Saturday, October 15, 2011
Recall Walker -- the sign taped to the guy's backpack at Occupy Madison says it all. And in just one month the people of Wisconsin will be able to say it with their signatures. And it looks as if it won't just be the governor up for recall. There's a whole new batch of senators who will also be eligible soon.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Occupy Madison, Day 7. The edible ones will be donated to an area food bank. The ornamental ones will go to schools.
John Nichols in The Nation: Major Unions Endorse Wisconsin Recall Drive as a 99 Percent Solution. Yes!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
With today's rainy weather we're reminded that the elements are an important part of taking to the streets in Madison this time of year. In fact, as last winter's protests remind us, activists in Madison seem to thrive on bad weather. Occupy Madison is no exception. They're now at the Capitol Square, or rather just off it. I think it's a good location.
No longer having a permit for Reynolds Park, Occupy Madison held a general assembly yesterday at 5:30 pm to decide where to continue the occupation. They met in Veterans Park -- the little concrete park at State and Mifflin, near the Capitol and next to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The video shows some of the discussion as they considered the pros and cons of a number of possible alternatives -- St. Raphael's field, Peace Park on State Street, the Monona Terrace concourse, Union Corners and Veterans Park. There's also a nice account of an earlier action at Madison banks.
The Dane County Emergency Command Center was parked across from Occupy Madison at Reynolds Park over the weekend. See the camera at the back of the truck, aimed at Occupy Madison?
The police in Madison have been remarkably cool and professional during the protests this year, and off-duty Cops for Labor provided powerful support for the protests against the union-busting budget at the Capitol earlier in the year.
A speaker in the video comments on the conduct of the police at Reynolds Park: "The cops were rather cordial to us. They didn't infringe on our rights, other than their surveillance van."
Reynolds Park was available for a few days, and it was a start. But it was definitely a bit off the beaten track (and lacked electric power outlets). With their move to Veterans Park, Occupy Madison is now in a location that's more visible, has more traffic -- and with the Capitol just around the corner -- a connection with the uprising earlier this year. (More photos in this Flickr set.) It seems a good location from which to build support and grow.
I just wonder where they'll park the surveillance van now Occupy Madison is in Veterans Park? Might have to take a parking space from a legislator or two.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The clouds are rolling back in, and the summer-like weather is just about over. A good time to ponder our grievances. And time to switch to black and white. It's more serious. Color protest photos so often look like party pictures. Black and white has more impact, and we're in this for the long haul. This thing is far from over. In just a little more than a month, come Nov. 15, here in Wisconsin the other 99% will be arming ourselves with recall petitions. No concealed carry for us, the petitions will be right out in the open, and we'll be looking for signatures.
Monday, October 10, 2011
On our way to the Famers' Market Saturday, I noticed the flag at the federal courthouse flying at half-staff. For a crazy, naive moment I thought a grateful nation was officially paying its last respects to Steve Jobs. (In what alternative universe would that ever happen?) But no -- the flag was lowered in mourning for another Wisconsin soldier killed in the Forever War, which continues consuming lives and treasure as if on autopilot, a classic example of tragic folly that continues through sheer political and bureaucratic inertia. It's right and proper that we pay our respects to the soldiers who paid the ultimate price. But it's also far too easy -- a quick "oh, how sad" and then on to the Farmers' Market. How long until we have leaders with the guts and honesty to bring the madness to a halt? And how long until we the people force them to end it?
Hey, she never said she knew how to drive this thing. Her name is Caroline, and she was one of the first two contestants paddling giant pumpkins on a challenging Lake Mendota course Saturday.
The 2011 Giant Pumpkin Regatta, cosponsored by the UW Horticultural Society and the Hoofers Sailing Club, took place in perhaps the best weather the event has ever enjoyed. In 2009, heavy waves and wind blew the boats all over the place. Last year the regatta was canceled due to inclement weather -- making this either the 6th Annual or 7th Annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta, depending on whether you count the cancellation. However on Saturday, with temps in the eighties and not too much wind, conditions were perfect.
It all begins a big pumpkin and a big knife. Wielding the latter was Prof. Jim Nienhuis of the UW-Madison Horticulture Department, who grows these giant water-loving vegetables with his students. To host a Giant Pumpkin Regatta, you have to be equal parts impressario, stand-up comic and horticultural expert with a solid understanding of the fluid dynamics of the giant pumpkin. Nienhuis is all of the above.
"My name is Biddy Martin," he quipped to this student reporter when asked what his name is. "I don't know why I'd ever want to leave here." With the silly business over, the serious business of the day got under way. There were pumpkin boats to be carved and launched. There were releases to be signed in case anything catastrophic hapened in the waters of Lake Mendota, all of 1.5 feet deep beneath the race course. The pumpkins had to be boarded, with dupas being securely nestled in the zuccas (thanks to Caroline for the Polish terminology and T for the Italian). And then the competition itself, which might best be described by the phrase "hilarity ensued."
Words can't do it justice, so here's a slideshow. (Note that the "Show Info" tab on the upper right will bring up caption information. There also are controls for the speed of the sideshow).
Sunday, October 09, 2011
It was a stunning day, with temperatures in the mid-eighties, about 15 or 20 degrees above normal.
While enjoying our glorious weather (which, of course can't last) take a bit of time to go over to Reynolds Park and show some solidarity. Everyone can contribute and help the movement grow. Bring what you've got, contribute what you can. This woman is a nurse, and she brought her stethoscope and the eminently sensible suggestion to tax corporate greed. We need to keep it up until politicians in both Washington and Madison really listen.
This thing is far from over -- and, of course, we'll have a little thing called a recall to attend to soon. This beautiful weather is great, but just wait until the season changes and gets darker, colder and stormier. As the people of Wisconsin demonstrated last winter, that's when we're at our best.
Note: More photos are in my Occupy Madison set on Flickr, which I'll update regularly.