Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the plot, it thickens

The plot, it thickens. And that's putting it mildly. There's a real legal clusterf**k in the state of Wisconsin now, as disagreement abounds over whether Walker's budget repair bill is actually law. As I summarized a couple of posts ago, the bill was voted on illegally by senate Republicans, who violated the open meetings law by not giving a 24-hour notice of the vote. Then Walker signed the bill, despite serious questions of legality and constitutionality of the vote. Then Doug La Follette, the Secretary of State, announced he would wait the maximum allotted time to publish the bill - 10 business days, until March 25 - because of the legal issues at stake. Before that date, a Dane county judge issued a TRO (temporary restraining order) barring La Follette from publishing the bill while those legal questions remained unanswered. The state Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, requested an appeal "on La Follette's behalf" (even though he has stated multiple times that he never asked to be represented) so the bill could be published within the required 10 days of being signed by the Gov. I believe that the AG has since been pulled from representing La Follette, who never asked for it in the first place. Meanwhile, the Legislative Bureau published the bill on their website on their own.

Whether this makes the bill an actual LAW depends on who you ask. On the one hand, a bill must be published by the Secretary of State to become law. The Secretary of State has not yet published the bill. On the other hand, a bill must be published within 10 business days of being signed, and the Legislative Bureau did just that.

Someone from Walker's administration said that the law is in effect and the next paycheck to state employees will reflect that. But today, Dane County Circuit court Judge Maryann Sumi barred further implementation of the law until further legal action is taken.

Dude. WTF is going on here?

This situation is now not only infuriating, but really dang confusing. I am doing my part by keeping up with the situation as best I can. I will certainly be voting April 5 (JOANNE KLOPPENBURG FOR SUPREME COURT!!! TOTALLY UNDECIDED ABOUT MADISON MAYOR, SEEMS LIKE A TOSS-UP!!!). Also, as much as I can, I will have a continued presence at the Capitol, sometimes with my children and sometimes not.

One thing is for certain: Madison is a very interesting place to be right now.

Monday, March 28, 2011

miscellaneous monday

1. We are still waiting for spring to arrive here. Though Madison has been spared the big snowstorms communities a little farther north have seen, it's still plenty cold (the temp was 15 when we got up this morning), actual spring-like weather still feels like it's a long way off.

2. There are little signs that winter is ending, though. Longer hours of daylight certainly make for more cheerful afternoons, and the daffodils and tulips are poking their leaves through the cold, muddy ground.

3. Also, I got a nice little surprise in my inbox this morning. We've been wait-listed for a plot in a nearby community garden. Since we were pretty far down the list, I wasn't expecting to get a plot until next year, but a few hours ago I received an email that a spot opened up for us! I've tried gardening in a variety of community plots over the last several years, and I'm the first to admit that I haven't been very successful. Oh, hell, let's tell it like it is: I'm a pretty lousy gardener. But the stubborn part of my nature refuses to give up. A big perk of this community garden is that it's very close to our house, not quite close enough for the kids to walk, but certainly close enough to bike, so we should be able to get out there often enough for adequate watering and weeding.

4. Among the many objectionable policies of Gov. Walker's administration is his expansion of the school voucher program. Educational public policy is a HUGE subject, and other than being a product of Kentucky public schools, as well as a daughter, niece, granddaughter, great-niece and cousin to people who have taught in public schools (and higher education) I'm no expert. So I'm not going to go on and on about education "reform" here, at least not today. But I have recently run across two excellent articles on the subject, so I'm linking them here because I think they are definitely worth the time it takes to read:
Kristine Mattis: The Media on Education
Stan Karp: Who's Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It?

5. Along those lines, as I ponder my career direction or the lack thereof, I'm starting to seriously consider becoming a teacher. I hesitate for a lot of reasons that are probably obvious: the work involved to get certified, the work involved in the actual job, the fact that doing so would be calling it quits for real in my life as a musician, and last but certainly not least the current vilification of teachers and attack on public education from so many people and entities like state and federal governing bodies. (I'm not excusing Democrats on this, mind. I do not like President Obama's education policies one bit.) But I think I would probably be a pretty good teacher and I've always been passionate about education, so I'm thinking about it.

6. I would definitely teach high school. I would much rather wrangle a room full of adolescents than a room full of young children.

