“Cluck or Duck” at the Appleton Farmers’ Market

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Today Winnie the chicken made her splashy media debut at the Appleton farmers’ market. A random group of locals decided to protest the state open carry law by bringing a live chicken to the farm market. Special tee shirts were worn for the event and fliers were handed out by the protest participants.

Many good points were raised in the “Cluck or Duck” hand out. This group is calling for “adjusting open carry within city limits” and they ask people to contact their assemblyperson or senator to “sponsor a bill that allows municipalities to decide whether or not open carry will be allowed”.

This story started two weeks ago when two men attempted to go to the farmers’ market openly carrying AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and concealed carry pistols. While it is perfectly legal to openly carry AR-15 rifles in downtown Appleton, it did cause some concern and resulted in three 911 calls to the Appleton Police Department about “suspicious individuals” carrying rifles. The men were briefly questioned by police and released without incident or fine.

Last week the Appleton Police Department had an increased presence at the farmers’ market.

This week gun critics planned a protest of their own. A gentleman carried an attractive live chicken named Winnie in downtown Appleton. Her presence attracted all sorts of media attention. Everyone wanted to get close to the chicken and her person. There were so many people around Winnie and her person that I could hardly get close to the duo.

Gun rights advocates will probably argue that the men openly carrying AR-15 semi-automatic rifles shouldn’t have been stopped and questioned by the police. How were the police or onlookers supposed to know if they were the “good guys with guns” or not? Can anyone truly judge a person’s motives from a distance? What if something truly bad had happened and it came out that the police had been informed of a potential threat to public safety and they had refused to question the motives of the men carrying the weapons? It’s not as if people who have evil intentions wear a black hat to let everyone else know they are “bad guys with guns” instead of law abiding citizens.

It’s amazing how much attention was raised by a man and his chicken. I hope the events today open the door to more discussion of the current state of open carry laws in the state of Wisconsin. In my humble opinion, dear reader, I’d rather come face to face with a person carrying a loaded chicken as opposed to coming face to face with a person carrying a loaded AR-15.

Here are some other pictures from the event:

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Third day of mass arrests in WI’s capitol – my notes from the road

I am in Michigan for a wedding now and this weekend and I’m writing this post on my phone. Apologies for the rough formatting.. 

I’ve been checking facebook and twitter the whole drive up for updates on today’s activities at the capitol building.  I’ll share with you what I’ve located on the net.

From WPR “DOA issued a statement saying it had issued 17 tickets on site for gathering without a permit. The DOA 14 people “will receive” citations “from video.” In the past, police have mailed tickets to protesters whose identity they already know.”

WPR’s story includes comments from Brian Standing and Bart Munger.

There was much speculation online and on site today regarding a wedding that was scheduled to be at the capitol today. Would it be disturbed by protest? Did it even happen?
WPR offers us this information:
“The DOA also produced a copy of a permit application for a wedding that was scheduled to be held either inside the rotunda or outside if the weather was nice. DOA says the wedding party chose to get married outside today even though it was occasionally drizzling at the noon hour. It’s unknown at this time whether the wedding party made its decision because of the protesters.”

From Arthur at SSWIDTMS: “Police started warning random groups of onlookers that if they didn’t immediately disperse they to would be arrested. Many of those warned were tourists visiting from out of town.” VIDEO

Teamster Nation caught the fact that a child was arrested.

Franciscan Friar Phil Gerbac announcing happily “arrest me” in the rotunda’s center. (very brief video).

Minister Carter Dary suffered a heart ailment while protesting (that’s a video link). I got word that he is in the hospital but is in good spirits and has further testing scheduled tomorrow.

Letter to DOA’s Mike Huebsch from Sen. Risser and Rep. Taylor.

Ryan Wherley says in his post that by cracking down on singers “Scott Walker and Mike Huebsch made a HUGE mistake.”

He notes an important shift present in 2013 that I’ve been thinking about too:

“It felt like the Uprising of February 2011 all over again, with one major difference. Two years ago, we were a disparate group of individuals marching for a similar cause, but unknown to each other. But now, we’re friends and family. Everywhere I looked were people who’ve stood alongside each other on the front lines in the fight against a tyrannical leadership for the past 29 months. If people were afraid, they didn’t show it, because they knew their brothers and sisters surrounding them had their backs.”

We said “brothers and sisters” in 2011 without fully experiencing what we were talking about. Now we are “there” more fully.

Greg Gordon spoke about this week’s mass arrests tonight at 7:30PM Central on a Detroit radio program called The Tony Show. Hopefully a podcast of his interview will emerge shortly.

Footnote:
That’s all the typing I want to do on a smartphone tonight (Relieved I was wise enough to get a model with a keyboard). I am not scared of what’s happening in the rotunda. I would be more frightened for us all if we were pretending everything was just fine after 2 years of watching Walker’s kleptocracy unfold. That would be madness.

Nobody Buys DOA Disinformation at Wisconsin Capitol

About 30-50 people gathered in the Capitol building’s basement this morning to question Chief Tubbs and a Department of Administration rep. on a new policy that will — among other things — force protesters at Wisconsin’s Capitol building to pay for additional law enforcement and treat groups of 4 or more people as “rallies”. DOA’s Deputy Secretary Chris Schoenherr asserted repeatedly he is not an attorney and could not answer legal questions about policy. Answers from Tubbs and Schoenherr were usually variations on the following:
1- “I’m not going to respond to a hypothetical situation.”
2- “The policy is based on Chapter 2 in the administrative code. Our legal team believes it is defendable.”

Brian S. asked about the “hypothetical” on everybody’s mind:
“”Let’s say that whenever the implementation date is, that there are 150 singers in the rotunda, are you prepared to make 150 arrests if those people do not voluntarily comply?”
Tubbs: I’m not going to respond to a hypothetical
Brian S.: It is not a hypothetical.
Tubbs: We will evaluate that situation. I am not going to give up the ability we have as a law enforcement agency to professionally deal with a situation that could be questionable.” The Solidarity Sing Along group has been singing at noon every weekday at the Capitol since March 11. Song leader Chris Reeder has made it clear the group is not going to get a permit to “exercise our free speech rights”.

One of the “hypotheticals” posed by Katy R. was: “If I want to bring 3 members of my family to see the holiday tree – if we have the same sentiment that we want to express at the same time – is that going to turn this into a rally?”

Schoenherr replied, “It is a practical matter. That’s something we’ll have to work out on an individual basis… If you want to just have your family here and say ‘God bless America’ that would be OK.

I think Schoenherr has no clue how disturbing that comment sounded.

