Hizzoner Da Mayor versus Occupy Madison

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin threw a hissy fit yesterday about Occupy Madison, which he is determined to evict and close down—end of story—at the end of the month. And boy howdy was Soglin ever on the defensive. When it was suggested that the site didn’t cost the city anything, he said, “That is one of the most narrow, selfish statements I have ever heard.” Really, Mr. Mayor?

The highly visible Occupy encampment is located on the 800 block of E. Washington Ave. and currently houses about fifty women and men, which is, according to residents, as many as have lived there since the site was first occupied. The project is both innovative and empowering to its residents. The costs to the city have indeed been minimal, especially considering that the public service costs Soglin complains about would likely be incurred on behalf of the residents regardless of whether they were occupying the site on East Wash., sleeping in window wells, or staying at one of the city’s shelters. Unlike the Occupy encampment, the shelters limit the number of nights people can stay and require that they leave during the day. So every morning they’re back out on the streets, with no place to keep their things and few sources of support. But the Occupy encampment is different. It is run for and by those who live there and has come to mean a great deal to them.

And it’s not like the Occupiers are asking for all that much. They’d like an extension so they can stay on the East Wash. site until the end of June (just two more months), and then they’d like the city to help them find another location. They’re asking for a modicum of support so that they can continue helping and empowering themselves.

Fortunately, Occupy Madison has some friends on the Madison Common Council. In a meeting tonight at 6:30pm (second floor of the Madison Municipal Building, Wilson St.), the council will consider a resolution to extend the Occupiers’ permit until June 30. Soglin called yesterday’s news conference to register his vehement objection to the very modest resolution.

By Soglin’s own admission, the needs of Madison’s poor have multiplied in recent years. “‘When I left office in ’97, 28 percent of the children enrolled in Madison Public Schools came from families living at or below the poverty line,’ Soglin said. ‘That number is now 58 percent … as poverty and homelessness grows, the base for funding it shrinks.” So in other words, the needs are greater while resources are fewer. Should we not then explore new ways to meet those needs, especially ones that cost little and empower those who need help?

And those who need help could be any one of us at any time. An alarming number of us are one major medical bill away from poverty and homelessness. When the city turns its back on the homeless—or even just some of the homeless—it’s turning its back on all of us. This is a conversation about who we are. Are we a city that cares for its image more than for its residents? Are we more concerned about our reputation than our people?

Soglin squawked that “‘it is highly irresponsible for anyone to suggest that this city’s response to homelessness and poverty is anything less than stellar. We cannot be everything to everyone,’ he told the news reporters, homeless people and housing advocates who packed the conference room next to his office for a news conference Monday afternoon.'”

Wouldn’t a really “stellar” response to homelessness include pursuing low-cost opportunities to improve and broaden the services offered? If Soglin gets his way, Madison will lose a great opportunity to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors, to empower these Madisonians to help themselves and others in similar circumstances. Now what exactly are you calling narrow and selfish, Mr. Mayor?

Update: The inimitable Blue Cheddar reported this from last night’s council meeting: “Sorry but I stayed the whole Madison City Council meeting and there is no extension. The political will was not there to go forward on that. Madison Occupiers have to be out April 30th. The city public health official said they didn’t expect to be able to get another camping permit from the State of Wisconsin. The site was never zoned for camping in the first place. Also part of the extension scheme required that they relocate 60 people to a block that could by their density formula hold 25 people. Alder Lisa Stubeck said that some of the information staff [public health officials and police] gave earlier in the day had changed by this evening — which I assumed meant that Soglin pressured the staff to change their tune They did manage to commit some city and county officials to start serving on a homelessness commission for the first time. They managed to make sure that people can have their cars at the occupy site ’til April 30 instead of getting them yanked by April 22nd.”

Brenda Konkel, Executive Director of the Tenant Resource Center and intrepid advocate for those in need of low-cost housing, wrote yesterday and today about Occupy Madison’s plight.

