Thursday, December 30, 2021

They're Coming for Us

'Madness': Oklahoma bill would empower parents to remove books from school libraries

From Oklahoma Madness

First it was a required sanitized history of the United States, now they're widening the hit list.


January 10 Meeting Canceled

From our President:

Our SPARTA Executive Committee met today and made the decision that as much as we’ve enjoyed the three in-person meetings we were able to have in 2021, we must renew our efforts to stay safe and healthy in the New Year. We have made the difficult decision to cancel the meeting scheduled for Jan 10 at Park Ridge Family Restaurant. Several members have expressed concern and  our speaker has canceled because of COVID precautions! As far as we know now, we will plan to meet March 14 at our usual place and time! Stay safe, everyone, and here’s hoping for better times in 2022!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Carl Sagan, 25 years ago

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan, 1995, page 25-26.

"I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time--when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few; and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudo-science and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance."

Link to Carl Sagan on Johnny Carson

Desmond Tutu, Dead at 90


Monday, November 8, 2021

Celebrate American Education Week

  •  November 15-19
  • SPARTA will deliver letters of appreciation to each school along with a basket of goodies

Monday, November 1, 2021

A Mistrial in the Making

From the Daily Kos:

On August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Joseph Rosenbaum is definitely dead. Anthony Huber is definitely dead. Gaige Grosskreutz is still recovering from a severe wound. 

But none of these people are victims. At least, none of them can be called “victims” according to the judge for Rittenhouse’s upcoming trial.

As ABC News reported on Tuesday, Judge Bruce Schroeder made it clear that there were very distinct ground rules when the white 18-year-old goes on trial for crossing state lines, marching through the streets with a loaded weapon, and shooting three victims. And one of those rules is that Rittenhouse gets handled with kid gloves while his victims get slandered.

“The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word,” said Schroeder. “‘Alleged victim’ is a cousin to it.”

The prosecution can’t use the word victim, even with “alleged” tacked onto the front. But what words are then defense allowed to use when describing the three men that Rittenhouse left bleeding on the street when he strolled past police and drove back to his home in another state? 

According to Judge Schroeder, they can be called “looters.” Also “rioters” and “arsonists.” Even though none of the three victims of Rittenhouse’s shooting spree have been charged with any crime.

Irony is Dead: You Can't Say That

 Deluged as we are with outrage after outrage, it's hard to pick one out to note.  This, however, proves that there's no bottom to the black hole that we've fallen into.

Read more about this at Pharyngula:

Monday, September 27, 2021

"The Buck Stops Here," said Harry.


Another Analysis

 From the Daily Kos:

[T]he entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.


What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger.

        --2016, Robert Kagan

For the whole article, link here:

Monday, September 20, 2021

The US death toll from Covid-19 just surpassed that of the 1918 flu pandemic

Wow!  This comes as a surprise: 

(CNN)Despite all the scientific and medical advances of the past 103 years, the Covid-19 pandemic has now killed more Americans than the 1918 flu pandemic did. 

More than 675,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. That surpasses the estimated US death toll from the deadliest pandemic of the 20th century.
"If you would have talked to me in 2019, I would have said I'd be surprised," said epidemiologist Stephen Kissler of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
    "But if you talked to me in probably April or May 2020, I would say I would not be surprised we'd hit this point."

    Monday, September 6, 2021

    The Sky is Falling

    Chicken Little is right. This article from stands back and gives a clear picture of just how much trouble we're in.  

    Can we clean up this mess?

  • Saturday, July 31, 2021

    Book Sale Status


    So, the dust is settling on the flurry of activities that took place in May and June centering on the book sale.

    As you know, we lost our lease with the Children's Museum Building and needed to move out.   The thought of finding another space was daunting, having gone though this just a few years ago as we had to leave Jackson School.  It took us over a year to find another space.  This time, though, the fates were on our side. 

