Afternoon Update | Wis.Community

Afternoon Update

[img_assist|nid=25335|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=300|height=225]It's been an interesting 36 hours, to say the least.  I'll keep on putting up video and photo updates as I can, and till my cell phone and camer conk out.

Today in Madison made yesterday look like a dress rehearsal.  Today there were almost twice as many people at the capitol as yesterday. I've seen estimates of over 20,000, and that feels right to me.  Today's event was at the King St. corner of the capitol.  People were spilling through the square, and around 2 sides.  Not to mention the people in the street, on the other side of the street, and inside of the capitol rotunda.  Well, inside the capitol period, because when the outside rally ended most of those people came inside, filling up the hallways, stairs, and anywhere else they could find to stand.  I finally ended up leaving because I really needed some fresh air, and some food.

Now I am full of Indian food, and coffee.  Wayyyy too much coffee. I am sitting in Barrique's (and thanks to them for being the unofficial Cheddarsphere office and meeting place).  So I am trying to catch up a little.

By the way - since people have asked - the general tone here has been fired-up but peaceful.  There's a much higher police presence here than I'm used to seeing, but considering that there are thousands of people inside the capitol who are not usually there, I think everything has been remarkably restrained.  And no, not one sign of anyone in the National Guard - last I heard the National Guard was fairly surprised by the notion that they might be deployed.  I'm sure that as long as everything stays as peaceful as it is, relations with the police will stay as good as they've been.  And I'd like to thank both the police forces (and yup, it's Madison Police, State Troopers, DNR wardens, you name it) and the protesters for their restraint. 

There were lots of school teachers and their kids at the rally today, partly because Madison schools are closed for the day due to lack of teachers. There was also a very large turnout of members from other unions, including a large number of firemen.  So I guess exempting the firemen from the law isn't keeping them from lending their support to the other public workers.  Every time the firemen show up there's a big cheer from the crowd - and as if that wasn't loud enough, they brought their own bagpipes with them to add to the effect.

Restaurants and bars are full of protesters.  I am beginning to think that Walker's secret plan to boost the Wisconsin economy is to drive us all out into the streets to protest- which will mean lots of money going to the food and tavern industry.  It's certainly working in Madison.

There will be another rally at 5 PM today.  I will try to get some video up from that.  Please not e that I've taken lots of pictures and video that are not up anywhere - I keep running out of batteries, bandwidth, and patience.  I'll try to catch up this evening, when I intend to hole up in a hotel.

The Joint Finance Committee hearing was still continuing the last time I was up on the 4th floor.  This "people's fillibuster" is probably going to have the effect of slowing down the whole fast-track bill process.  I have been hearing that the solid front of the Republicans is starting to fall apart, and at this point I really don't think that the bill will pass, at least not in its current form. But I'm notoriously inaccurate at predicting things, so don't pay too much attention to me.

I've heard some rumor that Walker has been talking to schoold administrators and telling them that although he's going to introduce cuts to school aid for the districts in his upcoming budget speech, they don't have to worry because of all of the money they're going to save on teacher salaries and benefits.  I have not been able to confirm this, so take it as a rumor.  We'll know soon enough when Walker throws the budget at the senate next week, right before heading to his underground manufacturing bunker to deliver his speech to his REAL constituents - the businesses of the state.

I'm heading back to the square shortly to see what's happening now.  Hang in there. Some time this afternoon I'll be going off to update photos, video, and blogs, and to actually find the time to read what all my other Cheddarsphere friends have been saying.  Read them all. 


One last note.  The site has had 5-8 times the normal traffic since Friday. It happens I did a lot of work to the site a little while back to try to make it more resilient in the face of heavy traffic spikes.  This is the spike.  So far things seem to be pretty good, and my phone isn't paging me about problems.  But if things get slow, it's only because a lot of people around the country are reading it and the other Wisconsin bloggers for updates. Thanks for your support.


February 16, 2011 - 2:58pm