Do we need Al Jazeera in Wisconsin?

MontanaMaven wonders if Madison will be our Cairo.

You won’t find it on its front page section “Protests for Democracy”, but CNN is reporting that 15 more school districts will close today as teachers make their way to Madison, WI to join the protest against Gov. Walker’s anti union bill.
Wisconsin teachers call in sick

At least 15 school systems in Wisconsin canceled Thursday’s classes because teachers and other public employees will continue protests at the state Capitol over a bill that would strip them of most of their collective bargaining rights and increase their contributions for benefits.

Huh? Madison? What? I haven’t heard of anything. I go to google news – US – nothing. I have to type in “wisconsin” then it suggests “wisconsin protests” which shows me that while I’ve been puttering around, tens of thousands of teachers, parents, public workers, and students have been protesting in Madison against Governor Walker’ bill to completely do away with public teachers ability to engage in Collective Bargaining Agreements.

John Nichols (The Nation) says this is the start of a national campaign to undo unions through legislation. He points out that Walker is demanding that teachers take a 9% pay cut when WIsconsin has a budget surplus of $123 million.

“If Governor Walker pulls this off, if he succeeds in taking away collective bargaining rights from the union, AFSCME, which was founded in Wisconsin back in the 1930s, if he takes down…one of the strongest and most effective teachers’ unions, WEAC, in the country, then we really are going to see this sweep across the United States. There is simply no question of that,” he says.

It is already also happening in Ohio, and protests have started there too.

Over 1,000 people packed the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday to protest against a bill currently under consideration by the Senate that would eliminate collective bargaining for 40,000 state workers and reduce the bargaining power of firefighters and teachers, among others. Protesters filled the building’s galleys and assembly rooms, with only standing room left for those attending the hearings on Senate Bill 5 (SB5).

The unemployment problem can not be solved by reducing the wages on existing jobs and firing workers. It doesn’t matter if those are public or private sector jobs. The economy is down because not enough money is flowing. The USA still has that money, for the most part (minus our balance of trade bleed), it’s just that it’s being hoarded by the rich and the banks. So if you take the money away from public employees, where do you think it will go? Straight to the cronies. That’s what the lobbyists want: the beautiful merger of business and government.

Unions may have their faults, but it’s unions that led to the rise of the middle class, with their demands that workers be treated like humans. Chinese workers don’t have unions, and the corporate crony stooges in charge won’t be happy until we are all forced to work in 19th century conditions, locked into factories without breaks and pitifully grateful for the opportunity to make enough money to buy eat once a day.

Rolling update from the comments:
jjtacoma recommends this op-ed in WaPo, which is a great read, which contrasts the cheering for Egypt while suppressing news about our own protests.
SHV recommends www.wsws.org for news coverage of the protests that our corpomedia is ignoring.

Drama! (h/t jjmtacoma) the democrats in the statehouse have left town to prevent the republicans from voting (at least one democrat has to be present for the vote to happen). Get your popcorn!

Police officers were searching for Democratic state lawmakers who had not shown up for a vote on the sweeping legislation, and one Democratic lawmaker said he and his colleagues had left the state.

Update Feb 18: Channelling Jonathan Swift, Governor Walker calls his proposals “a modest request”. Strangely apt since our kids are getting figuratively devoured by our crony capitalist economy.

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93 Responses to Do we need Al Jazeera in Wisconsin?

  1. votermom says:

    This is an open thread, as usual. (I like open threads)

  2. votermom says:

    Amazing photo here that shows how many people were outside the capitol bldg. (Too big to go in my post)
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/02/17/us/17wisconsin2_337-inline/17wisconsin2_337-inline-popup.jpg

  3. OldCoastie says:

    Obama’s Race to the Top program is pure union busting crapola… California didn’t get the money because Gov. Ahnold couldn’t squeeze enough concessions out of the teacher’s union…

    Now they are trying to starve out the teachers by limiting federal funds – especially those aimed at low-income kids…. (but Brown at least values public education)

    • votermom says:

      I don’t really know what Race to the Top is, I am so uninformed. I am looking at the wiki page on it and it sounds like another version of NCLB.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        That’s about right, votermom. Another version of NCLB, with improved union busting!