Greg P. used Schoenherr’s comment to frame the perilous state that DOA’s policy puts free speech in:
“.. it would be so easy for these procedures to be selectively enforced. You said before if people want to come to the Christmas tree lighting and say “God bless America” that would be OK. But that’s a problem. What if people want to come to the Christmas tree lighting and say “God damn America”. – – those are equivalent things and if you enforce this on people that say “God damn America” and not “God bless America”, that is a serious problem”.

Assembly Representative Chris Taylor said that the DOA’s restricted Capitol policy is at the top of her constituents’ minds. She said, “..it really seems to be we are imposing a fee on people’s exercise of their constitutional rights if we’re going to say you have to pay to participate in a large gathering. Then we’re saying in order to express yourself politically, you’re going to have to pay to do that and I don’t know how you all are going to get around some really settled constitutional provisions.”

The response to Rep. Taylor: Answer #2.

Ed K. expressed outright anger for charging for protest: “This is a user fee. We get a policy that’s raising taxes on specific people making use of this building. That’s objectionable. It’s against all of the history of this state…” He added that the public should see what account the money would go to and what would be done with it.”

Ed K. requested both a copy of the previous policy on protests and a base line of regular staffing – such as what might be learned by studying a year’s worth of Capitol officer time sheets. His 2nd request was rebuffed by Tubbs who said that he could not give that information out for security reasons.

Tim R. asked a key question on timing:
“I don’t believe that the question of ‘Why now?’ has been answered adequately at all. You would forgive us all for concluding that this governor will not countenance any dissent. He will not countenance free speech. I recall him saying some months ago ‘Oh the solidarity singers. Those are 20 teachers. Who cares.’ Well it is more than 20 teachers. There’s a lot of people there. It seems to me it is rubbing him the wrong way and THAT is why we are getting this policy and I would like an answer to that.”

DOA disinformation capitol education

The official answer to this “Why now?” question was given already, but it was just so weak, nobody accepted it. Schoenherr said DOA changed the policy now because (1) DOA didn’t believe it had 1 document to answer the public’s questions on permits and (2) There is a precedent set with the status of a lawsuit filed by Ben Masel.

Leslie A. brought files on 3 lawsuits to the meeting. They originated with the late Ben Masel and established that Wisconsinites do not need a permit for assembly in the Capitol or on the Capitol grounds and do not need a permit for an amplification device. She said ” … Are you suggesting that you’re going to require people to get a permit when it’s not required? When it’s settled law? … Is DOA suggesting that they are going to violate settled law in order to conduct an illegal permit process and they will require us to sue the DOA yet again which is at taxpayer expense for the DOA to defend it?”

In reply Chief Tubbs asserted that the largest protests this year were under permits. Tubbs said, “..let me be clear: the permits are not new.”

I made a quick call to Jeff Scott Olsen, an expert in constitutional law who served for decades as attorney for the late constitutional activist Ben Masel. He said Leslie was referencing a lawsuit which challenges the constitutionality of DOA-issued permits to assemble at the Capitol. The filing was amended to substitute the organization NORML for Ben in September. He said that around that time Wisconsin’s Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar told him DOA was going to replace existing regulations in October or November of this year. Olsen said he will work on fighting the DOA case ASAP now that new procedures are out, but he can not pinpoint when his 1st legal action will take place.

After listening to about 1 hour of non-answer answers on DOA’s policy this morning, I thought I may as well give it a shot. I asked, “Do you think that these procedural changes are in line with the principles of democracy?” I got answer # 2 from Schoenherr.

From behind me Jenna Pope shot back at Schoenherr, “You realize that by saying this over and over again it doesn’t make it true.”

The new DOA policy is set to go into effect on Saturday December 17. According to WNPJ, the sponsor of the singing group, Monday, December 19th will be the first day the Solidarity Sing-Along will be subject to the new policy. You can keep up to date with the Solidarity Sing Along group through their facebook page.

More images from the disinformation session are at the blue cheddar facebook page.

Link to highlights of the 22 page policy and a PDF copy.

The ACLU write-up: DOA Information Session on Protest Permit/Liability Scheme Leaves Citizens with More Questions

Brian Standing’s WORT FM report on this event is in this audio news report.

Scott Walker got MIC CHECKED!

I may have publicly squealed like a schoolgirl while watching and rewatching Scott “ToolJob” Walker get silenced by Chicago protesters at a clubby breakfast.They use the “human microphone” technique to repeat statements and amplify their voices.
So don’t give it a second thought. Just roll that video and do a little human microphone of your own wherever you are on the globe:

Backup video link.

Thank you to Stand Up! Chicago and to Chicago Teachers Union for organizing this and to Working America for helping get the word out. If I’ve left out any collaborating groups or individuals, please let me know in comments.

You can follow each on twitter: @StandUpChicago and @WorkingAmerica

Wisconsin is 1 year into an absurd extreme right wing administration and we are days away from initiating the MOTHER OF ALL RECALLs.

We can use every single boost to our spirits that the world can deliver. Keep it coming!

October 5 Blogging Wall Street and the Occupy Movement

The morning after:
Democracy Now’s coverage of the march and speeches is about as good as you’ll find. They briefly cover other events first in this, then move on to a video of people getting arrested in their tent in Seattle’s Occupy location, and then cover New York’s march.
They report that 75 schools staged walkouts across the nation yesterday, and interview Tomas Reed from CUNY. Also: an interview of Naomi Klein which includes discussion of CNN and other press’ mocking coverage of Occupy Wall Street. Klein also talks about the plan to build the tarsands oil Keystone pipeline and the cozy relationship between the U.S. Consulate in Ottawa and the U.S. State Department

Watch live streaming video from democracynow at livestream.com

There was a point at which 10 protesters were arrested and police pepper sprayed people in the crowd and beat them with batons. “Journalist Luke Rudkowski was attacked by police Wednesday night while trying to document the Occupy Wall Street arrests in NY. NYPD used pepper spray, batons, and brute force to move protesters away from the entrance to Wall Street after many tried to push through police barricades. Rumors immediately circulated that police provocateurs dressed as protesters were to blame for the incident.”
Video:

backup link to video
Video and quoted write-up are from the site WeAreChange

Here’s Keith Olbermann reading the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City:

Backup link to Keith Olbermann reading the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.

There are more videos and link at the official occupywallst site.

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5:51 Central Time
This is likely my last update for the evening. If you scroll down, you’ll see several spots to get live video from occupy events.

Here are some social media updates from Wisconsinites on Wall Street:
From Arthur Kohl-Riggs
“Dozens of thousands of people here, this is beautiful.”

Tweets from HarryWaisbren
-Cheeseheads are getting even more comments than usual. mass motivation from #WIunion at #occupywallstreet!
-“We will fight. We will win. New York, Cairo, Wisconsin.”