    Delta Dental is building a huge new building just East of 51.  Their old building on Hoover will be taken over by Inclusa.  Inclusa is offering space to a few non-profit groups, and we were lucky enough to be one.    
    This is scheduled to happen in the Spring of 2022 if all goes well.

    We could only store some of the books we had.  We've rented a storage space and have books stored in more than a few members' store rooms, garages, and basements.  We had to sell off what we could, and pass along the rest to Goodwill and other thrift stores.  We had surprisingly good sales, and actually came out ahead on the cost of the move.  

    As usual, all hail to the members of the Book Committee and all the volunteers who worked the sale, hauled books around, or helped in a myriad of ways.  I won't attempt to list them here, since I'm sure to leave someone out, so please accept our heartfelt thank you for what you've done.

    All that said, 


    No room, no room.

    It hurts to say this, but there's just NO ROOM.

    Wow! Our first Meeting in a Year!


    Our picnic/meeting was held in Plover's Heritage Park.  The weather was comfortable, the company wonderful.  It was great to be able to socialize once again.  A shout-out to Sherrilee for organizing the food.  We were excited to learn of a great opportunity that the Historical Society has been offered.  

    An opportunity to expand Heritage Park and bring the Morgan House, listed on the National & State Registry of Historic Buildings, into Society ownership. This purchase would also include the entire block surrounding the Morgan House. With this addition the Park would be 'protected' from residential and commercial encroachment and own 4 of the 20 National & State Registered buildings/sites in Portage County Wisconsin.

    The fundraising goal is $350,000 dollars, the projected selling price.

    Thursday, July 29, 2021

    Things Don't Change: American Fascism in the 40s

    From Hullabaloo:

     “The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity .…They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.” — Vice President Henry A. Wallace, April 9, 1944.

    Pfeifer resurfaces a pithy Frank (not Francis) Wilhoit quote that distills Wallace’s assessment to just over 20 words:

     “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

    Thursday, July 8, 2021

    Membership Form 2021-2022


    SPARTA Membership 2021-2022


    Return this application and your dues to 

    Jan Langton, 2010 Aspen Lane, Plover, WI 54467


    Name _______________________________________________________________________________________


    Address _____________________________________________________________________________________


    City, State, Zip ________________________________________________________________________________


    District and school from which you retired ___________________________________________________________


    Preferred phone number ________________________________________________________________________


    Email  _______________________________________________________________________________________


     Our default method of communication is through email.  If you wish to receive a paper copy of the newsletter, check this box.



    SPARTA Dues

    ☐    I’m a new member.  My first year is free!

    ☐    $12 annual

    ☐    $12 Associate annual 

            $150 life


    WREA Dues   WREA dues are passed on to WREA.  You can pay dues online at or mail them to: WREA, 6405 Century Ave, Suite 201, Middleton, WI 53562.    

    Regular membership (retired teachers, current teachers, support staff, k-12, administrators, technical college and university.)  

                 $60 annual 

                ☐ $165 three-year

          ☐ $1,000 life


    Associate membership (spouses of members, other annuitants in the Wisconsin Retirement System, friends of education.)  

                ☐ $40 annual

          ☐ $105 three-year



    WREA and WEA are NOT the same organization. WREA’s main purpose is to protect the pension system and support public education.   WEA is/was the union.  Being a member of one doesn’t equate to being a member of the other.  Many of us are life members of both. 

    Membership for 2021-2022

    There is an early start to people paying their dues for the coming financial year.  SPARTA dues remain at $12 and WREA dues at $60.  If $60 sounds like a lot, just check out your pension checks from ETF. THAT'S what your $60 has brought to you.  

    These people are paid for the 2021-2022 year:



































































    Website Neglect

     It's been awhile.  I deeply apologize.  It's not that we haven't been busy with SPARTA stuff.  In the last two months we've sold off much of our book inventory, moved the remainder to storage, moved bookcases to the Inclusa facility, and shut down our place at the children's museum.

    It is true that I haven't been maintaining this site as it should be.  The feeling from the Executive Board is that we should have a FaceBook page.  We'll need someone to set this up and maintain it.  If you know of anyone who would be interested, please contact Santha or me.

