Madison on the National News, Vouchers, and Other Random Thoughts

I was a bit surprised this morning when I was listening to Bloomberg on my morning drive and there was a mention of the protests here in Madison. Bloomberg’s news reports are pretty concise (for those not familiar, Bloomberg is pretty much a financial news station), and for a story to make the Bloomberg news is a pretty big deal.

In addition to this, I have been receiving a lot of email and phone calls from business associates across the nation. Since this thing has gone national, people are seeing images of the thousands of people clogging the streets on the capitol square.

I was reminded of a post Shannon Love put up just over a year ago. A small aircraft crashed into a building in Austin and Shannon put it this way:

… but for all that the crash directly affected me it might as well have been on the other side of the planet. Had my spouse not called, I wouldn’t have know about it until I did my lunch-break scan of Instapundit. I can’t even see the smoke. Everything I know about the event comes from the TV news.

The exact same thing applies with these rallies. If it wasn’t for my facebook friends screaming and my wife telling me how the traffic was decreased yesterday (more on that in a second) I would literally have no clue what was going on downtown if I wasn’t looking for information of that sort. My customers call, my workers show up, I have things to do, life is pretty normal here outside of one or two square miles downtown. To one of my friends in Seattle however, it looks like we are little Cairo here. Interesting.

About that traffic. The city of Madison schools were closed yesterday due to a “sick out” by the teachers so they could go down to the square and wave signs. Today, the city of Madison schools are also closed, as well as every other public school in this area. My wife reported that it was a breeze to get the kids to school yesterday and to pick them up as well. I am fortunate enough to be able to have my children in a local Catholic school. Life goes on as usual for my kids and family.

I spoke with a bunch of union tradesmen yesterday and pretty much none of them have any sympathy for the state workers, especially the teachers.

So is today another “sick out” or is it a strike for the teachers? Will they have penalties for violating their current agreements with the municipalities and not showing up to work? I am not up enough on the legal end of these things to know. I am hoping for one benefit out of all of this. I WANT A VOUCHER.

I have been screaming (politely) at my local and state politicians for a long time now about getting a voucher and I am hoping that the actions of the teachers unions over the past week will give that movement a needed kick in the pants. Maybe our friend Bruno Behrend can speak to that end.

After all of this I am happy to report that Walker’s budget repair bill has sailed through the Joint Finance Committee and is on its way to the State Senate.

7 thoughts on “Madison on the National News, Vouchers, and Other Random Thoughts”

  1. Thatcher v. the coal miners.

    Reagan v. PATCO.

    FDR v. the coal miners.

    It is possible to win these.

    The unions often overplay their hand.

  2. Of course they also have socialists and other wackjobs holding Walker = Hitler signs in their midst too and they do nothing to stop them. So we can lump them all in with the Hitler crowd and that is great as well.

  3. One good reason I moved to the southern California mountains last summer is the probability that, when California goes broke, the riots will be much worse. There is no possibility that Jerry Brown will take on the unions so the state will go broke, maybe this year. You have the benefit of voters sensible enough to look ahead and see the problem. We do not. Lindsey Lohan is about where the southern California mind is right now.

  4. We moved to Madison about nearly twenty-five years ago, in part, because of the the public schools. The truth is that at that time very few people chose to send their children to private or suburban schools. About ten years ago, that dynamic changed. People moving to Madison started to choose suburban and private or home-schooling options instead of the Madison public schools.
    I was thrilled to sell our home in the city limits of Madison eight years ago because the Madison public schools had already reached the “tipping point”. There is a great deal of denial in Madison about the state of the schools, especially from the natives. They say to me “Well, they are not as bad as Milwaukee.” which is a pretty pathetic.
    I am sitting in a Middleton office as I write this and now should refer to myself as Cross in Cross Plains as opposed to Mad in Madtown and while I am not directly affected by the strikes downtown today, I will be in the future. It is not the same as a plane crashing into a building. We will be feeling the effects of these strikes for a long time.
    I keep thinking the last few days about how the teacher strikes in Rockford, Illinois destroyed that city for decades and I wonder if these strikes will have a similar impact upon Madison. There is a smugness and haughtiness about education here in this town and such a condescending attitude toward other places, particularly a Rockford, that seems misplaced these days.
    BTW, we did not allow our children to go to UW. We insisted that they leave town to go to college. They went to Northwestern, Notre Dame and the University of Chicago.

  5. Mad – interesting thoughts. I think that, in general, the education is pretty good in Madison. At least it isn’t day care for big kids a la Chicago. I come from Rockford and I know exactly what you are talking about wrt the schools there.

    I disagree with you a bit – I think the teacher walkout is going to backfire bigtime on them and will be for the better in the end. I believe after this bill passes today that things will settle down over the weekend and everyone will move on.

    Technically I am Dan from Fitchburg, soon to be Dan from the Town of Springfield (about 5 minutes from Cross Plains). But I started as Dan from Madison in my blogging career a a long time ago so that is how it shall remain. At least I still work in Madison, albeit on the east side, where most of the smug folks don’t even go. Which pleases me.

  6. We have the same problems in the forms of teacher “furloughs” here in Hawaii. If I was governor I would run on a single issue, single term platform or ensuring that no taxpayer dollars support unions of any kind in the state. It would be single term because I would use force in the form of the National Guard in order to forcibly remove union protests by teachers, bus drivers. Senior bus drivers here in Hawaii can make 90K/year..for a job that takes 3 weeks to train for. 6 weeks? And they went on strike for more money/benefits. Yeah.

    If a private company that is not a utility or otherwise publicly funded organization wants to be stupid and tolerate unions, then by all means, however no tax payer funded services should be allowed to have unions. Period.

    I would prefer the days of bringing in union busting thugs with axe handles and shotguns and the ensuing violence to what we have today, where it’s large unskilled, uneducated voting blocks basically bullying the rest of the community.

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