The GOP in Wisconsin just launched a new Wisconsin Worker Freedom web site.
Its there to let you express your opinion on the Right-To-Work legislation
It even shows the twitter feed for @wiworkerfreedom, and gives you a chance to send tweets to them. Interestingly though, the "feed" on their web site only shows the tweets they want you to see - the ones that promote the Right To Work legislation. Compare the site to the actual twitter feed for @wiworkerfreedom . Now, it's not at all surprising to realize that the GOP only wants to hear opinions supporting their union-busting interests. We saw that the last couple days during the public hearing where the vast majority of people speaking were against the bill, and a very large percentage speaking in favor were from other states. And which ended early because the GOP was afraid that people would speak out of turn. This was a "threat". Remember these are the same people who found little girls doodling in the gallery to be a threat because they might write something they did not like. They took their paper away.
For some time now I have despaired about the state of news in Wisconsin. A while back I realized that most of the "news" I actually care about has been coming to me through informal means -- emails, social media, blogs, etc. And it has also occurred to me that being able to deal with that news in a more structured way, as well as engage more easily in the conversation would be a great thing. And I'm a web sort of guy, so why not do something about it? So I wrote a proposal to this year's Knight News Challenge - and you can help to make it happen.
Ron Johnson has an extraordinarily compelling story about why he entered politics: Nearly 30 years ago, his newborn daughter was saved by a talented surgeon named John Foker, who reconfigured her heart with a new procedure that he helped to develop. Johnson has said repeatedly that he believes that if Obamacare had been around at the time, John Foker would have never been around to save his daughter, because Obamacare would have scared Foker and the rest of our best and brightest into other fields of work. Johnson also asserts that a "government take-over" of medicine, (aka Obamacare), would have never provided the atmosphere where Foker could have developed his life-saving procedures.
Invoking Foker's name at every turn, Johnson maintains in no uncertain terms that if Obamacare had been around thirty years ago, his daughter wouldn't be alive today-- and that is why we must, must kill Obamacare.
This is partly shameless self-promotion but there are two events going on in Wisconsin next month that are truly exciting, and they both happen in the lovely small town of Chippewa Falls, WI.
Update - Mahlon Mitchell will appear at FightingBobFest North. Netroots Wisconsin will now also feature Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Tom Stolp of the League of Conservation Voters, two showings of the new documentary We Are Wisconsin - The Film, and a showing of Koch Brothers Exposed.
FightingBobFest North is the northern woods version of FightingBobFest - BobFest has taken place in Baraboo or Madison for 10 years, but last year we started our own in Northern Wisconsin. A full day of progressive speakers, breakout sessions, and a lot more (and we're working on a great surprise). Also great local food and spectacular Wisconsin beer. Details at our web site.
And the next day, right down the road - Netroots Wisconsin, the Wisconsin regional conference of Netroots Nation. This year we will be concentrating on organizing, activism, and blogging. There will be some great sessions, some journalism for bloggers workshops, movies, and quite a lot of discussion of how Wisconsin has become ground zero for the frac sand mining industry (up to 150 mines in the state over the next few years). Details at our web site as we develop a more concrete schedule.
Over at Uppity Wisconsin we are dumbfounded that we seem to be the only media outlet in the state that is covering this story - From our fine blogger Jud Lounsbury, full story and an audio interview from Wisconsin progressive host Sly In The Morning on the topic available here.
Under Act 10, public workers can't negotiate health care benefits, work conditions, or really anything. The one thing they can "negotiate" is whether or not their wages will be adjusted for inflation.
But, now we find that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) General Counsel Peter Davis has confirmed that a new rule recently approved by Governor Walker, together with Act 10, will prohibit school districts and other governmental bodies from including most so-called "add-ons" in the pay scales of new contracts. While years-of-experience add-ons largely will be preserved, additional education, advanced degrees and most other add-ons will be prohibited from being put in the contract.
This will hit all public sector workers hard, but will teachers the hardest.
Davis agreed and said that a commonly used "guesstimate" for the effect of the changes was that about 30% of the wages actually paid to teachers would not be counted as part of the total wages.
Wisconsin progressive bloggers will join together tomorrow to bring election returns, news, and other live coverage. Join us on the live blog at several Wisconsin web sites, including Uppity Wisconsin Dane101, and others.
We will also be hosting a live call-in BlogTalkRadio show from Shelly Moore's election headquarters in River Falls starting at 9 PM on election night, at least if the technology gods smile on us.
Join in, chat up a storm, or post tweets tagged #wiunion to join in tomorrow night.
We're giving away a free registration for Netroots Nation to a luck Wisconsin activist. Let us know a little about yourself -- fill out the form on Uppity Wisconsin and I will transfer a free registration over to you for Netroots Nation. We want to increase the diversity of people from Wisconsin going to Netroots Nation this year. The form is atRegistration Form
A conference committee will meet at 6 PM central in Madison. The apparent purpose of this odd conference committee is to take the controversial budget repair bill and split it into two different bills, one of which will remove all fiscal policy and only deal with removing bargaining rights from the public unions. The intention here is to be able to pass the bill without a quorum in the Senate, thereby bypassing the problems with not having the Democratic Senators in the state.
I spent the last several days in Madison, documenting what was going on, and talking to people. I'm really glad I made the trip down (I live outside Menomonie, WI on a farm) and spent most of the week in the company of other bloggers from Wisconsin. I have a few comments, some links, and some thanks to give out to people. I'm also looking for some ideas from others - so read on.
A few announcements about Netroots Wisconsin, taking place this Saturday in Madison, WI
- Spaces are still available for pre-registration at the web site
- Pre-registration ends at 6 PM on Wednesday, Sept 22 - so if you're coming and have not registered, please do so.
- Some spaces WILL be available for registration at the door, but registrants at the door will pay the same price and most will not receive lunch.
Those of you who have been following politics in Wisconsin will know that Russ Feingold is facing a tough time this election cycle. Russ' campaign is running a moneybomb campaign today, called The Cheddarbomb. A group of Wisconsin bloggers (the Cheddarsphere) is helping out in this campaign.
We're trying to get people to contribute to Russ' Cheddarbomb by donating through our ActBlue page. Russ is trying to raise money from 15,000 contributors to go up against the 15 million dollars that Ron Johnson is willing to commit out of his own pocket to defeat Russ.
So please remember that we're trying to reach 15,000 donors -- so if you can't contribute a lot, don't worry. We're looking for numbers here. Please contribute at The Cheddarsphere Cheddarbomb Page --
Registration is now open for Netroots Wisconsin 2010. Netroots Wisconsin is the Wisconsin regional conference of Netroots Nation. We will be the gathering place in Wisconsin for progressive politics, Netroots, and others doing good with the Internet in the state. Netroots Wisconsin will be held in Madison, WI on Sept. 25 at the Madison Senior Center.
Plans are still underway, but we are soliciting suggestions for sessions at the web site.
Please consider registering early. Registration fees increase on Aug. 1, 2010.