Storming the Bastille

An Op-Ed on the Revolution

"Prise de la Bastille" by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel

Apologies in advance to my fellow Refugee writers. I generally try to make this blog into something of a professional news medium but I have been astounded by what’s happening in Wisconsin and the rest of the nation. Plus I don’t want to appear all Glenn Beckian conspiracy theorist. And I’m sort of an insomniac so I thought I’d just share my perspective late at night with anyone who is out there.

The Wisconsin Senate Republicans illegally broke the unions yesterday. In a matter of minutes they pulled the union busting provisions from Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill that were previously considered budgetary and voted them into law despite the lack of a quorum from the absent Democrats.

I am astonished. Unbelievable. It’s as if they said “Yeah, we lied to you. Shut the front door and take it.” I’m somewhat surprised that Wisconsin Republicans don’t expect some blowback from this. This is a blatant frontal assault on the middle class of America. Not just Wisconsin. America.

It reminds me of the French revolt by the people when they stormed the Bastille. There were only a few political prisoners in the bastille at the time but the revolution was representative of public dissatisfaction and Scott Walker is the modern day version of the prévôt des marchands. The rich have once again nonchalantly declared, “Let them eat cake.”

Those who pooh-pooh comparisons with the revolution in Egypt and the Middle East do so at the risk of their own credibility. It’s the same battle.

Class warfare has been declared on middle America by the rich and Wall Street. It’s time to rise up and defend ourselves.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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138 Responses to Storming the Bastille

  1. Mainer says:

    Yes Mr. U and the cancer spreads. This morning I read that some of our wonderful GOP senators are introducing a national right to work bill. Hell we don’t need no stinking unions. On Fox blogs the drum beat is louder than ever to ban all unions and even the minimum wage so as to return America to prosperity. The propaganda machine of the radical Corporatist Theocracy that would wish to enslave us has now kicked into high gear. Michigan now is moving toward having an appointed individual be able to absolve all contracts and even elected governments at the local and couty level if the govenor so sees fit. PA’s new Republican Gov is slashing school budgets and capping any ability of local elected officials to make it up. Oh and here is a little tidbit at the same time he is slashing he is putting money in for 230 more state troopers.

    No Mr. U I did not sleep well last night either. But let us not forget there are many more around us that think this is all just fine and are most likely chortling in glee. I wonder how long it will be before we wake up some morning and find the wonderful preamble to our constitution that has always stood out so proudly on our national barn has been freshly repaint to read “We got ours the rest of you need to learn your place and screw off.”

  2. dcpetterson says:

    In the comments of the old FiveThirtyEight, I would occasionally talk about the desire of Republicans to institute a corporatocracy. I wondered if readers would see that as hyperbole. But I was entirely serious. We are witnessing it before our eyes.

  3. filistro says:

    @Mainer… But let us not forget there are many more around us that think this is all just fine and are most likely chortling in glee.

    That’s what I expected, too. I was certain that when I logged on to all the right-wing sites I like to monitor, I would see an outpouring of triumphalism and gloating. But they are strangely muted this morning. I would best describe the after-the-fact reaction on the right as one of uneasy defiance. It’s almost sulky. They’re kind of saying, “So? In your face. We did it and we’re glad. We don’t care what anybody thinks.”

    The problem is, they DO care. Granted, Republicans don’t care much about balanced governance or achieving consensus. But what they want, more than anything, is to grab and hold onto power. And they are realizing, at some critical instinctive level, that this move could gravely endanger their grip on power. They are visibly surprised and disconcerted by the furious backlash and the powerful mobilization of public opinion… because Democrats don’t usually fight back so fiercely. Republicans are beginning to fear the Dems have public opinion behind them, and the backlash will grow and swell and shake them right out of power in 2012.

    On the right there is not a lot of rejoicing… and a perceptible undercurrent of uneasiness. It’s not quite “My God, what have we done?”…. but it’s close.

  4. Gator says:

    How do you arrive at this : “The Wisconsin Republicans illegally broke the unions yesterday. In a matter of minutes they pulled the union busting provisions from Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill that were previously considered budgetary and voted them into law despite the lack of a quorum from the absent Democrats.”

    You were fine when the Democratic Senators left the state to block a quorum. That was a “procedural tactic” and entirely acceptable. Now the Republicans have used the Wis constitutional language to pass a bill, as per the state laws, and you claim it is illegal. Explain exactly how this is illegal. Put aside your bluster and indignation, and explain the legality of fleeing the state to block legislation as contrasted with the alleged ILLEGALITY of following the constitutional requirements as codified in Wisconsin law to pass a bill.

    Put aside whether you like what they have done. You accused them (the Reps) of breaking the law. Please expound on how they did this and what law they have broken.

  5. shortchain says:

    filistro,

    Drop by hotair and you’ll see all the crowing and chortling you could imagine.

    Gator,

    Either the provision is not, in the least, a financial one, in which case the procedural move was legal — and Scott Walker and all the GOP members who voted for it are proven liars — or it’s a financial bill pretending not to be a financial bill, in which case it’s blatantly unconstitutional.

    But that second option doesn’t pass even the semblance of a smell test: what reason, other than financial, can there possibly be to strip people of the ability to collectively bargain with the state over wages? If that’s not a financial matter, what is?

    There is no equivalence between the perfectly legal refusal to allow a quorum and passing a bill under false pretenses. While the first may frustrate the wishes of the GOP, the second is simply dishonest, unconstitutional, and a violation of the public’s trust — and I’ll be contributing to the recall effort.

  6. mclever says:

    @filistro

    Usually, conservatives are so utterly confident that public opinion is on their side, that the anger and backlash on the left (and middle!) must really have surprised them.

    You describe the reaction on right wing sites as “muted” and “sulky.” I’ll be interested to see if that somber uneasiness lasts, or if they become a little more triumphal as they circle the wagons and reassure one another that it’s a good thing, and naturally the American people will realize this after the shock wears off.

    Be sure to keep us posted if you sense a mood shift!

  7. filistro says:

    shortchain… yes, I see the dimwits chortling, too.

    But smarter Republicans (like the commentators at NRO) while sincerely believing union-busting is Good for America, are nevertheless muted un their response. They are clearly afraid of two things…

    1.) the gathering backlash from the public, which seems to have genuinely surprised and unnerved them

    2.) their real, palpable terror of union power. They’ve seen in the past how much it damages them when the unions mobilize against them with manpower, money and GOTV efforts, and they are frightened at what might happen in 2012.

  8. Gator says:

    SC

    Nice parsing and dancing. I will again ask… which specific statute have the Republican senators violated? To be an illeagal act, it MUST be in violation of a statutory law. Please specify which law. You cannot. Because what they did, while it may be objectionable, is absolutely legal. To say otherwise is either incorrect on its face or an outright lie. Just trying to determine which we are dealing with here. A mistake or a lie. Or utter hyperbole. That is another option, I suppose.

    I’ll be waiting to see that statute.

  9. filistro says:

    I should add, in all seriousness, that I don’t think the GOP is uneasy about events in WI simply because they fear the unions. Smart Republican thinkers who can see beyond the page of talking points at the end of their nose… guys like David Brooks, David Frum and even Jonah Goldberg, all of whom know a bit about messaging… are increasingly alarmed by the meme that is now gradually settling in across the country and will soon be set in stone. This meme is that the GOP doesn’t care at all about ordinary peopel and is completely in thrall to its corporate masters.

    This meme has been around forever but it was driven home by the high-profile fight to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at a time when the country is mired in recession and everybody else is being asked to sacrifice. Really, really stupid politics. And now they get national headlines for union-busting… and teachers, nurses and firemen are the ones being hit. Again.. after extending tax cuts to the rich. TERRIBLE optics.

