NPR Interview with Wis Democrat Senators Larson and Miller

“…Senator LARSON: The fact is we’ve only been gone for two weeks. You know, we’re standing strong.

CORLEY: And apparently heartened by demonstrations that are now going into their third week.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW: Call Tim Cullen! The senators need encouragement to carry on with the walk out. Talk to one of his representatives or leave a message.

Office # of Tim Cullen: 608-266-2253

Hello my name is ____________.   As one of your constituents, I have become increasingly concerned with the direction of our state.  Scott Walker’s budget repair bill which is now being considered by the Wisconsin State Legislature would strip our public employees of their rights to negotiate pension and health benefits.  This bill is a threat to the public workers of Wisconsin.  Thank you for continuing to stand with your fellow Democrats and refusing to return to the state until Governor Walker and the Senate Republicans agree to negotiate the terms of the bill.  Our public employees, including teachers, health care professionals and social workers deserve our support, especially in this time of great need for many Wisconsinites.

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Missing Wisconsin Democratic senators in protest of state budget plan facing fines

MADISON — The 14 Wisconsin state Senate Democrats who left the state two weeks ago will now face fines of $100 for each day they stay away.

Republicans remaining in the Senate approved the daily fine on Wednesday with none of the Democrats present.

The Democrats left Wisconsin in order to delay indefinitely a Republican-backed bill taking away collective bargaining powers from public employees.

The resolution passed on Wednesday also requires the missing Democrats to reimburse the Senate for any costs incurred during attempts to force them to return.

Their salary and other per diem payments can be withheld until they pay back the penalties and costs.

Republicans have already withheld the checks of missing Democrats from direct deposit and denied access to copying machines for their staff.|topnews|text|APC-News

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Republican Senator Dale Schultz still undecided on the budget bill.

Republican Senator Dale Schultz is still undecided on the budget bill.

DODGEVILLE (WKOW)– State Senator Dale Schultz says he has not changed his position on the budget reform bill.

The Republican says he is still hoping for a compromise.

Schultz hosted a community forum at the High School in Dodgeville Monday night and it was a packed house.

He told constituents, and the media, that he is open to all ideas and is still undecided on how he will vote on the bill.

“Well I have not decided how I am going to vote,” said Senator Dale Schultz. “My position remains essentially the same and that is that I have offered one compromise, I’m not suggesting there aren’t other ideas that are out there.”

Schultz floated an amendment that would restore collective bargaining rights in two years.

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Beloit Solidarity: Mission Statement

We are here to raise awareness, build community, and encourage dialogue about the ongoing struggles and peaceful demonstrations both locally and globally, to fight for basic rights.  We stand in solidarity with those taking collective action to better their working
conditions on their own terms, including the rights of Wisconsin public employees and the rights of every citizen to peaceably and directly engage their government.

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A Message from our Senator, Tim Cullen

From: Office of Sen. Tim Cullen

Dear Friend:

I did not take lightly the decision to go to Illinois. Senate Democrats left the state because it was the only way we felt we couldtry to convince the Republicans to moderate the budget adjustment bill. Provisions in the budget adjustment bill have far-reaching consequences for our health insurance safety net for working families and for SeniorCare.  The bill allows the state to sell 36 state-owned power plants on a no-bid basis, which is fiscally irresponsible. And it hobbles unions and collective bargaining for our teachers, public sector nurses, city streets workers, other public employees, day care workers, and home health care workers.

While in Illinois, I have been meeting with Senate Democrats and I have been on the phone with my Republican colleagues to try to get agreement on modifications to the bill. I am in regular contact with constituents, media, and my staff. I have heard frompeople on all sides of this issue.  I have received thousands of e-mails and phone calls from my constituents relating to the budget repair bill. Although I will not be able to personally return every call, please know that your voice is heard.

The opinion piece below, which ran Sunday in the Washington Post, reflects how I think government should work.


Sen. Tim Cullen

Scott Walker’s unprincipled rigidity

By Dana Milbank
Sunday, February 27, 2011;

“He’s not one of us.”

That phrase, uttered in the fourth minute of what Scott Walker believed to be a private phone conversation, tells you everything you need to know about the rookie governor of Wisconsin.

Walker thought he was talking to a patron, conservative billionaire David Koch, but thanks to the amateurish management that seems to be a hallmark of his governorship, he was instead being punked by an impostor from a liberal Web site.

In the recorded call, Walker praised a centrist state senator, Tim Cullen, as “about the only reasonable one” among the 14 Democratic legislators who fled the state to deny Walker the quorum he needs to destroy Wisconsin’s public-sector unions. But when the fake Koch offered to call Cullen, Walker discouraged him:

“He’s pretty reasonable, but he’s not one of us. . . . He’s not there for political reasons. He’s just trying to get something done. . . . He’s not a conservative. He’s just a pragmatist.”

