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March 6, 2011

Sounding off from Wisconsin
Posted by Teresa at 04:03 PM * 115 comments

Patrick and I mainly know Kurt Griesemer from Minneapolis SF convention music circles, but he’s a Wisconsin public employee. He’s written a song and made a video, both of which are titled That Ain’t Right:

Went down to the capitol today
Cause I heard some people say
It was filling up with dangerous Union thugs
Radicals and greedy bastards
Lazy teachers holding placards
Trying to get all the money they could grub.

So I got myself to Madison;
It was quite a sight I’ll tell you son
People in the streets all wearing red
Shouting slogans and singing songs
Holding hands and walking along
Protesting what the governor had said.

See he claims we’re in crisis and we can’t afford to wait
It’s time for you workers to sacrifice
In the meantime don’t you worry—the government’s in a hurry
To sell itself to Koch at any price.*

Kurt’s the blond guy with the guitar. The little kid on his shoulders is his daughter. The rest of the people in the photos are those scary union agitators (i.e., peaceable public employees) the right’s been lying about non-stop since this thing began.

Full lyrics and credits for the song plus a link to a free MP3 download are available on Kurt’s Live Journal.

Feel free. Pass it on.

Comments on Sounding off from Wisconsin:
#1 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2011, 08:13 PM:

Thanks for pointing this out to us. It's good to know that out of struggle can come art.

#2 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2011, 08:22 PM:

Actually, I was figuring that rampaging hordes of violent schoolteachers and state civil servants had burned down the state capitol by now. I mean, seriously, talk about some rough, dangerous characters. Thank God they haven't got the librarians worked up, too, or there would surely be a bloodbath.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2011, 08:37 PM:

If I saw a bunch of librarians coming toward me with blood in their collective eye, I'd drop to my knees, hold both hands outstretched, and say "Have mercy, what did I do wrong?, I'm very sorry, please tell me how I can help fix it, don't kill me." With any luck, pausing to say "That's a run-on sentence" would give them time to reconsider.

#4 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2011, 08:52 PM:

The librarians are out there too; here some coverage in Library Journal.

And here's a related picture. Nice readable handwriting, those librarian thugs have.

#5 ::: Kimberly ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2011, 09:00 PM:

Thanks for the link! I had to laugh -- halfway through the video I saw a shot with my daughter's seventh grade teacher in it. This is about so much more than just the unions, but I'm very thankful they've brought attention to the issues.

#6 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2011, 02:15 AM:

Oh, how I wish them all well. I'm strangely cheered and grinning that people are composing songs and such about what's looked from here like utterly complete, eye-popping injustice and high-handed anti-populism.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2011, 08:54 AM:

My very first publication (at 15) was a poem in a librarians' newsletter. I have had positive feelings about the judgment of the profession ever since.

#8 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2011, 09:24 AM:

I worked in my school libraries from 8th grade through college, and even volunteered at my public library. Librarians rock, quietly.

#9 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2011, 12:08 PM:

I try to rock noisily but it's hard to overcome my conditioning.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2011, 06:22 PM:

A few years back, a gay reference librarians' group came up with one of my all-time favorite slogans: "We're here, we're queer, and we're very well-organized."

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2011, 08:43 PM:

Today's Union Leader was full of editorials about the union thugs of Wisconsin.

#12 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2011, 12:43 AM:

Thank you for posting the song!

And it is so true. I laughed at the line about wearing red. I live in Wisconsin now but am not of this place. I went to Madison with a co-worker who is a Wisconsin native. He donned his UW attire for the trip (we are a few hours away). When we got to Madison it was a sea of UW Badger red. A very color-coordinated protest.

My favorite sight was the union supporter with a very large DON'T TREAD ON ME sign in one hand -- and a BE NICE sign in the other. Perfectly captures the spirit of the protests. I've been to a lot of protests in the Bay Area, including the huge and peaceful anti-war protests before Bush II took us into Iraq, and I've never seen such consistently peaceful behavior or a crowd of protesters that was so...Sunday at the shopping mall. The "damage" in the Capital building caused by tape from signs? An amazing number of those signs were saying "This is a peaceful protest" or some variant of keep things neat, polite, and peaceful.

One correction: Not just public sector folks. There were lots of people protesting with signs saying they were not public sector employees, but they supported the unions.

This Saturday is supposed to be farmers and labor day - I just wish I knew the route the tractors plan to take.

#13 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2011, 01:36 AM:

James D. MacDonald @ 11

That sentence seems as though it ought to be as implausible as 'I was reading the Daily Telegraph on the internet'.

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Praisegod, right-wing ideologues have their autocorrect function set for "union = union thugs". They've also taken some kind of a blood oath to always remember that any union misdeed, or indeed any union action whatsoever, is an argument for getting rid of unions; but no corporate misdeed, however vile, damaging, or structurally inevitable, is an argument for getting rid of corporations.

#15 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2011, 09:50 PM:

Jim @11, is there anything in there about pushing a pregnant woman off the curb?

#16 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Teresa @ 14

Sorry, my hurried comment was probably a bit less transparent than it should have been.

What I was trying to say was that union-bashing in a newspaper called the Union Leader ought to seem as paradoxical as a newspaper called the Daily Telegraph being delivered by the Internet.

Growing up in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s I remember how one-sided the debate over unions can be. And as someone who works in a non-unionised work-place, I've once or twice had occasion to become aware of just how important having a right to collective bargaining can be in keeping the work-place even minimally civilised.

#17 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2011, 09:40 AM:

@#3: That reminds me of a story an acquaintance of mine told me. Once in her youth, she found her boyfriend in bed with another girl. He said "This isn't what it looks like", and she replied at full volume, "Then what is it?"

At that point I realized that line was not the idiocy I'd always thought. It bought him three, maybe four seconds! Apparently he did not take the head start and get sprinting, though.
(I may have told this story here before, but cursory googling does not show it.)

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2011, 08:50 PM:

"In thirty minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten."

Without a quorum, the Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate just passed the bill that removes the right of collective bargaining from their public employees. They did it by removing the budget part of the bill, removing the last fig-leaf that this is anything other than blatant union-busting, a law with no other purpose than breaking the unions.