    Howard Fineman says this WI mess has been orchestrated from the very top of the GOP heirarchy, and is all about the 2012 elections. He thinks the calculation was: Do something to drive the Dems nuts. Make them overreact. Make Dems look like scary radicals (Code Pink and Acorn on steroids) because that really scares voters. Get lots of footage of Dem politicos saying insanely furious things, and mobs of unwashed folks screaming and demonstrating in support of the greedy unions. Play over and over in campaign ads.

    He may well be right… but I think the strategy is ill-advised. This has been a brutal scary recession. In some ways, we are all closer to the unwashed mob now… or we realize we could be.

  10. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Gator,

    sc SAID it was legal. Wherein the part being pulled from the financial bill was not financial. What part of that did you miss???

    He went on to say that, by doing so, the WI GOP and the Governor prove themselves to have been lying all along. Separate comment.

    Pay attention.

  11. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    By the way Gator,

    the POSSIBLE legal challenge is whether or not using the conference committee process was legal. Can separating a bill, NOT PASSED by BOTH houses, into component parts, by a “conference committee” (which is supposed to reconcile differences in the SAME bill passed by BOTH HOUSES), pass the Wisconsin constitutional test. That evidently remains to be seen.

    Until the WI Supreme Court rules on that matter, the issue stands as legal.

  12. Gator says:

    Max, SC said this:”There is no equivalence between the perfectly legal refusal to allow a quorum and passing a bill under false pretenses. While the first may frustrate the wishes of the GOP, the second is simply dishonest, unconstitutional”

    He said that there is NO EQUIVALENCE between the perfectly legal…

    If there is “no equilvalence” between something that is perfectly legal and something else then the something else is by definition illegal. A somewhat complex idea and apparently beyond your grasp.

    ‘Tis you that needs to pay attention. And BTW I was asking Mr U to answer since it was he that posted the incorrect aspersion.

    All of this hand wringing is silly. Only 26 states have laws that grant collective-bargaining privileges to substantially all public employees. Twelve have laws that give collective bargaining to some workers, and twelve have no statewide collective-bargaining law at all.

    Most federal civilian workers do engage in collective bargaining on some items, but wages and benefits are excluded from that bargaining. Far from seeking to strengthen the federal-employee unions, the President has worked to impose a two-year wage freeze on federal workers through the budget approval process.

    There is no clamor among Democrats in Virginia, for example, to give collective-bargaining privileges to public workers. Democrats in Washington haven’t shown much interest in empowering federal workers’ unions. Maybe this is because Democratic politicians, like their Republican counterparts, would rather write their budgets themselves as opposed to handing over control of employee-compensation costs to unions.

    Once Wisconsin politicians, particularly at the local level, get used to the new paradigm they will probably be quite happy with the new budgeting realities.

  13. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Gator,

    Fine, If you wish Mr U to respond, you’ll have to wait for him.

    I do believe sc is a WI resident and may be in a better position to speak from a firsthand view.

    You, my friend needs to take your own advice about dance as you do quite a fine two-step (come on over here to Gruene Hall and bust a move on the dancefloor, and I’ll spot you a Lone Star! LOL) as here is sc’s relevant quote:

    Either the provision is not, in the least, a financial one, in which case the procedural move was legal — and Scott Walker and all the GOP members who voted for it are proven liars — or it’s a financial bill pretending not to be a financial bill, in which case it’s blatantly unconstitutional.

  14. msgkings says:

    Actually, folks, Nate just posted on this very concept at the mothership (FiveThirtyEight): http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/wisconsin-dispute-could-mobilize-democratic-base/

    His analogy is not WI Rep procedural move = WI Dem senators going AWOL but WI Rep move = US Senate Dem moves to end run the filibuster to pass PPACA.

    I tend to agree with this analogy, it’s a little disingenuous for either side to point fingers and say ‘no fair’ when the other side does something sneaky but still perfectly legal. It is, however, a sad commentary on the level of partisanship gripping the country, and it is perhaps my most worrisome topic.

  15. Gator says:

    The info regarding the states that have collective bargaining was from a piece on NRO by Josh Barro, btw. Don’t have the link handy. Credit where credit is due. And so no one says ‘where did you get those #s?’.

  16. mclever says:

    @Gator

    By passing that portion of the bill in this fashion, Wisconsin Republicans may have violated the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law:

    http://www.wisfoic.org/an-openmeetingslaw.html

    I’m not a legal scholar, and it’ll be up to the state’s supreme court to decide, of course. But that’s the law that may have been violated when people talk about this as an “illegal” action.

  17. mclever says:

    @msgkings

    I saw Nate’s analogy to the methods used by Congressional Democrats to get the PPACA through while avoiding the filibuster, but I disagree that the Wisconsin Republican’s actions are analogous. From the public perception, they might be similar, but one involved using legitimate procedural rules to limit the filibuster after significant and lengthy process of compromise, and the other involved short-cutting all attempts at compromise and a potentially illegal failure to conduct open meetings as required by Wisconsin Statute § 19.81-19.98.

    I can see the analogy in that both are using “tricks” to get their preferred (and less than publicly favored) legislation through, but using the budget procedures in the US Senate is a common practice with plenty of precedent. What the Wisconsin Republicans did is very new and without precedent.

  18. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Next couple of hours or so I’ll be in transit to Corpus to take up residence on the boat for the remainder of the week at least. Y’all play nice and I’ll check in a bit later.

  19. msgkings says:

    @ mclever:

    Obviously we’re all free to disagree, but to me and obviously others the ‘optics’ conflate the two. And for the majority of voters, who are low information absorbers, that’s probably how it will fly.

    @ filistro:

    To the left the optics on this whole affair are terrible, and will certainly motivate the base (which is a gift to the Dems as they seemed pretty subdued in their support for Obama and the Dems before this). But to Reps it looks like the opposite: Walker and the Reps standing up to the greedy unions for the real ‘little guys’, the taxpayers. Then the Dems, the union’s puppets, have a hissy and skip town.

    Like most stuff in this hyperpartisan era, the optics look completely different to each side. Which adds to the frustrations of this moderate/centrist.

  20. Gator says:

    mclever said:”it’ll be up to the state’s supreme court to decide”

    No actually it would be the state attorney general that would decide. There are numerous exceptions to the law that you cite and it does not rise to penal law standards as indicated here:
    “19.81(4) (4) This subchapter shall be liberally construed to achieve the purposes set forth in this section, and the rule that penal statutes must be strictly construed shall be limited to the enforcement of forfeitures and shall not otherwise apply to actions brought under this subchapter or to interpretations thereof.”

    The question will ride on the decision of the attorney general as to whether this was in violation of the open meeting law. My guess would be that the public notification of the intent and the argument that unlimited access for the public would have been a safety issue and made the functioning of the body impossible will be what that decision turns upon. The argument will be that the intent of the law was legislation in the open and that they have met that standard. The open meeting law was not enacted so as to allow a mob to disrupt a legislative session.

  21. Gator says:

    Max,

    Tell SC to quit writing self-contradictory foolishness and then you won’t feel obligated to try and defend nonsense, thereby making yourself look silly as well.
    Good luck with that! LOL!

  22. mclever says:

    Gator,

    I’m not going to argue with you about how the technicalities of the law might play out. You were asking for the law in question, so I provided it. Until I’d looked, I’d also assumed that protestations of “illegality” were completely without merit. Until I found Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law this morning, I had assumed that the Republicans’ maneuverings were merely despicable gyrations to get through procedural loopholes. Now, I can see that they’ve at least violated (the intent if not the actual letter of) an actual law.

  23. Gator says:

    And Max,

    You’re the first man to ever compliment me on my dance moves. I’m not sure whether to be flattered… or disturbed.