“Just a pragmatist” – as if it were an epithet. “Just trying to get something done” – as if this were evidence of a character defect.

I reached the unacceptably reasonable and pragmatic Cullen by phone in Illinois, where he is hiding out from Wisconsin state troopers who, dispatched by state Republicans, had been at his home each of the past two nights to try to force him back to the capitol.

Cullen had a description of Walker, too. “This is the eighth governor that I’ve worked with in one way or another – four Republicans, four Democrats – and this is the first governor who takes a clear public position that he will never negotiate,” said Cullen, who worked in Republican governor Tommy Thompson’s administration between stints in the state Senate. “The other seven were willing to take the 70 or 80 percent of what they wanted. . . . That’s what you need to do to make government work.”

Cullen got a call from Thompson last week and is hoping his old friend will persuade Walker to negotiate. But that won’t be easy. Under Walker’s tribal political theory, governing is a never-ending cycle of revenge killings.

“I don’t budge,” Walker promised the fake Koch. He explained that he would increase pressure on state workers by threatening thousands of them with layoffs. He considered planting instigators in the crowd, he said, and he might offer to talk to Democrats – but only as a ruse to get them to return. “I’m not negotiating,” he said.

These are not the words of a statesman. These are the words of a hooligan.

Of course, Washington knows all about tribalism, as both sides giddily await a possible shutdown of the government. But Walker’s excesses show where this leads. It leads to hypocrisy: He called President Obama’s health-care reform an “unprecedented power grab,” but once in office he launched his own grab by attempting to end collective bargaining for public workers. It leads to falsification: He claims he campaigned on ending collective bargaining, but a Politifact analysis found that he did no such thing. And now, it’s leading to fantasy.

Walker told the faux Koch that “before we dropped the bomb,” he showed his Cabinet a picture of Ronald Reagan and proclaimed that “one of the most defining moments of his political career [was] when he fired the air traffic controllers.” That, Walker said, “was the first crack in the Berlin Wall.” And now, “this is our time to change the course of history.”

It takes some creativity to liken the air traffic controllers to Wisconsin’s public workers, who are not on strike and have offered concessions. It takes even more creativity to credit the firing of the controllers (rather than, say, Reagan’s military buildup) for the fall of the Berlin Wall. And it takes gall for Walker to claim the mantle of Reagan, who compromised with Democrats and Soviets alike.

Maybe Tim Cullen knows about that. “Reagan was able to work deals,” Cullen, who was Wisconsin’s Senate majority leader during Reagan’s presidency, recalled. Walker, by contrast, is repeating the mistakes of Obama, who, Cullen thinks, overreached on health care. Even if Walker prevails, “it would be a short-term win,” he said. “If you do it with only one party, you often lose that 40 percent that’s in the middle.”

Contrast that with Cullen’s philosophy, which he says he learned from Lyndon Johnson: “Any person not willing to settle for half a loaf has never been hungry.”

Only a truly unreasonable man would say that Tim Cullen is not one of us


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What is collective bargaining?

The father of a Beloit student explains:

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A.V. Club Madison,

Walker gets booted from Merchant, igniting argument and protest ratings on restaurant’s Yelp page

These days, it seems that even casual conversation is pulled into the gaping maw of l’affaire Walker, from whose hideous pull no topic can escape. When rumors first surfaced that Scott Walker tried to dine at stylish downtown Merchant (121 S. Pinckney St., 608-259-9799) but was booed so vociferously by the guests that restaurant management asked him to leave, The A.V. Club thought it a good bit of water cooler gossip (and also completely hilarious).

Since then, however, a more interesting situation has evolved. Merchant took so many phone calls about the blog post—both negative and positive—that it asked Naomi Houser, the blogger, to remove it. The original text:

The Merchant in Madison, WI confirms that on Friday night, Patrick Sweeney (one of the owners) politely asked Scott Walker to leave the establishment when other customers began boo-ing him. A bartender at The Merchant said that, “his presence was causing a disturbance to the other customers and management asked him to leave.”

Houser removed that text and replaced it with the following:

Come looking for an article about Scott Walker being booted from a Madison restaurant? Yes, you came to the right place, but at the request of the restaurant owner due to abusive phone calls, the article has been hidden for the time being.

And now, Merchant is unreachable. It should be open for business today, but has not yet answered its phone nor returned messages.

The story continues to evolve as both Walker supporters (“Before listening to the naysayers, keep in mind how several of them have made zero contribution to Yelp so far, and just registered to slam a business they dislike”) and their antagonists (“First of all, the amount of new reviewers who gave merchant 5 stars sketches me out”) tussle through protest ratings on Merchant’s Yelp page. And the rumor now has its own topic: “So now what to do about all of these people giving them one star ratings because they voted for Walker?”

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