    In the meantime, we hope to see you at the picnic on Monday, July 12 at Heritage Park.  

    Wednesday, June 2, 2021

    Moving Sale

     Just a reminder that the BAG SALE starts June 1. The schedule for the next two weeks follows. We are asking that you share this schedule with friends, family and share on facebook if you have an account. Cost is $5 a bag.

                                                                BAG SALE

    Tuesday, June, 1st10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Thursday, June 3rd, 10 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
    Saturday, June, 5th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    Tuesday, June 8th, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Thursday, June 10th, 10 a.m. 3:30 p.m.
    Saturday, June 12th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    As COVID restrictions are opening up and more people aren't wearing masks, it is difficult to know who is or isn't vaccinated without asking for a card. For the safety of the children who cannot be vaccinated, the Children's Museum is asking people who aren't vaccinated to wear masks in the building. We don't want to be asking everyone at the door to produce a vaccination card, so are still asking shoppers to wear a mask in the building.

    Now the good news. We have a storage unit where the books we are going to keep are being stored, and INCLUSA  has graciously said we can store our 20 bookcases, book carts and table cart at their facility on Church Street. We will box up excess books to donate June 14 - 17 and have a tentative move date of June 23rd or 24th. Moving details are yet to be determined so we will keep you posted.

    Bring your mask and money,

    Nancy Kemmeter

    Friday, April 30, 2021

    Covid's No Joke

    This BBC website does fantastic things with the statistics of the pandemic.  Data is from Johns Hopkins University and other national and international health agencies.

    COVID Humor

    From Santha's hometown newspaper, a little dated, but still funny:


    From The Community Scoop, published weekly in Lost Nation, IA, April 8, 2021

    1. New monthly budget: Gas $0, Clothes $0, Groceries $2,500, Wine $3750.

    2. Breaking News: Wearing a mask inside your home is now highly recommended- not so much to stop COVID, but to stop eating.

    3. WHEN THIS QUARANTINE IS OVER, let's not tell some people.

    4. Not to brag, but I haven't been late to anything in over 16 weeks.

    5. It may take a village to raise a child, but I swear it's going to take a vineyard to homeschool one.

    6. You know all those car commercials where there's one vehicle on the road? doesn't seem so unrealistic these days.

    7. The spread of Covid-19 is based on two things: 1. How dense the population is. 2. How dense the population is.

    8. People keep asking : "Is COVID 19 REALLY all that serious?  Listen y'all..., churches and casinos are closed.  When heaven and hell agree on the same thing, it's probably pretty serious.

    9. Home School Day #1.  I'm trying to figure out how I can get this kid transferred out of my class.

    10. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.

    Santa Claus is Real

     Well, there's been lots of action since the last posting.  The good news is that we've found another home for our books.  Details will be forthcoming, but it's Christmas in Spring for us.  It almost seems too good to be true, but as one who's always expecting the sky to fall it really does seem to be happening.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021

    We've Lost our Lease

      From our President:

                We at Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers’ Association are reaching out to ask if anyone in the community knows of or has a place where we can collect our used books and hold our semi-annual used book sales. For the past five years we have had space and a wonderful relationship with the Children’s Museum downtown. The building has been sold and the new owner has other plans for the space, so we need to relocate.


                As you probably know, SPARTA has been iconic in the area for these sales. In 1991 we were offered the opportunity to take over the book sales from the American Association of University Women, and we happily assumed this service.  Profits from sales are donated back to community organizations in the form of grants and scholarships. Priority is given to causes which support our young people, and second to causes which support our elderly. We are able to pay a modest amount of rent and to work with anyone generous enough to support our efforts.


                Because of the COVID crisis, we were not able to hold book sales in 2020, and thus were not able to support the organizations we have in the past. Scholarship funds have been saved in an account with the Community Foundation set up for that purpose, so we are able to continue that. However, if we are not able to find a new site for our books and sales, we will probably be unable to fund our community outreach for a second year.


