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Deadly Bomb Trains Chugging Through the Heart of America

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The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, N.D.

The fireball that resulted from the derailment and explosion of a train carrying Bakken crude oil outside Casselton, N.D. on December 30, 2013.

zovirax online kopen pfizer cytotec for sale good cost of ampicillin sulbactam anonymous viagra nz buy Most Americans would want to know if a massive explosion could happen in their backyard. Well, right now “bomb trains” carrying highly flammable Bakken Shale crude are running all over the country, and if you live within a mile of the railroad tracks, then a fireball like the one in the photograph above could become reality for you.

What makes up the Bakken Shale oil? (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Breakdown of Bakken crude. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

ForestEthics just put out an “Oil Train Blast Zone” map that details the path of these deadly trains, and the expansive swath of blast and evacuation zones. You might be surprised by the routes these trains take, so type your zip code in and see if you are in a blast zone.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, these deadly trains run right past a popular gathering place in the Wauwatosa village. On the evening of July 12, 2014, the Overpass Light Brigade braved pouring rain to let people know that their favorite restaurants and bars lie well within a blast zone, with these explosive payloads passing by multiple times a week.

Communities should not have to bear the risk of catastrophic explosions from Bakken oil. Along with other forms of extreme energy, Bakken crude isn’t worth the risk. We don’t need exploding trains, groundwater turned toxic by fracking, or tar sands pipelines. It’s time to reign in the big oil companies that profit off of these dangerous fossil fuels, and demand clean, renewable alternatives.

 

Is a Bomb Train Running Through Your Backyard? from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

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Capitol Square Message

Members of the Overpass Light Brigade and participants in the Solidarity Sing Along held this lighted message across the street from the Capitol in Madison before marching the message onto the Capitol lawn.

Madison, WI - Tomorrow, participants in the Solidarity Sing Along will again go back to the Capitol at noon to sing, as they have for 631 consecutive weekdays. They will continue to sing without a permit, even as others around them are handcuffed and arrested for doing so. Over 200 have been arrested since Scott Walker’s most recent crackdown began July 24th. Scott Walker is demanding protestors receive permission from him first before they protest him? Perhaps Walker missed those lessons on the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Overpass Light Brigade Madison, Wisconsin.  8/9/13

The OLB message is held on the Capitol lawn by many arrested during the ;ast two weeks at the Solidarity Sing Along (photo credit: Michael Pecosky).

At www.solidaritysingalong.org you’ll find information about the history of the Solidarity Sing Along, why it’s participants are fighting to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedoms of speech and assembly.

You’ll also see how you can donate to help with court costs (not lawyers fees) for citizens arrested at Wisconsin State Capitol for SINGING, CLAPPING, HOLDING SIGNS, OR JUST OBSERVING the Solidarity Sing Along. No donation is too small… or too large. Thank you.

- See more at: http://occupyriverwest.com/us/singing-truth-to-power#sthash.omkgjBuJ.dpuf

How Many More Candles Must We Light?

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Candlelight Memorial

Candles are lit at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin one-year anniversary of shooting, where six where six were killed.

Oak Creek, WI - The Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) of Wisconsin has brought illuminated messages to more vigils than they care to remember. Monday evening’s candlelight vigil at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, in remembrance of six members brutally murdered by a gunman a year ago, was another in a long line of vigils attended by OLB. Wisconsin is a state that has been hit especially hard by gun violence. High profile mass shootings like the ones at the Sikh Temple and the Azana Spa Shooting in Brookfield stoke our country’s will to address this perpetual and growing problem, but this is nothing new for many urban centers, who experience, quite frequently, gun violence in their lives. Whatever the case or situation may be, the fact remains that gun violence can happen anywhere and is not going away. It shouldn’t take a Sandy Hook or a Columbine to get Americans to do something about it.

Hope and Light

This gut-wrenching family keynote featured the children of slain Temple member Bhai-Sahib Prakash Singh.