Tweets from Jenna Pope AKA @BatmanWI
-Just got done with a live interview with @harrywaisbren on Free Speech TV at #occupywallstreet.
-A dude is handing out free cigarettes to us as we’re marching.
-People also handing out free fruit
-There’s at least 15,000 people in Foley Square near city hall!
-People are loving the cheeseheads! Getting lots of thank you’s and people telling us how inspiring we are.

Tweets from Jenni Dye AKA @legaleagle
=People were asking how to donate to #OWS. They have a link for donations on occupywallst.org – or help in your local community!
-It took less than 30 seconds to get separated from my friends in this march. :-/
-“We are the 99%!” Math cheers. My dad would be so proud. #OWS #p2ny #wiunion
-There are people talking but the drumming drowns out the speakers.
-Apparently we’re fenced in or something at Foley Square. People chanting “hey hey ho ho, these barricades have got to go
-I’m on the fence about Zucotti Park, but this feels like #wiunion. Singing “Solidarity Forever.”
-Marching back to Zucotti Park now

Here’s a brief video from Ed of Milwaukee also known as @superbranch. You get a sense of how many people are there and how LOUD it is.

Video streaming by Ustream

A recent upload from (JennY) of flickr who is in the San Francisco Occupy action

Opinion of Occupy Wall Street beats that of Congress – (not like we have much of an opinion of Congress): A new Rasmussen poll finds that the group enjoys a higher approval rating (33 percent) than does Congress (14 percent).

And here’s the sign for Madison’s Occupy event.

This is their twitter: @occupymadison99
and here’s their facebook event
and their facebook page Occupy Madison
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2:44PM Central

Ed from Milwaukee sends this photo and the tweet “At #occupywallstreet union folks are starting to mingle”
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Jenni Dye was interviewed by radio host Kurt Baron today. He asked “Is there a concrete goal you are aiming for? What specific changes need to be made?”
LINK HERE
Kurt’s twitter: @forwardwithkurt
Jenni’s: @legaleagle

A tourist cheering protesters from her bus:
This tourist was cheering on #ows march seconds before bus er... on Twitpic
image from @allisonkilkenny
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1:10pm Central Time
Laura Flanders of GritTV was down by Wall Street interviewing and then her camera guy was silently walking around taking it all in. I’ll go ahead and embed multiple places to get audio and/or video of today’s scenes. You fmight see an annoying ad at the beginning of some of these, but hold out for the content. There are probably more occupy feeds to be found by contacting one of the 293 occupy meetups. I selected the feeds that were “on” when I came by today.

Watch live streaming video from lauraflanders at livestream.com

Global Revolution on livestream-Typically broadcasting New York City content.

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

Occupy Los Angeles

Watch live streaming video from owslosangeles at livestream.com

Occupy Austin

Watch live streaming video from occupyaustin at livestream.com

Occupy Tampa

Watch live streaming video from occupytampa at livestream.com

Occupy Calgary

Watch live streaming video from occupycalgary at livestream.com

Occupy Toronto

Watch live streaming video from occupytoronto at livestream.com

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12:40PM Central Time
Here’s the full list of colleges that committed to a walkout in advance. I see University of Wisconsin-Superior is listed.

I think there are a lot of spontaneous walkouts we won’t know about until later judging by tweets like this one:
“AndreaLHill
My class voted to walk out at noon for @occupyboston. Here at NU rallying in solidarity. #walkout #occupywallstreet”

Here’s a photo from Binghamton University’s Latin American Student Union tweeted by Catherine:

Catherine tweeted these statements from the day: “Banks got bailed out, we got SOLD OUT!!!” and “This is about Wall Street, this is about Corporations!”

And if you haven’t seen it yet, somebody at the Chicago Board of Trade recently put signage in their windows proclaiming they are the 1%. It’s at Chicagoist

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12:06pm
Seeing no signs of Madison or Wisconsin walkouts yet.

Photo of a CUNY walkout HERE

I don’t think this next headline is framing the scenario correctly. I think the question is better put “How can the open-minded and radical spirit of Occupy Wall Street be nurtured and not be co-opted by partisan groups?” -anyway, this is the irksome Mother Jones headline I just found:
Occupy Wall Street, Powered by Big Labor—
Can major unions help grow the fledgling protest movement into a force to be reckoned with?

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11:51am Central
They’ve walked out at U of Buffalo. A very brief video of some noisy chanting:

And here’s a photo of a teach-in in progress:

Where UBSpectrum says they’re saying: “Education should be for everybody!”

The facebook event for New York City’s COMMUNITY/LABOR MARCH TO WALL ST.

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11:31am Central
Seeing signs of walkouts on the East coast on twitter but much of it is this stuff at the moment: “OccupyNC Anonymous
TODAY We the 99% & Anon @OccupyColleges. Show your support for #OWS & #OccupyAmerica THIS IS A NATIONWIDE WALK OUT. NOON #Solidarity #UNITY”

There is some radio coverage of NY protests/walkouts promised via the website of WNYC FM At the moment they’re talking about Wall Street mismanagement and news coverage.

Here’s a photo of a walkout at Brooklyn College


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Freespeech TV has been broadcasting from Van Jones’ American Dream conference in D.C. Frequent references are made by speakers and interviewees to either Wisconsin or to Occupy Wall Street. Some are accurate and some are downright cringe-worthy. At the moment I’m seeing Mahlon Mitchell, a great rallier and speaker from Wisconsin and the State President of The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin. You can follow him on twitter at @MahlonMitchell

Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at livestream.com

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The Occupy Wall Street happening was at first ignored. Then when it got more national attention it was “Oh. I can’t figure out what they’re saying.” Then FOX began to cover it all the time and ridicule it while other mass media outlets did an OK or so/so job. Now we’re seeing politicians and organizations trying to ride its energy for their own ax grinding or agenda.

From a Wall Street Journal [that’s Rupert Murdoch-owned] interview with Herman Cain:

“CAIN: I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”

I don’t think I’ve seen 1 single occupy sign that mentioned Obama. Wisconsin’s thing was somewhat “about Obama” because Walker’s union-killing agenda is about getting money and electoral votes away from him. But I don’t see this occupy thing that way. This is so organic, it’s non-partisan and not at all about electoral politics. The occupy thing is erupting from alive, aware, and angry people in America who are saying enough is enough. That chant “We are the 99%!” is the opener that states the truth: there is a 1% that has 40% of our wealth and Americans are angry about that. You can then ask, “Well, what do we do about that?” and “Who do we blame for this?” and I think you’ll get so many mixed replies. But that 1st statement–that chant – -how do you argue with it? You can’t.