Part 1: My notes and The Speeches of Fighting Bob Fest 2011

The night before:
Arthur of the facebook page Shit Scott Walker is Doing to My State had a brief conversation with Senator Sanders at a fundraiser Friday night. 1:35 minutes

Later Senator Bernie Sanders, the man many consider to be the most outstanding progressive in Washington D.C., appeared at the Friday night kickoff event and he said thank you to a standing room crowd at the Barrymore Theater. Really, if his “thank you” were the only thing that happened to me, I would have been thrilled with the evening:

“You may know this, or you may not know this, but you have been the inspiration to the people of Vermont and people all over this country so thank you very much. What you have told America is that in these tough times, we are not going to let the crooks on Wall Street or the corporate bandits destroy this great nation. That when we say together and demand the creation of millions of good paying jobs, when we demand the transformation of our energy system, when we say loud and clear to Republicans and to some Democrats you are not going to cut Social Security, you are not going to cut Medicare, and that together standing together we are going to bring about a Medicare for all single payer healthcare – I am here tonight from the bottom of my heart to thank you, to thank your great firefighters, to thank your public employees for your leadership in inspiring us all. We are going to beat the right wing. We are going to create an America that works for all of our people. Thank you very much for your leadership. Thank you.”

Here’s the video of Senator Sanders’ thanks.

We also heard the familiar bagpipes of our local firefighters who’ve serenaded each of our rallies: Local 311. And speeches so fiery I could almost smell the brimstone.

Oddly enough, I especially perked up to hear Thom Hartmann say we are either about to experience bliss or destruction: either a resurgence in progressive energy like we’ve never seen before OR we are on the road to the death of progressive politics at the hands of the Republicans.

When he said this, the crowd did a little awkward wiggle in its collective seat. A few dry coughs were expelled. I am not doing justice to his speech at the moment. He also talked about the notion of libertarian “freedom” and how close it is to the freedom to die in the street like a dog. He also talked about the travails America went through even as early as the presidency of John Adams – a leader who turned out to be a tyrant. But I dwell on that note he gave – that we are on a precipice of some sort – because it was the perfect pinch of reality tossed into an evening of hyperbole and it’s what I’ve been thinking, too.

All of the speakers were dynamic. But Dennis Kucinich was possessed. Senator Kucinish is a very short and slight man. But after seeing him bounce with this much of the progressive holy spirit, I’d say you’d best not ever cross him. He sent us out into the night with this:

Youtuber Paul Baker (at last look) also has videos from the same evening of Jim Hightower, Stan Gruszynksi, and Phil Neuenfeldt – President of Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO.

The day of: Fighting Bob Fest

Fighting Bob Fest just about filled the vast Alliant Energy Center Auditorium. I really love twitter, facebook, this blog and the whole internet ball of wax. Yet there is nothing like the energy of being a human surrounded by thousands of other humans all hearing a message. We remain communal and enjoy each other in the flesh despite all of the technology we put between ourselves. Then also consider that there is an added layer of resonance when echoing at rock star volume before you in a stadium are these heroic people that the mass media usually keeps quiet [remember Senator Sanders’ fillibuster that went just about nowhere on conventional media?]. Seeing a respect and dignity granted to these progressive voices revives your own progressive political and fighting spirit. Heady stuff. And this is all thanks to Ed Garvey, who has been making Bob Fest happen for a decade now and who John Nichols credits for rebuilding the Democratic Party in Wisconsin.

Still, if I were to ask “How can Bob Fest be improved?” I’d have a few answers: add high speed internet to your site and add social media training. Add more young people, and draw in more people of color. Add more tactical ideas to take away and add ways for us to break down in groups so we’re networking at the level of each county in Wisconisn and/or geographic areas. I aknowledge that some of this was provided in the breakout sessions, and in its way, at the booths and informally.

I also think of the wisdom of @4SHCrane of twitter who said to me (paraphrasing): There are plenty of progressives. You can do all of the things you do not see at Bob Fest on your own.

I expect that WORT FM and Fighting Bob will in time have full audio and/or video of the speeches. When it’s up, that’ll be in part 2. For the moment, here are what I can provide or have access to:

A brief selection from Bernie Sanders’ speech. 4:57 minutes.

Bernie Sanders’ speech in full. 43 minutes

Film by ontheearthproduction

Cornel West 6:05 minutes

Film by ontheearthproduction

Tony Schultz 17:37 minutes

Film by ontheearthproduction

A brief selection from Mahlon Mitchell’s speech. Chanting included! This gives you a sense of how many people were there. You’ll see a lot of folks age 50 years and up. That’s about normal for Fighting Bob Fest.
0:51 minutes

Other Bob Fest Reporting:
Fighting Bob Fest attendees say it’s up to the people to recall Scott Walker – Cap Times

Madison’s Channel 3

Fighting Bob Fest audience

More photos from today’s Wisconsin budget protest

Here’s a slideshow. If you’d like some easy-to-share and downloadable images, check out the facebook album HERE.

