Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

Tuesday Quick Hits – They’re Still Not Listening

Periodically I share some of the interesting posts that come across my Google Reader account.  I do it because I want to share the things that I’ve found interesting, but it’s also a great way of bookmarking them in a way for the future.  Today I also happen to be doing so from my brand new carpeted office which means my toes aren’t freezing into little toe-cicles as I type.  Did I mention this as a win-win?

Today’s theme?  US Republicans (both national elected officials and state elected officials) and why we may want to consider scheduling them appointments to be fitted with a brand spanking new Beltone.

From First Draft, my new found love:

  • On why it’s never time to fight back and remind us again…when will it be the right time?
  • What’s wrong with Republicans when Bob Dole is suddenly too liberal to rouse his own party to ratify a treaty that should have been a no-brainer?  No really, Republicans, why is it that your base has now become the tin-foil hat brigade?  Why?
  • About that Austerity thing?  When did we become a nation of the heartless?  What about those small businesses that Republicans love to fawn all over?  I thought you were the party of the deeply religious and thereby supposedly charitable?  No?
  • I’ve heard of the “right to work for less” slogan when it comes to supposed freedoms and “Right to Work.”  In fact, I daresay I’ve heard this refrain in Wisconsin a time or two before, but I had never heard it referred to as the “Right to be Shitcanned” and I’m totally stealing that from now on.  For the record?  This union thing crosses party lines, y’all realize, yes?  How many elections do you want to lose in the future?  And, seriously?  This should be a wake-up call to Democrats.  Speak up because clearly the Republicans aren’t listening!

This happened too

Still on the subject of unions, Laura Conaway writes about why what’s happening in Michigan is particularly sad.  If I had unlimited funds, I think I’d buy a copy of Philip Dray’s “There is Power in a Union:  The Epic Story of Labor in America” for everyone.  Oh, or maybe “From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend” by Priscilla Murolo because a picture can be a powerful thing.

About that tax cuts and austerity thing:

And, lastly, y’all realize that you lost the election, yes?  Don’t you think you might want to start listening to voters?  We weren’t really thrilled with you the first time around, what makes you think a second spin through is going to make us like you any better.

Oh, and could we please take redistricting out of partisan hands and into a non-partisan direction?  This is actually my life we’re talking about here.  When will the lives of voters matter more than the power games of parties and the careers of people like Paul Ryan?

Get out and VOTE!

This post was originally posted as “They That Sow the Wind” on June 14, 2011 – 

This state is my home. I’ve lived here just about my entire life. It’s inextricably linked with my identity. It’s very terrain imprinted in my DNA. I am no fair weather citizen, but it’s quickly becoming a place I no longer recognize. It’s a bit like we’re married, me and my state, but I have fallen out of love.

I don’t recognize her anymore and the most vocal of my neighbors are like aliens to me. When did they get this way? Are they from out of state? When did they become so vicious? When did it become acceptable to stand on Highway 26 in Janesville with a sign that shows Obama to be Hitler in November and then claim the mantle of adulthood and civility in January?

I blame you, Scott Walker. Without you, they would have likely remained the less than sane outliers in political discourse in our state. Others would have ignored them – it would be the Wisconsin way – but you mainstreamed them. You fan the flames and make it acceptable to unleash the dehumanizing vitriol. Indeed, you set the example by using it yourself.

You are entitled to seek out your own ridiculous agenda. Indeed, many governors have before you, but you’re missing the critical qualities that make a leader. Cooperation, the ability to listen, and the talent for soliciting the input of others (even when they disagree with you). I want to believe you have the ability…the evidence seems to point to the contrary.

Instead, it seems an entire batch of political game players are hell-bent on destroying the very system from the inside out. Perhaps they that claim to love the Bible when it is politically expedient would be wise to remember: “They that sow the wind, shall reap a whirlwind.”

Where are the actual adults in the legislature politics…you know, the ones not afraid to vote on their own when it’s the right thing to do?

State before party. People before ideology. Civility instead of power.


Today –

On year later (June 5, 2012) and I think the argument can be made that things have not gotten better – they’ve gotten worse.  Governor Walker continues to show a lack of leadership, compromise is still a dirty word, and party politics reign supreme.

The fight is still not over and regardless of what happens today or tomorrow we will still be here – although depending on the outcome of the election, some of us may start looking for a job that won’t become fodder for someone’s political campaign.

I didn’t stand out in the freezing cold to give up now and neither should you.   Be a voter!  Look up your polling location, carve out some time in your day, and make your voice heard.  Even better…head on over to your local Recall Walker Office and volunteer to help.  It’s incredibly easy.  They’ll give you the tools and training you need.  Your efforts could help decide the outcome of this election.  It may very well come down to a handful of votes and we need all hands on deck if we’re going to be successful.