        I’m of two minds on that particular union-busting scenario. I worked in education and teachers unions are terrible for the system and for the kids. They have grown so powerful that they have become one of the two largest problems plaguing public education–the other being education departments at universities, who are full of all the wrong people proposing all the wrong ideas. Bill Ayers, for example, worked as an education professor, and used his stint to indoctrinate a generation of teachers with Weather Underground propaganda adapted for the classroom. That’s another story.

        The flip side of my thinking on this is that governments should not be in the business of union busting. So as much as I hate teachers unions, I hate the attempt by groups more powerful to bust them up. If they’re busted up, I want it to be because insiders like this took it down from the bottom up. http://natalieshandbasket.blogspot.com/2011/02/bloggate-day-1-scandal-begins.html

        • votermom says:

          It’s like reform vs revolution. I am on the side of reform. If there are problems with corruption or mismanagement in an organization, the logical thing to do is address that – not dissolve the organization ignore the reasons it was formed in the first place.

        • OldCoastie says:

          Bill Ayers is not the problem – he is in the charter school business, if I recall correctly… lotta money to be made for HIM…

          Most teachers I know are dedicated, hard working, talented professionals… to label teacher’s unions as some kind of evil is unfortunate.

          And they are some of the last big unions that exist that actually have some power… without unions setting some standards for employers, everyone who works for a living suffers.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Old Coastie,

          I was a teacher, and I still know plenty of hardworking teachers. Most of them resent their required participation in unions, as well as the activities and conventions of that union. They hate that they don’t get to pay into social security, but instead have to send their retirement money into a union, which will then invest it in a pension fund tied to unstable Wall Street. They also don’t like the fact that they have no say-so in what they teach, thanks in large part to unions working with these education departments and politicians. They are frustrated by the political correctness supported by these unions that results in formulaic (“canned”) verbal responses designed not to inflict pain, but which also prevent any practice at critical thinking. They also hate that the bad teachers in their school receive the full protection of unions, despite their work records, simply because they are captive to the same money-making machine in the form of a union they are. They feel ripped off and unsupported in true efforts to actually do their jobs.

          I support teachers way more than I support politicians and reformers, but I do not support them unconditionally. No one should. The unions are a real problem, one of many plaguing our education system. If they want to keep the union, they’ll have to ratchet down the rhetoric and show some of what they say they crave from students: cooperation.

        • votermom says:

          I didn’t realize that teachers don’t pay in SS?

        • Dario says:

          Old Castle,
          If I read your comment correctly, those who don’t like the union, don’t like:

          a) Don’t like the pension fund structure.
          b)They also don’t like the fact that they have no say-so in what they teach.
          c)The political correctness that prevent any practice at critical thinking.
          d) Protection of bad teachers.
          e)They feel unsupported in true efforts to actually do their jobs.

          What does that have to do with the reason for the union, which is collective bargaining? Maybe those who don’t like their union should band together and leave the union in protest. But the issues you stated do not seem to be related to unions, but problems that arise because members don’t care to get involved and change how their unions work.

        • Valhalla says:

          (r to votermom)
          I think part of the problem is that the union-busting rhetoric hammers on the things that are wrong with unions and vaguely implies a contrast to some vague, utopian non-union alternative which doesn’t exist, never existed, and never will exist.

          Of course union members get angry and frustrated when their union protects bad teachers (they should). But once the union goes, all the good teachers lose their protection as well. I agree reform it the better way to go, otherwise it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater just because the baby has a cold. Or something.