I’d like to write something wise about the damage done inside the Capitol today.  But I’m getting some video together.

For the moment I’ll just say that I am still the same person I was and I still hold the same values going forward. Acts perpetrated against the people of Wisconsin inside of the Capitol building in the legislature and inside of the Wisconsin Supreme Court today do not stop the movement you and I have already started.

There is no choice but to fight back and fight hard.

There is no choice but to recall.

 

Sights and sounds from today’s protest of Walker’s budget

I’m here at Madison A.K.A. Walkerville in the midst of a growing budget protest. Here is a brief video which explains why some people are wearing pink togas and armbands today. It also includes a statement from John “Sly” Sylvester of WTDY 1670 about why it is important to be here today.

Sly had a set of amazing guests at Walkerville this morning. You can catch podcasts HERE of John Matthews with the Madison Teachers Union, Joe Conway with Firefighters Local 311, and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) plus Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and Marty Beil of AFSCME Local Council 24.

 

 

Russ Feingold and Firefighters visited Walkerville

A few videos from yesterday at Walkerville. The second video, which is the full speech delivered by Russ Feingold, is from Defend Wisconsin.

When Russ walked into the space people became alert and electrified. A woman standing in front of me would interject “YES!!” and “THANK YOU!!” regularly.

In this first video Russ says “we will not give up until this law is reversed”, referring to Wisconsin Act 10. He denies that he gave something of a campaign speech when asked by the press. “I’m a private citizen right now.” He steers clear of campaign questions, saying he’s thinking more about corporate power’s attempt to dominate our state and America.

In this next 8 minute video, Russ starts a speech with questions that people can yell a response to:

“Why are we still here? Why am I here today? Why are we here today? Why are we in a place called Walkerville today?!”

Out of the cacophony of voices, I hear the responses:

“Because you’re going to be governor!”

“To fight this budget!”

“Justice!”

“Because you care” “Because we care”

Russ Feingold responds, “I’ll tell you why we’re here. We’re here because we will not stop until we win, until this is over.”

This next video shows approximately 600 firefighters marching down State Street, past Walkerville, and around the Capitol. They ultimately held a ceremony on the rooftop of the Monona Convention Center for fallen firefighters.

Attention Fox viewers, this week Walker will manufacture a Wisconsin riot especially for you

 

Image is from http://www.angryblacklady.com/

A guest post from Jim Mueller:

Here is what could happen now that the Republicans will be in Extraordinary Sessions:

They do not want to let the Democrats rip about the Budget piece by piece on camera and win over people who haven’t been paying attention. So the Republicans need a distraction, large crowd will already be there, planted agitators start some violence, riot squads throw in some tear gas, the Republicans and Faux News spin it as a riot, the budget is so important to the State that the Fitzgeralds bravely continue on except that with a riot in progress they have to close access to the Chambers, to the Capitol (since they can prove that protesters have breached security in the past).

They quickly ram the Budget through and the story across all of the TV stations and the Newpapers is about the riot, not the budget.

They have the majorities and feel that they can do whatever they want and if we do not like it we have to sue. They use the tax money from the people to hire the best attorneys money can buy in order to fight us. They quickly kick any law suit up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court which finds that the Open Meetings Law does not apply in an Extraordinary Session and although the Wisconsin Constitution Article IV Section 10 says, “…open doors…The doors of each house shall be kept open except when the public welfare shall require secrecy, ” secrecy and security both start with the letter “s” (that is 2 esses- “SS”) and if secrecy is permitted than certainly security is permitted and besides Wisconsin Eye will cover it all (except the parts that they do not want us to see).

Walker is playing for all of the marbles. Keep in mind that his nickname in High School was Desperado.

We have to make sure that the protests stay non-violent (except to the extent that the agitators fight us when we try to prevent them from starting a riot).

 

Day 3 of Walkerville: Reporters were granted entry, then arrested for filming the officer

I listened to the WORT FM show “In our backyard” tonight to catch up on what happened to two journalists pictured in this video who were arrested. While the two reporters were charged with disorderly conduct, I think that the officer is the one who acted in a disorderly manner.
He waved the two in when he learned they were press. He turned on them when they used a camera to capture his conduct while he pushed protesters. I’m really not sure what this officer was thinking. He didn’t want to be the subject of the news, so he arrested them? Or is he on order to arrest people who film him? By arresting people unlawfully, he guaranteed he would be the focus of somebody’s news today.

