Scatterplotters may know that this is a week of protests in Madison over the new governor’s “budget repair” bill that includes repealing most collective bargaining rights for public employees. Someone posted a 30 second clip of the rally on Youtube from today’s midday rally, which seems even bigger than yesterday’s rally that was estimated at 10,000 – 12,000 and included a lot of labor union contingents. (My impression was that the modal attendee yesterday was middle-aged, not college age.) Hundreds of people spent the night providing 2 minutes of testimony each at the legislative hearing on the bill. Today’s rally was augmented by the “sick in” of Madison’s public school teachers which led the district to cancel classes. With the schools closed, whole families are downtown at the rally, as well as substantial contingents from all the high schools. This is largely a “company town” in the sense that government employees predominate, so an attack on state employee benefits is an attack on the whole community. Outside of Madison, it seems to be the unions who are stepping up and see this as a continuation of the attack on organized labor. Beyond that, we’ve gotten to the position where government employees have become stigmatized and safe “others” to attack as part of political career-building.