#19 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2011, 09:29 PM:

This is the robber barons' revenge for not being allowed to buy slaves any more.

#20 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Teresa @ 3: if the librarians were coming for me, I would say in a quiet, shaky voice that the book in second grade wasn't my fault! We moved before I found it! I would have brought it back!

And I did find the book in fourth grade! It was buried in my desk under some papers! (Please don't ask how I could have "lost" a book inside one of those old desks.) I even gave it back!

On a more somber note, I expect I will shortly be learning about similarities between state laws in Wisconsin and Indiana. I have yet to read that it is possible to do here (I live just outside Indianapolis) what they just did in Wisconsin ... in fact, I saw something today that sounded like there may be a compromise in the near future, but then again, it was the House Speaker who said it, so I'll be withholding my optimism until I see proof that the offending legislation has been scuttled.

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2011, 11:38 PM:


This is what strikes are for, I guess.

#22 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 12:06 AM:

James D. Macdonald @18: Son of a--I don't believe that. Well, yes, I do, but--oh, you know what I mean. How difficult is it to recall a state senator in Wisconsin, does anyone know? How about a governor?

#23 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 12:34 AM:

Stefan @21:

This is what general strikes are for.

The sermon at last night's Ash Wednesday service was about situations where it's suddenly the right time for change, for action, for standing up against old oppressions. The priest was talking about Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.

But it sounds like it might be time for something a little closer to home, too.

#24 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 12:37 AM:

One problem with Wisconsin's recall system is that for the funny new guys, you have to wait until they've been in office at least a year to recall them. Before then, impeachment is your main legal option.

#26 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:06 AM:

My sister's link roundup for the day. We're both in Madison; I'm a UW employee (at least for the moment). Non-union, of course, because it just wouldn't do for academic staff to organize. The roundup includes a fair bit of information about the WI recall process and a decent collection of "what you can do", for those Fluorospherians who are interested.

We (and spouses) were both at the Capitol tonight for a few hours; we left around the point where they started letting people in again due to illness/tired. It's odd the things that stick out in this sort of situation. These guys are reaching into my pockets for an ever-accelerating amount of money (every year I've worked at UW, the legislature has taken money away from me one way or another). I'm already making (trivially) 50% of what I would in the private sector. That bothers me, sure. But I was genuinely *offended* to see Republicans getting their own private city bus to take them away from the protesters tonight. Can't really explain why that pissed me off more than any of the other crap I've had to deal with/will be dealing with, but it did.

Pictures from tonight, courtesy my wife

My sister's account from tonight

#27 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:14 AM:

Yup, those are my pictures.

I find it very convenient that UW's colors are red and white. Red is for martyrs, and the labor union movement has had many martyrs. Red is for communism, and as we all know, nuns are communist. Monks too.

Right now, the biggest thing the movement needs is money. Money to recall the Republican 8 who are eligible for recall. 3 out of the 8 won by less than 1000 votes. Money for the 5 Democratic senators who are facing recall petitions. Money for the ACLU, who are fighting the legal battle for civil liberty here in WI. Due to procedural irregularities today, chances are today's votes will face legal challenges. That effort will need money too.

If nothing else speaks to you, the protesters need money for food, water, first aid supplies, and sleeping gear. Yes, it's March. Snow cover here might not fully clear until April. It was snowing most of today, and while most of the weekday protesters are locals who walk and bike a lot... Please don't count on people being smart. We all know about the madness of crowds and the dangers of hypothermia.

[Link edited--JDM]

#28 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:19 AM:

Torrilin @ 27: your "recall the Republican 8" link isn't working for me. I did a search and found
Is that what you meant?

#29 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:33 AM:

ayup. They've got a weird redirect thing going, and I wasn't sure which one was right.

I don't have the names of the vulnerable Dems. We're going to have to look long and hard at our budget to prioritize our donations. There's a lot of stuff here that needs money, and staff researchers don't get paid much. (Bachelor's degree too, which knocks us further down the pay scale.)

We are doing better than the in-laws tho, so I'm making donations a big priority.

#30 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:37 AM:

janetl @ #28, that's the same place MoveOn is sending recipients of the blast email I got, so it ought to do.

#31 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:41 AM:

I take it back. There are several ActBlue pages. The MoveOn mail I got sends you to this one:

That page has nearly $700K so far, with 21,372 contributors.

#32 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 10:11 AM:

James @18

How can they turn a budget bill into a non-budget bill without a quorum?

It looks odd, but I guess it depends on whether they can do anything to a budget bill without the quorum. I'm no lawyer, but there certainly seems to be something a lawyer could use.

#33 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 10:20 AM:

Dave Bell @ 32
How can they turn a budget bill into a non-budget bill without a quorum?

There is a quorum for non-budget bills, but not for budget bills. (The two types of bills have different quorum requirements.)

So they passed a different bill, with only the non-budget items.

(It's like the health-care bill in reverse; in that case, a bill that was mostly non-budget items was passed as a budget bill since the filibuster rules made it easier to pass a budget than an non-budget bill.)

#34 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 11:16 AM:

There's discussion over on Naked Capitalism that the anti-union bill has funding issues still included, making what they did last night illegal. Specifically, wording that reduces state pension contribution amounts, and I believe salary reductions. The recall efforts have quadrupled already; over $200,000 was raised since last night to recall the 8 Republican legislators who can be recalled right now.

#35 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Just got back from a protest in Racine. ACLU-Wisconsin put out an all-points call for legal observers, because in addition to Madison there are lots of other protests happening in other parts of Wisconsin since not everyone can get to Madison. Racine was the protest within easy reach for me.

Wisconsin is frigging cold. It was cold, overcast, and the wind was whipping off Lake Michigan. This relocated Californian's perspective is that it take a lot of determination to protest outside in this climate.