I’ve copied an interview, just an excerpt, from a remarkable full broadcast of “In Our Backyard” which aired at 6:30PM.

Protesters opened doors and 30-40 people rushed into the building with several people arrested following for bypassing Capitol security. The reporters were arrested while filming the action. The reporters are Sam Mayfield who is working on a documentary of the Wisconsin protests, and has been filming since February. Alex Noguera-Garces, is the second reporter, an independent journalist from Vermont.

Sam Mayfield describes the incident, saying there was an entrance to the Capitol that was open. They walked in as others were. An officer she describes as:

“clearly already escalated…this was evidenced by him running at people who were walking into the Capitol telling them to leave. He was forcefully grabbing and touching people who were literally just walking past.”

“He grabbed me. He told me to leave.” She told him she was press and he flagged her through. The officer also flagged Alex through after she explained she was working with Sam. Alex decided to stay in the area and film what was happening because, “he was being very aggressive with the protesters, physically.”

The officer pushed as many protesters as he could out the doors. He then pursued Alex, pushed her into the wall, and proceeded to handcuff and arrest her. He told her that when she tried to keep her camera from falling on the ground she was resisting arrest.

The two reporters were charged with “disorderly conduct”. Alex says she thinks she was arrested because she was filming a police officer pushing people out the door. Sam says she was told she was obstructing the officer’s ability to make an arrest. She says what actually happened is that she caught Alex’ falling camera, and started to use it. And then things changed:

“I think that when he saw she and I working together on that level he actually drug Alex and dropped her to the ground …and he ran after me..I asked the cop “Why are we being arrested?” I really don’t understand at all. As soon as Alex gave me her camera he said, “You’re going to be arrested, too.” and then he grabbed my arm.

Thank you to the volunteers and staff who followed up on this story and interviewed Sam and Alex. Please consider a donation to WORT FM if you value ongoing coverage of Walkerville and Madison, Wisconsin protest.

Here is tonight’s full episode of In Our Backyard:

Interview with John Nichols at today’s march against Walker’s budget

Here’s an interview of John Nichols discussing Walkerville, today’s march against Walker’s budget, and Wisconsin Act 10.
I was doing some live Ustreaming and ran into him on Carroll Street.

He’ll be in Washington D.C. tonight to stand with National Nurses United. More information on a national registered nurse rally is HERE.

If you’d prefer to see this with video, John starts talking at the 48 minute mark on my archived Ustream from today:

Video streaming by Ustream

Live streaming marching today from Walkerville, USA (Madison, Wisconsin)

I”ll do my best to deliver some live content from today’s march against Walker’s budget in Madison 11:30AM-ish today, which SHOULD stream right out of this blog [if it doesn’t, at the least, you will have a link here.]

It’s always a bit dicey to commit to delivering live content. Let’s just say that the more electricity I can get to the android phone I use, the more live streaming I can do for you today.

And of course you could always come on down to Walkerville (A.K.A. the tent city on Madison’s square) and see this for yourself!

Live TV by Ustream

Special guest on Solidarity Wisconsin Friday 10am: Chris Reeder, song leader of Solidarity Sing Along

I’m pleased as punch to welcome Chis Reeder to the 10AM Solidarity Wisconsin online radio show today.

Here’s a link to the archived show.

If you haven’t heard of the Solidarity Sing Along group, it might be because you’re not from Wisconsin or Spain. Yes-Spain!

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The pro-union songsters who sing at Wisconsin’s Capitol building on every weekday noon to 1PM gained a flurry of positive Wisconsin press including a Sunday May 15 Wisconsin State Journal piece. Now their fame is international due to a YouTube Spanish version of “We Shall Not Be Moved” called “No Nos Moveron”

 

The video at this moment is at 48,000+ hits and comments from Spain are gushy with thanks:
“Thank you Winsconsin Im sleeping in Seville camping the capital of the south region, its nice see videos like it :). Thank you so much Winsconsin :)”

Two days of the week the singers gather outside the Capitol, as seen in the video, and 3 days of the week, they assemble inside. The singing project is supported by the

Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice or “WNPJ” for short. The recipe for a solidarity sing along project seems rather simple to me: select a song leader, print song books, maintain a facebook page, come to the Capitol building, sing.