        • okasha skatsi says:

          The public school teachers I know are damned grateful for their limited (by Texas law) union representation. The things they resent are:

          1 The idiots on the school boards who know nothing at all about education and very little about anything else, but who are using the board as stages in their political careers;

          2. The other idiots on the school boards who are tools of various business interests and/or use their public to pay for vacations, expensive meals and the occasional lady of the evening under the guis of attendg conferences;

          3. The top-heavy and disproporationately paid administration;

          4. The conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education who have politicized the curriculum and made a joke of science and history courses;

          5. The state government’s refusal to fund the schools adequately, even when the dollars are federal grants, while wasting money on such things as Rick Perry’s $10,000.00 a month rental;

          6. The huge bureaucratic mess created by Bush’s NCLB.

          And that’s just for starters. It doesn’t address the other problems created by chronic underfunding such as cutbacks in arts programs, inadequate libraries, and overcrowded classrooms.

      • OldCoastie says:

        it’s NCLB on steroids… NCLB required testing and if annual improvements fell below a certain standard, the state would take over the school (and usually sell it off to a private company – who, oddly, did NOT have to meet the improvement standards – a very strange system)

        Race to the Top only funds states that are already successful – the more successful, the more money. When California was competing last year for funds, there was some big hitch in the get-a-long with the teachers’ unions – like tenure had to be eliminated in order to get the money…. Title I funds, originally designated for schools in low and very low income areas – so that class size could be reduced, more materials bought, etc…. Title 1 still exists but not in its original form. It used to be very steady income for large urban districts but that is less likely.

        So, if someone can tell me… how do you improve schools in the neediest areas by sucking all the money out and giving it to already success schools?

        Seriously, I don’t get it.

        • votermom says:

          It’s how wall street works …

        • kc says:

          I taught public school for 20 years and we paid in to SS and everyother bs out there. But, in Fl. teacher’s unions weren’t allowed to strike so we really didn’t have much power.

          But, unions are really needed here. There are just too many ways administrators can hurt you.And merit pay is not fair, at least as I’ve seen it.
          For example., say you (the teacher) failed to grovel properly to the principle and other admin types, You will find yourself ‘teaching’ a room full of incorrigables whose llife mission is to make yours a daily hell. Plus they won’t support you when ‘little Johnny’s mother comes to cuss you out for not turning him into a wunderkind in a matter of days.
          And,,under our system–it’s all your fault. Yeah!!
          seriously, now if you actually fail a child–you have to document everything–how many times did you attempt to call the parents? ? Did you bring it to the higher ups attention and what did they do? ? How many new teaching techniques did you try (document them and the result). Did you give little Johnny a chance to remediate the work he missed?

          But, it always ends up being the teacher’s fault–she wasn’t tailoring specific lessons to hs learning type, she wasn’t dancing on the table to keep little Johnny’s attention so he wouldn’t whine that it was boring.
          Now, do all of that with 150 students a day and have exciting written out lesson plans, communicate with parents. attend numerous bs meetings that are a waste of time and take the papers home to grade because you will never have time during the day.
          No, I’m not bitter–I was a good teacher, but in late years, the edicts from the school bd. and the state made our jobs impossible. We were pumping up the resume of the admin. because a low faillure rate looks good for them. And they can always list all the wonderful bs that teachers have done under their direction. Surprise–it’s political. People jlust get beaten down and exhausted beyond belief.

  4. SHV says:

    Huh? Madison? What? I haven’t heard of anything. I go to google news – US – nothing.
    *******
    You need to bypass Obama’s “Information Ministry” media stooges.

    “Tens of thousands demonstrate against attacks on government workers in Wisconsin”

    “Video: Workers, students speak on budget cuts in Madison”

    “Ohio workers protest against effort to end collective bargaining”

    http://www.wsws.org/index.shtml

  5. jjmtacoma says:

    Here’s an opinion piece in The Washington Post that referenced the state sponsored union busting and how we were cheering for Egypt workers but then look at the contrast with how bad things are for American workers and where the money goes.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    If I were a teacher, I’d rather take a pay cut than be layed off, as they’re doing in my town. Budget woes are everywhere, affecting everyone.

    • votermom says:

      I don’t think the are protesting against lower wages, they are protesting against losing the power to use collective bargaining rights and binding arbitration.

      The corporatists love to pit union vs non-union workers, and public vs private sector, but it’s all a wedge to keep workers at each others throats instead of united against the excesses of corrupt ceos and corrupt officials.