Things I've learned about protesting in Wisconsin:
1. Wear a hat and ear protection. The natives in T-shirts with no hats who say they are not cold must be half badger. Seriously.
2. Put on your thickest socks, and wear long johns and lots of layers. You will still be cold.
3. The protesting Badgers are immune to cold, but not betrayal. Every protest I've seen some variant of "Walker is a weasel, not a badger"
4. Takes a lot to get people here shouting. Some of the quietly outraged came prepared to the Kenosha protest with pennies in glass jars to make a racket.
5. Lots of retired school teachers. Lots of "on the church doorstep" clumps of people socializing.
6. Chant at the Kenosha protest were saying: "The People, United, will never be divided" (this is like calling a parking garage a ramp. In Berkeley, it is "The People, United, will never be defeated".)
7. Wow, a lot of American flags being waived at these protests, and people running to assist or politely reminding other folk to make sure the flags are treated with respect ("Randy! Don't let that flag touch the ground!" - when Randy was doing a fine job all on his own of keeping his American Flag far off the ground).

From what I understand, the stripped down "not budget" budget repair bill can be challenged in court, for the reasons John L says, but that would be a long dragged out battle without certain outcome. Thus the focus on political organizing. And from what I've seen in this corner of the state, I didn't see people who want to protest -- I saw folks who look like they would be highly effective in the behind the scenes (indoors!) organizing and getting neighbors to sign petitions.
Now for some tea.

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 01:55 PM:

Time to start organizing a boycott of Wisconsin, to take effect when this bill becomes law. This is very sad; I was considering going to my very first WisCon this year, and it's not their fault (or the fault of many of the people in Wisconsin who will be harmed by the boycott).

Time to research the districts of the legislators who voted for this fascistic law, and target their industries if possible. It usually isn't, but sometimes a state is divided by industry and politics in similar ways. (If New York did something horrible, you could probably boycott NYS cheese and thus target upstate (which is more Republican) and not downstate.)

We have to find something that will really hurt. Just not going there or doing business with or in any entity based in the state is a simple, but hamhanded approach.

#37 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Xopher, as you know, some boycotts work better than others (anti-South Africa ones during apartheid did, but others have not). That said, here's a story with links to sites compiling the names of companies which supported Governor Walker with political contributions.

#38 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 03:54 PM:

In Berkeley, it is "The People, United, will never be defeated".

Wait, "united" rhymes (or comes close to rhyming) with "defeated" in any American dialect?

As a former Wisconsinite, I'm not sure what to say or do that will harm Walker but not my former state. This entire situation pisses me off to no end, and I don't know what I can do about it other than give money to the recall effort.

#39 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 03:57 PM:

At least in Madison, a lot of businesses support the protesters. Boycotting is a really blunt instrument.

Ian’s Pizza is a Madison institution, and has been delivering pizza to the protesters. (608) 257-9248 is the location within walking distance of the Capitol. If you can’t get through, Glass Nickel and Topper’s Pizza should also be able to help, but they can’t deliver by walking, and the Square is frequently getting corked by car drivers protesting.

Hungry protesters are more likely to riot. We do not need riots. It was scarily close to a riot last night, and the ACLU reports police were issued riot gear today.

It's also important to focus on get out the vote efforts. WI allows early voting, and on Apr 5, we go to the polls to elect a Supreme Court Justice. Currently, the Supreme Court is 4-3 Republican. This election can change it back to 4-3 Democrat. WI residents can do early voting at their city clerk office.

My city clerk office is in downtown Madison, a block away from the Capitol, and across the street from the parking garage and steam tunnels they're using to get legislators in and out of the building. I cannot safely go downtown to vote without a buddy. I do badly in crowds, and it'd be stupid and irresponsible to go alone. (Unsurprisingly, we're all wiped after last night, and we didn't get downtown early enough to vote yesterday)

The Democratic party of WI is going to need donations. Get out the vote efforts for the Supreme Court elections. Money to recall Republicans. Money to defend the Democrats who are vulnerable to recall. It takes money to keep canvassers in food, coffee and gas.

The ACLU is managing a lot of the legal battles. I haven't tracked down specific legal funds yet, but... Any money is good. Starving legal researchers do not think clearly. Legal observers are important too. Most of the votes that have happened since Walker introduced his budget bill have been at least mildly fishy. Legal challenges may feel terribly slow, but they matter.

Umbrella donations are good. We are not the only political battle going on right now, and peanut buttering money everywhere is important.

Dale Schultz is the Republican senator who voted against the (ahem) bill last night. He is not up for recall as far as I can tell. He will need money for his re-election campaign. He's listening to his constituents and fighting for labor. He needs our support.

The important thing right now is to vote. This is a long fight, and we have a lot of elections coming up.

#40 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 04:08 PM:

LMM: It's a scansion/content issue.

Defeat is what one wants to avoid. A sense of inevitable victory is what one wants to create.

There is also weak rhyme in the "ted" ending. Combined with the scansional elements it makes a powerful chant.

#41 ::: Madtruk ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Excellent thoughtful commentary. Could all of you please run for the Wisconsin legislature?

As the songwriter, I am simply stunned by the response. Share it far and wide-it doesn't cost a dime to sing for your rights.

Today the assembly _again_ denied the minority it's rights in a rushed and hurried session that _again_ ended with the Republicans hurrying out to their exit tunnel.

It's sad but it's not over yet.

#42 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Here's another kicker in the union-busting bill -- under this bill, unions would have to be re-certified each year.

#43 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 05:53 PM:

Only partly-selfish question here: how, if at all, is all this mess likely to affect the North American Discworld Convention, which is to be held in Madison in early July, at a hotel which is barely a block from the State Capitol building? (It's the same weekend as the huge arts faire, and is that going to be affected too?)

We've already paid for tables at the con, and made our hotel reservations. I don't want to cancel out if we don't need to (see also, boycotts being blunt instruments) -- but this is an expensive event for us, and if there's likely to be trouble for out-of-towners who are there for something completely unconnected to the political situation, we might have to re-think our options.

Input from people on the ground would be greatly welcomed.

#44 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:22 PM:

To add on to Torrilin's comments @39: Ian's was, for the first couple of weeks at least, tracking where pizza was called in from. Folks from all 50 states, and several other countries had donated. One of my wife's friends commented that it was sad the someone in Haiti had to donate food to Wisconsin workers. At one point, if you looked like a protester (signs helped), you ate free there (walk in, pick up pie).