I just caught that Cain is the person polling 2nd among GOP presidential wanna-bes.

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from reddit’s occupywallstreet subreddit

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There could be a national U.S. student walk out at Noon today [in each time zone] that stems from what definitely will be a large student walk-out of colleges in New York City. And there will be a rather large convergence of protesters – citizen led and union led – upon New York City and Washington D.C. Here’s where I will put news bits, interesting tweets, photos, videos etc that help to let us know what’s going on.

For the record, I am safe from tear gas and marauding cops in Madison, Wisconsin either at home or in locations downtown.

Occupy Movement 10/01/11-Protesters Overtake Brooklyn Bridge, Halted, Arrested-Recorded call to Arthur on Bridge

blue cheddar: Here’s a conversation I just recorded with Arthur while he was standing on the bridge, on the pedestrian walkway, watching people get cuffed/removed:

spare link – CALL TO ARTHUR on Brooklyn Bridge 10 01 11

Below are tweets and facebook updates from Arthur and Jenna (Wisconsinites on Wall Street) as well as the tweeter @jeffrae

Arthur of SSWIDTMS:
-Marching over the Brooklyn bridge. Some marchers are trying to take the street.
-They took the street!
-This is the coolest thing ever!
-They are arresting everyone on the bridge. This will take a while.-minutes ago
-They are removing everyone from the pedestrian walkway of the bridge.

Added 10/02/11
And from Jenna Pope A.K.A. @BatmanWI on twitter.

More from Jenna: When I decided to come go to #occupywallstreet, I decided that I was going to actively avoid getting arrested… but I also decided I was going to do whatever I had to do to tell the story as best I could. Little did I realize that getting the story I wanted would mean putting myself in an arrestable position.
We had a planned mach across the Brooklyn Bridge, but when we got there, some people started to march on the actual street and not on the pedestrian walkway. The police did NOTHING to stop them, so the protestors continued to march. I had been directed by other protestors to get onto the walkway, and after doing so, I realized there were people on the street level. I then threw my backpack and sign over the fence that separated me from the street level, climbed onto the fence, and jumped down about 10 feet to join the other protestors who were down there.
I realized that by doing this, I was putting myself in a position to get arrested. But, like I said, I came here to tell the story, and what better way to do that then to be IN the story?

Instead of typing out what happened, I included some audio posts, videos, and pictures that tell the entire story

Here’s audio from an interview after I was released:

Here are a couple of videos I got from the street level from facebook:
1st

2nd

Jenna tweeting [as @BatmanWI]

People are gathering for the 3pm. I’m carrying a sign that says “solidarity from Wisconsin” #occupywallstreet #wiunion

We’re marching on the street of the brooklyn bridge! Not the walkway. Woot! #occupywallstreet #wiunion

We’re trapped. Not letting us off. ppl getting arrested. We’re asking them to let us walk off peacefully. #occupywallstreet #wiunion

Chanting “let us go”. Cops making ppl on foot bridge get off the bridge

A few photos from tweeters:


tweet and pic from @Adrianchen

Crowd is roaring! #OccupyWallSt #OccupyWallStreet on Twitpic
“Crowd is roaring!” pic from @jopauca

pic from @jeffrae. A few of his tweets:
-Police mopeds line street at front of march
-March is heading towards Brooklyn Bridge
-Police Officer just tells me “I’m for this – you know what kinda hit my 401k took.
-March has taken Brooklyn bridge

UPDATE: Two white shirts just beat someone. Someone has video... on Twitpic
-Police going to make mass arrest on Brooklyn bridge”

Occupy Movement 09/30/11 More people, No Radiohead,When Harry Met Jenna

FYI: I am still in Madison, Wisconsin. I am just amplifying the news from the occupation movement.

Today I had the pleasure of both watching the live feed from Wall Street AND listening to a micro broadcaster, Rotunda Radio. Basically, Rotunda Radio is a slightly illegal station that’s available in Madison and online. [follow tweets at @RotundaRadio ] I found it charmingly retro and rather friendly-sounding to have a person offering commentary and narration, several times explaining to the assumed non-viewing radio listener why the feed was doing 1 quirky thing or another.

At one point the radio anchor said, “Yes. That was the sound of a cowbell you just heard. And now we are listening to the dulcet sound of silence.” And silence is what we heard. It was rather soothing.

I really loved it and it’s inspiring me to kick my online radio show back onto my plate.

Here’s a video from Arthur K-R of protesters marching in a pretty steady rain.

And here’s one of the best articles I’ve read about Occupy Wall Street. It reminds me of what it was like to be in our Madison protests: What I Saw at #OccupyWallStreet Last Night, and What I Saw When I Left

There’s a field manual now for occupations. See it HERE.

And there are occupations all over the nation. Check out OccupyTogether.org

Can I haz Radiohead? No.
There was a very successful hoax today that a 3PM Central acoustic Radiohead concert was to take place in Zucotti Park off of Wall Street. We all dutifully shared the news that Radiohead would show. Then we all had to inform our friends there was no concert. Hopes raised. Hopes dashed.

Guardian is Live Blogging from Wall Street
Nice job Guardian! They report that a march down to police headquarters, nearby, is slated for 5:30PM Eastern Time. Link HERE.

Lots of People Today.
The official Occupy Wall Street facebook page reported “Over 5,000 people are here now! We are overflowing into the streets. How many tomorrow?”

Prudence, the livestream anchor of mid-day from Wall Street, said that the whole scene was a “Cluster F**k” of half media and half activists today because so many people had cameras out. I thought to myself that we are all media now. I mean, who wouldn’t pull out their camera a lot if they were down there?

The weekend should bring more people. I expect many will be from these supportive unions and groups: New York Transit Workers Union (TWU Local 100, New York Metro 32BJ SEIU, United NY, Strong Economy for All Coalition, Working Families Party, VOCAL-NY, Community Voices Heard, Alliance for Quality Education, New York Communities for Change, Coalition for the Homeless. More at TPM

Harry Takes a Picture of Jenna
Hanging out with #WIunion superstar @batmanwi at #occupywalls... on Twitpic
Nice to know a couple of my fave Wisconsin activists are both on Wall Street today and both sporting the iconic Wisconsin blue fist. Follow Harry at @HarryWaisbren and follow Jenna at @BatmanWI

I’ll just toss the live feed in here in case you want to check in.

And of course, here’s the main occupy site. That’s where I found where you can donate funds,send provisions, and see their schedule:
“The UPS Store
Re: Occupy Wall Street
118A Fulton St. #205
New York, NY 10038
Money orders only please, cannot cash checks yet. Non-perishable goods only. We can accept packages of any size. We’re currently low on food.”

Slideshow, Video, and More from the Scott Walker Protest and Croquet Ball at the Mansion

I’ll keep on adding media as I find it. If you haven’t seen the main post yet, that’s back here at Protesting Scott Walker and the Croquet Ballers

From Arthur over at the facebook page Shit Scott Walker is Doing to My State – a flotilla video! (Wish I coulda been on that pontoon boat):

Photo from Lara

Photo from Lara

Protesting Scott Walker and The Croquet Ballers

Protests usually make me feel gleeful. This protest made me feel alternately happy and nauseous. It was because I had to actually watch Walker’s buddies play croquet on the lawn of what is known as “The Governor’s Mansion” but which is the property of the State of Wisconsin.

Despite this sign stuck in a car proclaiming the driver a “Defense Fund Baller”, the croquet players were officially raising money to rehab the mansion. From the invitation: “I am inviting fellow leading ladies like yourself to please join me in donating a purse filled with some of your favorite things. The purses will then be raffled off at the event…For example, I’ll be donating a Tignanello bag filled with some of my can’t-live-without items like my favorite shade of Bobbi Brown lipstick and an Aveda hand cream that I can’t get enough of.” – source

As you can see above, protesters brought purses containing other desirables: a living wage, public transportation, transparency in government, human decency, and veterans’ benefits-to name a few.

A few protesters wore their best hats for croquet.

We were about 30 people on the landed side of the mansion, and I heard that about 12 kayaks, a pontoon boat, and a fishing boat were on the Mendota Lake side of the mansion blasting music such as “Solidarity Forever” and “99 red balloons” – which I could hear as I approached the grounds.

Unfortunately the closer I got to the grounds I heard the music coming out of the mansion: Neil Diamond, the Grease soundtrack, but also “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang, and some Bruce Springsteen.

We sang along and even danced along to the Beatles singing “Twist and Shout”. For “Celebrate” the lyrics changed to either “Investigate him now, come on! It’s an investigation” or “Recall him now….”

For Springsteen’s Born in the USA we switched to “Born with a Silver Spoon!”

You may remember a “Whose house? Our house!” chant from the Capitol. In this case, we chanted “Whose lawn? Our lawn!”

Remember the mythical $7 million dollar price tag for “damage” to the Capitol? We sang the tune 100 bottles of beer on the wall but substituted “7 million dollars of damage to our lawn, 7 million dollars of damage…” assuming they are messing up that state-owned lawn with their heels as much as we were messing up the Capitol. Most of the credit for these creative chants goes to Sue T., by the way.

At least 3 folks came from neighboring counties to protest, with Ellen M. coming from Walworth County, so we were not all Madisonians.

I drove away honking at the Mercedes and Lexus that we sidled by in the tight path our two cars could creep through. There must have been a lot of the Benz, because only a few minutes before one of the other protesters started singing the Mercedes Benz song by Janis Joplin when one went by where we were standing.

I yelled “You disgust me” at two croquet players getting into their car.  I was angry.  There are so many reasons to be angry. There is no reason to NOT be angry.

Before I go – a license plate from one of the ballers:

Photo courtesy of annelyttle of twitter.

Link to a photo slideshow.

Paul Ryan Luncheon Arrests and Protest

Photo above from Wisconsin Jobs Now.

These are videos of people getting kicked out of Paul Ryan’s Rotary luncheon for asking questions. After they paid $15.00 to get in. I’m seeing multiple reports that 5 were kicked out while 3 were arrested.

While they were inside, a rally took place outside.

From Greendale Patch: “Outside, the protests and counter-protests were spirited but peaceful, with police from West Allis,Greenfield, Hales Corners and Franklin, as well as Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies.

“We’ve tried to get a chance to talk to Paul,” said one man who had been at the luncheon but withheld his name. “We’ve asked for many opportunities to meet with him at a public forum and his office has refused.”

“All these conservatives that are our representatives are supporting corporate interests,” said Steven Sweet of Bay View. “It’s the same mantra over and over again, but how else can I put it. They’re cutting programs and not asking anyone else to share the sacrifice.”

Supporters, many from outside the immediate area, also came out.

“I really support Paul Ryan and I support what he stands for. I believe that you can’t take from Peter to pay Paul and this country has been doing it for how many years,” said Ginny Holton from Brown Deer. “We have to stop the spending that’s going on. We need a strong, moral government that has some integrity, one that follows the constitution. … we just need a different direction, and I do think Paul Ryan is man of integrity.”

“We’re here just to support Paul,” said Gary from Burlington.  “We had heard they were bussing people in from Racine, and we wanted to take up a call to action.””


Kelly Gallaher has a few more luncheon arrest videos at her YouTube channel

Insult and Injury Don’t Deter Madison’s Marathon Protester

It wasn’t so long ago that I ran a guest post from Bruce N. But something just happened to him that I think is important. Actually, what’s more important is the way that he has handled it.

I stood in mostly light rain on Capitol Square yesterday, my usual Saturday space at the Farmer’s Market (beneath the Colonel Heg statue). It was a kind of celebration, my 201straight day protesting the Draconian legislation brought to us by His Royal Self-interestness, Skippy Walker. I delivered my talking points of the week for the pleasure of the many progressive passersby and to the destain of a few teabaggers who weren’t cozied-up in their lake cottages or were brazen enough to show their hypocritical selves on Labor Day Weekend. I received the usual from the latter group, “Get a Job!”; “What a Joke!”; “Idiot!” and a few tea bag expletives too naughty to mention. Par for the course. Part of the work. I always gain great encouragement from the many supporters who pass by carrying flowers (“to place on the grave of the Middle Class” and “beautiful round scalli ons to cover the putrid Conservative smell in the air”).

When I departed, strolling with my 8-sided protest box, having shouted a few RE-CALLLL WALK-ERRRRs along the way, I sidled past (always polite in my wide-bodied structure) two couples and a bevy of children. With my back partially turned, in full sidle, a plastic bottle bounced off my face and ricocheted into my enclosed box. I was obviously stunned. I suffer derision every day but never outright physical abuse. With my senses somewhat revived, I yelled, “That man threw a bottle at me!”.

The man made a transparent apology while carrying a telltale Cheshire grin on his face. He quickly retreated when I, somewhat histrionically, called “Police!”. Many on-lookers were alerted. I followed him asking for his name and address but he told me to get out of his face. That’s when I acted against my policy and called him an SOB. A woman, presumably the man ‘s wife, asked for the bottle, saying “I’ll dispose of it correctly”. At least there was some civility in the family. I yelled for him to come back and demonstrate bravery for his children but with no result.