7. I would definitely NOT teach music in a public school setting.

8. In fact, my dream job today would be to join the faculty of a liberal arts college and split my time between collaborating with students, faculty and guest artists in recitals, and coaching undergraduates in chamber music and vocal accompanying. That would be so awesome. Unfortunately, I've never heard of a position like that anywhere. There are staff accompanists, certainly, but they are almost always adjunct positions and the people who are hired are badly overworked, underpaid, and not treated with a whole lot of respect. And are also without the teaching component, which is a big part of what I love to do.

9. Said dream job does not exist and probably never will, even in a culturally-informed place like Madison. So maybe it's time I face reality and stop whining about feeling worthless and irrelevant and try going in a new direction.

10. Anyway, if I were to go into the field of public education, I'd have to pick a subject and more or less start over. I could probably skim off a semester or two of General Education requirements since I already have a college degree (and several graduate degrees), but I have no formal teacher training (piano pedagogy does not count, alas) and no formal education in any subject area relevant to high school education. This is daunting.

11. Maybe I should just keep limping along with the freelancing and the "full-time and unpaid" Mom Thing and wait another two years for Anya to be in public school full-time before I make any big decisions.

12. By then I'll be in my (gulp!) MID-THIRTIES, i.e. too old.

13. This is hard. Can you tell?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

another saturday, another protest

Just because I haven't blogged about the political situation here in Wisconsin doesn't mean that I've forgotten about it or lost interest. No, no. Far from it. I just thought y'all could use a little break.

But I'm back to writing about this because the situation is getting worse, not better, and the tactics certain members of the Republican party have resorted to in order to get their way deserves scrutiny and criticism. (I could actually use much stronger language to convey my feelings on the subject, but I'm a big believer in civil discourse, especially in times like these, so I'm going to keep calm and cool here.)

I'll try and spare you details because those can be found from better media sources than this blog, but in case you haven't been paying much attention, I'll get you up to speed. On March 9, State Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald held a vote on the [supposedly] non-fiscal portions of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill. The vote was taken less than two hours after it was announced, which is in direct violation of the state's open meetings law, which requires a 24-hour notice. None of the 14 Democratic senators who left the state to deny quorum were able to make it back in time for a vote. Walker signed the bill on Friday, March 11. Madison saw its biggest rally yet the next day (Stuart was there; I was on my way to Kentucky with the kids) with well over 100,000 people in attendance. The bill can not become law until it is published by the Secretary of State Doug La Follette. La Follette announced he would wait the maximum waiting period - 10 days - before publishing the law because of the various legal questions surrounding the bill, in particular the constitutionality of the senate vote. A Dane county judge issued a court order blocking the publication of the bill. That court order has been challenged by the state Attorney General Van Hollen, and now the whole thing is going to the state supreme court. Yesterday, the Legislative Reference Bureau published the bill anyway, which doesn't make it law (that can't happen until it's published by the Secretary of State), but it's an administrative step taken in defiance of the court order.

It's all rather confusing, isn't it? As far as I can understand, the legal wrangling is not about whether the senate vote was constitutional (it clearly wasn't), but is all about whether the judicial branch has the right to step into the legislative process. Normally, they don't intervene, but of course, everything about this situation is exceptional. It was blatantly illegal for the senate to call a vote on the budget repair bill less than 24 hours after announcing it, so the vote should not be valid. But does a judge have the right to intervene in how the legislature handles its affairs and issue a restraining order to block the bill from being published? Obviously, I'm no expert on the law and the constitution, but it seems to me that if the legislative leaders so blatantly disregard the law, they should not be able to get away with it. What's the point of having those rules if they're not followed? And if they're not enforced?

You might ask, if the bill is hung up in court because the vote taken on it was unconstitutional, why doesn't Scott Fitzgerald just call another vote, wait the 24 hours, and do the whole thing over legitimately? In a rare moment of journalistic integrity, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News asked Fitzgerald that very question, and he all but admitted he's afraid he won't get the votes the second time around. If you don't believe me, watch it for yourself: video of Scott Fitzgerald speaking with Greta van Susteren.

So even though marching around the Capitol Square in the cold (it was 25, windy and spitting snow this afternoon) with my handmade "Save Union Rights and Medicaid!" signs is starting to get a little old, I was back there today. The crowd was certainly smaller than in weekends past, but determined all the same, and we were joined by several Union Cabs in parade honking "SHOW me what de-MOC-racy LOOKS LIKE!".