Xopher@36: Please don't skip WisCon due to this. Madison itself is a wonderful city, and overwhelmingly unhappy with the bill--your comment about parts of the state is spot on (Madison is an island of blue in a big red lake). Linkmeister's list of donors is a better choice to boycott.

Lee@43: I don't know which hotel you will be at, but I'm guessing the Art Fair on the Square will be a bigger issue than this for yor con. With AFotS already disrupting parking near the Capitol, I don't know how much more trouble this could cause, unless you're interested in supporting a wholescale boycott of the state.

#45 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:59 PM:

LMM @38 and Terry @40, it's a translation issue. The motto comes from Allende supporters in Chile in 1973. It rhymes just fine in Spanish: "¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!" But not in English; that's why it sounds a bit off in Wisconsin.

#46 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 07:02 PM:

I'm MUCH happier with the idea of boycotting the donor companies. That's good.

#47 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 07:20 PM:

A brief overview of WI political geography, in the hope that it helps people aim their money:

* Madison, Milwaukee proper, Beloit, Racine: heavily, heavily Democratic. Not coincidentally, also the largest concentrations of non-white population.
* Janesville: confused; tends towards the Republican UAW member demographic.
* Fox River Valley (Appleton to Green Bay), NW Milwaukee suburbs: heavily Republican. Sensenbrenner is from the NW Milwaukee suburbs district, if that helps give folks a picture of how that district is gerrymandered/who his constituents are.
* Rest of the state: rural, Republican to Reagan Democrat.

If you are in Madison, or coming to Madison to help, drop me a line and I'll at a minimum buy you your libation of choice.

#48 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 07:31 PM:


The Arts Fair on the Square closes down Cap Square far more effectively than the protesters do. We do not (yet) know how the protests are going to interact with ordinary Cap Square closures. See previous on "it's still winter here". Part of why protesters are so upset is that Cap Square and the Capitol function as an actual public square... the main farmer's market in the city is held there, and people use the Square and the Capitol all the time. Much of the fishy regarding Legislature votes has do do with Walker and the State Troopers closing the Capitol while the Legislature is in session. We have an open meetings law, and closing the Capitol violates it.

I was MARRIED in the Capitol.

The Madison Farmer's Market will return to Cap Square on Apr 16. This (as always) will close Cap Square to traffic. It will (as always) feature regular anti-war and food security protests. (um, yeah, we protest a lot here) It will also feature all the bike parking within 3-5 blocks getting devoured by hungry Madisonians seeking fresh vegetables. When that resumes, we'll have a much clearer idea of how the protests integrate with daily life around here.

#49 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Oh by the way, the bill the Wisconsin Republicans passed also allows state employees who strike or walk out to be summarily fired.

#50 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 10:44 AM:

I haven't heard any union members in Wisconsin calling for a boycott. Has anyone else? One pretty good rule of thumb is that if you're thinking of a boycott to show solidarity with people who live someone else, they're the ones in the best position to know if it's a good idea.

Unless something changes, I plan to be at WisCon. I hope I'll get a chance to see you there, Xopher.

(There are fans who are active members of the WisCon community and also very active union members. Perhaps some of them will comment.)

#51 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 08:46 AM:

Matt @51:

Yes, in fact they have. Dane101 has been one of the best sources of coverage for what's actually happening on the ground at the Capitol. Free Republic, according to google, is reporting that the police and teachers unions are also in on the boycott of M&I. Not giving them googlejuice. I've seen Twitter calls for boycotts of Koch industries paper products but haven't tied any of those to any local organizers. I will make some inquiries when we're back down at the Capitol today for the tractorcade. Photos and updates to follow tonight, I hope, assuming nobody's in jail.

#52 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 12:28 PM:

Latest report I read on the 'Net - unconfirmed, so take this with a grain of salt - is that the legislators had not even seen the bill in final form when they voted it into law (sadly, this is not uncommon) and that Gov. Walker unilaterally changed the content of the bill after it was voted on, and added in the "Koch brothers" provision allowing him to sell off Wisconsin's state owned power plants to private buyers at his own discretion.

If true, I can't imagine that's legally valid, but as we've seen his kind really don't care about the law.

#53 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 09:56 PM:

Home from the day's rally/protest/stuff. I don't know that I can actually put things in perspective for non-locals but I can at least try.

Torrilin and I met my sister and brother-in-law again this morning. First order of business on the way downtown was to stop at our local donut shop for breakfast for the two of them; I decided to get two dozen donuts, expecting that we'd be able to find a food table like the one that was there Wednesday night and give them away to a central location for hungry protesters. Got down to the capitol area, parked, and started circulating, but we couldn't find a food table. At this point (10 AM-11:30 AM) the tractorcade was going around the capitol loop. The outer sidewalk of the square was packed (I'd guess 1.5x-2x normal farmers' market density); the streets making up the square were being held pretty clear for the tractors and people marching with them. The inside of the square (the block on which the Capitol itself is situated) was pretty empty. We started giving away donuts to various volunteers. We got rid of maybe a half-dozen at a recall workers' tent. After that we were somewhat at a loss--we found a collection of Teamsters and gave them the rest. People seemed surprised that we were passing out free food today.

The tractorcade itself was impressive, though our vantage point for it was not good. Even at 6'2" I could barely see many of the tractors over the crowd. What struck me most about it is...I think of Madison as a fairly radical town. We have more than our share of 9/11 truthers and other fringe leftists. The farmers' signs today were radical by Madison standards.

After the tractors finished up, we grabbed some lunch, and then made our way over to the State St. side of the square, where Twitter told us that the returning Democratic state senators would be arriving to speak. This period is where the crowds started to get dense and large. On that side of the square, folks were standing quite literally shoulder-to-shoulder on every bit of sidewalk available. The crowds have adopted the habit of a "Thank You!" chant, generally in place of applause. I hadn't realized until today that part of this is that there's not room to applaud.

The early afternoon was spent variously in chatting with our neighbors in the crowd, call-and-response chants, and singing some old familiar protest songs. "Fortunate Son", "For What It's Worth", and "This Land is Your Land" all made appearances. Sadly, our main song leader only knew a couple of verses of "This Land is Your Land", and this knowledge did not include the one about the "No Trespassing" sign. Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters) put in an appearance for song leading as well; he led the crowd in the second (or perhaps third, I forget) round of "Solidarity Forever" of the afternoon.

