“Cluck or Duck” at the Appleton Farmers’ Market


Today Winnie the chicken made her splashy media debut at the Appleton farmers’ market. A random group of locals decided to protest the state open carry law by bringing a live chicken to the farm market. Special tee shirts were worn for the event and fliers were handed out by the protest participants.

Many good points were raised in the “Cluck or Duck” hand out. This group is calling for “adjusting open carry within city limits” and they ask people to contact their assemblyperson or senator to “sponsor a bill that allows municipalities to decide whether or not open carry will be allowed”.

This story started two weeks ago when two men attempted to go to the farmers’ market openly carrying AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and concealed carry pistols. While it is perfectly legal to openly carry AR-15 rifles in downtown Appleton, it did cause some concern and resulted in three 911 calls to the Appleton Police Department about “suspicious individuals” carrying rifles. The men were briefly questioned by police and released without incident or fine.

Last week the Appleton Police Department had an increased presence at the farmers’ market.

This week gun critics planned a protest of their own. A gentleman carried an attractive live chicken named Winnie in downtown Appleton. Her presence attracted all sorts of media attention. Everyone wanted to get close to the chicken and her person. There were so many people around Winnie and her person that I could hardly get close to the duo.

Gun rights advocates will probably argue that the men openly carrying AR-15 semi-automatic rifles shouldn’t have been stopped and questioned by the police. How were the police or onlookers supposed to know if they were the “good guys with guns” or not? Can anyone truly judge a person’s motives from a distance? What if something truly bad had happened and it came out that the police had been informed of a potential threat to public safety and they had refused to question the motives of the men carrying the weapons? It’s not as if people who have evil intentions wear a black hat to let everyone else know they are “bad guys with guns” instead of law abiding citizens.

It’s amazing how much attention was raised by a man and his chicken. I hope the events today open the door to more discussion of the current state of open carry laws in the state of Wisconsin. In my humble opinion, dear reader, I’d rather come face to face with a person carrying a loaded chicken as opposed to coming face to face with a person carrying a loaded AR-15.

Here are some other pictures from the event:







Peaceful Protest at U.S. Congressman Reid Ribble’s Appleton Office


Approximately 60 people protested at Reid Ribble’s Appleton, WI office as part of a “Save the American Dream” national day of action through MoveOn.org. Reid Ribble is a U.S. Congressman representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. Here are some of the pictures from the event. Ann Muenster deserves a special thank you for stepping up and getting everyone organized at the event.

While waiting to go into his office the crowd shouted things like “we want compromise”, “Where is Reid Ribble?”, “Where are the jobs?”, and of course the standard “show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like”.

Reid Ribble’s office is located at the Radisson Paper Valley, so the protesters had to walk through the hotel lobby to get to his office. At the main entrance we were asked to leave all protest signs by the front door as the hotel management did not want those in the building. Only one person was unhappy about that. Everyone else who had a sign left it at the door and quietly proceeded to Reid Ribble’s office.

While there, the protesters delivered a petition that asked Reid Ribble to agree to “support the Senate’s plan to raise the debt limit and reduce the deficit.”

Reid Ribble was not in his office, so his assistant, Carl Soderberg took the signed petition. He wrote down what everyone said to him. Carl appeared to be the only employee in the office when we were there. The conversation was calm and respectful as everyone waited their turn to speak. In fact, the protesters stopped talking when Carl had to answer the phone.

Retired school teacher, Mary Hoglund was one of the speakers at the protest.

One lady said she believed we should end the oil subsidies because the oil companies are making record profits. One gentleman mentioned that his son lost his job in January and was still unable to find employment. He wanted to know “where are the jobs?”. Concern was expressed that some politicians are thinking about the next election and not governing well. Another person said “they are playing with people’s lives”. One person even asked if Ribble is a member of ALEC. Carl said that he doesn’t know if he is. At that point, a few people asked what is ALEC. One of my favorite lines from the meeting was when someone asked that Reid Ribble not call the rich job creators, call them “rich”.

Reid Ribble has not had any in person town hall meetings and his constituents want a chance to speak with him face to face. He has breakfast and lunch meetings with business people. These events have a fee associated with them. His constituents shouldn’t have to pay a fee to speak openly with him. Ribble has telephone town halls instead of in person meetings. This leaves little room for any real discussion. Many people are still waiting for him to have in person town hall meetings with the people in his district.

People at the meeting are concerned with the way Reid Ribble is being perceived in the community. The activists are concerned the community sees him as representing corporations and special interest groups like the Tea Party.

Every speaker at the meeting was clear, to the point and aware of the issues. For me, the best parts of the event were the number of people that showed up and the fact that everyone acted respectfully and really listened to each other.

