Breaking: ‘Capitol is Closed’ Announced in Madison WI

FDL News’ David Dayen is on site at Wisconsin’s capitol building in Madison this afternoon. Reporting via Twitter, Dayen said that an announcement was made that “the Capitol is now closed” at 4:00 p.m. local time.

We’ve got live video from the building:

Bear with us if this goes out as the stream has been lost once and reconnected. We’ll keep trying to find live feed as necessary.

Please follow David Dayen on Twitter (@ddayen or at this link) for more live coverage as events unfold in Madison.

Solidarity with Wisconsin here at FDL and MyFDL

graphic: Detlef.Schrempf via Flickr

It was a great day this Saturday for the friends and family at Firedoglake and its family of sites; we had attendees at solidarity rallies literally from coast to coast. On Sunday we’ll front page all the coverage our community members and contributors have submitted as we countdown to 4:00 p.m. CST when the capitol police in Wisconsin may attempt to shut down the capitol building.

Here’s the line up you can expect:

Nashville’s Solidarity With Wisconsin — Check out masaccio at Tennessee’s capitol with Mrs. masaccio; such a cute couple of “radicals.”

#WIUNION – Denver Solidarity Action — Community member Kelly Canfield attended the rally in Denver where it was sunny in more ways than one today.

NY Hearts Wisconsin — watertiger snaps great shots in NYC along with a choice LOL photo.

CA Unions & Others Demonstrate In Support Of WI Protestors @ Capital — Mary McCurnin rallied in Sacramento and took a lot of nice photos to share with us.

A Southeast Rally in Solidarity with Wisconsin — Community member Jim Hickey captures the energy of union workers rallying in Atlanta, Georgia; it’s a good sign in a state where only 4 percent of workers are union members.

You can read these already as they are published right now. Share them widely with friends and family since the mainstream corporate media decided that without crazy teabaggers, these demonstrations of free speech in action weren’t worth covering. Au contraire, mon freres — these events were extremely important and deserve wider coverage.

And don’t forget David Dayen’s coverage at the News page; David has been in Madison since Wednesday getting us live coverage from the capitol.

Did you attend a rally on Saturday? Write a diary and share it with us and we’ll try to promote it before 4:00 p.m. CST tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you who took to capital cities today to show your solidarity!

Video: Wisconsin State Police Join Protesters in Show of Solidarity

Rainforest Action Network’s Jenn Breckenridge posted around 8:00 p.m. EST that the Wisconsin State Police had arrived at the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, joining the protesters in solidarity against Gov. Scott Walker and his attack on state employees’ collective bargaining.

The move may have come in response to an apparent order by the state’s assembly to close the capitol building at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. RAN’s Ryan Harvey said the state police are rejecting the order and are planning to sleep in the building along side the protesters.

The police officer says in this video,

“Let me tell you Mr. Walker, this is not your house, this is all our house.”

Introduction to Economics: Curriculum Ignores Reality

Might as well be teaching from this old thing. (photo: Terry McCombs via Flickr)

My oldest child came home from school the other day with a problem from their economics class; the poor kid was frustrated and asked for some guidance to make sense of the assignment.

Their textbook contained a graphic depiction of the concept outlined in the text, showing a relationship between spending and jobs creation in the community. The graphic noted that consumers spent money on local goods, the money went to the business owner which in turn created the goods.

And then the business owner made more jobs.

Uh-huh. No wonder my kid was confused.

Right there, on the face of it, is a fundamental problem with our entire economy. What they teach in school has absolutely little to do with reality, and it’s this way across the entire spectrum of business and economic curriculum from K-12 through college.

Worse, kids today are taught to learn to the curriculum. They aren’t encouraged to think independently and question the curriculum, although it’s not the teachers’ fault. Deviations from the curriculum are viewed as time-sucks since the instructors are required to produce students with XX percent achievement rate on YY number of tests by the end of the year — and deviations may reduce these statistics. . . . (more…)

About That Porn You Sent Me

The "ruins" of Detroit. (photo: ifmuth via Flickr)

Yeah. You know, the “ruin porn” and the “urban decay porn” you sent me, gloating over the death of Detroit like a ghoul over a corpse.