    You should see my tango. OK, maybe not.

    LMAO!

  24. Gator says:

    mclever

    You provided a link to a law that you think they might be in violation of. Nothing more. You don’t want to argue the statute because it doesn’t say what you want it to. They most certainly provided more than 2 hours notice. And ‘good cause’ is extremely broad. As I said, the question will be the interpretation on the ‘impracticality’ of the notice law by the AG.

    Here is some more actual language from Wisconsins AG regarding the law…

    “The provision in Wis. Stat. § 19.84(3) requires that every public notice of a meeting be given at least twenty-four hours in advance of the meeting, unless “for good cause” such notice is “impossible or impractical.” If “good cause” exists, the notice should be given as soon as possible and must be given at least two hours in advance of the meeting. … If there is any doubt whether “good cause” exists, the governmental body should provide the full twenty-four-hour notice. [...]

    Wis. Stat. § 19.97(3) provides that a court may void any action taken at a meeting held in violation of the open meetings law if the court finds that the interest in enforcing the law outweighs any interest in maintaining the validity of the action”

    and here is the actual notice requirement language from the statute itself:

    (3) Public notice of every meeting of a governmental body
    shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of such
    meeting unless for good cause such notice is impossible or
    impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no
    case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of
    the meeting.

    http://www.doj.state.wi.us/AWP/2007OMCG-PRO/2007_OML_Compliance_Guide.pdf

  25. Mr. Universe says:

    @Gator

    mclever already stated it but you can watch it happen for yourself.

    Wisconsin violation

    You can hear thousands of people chanting outside while this is taking place. Teachers, service workers, students, regular people; not thugs.

    If you still think this is right after watching this, then God have mercy on your soul. They”ll be coming for you next.

  26. filistro says:

    Gator, I don’t want to get into an argument with you because I’m afraid you’re probably smarter than I am… and a better dancer… and you have all those teeth :-)

    But here is the argument as presented around the blogosphere (and referenced by Mr U. above) which has now taken root and become the general perception:

    In WI you can’t vote on a financial or budgetary issue without a quorum. Walker claimed repeatedly that the need to limit collective bargaining was for financial reasons, in oder to help balance the state budget.

    So by stripping collective bargaining out of the budget bill and voting on it separately he either:

    a.) broke the law by passing a financial measure without a quorum

    or

    b.) lied repeatedly to state residents about the fact that collective bargaining was a financial issue

    I don’t know how valid this construction is under the law. But this is politics, where perception matters more than anything. And there is a growing perception that the governor is either a criminal or a liar.

  27. filistro says:

    UPDATE… talk about “in your face.” Chutzpah on steroids. Overreach times 11.

    Walker has just blandly confirmed that he is not a liar, but is indeed a criminal.

    “We followed the law, and yet it allows us to move forward with these reforms — which are indeed fiscal,” said Walker. “They’re not in conflict with that requirement for a quorum, but they are indeed fiscal. They give a fiscal benefit to the state, for the remainder of the year it’ll allow us to save 30m, which allows us to save 1500 jobs, and for the next two years thereafter in the next budget it gives us the equivalent of $300 million worth of savings, which allows us to save 5-6,000 jobs.”

  28. Monotreme says:

    “Good cause”. Like a war, tornado, or other fiscal emergency.

    We can argue about this all day, but it will be for the Wisconsin courts to decide first, then the voters as they are presented with recall elections. Fili is right. The law is important, but what really matters for the medium game and the long game is perception.

    Before you go off on me for being a flaming liberal, let me say clearly that I think we need to discuss whether collective bargaining rights for public sector unions are a good thing or not. My personal, off-the-cuff opinion is that they are not, but I haven’t thought it through all the way. The key part is, we need to discuss it. It’s the high-handed and arrogant way in which this was handled that won’t play with the American people.

    The opposite is true of PPACA. I believe the American people were saying, “okay, we’ve discussed this to death, let’s just get on with it.” I believe it was the dithering, and not the eventual outcome, that shifted public perception away from President Obama and the Congressional Democrats.

  29. Gator says:

    Fili

    I doubt I’m smarter than you. Just way more tenacious. I have to argue with all of you. You must face only me. I like it that way. And as far as you all being too smug because you all agree on everything, remember that I was apparently the only one to be discerning enough, perceptive enough to know that mclever was a woman. And I KNEW. So arrogant or not, full of self certitude or not, remember that I was the only one that was right about that. Bugs he** out of you, doesn’t it mclever? And if I was the only one to be correct about that … LMAO! To the subject at hand.

    The fact that they stripped the financial componenets out of the bill does not invalidate the need to enact the part that is left. What they have done is divide the legislation into two seperate bills. Passing one doesn’t have a moral affect or effect on the other bill. Your argument is with the definition of budgetary items and that has long been established.

  30. Gator says:

    And Fili

    A politician that is also a liar! Shocking! Dude’s a chief exec of a state. You can’t really be surprised that his sense of ethics and propriety is… flexible.

    Rose tinted glasses and ever the optimist, Fili.

  31. Mr. Universe says:

    We know who mclever is. We endeavour to respect everyone’s desire for anonymity and privacy.

  32. Monotreme says:

    fili:

    Walker is trying to split the baby, but as an inexperienced baby-splitter, all he’s made (as evidenced by his quote) is a horrific mess.

    As I’ve mentioned earlier in reference to Tommy Thompson, I’m amazed at the people with no political acumen whatsoever that get elected to statewide office in Wisconsin. They might do better with a lottery wheel instead of a ballot box.

  33. Mr. Universe says:

    Wheel of misfortune?

  34. filistro says:

    @Gator… A politician that is also a liar! Shocking!

    It’s not that. Of course we suspect them all of lying a lot of the time… but this is different. Treme has grasped the essence of it when he calls the governor’s actions “high-handed and arrogant.”

    We really want our politicians to lie to us with some guile and subtlety. We expect them, while lying, to at least make an EFFORT to look sincere and earnest.

    This guy isn’t even trying to hide his contempt for his working-class constituents. He doesn’t have to, because he is wholly owned by the Koch brothers who have more money than God.

    “Voters? We don’t need no stinkin’ voters! When elections roll around, Daddy will buy us all the votes we need. In the meantime, you little people can just shut up and eat your gruel. There are lots of little people who don’t even HAVE gruel, so you should all be grateful.”

  35. Gator says:

    Mr U

    mclever said on another thread that everyone thinks that she/he is a man. I said that I know she is a woman because of syntax and the way she processes info. Women are infinitely more complex. He/she never actually acknowledged either way. Not necessary for me. I know. And now to show a sense of fair play… I am a man. The point being I didn’t divulge anything because I’m not privy to that info.

    Chiding me for being brilliantly perceptive is like chiding Max for being grumpy, or Fili for being sweet. It’s who we are. LMAO!

  36. dcpetterson says:

    @Monotreme

    The other thing that confused the perception of public opinion about PPACA was the fact that many on the left didn’t like it because it doesn’t go far enough. This was spun by the right into “America doesn’t want this health care reform bill!” with their typical distain for nuance.

    What we have here, however, is clear Republican arrogance, ramming an ideologically-driven bill down the people’s throat with no discussion, no compromise, a series of typical (but this time blatant) lies, and a completely unprecedented underhanded shell game. The Republicans complained about using the reconciliation process to enact PPACA; this was simple hypocrisy, as they engaged in precisely this tactic a number of times during the Bush years. In contrast, what the WI GOP did had not been done before, period, and revealed their double-talking dishonesty.

