The protests in Madison slowed down briefly (but did not stop) yesterday because of nasty weather (and I mean nasty - ice pellets! snow! sleet!), but everything is ramping up again today. I may have mentioned that our previous governor imposed mandatory furloughs on all state employees, which amounted to a 3% pay cut, and as it happens, today is one of those days, so thousands of those people who have a forced unpaid vacation day will spend it on the Square, continuing to protest Scott Walker's budget bill. I plan to be at the noon rally with my children.
There are some things you need to know about this situation, and rather than explain it all myself, I'm providing some links with more info:
1) The protests, which drew a crowd of 68,000 on Saturday, were entirely peaceful. We are angry, but we are also civilized.
2) This account of the protests, by a graduate student at the UW-Madison, sums things up very nicely.
3) The mega-rich Koch brothers poured a lot of money into getting Scott Walker elected. They also fund Tea Party efforts and, it is rumored, paid for the buses to get the pro-Walker supporters to Saturday's demonstrations.
4) Union rights aren't the only thing at stake in Walker's bill. Though the atrocious proposal to remove nearly all collective bargaining rights has captured national attention and fueled the protests, Walker's bill threatens Medicaid and Badgercare. Here is an article from madison.com about the issue, and here is an excellent blogpost from a local, anonymous blogger that articulates just what is at stake and why you should contact the governor and your local representatives about it. This issue deserves more coverage than it's getting.
5. Gordon Hintz is outraged, and you should be too.
6. Read this article in Mother Jones, which answers questions clearly and succinctly, and explains the whole situation.