There is so much at stake in this fight: union rights, public services, the quality of public and higher education, and now, the integrity of the democratic and legislative process. It saddens me to see my home state so deeply divided, to see people pitted against one another on issues like whether teachers are over-compensated for the work they do. I am not giving up.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

cooking lessons

I think March is the worst month for eating produce. We've eaten nearly all of last season's berries from the freezer, and last fall's tomato sauce and applesauce are long gone. There aren't any local vegetables available; even the storage root vegetables like carrots and strange knobby things like burdock and celeriac are gone from the coop's shelves, and everything has to be trucked in from California and the southern continents. About a month from now the farmers' markets will open with spring greens and mushrooms and loads of garden plants that promise all the fresh goodies to come, but right now it's cold and dreary and nothing is ready to grow in the ground yet. It's wholly uninspiring.

Since the family is starting to get tired of the same old meals every week, tasty as they might be, I figure now is as good a time as any to branch out my cooking repertoire. I checked out some Jacques P├ępin DVDs from the library, along with a Korean cookbook. I'm itching to try out some recipes from a traditional Kentucky Bluegrass cookbook my mom gave me for Christmas (I'm hoping there's a good grits recipe in there. How I love grits!) I have a couple ethnic Indian cookbooks I haven't looked at in a while. When it comes to my gourmet aspirations (note that I don't go so far as to say "gourmet successes"!), I'm nothing if not diverse.

But for all the books and videos I may own or borrow, there's nothing like learning from someone in person. Yesterday I had a lesson on how to make kimchi, and boy was it fun. It was also extremely messy, which is why I have no pictures of the actual process, since I was elbow-deep in salty water and/or red chili paste much of the time.

I certainly can't claim to be any kind of expert on Korean cuisine, but I have adored the few things I've tried in restaurants and in people's homes, things like bibimbab and seaweed rolls and red bean cake (it's a dessert). And of course, kimchi, which is, as far as I can tell, quintessentially Korean. Traditionally, it's made in huge batches and stored in pits underground, where the cool temperatures are perfect for long-term preservation, though now most Korean households have a separate kimchi refrigerator.

You start by quartering and salting large bunches of bok choy. Then you chop radishes and green onion into thin slices and salt them, too. Yesterday, we did this on my friend's kitchen floor while Anya watched, rapt. She stirred the large bowl of salt water and helped pile the sliced radishes in another large bowl. You let all the salted vegetables sit for six hours or so, and then the fun part begins. My friend poured about two cups (!) of red chili flakes into a bowl and mixed that with more salt, then chopped ginger and garlic, and plenty of fish sauce and some kind of weird salty shrimp paste. To avoid burning our skin, we donned plastic gloves - the kind I remember lunch ladies wearing in the cafeteria of my elementary school - and massaged the chili paste into the sliced radish mixture until it was, as she said, "the right color." This was smeared into layers of bok choy, which were then stuffed into gallon jars (we filled three) and left to sit overnight at room temperature to ferment. I kept snitching the spicy radish slices, it was so good.

The end result is a thing of beauty, wouldn't you agree?



Now I need to learn how to cook some good Korean food to eat this with!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

the first day of spring...

...is wet and cold and gloomy in Wisconsin. After all the snow we get in the winter, I suppose I should be glad to see the rain melt much of it away, but after our warm week in Kentucky, it's rather disheartening to return home to FitzWalkerstan (I had to throw that in, y'know!) and the muddy, cold, puddly mess that is Madison in the early spring. The doom and gloom from the other side of the globe has me worried as well. Is our military going to be mired in yet another messy, drawn-out war? (Remember, they thought Afghanistan would be a quick project, and Iraq as well. We're still there, and we still don't have many friends despite attempts to "spread democracy" with military might. Anyway.) What on earth will happen with those nuclear reactors in Japan? It's terrifying.