    So while Nate may want to draw a parallel, it is a false analogy. Republicans love the tu quoque defense — it’s the only way they can hope to excuse their putrid perfidy, since their actions cannot be rationally defended on their own merits. But the unions, and even non-union workers, are enraged, and aren’t buying it this time. If there is a loving God, then the spirit of Justice may have finally reawakened.

  37. His analogy is not WI Rep procedural move = WI Dem senators going AWOL but WI Rep move = US Senate Dem moves to end run the filibuster to pass PPACA.

    Yep, I’m a bit late to the party today but that’s pretty much how I read it as well. It will be interesting to see what the Wisconsin Supreme Court says about collective bargaining and fiscal bills. That’s a call way above the pay grade of anyone who has yet posted to this site, and I don’t have the tiniest inkling of an idea which way that will go.

  38. Gator,

    The info regarding the states that have collective bargaining was from a piece on NRO by Josh Barro, btw.

    It lines up acceptably to the more nuanced data I pulled from elsewhere on the net.

  39. filistro says:

    I think mclever is conducting a devilishly clever sociological experiment. Mclever has discovered that a poster who is brilliant, well-informed, incisive and literate, and who presents a gender-neutral persona onscreen, is almost always perceived as male… and treated with more respect.

    If sly hints are subsequently dropped that might change that perception to a suspicion the poster is after all female… the treatment will change. It will become more teasing, patronizing, playful and somewhat dismissive. (As you have demonstrated.)

    So maybe you’re not as perceptive as you think, Gator. Maybe you’re just a research subject. ;-)

  40. Gator says:

    Sonsabeetch, I hate “lining up acceptably to the more nuanced”.
    Being the proverbial bull in the china shop, and all.

  41. Gator says:

    Fili

    I wondered what that probing sensation was.

    And if anyone treats him/her differently based on their perception of gender, that speaks to their foolishness. And as I said, I can’t drop sly hints because much like Schultzie “I know nossink!”

  42. mclever says:

    @filistro

    Hush!! You’re giving away my secrets!! ;-)

  43. filistro says:

    @Gator… I wondered what that probing sensation was.

    LOL… I can think of at least three really funny comebacks. Alas, none of them would make it past the censors.

    @mac… You’re giving away my secrets!!

    Hey, guy… your secrets are safe with me.

    ( Um… I meant hey girl…)

  44. Gator says:

    Fili if you think I’m not dismissive to men, you need to read EVERYTHING I ever posted to ShortChain! All I do is pull his… wait for it… ShortChain! And he does try mightily to respond so I give him props for that. I am an equal opportunity offender.

    I just like messing with LittleLinks ‘cuz he tries so hard. I respect that.

    mclever if I offended you yet again, I apologize yet again.

  45. mclever says:

    @Gator

    Actually, identifying information about me was discussed way back on one of the initial threads at this blog where we were all introducing ourselves. I let people guess first, which confirmed that most (not all) guess me as male upon first impression, usually based on my interests and “logical” approach. On that thread, I unveiled the truth, so most of the regulars here already know who I am. Regardless of what gender one assumes me to be, I usually do not go out of my way to correct any misperceptions, though I will poke at someone for making assumptions. It just surprises me when someone guesses me as female with the level of certainty that you displayed.

    And now, just to stir the pot on the actual subject of this thread…

    Oh noes! The stock market was off almost 2% this morning! It must be because of what the Republicans did in Wisconsin!! Right!?
    /sarcasm
    ;-)

  46. Gator says:

    C’mon Fili,

    I gave you one high and outside. You should have sent that over the fence. Scr** the filters!

  47. Gator,

    The question will ride on the decision of the attorney general as to whether this was in violation of the open meeting law.

    In the same way that the District Attorney prosecutes crimes against the state. But it’s the court’s role to adjudicate.

  48. Gator,

    you all agree on everything

    And you call yourself perceptive.

  49. Gator,

    if anyone treats him/her differently based on their perception of gender, that speaks to their foolishness

    Hmmm…this coming from a guy who admitted to treating women differently than men in such forums as these. What should we conclude from this?

  50. Gator says:

    MW

    It would first have to be prosecuted to be adjudicated. That may or may not happen… at the discretion of the AG.

    mclever

    OK, so why are Mr U and Fili giving me grief if apparently everyone (except me) already knows your gender? As far as my certitude, I am rarely unsure of my position on any subject and even less rarely do I question my reasoning or capabilities. Until I have some reason to change, that will remain the case. BTW, I’m right aren’t I? So given the fact that I’m correct AND absolutely self assured, maybe you should give more consideration to what I post. Given that the others were either incorrect or at best unsure, it stands to reason that my deductive/reasoning skills are superior. Bwaaaahaaaahaaaa!!!

  51. Mr. Universe says:

    Chiding me for being brilliantly perceptive

    Not chiding. We just believe in protecting the privacy of our commenters. Including yours. You could be a strip club girl for all I know (sorry, everybody for that visual).

  52. mclever says:

    Gator,

    I’m giving you grief for suggesting that you would treat me differently because of your perception of my gender.

  53. mclever says:

    To follow my previous comment:

    And if you would treat me (or anyone else) differently based on your perception of another’s gender, then that does not reflect well on either your reasoning or your decision-making skills.

  54. Gator says:

    MW

    I prefer women as a rule. That would certainly make me a fool in the eyes of many. So be it. I do try to be less abrasive to women, both in the ‘real world’ and on the net. So a fool I am indeed! However, I would never be dimissive based on gender. Only on foolishness.

    And Michael if you are going to start pointing out the error of generalities in the comments posted here, you better get some coffee. You’re gonna’ be here a while!

    And wasn’t it you fretting about self selection? Echo chamber issues? That was you, right?

  55. Gator says:

    “You could be a strip club girl for all I know (sorry, everybody for that visual).”

    Who talked?!?!

  56. Mr. Universe says:

    You know, just because my pseudonym indicates masculinity, can you be sure I’m a dude?

  57. Gator says:

    mclever

    Maybe you misunderstood what I meant by treating someone differently. I would never treat your ideas differently based on your gender. A good idea is gender neutral. So is a bad idea.

    I will endeavour to be less abrasive and more polite to a woman. That is called gentility and I am a practitioner. I will not apologize for that. It’s not sexist, it’s polite.

  58. Gator,

    That may or may not happen… at the discretion of the AG.

    While the AG may choose not to prosecute, I suspect that a member of the legislative branch can also file suit. I’d be surprised if Wisconsin would prohibit such action, since it would immunize the executive branch from legal action for constitutional violations.

    why are Mr U and Fili giving me grief if apparently everyone (except me) already knows your gender?

    Because you were so smug about it, I’d assume.

  59. Gator says:

    Mr U

    I’ve seen your picture. You are either a man or the ugliest woman on the left coast. LMAO!

  60. Gator,

    wasn’t it you fretting about self selection? Echo chamber issues? That was you, right?

    Yes, that’s me. But I try to be equal-opportunity when it comes to pointing out peoples inconsistencies. If that turns out to be something liberals can handle better than conservatives, then perhaps there’s a more fundamental issue that we need to look at.

  61. mclever says:

    @Mr. Universe

    I always assumed you were Kaylee, the engineering savant, telling us not to ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine, because they fall right out of the sky.
    ;-)

  62. just because my pseudonym indicates masculinity, can you be sure I’m a dude

    Good point. “Universe” is masculine in French.

  63. Gator says:

    MW said: “Because you were so smug about it, I’d assume.”

    Michael, I’m smug about everything. If you were me, you would understand why.
    ROFL!

  64. mclever says:

    Gator,

    In my experience, when a guy says he’s going to be more “polite” because he’s talking to a woman, then that also means he’s taking her less seriously. You’re enough of an equal-annoyance curmudgeon that it may not be so with you, but it does make me bristle to hear anyone suggest different treatment based on gender.