Scott Walker was elected in 2010 because too many people stayed home.  Let’s not make the same mistake twice.


Dear “Friends of Joe,”

Mind-bogglingly enough I got a fundraising letter in the mail the other day from the reelection campaign of the Republican state representative for my district.  I really couldn’t help myself and had to send a response.  My husband says no one will ever read it.  That may very well be true, but you can read it dear internet friends.

I think you’ll agree after having walked with me the last year or so that you’d have to be bat-shit crazy to think, after reading any of the emails I sent to his office in the last year, that I’d be the slightest bit interested in helping fund his reelection campaign.

From some of the blog posts and comments floating around out there I would hazard a guess that he’s got some “Friends of Joe” out trolling the internets.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll get the message this time?

Nah, probably not.


Dear “Friends of Joe,”

We’re not friends.

I’m afraid I don’t know when we ever were. I don’t know that there was a point at which we’ve had very much in common at least as could be demonstrated by a mutual respect or shared interest or common goals as it relates to our community, our district, or our state.

I find it odd that you sent me your fundraising letter. I feel a bit like I’m standing at a microphone asking, “Is this thing on?” In whose crazy sense of allegiance would I ever qualify as a supporter? Did you just dump all the names and addresses of those who have contacted Joe in the last year and figure, “Hey, why not?” Does the content of a person’s communications come into play even the slightest bit?

What made you think I’d give your campaign money or agree with Paul Ryan that Joe’s some kind of political hero? Joe’s not a hero, he’s not some sort of number one enemy, and we’re not “friends.”

For the record, lest anyone think otherwise, I read the fundraising letter all the way through, and if there’s anything that letter tells me, it’s that my reasons for not being “friends” are sound and clear. I’m not sure how the “Friends of Joe” define friendship, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s not all that different than mine. Aside from shared interests or perspectives on life, all accounts at which our “friendship” would fail miserably, there are also certain values, codes of honor if you will, that you observe simply because you are friends.

Friends do not lie to each other either directly or about each other to others. The very first line in Ryan’s letter stumping for campaign cash does just that. The threat to Joe’s reelection possibilities is not coming from some outside boogeyman in scary Madison. Believe me, I was born and raised in Dane County, they have enough to worry about up there without coming down here.

The threat to Joe’s reelection campaign comes from within, not without. It’s people like me, residents of our district that would like to see Joe ousted from office, that he should be concerned about. Then again, that’s probably not snazzy or scary enough to motivate folks to give cash, is it? While some of us, like myself in particular, may indeed consider themselves liberal today, that doesn’t mean that we always have nor does it mean that we don’t include within our ranks a number of conservative folks. We’re an amazingly diverse group of people which Joe might have learned to appreciate if he had ever once gotten to know us.

Friends listen to one another. Listen. Isn’t that a novel concept? They pay attention to what others are saying. When it comes to a politician like Joe, it used to be that they’d listen to the people they were duty bound to represent. As far as I can tell there are a whole lot of folks in the district Joe’s never listened to – not since the first day he took office, not since February 2011, and not a single day that’s since passed us by. Joe’s done a great job making noise as he pontificated in the pages of the newspaper about what all the rest of us “should do,” as if what the district really needed was not a responsive representative, but a parent to scold us for what Joe perceives as our childish ways.

Joe hasn’t listened to the emails, phone calls, office visits, or any of the other number of ways we’ve tried to contact him. About the only way I haven’t tried to get him to listen is by giving him money. Is that how this works? Is it like pay-per-view? Do I have to join some secret inner circle in order to get my concerns addressed? Alas, I’d sooner give money to Joe’s reelection campaign than sign up to be voluntarily mauled by a bear so I guess the chances of Joe listening to me are slim to none.

I haven’t voted for a Republican since the 2004 election when I voted for George W. Bush, but I left the theoretical door open. The 2010 midterm elections when Ron Johnson took over Russ Feingold’s seat followed by the Spring of Unrest was the point at which I decided I’d never again vote Republican. Ever. Thanks to the antics of your party post-2004 and especially post-2010 I’ve literally changed electoral identity.

I grew up Republican, Friends of Joe. Before 2006 I only ever voted Republican. I was the lone Republican in my High School class in “evil liberal” Dane County and often found myself on the outside of the favor of my classmates as I spoke about eliminating the capital gains tax in my economics class and any other number of things that Evangelicals these days rail about. I only ever felt at home when I made it to Bible college and found myself amongst only Republicans. In those days I couldn’t imagine how you could vote anything other than Republican.