                If you have any suggestions or ideas to help us, please call and discuss them with our president Santha Bickford (7153405501) or our Book Committee Chairperson, Nancy Kemmeter, (7153405627}.  Please feel free to pass this information on as you see fit! Many thanks!

    Friday, March 26, 2021

    Jim Crow 2.0


    Gov. Kemp signing Georgia's Voter Suppression Bill, 3/25/2021.

    Male white suprematists trying to protect their power.

    Meanwhile, State Rep. Park Cannon, a Black woman, was arrested and accused of obstruction after protesting a bill that makes it harder for Georgians to vote.  Her crime?  Knocking on the door while this photo op took place. From Huffington Post

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021

    AARP Tips on Finances

     Forget the "Tips from the Treasurer."  The February/March 2021 edition of The AARP Magazine has it all.  There are great pieces on how to handle your finances and secure your future.  And it has George Clooney on the front: 

    Our National Anthem

    I've had mixed feelings about our national anthem, but was mostly won over by the Whitney Houston performance in 1991: Whitney at Super Bowl 1991

    Now, I know this isn't fair, since Whitney is incomparable, but did you catch the offering at CPAC last weekend?  Oy vey, and a cappella at that: CPAC National Anthem  Watch it to the end, it only gets worse.

    Just to put a period at the end of this sentence, this is a Canadian audience at Maple Leaf hockey game helping out when the microphone cut out:  Canadians Help Out.  How can you not love Canada?

    March 4 is Upon Us

     Yes, the crazies are predicting that March 4 is the date that the "real" president will take office.  What's the plot?  Everything from Biden being a robot with human-like skin to T returning in victory.  For the details, check out this article from Alternet: March 4 Victory

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021

    Ron Johnson: a Profile in Courage

     From the website Huffington Post:

    GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Says Capitol Riot ‘Didn’t Seem Like An Armed Insurrection To Me’

    Integrity and honesty all over the place.

    Tips from the Treasurer: Your Last Gift to Your Family

    We're all bound to move on from this life, hopefully sometime in the distant future.  One thing you can do for yourself and for your family is to wrap things up before then.  It's important to make sure that things are done the way you want them done.  I made my own estate planner when I was in my 40s.  I update it every few years, and when the time comes, my niece should have all the information she needs to settle everything.

    I shared my own book with my mom about five years ago and managed to talk her into letting me make one for her.  She has Alzheimers, and I was determined to have all the paperwork done before she lost the ability to make decisions for herself.  

    There are all sorts of places to find a format to use for your information.  My lawyer suggested a book form Amazon, Peace of Mind Planner.  It's very good, and only $12.  I would suggest ripping it apart and putting it into a three-ringed binder.  That makes updates easier, and you can also delete sections that aren't relevant.

    My own is a three-ringed binder with dividers.  The sections are:

    1. Vital Information
      • contacts
    2. Documents
      • will
      • memorandum
      • ids
    3. Finances
      • Power of Attorney, finances
      • accounts
    4. Medical
      • Power of Attorney, Power of Health Care
      • health care notes
      • insurance
    5. Final Disposition
    6. Beneficiaries
    7. Insurance
    8. Shut it Down
      • what to pay, close, cancel
    It's important to update your information each year.  I keep a copy at home in my fire-safe box.  My niece has my both Power of Attorneys.  Being young, she preferred her copy to be on a memory stick. 

    UWSP is offering an Estate Planning Workshop online on March 2, 2021 .  Find out more about it at: UWSP Estate Planning

    And, yes, I do have a touch of OCD.


    Wednesday, February 10, 2021

    Surprise! It's all the Teachers' fault!