    • jjmtacoma says:

      Keep in mind, concessions on benefits don’t come back and a 10% pay cut will take at least 3-4 years to get back to where you started salary-wise.

      Neither of those are good moves for people to accept if they can fight it. It is better in some ways to be laid off than to have the value of your services reduced.

      Things will get better but that 10% pay cut is a permanent reset on the value of labor.

      I will happily eat crow if the economy gets better and the fat cats come around and say – “Wow, all you little worker bees were so great to take less money when we were all struggling, but now that things are all better – here’s a 10% increase across the board to put you back where you started! Oh, and a really big Thank You! for doing your share to keep things going.”

      • jjmtacoma says:

        Paycuts through temporary layoff – where you give up pay for days off doesn’t impact your annualized salary or lower the value of your labor.

        It isn’t like those state workers get to tell Kroger that they will now pay 10% less for groceries because their household budget is lower.

  7. A few headlines in the tabloids from yesterday assault in Egypt and the hateful comments
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/tabloids-sexist-pig-gets-it/

  8. SHV says:

    “I don’t think the are protesting against lower wages, they are protesting against losing the power to use collective bargaining rights and binding arbitration.”
    *********
    Here is a summary of why they are [protesting:
    (snip)
    “The bill, which could pass through the state legislature as early as today, would require workers to almost double their deductions for health care and retirement benefits. According to various analyses, these added contributions would equate to anywhere from an 8 to 20 percent pay cut.

    The measure would also make strikes among state workers illegal, giving the governor unilateral authority to fire workers who “participate in an organized action to stop or slow work,” or who “are absent for three days without approval of the employer.” It would remove the right of unions to negotiate pensions, retirement and benefits, and would prohibit the union dues check-off for government workers. These changes would also apply to childcare workers, home health care workers, and employees of the University of Wisconsin system and its hospital arm.

    The bill also ends health insurance coverage and retirement benefits for temporary workers hired by the state, apparently including certain categories of graduate student labor.

    Both the magnitude of the cuts and the provocative way Walker has demanded them have created a backlash among Wisconsin workers and youth. In announcing his preparations to deploy the National Guard the governor implicitly threatened violence against those opposing the draconian cuts, saying the troops were “prepared … for whatever the governor, their commander-in-chief, might call for. I am fully prepared for whatever may happen.”
    (snip)

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/feb2011/wisc-f16.shtml

    • votermom says:

      The National Guard … wow, what a tough guy.

      • okasha skatsi says:

        That’s gonna be interesting. Some of those Guardsmen are the children or spouses of teachers; others are likely teachers themselves. Most of them will have children in the public schools. What happens when the Guard refuses to obey Governor Hosni?

  9. JeanLouise says:

    I worked as a union member for my entire adulthood in Ohio. I can tell you from first hand experience that collective bargaining is the lifeblood of the middle class. Managers have been trying to break the unions for years so that workers will have no protections outside of the federal non-discrimination laws which are onerous and very hard to prove. This is another assult on the middle class by, in Ohio’s case, a governor who made so much money in a Lehman Brothers hedge fund that he refused to reveal how much it was during the election.
    Kasich is also attacking public pensions. I hope he has a revolt on his hands that makes Egypt look like a garden party and I’ll be happy to participate.

    • votermom says:

      Has the Ohio press been covering the news about protests in Columbus? Over at hillaryis44, BigCatLover says local news is not covering it in Columbus.

  10. BigCatLover says:

    I live in Ohio in the capital city and did not hear that they were finally protesting this vendetta against public workers. We just elected a new repub neocon governor who will decimate all govt programs/benefits if he can get away with it. The state pension systems already tried to head off the cuts by voluntarily raising the retirement age, cutting the benefits and making other concessions. Of course they were told that is not enough, because they are an ‘issue’ to be used by the rightwing to rev up the populace against so called govt abuse. I’m glad they are fighting back. By the way, a local tv program gave the following statistics: state workere make 4 -6 % less in salaries than their peers in the private sector. They are also more highly educated than peers in the private sector, and finally those with degrees make 25% less than those with the same degrees in the private sector.

