June 15, 2011

At the protests yesterday, I was doing still photography, and Meade was taking video...

... keeping me in the frame much of the time. We arrive at the Wisconsin Capitol Square to the tune of "Turn the Beat Around," and I can't hear what the substituted lyrics might be, but — walk with me to the next corner — I was aware of the horrible irony of the lines "Love to hear percussion" and "Blow horns you sure sound pretty." I mean, we're hearing vuvuzelas and banging on buckets.



If you pay attention you'll be able to match scenes in this with some of the stills I posted yesterday. And this one...

P1000087

... which matches the end of the video. This is half a block down from the square, and you can see that the sidewalk caf├ęs are full of people enjoying the late spring afternoon, with the protests as something close to white noise. Really... don't be afraid to come to Madison. It's a lovely place. And though, as I said here, the Statue of Liberty — deliberately, I think — tried to intimidate me, there were lots of nice people around.

We went inside the Capitol and, as you can see in the video, there was almost no one there. Not in the video: I mentioned to a young man that the state court had decided its case, and we ended up having a half hour discussion of legal issues, mostly on an abstract level — separation of powers and so forth. I perform random acts of law teaching around town, you know.

In the video, children play, a man cradles his dog, and a woman tells me she loves my skirt. People are out there, showing they care and which side they're on, but I'm not seeing anger or hysterical despair. Everything's going to be all right.

69 comments:

Carol_Herman said...

It's not a lecture on the possibilities in our laws, until you explain forks. And, plastic reindeers.

Carol_Herman said...

Why did Shakespeare say "Kill all the lawyers?"

You know, if our Founding Fathers "solved" all the issues, we wouldn't need lawyers, now.

What our Founding Fathers did was face reality. Knowing that thieves and scoundrels get elected.

At least we've still got citizens who want to be heard. And, who aren't afraid to get together. Shouting. And, singing. Whatever.

When you ask strangers what they think, and you ask them about Sumi, what do they say?

chickenlittle said...

Madison mood music: Get Together by the Youngbloods.

Chuck66 said...

I visited Iowa City last month for the first time. A nice campus and downtown. Typical college town. Lots of eateries and bookstores downtown. Also lots of posters calling for the destruction of the Jewish state (indirectly, but calling for the victory of the Arabs).

Curious George said...

AA: "I was aware of the horrible irony of the lines "Love to hear percussion" and "Blow horns you sure sound pretty." I mean, we're hearing vuvuzelas and banging on buckets."

That's not irony.

Irony is you posting a link to words that are most often used incorrectly which included irony, and then using the word incorrectly..

As for the rest, Madison is Madison. Having lived there for seven years, lots to like, lot to not. I think it is highly over rated. That said if you have to go, nothing to be worried about. But Milwaukee is a better destination.

k*thy said...

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems...

andinista said...

Althouse says "It's going to be all right."

The calm before the storm. When SSI, Food Stamps, Medicare, Federal Education grants, everything Federal, gets cut by 25%, there will be riots. Our Federal govmt cannot keep borrowing $1T/year. When that stops, and it will soon now, people who have no room to economize will riot.

You think there's some magic fairy dust that will prevent this, and keep everything going as before? We have beggared our children to pay for this temporary oasis of serenity.

Curious George said...

On second thought, I guess it depends on "whose perspective". From sane people, yes, irony. But from the perspective of the source of the cacophony that permeates the square, not irony. I assume the protesters were the source of both the song and the noise.

Joe said...

I wasn't envying your weather when you showed pictures of piles of snow on the ground. But it's 100 degrees in San Antonio today, so there're fewer people in sidewalk cafes.

SunnyJ said...

I just asked that question of several private liberal arts college students....interestingly enough, they were informed, knew what I was talking about and thought her actions were an obvious over reach and an activist judge trying to help out her idealogical side by delaying the law. Do not mistake this for agreeing with the law. Some did not. But, bless their hearts, they were able to see the real issues and demonstrate integrity by calling it out. All, 18-21 yrs old undergrads. I was very impressed. They were also very realistic about the jobs situation and their debt. The generations coming up are not going to be the McMansions with double masters degrees but can't run a monthly profit and loss for their own lives.

Ann Althouse said...

Explain why you think the words in this context do not feel ironic?

Econophile said...

Ann, I've appreciated your and Meade's Capitol coverage very much over the last several months. However, I can't understand why you often make a point to note how "nice" the majority of protracted have been. Sure, not every single person has been a complete monster, but there are some major problems with the Madison milieu...

I live just off the Square myself, and Madison has been far from a warm and lovely place to be. There are some very pleasant things here, certainly, but it's all completely overshadowed by political hostility.

I find people here are a lot less kind--even highly aggressive--when they find you're not in complete agreement with them. I've not been in Madison nearly as long as you have so perhaps I'll become more inured to it too, but a large proportion of Madisonians have been unbelievably uptight and intolerant place in my experience. People here just aren't used to entertaining different ideas, so on top of the intolerance is intellectual laziness.

Maybe I've just seen a few too many blue fists today...

Econophile said...

Oh, "protracted"="protesters"... iPad autocorrect mishap.

Chuck66 said...

I have lived in the Twin Cities. Like Madison, it is the capital, has a 40,000 student college. There are also some very liberal private colleges (most common major....World Citizen). There are tons of hard core leftists there. The two congressmen for the center cities are Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum. People so liberal Russ Feingold looks like a Republican next to them.

But I think the difference is that when you have a metro area 2.5 million, vs Madison of...say 300K, there are also a lot of moderates and conservatives to dilute the crazies. Michelle Bachmann and Kline also represent the metro in Congress. There are two Republican/libertarian radio stations.

Not sure what my point is, but I guess you can have nice cities with a mix of people, and nice cities with little diversity.

Beep said...

Like the MacIver News Service intern who was dispatched to the square to shoot some video of the protest?

Link to video

Econophile said...

Chuck66, I get exactly what you're saying. It's the high ratio of bumper-stickered to non-bumper-stickered cars that serves as a good indicator of how much nastiness the imbalance will breed.

Mogget said...

OT: Weasel Zippers says that the unions have filed suit against Walker on grounds of 1st and 14th amendments.

The fun times continue...

G said...

In the brief history of the "instrument" has there ever been a case of someone actually earning support for their cause by using a vuvuzela?

Phil 3:14 said...

What a minute!! Did I hear a minister invoke God in this holy fight? These horrible Christianists once again trying to impose their religious worldview on us.

I bet no male protester stopped his drumming and turned to Meade and said:

"That's a nice pair of jeans. Where'd you get 'em at?"

The musicians created a wan atmosphere.

Dan from Madison said...

Econophile - you are simply exposed to these dregs all the time and it is bringing you down. It is a very vocal minority. I live in Fitchburg and have a farm property in the town of Springfield and in those places things are quite pleasant.

edutcher said...

And, of course, the unions have field an appeal of the state supreme court decision...

The first group of "musicians" sound like the guys attacking the British outpost in "Zulu", I have a feeling that's no accident.

The second is even worse, only the old guy knows the lyrics to "We Shall Overcome".

But they were civil.

PS You looked nice, Madame. The weather was warm yesterday?

Phil 3:14 said...

Like the MacIver News Service intern who was dispatched to the square to shoot some video of the protest?

When will folks realize that the video is more powerful than the protest to the videographer. This is in the same vein as the protesters at the Special Olympics ceremony.

SunnyJ said...

As instructor, forced union member working close to downtown, I've contemplated the bumpersticker phenom on my commute. Musing, I thought of putting a pro Walker sticker on my truck and parking it in the lot next to all the stickered Prius mobiles and then video taping the reactions. But, like any good country girl, I love my truck way too much to sacrifice it to the gods of social justice.

Fen said...

Its not worth it. Identifying yourself as Pro-Walker or as a conservative is the kiss of death in Wisconsin. At best you'll get your car keyed by Union Brats, at worst you'll be denied promotion because you don't "champion" Diversity...

I guess its a good thing the Left is too incompetent to get the trains running on time.

Econophile said...

Dan, you're right: Maintaining intellectual honesty and passion here comes at the expense of sanity. But we'll be changing location soon enough, with the hopes of not always having to face such a tradeoff. See you soon, neighbor! (If everyone like me is making a decision like that, it's no wonder downtown can continue to have the atmosphere it does--but I'm fine with being part of the problem if it means lower blood pressure.)

SunnyJ, I'll think of someone like you and smile whenever I see a bumper-stickerless truck from now on. :)

Lincolntf said...

Ugliest freaking outdoor cafe I've ever seen. Caution Orange enclosures? I hope that's temporary.

Curious George said...

AA: "Explain why you think the words in this context do not feel ironic?"

I have two posts Ann...as I said it depends on whose perspective. If from the perspective of someone who finds all the drumming annoying, simultaneously hearing the lyrics "Love to hear percussion" is ironic.

The context I took was that the source of both the song and the cacophony created by the vuvuzelas and buckets were the same general group...the protestors. From that context, no irony.

Make sense?

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

The protestors and school are doing their best to keep out those who do not believe in the One True Faith.

Apart from Meadhouse, I'm no longer sure it's worth the trouble.

OTOH, Minnesota is hardly a safe zone. It's making me into a cranky old man.

Does I gotta move to Texas?

Craig said...

It's a lovely place

I'm sure it is, liberals are famous for making nice cityscapes.

I lived for 20 years in near-downtown Buffalo -- a relentlessly-Democrat-machine town. Surprisingly enough, to many, it's also, in many sections, a very beautiful city.

Now, the problem is that the libs don't know how to maintain their success -- Buffalo is in its sixth decade of losing population and wealth, but they sure can spruce things up nice while Nero fiddles.

Fred4Pres said...

Really... don't be afraid to come to Madison. It's a lovely place.

Being afraid is not the issue. Being disgusted by the overwhelming smell of patcholi and body odor is a concern? Are these well washed hippies?

Meade said...

Texas, Indiana, New Hampshire - they're all good, Pogo. And Wisconsin just got better.

Even Jack Craver is wising up:
"My advice to any so-called union thugs:
Steal and destroy every vuvuzela at the Capitol. They're not helping you out." http://www.thedailypage.com/thesconz/article.php?article=33803

Lem said...

Its funny, when Althouse tells that lady where she got the skirt, she responds "Oh I cant afford to shop there", or something like that.. but she cannot make the connection about the State affording the run away salaries.

Roger J. said...

you folks in Wisconsin are all white--no diversity apparent from what I can see--just a bunch of pasty white idiots.

Alex said...

The calm before the storm. When SSI, Food Stamps, Medicare, Federal Education grants, everything Federal, gets cut by 25%, there will be riots. Our Federal govmt cannot keep borrowing $1T/year. When that stops, and it will soon now, people who have no room to economize will riot.

That's when the people will throw the GOP out for good, elect a supermajority of Democrats and soak the rich.

galdosiana said...

So, what will happen now??

Unions file suit to halt collective bargaining legislation

Key passage: The suit, filed in the Western District of Wisconsin, says the legislation violates the 1st and 14th amendments "by stripping away basic rights to bargain, organize and associate for the purpose of engaging in union activity, which have been in place for the last half century."

The case was assigned to Federal Judge William M. Conley. Conley is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

MarkG said...

Really... don't be afraid to come to Madison. It's a lovely place.

I'm moving back soon. My strategy is to live in Middleton and then not read the local newspapers or watch the local TV news. Then Madison should be pretty cool.

galdosiana said...

@Mark: Yep, that's basically what I do. Or, at least what I try to do...

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KenK said...

Poor Althouse.. She has Stockholm syndrome from living in Madison too long. The only reason they don't beat her to death and march around with her head on a pike is that most of the kooks don't know who she is and what she's up to. She and Meade are like the Jews who dismissed Kristalnacht as the work of a few vandals and agitators or the westerners in Beirut or Tehran just before things blew up and dismissed it all. Dream on professor. God sometimes protects fools and innocents. (But ah..sometimes he doesn't. Word.)

andinista said...

Alex says "... soak the rich".
Well, that will stave off the riots for a few more months. But if you eat the rich, soon more people will be out of work, collecting food stamps, unemployment (ever been hired by a poor man?). Then the revenue from the rich will decline, and you'll still need to borrow $1T/yr, only nobody will loan it to you. Great, now nobody's rich, more people are on the dole, and you can't borrow. The riots just got bigger. Soak the rich = magic fairy dust. But I know, you don't care, it's the right thing to do, so it's going to be all right.

MarkG said...

I just watched the video. There are some really dopey people in Madison! It still surprises me sometimes.

Peano said...

Really... don't be afraid to come to Madison. It's a lovely place.

"On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

MarkG said...

you folks in Wisconsin are all white--no diversity apparent from what I can see--just a bunch of pasty white idiots.

They try hard to have more diversity. When I lived in Madison in the early 80s, they invited a bunch of Cubans from the Mariel Boatlift to live there. The local TV news then had more cosmopolitan topics to report on, such as nightly stabbings downtown. That worked out well.