The Appleton Post Crescent also covered this story. Their story can be found here.

Appleton Wonk Canvasses for Nancy Nusbaum and hears, “Protesters are all in Madison”

by Appleton Wonk


I’ve recently had the opportunity to do some canvassing for Nancy Nusbaum in Kaukauna with a great friend and mentor. Kaukauna is located in Outagamie County and is considered the “Heart of the Valley”, part of the Appleton Metro Area. According to the official site, Kaukauna covers 4,190 acres with a population of 15,462 as of the 2010 census.  The vote in Kaukauna is about equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, but the entire area has a strong conservative history. They are known for their cheese and paper making industries.

Nancy Nusbaum is running as a Democrat to challenge Robert Cowles in Wisconsin’s Second Senate District for the recall election. She has served four terms as Mayor of De Pere, eight years as Brown County Executive and spent time as Director of Crime Victims Services. She will first face “fake” Democrat Otto Junkerman in the primary on July 12th.

A few people told me that we were the third visit they have had in the last two weeks and a couple were annoyed with the repeated visits by canvassers, while others said we were the first canvassers to stop by.

Overall our canvassing went well with about half indicating their support for Nancy. There were a few that stated they normally vote with the Democrats and will be voting Republican this time because they are frustrated with the Democratic Senators that left the state. These people see the Democrats as being unwilling to “do their jobs” and “negotiate with the Republicans”. On the other hand, I spoke with a Republican that is voting for Nancy because he believes the Republicans are “taking it too far”. He will be encouraging his wife to vote for her as well.

There were quite a few complaints directed towards both the Democrats and Republicans. Some people are upset at the cost of all the recall elections. Others believe the protests in Madison are creating chaos in the state and want that to stop. I heard people say that it’s only union members that are protesting, while others believe it’s only a “Madison thing”. I got the sense that a few people really think the protesters are an extremely small group of people that are getting large amounts of money from outside interests.

There was only one outwardly hostile person. He practically charged out the door at us and seemed ready for a fight. We left quickly and told him to “have a great evening”.

It was a pleasant surprise to me that almost every person was polite, even when they held opposing political views. One lady who would not support Nancy for senate offered to lend us her umbrella because it looked like rain and she was concerned we would get wet while canvassing and told us we could return the umbrella at any time.

Canvassing and phone banking is very important now because so much is at stake for our state and there is so much misinformation being spread, even by the major news media. Please consider playing a role in the upcoming election cycle. The future of our state and way of life as we know it is relying on it.

Learn more about Nancy Nusbaum and how you can help out at NancyForSenate.com

More information on Kaukauna can be found here. http://www.cityofkaukauna.com/about/didyouknow.asp

Guest Writer Appleton Wonk: Reid Ribble Literally Pumps Koch Gasoline at a Kwik Trip

Today I welcome Appleton Wonk as a guest writer .  A.W. visited an Appleton, Wisconsin gas station gathering hosted by Reid Ribble, the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 8th congressional district. It’s notable that he positioned himself at a Kwik Trip station. The Kwik Trip franchise in Wisconsin so happens to get their fuel from a Koch-owned refinery near St. Paul and Ribble was literally pumping it into people’s tanks that day.

He’s made a few political ripples by saying Congress should consider ending federal tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.  But otherwise, he’s with the pack: demanding steep cuts in government spending and supporting aggressive offshore U.S. drilling. (the White House wants to move with more caution. Something about some devastation wrought by BP in the gulf, I think).


Photo credit: Mike Diorio


From Appleton Wonk: May 16, 2011 from 1:30 pm until about 2:20 pm

Reid Ribble was at the Kwik Trip on West College Avenue in Appleton today to pump people’s gas and get their thoughts on the price of gas. This event was not published on his official web site, but was at the Wisconsin Ag Connection.

This site also said that Ribble had a public hearing to talk about free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea. I wonder why that meeting wasn’t listed at his official web site?

Along with regular customers there were between 10 and 20 protesters on hand.

Photo credit: Mike Diorio
Photo credit: Mike Diorio

Find more photos on facebook.

I had the opportunity to listen to him speak for a few minutes before being asked to move away because they were “doing something”.

When asked about speculation driving up the price of gas, he said he didn’t believe that speculation increased the price of gas and said he would research this more closely. He also stated that he didn’t think that we as a country should try to stop or slow down speculation because that would be manipulating the market.

On a side note: One question I would have liked to ask him is regarding a trip to Los Angeles from January 26 through January 29 of this year. According to the “Gift and Travel Filings” found here, his trip was paid for by the Heritage Foundation. So far I haven’t been able to find any information on this event. Not knowing has left me with a couple of questions: Who attended this meeting and what was the main topic of discussion?

Read more here: