Yeah, This Will Work

And now the whole thing in Wisconsin has gone supernova in the last couple of hours.

The premise of the Flying Fourteen was that they could deny quorum, because you need three-fifths of the chamber present for fiscal bills.  The union-busting stuff that has caused all the ruckus was inserted into a budget bill (on the insistence by every Republican in on the thing that it was necessary to fix the budget mess); thus, the Democratic Senators could get out of the state and block the bill.

This afternoon, the Republicans in Madison decided to create a new bill with only those union-busting things in it.  And then they voted on it. — which apparently sends the thing to conference committee and, reportedly, quick passage as an agreed-upon bill by both chambers tomorrow and signature by the Governor before anybody can do a damn thing about it. [EDIT — it was first passed by a conference committee — which was caught (devastatingly) on tape through the Wisconsin version of C-SPAN — and then immediately sent to the Senate, which voted on it.  Last stop before Walker is a vote by the Assembly tomorrow morning.  That should be must-see teevee.]

The protests, which had to be honest waned a bit this week, started up again almost instantaneously.  The crowd, from what little I’ve gleaned from this, looks to be absolutely livid.  There was also a report that the hold-out Senators decided to come back to Madison to fight this, but then a decision in mid-trip to turn around.  (No confirmation on any of this, naturally.)

All sorts of angles here — the first of which has to do with Scott Walker’s claim that this was related to the fiscal health of the state, but then changing tack in order to ram it through after three weeks of pure legislative chaos.

There will be more to this as the night moves along, but it is safe to say this: WOW.


@Dodgerblue: There was a call for one by the usual Madison suspects. If this had happened within the context of the fiscal bill, I would have discounted the seriousness of it. Now, with the sneaky way in which this was done? All bets are off — this move has, evidently (without any hard evidence or real quotes to confirm), royally pissed off the activists.

Statement from Democratic Senate ringleader suggests they were coming back to town.

Weird — their return would open the door for the union-busting stuff back to the fiscal bill.

@chicago bureau: They need to come back some day, and they’ll get rolled when they do. But they’ve now made the Repubs go all the way off the cliff.

Whole lot of discussion about open-meeting laws and stuff now.

If I were the 14 Senators, I would stay out of town, force the Assembly to pass the bill, force the Governor to sign it, and then fight it on every single conceivable legal grounds — open-meeting, fiscal-subject-matter… the whole nine yards.

And in more pressing news, the StinquePad and StinquePhone are being updated to iOS 4.3. Portable wifi hotspot! Yayyyyyy!!!

UPDATE: Scott Walker speaks:

“The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused. In order to move the state forward, I applaud the Legislature’s action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government. The action today will help ensure Wisconsin has a business climate that allows the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs.”

OK. “Balance the budget and reform government.” Honestly — they pulled it out of the fiscal bill, and Scott calls it something that will help balance the budget. Anybody paying attention to this for more than five seconds and not already on-side with Walker will see right through that. Also: if this is about public sector unions, how does it do anything for the private sector, exactly?

Yeah, the press release was probably in the hopper for the last couple of weeks and put out for rapid dissemination. Yeah, the press release is not a part of the legislative history. But — this guy is an absolute moron.

@nojo: how does the portable Wifi thingy work?

@nojo: Pacific Bell / SBC / AT&T, or New York Telephone / NYNEX / Bell Atlantic / Verizon? (Such things matter in terms of coverage, actual utility, etc.)

I will add that the Senate Democrats have NOT decided to come back yet — they are weighing their options.

Hell, folks, hurry up — you’ve had a half-hour to think about it!

ADD: One of them, at least, started driving back, but turned around. We’ve had the Checkpoint Cheesehead thing, and now a car chase scene? Best political thriller script, ever.

@chicago bureau: Cingular. Which I think was Pac Bell.

@Dodgerblue: First, you pay an extra twenty bucks for tethering…

But that now includes 2 gigs extra of 3G data (thanks, Verizon competition!), so it’s not the wholesale ripoff it was originally.

Next, you upgrade the software. (iPhone 4 only)

And after that, dunno yet. Still updating. Probably some setting.

What’s supposed to happen is that you flip a switch, your iPhone can share its 3G via wifi, and you never ever have to deal with Bluetooth/USB again. Which comes in handy, since both Remote Offices tend to flake out on their wireless.

@Dodgerblue: Oooooooohhhh, sweet…

“Personal Hotspot” is now the third item in Settings, instead of the old tethering being buried three levels down in General.

Also, iPad note: The alignment button is back! You can now use the side switch for muting or keeping the screen in place. Apple heard the Disturbance in the Force on that one.

@nojo: I’ve still got 4.2.1. I guess Steve will get around to me at some point.

Sources in Twitterstan say that the Flying Fourteen are staying put in Illinois through at least tomorrow. They’re (possibly) going to force the Assembly to pass it and the Governor to sign it. At this point, it’s the smart move — they can have this thing tied up in the Courts for ages, given the stunts Walker and the Fitzgeralds have pulled.