I swung my rig toward home. Afterwards, my family said I should report the incident to Madison Police. I still may but I don’t want to waste the time of our fine police department with non-productive busy work. The incident did nothing to inhibit my protest spirit, in fact, it enlivened it. I’ll be back today for 202 and on 203 I’ll carry a black-draped sign expressing my grief at what has happened to the Labor Movement in Wisconsin. But, the natives are restless. Buckle up!. We need to continue to stand strong and keep our eyes on the prize, the Recall of Scott Walker.

Signed,
The Box Man of Capitol Square
Bruce N.

“That’s illegal, you know!” – Scott Fitzgerald: “Yes sir!”


This is a guest post by Bruce N. I’ve seen Bruce protesting in snow, sleet, rain, and sweltering sun at the Capitol building. If you want to learn about how to do a marathon protest, Bruce is your go-to man. He had an unusual conversation with the Wisconsin Senate’s Scott Fitzgerald today.

One hour and 45 minutes ago I was jauntily completing my daily citizen’s duty – 198 straight days sign-protesting at Capitol Square. I’m an unpaid, non-union, average guy who, like many Wisconsinites, has been slapped in the face by an internal coup d’tat of Wisconsin representative government in February. I like to call it “Walker’s St. Valentine’s Revolution.”
In response, I try to make a small contribution, a fresh and topical sign every day, that keeps the issues on the minds of those who haunt the capitol. A presence, a stand-in for all those who can’t make it every day.
Today’s sign-bite Reeled In A Big Fish. It read:
J. Fitzgerald’s lobbying org’s (ALEC) membership paid by WI taxpayers.

(ALEC, of course, refers to the ubiquitous but largely unknown American Legislative Exchange Council. Go to ALECEXPOSED.ORG)
So, back to the story. Who should I run into today but our jovial, red-faced WI Senate Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff’s brother, and two of his cohorts.

I held up my sign directly in front of them and they dutifully read it. Following which, I politely (not always my M.O.) said to them, “That’s illegal, you know!”

Senator Fitzgerald answered without pause, “Yes, Sir!” He smiled broadly, as did I before turning my back and leaving.

What the senator meant by his retort is anyone’s guess. Could it be that he agreed with the sign’s implication of illegal use of funds and was showing the extreme hubris so common these days among the GOP? Or, was it a clumsy, off-the-cuff bit of Irish humor. I’m not writing with the purpose of intuiting personal intent. I’m reporting what I saw and heard verbatim and you be the judge.

The story beneath this chance meeting is instructive. The putative Republican candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat, Jeff Fitzgerald, used Wisconsin taxpayer money to become a member of ALEC. That may be illegal. The Assembly leader also accepted a suspect donation of $1,329 from ALEC.

The main revelation about ALEC is that it secretly gathers together 2,000 state legislators, including our own, along with 300 corporate representatives to draft and vote on so-called “model legislation” that is then trotted back to state capitols, including Madison, for use in GOP legislative agendas. ATTENTION: our supposed representative government is being run from outside the state, especially by CORPORATIONS.

Among ALEC’s members are 33 WI Assembly representatives and 15 WI Senators – all Republican. If you check Wisconsin legislation you’ll find a remarkable similarity to ALEC models. How else, barring pre-knowledge of Scott Walker’s election, could the revolutionary putsch of our government have put together a voluminous set of prepackaged bills in such a short period of time. The only answer is that between the November, 2010 election and the January 3, 2011 inauguration they already had them in their back pocket.
ALEC claims they are not a lobbying organization. But, if writing bills for states and allowing corporations to vote on “model legislation” along with wining and dining WI legislators is not lobbying what is? ALEC has made old-fashioned lobbying in smoke-filled rooms look like stone tools.

It is important to know that Wisconsin makes it illegal for their legislators to use taxpayer money for membership in lobbying organizations.
I suppose a demand to make ALEC identify itself as a registered lobbying group would require a court case. I am not a lawyer and do not have the money to mount such an endeavor, but until somebody does what can we do? We can shout to the rooftops that the Republicans are set to run a man for the U.S. Senate who, if he has not blatantly broken the law, has committed ethical malfeasance and severely jeopardized representative democracy in Wisconsin.

Keep your spirit. Settle in for a long fight. Politics and citizen protection of Democracy is an endurance activity.

And now for a brief flashback, this is a video I did of Bruce at day number 94 of his protest. The video cuts to the part where he explains why he’s friendly with everybody, even the Republican legislators:

Wisconsin started it: “We are seeing a very real shift happening”

This is just the tail end of Mike Elk’s article on a strike in Pennsylvania and it is what will make you go back and read the whole thing. The workers at this Hershey warehouse are guest workers who are forced to stay in inflated rental housing–buying their housing from the “company store” – -and they wind up taking home only $40-$140 a week. :

…about six weeks ago a guest worker walked into a local legal aid clinic and asked what they could do about the situation. The legal aid clinic put the student and other upset students in touch with local labor leaders and community allies. Community allies, upset that 400 jobs that could be going to Central Pennsylvania residents were instead going to exploited guest workers, vowed to stand by the guestworkers and fight deportation if workers went on strike….

We are seeing a very real shift happening. The solidarity between a group of essentially captive guest workers and American workers is unusual, and gets right at the heart of both global labor patterns and the hallowing out of the American economy,” says Boykewic, who added:

There was something iconic about Wisconsin and there was a new infusion of energy. Before there was a national conversation happening at kitchen tables about the individual problems workers were having, but not at national discourse in the media. Wisconsin was the catalyzing moment that created an energy of people thinking about these connections between each other. …

The strike and protest at the Hershey factory and other recent dramatic actions indicate that we may be in the early stages of a wave of dramatic worker action.

Workers, it seems, may have reached a breaking point as corporations lower wages and governments cut important social services. As workers around the world from London to Chile to Greece protest corporate abuses and government cuts, it appears that things in the United State may finally be boiling over.

Read it in full. Mike Elk’s article “Hershey Guest Worker Scandal Result of Lax Gov’t Oversight,Immigration Expert”

Usual suspect Steve Nass fires up protest expense feud, insults Rep. Terese Berceau

I’m pondering whether I’ll start drawing social security before or after this feud over protest-related expenses ends. (23 years from now, give or take).

As you recall, Wisconsin’s DOA got the message out that protests at the Capitol were an expensive burden, saying it would cost $7.5 million for Capitol building cleaning – which later got knocked down to about $350,000. We’re back to talking big numbers but this time on security: $8.1 million in security costs during the high protest weeks at the Capitol.

Representatives Terese Berceau of Madison and Steve Nass of Whitewater seem to be designated fighters sparring on this issue.

