Just A Quiet Sunday

So I figured I’d make the drive up from Chicago to see what all the hub-bub was about.  I decided to leave early, as word was that all the downtown and campus parking ramps filled up quickly; come late, and I’d have to park in a fallow field or something.

Turns out I came too early.  Thus I had forgotten one of the most important things I learned in law school — Sunday mornings are dead as a doornail around here.  Saturday night, after all, is Saturday night — if you were up-and-at-em at 9:00 in the morning on Sunday, you were either going to church or you didn’t party hard enough.

But things did get rolling around 11:00 at the Capitol — the Letter Carriers’ union was kicking things off.  A stroll around, and inside, the Capitol gave me a taste of what has been going on here for the past three weeks.  The general impression you get was that this was, exceedingly and without question, a civil crowd.  There were maybe one or two signs that pushed the limits (like one with a picture of Osama bin Laden with Scott Walker’s face superimposed — carried by a firefighter, of all people).  Other than that, the reports of violent overthrow and armed rebellion have been greatly exaggerated.

More visuals, post-jump.

The morning was taken up with a coffee and a paper.  The big news was the Michael Moore appearance — which featured a half-hour stemwinder of a speech from the Big Fella.  But it isn’t about him, after all.  It’s about average folks with a bad case of PISSED OFF.

The folks who decided to make their way inside (after a wanding by cops who had made their way from all over the state — my wander was from Green Bay) was a very family crowd.  Lots of little kids with their parents, combined with a few old stand-bys from the Madison activist scene.  It was a very good-spirited bunch… particularly as the firefighters (one of the several unions that is written out of the budget fix bill’s anti-union measures) came on in through a fairly well organized parade.

But the memory of the clenched-fist, roiling action was on display on the outside.  On the south wing of the Capitol (which houses the Senate), you can see papers posted in several windows.  These are the windows of the absentee Democratic senators, whose staffs had posted signs declaring solidarity.  One wonders if the recent action by the Republican majority, to put these staffs under majority control until the Fleeing Fourteen return, might have these signs come down.  But, for now, they stay.

But these weren’t the only signs tacked up to the building.  During the lockout last week (ending in the arrestless evacuation on Thursday night), there were hundreds of post-it notes tacked to the doors of the East Wing (where Walker’s office is).  Some of them were not for family audiences (something about Walker and goats on one), some of them were downright ranty (like some approximation of the 95 Theses), but most were just short and to the point pleas from the unwashed masses.  Touching, in many respects.

Nearby, there was an aid station staffed by a bunch of U.W. students.  Fully stocked with the essentials — fruit, coffee, snack bars, and (genius!) hand warmers.  Free for the taking (donations accepted).  And this was about ten yards from the front door of the Governor’s office.  That is one of the truly remarkable things about all this: the people claiming as their property their own Capitol, and the cops largely letting it go on uninterrupted.  I couldn’t imagine the Capitol Police in Washington letting a protest be aided in such ways.

And speaking of aid, here is the world famous Ian’s Pizza, about a half-block from the State Street side of the Capitol, from whence thousands of pizzas have come.  The report, on the chalkboard, was that in-store service had returned to normal.  (And there was much rejoicing in the student body.)  But there were still deliveries being made on a dolly to the steps of the Capitol, with about fifteen mac-and-cheese pizzas for the people, united.  (Mind you, I do not approve of mac-and-cheese pizza.  Sounds a bit much, to my ears.  But it is Wisconsin, and one disses cheese at one’s peril.)

Anyway — must depart from the coffee shop (promotional consideration provided by Michelangelo’s Coffee — 114 State Street, Madison — where coffee is a work of art!) to catch a little bit more of the rally before driving home.  (I would have taken the high speed rail, but, well, you know… the project is kinda sorta on hold.)

10 comments:

4:02 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

Thanks for the report. I’m watching Dodgers v. Cubs from Arizona.

4:58 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

Yes, thanks for the CB eye view of the Cheesehead Revolution. Let’s hope it remains peaceful.

Just watched the Jays beat Nabisco’s Pi”rarrr”tes. This is an utterly lazy Sunday for me thanks in large part to this nasty cough I picked up from the housemate. Cooking this week’s dinner. Baked Jamaican/Caribbean style (ie: spice wise and marinade) chicken with Columbian beans and rice as a side (minus the lard–used a little bit of canola as a substitute.)

Not impressed with the chicken I got from the grocery store (I usually get it from a local butcher but I was too lazy and sick to go this week.) There is way too much fat on it. I had to cut off some of the bigger chunks.

5:30 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

Thanks for the eyewitness account. Minus blather.

@ManchuCandidate: Beans and rice. Is there anything better? Well, yes, actually there is, come to think of it. Plenty. But. It’s a very good combo.

6:00 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

Back from Madison now. A further stroll around town before the drive back (2.5 hours) led me to some old friends that I hadn’t seen in years. Like the social scientist that took me under her proverbial wing for a year — been a long, long time. Almost a full decade, by my reckoning.

Anywho: the protests I attended while I lived in Madison, as I think I’ve said, were one-day affairs (and usually no more than three hours), that featured at most a thousand or two thousand. The fact that this — the lighter of the two days this weekend, and at the end of Week No. 3 — was packed with at least that many, with some comers-and-goers adding to the overall total — is impressive.

I learned that the teabagger contingent that had made their way to Madison for a counter-rally at the Alliant Energy Center (f/k/a Dane County Veterans Coliseum, about two miles away) this afternoon, as a capstone on a week-long bus tour, numbered… one hundred. That was probably an underestimate (source was a union boss speaking to the crowd at the Capitol), but probably not that far from the truth, either.

6:42 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

Thanks for the report out, CB. I’m a little hung up on the mac ‘n cheese pizza, however. I’m all about cheese, but macaroni? Another reminder that I’m just as happy I didn’t end up at UW for grad school.

@ManchuCandidate: I’m already fed up with beisbol.

10:41 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

@Nabisco: Hey, you spending any time in Malaysia in April and May? I’ll be in the neighborhood for work.

10:47 pm • Sunday • March 6, 2011

Mac and cheese pizza?

My aortic valve moans in pain. And let’s not talk about the convulsions that my pulmonic valve is going through.

Srsly, thx for the Field Report. I knew we would get you to finally provide Team Stinque Live Coverage for us. Next time take flippin and Homofascist with you.

12:22 am • Monday • March 7, 2011

Today’s Ski Report – Wolf Creek, Colorado. Packed powder on groomed trails, some hardpack on ungroomed slopes. Crusty, uneven conditions on tree runs. Conditions vastly improved by late afternoon due to heavy snow putting down a fresh three inches. Signed up for a group lesson and ended up in a two hour private class as the only person skiing at my level. Concentrated on the bumps and got some good general technique tips. Saw a wrecked semi that lost a load of potatoes when it crashed into the side of the mountain. Tomorrow: hot springs with Mrs RML.

12:28 pm • Monday • March 7, 2011

Great report. Thanks, CB.

12:50 pm • Monday • March 7, 2011

@chicago bureau: Well done, CB. I’m happy that at least one of the Chicago Stinquers can be bothered to go report onsite when political happenings occur outside the city limits. I couldn’t even talk HF into going to the burbs last year to try to seduce Aaron Turquoise-Belt Schock at that teabagger conference!

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