  11. votermom says:

    I knew this was a Crony Scheme!
    Saw this via corrente
    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html

    Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies

    One Wisconsin Now, the progressive watchdog group that has provided the closest monitoring of Walker’s budgetary gamesmanship, explains:
    “Since his inauguration in early January, Walker has approved $140 million in new special-interest spending that includes:
    “• $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation that still has $73 million due to a lack of job creation. Walker is creating a $25 million hole which will not create or retain jobs.
    “• $48 million for private health savings accounts, which primarily benefit the wealthy. A study from the federal Governmental Accountability Office showed the average adjusted gross income of HSA participants was $139,000 and nearly half of HSA participants reported withdrawing nothing from their HSA, evidence that it is serving as a tax shelter for wealthy participants.
    “• $67 million for a tax shift plan, so ill-conceived that at best the benefit provided to ‘job creators’ would be less than a dollar a day per new job, and may be as little as 30 cents a day.”
    State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, sums up this scheming accurately when he says: “In one fell swoop, Gov. Walker is trying to institute a sweeping radical and dangerous notion that will return Wisconsin to the days when land barons and railroad tycoons controlled the political elites in Madison.”

    • jjmtacoma says:

      No doubt.

      Interesting he avoided messing with police and firefighters but is sticking it to teachers, government engineers, students, and social workers, etc…

  12. votermom says:

    This is an amazing Bloomberg interview of Jeffrey Sachs where he says both parties are on the take and we are going to end up with our own Egypt here.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/02/jeffrey-sachs-on-the-budget-do-we-really-have-to-have-our-own-egypt-here-in-the-united-states.html#comments

  13. yttik says:

    This is a perfect storm that’s been brewing for a long time. Where I live, teachers and those who work for the government are the upper class. The rest of the people are unemployed or struggling with very low wages. All they’ve heard for years is how hard teachers have it, how much more money they need. Also city and county employees need more raises and medical benefits. The only way to get them more money is to raise taxes on all the people here making less money. Naturally the resentment starts to build. I don’t think our union workers around here are wealthy, they simply make a living wage, but for all of those who don’t, the amount of public sympathy for these union workers and their “low wages” really starts to breed hostility.

    • votermom says:

      It”s very crab-in-a-bucket like though, isn’t it? Does it help the unemployed and low-wage earners to have MORE low-wage earners competing with them?
      It doesn’t make sense.
      All these so-called “budget problems” would disappear if we started taxing billionaires at Clinton-years levels. And stopped throwing bailouts at best-beloved cronies.

      • 1539days says:

        5% more upper-income taxes isn’t going to fix the spending problems.

        • okasha skatsi says:

          The “spending problems” wouldn’t exist with an adequate tax base. The Republcans yell about the “10% of the people who pay 40%” of the taxes, but the fact is that 10% enjoys 80% of the income. They’re under-, not over-taxed. Making them pay up is sure a good place to start.

  14. DeniseVB says:

    via Hot Air

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/02/17/have-teacher-unions-nuked-the-fridge/

    [...]
    Teachers unions dropped $40 million on the midterm election, which Democrats desperately needed — and which did them almost no good in the end anyway. The public has grown angry over decades of accelerated spending and federal interference in education with little to show for all of the resources sunk into it. The government protects education as a near-monopoly, where only the wealthy can have actual, real choice in how their children are educated. Union control of education has led to mediocrity rather than excellence, and sclerosis where there should be innovation.
    [...]

    The entire article is a good read and points to other states also.

    • votermom says:

      So many problems caused by politicians being for sale. I think campaign finance reform, in fact, public financing, is the prerequisite to any real government reform.
      I will admit I have great sympathy for school choice, for any kid to have access to good education regardless of who her parents are or where they live. I think there is a lot to be said for more local control of education.
      But I really think what is happening in Wisconsin is not really about education. It’s about a corporate-owned governor using the cover of “budget rescue” to dissolve one of the few non-corporate political lobbies left in the country and funnel money to his own cronies.