    If you go back to my original objection to your reference to my inferred gender, I suggested that you should treat both men and women with equal politeness. Dissect, analyze, and dispute our arguments, but do so politely, even if you think we are male.

    The same goes for everyone else here, too!
    :-)

  65. Mr. Universe says:

    Hell, I’m not even that good looking of a man.

    @mclever

    The 5062 is the same model. They just re-did the hull plating so’s ya wouldn’t notice.

    (I’m sure I butchered that but I didn’t feel like perusing the DVD to find it)

  66. Gator says:

    mclever said: “I suggested that you should treat both men and women with equal politeness.”

    That may be the paradigm you have chosen. It is not mine. I like women more. I respect women more. Ergo, I treat them with more regard and with more respect. I will continue to do so. Sorry for yourself, but I like you more and there is nothing you can do to change that! ;)

  67. Mr. Universe says:

    BTW Jewel Staite is on my Twitter feed.

  68. mclever says:

    @Mr. Universe

    Hell, I’m not even that good looking of a man.

    That’s what I love about the Internet. As far as I’m concerned, you all look like Brad Pitt and Megan Fox, with the occasional George Clooney or Demi Moore thrown in if age becomes too obvious. Though, in your case Mr. U, I’ll think of you as Nathan Fillion.
    :-)

  69. mclever says:

    @Mr. Universe re: Jewel Staite

    Shiny!! ;-)

  70. Gator says:

    mclever

    You need to move. Apparently wherever you are is full of neanderthals and bad pharmacists. What level of redneck he** are you trapped on?

  71. Mr. Universe says:

    Captain (tightpants) Malcolm Reynolds, at your service.

  72. mclever says:

    Speaking of perusing Twitter and Facebook feeds, I have a few friends in Wisconsin, and they are pretty universally pissed about how the Republicans passed the union-busting portion of the bill.

    – One friend posted Green Day’s “American Idiot” video and got a dozen immediate likes.
    – Another referred to it as a classic Pyrrhic victory and promised to help ensure the WI Republicans felt the backlash.
    – “Welcome to the 1930’s”
    – links to UnitedWisconsin.com and collecting recall signatures.
    – links to other groups sharing ideas for getting active.

    Of course, all of this is anecdotal, but it fits with Mr. Universe’s initial observation that many people on the ground in Wisconsin feel the need to “storm the Bastille” because of the way they’re being treated by the Wisconsin Republicans. They’re talking about significant ground motivation for early recalls and also already working on how to improve turnout for 2012 among liberals and the ambivalent.

  73. Mr. Universe says:

    For those of you lost in the geekness, go to Hulu and watch the episode ‘Shindig’ of the show Firefly.

  74. mclever says:

    @Gator

    I lived in Texas for six years. (In the HUB, just east of Dallas.) You’re right. With the stellar exception of Max, they were neanderthals and bad pharmacists!

  75. Gator says:

    But with better schools that Wisconsin! At least as per the NAEP. LMAO!

    Sorry mclever, it was too easy! See I’m not really that nice, even if you are a woman.

  76. dcpetterson says:

    @mclever, @Mr. U

    ” … you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.”

  77. Gator says:

    MW said: “Good point. “Universe” is masculine in French.”

    Ummm, sorry I beg to differ, but NOTHING is masculine in FRENCH! Not even a Frenchman.

  78. Mr. Universe says:

    @Gator

    Au Contraire, mon frere

  79. mclever says:

    More anecdotal evidence about the rabble storming the Bastille…

    It looks like Nate’s article on the situation in Wisconsin has garnered more comments and “Recommendations” than just about anything else he’s posted since moving to NYT.

    People are definitely agitated about this!

  80. Gator says:

    Mr U

    The prosecution rests. LOL!

  81. mclever says:

    @Gator

    Re: schools in Texas

    My brief tenure in Texas is why I can speak with knowledge about how the state gamed student test results to make their scores look better than they really were… No, I can’t post any links to this, because most of my information came from angry parents and other teachers, and most of it’s at least a decade old. And, no, I don’t know if they’re still doing it. It wasn’t like this was “secret” knowledge, but it did astonish me that no one in the media ever challenged GWB’s claims about how schools improved under his tenure, because it was so obvious how those “improvements” were obtained.

    But that’s part of why I turn a skeptical eye to using Texas test results as any measure of quality. I was there. I saw Texas schools. And I was not impressed. There were some really great teachers vying valiantly to train students to *think* critically, but the system was stacked against their success.

    And, if you review the thread where this topic originally came up, I pointed out that if you re-parse the data from NAEP using the Family Income statistics instead of racial statistics, you’ll see that actually Wisconsin outperforms Texas, as I asserted was likely to be the case.

    Now, this thread is supposed to be about Wisconsin, the legislature’s sneaky passage of the union-busting portions of the bill only, and the reaction to that, so let’s leave Texas schools alone. They get picked on enough as it is!

  82. Gator says:

    mclever

    I know all of that. Lighten up, I was just goofin’ on ya’ a little. I do that occasionally in case you hadn’t picked up on that. Gotta’ let the severe teacher thing go and see the humor sometimes. Life is a laughing matter.

    And this thread was Mr U venting. So a little latitude and leeway is probably in order. Just sayin’.

  83. shortchain says:

    Nothing I posted was self-contradictory.

    Let me just ask: if stripping the legal right to collective bargaining on pay is not a fiscal bill, what is it?

    I don’t expect to get a coherent answer, I’m just asking what else could it possibly be.

  84. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Avast, ye lubbers! The Honey B is fitted and trimmed and ready for action! Don’t mess wi’ her sting, else ye find yerself in trouble.

    Gator, don’t be messing wi’ the wimmen or ye’ll find yerself on the plank wi’ me sword at ye back! We all saw the recent football season and we know the Gator to be toothless!

    I read that compliment Miss mclever, so especially fer ye:

    “They say the name Corpus Christi means the body of Jesus
    Pronounce it Refugio city folks they don’t know
    It looks like Palacios but sounds like
    Just listen the next time you’re watchin’ Sid Lasher

    And the wind blew the echoes of long-faded voices
    And they would sing me a song that the old cowboys sang
    And I didn’t know what the words meant or anything
    I was just singing

    Saint Mother Maria watch over us please
    As we wonder around in this dangerous world
    Thank Mother Maria there’s nothing so sweet
    As the undying love of a South Texas girl”

    Mr Lovett

  85. filistro says:

    Thursday is my league curling day so I’ve missed most of this important political discussion. Two observations:

    1.) Hidden Identities and Fake Personae:

    @Gator: As far as my certitude, I am rarely unsure of my position on any subject and even less rarely do I question my reasoning or capabilities.

    Gator is clearly here incognito, just messing with us. He is really Charlie Sheen.

    2.) What People Look Like in RL…

    Ignore what Mr U says about his appearance. Mr U is killer cute. Think Justin Timberlake meets Kevin Spacey… and then add facial hair. ;-)

  86. Gator says:

    See SC, that was what I was talking about. Fiesty little dude, ain’t ya’! Bravo!

    BTW, I already posted one of the self-contradictory statements upthread. Address that one then perhaps we’ll move along to the next, ScantyShackles.

    And BriefBonds didn’t you post a response to one of my comments the other day saying that having read that comment you remembered why you didn’t read my comments and wouldn’t respond to them? And here you are again, a study in emotional conflicts, refusing to follow your own advice and responding to yet another one of my comments that you don’t read… or respond too. Go back on the meds, TinyTethers

  87. Mr. Universe says:

    Gator as Charlie Sheen; Winning, DUH!