One year ago Monday, a white supremacist walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and opened fire, killing six members of the temple. A year later, the temple wanted to honor the six slain. They organized a beautiful and moving vigil that brought together a wide range of cultures, community groups, and speakers, including families of the victims of the Sandy Hook and Columbine school shootings. Each speaker testified to the deep pain inflicted upon them and others by the loss of loved ones at the hands of guns. No matter the political belief one carries about the current state of guns in our country, everyone can agree that too many are killed everyday prematurely by guns.

This message was held at a candlelight vigil the evening of the Sikh Temple Shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last year.

This message was held at a candlelight vigil the evening of the Sikh Temple Shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last year.

The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns project, the “No More Names” bus tour, is currently traveling the country to raise awareness of the growing gun violence problem in America. On the back of the bus is a large digital ticker that counts every life taken by gun violence in the U.S. this year. At the beginning of Monday’s Sikh Temple vigil, the number of deaths in the U.S., this year, stood at a staggering 7,753. By the completion of the vigil, that number had noticeably grown by 60 people! If this saddening and sobering realization does not drive home the need for solutions to our gun violence problem, then nothing will, and doing nothing is no answer for those who have had their life cut short by a gun.

The "No More Names" bus count of Americans killed by guns went up a disturbing 60 people during the duration of the vigil.

The “No More Names” bus count of Americans killed by guns went up a disturbing 60 people during the duration of the vigil (Photo credit: Top photo is OLB and bottom two photos are courtesy of C.M. DeSpears.

Last summer, in a jealous fit of rage, a man walked into the Azana Spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin and shot his estranged wife and several of her co-workers before turning the gun fatally on himself. OLB held “Heavy Hearts” at that vigil in Brookfield, which affected a majority white suburban neighborhood, bringing gun violence into an area that rarely receives it.

Azana Spa Shooting vigil in Brookfield, Wisconsin last year.

Azana Spa Shooting candlelight vigil in Brookfield, Wisconsin last year.

Meanwhile, an unacceptable 108 lives were snuffed out by gun violence last year in the city of Milwaukee, including the life of Alex Cross. Alex was playing basketball with some friends one day when a gunman opened fire killing him and injuring several of his friends. Cross was murdered blocks away from a bridge the Overpass Light Brigade happened to frequent, and his death hit the Holders of the Light very close to home. Gun violence occurs everyday in Milwaukee’s streets and, most times, very little attention is given to it, as The Reverend Willie Brisco of Milwaukee Inner City Allied for Hope (MICAH), astutely pointed out at last night’s Sikh vigil.

This message was taken out on a bridge blocks away from where Alex Cross, a neighborhood teenage boy, was gunned down while playing basketball.

This message was taken out blocks away from where Alex Cross, a neighborhood boy, was gunned down while playing basketball in Milwaukee with friends.

Last year, Chicago eclipsed 500 deaths, at the hands of guns. The group, Occupy Rogers Park, organized a candlelight vigil, where 500 stars were placed on a tree, each one with a name, memorializing the lives of those killed. Everyday gun violence in cities like Milwaukee and Chicago are no less important than mass shootings of the likes of Sandy Hook or Columbine. The families of tomorrow’s victims require we do something today. Plug in, and join the actions of groups like Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) and Mothers Against Gun Violence, who are organizing for change today.

For the Fallen Candlelight Vigil

OLB message held over I-43 in Milwaukee.

OLB message held over I-43 in Milwaukee.

This message was held at the official Oak Creek city candlelight vigil days after last year's tragic shooting (photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade).

This message was held at the official Oak Creek city candlelight vigil days after last year’s tragic shooting (photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade).

More photos from Monday night’s Oak Creek candlelight vigil can be found here.

The War on Wisconsin Water

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Shawano, WI - As another Fourth of July is nearly upon us, many Wisconsinites are already enjoying their time on Wisconsin’s waterways. The state enjoys more than 15,000 lakes and 13,500 miles (21,700 kilometers) of navigable streams and rivers. Wisconsinites have always taken great pride in their state’s natural beauty. This is, until recently. The 2010 election of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker has led to the immediate unraveling of water and other environmental protections, regulations, and oversight, jeopardizing the future stability and supply of Wisconsin’s clean water. Knowing that only 3% of the world’s water exists as fresh water, we need to make sure we are standing up for our current and future generation’s water rights or face a future with a vastly deteriorating quality of life.

