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MARCH 10, 2011 1:01AM

Taking back Wisconsin

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Today we were polar "bird watching" as we held our Recall Senator Harsdorf Here sign.  As gentle snow fell all around, encapsulating us in a snow globe atmosphere, we quietly collected 119 signatures for her recall because of her support of Gov. Walker's "Budget Repair Bill." You see, for every middle finger we recieved...we garnered 15 affirmations in return.

"Thank-you so much for being here!" was the most common response. One woman cried because she was so happy to sign, her hands shaking in the cold.  It was like a community gathering at our one-table-operation.  Folks greeted each other while they waited in line...like they were congrugating at the local coffee shop.  The age span ran from barely legal to an elderly man who needed help holding the clip board.  We recieved honks and cheers, handshakes and encouragement.  Twice we received coffee and one woman brought my sons cookies when she noticed that they were watching a movie in a warm, nearby car. 

My husband was holding the sign most of the day.  He was bold and unashamed.  I found the sign way too heavy to hold for more than 20 minutes.  The sign needed to be big because the city wouldn’t allow us to plant one – only carry it.  So the bigger the better.  I also would rather sit at the table because it feels "safer" and I like talking to people.  I gave out slips of paper listing the website to recall Walker along with local rallies and the upcoming state supreme court election in April. 

When we returned home this evening, we heard the news that Governor Walkers’s republican senate stripped most public worker's collective bargaining rights in a sneaky, and perhaps illegal, late night vote.  Immediately, protestors broke through the police baracade, illegally occupying the capital past closing time.  They screamed "Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!" as the senators streamed out of the building.

But I need to see the bright side in all of this right now - I have to remain empowered in order to keep going.  Not only are we back on top of the local and national news where we belong, but we'll rake in the signatures tomorrow.  On a windy, 35 degree day - we had a line of folks.  Just imagine what we'll achieve on Friday when the temperatures will reach 50 degrees here, and workers in WI wake up to the new reality - their rights were just taken from them. 


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I'm with you! I can't be with you in body (I'm here in California), but I'm with you in spirit, and I've given more than $100 to (y)OUR cause, including money to the Wisconsin Democrats. (Democrats with SPINES -- who knew?)

Hang in there!

you represent all of us!!!!!!!!!!!
As Kat says, you represent us all. If I were a younger man and in better health, I would thumb there myself. As goes Wisconsin is how the rest of the country will be for many years to come. Great job!
The outpouring of support from those out of state has maybe the been the most emotional and motivating aspect of this fight. I love your personal accounts of what we're going through...by we, I mean those of us in WI and also our family. I feel like your writing lets people in, those who wish they were here. Thank you so much for that.

