Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Badger State meets Tahrir Square

"...spittle-flecked screaming matches..." (now there's a well-crafted phrase):

[Update VI 2012] The LATimes has taken down that article, so here is what it said:]

State workers and pro-labor activists have filled the streets of downtown Madison to oppose Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to force many Wisconsin employees to contribute more for their healthcare and pensions and to strip them of most of their collective bargaining rights.

With activists flying in from around the country, those protests were countered Saturday by a smaller but equally strident crowd of supporters of Walker's state budget measure.

The Capitol rotunda echoed with drums and voices while pro-labor protesters outside chanted, "Kill the bill." "Tea party"-led activists responded with chants of their own: "Do your job!"

What started out as a local political fight has spread to neighboring states hit hard by the recession, with newly elected Republican governors and legislators trying to control costs by muscling concessions from government workers unions.

Measures almost identical to the one in Wisconsin are advancing in Ohio and Iowa, while Michigan and Indiana are exploring other ways of limiting protections for unionized government workers.

"This is where we're going to start," said tea party organizer Melvin Timm of Neenah, Wis. "This is going to set the tone."

Some opposing activists could be seen locked in levelheaded conversations, while others engaged in spittle-flecked screaming matches before being encouraged by police to move along.

"This is an existential battle," said conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart as he took the stage before the pro-Walker demonstrators. "It's the battle of our times."

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Some background (in a widely-read commentary):

Meanwhile on Mars:

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And now this (pre-)op-ed, titled in the print edition "Wisconsin's Gov. Hooligan":

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And this:

[update 12 March 2011]:,0,6835437,print.story

[Update 19 III 11]:

[Update 2 IV 11]:


Miscellaneous Wisconsin factoid:

In Wisconsin, even before the turn of the century, there was an intimate union between the La Follette regime  and the state university at Madison, that foreshadowed all later brain trusts.
-- Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (1955)

[Update 26 Feb 2012] Mutt "Mitt" Romney in the upper midwest, gleefully baiting labor:,0,7725322.story

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