Dem. Rep. Terese Berceau
Therese Berceau: “I am horrified that Governor Walker’s paranoia toward the people of Wisconsin has now resulted
in Wisconsin taxpayers being forced to shoulder an extra $8.1 million dollars in security costs. At the height of the protests earlier this year I was in the Capitol on a daily and nightly basis. Nothing warranted this cost. I saw seven state patrol officers outside of a second-floor bathroom with no protesters in sight. Twenty-eight state troopers stood outside the Assembly chambers when we were voting on redistricting when almost no one was in the Capitol. At one time, I actually heard a state trooper say, ‘Who do we call to say that two-thirds of us aren’t needed?’ – link to her full statement dated August 15.

I can cosign. And I can understand over-staffing in the early days, but as time wore on, it became clear the crowds were mature and even organizing their own volunteer “marshals” to act as vigilant watchdogs, ensuring civility.

When Nass wrote back to Berceau, he said that Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, and Madison Police Chief Noble Wray were “siding with the siege participants” and egging them on.

(A little perspective on Tea Partier Nass’ relationship with Madison – he thinks that the Indian Mascot law should be repealed because the old name-your-team-after-an-Indian system wasn’t discriminatory while he IS worried about car driver discrimination committed by the “liberal extremists in Madison who hate cars and think everyone should bike to work.”)

Nass is missing the point that the amount of security was out of balance with the situation. But let’s say I do entertain this argument–that Dane County leaders have some responsibility for keeping the crowds strong and present. Then by the same logic, Nass and the whole largely boy band of Republicans bear a heavy burden of responsibility for standing by the legislative equivalent of Walker’s Atom Bomb. They refused to budge an inch on the laundry list of offenses within Wisconsin Act 10 and the rush of legislation that followed, only giving us maybe an 8th of an inch particularly by keeping Wisconsin’s Seniorcare program intact [This is a program which I’ve witnessed get put on the chopping block periodically over the years only to be revived at the last minute as if it’s fated to star in some ritual drama. This I know because I’ve heard my 84-year-old mom worrying about it each time]

As for the Dane County side of enforcement aid, Nass is not addressing squarely what caused tension between DOA and the Dane County Sheriff, David Mahoney, which is that the DOA refused to comply with a court order that opened up the Capitol building to the public and Mahoney responded by pulling his men and women, refusing to use them as “palace guards”:
“The deputies had been told that the doors would be open at 8 a.m. yesterday, but that didn’t happen and the officers didn’t find out why until the afternoon, Mahoney said.
“When asked to stand guard at the doors that duty was turned over to the Wisconsin State Patrol because our deputies would not stand and be palace guards,” Mahoney said. “I refused to put deputy sheriffs in a position to be palace guards.”” -press conference 3/1/11

Nass seems to be assuming that if local enforcement were more involved, the whole security detail would’ve been cheaper. I don’t see anything to prove it. Plus Madison and Dane County have had to float the $ to pay those personnel and they aren’t even reimbursed yet. Why would they want to take on more of the expense and wait this long to get $ – especially from a hostile administration like Walker’s?

Nass finishes off with a pithy paragraph about truth and the “fight to save our state and country”. The thousands who were so moved to assemble at his place of work and our Capitol to appeal to him also ARE OF THIS STATE AND COUNTRY. They also hold truth–apparently as seen through a different lense. They stood in the snow for hours. They didn’t demand Nass stand outside with them. They just wanted Nass and his kind to unthaw enough to move an unseen dial to a middle place inside their hearts or minds and accept the task of governing for all Wisconsinites. Nass has no noble claim of serving state and country. He’s lost that.

Nass stayed inside safe and dry and stubborn, and left too many people out in the cold.

——————————————————————-

Rep. Nass: Letter to Rep. Berceau re: Round 2 Capitol security costs
8/18/2011

Representative Terese Berceau
Room 127 West
State Capitol

RE: Round 2 – Capitol Security Costs and Reading Comprehension

Dear Representative Berceau:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my letter of August 16, 2011. I appreciate you taking the time to obtain a response from the public sector union bosses and forwarding their thoughts on to me.

I encourage you to review your letter since it fails to accurately depict the content of my letter (not a press release). I stated my opposition to reimbursement of costs incurred by the City of Madison Police Department and the DaneCounty Sheriff’s Department (emphasis added to assist in ease of reading). Your letter dishonestly states I am opposed to paying all law enforcement agencies for their service at the State Capitol.

During the Capitol Siege, I understand that you were busy pandering to the protesters while wearing your orange shirt, but the media documented the statements of Sheriff Dave Mahoney, County Executive Kathleen Falk, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, and Police Chief Noble Wray.

In those statements, it was clear these local Madison officials were siding with the siege participants and even encouraging their conduct. These local actions clearly played a role in the need for the Department of Administration and the Capitol Police Department to seek assistance from other state and local law enforcement agencies in re-establishing law and order at the State Capitol.

If the Madison Police Department and the DaneCounty Sheriff’s Department were permitted to provide service within the State Capitol, then it might not have been necessary to obtain manpower from other agencies. However, the local leadership of these law enforcement agencies ( City of Madison and Dane County) restricted those officers from participating in the proper law enforcement function of securing the State Capitol and removing the obstructing protesters.

I am not surprised that you would attempt re-write history and whitewash the terrible conduct of your colleagues in the professional protest community. However, the intentional dishonesty in your communications are another telling sign of the desperate need of Assembly Democrats to hide their behavior from decent people of this state. While the truth may be your enemy, it is the life’s blood of the citizens that took back their government in November 2010 and will continue to fight to save our state and country.

Sincerely,

Steve Nass
State Representative
31st Assembly District

Letter originally located at wispolitics.com

To communicate with Rep. Steve Nass:
Capitol Telephone
(608) 266-5715 Or
(888) 529-0031

District Telephone
(262) 495-3424

Email
Rep.Nass@legis.wisconsin.gov
Room 12 West
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

Voting Address
N8330 Jackson Road
Whitewater, WI 53190

Nass’ district:
Steve Nass Wisconsin Assembly District 31
Image from GazetteExtra

How much Madison/Dane County did kick in: According to Isthmus “The state has calculated that costs for providing security during the months of protests is more than $8 million. Madison is asking to be reimbursed $682,842 for services it provided, including $555,098 for police, $37,719 for fire personnel, $79,148 for Metro Transit and $10,876 for use of the fire department’s command center. The state expects to pay Dane County $534,081.”