  15. Great find! Amazing how this sort of thing is hidden from us in the MSM. I think we do need Al Jazeera or some other good independent news source.

  16. Pingback: Thoughts on the Wisconsin Protests « Almost Verbiage

  17. jjmtacoma says:

    Got another good link for this… the democrats in the statehouse have left town to prevent the republicans from voting (at least one democrat has to be present for the vote to happen). Get your popcorn!

    USA Today

    Police officers were searching for Democratic state lawmakers who had not shown up for a vote on the sweeping legislation, and one Democratic lawmaker said he and his colleagues had left the state.

  18. catarina says:

    The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America arm — the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign — is playing an active role in organizing protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/DNC_playing_role_in_Wisconsin_protests.html

  19. catarina says:

    Ben Smith at Politico is reporting that Organizing For America helped organize the Wisconsin protests.

    Link’s in the spam filter.

  20. Dario says:

    I support collective bargaining, but union members don’t care to participate and allow the leaders to behave like an underworld group. Meh.

  21. helenk says:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/17/obama-wisconsin-gov-walker-waging-an-assault-on-unions/?utm_source=Raw+Story+Daily+Update&utm_campaign=dc330b357d-2_17_112_17_2011&utm_medium=email

    Backtrack made a statement.

    I have worked most of my life in companies that had unions. Believe me you do not want to work for a railroad without a union.
    If there is no money concessions have to be made. Sacrifices on both sides have to happen.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE CHATTERING PEOPLE RULE

  22. helenk says:

    Youtube videos of the protest in Wisconsin.

  23. helenk says:

    now the other side is joining in from the federal government.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/144889-boehner-wades-into-wisconsin-labor-battle-backing-gop-governor

    I wish both sides of the federal government would stay out of this.
    two sides with different viewpoints is an argument the minute a third person gets involved it becomes a war and neither side will back down.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE CHATTERING PEOPLE RULE

  24. Mary says:

    Guess who’s paying for most of the buses bringing these teachers and students to the demonstrations.

    OFA. Obama For America. Obama’s campaign arm.

    Not gonna go over very well with the Wisconsin voters who supported Walker.

    • 1539days says:

      Plus, Madison seems to be ground zero for this march. Schools in the rest of the state are still open and operating.

      In the state where I live, the city taxes are equal to the school taxes. Let me repeat. All of the city’s services to 25,000 people costs the same amount as educating 6,000 children. People may not hate teachers, but they are extremely frustrated that this part of the budget is considered sacrosanct and increases above inflation every year.

    • okasha skatsi says:

      You mean OFA is finally doing something useful? Nah… .

  25. JeanLouise says:

    I think it’s illegal to ask police officers to search for adults who have voluntarily absented themselves from any location.

  26. ralphb says:

    This is kind of nice, heheh.

    Philly homeowner forecloses on Wells Fargo

    Patrick Rodgers, an independent music promoter in Philadelphia, has won a judgment against his mortgage lender, Wells Fargo, which Wells hasn’t paid, and so he’s foreclosed on them and arranged for a sheriff’s sale of the contents of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 1341 N. Delaware Ave to pay the legal bill.

  27. Mr. Mike says:

    If Al Jazeera were to send in crews to cover things like the protests, or how our government is screwing us, you can bet Obama would have them sent to Git-mo in a heart beat for some of that good ole’ enhanced interrogation.

  28. Nijma says:

    My family is saying the teachers are dishonest to be calling in sick… a terrible example for the students, etc.

    What about that?

    • Mr. Mike says:

      Sick of being the scape goats for every thing wrong with America?

      Did it ever occur to some people that if you treat people fairly and pay them a decent wage there would be no unions?

      I thought not.

      • 1539days says:

        I don’t think that’s true. One thing about unions is that they are self-perpetuating. SEIU has grown by finding employees who never thought of being in unions and recruiting them into the union.

        Employers don’t employee people to make their lives better. they employee people because they need labor to be in business. On the flipside, teachers’ unions exist for the betterment of teachers and not necessarily students. It’s not their purpose.