Looking back now, I claim ignorance. My only excuse is that youth makes one stupid and that raising children changes one’s perspective in a hurry.

I’ll gladly vote for anyone but Joe this year just like I’d vote for anyone other than Scott Walker – anyone other than Paul Ryan. Indeed, 2012 is going to be my year of “anyone but,” because frankly, anyone and anything but what currently passes for an elected representative in this state would be better than what we have.

I can say with relative certainty that this coming round of elections will be a rare treat and I look forward to it immensely. I’m going to look at it as a way for attoning for the political sins of my youth.

Anyone but Joe as the representative for our district, Friends of Joe. Anyone but.

PS – Kindly remove me from your mailing list. It would be wise to save your money in postage, paper, envelopes, and staff time by not sending the letters our way. And really, let’s face it, Friends of Joe, if your fundraising letter is any indication, you’re going to need it.

The Holiday Scuffle

The penchant for Christians to mumble and complain in this country about a so-called “War on Christmas” or whatever other imaginary persecution they come up with (not so ironic given that Christians in this country still remain a majority), often leaves me mumbling to myself.  I had thought about creating some sort of witty post about it with a few choice words over the inanity, but then I loaded my RSS reader the other day and discovered that someone else had already done a better job than I would have.

So, in lieu of my own post, let me instead send you on over to The Whimsical Cottage for her thoughts on “The War over Winter” (though, if you are overly sensitive to certain words, consider yourself warned).

For those so inclined, she has a fantastically unique Etsy shop of the same name.  If I ever had to come up with a list of gift ideas for myself, I think I could just provide a link to her shop and call it a day.

Rally for the Workers at Manitowoc Crane

There will be a rally for the Striking Workers at Manitowoc Crane, TOMORROW, December 10th at 1pm.  You can join them at the Municipal Baseball Field located at 2200 Grand Avenue in Manitowoc.

If you are traveling from Madison, you can join the carpool caravan at the American Center Park & Ride, corner of American Parkway and Eastpark Blvd., 9:30 am, Saturday, December 10. Need a ride to the Park & Ride? Call Eric Cobb @ 608-556-2300.

Standing in Solidarity with Workers at Manitowoc Crane

From the South Central Federation of Labor:

Since Nov. 15, nearly 200 Machinists have been out on strike at Manitowoc Cranes.  At issue is not wages or benefits but the fundamental right to a union.

Executives at Manitowoc Crane have taken a page from Scott Walker’s Union-Busting Hand Book.

At the last minute, the company slipped union-busting language, similar to Gov. Walker’s collective bargaining bill, into the contract.  Workers voted overwhelming (180-2) to reject the company’s proposal.
Both Machinists on strike and the company need to know that the Wisconsin labor movement and its supporters stand with the workers.

Machinists at Manitowoc Crane are taking a stand to defend their way of life. They have put their livelihoods on the line to provide an essential check on corporate power and greed, in order to ensure justice in the workplace.

As we head into this holiday season, here are other ways you can take a stand in solidarity with Striking Machinists at Manitowoc Crane:

  • Make a contribution by mailing a check made out to MCI Strike Fund  c/o Machinist Local Lodge 516 • PO Box 222 • Manitowoc WI 54221
  • Donate to a holiday food and toy drive to assist families who have lost a paycheck.  Send food and toys to IAMAW District Lodge 10 at 1650 S 38th St, Milwaukee WI  53215.
  • Sign a petition to support the striking workers.

This public employee family put our check in the mail today – what about yours? We’ll be sending a check each pay period, will you join us?


From the WISGOP statement in response to the United Wisconsin announcement this evening:

This recall effort is a baseless power-grab being pushed on Wisconsin families by liberal special interests. Despite the Democrats attempts to generate false momentum in their never ending effort to score political points, Wisconsin families are only interested in moving our state forward. We remain focused on Governor Walker’s common-sense reforms that have laid the ground work for economic growth, and our economy only continues to improve.

This may surprise the WISGOP, but I am both a Wisconsinite and a mother of three children. We are one of those Wisconsin families that they claim to be speaking for.  They are right, we are interested in moving our state forward, but unlike them, when we say “FORWARD,” we mean it.

As best as I can figure the WISGOP lives in Opposite Land where forward means backward to somewhere around 1941.

Oh, and by the way, I love the “and our economy only continues to improve” part.  You mean like this?  We lead the nation in job losses and the difference was statistically significant.  Apparently in Opposite Land they are also either delusional or liars.