By this time, the dense crowd extended down State St. as far as I (and my 6'6" brother-in-law) could see--several blocks, at least. The Democratic Assembly delegation showed up on the podium and gave some brief speeches; I'm not sure that all of them quite realized the scope of what's going on until today.

As their speeches wind down, we start to see people other than the organizers in safety vests coming down the cordon down the middle of the crowd. The first one I notice is this short, grandfatherly guy in a Milwaukee Bucks cap. It takes me until he's passed us and I've heard people saying "hi, Herb" before I really register that that's Senator Kohl. Much like Snake Plissken, I thought he'd be taller. He's followed by the returning Democratic State Senators, all wearing name tags. I get a few handshakes and thank-yous in where I can. Again, today, I'm slow on the uptake--I shake the hand of a familiar-looking gentleman, thinking we're still in the state Senators section of this crowd, and realize a minute later that actually, I just shook Jesse Jackson's hand. I get a "thanks for coming" in as Tony Shaloub passes us on his way up.

All of the 'Fab 14' (the returning Democratic Senate delegation) give brief speeches. Some of them are a bit unclear on the proper call-and-response protocol. It's not "what does democracy look like?" It's "tell/show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!". They'll learn. It's clear, watching them, that even the coverage that they've gotten from Illinois news hasn't really prepared them for the scope of what's going on in Madison. Then again, living here and being downtown Wednesday night hasn't prepared me for the scope of what's going on in Madison, so I can't really blame them.

After the Senators are done, we get a brief prayer from Rev. Jackson and a heartfelt speech from Tony Shalhoub. He introduces his sister, a "greedy union thug"--she's a teacher and speech therapist, and has been a member of her teachers' union for 25 years. This exchange I think sums up the spirit of the afternoon:

Shalhoub: "I want you to meet my sister, Amy."
Crowd: "HI AMY."

About here is where our legs started griping at us and we started making our way towards dinner and home. We had a few nice chats along the way; there was the volunteer from WORT who we met at the library, and the native Texan teacher's son who we commiserated with while we were waiting for dinner.

The mood today was much more cheerful than Wednesday night. Today was about thanking the Democrats in the legislature for their efforts and making sure that as many people as possible were as informed as possible about the next steps to continue this fight. And, of course, today was about showing solidarity and reminding people that there is a large, vocal constituency that cares about workers' rights. There are still some folks agitating for a general strike, but that faction seems to be less vocal than they were Wednesday.

Pictures and possibly audio recordings from Torrilin will follow; she's sorting and cleaning up the photos as I write this. The pictures may do today justice; my reporting really can't. The event was too big, and the pieces of it that I saw were too small.

I don't know what's going to happen here in the long run. I don't know whether I'll be able to stay in Wisconsin to see it through. But I want to reemphasize that I've never seen anything like this in American politics. The WI tea party protests were miniscule by comparison--I don't think they even disrupted traffic on the square. The Iraq War protests were small. I was in California during the Gray Davis recall; there's no comparison there. Election night 2008 did not bring this many people to the streets of Madison. As a 32-year-old American who has never lived in DC, I quite literally have no personal frame of reference for peaceful mass demonstrations on this scale.

#54 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 10:15 PM:

My name links a first pass through my pictures. (if anyone's dug through my other stuff... you can probably guess why over 100 shots condenses down this much)

I have never in my life been so grateful for my voice training. I still have a voice, and if I'm quiet tonight, I could perform tomorrow if I had to. And I was most definitely performing today. It takes an involved crowd to keep call and response going, so having a lot of ringers like me is important.

See where the faces get really dense? That's where we were. Organizers came close to cramming in too many people into a too small space. Next time, I want the city to have money to have fire marshals on hand.

#55 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 10:26 PM:

The photos I saw of the tractorcade signs didn't look that radical to me - they're about what I would have expected.

#56 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 10:34 PM:

PJ Evans @56: After looking at the photos, you're right that the median is pretty normal; there were a few that stuck out (one in particular with an anti-Fed, anti-bailout sign). I don't know if we got pictures of any of them, sadly.

Turned on the Bulls game after I wrote the above, and I had to question my sanity for a second. But the crowd is, definitely, breaking into "tell me what democracy looks like/this is what democracy looks like" periodically down in Chicago. I am awed.

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 11:07 PM:

A lot of us are watching, at least some of us because we know they won't stop with public employees. (My brother is one: ag extension service. wWhen the state budget is held up by those @#$%^&*()s, he's one of those who doesn't get paid, even though he still has to do his job.)

#58 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 05:26 AM:

Some of us are watching and hoping that this popular support spreads to states that already have oppressive laws about unions.

#59 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 08:32 AM:

Torrilin: "Farmers know bullshit when we see it." Excellent! And yeah, that crowd is scary dense.

#60 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 09:36 AM:

The big lesson I'm taking from this is the same one life has been hammering into me for decades... A lot of doing good things is just showing up.

There is no way I'd have the emotional energy to call people and volunteer for GOTV without going to the protests. It's like church, and it gives the same fizzy energy and the same desire to DO THINGS. Not everyone is wired that way, but an awful lot of humans are. Realizing that we're not alone, and that unified action can have consequences is now a gut level thing for me.

And it's amazing to realize that a crowd can just decide "everyone will be safe."

#61 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 09:43 AM:

Clifton @53

That looks like big-time gubernatorial malfeasance.

#62 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 10:35 AM:

Dave, #62: Well, yes. The line I've been repeating for a while now is, "They elected people whose AVOWED AGENDA was to destroy the government. What did they think they were going to get in its place?"

And those people now have two years in which to do their worst, unimpeded (as they see it) by any rule of law, because they have a "mandate".

#63 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 11:16 AM:

Dave Bell @ #62: Unfortunately not. The Wisconsin constitution gives the Governor partial-veto powers that are unparalleled and fricking insane. The only significant limit on his ability to write his own laws by vetoing random words and figures from any bill that reaches him, appears to be that since 1990 he is enjoined from "the creation of new words through the striking of individual letters from words contained in the bill (the 'pickaletter' veto)."

