Thursday, January 17, 2008

March on Madison - It's Late and I'm Tired Edition

Impressions from today's rally in support of AB697.

The coalition estimated - last week - they'd get 400 people there. 1100 people showed up. For a rally that was less than six days from 'plan to start'.

The fellow organizing events at the hotel said he spent twelve years working in the capital as a legislative assistant and he'd never seen anything like this turnout.

A middle-aged mom on the steps muttered that she'd gone to school in Madison and she'd never seen a crowd that large on the steps of the capital.

T-shirts - no rally or protest is complete without t-shirts. The ones whipped up for the occasion featured a clip-art desktop PC with two floppy disk drives, one of which was a 5 1/4 drive. That's seriously old school.

The committee chair noted that there were over 600 people registering approval for AB697, 7 registering disapproval. '7' would be about the number of speakers who spoke out against at the hearing.

The people speaking against were a variety of sorts but if you had to characterize them with a phrase it would be 'hired goons'; including legislative liaison from DPI and a WEAC lawyer. The exception would be the fellow from WPA: he was no hired goon but manage to sound like a reformed Bircher. And he got a lecture from a committee member for being snotty about what 'conservative' means.

People speaking for were (obviously) just as biased and included parents, students and staff from the affected virtual schools.

The hearing ran for at least eight hours - they were going at it when we had to leave.

At hour 7 the committee chair noted - and members agreed - that it might be the virtual schooling or the parents or the good nature of the kids but they'd been extraordinarily well-behaved. And since there were easily two - three kids for every parent, running all over the capital building, and in and out of the hearing rooms and offices they had ample opportunity to see the kids doing what they do.
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