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.