    Just a note. Fili and the rest have just seen a picture of me from this past weekend for the first time after a three mile, 2000 ft elevation gain snowshoe event. Not my best look ever.

  88. shortchain says:

    Gator,

    You post so much drivel it’s difficult to tell, but perhaps you are speaking of “To be an illeagal act, it MUST be in violation of a statutory law. Please specify which law.”

    The Wisconsin constitution, as everyone knows by now, requires a quorum for fiscal bills.

    I ask again: if the bill stripping the right to collectively bargain for wages on the part of public employees is not a fiscal bill, what is it?

  89. Bart DePalma says:

    U:

    The purpose of unions is to obtain a compensation package and work rules better than that offered by employers in a free market. Otherwise why bother? This is justified against private employers on the socialist ground that they are rich people who obtained their wealth unfairly from the sweat of working people. However, the tax payers who foot the bill for public employee union (PEU) compensation packages and have to live with the reduced services brought about by union work rules are overwhelmingly working folks themselves. In short, PEUs are collectively bargaining against their neighbors.

    PEUs further acted against the taxpayers for whom they work by entering into a corrupt bargain with a single political party. PEUs use their dues to make campaign contributions and provide paid manpower to elect Dems. In turn, Dem governments increase PEU compensation packages and work rules. In turn, the increases compensation packages increase unions dues and campaign contributions for Dems. It is quite the cycle of corruption between public employees and elected representatives against the taxpayers on whose behalf they were hired to work.

    Can you imagine the howls from progressives if teaching was privatized and the company who won the contract to teach WI students was the GOP’s largest single campaign donor and GOP governments returned the favor by increasing the money the state paid per student to the company? This corrupt bargain would be justifiably condemned as de facto bribery. The PEUs are unhypothetically engaged in the same corrupt bargain with the Dems.

    I do not think Walker has done nearly enough to explain to the people of WI why the old arrangement stinks to high heaven. The Dems and PEUs are winning the messaging war. That is unfortunate.

  90. Jungle Jim says:

    All I’ve got to say is: Thank God for Walker and the rest of the GOP creeps. It shows people that the Republicans really are the party of the rich and the more the GOP wins, the more the middle class of America loses. Thanks for waking the Sleeping Giant!

  91. Gator says:

    Max

    Since 2005:

    UF – 2 National Championships Men’s Basketball
    UF – 2 National Championships Men’s Football
    UF – 1 Heisman Trophy winner

    but all of that wasn’t this year so let’s look at that

    2010

    UF Football – 8 wins / 5 losses and a victory over PSU in a major bowl… during a transition year
    UF Men’s Basketball 2010/11
    24 – 5 won the SEC conference championship / national rank 12th and still not done

    UF men’s Baseball 10-1 current national rank #1

    So Max I showed you mine so now show me yours. What school do you root for? Oh yeah, doesn’t matter. They still suck when compared to UF.

    Mr U

    Comparing me to Charlie Sheen is insulting. I don’t compare you to Rachel Maddow do I?

    That sh** is funny, I don’t care who ya’ are!

  92. filistro says:

    Hi Bart! Welcome back…. :-)

  93. The purpose of unions is to obtain a compensation package and work rules better than that offered by employers in a free market.

    That is the most common purpose in the US, but not the only.

    Otherwise why bother?

    There are times when, collectively, efficiencies can be gained that otherwise would be ignored by the company’s management. Toyota did this pretty well for a number of years.

    This is justified against private employers on the socialist ground…

    Please leave the branding out of it.

    PEUs further acted against the taxpayers for whom they work by entering into a corrupt bargain with a single political party.

    That they naturally gravitated toward each other hardly makes the relationship corrupt. Nor does a positive feedback loop make the relationship corrupt. Natural symbioses occur all the time without corruption being a necessary component of the relationship.

  94. mclever says:

    Hey, Bart!

    Ronald Reagan says that being able to unionize is a basic human right:


    :-)

  95. Mr. Universe says:

    Ronald Reagan also destroyed PATCO

    Sorry to sound like a broken record but this all really started with that event 30 years ago.

    Ironically, Reagan belonged to the union for actors.

  96. mclever says:

    @msgkings

    Regarding Nate’s recent post on this topic:

    His analogy is not WI Rep procedural move = WI Dem senators going AWOL but WI Rep move = US Senate Dem moves to end run the filibuster to pass PPACA.

    I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me when you first posted this. Probably because I generally trust Nate to get things like this right, and you’re usually pretty reasonable, too…

    But it just occurred to me that the US Senate Dems didn’t use the reconciliation process to get around the filibuster in order to pass the health care bill. Pundits talked about them doing it, but it never happened. Actually, the Senate passed a version of the bill with 60 votes after the House already passed a slightly different version of the bill. Then, Teddy died and the Dems lost their supermajority in the Senate. Rather than sending the bill through committee to reconcile differences with the two bills and a face a likely filibuster, on the revote in the Senate on the reconciled bill, the House decided to simply pass the Senate version of the bill. Rather than doing a “back end” approach, they went straight through the front door and passed the bill using the regular process.

    The optics on this (as you have noted) are all screwed up for Democrats, but should they really be? I’m not sure why the Republicans so successfully cast this as some sort of finagling of the rules, when what the Democrats actually did fits with what any HS civics text says the process should be! Bill voted on and passed in one chamber, then voted on and passed in the other chamber, then sent to President’s desk. In contrast to the finagling that usually goes on in reality, this was actually much more straightforward treatment than most bills get.

    That makes Nate’s analogy even less applicable than I originally thought!

  97. mclever says:

    @Mr. Universe

    Sometimes I think Mr. Reagan must have had a very irony rich diet…

  98. Mr. U,

    Sorry to sound like a broken record but this all really started with that event 30 years ago.

    They were prohibited from striking, and yet struck anyway. I have a hard time feeling great sympathy for them in that regard. On the other hand, ATC has gotten an awful lot dicier since then…

  99. mclever,
    As I recall, reconciliation was used for the “fixer” bill that the House passed after agreeing to the Senate bill. So it’s not as unapplicable as you thought. In fact, it highlights just how much the PPACA ultimately depended upon a substantial amount of procedural navigation.

  100. mclever says:

    @Michael

    As always, thanks for the sanity check. :-)

  101. Bart DePalma says:

    As did FDR before him, Reagan believed in private sector, but not public sector, unions.

  102. Brian says:

    If Gator is Charlie Sheen, you should know I’ve submitted an application to be your intern.

  103. Mr. Universe says:

    @MW

    Yes, I understand that the air traffic controllers broke their contracts. But the suicide rate was up, the stress of extended hours and increasingly filled skies was becoming a problem that the government chose to ignore (actually, Reagan promised to address their issues as a campaign promise so that PATCO would support him in defeating Carter). If collective bargaining had been in place, the results might have been worked out to a much better solution. Instead, it set the example that leads us to the situation we face today. Complete control with no rights to the workers. And we’re back in the 1800’s again. Robber Barons are all gathered around Wall Street deciding with the whim of casual Gods how our lives can be.

  104. filistro says:

    @Brian… If Gator is Charlie Sheen, you should know I’ve submitted an application to be your intern.

    Hey, cool! Let us know how it goes, Brian.

    (I’m sure those pierced nips will put you on Charlie’s shortlist… ;-))

  105. Gator says:

    Brian said: “If Gator is Charlie Sheen, you should know I’ve submitted an application to be your intern.”

    I’ll talk to the goddesses and let you know. Do you have a good connection for blow, by any chance?