@Dodgerblue: You have to plug it into iTunes, and check for updates. Apple doesn’t do updates over the air because the file is huge.

@Dodgerblue: @nojo: I think I’m the only booster for jailbreaking eyeFons, but I can already make my “broken” fon a wifi hotspot. Since I have the grandfathered unlimited data plan, it is a sweet, sweet feature.

The hack currently works up to 4.2.1. I did my eyeFad as well, but since it doesn’t have telephony capability, the advantages aren’t as obvious. Unless you like Jessica Alba wallpaper, that is.

ADD: @nojo: I may go back to the standard Apple OS upgrade just to get back my screen lock on the side. I hate that they made that go away.

Incidentally: if you want to avoid high dudgeon, I’d stay off MSNBC for the next few forevers.

Rumors flying now. First: Senate GOPers retire to Capitol Square bar at a Best Western; protesters said to be going there now. Second: window broken in a Capitol bathroom.

Fox News may have their art to go with their words soon. Sad.

POINT, MADDOW: Walker was talking today about compromise, and dropped e-mails saying so. And then he pulls this.

This, I think, is the definitive answer.

Rachel’s got the video. Apparently it’s “Wiscansin”.

Wow. The conference committee video that Maddow just showed. Wow. Re-rack that at home if you missed it.


@nojo: NO! It’s WIS – CON – SIN. Three syllables, three letters per syllable.

@chicago bureau: Might run it in the morning. Especially the musical tag.

Erpenbach (one of the 14) is wise to the possible switcheroo (putting it back in the Budget Bill once the Dems come back). So there’s that.

@nojo: Almost went to work for Wisconsin Eye (graduated from law school when they were just starting up). A good thing they weren’t hiring, because I might have quit after the use of that muzak.

You know what that conference committee video will do? Really — you look at that whole show, with Scott Fitzgerald (the pasty Senate-leading guy) just ramming it home like a chili dog from hell. What would a neutral Wisconsinite (famed for politeness and friendliness) say to that?

The optics of this for the Republicans are all wrong. They may have had “we’re in the majority” on their side, but jamming it home over a facially legitimate and persuasive point? The downfall (NO (MORE) HITLER VIDEOS PLEASE) for these guys might be the fact that they are totally tone-deaf.

@nojo: Especially the music tag.

Reminds me of “Threads” — which is absolutely the scariest movie I have ever seen… take “The Day After,” multiply it a hundred times, and plant plugged-in jumper cables to your naughty bits.

Before Sheffield blows up real good, there’s a teevee in the Mayor’s Office tuned to a clip-art screen saying “Official Statement Coming Shortly” (in which the Prime Minister is about to say something really, really bad). There’s bossa-nova music playing as this is on the screen.

The Wisconsin Eye music was just as weird.

@chicago bureau: “The Day After” was a joke: What would happen if cardboard TV characters got nuked? Horrors!

@nojo: The destruction of Kansas City was basically done up with videos from Nevada test videos in “The Day After.” Threads had life-like corpses melting. That, and a flailing kitteh. That’s where I lost it.

LATEST: Assembly Dems decide to hold a meeting all night, which means (technically) that the Capitol can be re-occupied.

Everyone seems to be worried that this move by the Senate might be a match to a powderkeg. Pleas coming up from all sides on the pro-union end of things to avoid this from happening — which would be, by all accounts, a PR disaster.

@chicago bureau: Somewhere in the files I have a contemporary samizdat poster I did for “The Day After 3-D”.

This is the biggest thing that’s happened in the States since… what? I can’t think what. An actual honest-to-God expression of class outrage. What next? Democracy?

I was appalled at the treatment the Daily Show gave it with that spavined Limey git trying to be amusing. Colbert wasn’t much better. Those guys are not equipped to handle real events, only to snipe. I hated them all over again for the parody of civic engagement they perpetrated last summer.

Cuomo got all he wanted by not going after collective bargaining. Walker could not have handled this worse. But they thought they’d won, in Bush’s unforgettable words, the trifecta.

Hard to paint your nurse as a dangerous radical when she just shoved a hose up your ass last week.

Go my union brothers and sisters!

They surely wouldn’t call out the national guard?

@nojo: Updated iPad as well as iPod Touch … but no wifi hotspot for me!

@blogenfreude: iPhone 4 only for the hotspot. And you also need to shell out extra for the privilege.

@Snorri Haraldsson: I’ll say this — being in Madison in Sunday, I got the sense that everyone knew that some sort of deal would be struck. It would have had to happen eventually — the 14 Senators couldn’t stay out forever. The deal would stink, but that’s the way it works.

Now? I think the scars on Wisconsin government are permanent. Think about it — will you have a single Democratic legislator work with a single Republican one, or vice versa, for the next two years? And those who remain after two, or four, or six years (or longer) will remember this, as will the new folks whose political teeth are being cut on this. This is a generational shift — it will be no-holds-barred, possibly for a decade or two.

But what does it mean, writ large? My instantaneous thoughts are going into a new post, just to flesh this out a bit, but the short answer is that I think what happened tonight might be absolutely devastating to the Republican Party.

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