turn lane. I let them know about the location of the office downtown. I'm hoping to get to bed sooner tonight and to take a painkiller to see if that'll help with the stiffness. I plan to be outside for most of the day tomorrow in a couple of different places, and I'm trying to adapt some of the methods Bob described for attracting attention. He's way better at collecting signatures than I am, and I hope to benefit from the experiences that he's shared. And tomorrow's supposed to crack 40˚, which seems downright balmy after today and even yesterday.

Ninety-six signatures down, 904 to go toward my challenge goal. Forward line, go!

Second Day on the Forward Line: BattiestGrrl Rolls Again!

Today I stalked the chicken scratches of the elusive snowbird before it flies south for the winter. Of course, many retirees are non-migratory in nature, but they're more likely to fly the coop for an entire season than those who still have to work. If you count each and every apartment I buzzed, that's 37 doors, from which I collected 27 signatures. In addition, I picked up a few more signatures at my Emerge classmate Diana Lawrence's party to announce her candidacy for the 56th Assembly District (Michelle Litjens's seat), and then stopped back at the office, where I picked up a few more while everyone else was tallying: a grand total of 36 for the day. That puts me at 83 signatures toward my 1,000 signature goal.

I really like knocking doors, and I was thrilled with the responses I received from the people with whom I talked. The majority of them were not only willing to sign the petition, but they were even eager. (Special thanks to Randy Hopper for giving us the opportunity to gather a strong database of people likely to sign a recall petition.) Many of them were tickled with my mode of transportation, as well: I once more duct-taped my trusty Rollerblades to my ankles and sped along between my well-spaced addresses.

As exhausted as I was yesterday when I got home after just standing while I gathered (or, as the case with North, wished I was gathering) signatures, after four hours zipping around in the cold breeze I felt pretty good. Even though I rolled over a rock which wedged in my skate and caused me to take a digger, I've got nothing more than a slightly bruised elbow, and no skin or clothing was harmed during the making of that dive.

I didn't gather as many signatures as I did yesterday, but I really enjoyed the hunt today. Today was a good people day, and instead of freezing in place waiting for people to come to me, I got to go and seek them out and generate my own heat in the process. When I got back to the office, Volunteer Bob B. wandered in shortly after I did with news of a successful couple of locations that he's discovered and more than 100 signatures collected as a result. I'm planning to complete my list of potential snowbirds tomorrow, but I'm hoping to try out one of his spots on Friday. I'll be in Milwaukee for Emerge training on Saturday and Sunday, so I'll have little time to gather signatures over the weekend. I want to pad my numbers to make up for the lack of signatures I'll get then, but I also ideally would like to reach my goal early and set a new one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recall Racket: The Value of a Signature? $14.25

While I was out helping with the recall efforts, Twitter's @ alerted me to this stunning anti-recall rhetoric from Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Click here to witness the horror.

Rebecca Kleefisch wants you to know that your signature is worth 7.7 million dollars when it comes to signing a recall form. That's how much she estimates it will cost the state to hold a state-wide special election to recall the Governor. (She doesn't mention anything about herself being the target of a recall--this is all about Walker.) She urges Wisconsinites not to sign the petition because they might be taking $7.7M from education or health care or other noble causes to hold the election. She carelessly fondles a football autographed by Bart Starr and jokes that her husband wouldn't want her handling it, letting us know that Bart's autograph costs more than $300, which pales in comparison to the value of YOUR signature.

There's so much to deconstruct here. First, let's look at her use of the football. Besides being a blatant attempt to associate herself and her message with the Packers, she tries to show us her confidence by firmly grasping the ball and thrusting it toward the camera. At the same time, by making a joke that her husband wouldn't like her touching it, she suggests that under most circumstances, she wouldn't carelessly juggle her husband's ball, but the circumstances are so dire that she would risk his displeasure to bring this very important message to you, the taxpayer, who is about to accidentally rip yourself off by signing a recall petition. Never mind the fact that Joel is probably the one running the camera. (I know, so many bad joke possibilities here, so little time.) It also helps that Bart Starr was never caught with his pants down in a dixting scandal. If Kleefisch talks about Bart Starr and you like Bart Starr, you should like Kleefisch by association, right? Of course, the fact that Bart Starr was a union man is left out of the video.