Yes, he can strike the word 'not' and pass the rest. It's been done!

Which, to my mind, makes him something very much like a petty king, as long as he has an even partially compliant legislature to work with. Walker is a bad Governor, indeed. But the post of Governor in its present form is just rotten to the core: no hope for the State at all, until it's altered.

#64 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Gray Woodland @64: The one saving grace about the WI veto powers is that they provided an object lesson for my school newspaper in kerning, spacing, and proofreading your headline layout. We had a copy of the Green Bay Press-Gazette's front page announcing the passage of (what was still referred to at that time as) line-item veto powers. The headline?

"Thompson's pen is a sword"

The layout had exactly the problem you'd expect, given the data that a high school newspaper posted this as a cautionary tale.

Now, admittedly, that's a saving grace along the lines of the open letter here: "As an educator, I understand how difficult it can be to get young people interested in politics. You [ed: Gov. Walker] have managed to do this in the space of one week." But we take the bright spots where we can--especially here, especially now.

[Link fixed. -- JDM]

#65 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 12:54 PM:

wrw #65: Your link is borked, but recoverable; I assume you meant this.

#66 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 01:01 PM:

David Harmon @66: Indeed I do; thanks for the recovery. License granted to mods to fix.

#67 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 09:44 PM:

wrw: I find it interesting that something changed in a way to make it newsworthy, since the partial veto (which is limited to appropriations bills) was passed in 1930.

Was it the removal of "letter veto" which made the news?

#68 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Terry @ 68: Apparently not, from what I've been able to uncover (not as much as I'd hoped, but the headline was apparently a few years old even when I was in high school in the early 90s). It was merely in reference to what was at the time viewed as a draconian set of budget cuts (via line-item veto) from a Republican governor who wasn't listening to his constituents. Or, as we now describe it, the good old days.

If the headline was from 1988, it would have likely been from the budget that resulted in an unsuccessful suit against the pick-a-letter veto (which in turn led to the 1990 constitutional amendment campaign).

It was posted in the newsroom for the headline, not the article. I can check the UW library for microfilm sometime this if you're really interested; if it doesn't exist in any of the Madison archives I can think of, it'd take a road trip to Green Bay to hit the Press-Gazette's morgue, and I'm not really up for that right now. Google tells me this was an August 1st paper but not the year; I know it was after 1987 (when Thompson took office) and before/equal to 1993 (when I was a HS sophomore and first saw it), which should narrow things down to a manageable research problem.

Damn it, this is bugging me. If it weren't a Sunday night I'd just go down to the UW library and hit the microfilm...

#70 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Not to be a wet blanket, but that story is nearly a month old -- check the date on the feed. I could have sworn I saw it linked here at the time, but that must have been on a different thread.

#71 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2011, 10:23 PM:

The latest.

They're not even trying to hide the Fascism any more. I'm pretty much out of words.

#72 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2011, 01:04 AM:

If someone were to confront any of these Republicans with the famous question, "Have you no shame, sir?" I believe the answer would be, "Shame? Where's the profit in that?"

#73 ::: Anaea ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2011, 02:14 AM:

Lee, plenty of people have done just that. I spent about half an hour hanging out with Scott Suder* outside the capitol chatting with protesters when the building was locked last Thursday. He was as grumpy as the rest of us about the locked building, and fairly amiable about getting questioned, if unwilling to engage in actual debate. My favorite bit of the conversation went something like:

Suder: Look, I'm not a villian. My mom's a teacher.
Protester: Your mother's a teacher? Isn't she ashamed of you?
Suder: Come on now. No, she isn't. (Walks away to try a different door, group of protesters following)
Protester: Man, that's practically the definition of a mother fucker.

WRW - Did you spend any nights in the capitol? If so, we know each other in real life and don't know it.

*Assembly majority leader here in Wisconsin

#74 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Anaea @ 74: I have not spent the night yet. I was actually on vacation when this news broke (which is why I was so late to this thread) and then came down sick for a week after I got home. The 3/9 protest was the first time that urgency outweighed poor health and I've still been favoring "sleeping in own bed so I have energy for another day" over "making strongest statement possible". (Also, I thought the Assembly majority leader was Jeff Fitzgerald; looks like Suder is chair of the rules committee?)

That said, email wwilliam47 at the mail that is provided by the great god google, and I will cheerfully buy you lunch for your dedication. It's spring break week and a lot of the stuff I need to do in the office is blocked by sudden absences. Funny, that.

#75 ::: Anaea ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2011, 12:42 PM:

No need to buy me lunch. The fun I've been having is its own reward. I'm just struggling with trying to nail down organization and contact info for various people I've been running into. I'm just now getting back to my regular routine, the reason I'm so late to this thread.

Also, no more sleeping in the capitol for me. The DOA is welcome to defy court orders, and I'll cheer them all the way to contempt of court. No reason for me to join them. (Though last Wednesday was a very special exception)

#76 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2011, 02:08 PM:

Well, something funny has finally come out of all this mess. I wonder if he moved out on his own, or if she threw him out?

#77 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2011, 11:54 AM:

They thought better of it in the morning. Now, which of the following holds?

a) Someone whispered in Fitzgerald's ear that this couldn't possibly stand up in court, and he was too ignorant to realize this beforehand
b) He didn't provoke the violence he wanted and didn't want to gamble on the long-term consequences
c) Somebody reminded him that they really, really want things to quiet down ASAP, and this wasn't helping
d) Some/all of the above
e) Something I haven't considered

AFAIK, the legislature is in recess from now until their special session opens April 5th. So no actual votes have been discounted from these shenanigans. That said, they were still willing to try.

I continue to be amused by the fact that the Fitzgeralds come from a long line of acknowledged bastards. Randy Hopper getting his comeuppance is not nearly as funny to me as the other apropos names in our legislature.

#78 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2011, 11:38 PM:

The family and friends continue to try to accumulate information on union-busting, budget junk, et cetera from around the nation. This LJ community (yes, we're a weird sort of Luddites who still use LJ) is becoming our clearinghouse for information. It's a bloody big project, and any of us who are working on states where we have no insider knowledge will gladly accept help from those who do.