Our lives here continue more or less as usual, though. In fact, Stuart and I were able to put these things aside for a little while this afternoon as we contemplated flooring for the basement and other matters of home improvement. Work on the basement is progressing, in fact. I'm happy to report that the jackhammering was done and over with while I was out of town with the kids, pipe has been laid, and the concrete restored in the location of our future second bathroom. (Have I mentioned that Anya finally potty-trained about a month ago? Yeah, that bathroom won't be ready a day too soon.) A frame of 2x4s has been erected where the walls will go, ductwork has been removed, and new water piping is spread across the floor in anticipation of replacing the galvanized steel pipes that have been in place since the house was built nearly 60 years ago.

So Things are Happening, and even though it's still a little while before we will be able to call it "finished!", there are some final decisions to be made. Things like "What kind of vanity do we want in the bathroom?" which sounds like an easy decision, but it's not. Before I left town, we went to the lumber supply store our contractor likes to do business with, and within 20 minutes we had something all picked out...and then we changed our minds as we were walking out of the store. We turned right around and modified the order. I'm happy with the new decision, which is a good thing since it's been ordered and is now a done deal, but I have to say, the vanity is only the beginning. Today we went to a carpet/flooring place to look at flooring for the bathroom and pick out carpet for the rest of the basement. Even when you narrow down your choices according to price, it's a little overwhelming. It's not like we're working with an interior decorator or designer, so it's hard to know where to start. We'll just go with boring neutral colors and relatively plain texture and play it safe, I guess.

The one decision I feel really good about is tiling the bathroom floor. Until today I assumed we'd go with vinyl because it's much less expensive, and also, as our contractor pointed out, a tiled floor will feel pretty cold, especially in a basement. But you know what? I hate vinyl. I hate that it looks and smells like plastic. I hate that it's trying to look like stone or tile or mosaic or what-have-you when it obviously isn't. I hate that it's terrible for the environment. I hate that it can get gouged so easily. So we're going with tile, even though it's cold (that's what rugs are for, right?) and more expensive (we're talking 50 square feet here, maximum, not such a big deal), and I feel really good about that.

Just don't ask me what color we're going to paint the walls.

Friday, March 18, 2011

green

How about a brief reprieve from my political rambling (and ranting)?
This week in Kentucky has been so nice and relaxing - no obligations, no jackhammering in the basement, and the weather has been lovely and warm. So lovely and warm, in fact, that we spent a good part of St. Patrick's Day helping Oma (that's what the kids call my mom) plant a few rows of her spring garden.




Also, Daniel is becoming an expert tree climber.


Monday, March 14, 2011

a matter of opinion (yeah, yeah, more union stuff)

Daniel has a spring break this week, so I drove the kids to Kentucky so we could visit my parents. My mom and dad have been following the protest movement in Wisconsin pretty closely, since I live there and all, and this morning my mom brought to my attention this opinion piece printed in this morning's Lexington-Herald Leader.

The article is filled with inaccuracies and misrepresentation of both the situation in Wisconsin and the role of unions for teachers. No wonder: it's written by two people who run the Association of American Educators, which specifically advertises itself as supporting non-union teachers. I couldn't just let it go without a response, so I posted a rather lengthy comment on the article online, which I have re-printed below:

I live in Madison, WI, and have witnessed first-hand the weeks of protests and demonstrations there. There are many inaccuracies and misrepresentations in this opinion article by Beckner and Jackson-Eaglin, and I hope to address a few of them here.

First, the statement "Despite pleas to work with unions from legislators, union bosses have made it clear that they would rather see teachers laid off in certain states than make concessions during difficult economic times" is categorically untrue. Within the first week of protests in Madison, state employee unions agreed to make ALL economic concessions Gov. Walker asked for in order to balance the budget, in exchange for keeping their collective bargaining rights. This amounts to a 8-12% paycut for state employees, including teachers, which translates to a significant reduction in monthly take-home pay. Even with these economic concessions and repeated requests to come to the table for negotiations, the governor and Republican leaders in the State legislature flatly refused. (Here is a link to one of many articles recounting Walker and Senate leader Fitzgerald's refusal to budge.)

Second, the statement "In no way does the legislation eliminate the union; rather, it reins in its ability to forcibly collect dues from teachers" is also untrue. Walker's budget repair bill forces unions to hold a vote annually just to remain in existence. This effectively DOES eliminate unions, especially since Walker's bill also strips nearly all public employee unions of collective bargaining rights (all but the police and firefighters). With no power to bargain with the state for fair wages and working conditions, and forced to hold elections every single year to remain in existence, unions will be eliminated. Does the AAE have annual elections to exist? Do politicians have to be re-elected on an annual basis?