        If history has taught us something it’s that unions will recreate themselves if the need arises. There were no unions before workers united. But if unions rely on public support and the public doesn’t support them, there’s not a lot of hope for them.

    • jjmtacoma says:

      Nijma – I can totally understand that logic because we sure as hell don’t want kids to have the idea that it is OK to walk out of crappy situations and stand up for your rights! /snark

      (ok, I’ve said that before to people who were way right wing and they agreed with my sarcasm…)

    • OldCoastie says:

      we have a couple “personal necessity” days we can take each year in our district… comes out of sick leave but does not have to be justified with actual sickness.

      I’m going to guess the teachers are not “lying” to students.

      I kinda wonder if it was the autoworkers or steel workers protesting if there would be all this hostility expressed…

      after all, they are pretty much all men with penises – surely their complaints are much more serious

  29. Nijma says:

    If only they would gasp like that at the threat to collective bargaining rights.

    I wonder if some work places have an understanding about using sick leave as personal leave. I think we are allowed to use it if we have to go to court and so forth, but I’m not sure if it’s in our contract.

  30. OT: Rosen’s non-apology in Salon
    http://letters.salon.com/mwt/feature/2011/02/17/nir_rosen_explains_twitter_controversy/view/?show=all

    He complains about rightwingers condemning his remark because of his leftwing reputation.

    Mr. Rosen,

    I’m not condemning you because of your reputation. I never heard of you before. I’m condemning you because of what you said. I’m not a rightwinger, either.

  31. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/opinion/17gailcollins.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    Mrs. Bush, Abstinence and Texas

    Today, let’s discuss choices, starting with Barbara Bush raising an alarm and Gov. Rick Perry’s personal experience with sexual abstinence.

  32. Very OT:
    A blog review of http://vito-excalibur.livejournal.com/315112.html?dr_log=-1&linkout=http%3A//www.amazon.com/Birth-Day-Pediatrician-Explores-Childbirth/dp/B004JZWM4O
    “about birth and babies and fetuses and the transition between the two (did you know there is a HUGE difference between how a fetus works and how a baby works, and it all shifts over in about 5 minutes”

  33. OT:
    A state bill to expand the definition of justifiable homicide in South Dakota to include killing someone in the defense of an unborn child was postponed indefinitely Wednesday after an uproar over whether the legislation would put abortion providers at greater risk.

    The House speaker, Val Rausch, said that the legislation had been shelved, pending a decision on whether to allow a vote, amend the language or drop it entirely. A spokesman for Gov. Dennis Daugaard said, “Clearly the bill as it’s currently written is a very bad idea.”
    – NYT

    • OldCoastie says:

      geesh – what a bunch of nuts…

      I almost said, “clowns”…. speaking of clowns – where is the klown?

  34. Three Wickets says:

    This sounds about right from Angry Bear.

    Given the state of the economy, the Obama administration reasons, the primary goal of purely political acts (such as the preparation of the 2012 budget proposal) must be to do whatever else can be done to persuade the “middle 20%” of Americans to vote for Obama. (40% of Americans will vote against him no matter what, and 40% will vote for him no matter what.) Note that this is the opposite of the Roveian strategy of firing up and turning out the base to win elections, but it is clearly what Obama’s political advisors believe.

  35. votermom says:

    FYI: Real life calls, so I’m going to be mostly scarce for a couple of days.

  36. ralphb says:

    Wisconsin: The Hemlock Revolution

    I’ll be darned, I agree with Joe Klein. We must be wrong.

    Revolutions everywhere–in the middle east, in the middle west. But there is a difference: in the middle east, the protesters are marching for democracy; in the middle west, they’re protesting against it. I mean, Isn’t it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting “Freedom, Democracy, Union” while trying to prevent a vote? Isn’t it ironic that the Democratic Senators have fled the democratic process? Isn’t it interesting that some of those who–rightly–protest the assorted Republican efforts to stymie majority rule in the U.S. Senate are celebrating the Democratic efforts to stymie the same in the Wisconsin Senate?

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