I’ve seen it already, thanks for sharing though. Over the last ten years as I’ve driven through Detroit watching its skyline and its streets and homes change after the auto industry fucked it again and again — yeah, I’ve seen the real thing, not just the warmed up leftovers you sent me.

This is what happens when a city of nearly two million occupants is treated like toilet paper by the corporations it made great. What did you expect would happen when after years of tax abatements and rolling over for these corporations’ short-sighted, quarter-to-quarter and purely selfish demands?

Did you know that General Motors thwarted the use of street cars when it “owned” Detroit?  It wanted to encourage its workers and city residents to buy its vehicles or use the buses it built, and in turn the white collar and eventually blue collar workers used the cars they bought to move to the suburbs where they could have their two- and three-car garages. The only people left behind were folks who really couldn’t afford to move to the suburbs or those hardcore souls who were dedicated to living in Detroit.

But that was over the course of the last several decades, the course of my lifetime that this urban flight occurred; it was a slow and steady bleed.

During the last ten years the slow bleed became a hemorrhage as the automotive industry offshored tens of thousands of jobs, spawning even larger numbers of job losses among suppliers, and even more jobs lost as workers fled the state and no longer purchased services from their neighborhood dry cleaners or hair salons, no longer frequented their restaurants or their grocery stores.

The collapse of the financial industry gave them the coup de gras, what with the damage subprime mortgages did to the financial subsidiaries owned by GM and Chrysler.

But I can see why you indulge in the porn; it’s fashionable. So fashionable it’s predictable. The residents of Detroit and Michigan can almost predict which photos the pornographers will take when they arrive, because we see them again and again.

Like here.

And here.

And again.

But the truth is this: Detroit has been through boom-and-bust before, survived and lived to tell about it as has the state around it. Unlike many parts of the country which are relatively new and have never gone through the cicada-like cycles, Detroit is an an elegant old survivor who wears scars deep down to her bones out of sight of the youngsters who mock her.  . . . (more…)

Late Night: Northern Lights Possible Tonight after Huge Solar Flare

Map of likely auroral activity, 1926h EST (source: NOAA Space Weather)

Nuts. I can’t tell you how frustrated I am that the skies overhead are overcast where I’m at this evening. If they’re clear where you are and you’re north of 39th parallel (39 degrees latitude), please go and look outside toward the northern portion of the skies above the horizon.

We had a massive solar flare this week, starting on Tuesday — the biggest since December 2006 — and the chart you see here indicates the possibility that some auroral activity may be visible as far south as Indianapolis, Indiana. You might not get a spectacular light show, maybe just a shimmer you can’t define, but it will be more than I can see under this cloud cover.

According to NOAA Space Weather Warning site, we may also experience some other geomagnetic activity overnight. No idea what this means to most of us; it shouldn’t be radio interference as the particles which disrupt that bandwidth have already come and gone nearly 24 hours ago.  Apparently there were some disruptions experienced:

A powerful solar eruption that triggered a huge geomagnetic storm has disturbed radio communications and could disrupt electrical power grids, radio and satellite communication in the next days, NASA said.

A strong wave of charged plasma particles emanating from the Jupiter-sized sun spot, the most powerful seen in four years, has already disrupted radio communication in southern China.

The Class X flash — the largest such category — erupted at 0156 GMT Tuesday, according to the US space agency.

“X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said Wednesday.

Snapshot of solar activity, 2126h EST (source: NOAA Space Weather)

I do wonder whether the lousy quality of cellphone service I had yesterday might have been due to the solar flare, come to think of it. I blew it off at the time and blamed it on having lousy reception…but perhaps it wasn’t the location at all. And my other phone calls over land lines using wireless handsets have been rather yucky over the last 24-48 hours, too. Blamed that on the caller’s phone and probably shouldn’t have since most of the time when they call their phone is just fine.