Sitting down in the Kleefisch home is supposed to make you feel like she's your neighbor or friend. (She admitted to you she was touching her husband's ball without permission, didn't she?) I have to assume that light pink sweater is to make you think that she's feminine, because the color isn't doing her any favors. I've noticed a trend toward ultra-feminine pastels on tea party women, so I suspect it's somewhere in the secret tea party play book. It's too bad that they forgot to let her know that the amount of eye make-up that she's wearing doesn't track with the 'soft' color of the sweater. (I know, it's poor taste to pick on her looks, but I'm fairly certain she's relying on her appearance to create a certain perception for the viewer, and I feel quite comfortable critiquing that construct.) The beautiful fall day outside her window, with the neighbor's house with the American flag flapping in the breeze, a pumpkin in the window, and a cartoonish lawn ornament (is that a snowman?), really sets the scene as the Good Wholesome Neighborhood in Which Everyone Should Want to Live. Rebecca for Real is Really at Home, and she's invited you there to visit with her. What could be more trustworthy?

Now that she's gained your trust, the numbers! Let's face it: if a $300 football is out of your economic reach, the thought that signing a piece of paper would cost $7.7 MILLION is pretty unbelievable. Even if the figure is accurate, and let's face it, the governor's office doesn't exactly have a stellar record with quoting figures in the $7M range,
the amount is small compared to the amount of money that Walker has cut from programs. While Kleefisch tries her best to convince you that the money for the election will come from a program towards which it was already allocated, even if we believe the lie that the money perhaps could be taken from education, she fails to mention that Walker has cut $834M from public education already. Let's drop the millions from the figure for a moment. If someone took $834 dollars from you, would you be willing to pay another $7.70 to make sure that they couldn't do it again? I thought so.

Kleefisch also tries to take advantage of the recall fatigue that many areas, such as my town, experienced during the last round of special elections when both volunteers working directly for candidates and those working for other independent groups targeted the same voters. She asks you if you want your tax money going toward more campaign advertisements. Of course, the truth is that none of your tax money goes to political campaigns, and certainly not to political ads. In fact, under Walker's leadership, there is no more public funding for any candidates in Wisconsin. Somehow, Kleefisch's pink sweater resists going up in flames as her pants begin to blaze. (Joel will probably be very unhappy if she accidentally burns his ball.)

For all Kleefisch's attempts to twist (or outright break) the truth, there is one thing she forgot to consider in the equation. Math. Kleefisch claims that your signature on a recall petition is worth $7.7 million. Your signature alone could cost the state 7.7 MILLION dollars. Except that it can't. One signature won't recall the governor. It requires 540,208 signatures to recall the governor. One signature is worthless, unless it is accompanied by 540,207 other valid signatures. If you divide $7,700,000 by 540,208 signatures, it works out to roughly $14.25. Fourteen dollars and twenty-five cents. That's what your signature is worth, if, and only if, it is accompanied by 540,207 other valid signatures. Not even enough to purchase a football WITHOUT the autograph.

BattiestGrrl's advice to you is this: sign the petition to recall Walker. If we collect enough signatures to recall Scott Walker, then your signature is worth less than $15. If we don't get enough, your signature is worthless. Oh, and make sure you remember to recall Rebecca for Real while you're at it.

The First Day on the Forward Line

(Photo credit: Kevin Kopplin)

Ideally, I wanted this blog to be a snapshot into the experience of what it's like to collect signatures for the recall, but I'm already seeing some of the problems with this plan. Since I have an advanced degree in writing, I'm struggling with the need for substance and pithy observations. As an activist, I'm struggling with the serious need for sleep. This is going to be a long two months.

I collected only 47 signatures today, including my downstairs neighbor, a Republican who's been telling me for months now to bring my papers by as soon as I have them. I'm on track to collect 1,000 signatures so far, but I would feel better if I'd collected many more. I want to be optimistic and say that we will definitely recall Walker, but we really need to have more people actively out there gathering signatures if we're going to do this comfortably, especially with the coming undoubtedly-snowy months ahead.

Spirits were high and eyes wide at the pajama-less pajama party at recall HQ. Trinity ran the video recorder while I gleefully signed recall papers. After a false start, we camped out in front of Taco Bell before moving closer to Pick N Save, spending about an hour out in the cold wind. Despite only getting one signature and being drunkenly wooed by fourth-meal consumers, being out in the cold dark of night was exhilarating. When we got back to the car, Orion, patron saint of hunters, was parked approvingly low in the southern sky.

I almost made it back for bar close, but not quite. After I got home, though, there was no way I was going to sleep after being out in that bracing wind and riding high on the excitement of participatory government. Later, I gathered about half of my signatures on the public sidewalk near Polk Library, where a rally discussing the state budget was being held. Police were absolutely friendly when they stopped to make sure that I knew that I'd have to stay on the public sidewalk. Even Walker supporters were polite, something I expect will wear off as the recall progresses. A woman from Osseo signed, as well as a couple of men standing on the sidewalk en route back to my car. I was able to hand in my first two sheets before heading for home.