Statement from Madison Police Chief Noble Wray

Walker Stalkers call out a sweatshop & support a whistle blower – Fort Atkinson Protest

Photo from Walworth County Dems
About 300-400 people gathered at Opportunities Inc. in Fort Atkinson last night. Walker visited as part of a 45th anniversary celebration and a $6 million dollar addition to the Opp. Inc. “campus”. Protesters broadcast 3 key messages. The first two I expected: “Recall Walker” and “Opportunities Inc is a sweat shop”. The third message is a surprise to me: Opportunties Inc. puts disabled people in deadend sub-minimum wage work – work supported by federal medicaid grants. And “sub-minimum” is really very much below $7.50/hour: 323 of Opp. Inc’s employees worked at sub-minimum wage in 2009. 300 earned less than $5 an hour, 161 earned under $2/hour and 66 worked for under $1 an hour*. About 70 similar licensed “sheltered workshops” legally employ disabled people in Wisconsin for sub-minimum wage work. I learned that Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin is the largest such outfit in the nation. (*per a 2009 DWD application I’ll dig into this deeper in an upcoming post.)

Many of the people who came to protest Walker had read about the working conditions of one of Opp. Inc’s non-disabled employees: Bob Heussner. He’s a Vietnam vet who wrote a letter to a local paper, “The Daily Union”, to say that workers on the Purina cat food packing line he’s on are kept at minimum wage with no advancement chances, with no holidays, and no benefits. They’re kept on a “temporary” status for years – excluding them from perks. And they work with no air conditioning. There are few fans that are not over all the workers. Bob told me he took a couple days off without pay last week. He couldn’t handle the heat. He said the option to leave due to heat is not presented to workers. He says his request for better fans has not been responded to.

Nobody need worry about guests, however. For the muggy evening, temporary air conditioning was pumped into the Opp. Inc. “Gala”.

More on that A/C (48 seconds):

Bob speaks here along with friend Lily.

Lilly and Bob H. talk about Opportunity Inc. from Erik of newsWISC on Vimeo.

I recognized some “Walker Stalkers” who I’ve seen in Madison but I also met plenty of new people such as Helen from Walworth County who I’d chatted with on facebook. Most of the protests I’ve gone to are diverse, noisy, and a bit unruly, and this was no exception. I could say the unruliness indicates protesters are from are the grassroots and remain uncoached. Or I could say they’re really pissed off with Walker. Maybe that’s two ways to say the same thing.

We were gathered along the sidewalk in an industrial park of Fort Atkinson and around half of a warehouse-style industrial building. Guests were parking across the street and were escorted over to their Gala by men in uniforms and day-glow yellow vests — “rent-a-cops”. The guests wore heels and suits in contrast to the shorts and sandals of the protesters. As these guests crossed the street, protesters lined their path and yelled “shame!” One local man with a megaphone tried to stop protesters from chastising the visitors, saying the real problem is Walker. He had very limited success.

A Walker supporter stood at the edge of this protest gauntlet and shook the hand of every visitor who came down the sidewalk. I didn’t see her suffer harassment. I rode back to Madison with twitter pal @WIArtTeacher and found out that not only is @WIArtTeacher (Kati) from Fort Atkinson, but she also knows that hand-shaker very well. The hand-shaking woman was in Kati’s mother’s prayer group. The woman once tried to shame Kati’s mother over Kati’s anti-Walker activism in the middle of a prayer. Kati said she walked up to the hand-shaker last night and told her it was her right to do what she was doing at the protest, but nobody was getting her message. Kati then turned on her heel and walked away.

I neared the entrance to the Gala and saw what looked like the happiest guy there – – one of those people that exude a healthy glow. He waved at one of the guests in suits and his companion. His greetings and waving continued as a series of about 3 couples he knew walked in during the 10 minutes I stood there. Each couple waved back somewhat tentatively and greeted him by name. There was no sentence to follow that greeting like “how ya doin”, but instead, an awkward moment followed as they just looked at each other. His wife stood by his side and also waved, but would shake a small cowbell as well, smiling brightly. “Whenever I see somebody I know coming in, I shake this bell so they look at me,” she said. I struck up an easy conversation with them, but they wanted to remain anonymous in this blog. He explained that he’s in the Lion’s Club with most of those people he greeted. He pointed to a man in his 40’s and said, “He was a student of mine.” I learned he’s a retired teacher. His wife said she’d taught the children of the people in suits, and at this her brow furrowed a little. She lacked the constant beautific glow of her husband. I asked her if she thought her presence at the protest would spark a change in one of the guests she’d greeted. She replied, “No. I think they’re too far died-in-the-wool now.”

We spoke with Larry, a man who’s worked at Opportunities Inc. and got laid off a few days ago. His story is about witnessing illegal immigrants using others’ documents to get work at Opportunities Inc. and about being farmed out as a temporary worker to area businesses that refused to grant him a permanent job.

Larry from Erik of newsWISC on Vimeo.

What follows are a few words from Sly of WTDY in Madison. A geeky blogger like myself goes to a protest and gets some happy recognition from readers. When Sly walks by a line of protesters you see some kind of celebrity-protester lovefest unfold.

Sly of WTDY 1670am from Erik of newsWISC on Vimeo.

Walker approached the site in his usual sinister looking Yukon XL SUV with black tinted windows along with a few look-alike vehicles. It was surreal: 3 black SUVs speeding by [perhaps 45 mph], tires ka-thumping over railroad tracks one after the other. Protesters begin to yell as they get a glimpse of the vehicles in their peripheral vision, all turning to the road. They run after the vehicles, their signs flailing. Some want to run but decide to stay rooted by the railroad tracks that run behind the building where we’ve been assembling – maybe in hopes he’d double back or in realization that they won’t run fast enough to catch him. The chanting and yelling intensifies to a dull roar around the other side of the building and I listen to the state troopers get questioned by a couple of angry men: “Do you honestly think that was under the speed limit?”

I walked toward the mass of people and 2 minutes in I caught sight of a man being led away in handcuffs. Two protesters were arrested so quickly, I couldn’t witness it. A blonde woman was arrested for banging against the side of the building. The man I saw handcuffed is Ed Sadlowski of AFSCME who trespassed on the taped off lawn holding his American flag immediately after the woman was arrested, saying “If someone is going to jail, I’m going to jail too.” My friend Karen was very nearly arrested at the same time. I learned Ed’s teen daughter yelled out, “That’s my dad!” when he got arrested.

Talking about that moment reminded Karen of another father daughter moment: a state trooper stationed at the event walked into the crowd to give a hug to his protester daughter.

You can see people running after Walker and an arrest at 5:08 of Arthur’s video:

In a related post I hope to address:
-Why and when it’s legal to pay people sub-minimum wage in America
-Sheltered workshop sweatshops
-What disability advocates are demanding
-And get out more Photos and Video

More on sheltered workshops from Madison.com

The A/C and Protesters-running video is from Arthur of the facebook page Shit Scott Walker’s Doing to My State