Let’s hope as we approach the height of solar maximum around 2013 that we’ll experience nothing more than mild annoyance with communications — and no major outage of service.

What about you? Did you notice anything different with your communications or other electronics over the last 24 hours or so?

Wisconsin’s Anti-Union Budget Bill Passes Committee; Protesters Continue Rally [UPDATE]

Wisconsin’s state Joint Finance Committee passed a highly controversial budget bill last night, voting along party lines 12-4 in favor of the bill which includes an amendment revoking workers’ right to collective bargaining for state employees. Although the committee’s Republicans had voted in favor of the bill, they had reversed some of Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to kill health insurance and retirement benefits for some state employees.

A number of the state’s school districts were canceling classes for today. Wisconsin Education Association Council president Mary Bell asked school employees to join in another day of protests in Madison — the third day in a row at the state capital.

The budget bill heads to the state senate today where it is expected to pass.

In the mean time, pressure mounts to recall Gov. Walker; at least one Facebook page and a watch-blog have launched efforts to discuss the recall process. The wrinkle, though, is that Wisconsin state law does not allow recall of the governor until after the first year in office (pdf):

No petition for recall of an officer may be offered for filing before the expiration of one year after commencement of the term of office for which the officer is elected. A petition may be circulated 60 days before the expiration of one year, but may not be offered for filing until after the officer has completed one year in office.

Will Wisconsin’s residents be too numb ten months from now to finish the recall process? Perhaps the Green Bay Packers can help by encouraging petition signings at tailgate events this fall, now that they’ve come out against the anti-union budget bill.

UPDATE — 10:45 a.m. EST — If you’re a Twitter user, you might want to watch these: — Progressive blogger who lives near the capitol, live tweeting events. — Wisconsin’s state equivalent to C-SPAN, will be covering the vote in state senate today (website URL:

Search these hashtags for latest: #notmywi #wiunion #solidarityWI

blue cheddar posted that a UW Madison student and teacher assistant walk out was to begin at 9:15 a.m. local time (10:15 a.m. EST).

Monday Morning-After: Egypt’s Military Pushing Protesters out of Tahrir, Clean-up under Way

Egyptian military at top of photo cajole protesters in Tahrir Square. (photo: Al Jazeera-English)

Volunteers have been cleaning up Cairo’s Tahrir Square all weekend as the country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Services focused on the next steps in the reform process. Protesters remain worried about backsliding since so many issues remain in the air and unresolved. The military has been trying to move protesters out of the square, saying they are trying to restore normalcy; it’s reported this morning that the Supreme Council will move to ban protests and strikes while they continue to work on reform.

Several pro-democracy groups met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Services this weekend to discuss reforms:

Egyptian pro-democracy activist Wael Ghonim says the country’s new military rulers have promised him that a referendum will be held on a revised constitution in two months.

Ghonim and blogger Amr Salama posted a note on their website saying they secured the commitment in talks with the military council that took control of Egypt from President Hosni Mubarak when he resigned last Friday. They described Sunday’s meeting as encouraging.

Ghonim, a Google executive, and other cyber activists played a key role in organizing 18 days of nationwide anti-government protests that forced Mr. Mubarak to step down and hand power to the military after 30 years in power.

The activists say the military council told them that a newly-appointed committee will finish drafting constitutional amendments in 10 days and seek public approval for the new charter in a national referendum in two months. Egypt’s military rulers have not confirmed the timelines.”>met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Services

The Supreme Council had already disbanded the parliament and suspended the constitution over the weekend as part of the first steps towards reform.

The Egyptian stock exchange remains closed due to the perception of instability. It was expected that the exchange would re-open this Wednesday, but this now appears to be overly optimistic.

Many Egyptians are angry at the thefts from and damage to the Egyptian Museum. Some pieces have been recovered from the museum’s gardens, but a number of key pieces are still missing. Eighteen pieces are believed to be in the country; Egyptology expert Basaam Al Shama says they likely will not be sold through any public venue as they are well catalogued. He also says it appears the thieves knew what they were looking for as the missing pieces were from a single Egyptian dynasty.