I'll also keep updating here with the more personal side of things as stories occur. Thankfully I don't seem to have a ton of protagonismos right now--I could use the downtime.

#79 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2011, 12:16 AM:

About that bus that the Senators commandeered? Madison Metro is displeased.

That is one of the finest bureaucratic smackdowns I have had the pleasure of reading lately, and I've been reading a lot of them.

#80 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2011, 09:42 AM:

wrw @79:

Thank you for keeping this thread updated. I'm reading your comments with interest.

Also, this comment? yes, we're a weird sort of Luddites who still use LJ? That describes an enormous slice of the Making Light community, too. Most of my LJ friend feed is from ML.

#81 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Two notes for the morning:

me@80: Upon re-reading when I'm not dead tired, that's a City Council committee proposing to direct Metro, not Metro itself. Still a nice smackdown, and I strongly suspect that the full council will approve it.

Judge Sumi grants a TRO against the law's publication, on the grounds that there is a strong probability that the Dane County DA will prevail on the merits.

Recap of the relevant points, for those unfamiliar: Wisconsin requires 24 hour posted notice of government meetings except under special/emergency circumstances, which allow 2 hours of notice. These meetings shall be open to the public. The Senate's meeting to pass the bill was questionable on the two hour notice (depends on how precisely you measure notice according to the law and details of timing that I'm not privy to as I wasn't in the Capitol at the time) and trivially failed at 24 hour notice/open to the public aspects. Reports from one of our local TV reporters' Twitter feed (@news3jessica) indicate that the judge found little precedent in case law for what circumstances qualify for giving two hours of notice rather than a full day. Judge Sumi also emphasized that her rulings are not on the merits of the bill itself, but are limited to whether there was an open meetings law violation. She further notes that the legislature can re-pass the law with proper notice and access, at which point the current case will become moot. I look forward to reading the judge's full opinion when it's published.

#82 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2011, 12:41 PM:

@79/81 Actually, I just bookmarked the LJ feed...

(I think LJ and its successors like DreamWidth, etc, have held on to people for whom the internet is made of words as opposed to the broader appeal of the FaceBook / MySpace / etc type sites which seem to me to be more about social connection than anything else really. LJ was about reading the words of people I already knew from someplace else....)

#83 ::: Anaea ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2011, 06:06 PM:

My favorite article today is this one.

M&I's refusal to complain about their relationship with the MPD even while Grothman does his best scare mongering seems to capture everything perfectly.

#84 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2011, 10:38 PM:

Anaea @ 84: The police incident report for that one is a beautiful piece of dry humor.

#85 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 09:50 PM:

We're still lacking in protaganismos. We're not lacking in meetings, protests or action.

There's a week of protest activities planned for next week. March 21, drop off your recycling at the Governor's Mansion in Maple Bluff WI. March 22 features protests at M&I and Menards (sadly, I can't go... babysitting for the family's toddler). Mar 23 features protests at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, WI's largest business lobbying organization. Mar 24 is more protests at M&I Bank. Mar 25th is protests at the Wisconsin Tavern League.

Our local Labor Temple is playing host to a lot of organizing activity. It's a huge asset to have a place available with meeting rooms, folding chairs and folding tables. Colorful murals and a lot of wall space for posting meeting notes don't hurt either.

If I wanted to, I could have been in organizing meetings all day today. But it's my wedding anniversary, and it doesn't seem prudent to skip dinner for more meetings.

#86 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 10:04 PM:

A few photos from yesterday's protest:

#87 ::: Anaea ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Torrilin, would you space be available for a meeting for about fifteen people at 8:30 Thursday morning? If so, could you shoot me an email? We've been swiping space in coffee shops and that's really not the most productive.

#88 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2011, 11:57 PM:

Torrilin #86: ...lacking in protaganismos

Hmm, that's the second time I've seen that word, and it occurred to me to check whether it meant what it looked like it meant. I promptly ran into two very different definitions:

In this book excerpt, I see: ... from some members of the movement for street and working children in Latin America. The term protaganismo is used by this movement to refer to the idea that children must be the protagonists of their own rights and see themselves as conscious agents of social change.

Well, that sounds nice! but, from this Interview with Joaquin Cienfuegos, I see a different, much less enthusiastic usage (second exchange after the header

Yeah, I think it's complex. In Mexico they call it protaganismo, when individuals get romanticized and put up on a pedestal. We should love revolutionaries but I don't think anybody is perfect. ... I think what happens too is that some individuals don't try to put themselves in that position, like Subcomandante Marcos. I think that sometimes people romanticize him and look to him to solve their problems instead of relying on themselves. When I was in Mexico people criticized him and the EZLN for [protagonism].

(There's lots more interesting stuff there, but I wanted to keep my quote brief.)

I'm guessing that you mean the first sort. (Or is there perhaps a subtlety hidden in the -o/-os endings?)

#89 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:09 AM:

David @ 89

Huh. I seem to have been totally misinterpreting that. I profess myself baffled.

#90 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:18 AM:

David, KayTei: I believe Torrilin meant Jo Walton's version, from the Greek--doubtless because it's hard to tell a story if nobody's paying attention. *koffoldmediakoff*

#91 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:38 AM:

TexAnne #91: Hmm! I'd forgotten that article... and, perhaps because of the one-letter difference (protagonismos vs. protaganismos), her article didn't show up in my quick Google search.

#92 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 12:54 AM:

I've linked to the story, so there is a little more googlejuice, of some sort.

#93 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:03 AM:

I (and I'm pretty sure Torrilin; she can confirm when she's awake) was indeed using protagonismos in the Walton sense. We do not have the proverbial main character cards for this fight. We do not have the property of having interesting things happen to us (at least not as individuals, much). Since at present "interesting" is likely to be highly correlated with jail time, firing, or assorted lesser negative outcomes, I'm generally okay with that.

Now for bed. More stuff to do in the morning, including possibly shipping some software--empirically it won't actually go out unless I'm in the office. Despite the Governor's efforts, research at UW must continue.

#94 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 01:51 AM:

Oh! I wasn't as far off as I thought! Yay!