The rollback began in 2011 with GOP legislature voting to ease restrictions on wetland development with the sole purpose of allowing a corporate big-box retailer to encroach upon Wisconsin. Citizen opposition to the legislature’s vote in favor of the bill was so strong that the big-box retailer eventually decided not to move to the site. It was, however, crystal clear that the Walker Administration was going to be erring on the side of corporations instead of the people of the State of Wisconsin through the lifting of DNR oversight and other forms of deregulation. Another early indication that the Governor was not interested in continuing Wisconsin’s legacy of environmental stewardship was through his appointment of former Wisconsin Republican State Senator Cathy Stepp as the state’s new lieutenant of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) despite her obvious conflict of interest as co-owner with her husband of a construction business.

The next major regressive piece of legislation action by the Governor and state controlled GOP legislature was to fast-track, by gutting rigid environmental review, a gigantic, open-pit iron-ore mine near the Penokee Hills, a pristine state forest, and, downstream, a native American tribal reservation and its wild-rice fields. This has also opened up the state to massive frac sand mining that also uses an exorbitant amount of fresh water from local aquifers. These mines will undoubtedly have a destructive and lasting environmental impact on the pristine waters of Wisconsin.

The most recent dagger to the future of Wisconsin’s fresh water is the approval of a new high-capacity well for a factory farm.

This approval comes immediately following a Republican-controlled panel who voted 12-4 in favor of a motion that would bar persons from challenging construction of a well if a regulator decided not to consider cumulative environmental effects of the well on others. The operation would house 4,300 cows and pump nearly 73 million gallons of well water annually, irrespective of any impact on smaller wells, aquifers and surface waters in the state’s productive, yet lovely, Central Sands region.

We’ve seen the damage incurred on other states that have allowed corporations this unfettered loosening of environmental regulation and oversight.

 

As fresh water aquifers around the world are being destroyed, Wisconsin is following suit with damaging changes to environmental regulations, while disenfranchising its citizens from future water decisions. The citizens of Wisconsin must prevail and increase the fight against the ever-expanding war on water.

All photos come from the Overpass Light Brigade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Flickr album).

“Stop the Mines” photo comes from Michael Pecosky

Celebrating Gay Marriage Court Victory on Bridges

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Milwaukee, WI - It was like going to a funeral followed by a wedding. After an extremely difficult Tuesday, that saw the nation’s high court strike down the critically needed and important landmark piece of Civil Rights legislation known as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, most people were bracing for what they assumed would be yet another unfavorable decision from the nation’s conservative leaning court. However, this time the Supreme Court surprised, issuing gay rights advocates a major victory, declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Many who celebrated, did so in a reserved way, knowing that one set of Americans had their rights legitimized while another group had just had many rights and protections torn away. This highlights the continued need to fight for the rights of ALL oppressed groups. We have a long way to go in doing that.

A few groups did celebrate Wednesday’s Supreme Court court victory. Overpass Light Brigade groups in Wisconsin and Texas took to public locations of high visibility to display their LED lighted messages of support.

The Overpass Light Brigade in Milwaukee threw a “bridge party” just west of downtown Milwaukee over I-94. Close to forty Holders of the Light held individual LED lighted letters spelling out two separate messages on both sides of a pedestrian overpass bridge: “EQUALITY WINS!” facing eastbound traffic and “DOMA = DOA” facing westbound traffic. Horn honking was heavy and seem to reflect the growing acceptance of gay marriage in the U.S.

The North Texas Light Brigade (NTLB) lit up the skies of Texas with a “LOVE EQUALITY” message in front of a busy local shopping mall.

Photo courtesy of North Texas Light Brigade (NTLB)

Photo courtesy of North Texas Light Brigade (NTLB)

Flickr photo album of Milwaukee action

Facebook photo album of NTLB