The Hard Left is determined to foul its own nest. How much more chanting and bucket-banging will the people of Wisconsin tolerate? How many more legislators harassed, businesses boycotted, and Ed Schultz live feeds can a citizenry take before, like a certain sailorman, it can't takes no more?
We're about to find out.
An alliance of labor unions and abortion providers (including Planned Parenthood and NARAL) called "We Are Wisconsin" wants to erect a 16-day encampment in the two northwest blocks of the Capitol Square centered on State Street from Saturday through June 20. This village of the damned is timed to coincide with state budget negotiations, which could include Walker's public employee bargaining provisions. Given the summer temperatures and hot temperaments of the participants, this may indeed be what democracy smells like.
There, I just channeled my inner Fitzgerald. The WI State Journal has the story.
If Paul Soglin thought the Mifflin Street Block Party was a bad idea this gathering of the mobs is a recipe for disaster. Can the City of Madison afford more police overtime? And to the larger point, do these exercises in mass-turbation produce anything resembling reasoned discourse?
The Street Use Staff Commission consists of representatives from city police, Capitol police, streets, fire, parking, parks, etc. Contact them here. Tell them no way. Let Mayor Soglin and your alders know how you feel.
Wait a minute; I've just received this urgent report from the Blaska Policy Research Center. Our brain trust is unanimous: this idea is so bad it's great. Our recommendation: Go for it! Erect the tents! Bang the bongs! Dig the latrines! Clog the streets. Spread the clap!
Fodder for Fox News! Raw meat for our friends in Waukesha County! Outrageous enough to turn even Shorewood Hills Republican! It will be a Woodstock of wackiness!
(Stay away from the orange sunshine. Bummer!)
Capital Times editor Paul Fanlund kowtows to the teachers union
I doubt the Madison Teachers Incorporated's own newsletter panders as much to the unionized public school teachers' own overweening sense of victimhood and self-entitlement (I know, it's a strange mixture) as the non-union Capital Times.
Now CT editor Paul Fanlund is getting his Nichols on with a panegyric arguing that the governor should "take the bull's eye off the backs of teachers."
The operating misconception of the editor's piece is that Governor Scott Walker, he be so mean to teachers. How dare he ask them to pay a little bit more for their sweet retirement pensions and health insurance? Quelle cheek to assert that elected school boards have a bit more control over things like the school day and what, in the coal mines, might be called working conditions.
While you are lauding the teachers defined benefits retirement plan, Paul, please to tell your readers that Capital Newspapers eliminated its own a good 30 years ago. In fact, only recently did the newspapers resume contributing to their employees' 401(k) plans. (Only 7 percent of the private workforce is unionized and even among government employees, Wisconsin's under Walker would have more union rights than President Obama's federal employees.)
So, please, do not prate on about "Republican hypocrisies."
As we know, the teachers unions provided major fuel for the Siege of the Capitol this February and March, closing down school all over the state, especially here in Madison.
On occasion, the governor will fire back, in the best tradition of an informed debate, with egregious examples of union legerdemain. He did so when he took note of a local story: the Middleton-Cross Plains school district has expended $300,000 over a year's time trying to fire a teacher who disseminated pornography on school computers. Fanlund parrots the union line:
The union complained the firing was not based on clear standards; it was not defending the behavior.
You want clear standards? I'll give you clear standards. How about: Disseminate pornography on school computers and you're so fired! Is that clear enough?
Capital Times helped draw the targets
Fanlund plays the useful idiot ("I have seen the past and it looks like socialism") to defend the anachronistic, industrial assembly line "workers" model of college-educated government employees in today's information age.
You want to know who put a target on teachers' backs, Fanlund? Teachers did with the enthusiastic help of The Capital Times. Where was the objective journalism when the teachers needed it most? Who looked the other way when your watchdog function was most needed.
- Did The Capital Times ever once criticize MTI executive director John Matthews' us-versus-them divisiveness?
- This paid spokesman for the teachers union called Ruth Robarts, an elected school board member and a UW-Madison educator, "public enemy number one." Did The Capital Times editorialize in favor of keeping a civil tongue? Nope, that would be criticizing the teachers union.
- John Matthews ordered picket lines thrown up around Briarpatch because its director, school board member Juan Jose Lopez, was holding firm in the contract negotiations. Briarpatch serves emotionally troubled young people. Imagine a kid trying to get help and confronting a picket line of his teachers. Did The Capital Times cry foul? Of course not, that would be criticizing the teachers union.
- When teachers used fake medical excuses and fraudulently called in sick in a union-led effort that shut down city schools for four days this past winter, did The Capital Times shake an editorial finger of disapproval? Are you kidding?
Collaboration, not confrontation
I said a few blogges back that there may be fertile ground for a new paradigm in Madison K-12 education. One-third of Madison's teachers did NOT call in sick during the union-led sick-out last February that closed schools for four days.
- Who will urge public school teachers to embrace a more collaborative model, the shared governance model that works so well on many of our college campuses? Not, apparently, The Capital Times.
- Who will ask teachers to shed the self-inflicted chips on their shoulders? Not Paul Fanlund.
- Who will suggest that if they start acting like professionals, they will be treated like professionals? Not the fearful mainstream news media in this town.
School Board member Ed Hughes -- no conservative -- has opened the door a crack to the sunlight of reform. Hughes wrote:
The union draws support from conveying the impression that it's only the efforts of the union and the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement that protect teachers from the predations of a "hostile" school board intent on imposing "inhumane" changes in working conditions.
... if the collective bargaining agreement were to disappear, the school district wouldn't immediately resort to a management equivalent of pillaging the countryside. ... because ... like nearly all employers, values its employees and understands the benefits of being perceived as a good place to work.
This IS Madison, Wisconsin, after all.
Now here is the news flash for my journalistic brethren: Republicans do NOT hate teachers. They hate their unions, which have seemed to collectivize the lowest common denominator, which have discouraged competition and penalized excellence. (See "Merit Pay.")
Conservatives do NOT want stupid people wrecking their high-tech factory equipment. They do NOT want illiterates jamming up their distribution networks. They know that of 30 developed nations, America's school children are ranked 25th in math and 21st in science. In fact, conservatives -- pioneered by Tommy G. Thompson -- are at the forefront of trying to reform education.
A few brave liberals are joining them, including the documentary film maker Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman), former Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Rahm Emmanuel, and President Obama.
Alack and alas, the teachers unions -- along with Fighting Ed Garvey, bullhorn-toting John Nichols, and The Capital Times -- remain bitter reactionaries standing in the schoolhouse door refusing to admit entrance to anything but the union-first status quo. This is what "progressivism" has come to in the 21st Century.
History will so record Paul Fanlund's complicity.
Blaska's Blog is "purely a vehicle of right wing propaganda." -- Dulouz 7-19-10.
And a damn good one, if I do say so myself. (And I do, I do!)