But it does help to have a song leader like Chris. Chris is unfailingly positive, injects humor in between songs, and he does not just conduct. Chris does a blend of conducting and dancing which creates an exuberant force field that helps his untrained singers lose the stage fright they may have brought with them. You might catch a little exuberance yourself from this video:

Some of the songs Chis leads have so much natural punch, singers need almost no nudging to fill their lungs with them. “Solidarity Forever” is the favorite song of the group and a chief example. Here is an excerpt from “Solidarity Forever” inside the Capitol rotunda:

I love the sound of those reverberating voices. But not everybody does. Republican Rep. Michelle Litjens from Oshkosh tweeted:
“I’ve had enough! One hour of union protesters singing, “We Will Overcome” etc. in the Capital Rotunda!!! When with the insanity end!”

And a Republican and Waukesha Rep., Paul Farrow, complained the singers have been disrupting work in the Capitol. According to a June 2nd MJS article, “groups visiting the Capitol are typically required to fill out a permit application to prevent scheduling conflicts. Farrow said the Solidarity Singers have not filed a permit and should be required to do so.”

In the article, Chris is quoted in reply: “If you’re going to start requiring permits for people to come in and make their voices heard, I think you’ve crossed the line then.”

I hope you’ll tune in to the live show! If you can not, there will be an archived podcast waiting here on the blog for you later.

Photos, Tidier notes, and Twitterati from the “Organizing the Occupation” panel

Photos from the NOI 5/12 “Organizing the Occupation” panel at UW Madison, with my notes. Reminder:  I am usually only paraphrasing the speakers. Skip to the end for the twitterati contact info.

I’ve heard NOI is making a video of the panel available later this week.

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My notes from “Organizing the Occupation”:

5:10pm

Tom Foley is introducing the concept of Scott Walker’s entry into the political scene of WI right now. We are in the Union South Bldg. of University of Wisconsin at Madison in Wisconsin

On the panel is Melissa Ryan, New Media Director of NOI. Also here is Senator Larson, Emily Mills, Chris Liebenthal, and Max Love. Emily Mills is a blogger with Isthmus, a co-editor of blog dane101, and a musician. Chris Liebenthal is a Milwaukee County social worker, activist, and avid blogger at multiple locations –  though he’s best known as the man behind Cognitive Dissidence.  Max Love is a UW student who helped organize protest and occupation at the Capitol in Madison. He’s with Badger Impact and he’s blogging the unflagging protest of UW Madison’s community at tenacious transparency. Moderating is Tom Foley who blogs at  illusory tenant with a mix of biting humor and legal acumen.

Senator Chris Larson was elected in Fall of 2010 and was amongst the 14 Wisconsin Senators – the “Dem 14” or “Fab 14” – who left for Illinois on February 17, 2011 to halt action on Scott Walker’s regressive “Wisconsin Act 10”.

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Sen. Larson: We took a page from Egypt in use of technology. …. you can literally check on your politicians’ facts while they are speaking  [happened last night while a rep in the Assembly Continue reading

“Whose house? Our house”: the Capitol Fire of 1904

I’ve been mucking around in 1904 Wisconsin’s junk drawer looking for my spare pair of keys and the original “Wisconsin Idea”.

While I was in there, I found this: a photo and an account of UW Madison students trying to put out a fire that had erupted in the Capitol building.

UW Madison students were at the Capitol in great numbers during the recent occupation. I saw and heard them display affection and care for the building, throughout.

So….   Were they doing what comes naturally to young people in Madison, Wisconsin?

For a gripping account of the fire including a description of Governor Bob La Follette’s own rush to fight the flames, visit  page 48 HERE. 

“University students continued to arrive to aid in the rescue and fire-fighting efforts. Because of thick smoke filling the building, they were unable to use the stairways and several ladders were secured and raised to the windows in the north wing, which contained the State Law Library. Once inside, they began throwing volumes out the windows to snow banks below; others below began stacking the books haphazardly until State Supreme Court Justice R. D. Marshall arrived and organized the students into lines to pass the books hand-to-hand to nearby stores and later, to waiting wagons. According to Solon J. Buck (who later became archivist of the United States), then a senior attending the University of Wisconsin, this effort grew to five to six hundred people ‘and it began to get too crowded to work’.”