Fighting this battle beside you has been so motivating. I love you.
Keep fighting good fight. You are amazing. Rated with hugs.
Don't give up. You're our fragile flame of hope.
On another blog site, one of my friends is a Student at the University. He has cerebral palsy, and is studying library science in an effort to make himself independent and give himself a secure future. This is what he posted last night :
""The bill passed. The BILL PASSED. And do you know how those f*ckers got it to pass without the Democrats being there? They stripped all budgetary measures from the bill, just so that they could destroy collective bargaining and break the unions. Now their intention lies naked; their sole goal was to do that. They have destroyed 50 years of progress towards equity and fairness. Thanks a F*CKING bunch Republicans! Now, because of you, I have no future in the state where my family has lived for 165 years. My dad was right when he left in the 70's... I thought Wisconsin was a place where my dreams could be possible. I was wrong. As a librarian, I'll be making even less when I get out of here because none of the librarians will be unionized. I'm having a hard time getting to sleep. ""
I told him to stay in school. I told him help is coming. He is one voice..but they are all crying. To paraphrase, ...today, we are ALL Wisconsinites! Tell us how we can help? Besides getting people to the polls in 2012.
the parliamentary charade by WI state senate is labor's call to arms. Your voices [WI state and public employees] can be heard worldwide.
Keep the faith. We are with you. I am demonstrating at the capital in Des Moines on Tuesday, and again in Cedar Rapids. We HAVE to keep going! You are doing the right thing.
Keep on keepin' on. Check out Forbes blogs today - article about how this is the Republicans' Waterloo. http://blogs.forbes.com/erikkain/2011/03/10/is-wisconsin-the-real-republican-waterloo/
Once can only hope...
I am almost tempted to put the kids in the car and make the 6 hr. drive to Madison just so they can experience this piece of history first hand...though we are fighting our own battle here in Michigan against our governor's plan to appoint emergency managers in any community he deems it necessary, managers who would have the power to override all elected officials and, thus, the will of the voters. So glad your posts are getting the attention they deserve.
Mideast: Democracy In
Midwest: Democracy Out.
The time of big unions is coming to the end and you’d better believe it. The more we, “normal” people learn about unions, especially about public sector unions – the concept itself is absolutely illogical - the more we ask: why? Why teachers in WI are so furious these days? Look at the protestors – more and more they look like a mob. Look at these people storming the door, going through some holes in the building, screaming – are they lost their mind? Look at their faces – it’s scary. To me they look like zombies programmed by someone (unions, perhaps) to behave in such unbelievable manner. What are you protesting against, I’d like to ask? What are your demands? Oh, I see… You don’t want to loose privileges that most of us never even had. And you’d like to have these privileges paid by us! No, I’m sorry – you demand us to pay for your privileges!! You follow your union’s bosses believing that they represent you and your rights and your interests.. But do they? Do you know what salaries your union leaders pay themselves? How much money they give to the political agendas? It’s our money, by the way. I’ve heard stories about teachers buying books for the kids in the class, about not having money for after school activities, etc., but all these doesn’t bother you union leaders. They’d better use yours (and my) money to buy this or that corrupt politician. They are there for power and power only. Read what Bob Chanin, General Counsel of NEA said recently:
“…Why are these conservative and right-wing bastards picking on NEA and its affiliates? I will tell you why: It is the price we pay for success. NEA and its affiliates have been singled out because they are the most effective unions in the United States. And they are the nation’s leading advocates for public education and the type of liberal social and economic agenda that these groups find unacceptable…”
Sounds good, isn’t it, BUT…
“…Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliate are effective advocates because WE HAVE POWER. AND WE HAVE POWER BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE THAN 3.2 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING PAY US HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DUES EACH YEAR BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THAT WE ARE THE UNIONS THAT CAN MOST EFFECTIVELY REPREENT THEM…”
I can’t add anything to this statement, after all, Mr. Chanin knows better – he’s been with the NEA, I believe, for more then 30 years. There is little that is voluntary about the millions in dues paid to the NEA every year. If you want to teach in a public school that is under an NEA contract in those jurisdictions (like California and New York and Wisconsin), you must pay dues to the NEA. IT IS THE LAW!!?. There is nothing voluntary about it. Second, that is tax payer money he’s talking about, which is exactly what is so corrupting about public sector unions: the government is lobbying itself for its own expansion. This is crazy!!
And what are “employee rights” and “due process,” you might ask? Well, those are what require New York City to pay 700 union teachers $65 million a year to do nothing. Same thing in Los Angeles, where 165 union teachers collect a total of $10 million a year from tax payers for doing nothing. (the famous "Rubber Rooms")
Our country is now in a very difficult situation – financially and politically. We all suffer and you are not better then us. You have to get to your senses and join the army of millions of Americans who pay for their privileges with their own money.
Your personal responses to the crisis in Wisconsin have meant a lot to all of us, Y. So they nailed us on a technicality in the first round. Big deal. There are many more rounds to come. I believe the working people of Wisconsin are in this for the long haul. I hope I'm right.
What a shocker to wake up to this morning! I felt sick to my stomach, thought of you right away....I'm so sorry.
I did love hearing the capitol resounding with,"Shame shame!" That gave me goosebumps.
Power on, fabulous Wisconsinites! We're with you in spirit (and donations), you are teaching us how to do it when our states are attacked.
YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Y Heron, be assured, we're still standing with Wisconsin. And that if Walker has awakened public outrage before this vote, he's about to discover what REAL public outrage looks like. I'm not a lawyer or conversant with Wisconsin laws to state what is or is not legal. But I do recognize a stinking, disgusting bit of treachery when I read about it. A governor's disdain for the rights and concerns and dishonesty toward the people of his state is inexcusable.

Recall their asses, every last elephantine ONE of them!
Thank you for these inspiring personal updates and for all you and your fellow WI'ers are doing for all of us. I've contributed to the recall effort, and wish I could do more. Just plain thank you.
the Repubs are showing their true colors, they can no longer pretend that their assault on working peoples' civil rights is about the budget in WI, since they stripped out all the budget measures to pass the union-busting provisions

in Michigan, they've passed a law to strip non-compliant cities, towns, counties and districts of their political independence and replace local elected officials with czars appointed by the governor, they're actually eliminating representative democracy

the Republicans are the shock troops in a vicious class war on American constitutional democracy being waged by a handful of billionaires against the rest of us, they have their propaganda network, a rigged Supreme Court, enough bought Senators of both parties to stifle any threats to their hegemony, and a President who seems afraid to take sides with the people who elected him

you folks in WI are the first to stand up and be counted for the American people in this war, you're an inspiration to the whole country
You know, if you're going to "fight" you ought to know what you're fighting for.