Third, the statement, "The unions have enabled AWOL legislators in Wisconsin with their rhetoric, fueled never-ending protests, trashed state capitols, and left their posts in the classroom for days" is a blatant misrepresentation of the situation. Again, I LIVE in Madison, and I have witnessed these events firsthand. Over the past month, thousands upon thousands of people have exercised their democratic right to free speech expressing their deep dissatisfaction and anger with Walker's budget bill. There is absolutely no way a few union leaders are powerful enough to have made this happen on their own! Additionally, this movement has been entirely peaceful with no violent incidents and no arrests made, just lots of shouting and a few dozen protesters engaging in civil disobedience when Walker's administration ordered the Capitol closed to the public against a judge's order.

I have been to the protests 100,000 strong, I have been inside the Capitol building many times throughout the past several weeks, I have stood among the teachers, nurses, doctors, public safety officials, university professors who work for the state of Wisconsin, and I have seen the thousands of students (Kindergarten through college), parents and non-unionized workers from the private sector who support the state employees.

After all these points I've made, I think the real problem with Beckner and Jackson-Eaglin's article is that they completely misrepresent the purpose of unions in the first place. The number one purpose of a union is to collectively bargain a fair work contract for the employees it represents. This includes wages, benefits and work conditions. Wisconsin has the oldest public employee unions in the entire country, in which teachers play a large role. Wisconsin ALSO has one of the best system of public schools in the nation. This is not a coincidence.

Friday, March 11, 2011

magic

This week it feels like the world is, quite literally, falling apart. Lybia has descended into civil war, Wisconsin Republicans have stomped upon democracy in the face of the largest public uprising in recent memory, and Japan...oh, Japan. My heart breaks for you.

I honestly think that the only thing keeping me going this week is my children. They are simply too young to understand the situation downtown, though I bring them to demonstrations anyway. (Daniel, though, has recently become of aware of global climate change and will randomly bring up the subject of penguins and polar bears and how they are dying because the ice they need is melting, which is not such an uplifting topic, but at least he knows that polar bears and penguins do not, in fact, live in the same hemisphere...) Their innocence keeps me grounded.

A few nights this week I've stayed up late reading to Daniel. You see, we've just discovered the Magic Tree House books, and he is enthralled with them. We curl up on the couch under a soft, warm blanket and he leans over and looks at the pictures as I read through each short chapter, stopping every once in a while to explain what's going on. The stories are rather formulaic and straightforward, but delightfully imaginative. Sometimes he makes it to the end, and sometimes he falls asleep leaning on my ribcage before I get to the end. Daniel is so taken with the Magic Tree House books that I've checked the first 19 of them out from the library (stocking up, you know!) He stacks them up in order and looks at the covers and stares at the pictures and asks me to read to him first thing in the morning.

I love that my kids can get lost in stories already, even though they're not reading on their own yet. We've read so much Winnie the Pooh that I think Anya believes Tigger is real. In fact, we recently discovered that our back yard is the perfect setting for Winnie the Pooh. There is a huge, old maple tree that could be Pooh's house, a half dozen spruce trees much like the Six Pine Trees where Piglet lives, a sandbox that would serve nicely as the Sandy Place Kanga and Roo call home, and we figure Eeyore's Gloomy Place is probably near the compost. Christopher Robin likely has the prime real estate: the large plastic hand-me-down climber. We haven't quite decided where Rabbit's hole or Owl's house are, but we'll figure it out I'm sure.

Sometimes getting lost in a good story is just what you need.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

wisconsin

Seriously, folks. This is bad. Really, really bad.

The senate Republicans have finally acknowledged that stripping collective bargaining rights from state workers was never about the money. In the absence of the 14 Senate Democrats who are still in Illinois to stall the vote on this awful bill, the Republicans are AT THIS MOMENT in session to pass the collective bargaining provisions as a separate bill. They can do this without quorum because it has no fiscal impact.

I have achieved a new level of fury, of rage. This is not how democracy works. This is not how you treat the working people of your state. This will not stand.