When I was nearly home, traffic was pouring out of a business nearby at shift change, so on a whim I stopped with my recall sash and clipboard for 20 or 30 minutes. Two cars pulled over to sign. Lots of other vehicles gave encouraging beeps and gestures, and if anyone flipped me off, I didn't see it. I planned to get to the rally at the sundial early and collected probably another 20 signatures there before heading over to the parent-teacher conferences at North High at 5:00.

Conferences were scheduled from five to eight, and I was alone, and I struggled with whether or not I should push myself to stay out the full three hours. While I want to challenge myself, I gave up after two hours and only one signature from a woman out walking her neighbor's dog. The only parent to talk to me was a conservative father who didn't volley his misinformed shot until he was several yards past me, and I was too numb--both fingers and brain--to bother with him. He was smug. He wasn't going to sign. The wasted time at North gave me much to think about, though, regarding better use of clothing and a burning need to find my headphones and possibly upload some books on CD to my iPod. Despite the fact that a Wisconsin flag whipping in the streetlit wind is pretty fantastic, clearly it didn't attract the right kind of attention for which I'd hoped. I'm debating whether I will go back to try to collect signatures again on Thursday. I'm leaning towards 'no' at present.

I've asked to be put on some doors as soon as possible. I'm comfortable with doors, and while the official word is that they want to focus on events because you get more signatures there, I'm positive that I could muster more than one signature in two hours on doors. Hopefully times without events will soon be filled with snowbird outreach before the annual southern migration.

Despite the fact that I've been all over town today, I didn't expect to be so exhausted when I got home. I canvassed for Jess King in all kinds of weather this summer, almost every day, walking or skating for hours, but I think I'm more tired than I ever was during her campaign. Tired or not, I'm due in the office tomorrow in the late morning, set to head back out on the forward line.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The BattiestGrrl 1,000 Signature Recall Challenge

Because I hit more than 3,000 doors for Jessica King this summer, some consider me a recall rock star, but I have a confession to make. I didn’t collect signatures for the last recall. While other people were out collecting signatures, I sat out, convinced that I couldn’t make a difference. Then it occurred to me: if I wasn’t willing to go out and work for a better future, how could I expect anyone else to? I couldn’t just sit back and wait for someone else to do it; I needed to go out and make it happen.

By mid-June, I was canvassing regularly, and I began tweeting how many doors I hit each day. Inspired by my diligence, friends (@SpudLovr, @4SHCrane, @matt_t1) organized the BattiestGrrl Door-Knocking Challenge, and we were able to raise more than $2,000 for Democratic recall candidates by challenging people to pledge a set amount per door I knocked. I also used my daily door tallies to reach out to other potential volunteers, giving 140-character pep talks to try to motivate them to go out and do the same.

Naturally, when early numbers for the Walker recall were suggested, I started trying to motivate my followers and fellow cause-supporters. On October 18, I tweeted the following:

Dear #WIUnion: We have a lot of signatures to collect next month, averaging around 12,000 a day. Prepare yourself. #RecallWalker #WIRecall

I added an afterthought:

So far, I'm setting a goal of getting 1,000 signatures. I don't know if that's attainable or not. I'll reassess after a week or two in, I think.

It was a tentative commitment, but Karen “RecallWalker” Tuerk (Twitter’s @ktuerk), wasn’t going to settle for that:

I so want to start a competition with you. Bring it! : ) 1,000 is my goal too, btw.

And then it was officially on. I threw out the challenge on Twitter to others, but so far only @amadorlicea has taken up the challenge officially and pledged to also attempt the goal of 1,000 signatures. Karen was kind enough to point out that 1,000 signatures collected over 60 days only amounts to about 17 signatures per day, but no one else has taken up the challenge yet.

When I started knocking doors, I had no idea that I’d make it to 3,000 doors in two short months, especially since the idea of talking politics with strangers absolutely horrified me. However, I challenged myself to move out of my comfort zone and to take an active part in reclaiming my government. So what about you? Will you join @BattiestGrrl, @ktuerk and @amadorlicea as they take the 1,000 Signature Recall Challenge to remove Governor Walker from office? If 1,000 signatures seems too daunting, how about 500? 200? 100? 50? Or will you challenge your friends to see which of you can collect the most signatures in 60 days? Don’t wait for someone else to do it, and don’t wait to help until you have time. Make time. And if you’re not ready to challenge yourself, let me do it. A thousand signatures. Are you in?

Yours in solidarity and putting the "all" in "recall",

Joanne Staudacher
AKA @BattiestGrrl