The state is broke, and quit trying to make this look as though all workers rights have been taken from them...you want to unionize? Go work in the private sector.
Keep fighting...till you win. I wish I were a WI resident and could sign and offer more than words and thoughts and prayers of support. My family is in OH where, I'm sure you know, they are dealing with a very similar situation. I watched their senate pass Kasich's awful bill and just sat here and cried. My whole family is made up of teachers, OEA/NEA reps, steelworkers and other unionized workers. This is such a HUGE step backwards.
I wish I could sign your petition, but my vote from Chicago doesn't count in Wisconsin. I salute you for doing the right thing in this battle. Thank you!!
You're not only making a difference. You're making American history.
And ignore the nay sayers on here. The only reason they are against it is because they don't get it. You have to pay union dues if you are a teacher because the benefits are for EVERYONE. It is a misconception that public workers "take" from taxpayers. They do not, they pay into their OWN pension, using money taken from their OWN paychecks. In most states there's not even any "matching" for several year so the state can use the employees money (the money they had taken from THEIR checks) to "invest" so then the state starts giving some of what THE EMPLOYEES money has earned, back to the employee. This is NOT taking money from any taxpayer. The employees ARE paying for their health care, pensions etc using money THEY earned.

The things the unions have done have helped EVERYONE, even those of us in "at will" states.

And anyone that honestly believes a teacher is paid to "do nothing" is an a$$hole, pardon my french. Children in states with unions and collective bargaining do better in school than those states that don't allow it. Unionized, collective bargaining states are ranked WELL over states that are at will.

So my advice to you nay sayers is this: watch out, because if unions and collective bargaining are successfully busted, they (the ridiculously rich people that are the TRUE power hungry greedy b@stards) will be coming for the private sector next. They will take away all the labor laws they can and revert America back to the "olden days" there will be no child labor laws, we'll go back to 100 hour work weeks, no minimum wage, no health benefits, no anything. Don't fool yourselves. If "they" get away with it now, it WILL continue, because corporations are power hungry greedy jerks and they have lobbied and bought and paid for the people that are "in power".

This is NOT about reducing deficit or balancing budgets. This is about power, plain and simple.
I want you to know that it means so much for you to write here and for me to be able to see what is happening thru your eyes Heron. I hope you feel the support you are getting here from me and the others here.
Either we stand together or we all hang separately.
Tears fill my eyes…after a long day of helping collect signatures (216 more!!!!!!) to find you wonderful, supportive, folks here. I read each and every comment, and connected with each of you… even the negative ones – you speak for folks too – we get flipped off every day. But the numbers are the same on OS, as they are on the street 15 positive Vs. 1 negative. My preference is responding to each and every one of you – you deserve that. But the night is getting on, and I think it is important to document my day.

You humble me. You trust me to tell you one inside look, inside the beginning of a movement larger than any of us can fathom right now. I can’t express my appreciation to you enough for giving me this opportunity to tell you a story…to tell you one of the stories in Wisconsin right now. I feel that God has given me a small gift in all of this – an audience for my writing. I’m more of a “journal keeper” than a great writer. I’ve never had a vast vocabulary or a unique way with words like so many of you amazing OSers. But I love to write. And to be able to use that passion of mine to further a cause – the cause of the American people - is one of the biggest honors of my life.

Thank-you all.
You're the BEST! The work you and others have initiated in Wisconsin are just the start of where the rest of the country is heading. You may not see it in mainstream media, but most of the country is behind you.
Based on what I've been reading, through his recent actions, Governor Walker and his sycophants have just stabbed themselves in the back. He has shown everyone just how ruthless and tyrannical he truly is. He has not won at all. If anything, he just lost more ground.

Blessings and G_dspeed.

Y Heron,
It's really heartening hearing about your efforts. We will take back Wisconsin.
Latest favorite protest sign:
“Mr. Walker, you may not remember me, but I can recall you.”

Good on you for the signatures collected so far. =o) Rest up, nobody deserves a good night's sleep more than you and your husband after those hours in the cold. You've done good work, today.
What a beautiful response, Y Heron.....
"but we'll rake in the signatures tomorrow" you couldn't have a better attitude!!!

Grab a clue...sure teachers are paying out of their own pocket for their benefits...and where did the money in their pocket come from? That's right, taxpayers.