Thank you for the clarification!

#95 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2011, 11:27 AM:

@Anaea - my space is a small apartment of the Very Messy variety, and rather lacking in chairs. Am also an introvert, so I'm kinda having to balance meetings time with hide under rock time. But we can probably work something out if it is dire. (especially if you're feeling guilty about swamping Cargo Coffee or something like that...) 8.30am does tend to mean wrw is wandering around in a decaffeinated haze tho.

The Labor Temple is on our block, and had signs up everywhere saying their meeting spaces are available, and please call them. They're a *lot* better set up for meetings than I am :D. As yet, there are no housewife unions, so I'm not a union member. I suspect wrw is grateful for that...

@Dave Harmon: Oops. Dialect strikes again. Protagonist is one of those words I habitually misspell, since the -gan- and -gon- are pronounced the same for me. Yes, I meant Jo's version.

#96 ::: anaea ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2011, 11:37 AM:

Torrilin, thanks bunches, but if we get to the using somebody's personal space level I'll make my house work. And given the nature of the group (classic exploitative capitalist pig profession, people who want to change it, being vague to thwart google) it might be awkward to meet in the labor temple

I think we'll keep coffee shop hopping for a while. (We really need to take the meetings into cyberspace so people outside Madison can attend, but I'm having trouble convincing people of this)

#97 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 08:57 PM:

Not Wisconsin, but in other news in the War On Labor:

Here in Maine, our recently installed teabagger-in-chief has decided to play kick-a-hippie again, and ordered the removal of a mural which depicts organized labor actions from the lobby of the Department of Labor, and also the renaming of all the DoL's conference rooms (which are currently named for historical persons prominent in the labor movement.)


At least, when the mural was painted, the creators had enough sense and foresight to plan for its eventual removal, and it's not painted directly on the wall but rather on securely mounted panels, and will most likely end up in a back room of the state museum or archives rather than being destroyed outright.


I didn't vote for him, but I can see his house from here.

#98 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2011, 10:43 PM:

wrw #94, Torrilin #96: Thanks for me too from the clarification. (Sorry so slow responding, both my computer and my life are being kinda buggy lately.)

Thena #98: Around here, the teabaggers are trying to bully my city into ditching it's participation in a national sustainability initiative. Oh, and our state Attorney General (Cuccinelli, VA) is persecuting one of the big global-warming researchers. He's already been slapped down in court once, but still trying....

The more I hear of them, the more I'm convinced that August K Pollak is right.

#99 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 02:07 AM:

Even more news in the War on Labor, this time at the national level:

Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes

Bunch of charmers, aren't they?

#100 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:34 PM:

#100: They are. But one can easily picture a sizeable chunk of the population after reading the same story thinking "Yeah, that will teach those nanny state socialist labor thugs!"

#101 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:48 PM:

It turns out that those bits about food stamps and striking workers are already in federal code. (I was having an email conversation about this with wrw, and he suggested checking.)

link to Federal Code

If that link works (I've been burned lately by government search result links expiring), you can search the code for strike, and you'll find the provisions in there already. Maybe the bill that's in committee is in there for revisions that have nothing to do with organized labor? (IANAL.)

#102 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2011, 01:51 PM:

And it's a repugnant set of provisions regardless. There's also this rule:

An employee of the Federal Government, or of a State or local government who participates in a strike against such government, and is dismissed from his or her job because of participation in the strike, will be considered to have voluntarily quit his or her job without good cause.
#105 ::: wrw ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 08:09 PM:

Mayor Dave is pissed. Not only does he disagree with the law, the total lack of respect for process leaves all local and county governments in a very precarious position as they try to figure out what their obligations are or aren't.

I believe the consensus around here is drum practice tonight, protests tomorrow. I don't yet have an acoustic snare, but this can be fixed...

#106 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2011, 09:52 PM:

wrw #106: Amen, but shame about that homonym error right at the end.

I sent a note with the feedback link, and discovered another nasty problem: The feedback form annihilated my parentheses and some other punctuation, without opportunity to correct it. Naturally, this seriously undercut my illustration of his error, with (parenthesized definitions).

#107 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2011, 07:07 AM:

August Pollak has an unnerving question: Could the recalled senators screw things up by resigning?

#108 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2011, 04:46 PM:

David Harmon: Resignations are filled by election.

#110 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 03:55 AM:

Judge tosses much of Wis. collective bargaining law

(CNN) - A Wisconsin judge on Friday ruled as unconstitutional major portions of the controversial state law that restricted the collective bargaining rights of many public employees.

Dane County Circuit Judge Juan B. Colas found several aspects of the law contrary to both the state and U.S. constitutions.

#111 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 12:15 PM:

The founding fathers messed up on that Senate thing, but they sure got the judiciary right — for which I am most grateful!

#112 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 12:19 PM:

I think they almost got that judiciary right-- there's a lot to be said for term limits for the supreme court.

#113 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 02:05 PM:

janetl, #111: I wouldn't be so quick to rag on the Senate. Right now they're the only check on the House, which has been taken over by teahad loons.

Nancy, #112: And what level of term limits would you impose that would be less likely to end up with the SC being stacked with ideologues who vote for blatantly unconstitutional things like Citizens United?

#114 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 02:45 PM:

I think term limits would mean that no single administration would have a chance to stack the supreme court for decades, and probably increasing decades at that, since medical methods are likely to improve.

It would also mean that administrations would have less incentive to choose the youngest plausible justices. You'd think there would be an incentive to choose women justices, but I don't get the impression that's in play.

In effect, the electorate would have a little more influence on the composition of the supreme court, and that composition would less subject to the chaotic effect of not knowing how long a justice will be in good enough shape to keep working.

#115 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 10:27 PM:

Lee @ 133: I thoroughly appreciate the role the Senate is playing at the moment! I do have reservations about the institution, ever since reading Framed Up: What the Constitution gets wrong, an article by Hendrik Hertzberg about a book called How Democratic Is the American Consitution by Robert A. Dahl. Giving Delaware the same number of votes as California bothers me, among other things.

I consider the Bill of Rights, and a judiciary defending it, is critical to our society. Now, if we could just get money out of politics...

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