  106. Mr. Universe says:

    ATC has gotten an awful lot dicier since then…

    Actually no. I’ve been in the tower and in Ground control. These people are one well oiled machine. They are forced to take mandatory breaks and they get adequate holiday and sick time. If you’ve ever flown, you owe these unseen people a HUGE debt of thanks. You have absolutely no idea what goes on in the airways. It’s extremely complicated managing traffic in and around airports. I can’t emphasize that enough. The fact that you landed safely just recently is not because of your pilot alone; it’s a partnership between your pilot and the tower. They are the unsung heroes of the airways.

  107. Gator says:

    What!? Pierced nips! Now you know what you are doing Brian? Winning! Like me!

    And Bree has a pierced… well maybe you’ll get to see! Winning, Brian! Yeah America, I said it.

  108. Gator says:

    How much coke did Charlie Sheen snort?

    Enough to kil 2 1/2 Men!

  109. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    I’ve not had any problems with ATC. Now pilots that don’t keep radio contact are a different issue.

    But flight briefing, now that it has been privatized is a TOTALLY different matter. Waits can be long, briefers can be inconsistent and quality is widely varying from one to the next.

    More and more pilots are using alternate sources as DUATS etc.

    Just wait til privatization hits a few other areas.

  110. Mr U,

    I’ve been in the tower and in Ground control.

    So have I. And I’ve been on the other end of conversations with those same people. Much of the diciness has to do with the equipment they use, but they’re still pushed beyond where they should be in high-traffic areas. The rest of what you said does nothing to explain how ATC itself hasn’t gotten dicier.

  111. Mr. Universe says:

    I remember being in the pattern earning solo time doing touch-and-go’s. I was on the downwind leg of the approach when the ATC came on and asked, “You got time for a question?”
    I said “Yes Mam” (It’s a southern gentleman thing)
    She said , “Is this your first solo in the pattern?”
    I dutifully replied, “I’m required to inform you of that under FAA regulations…This is my second time”
    She said, “Tell your instructor to give you an ‘A’ because you have performed flawlessly”
    I smiled and said, “Well, it helps to have a qualified ground crew”

    Shoulda asked her out on a date.

  112. dcpetterson says:

    The purpose of unions is to obtain a compensation package and work rules better than what we had under the Dickensian workhouses of the nineteenth century. Worker safety, child labor laws, Teddy Roosevelt’s “living wage,” an end to the virtual slavery of company towns — this is what unions achieved. We would not have a middle class without unions. This is justified against private employers on the humanitarian ground that the feudal manor-lords provably would rather destroy the tax-paying serfs than treat them as if they were actual people. The tax payers who foot the bill for corporate welfare recognize that public employee union (PEU) compensation packages are set up to reduce public wages in exchange for more secure employment. Public employees have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the nation, and tax payers realize they (the police, the fire fighters, the teachers of our children) deserve our thanks and recognition and respect. And they lead the way for humane treatment for all workers everywhere. In short, PEUs are collectively bargaining for the betterment of their neighbors.

    Far right ideologues want to set up a false friction, a divide-and-conquer strategy by pitting middle-class public workers against middle-class private employees. These ideologues further acted against the taxpayers and the nation’s citizens by entering into a corrupt bargain with a single political party. Corporate special interests buy influence by appointing their pet candidates to high office, and then writing the rules by which they are supposedly regulated. In turn, Republican governments increase tax breaks for these corporations, and work to impoverish the middle class. It is quite the cycle of corruption between the wealthy elites and elected representatives against the taxpayers on whose behalf elected representatives were hired to work.

    Can you imagine the howls from regressives if, say, our natural resources were nationalized and the companies who presently hold Republican leashes could no longer gut the services we’ve come to expect from a sane and humane government? The corrupt bargain wealthy interests currently enjoy would be justifiably condemned as de facto bribery. The FOXers are unapologicaly engaged in an indefensible corrupt bargain with the Republicans.

    I do not think the Democrats have done nearly enough to explain to the people of WI — or of America — why the old arrangement stinks to high heaven. The Republicans and FOXers are winning the messaging war. That is unfortunate.

  113. filistro says:

    Well, this is kind of awesome.

    AFL-CIO thanks Governor Walker and the WI Republicans.

    “Well, thank you, Scott Walker,” Trumka said during a speech in Washington, DC to the group Campaign for America’s Future. “We should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year award! Because Gov. Walker’s over-reaching has brought us to this moment to talk about jobs. This is the debate we’ve wanted to have. Well, guess what? Suddenly the debate came to us, and we’re winning.”

    “In your lifetime, have you ever seen this much solidarity, this much excitement, this much activism?” he continued. “As progressives, it is our job to transform the outrage and make this moment a movement – to ensure that this corruption in the Midwest does not stand.”

  114. dcpetterson says:

    The purpose of unions is to obtain a compensation package and work rules better than what we had under the Dickensian workhouses of the nineteenth century.

    I felt the urgent need to show that it is possible to create a content-free comment that sounds as if it means something, merely by stringing together random partisan talking points distantly related to a given concept. I do hope this doesn’t become a habit; but it is perhaps the only rational response to this technique when it has been executed by someone else. It certainly eliminates the necessity for attempting to give a rational response to a non-rational screed, an exercise which would be, in any case, not really possible.

  115. filistro says:

    dc… I knew what you were doing. I instantly recognized the provenance of your final two sentences, since they had actually startled me quite a bit in their original context ;-)

  116. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    The unions are 0-3 in OH, FL and now WI. Trumka’s attempted intimidation, property destruction and death threats failed.

    [While on this subject, I have not been following the posting here since my sabbatical. Have you folks been condemning the union thuggery with the gusto with which you made the baseless libels against the Tea Party? Even a peep? A grimace? Gateway Pundit and Meade over at Althouse did some great reporting on the subject (including Meade's own assault at the hands of thugs who accused him of being a "Walker plant" and tried to steal his camera).]

    Anyway, if workers across America are inspired by the PEU loss in WI to join unions now, Trumka is free to show us all of his new AFL-CIO members. Otherwise, Trumka’s merely putting a defiant happy face sticker on a saran wrapped offal sandwich.

  117. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    Nice try to spin the fact that WI is one of 41 states where the poor, abused PEU workers paid off politicians to obtain better compensation packages than the taxpayers who foot the bill. Nineteenth century West Virginia coal miners these people are not.

  118. filistro says:

    Bart, it’s SO nice to have you back! Now I get to show you stuff like this… how the “voter enthusiasm” gap in WI favored Republicans by 10% last summer… but… oops! not any more.

    As for condemning “union thuggery”… why should we bother when one of the most respected voices in American politics is doing the same thing, and so much more eloquently? ;-)

    Palin to Union Brass: ‘Turn Down the Rhetoric’

    March 10, 2011 9:23 P.M.

    By Robert Costa

    Sarah Palin blasted national labor leaders in a Thursday interview with Sean Hannity, calling on “union bosses” to “turn down the rhetoric” in Wisconsin, where Republican legislators have repeatedly been threatened and harassed in recent weeks. “Union bosses are acting like thugs,” she said. “They are leading some good union members down a road that could result in somebody getting hurt, if you believe the death threats.”

    The Badger State, she added, has become the central front for the country’s fiscal debate. She argued that it has been “strategically picked” by Democrats and their labor allies as a must-win political battle as the 2012 election cycle approaches.

  119. dcpetterson says:

    Bart:

    ::: chuckle :::

    Content-free attacks do not a rational argument make. Nor need they elicit refutation. Have you any point to contribute that is remotely reasoned or supportable?

  120. Mule Rider says:

    “We would not have a middle class without unions.”

    Patently false and completely unsupportable statement.

    How else do you explain that the overwhelming majority of middle-class workers hold jobs in fields that aren’t unionized?

    Spare us the empty platitudes, please.