    From the website Crooks and Liars:

    Fox News Lie: Teachers' Unions Are 'Power-Hungry Science Deniers Who Clearly Hate Kids'

    Blaming problems on the victims was a honed into an art form by a certain European group during the thirties.  After one particularly brutal night of arson, vandalism, assault, and murder committed on the victimized group, a certain Mr. H.G. was upset by all that property destruction.  All that lovely property should have been confiscated instead.  Mr. H.H. came up with the brilliant idea that the victimized group be fined the cost of the destroyed property.   Problem solved!   They may not have invented the concept of "blame the victim", but they certainly perfected it.  

    Politicians have learned that lesson well.  Lately, the GOP and its social media and journalistic sources have done nothing but.  Covid-19 making a mess of our schools.  But don't take responsibility for the inaction and deliberate misinformation spread by our "president" for most of a year; instead it's those greedy, powerful teachers who don't want to work and are doing all they can to corrupt and ruin the children they teach.  Selfish, lazy teachers!  

    Good-bye to One Who Helped Hold up the Sky

     Link to Pisarski website

    On Sunday, February 7, 2021, Leigh Meta Allgaier, loving mother of three and grandmother of two, passed away at 74 years of age.  Leigh was born on October 9, 1946 in Wausau, WI to Jacob and Lucille Zinkevcz.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison.  On September 6, 1969, she married Jack Allgaier.  They raised three daughters together, all of whom became college graduates.

    On Sunday, February 7, 2021, Leigh Meta Allgaier, loving mother of three and grandmother of two, passed away at 74 years of age.  Leigh was born on October 9, 1946 in Wausau, WI to Jacob and Lucille Zinkevcz.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison.  On September 6, 1969, she married Jack Allgaier.  They raised three daughters together, all of whom became college graduates.

    Leigh loved to cook and provided meals to volunteers at the Portage County Democratic Party as well as lunches for the local Warming Center.  Leigh loved to travel and explored China, Africa, India, Israel, Morocco, Turkey, and Russia with her traveling companions Pat, Louise, and Debby.  She traveled the United States with her family visiting the Outer Banks, Key West, the Olympic National Park, and Washington, DC.  

    She enjoyed antiquing and collecting Hall teapots and Christmas pins.  Her pins were often displayed at the Lincoln Center and the Portage County Public Library during the holiday season.  Leigh was an avid card player and enjoyed playing duplicate bridge and sheepshead the most.  Leigh was a prolific reader and enjoyed her days working at the Portage County Public Library.  While spending winter months in Arizona, she loved getting and using her library cards throughout the Phoenix area. Leigh took special pride in her arrest during a protest against Scott Walker at the state capitol. 

    Leigh was a strong person who battled multiple illnesses with strength and determination. A better future is what fueled her, she appreciated casting her last ballot in the Presidential Election, and she was thrilled to see the Biden and Harris inauguration.  The family wishes to thank the nurses, therapists, and doctors at St. Michael’s Hospital who provided superior care.

    Leigh was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Jay Allen Zinkevcz (Minnesota).  She is survived by her husband Jack, her three daughters, Meta (Jef Schobert), Millie, and Rose, grandchildren Orion and Sapphire, and sisters-in-law Mary (Ronald) Stroik and Louise Zinkevcz.

    Leigh enjoyed nothing more than a good party with friends and family.  Leigh wanted her celebration of life to include food, stories, conversation, and no sorrow.  There will be such a celebration in the future, once this horrid COVID-19 is under control. 

    If you wish, please consider a donation in her name to Evergreen Community Initiatives, 1948 Church St, Stevens Point WI 54481 with warming center in the memo or a membership or donation to the Portage County Democratic Party, 2220 Division St, Stevens Point WI 54481 with Allgaier Memorial in the memo.

    Pisarski Funeral Homes are honored to be serving the family. For online condolences please visit

    Monday, January 11, 2021

    Unless there's a coup...




          coup |ko͞o|
          noun (pl. coups |ko͞oz| )
         1 (also coup d'├ętat)a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of  power     from a government: he was overthrown in an army coup.

    Well, called that correctly.  There's so much to say about events of January 6, 2021.  These say it well:

     From The New York Times:

    The American Abyss by Timothy Snyder

    A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.