Recall Signatures Submitted Against Republican Senator Cowles of Green Bay

Today at approximately 1:30PM, a caravan of people arrived at Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Office with boxes of signatures to recall Green Bay Senator Robert Cowles. Volunteer Jonah Lenss had the happy honor of submitting the 26,000 signatures on his birthday. The Committee to Recall Cowles had to gather 15,960 signatures by May 2nd.  A total of 19 campaign committees initially submitted papers to start recalls against 16 Wisconsin state senators.

The G.A.B. and several recall organizations are appealing for an extension of the 31 days allowed by state law to review recall signatures.

Lenss said, “It took a lot of weekends-a lot of walking – a lot of knocking on doors.” and “We had 60 days, and it did not take us all 60 days.”

When asked why Lenss got behind the effort to recall Cowles, he said,

“The union rights were established through bipartisan effort and were taken away by this senator. He voted to take away those rights from the working people and I didn’t think that was right.”

There is no announced candidate to run against Sen. Cowles yet. Cowles’ district is Wisconsin Senate District 2.

More information on other recall signatures submitted is HERE.

I will be at The Ed Schultz Show at The Barrymore 4:30PM. It’s a Madison, Wisconsin Town Hall

Here we go. Yet another quickly planned who-the-heck-knows-how-this-will-go event:  I’ll be at the Barrymore Theater on Atwood 4:30PM and into the evening taking part ina  “town hall” with Ed Schultz. I’ll be interviewing people – sending easily digested audio to SolidarityWisconsin.com and then  tweeting those brief interviews out to you – – I hope.

Also to come: coherent bits of text and photos here.

While Ed Schultz and I are two people not alike, I have to hand it to the guy: he showed up and did a live show right on the square on February 16th, the Wednesday after Walker’s release of Wisconsin Act 10.

He showed up. He did it.- – -I now have that same feeling towards Ed that you feel for the friend who helped you move on a 90 degree day in summer.

Or the indebtedness you feel for the person who rescues you from the side of the road with the broken down car.

I learned about the free event late last night. I heard Tammy Baldwin and some folks from the Mic 92.1 – – which I’d bet means John Nichols and the man known only as “Sly” – will be there.  I hope to run into new 92.1 producer  Jack Craver, AKA Wiss Sconz on facebook or @thesconz on twitter and Isthmus’ Daily Page.

Hope to see @millbot, @dane101, @scoutprime of the blog First Draft…anybody from the @uptake in town? If so, their blogs and sites should also be aggregating some content.

If you’re thinking of coming – – I don’t know that it’ll work out if you do not already have a ticket. I stood in line at 12 Noon to get one. I was instructed to show up at 4:30PM to then be let in so I can wait (and perhaps drink beer? rumor has it such beverages are sold there) for the 6:30 event.

At 5PM the tickets are rendered useless as a come one come all approach takes over.

Part 3. 150,000 Welcome the Dem14 Home: I laughed, I cried, I took pictures.

I have video. I have audio. I have photos. They all should be compiled into a multimedia schmorgasbord. But it takes so much time to wrestle with this stuff. Just thinking about it… I need to relax and have a beer. So, for the moment, here are a few photos and comments.

Part 1 and Part 2 say “100,000” Then I heard from Steve Hanson, 150,000. Do you know how many people went to this rally? I do know that I became really uncomfortable at one point as I got smooshed in a big pack that would only inch forward. In broad daylight outside.

I found this odd and frustrating, but then again, once in a while we’d lighten up and pick up in song. Musical packs of humanity. This actually describes normal life here since February 11th.

Darth Walker stood on the corner on the way to Barriques. He wouldn’t talk or change his facial expression, remaining “in character”. Here I laughed.

Judging by posture, profile, and mood, I’d guess these drummers were father and son, or at least relatives. They drummed together solemnly near the head of the Dem 14 parade. At this point, I did cry for a second.

Firefighters, firefighters, firefighters. I will never, ever be tired of firefighters.

Senator Jon Erpenbach getting flirted with, I think.

Senator Kathleen Vinehout. Believe it or not, given the hive effect here, and relative mayhem, this is not a terrible shot.

Can you guess where I was when I took this shot?

Yes. That is a rather large puppet. I was surprised too. I think I said something eloquent like, “Holy crap. Big puppet.” and fumbled for my camera. Continue reading