I will be downtown tomorrow, I guarantee. And to those who want to deny public workers their rights, I have this to say: THE LAST THREE WEEKS OF INTENSE, PEACEFUL PROTESTS WAS ONLY THE WARM-UP. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN, ARE SPEAKING, WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK, AND YOU. WILL. LISTEN.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

could this week just be over already?

I am having a craptastic week.

First there's our governor, who hasn't budged one bit on his budget repair bill, and yesterday's budget speech spelled more gloom and doom for the state. His rhetoric is dripping with phrases like "flexibility for local governments" and "fiscal responsibility" but the reality is that he's slashing every public service from public education to Medicaid to recycling programs to public transit while giving more tax breaks to big business. If you watched the speech, as I did, you'd think he was some big hero the way all the Republicans gave him standing ovations every 2 minutes (while the Democrats clad in orange t-shirts sat in resolute, polite silence), but if you listen very carefully, you can hear the throngs of people outside the Capitol (who are not allowed inside because of the Dept of Administration's lockdown, despite a judge's restraining order to the contrary) chanting "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and other slogans.

Second, my kids, who have been under the weather off and on for the past month, are both pretty sick this week with ear infections. My main concern, of course, is taking care of them and trying to ease their misery as much as possible, but it's made for some restless nights on the couch with sad, feverish children, lack of sleep in general, and a certain amount of frustration that I can not participate in the protests downtown as I would like to.

To top it all off, the dinner I made last night was such a disgusting, mushy pile of disastrous rice pilaf that none of us could eat it, healthy or not, and I had to toss the whole thing in the trash. I fumed and nibbled on salad while the rest of the family made do with leftover beans and tortillas. I'm not saying every meal I prepare is a stunning culinary success, but I haven't made something so utterly inedible in YEARS. I blame sleep deprivation, my sore back, and general stress and distraction over Wisconsin's politics for the cooking FAIL.

On a totally irrelevant, but more cheerful, note, I got new glasses last week:



You can't see in the picture, but the frames are purple with orange accents. I love them. Stuart's comment: "I'll....get used to those. Eventually."

How about a picture of my little red-headed cutie pie?



All right, then. Sorry about being such a downer here. My next post will be more upbeat, or at least more newsworthy. Promise.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

it ain't over yet

Protests at the Capitol were at least 100,000 strong on Saturday, and I was among them. I was back on Sunday afternoon to participate in a knit-in. I left before the 4:00pm deadline when people were supposed to clear out or risk arrest, and I've been home since then with a sick child. I'm not sure when I'll make it downtown again, but I've been following local news sources and live feeds rather obsessively to keep up with what is going on there.

And it's not pretty. The Governor's Budget address is this afternoon, and his administration is making every attempt to restrict public access to the Capitol building, citing security concerns. After two weeks of entirely peaceful protests, during which there were no arrests and no reports of violence (aside from one citation of a woman who spit on a 10-year-old girl), even with thousands and thousands of people occupying the Capitol day and night, the police have been ordered not to let anyone in without a state ID or invitation from a legislator. In addition, the Republican senators have instituted some new rules aimed at putting pressure on the Fab 14 - the fourteen Democratic senators who remain in Illinois to stall vote on the bill. One new rule is that they are no longer being paid by direct deposit, and must show up in person to pick up their paychecks, which are locked in someone's desk in the Capitol building. Another rule is that they must sign their staffers' timesheets in person, which means their staffers are no longer being paid. Their copy codes for copy machines have been yanked.

Lawsuits have been filed. There's a formal complaint to the Labor Relations Board against Scott Walker for refusing to come to the bargaining table to negotiate. There are legal and ethical questions about Walker's ties to the GOP and his consideration to plant troublemakers in the protest crowds after that prank call from Ian Murphy posing as David Koch. There are challenges to the constitutionality of restricting public access to the Capitol during business hours.

The mainstream national media isn't providing adequate coverage, so here are some links for those of you wanting more details:

Live blog from the Isthmus - continuing coverage on the ground and inside

Representative turned away from Capitol (Madison Cap Times)

Learn more about what exactly is collective bargaining and how it works.

NYTimes article from Monday about protesters locked out of Capitol

Excellent article by John Nichols from The Nation about Saturday's protest

Channel3000 story on Republicans putting pressure on Democratic senators in Illinois re: staffer timesheets and copy machines

WSEU files unfair labor practice charge against Walker (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

So does AFSCME!