  121. Mr. Universe says:

    Funny. I write a 3:00am rant last night and we break traffic records on the site. I spend a lot of research time on a thoughtful article and pshhh, not so much. Go figure. Well, at least everybody’s having fun talking about stuff.

  122. Mr. Universe says:

    I felt the urgent need to show that it is possible to create a content-free comment that sounds as if it means something, merely by stringing together random partisan talking points distantly related to a given concept. I do hope this doesn’t become a habit; but it is perhaps the only rational response to this technique when it has been executed by someone else. It certainly eliminates the necessity for attempting to give a rational response to a non-rational screed, an exercise which would be, in any case, not really possible.

    Can’t…stop…laughing

    I had no idea you had a knack for sarcastic wit.

  123. Mr. Universe says:

    Mule said

    “We would not have a middle class without unions.”

    Patently false and completely unsupportable statement.

    Not true.

    I’ll forgive you for being ignorant of history, but you are wrong. The only reason you enjoy weekends, 40 hour work weeks, employee benefits, workmans comp, sick leave, etc. is because of organized labour. Why the hell do you think we have a labour day holiday, tool?

  124. He got me, though. Yes, I knew he was paraphrasing Bart, but I didn’t catch the more subtle nuance.

  125. Mule,

    “We would not have a middle class without unions.”

    Patently false and completely unsupportable statement.

    It was true before about the late ’60s. Wages and benefits were clearly raised by unions for those without education beyond high school. It’s the period after that, when the demand for high-school educated people dropped, but demand for college educated people rose, that we began to get this more lopsided distribution.

    How else do you explain that the overwhelming majority of middle-class workers hold jobs in fields that aren’t unionized?

    They don’t. The overwhelming majority of upper middle class workers hold jobs in fields that aren’t unionized. And probably wouldn’t benefit much from being unionized, until the supply of college educated workers exceeds the demand. We’re not there yet.

  126. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    I would expect the Dems to get riled up when the GOP attacks one of the foundations of their power and the Dem press plays megaphone for the unions. Whether the Indis are being similarly moved and whether either intensity lasts are the better questions.

    PEU members make up a bit over 3% of the WI population and they are already overwhelmingly Dem. Any increase in their intensity is likely to be more than offset by the reforms crippling the union financial support for the Dems.

    The lives of the general population will not be changed at all come next week when the reforms become law. The drama will be over and the press will move onto other things like rising gas prices.

    Indeed, I strongly suspect that the GOP decided that laying off teachers to compel the Dem senators to come home and do their jobs would be a public relations disaster while biting the bullet and enacting the reforms would end the drama. Ohio pushed their far more substantial reforms through immediately to no great backlash.

    Once again, I would have pitched these reforms to the tax payers as ending a corrupt bargain meant to fleece them to enrich the unions and Dems would have been a far better approach than simply claiming the reforms were necessary to balance the budget. However, the die is cast now. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  127. Monotreme says:

    Bart said:

    Whether the Indis are being similarly moved and whether either intensity lasts are the better questions.

    Good ol’ Bart. Still allergic to data, I see.

    This was linked in Nate Silver’s latest blog post. I guess you’re too busy writing that book of yours to actually read.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/117472988.html

  128. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Welcome back, Bart. I see you’re as feisty as ever. Good!

    I’ve actually missed our engagements.

    en garde!

  129. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:

    What is the iron rule about polling populations as predictors of future elections?

  130. dcpetterson says:

    The lives of the general population will not be changed at all come next week when the reforms become law.

    Translation: It doesn’t affect me, personally. At least, not next week. Why should I care? Oh, look, Dancing with the Stars is on!!

    Republicans are counting on the public having memory problems. They think we’re too stupid to see that when you begin dismantling collective bargaining rights for anyone, you destroy the reason we have things like a 40-hour work week, paid vacations and holidays, child-labor laws, a fair minimum wage. Workplace safety rules and the right for a woman to sue when she is raped in the workplace only exist because of unions. It is no accident that pensions have begun to evaporate while union membership is declining–and while the compensation packages for CEO’s are skyrocketing.

    But then, in Bart-World, the achievements of unions are Bad Things. Unions are one of the few bastions that stand between feudal manor-lords and the impoverished serfs they own. Conservatives want us to be ruled by our betters, the elites in their castles, who own the media that feeds us pablum and pits us against each other.

  131. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:

    Polling of a small sample of adults across WI is useless as an electoral indicator.

    In order to determine this issue’s potential effect on a legislative election, we would need generic ballot polling of LVs in the WI swing districts. Furious voters in safe Dem or GOP districts mean very little electorally. Where you saw the true magnitude of the 2010 tsunami election was in the LV polling focused on the swing districts. The same would be true here.

  132. Monotreme says:

    Bart:

    You didn’t mention elections. That’s a separate discussion.

  133. dcpetterson says:

    It’s revealing to read whether a given commenter or pundit is more concerned about (a) winning elections, (b) what The People (voters or not) actually want, or (c) what’s best for America.

    (c) is something that can be reasonably and rationally debated, with each person expressing their values and proposing the best (or worst) methods of achieving the things each of us sees as desirable goals. It can lead to rational and reasonable discussion, exchanges of ideas, and better understandings. Perhaps it can even open minds, and reveal the blind spots each of us hide from ourselves.

    (b) has to do with true democracy. The Preamble of the Constitution says We the People, not We the Likely Voters According To the Rasmussen Model. An argument can be made that, in a democracy, for good or ill, the things a majority want are the things the nation should have — with appropriate concern given to the rights of minorities, of course, since that’s what the Bill of Rights is all about.

    (a) reveals a concern only with raw political power, and a complete contempt for the needs, rights, wants, desires, and well-being of Americans, or even of people in general. It is designed to shut off thought about what are effective and desirable policies. It is about encouraging class warfare and divisive rhetoric run amok.

    You can hear a lot by listening.

  134. mclever says:

    @dcpetterson

    How insightful. And I mean that sincerely.

  135. Bart,

    we would need generic ballot polling of LVs in the WI swing districts.

    According to Nate’s electoral analysis, all of Wisconsin districts are swing districts. It's not like most of the rest of the country in that regard.

  136. Bart DePalma says:

    MW:

    Nate’s point was that partisan divisions are close in most WI districts. However, that is not the same as saying that all districts regularly switch between the parties. Most do not. The ones which do actually swing are the swing districts to which I refer.

  137. mclever says:

    Bart,

    In most states, you’d be right to guess that the majority of districts do not regularly switch between parties, but that’s not the case in Wisconsin.

    Roughly 50 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties flipped between 2008 and 2010, and there are only about 10 where the outcome is sufficiently predictable to call it before election night (Madison, Milwaukee, the burbs of Milwaukee, and a couple or three districts up north). Most districts in Wisconsin regularly switch between parties, because the margins are so close everywhere in the state except near the two major cities.

    Michael’s right. Essentially all (or nearly all) of Wisconsin’s districts are swing districts, unlike most states in this country.

  138. dcpetterson says:

    Bart,
    Nice try to spin the fact that WI is one of 41 states where the poor, abused PEU workers paid off politicians to obtain better compensation packages than the taxpayers who foot the bill. Nineteenth century West Virginia coal miners these people are not.

    I nearly missed this from yesterday. Thank you, Bart, for so succinctly explaining why private sector workers need unions as well. You’re right. The People do far better when they unionize. It’s time to turn back the tide of anti-union corporate fat cats living off the backs of The People. I should have trusted a true populist like yourself to make this point. Thank you again.

    And by the way, you seem to have forgotten that public sector workers are also taxpayers. Your statement reads as if you are trying to pit “trees” against “plantlife.” If you want to generate a false us-vs-them divide-and-conquer class war, at least try to imagine a couple of mutually exclusive classes, okay?

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