Trooper York said...

Why would anyone want to got to Madison?

Curious George said...

"Trooper York said...
Why would anyone want to got to Madison?"

Because they were currently in the Fox Valley?

gregwithtwogs said...

"I perform random acts of law teaching around town, you know."

I love this!

rhhardin said...

My own small-dog carry method is dog lengthwise along the forearm, two legs on each side; the advantage is that it's secure and takes only one arm.

Kirby Olson said...

I wonder if one day Republicans and Democrats will do the Hutsi and Tutsi thing.

ambisinistral said...

And, of course, the unions have field an appeal of the state supreme court decision...

Appeal a Supreme Court decision??? Uh... who did they file it with -- Judge Sumi?

ambisinistral said...

galdosiana said...

Unions file suit to halt collective bargaining legislation

Aren't the Democrats arguing the bill hasn't been enacted yet because it hasn't been published?

File a motion to get it thrown out. Make 'em look stupid.

Luther said...

Ann/Meade. Will you have nested comments on your new site? It would be great if you did. As oft times I would like to say bravo, or yuck, to some particular poster before reading the entire thread.

galdosiana said...

ambisinistral said: Aren't the Democrats arguing the bill hasn't been enacted yet because it hasn't been published?

Here's more on what they are arguing (from http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/15/us-wisconsin-unions-lawsuit-idUSTRE75E5L520110615):

The law eliminates most collective bargaining rights for most Wisconsin teachers, road workers and other public employees and requires them to pay more for pensions and health coverage.

But certain public workers, including firefighters and other public safety workers, have been exempted from the new rules.

The suit argues that the differential treatment violates the constitutionally protected equal protection rights of the employees covered by the law.

KenK said...

@Kirby Olsen

"I wonder if one day Republicans and Democrats will do the Hutsi and Tutsi thing."

I think they'd do it now if they could pull it off. Seriously.

Tim said...

Tuesday afternoon...doesn't anyone have a freakin' job there?

Luther said...

"firefighters and other public safety workers"

This is the political heat that no politician can endure, though they should. It is the 90% basking, and benefiting, from the glow of the 10% who actually get the job done. Same thing in the military. Though it is an intractable problem really as you'd have to parse down to individuals to square it away. That will never happen.

Jess said...

"What's extraordinary is how clueless they are."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Titus said...

Not one fucking hottie. That is just sad.

Karl said...

Econphile siad:

"SunnyJ, I'll think of someone like you and smile whenever I see a bumper-stickerless truck from now on. :) "

Thanks. To both of you.

Now these assholes are going to start keying cars without bumper stickers.

garage mahal said...

Everything's going to be all right.

It will take time to undo all the damage, the first step recalling these lying cheating bastards. But I'm an optimist. Whatever is done can be undone.

MarkG said...

It will take time to undo all the damage, the first step recalling these lying cheating bastards.

What did they lie about?

Fuck public-sector unions. They're corrupting of democracy and should all be illegal.

Alex said...

It will take time to undo all the damage, the first step recalling these lying cheating bastards. But I'm an optimist. Whatever is done can be undone.

Chances of that you say? 80-90%?

Alex said...

Wisconsin recall fever

Walker approval down to 44%.

foxtrot said...

garage says:

"It will take time to undo all the damage, the first step recalling these lying cheating bastards. But I'm an optimist. Whatever is done can be undone."

I couldn't agree more. Governor Bugs Bunny (or Doyle) and Obama have done Wisconsin and this country lots of damage. I too believe that such damage can be undone.

I too believe in hope and change.

Karl said...

I'm not a camera guy, but I was sure that your "stills" were taken with a high end hobby-geek camera.

That little girl camera does nice work.

reader_iam said...

I perform random acts of law teaching around town, you know.

I'm sure you do. In fact, I've long been certain that's what you do. That's why it's a great answer.

But it doesn't answer the most important question. It doesn't even acknowledge it.

MadisonMan said...

I'm always surprised at how many people I don't know in your pictures and videos. I don't think I've ever seen -- with one exception -- a familiar face.

Are these all out-of-towners, or do I actually know far fewer people than I think, or are all my acquaintances working for a living?

Harrington said...

You've got to hand it to Garage, ... the eternal optimist!

Just sayin... (with apologies to Trooper)

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