Finished goal of running the distance of 2,080 miles from Lafayette, LA to Washington D.C and back!!! 339.1 miles

0.0 miles run this week.
Daily running average for the week is 0.00 miles per day.
Total amount run in the past 800 days is 2,419.1 miles.
Daily running average overall is 3.02 miles per day.

Day192 Wednesday 03/09/11

ran 3.0 miles
The Wisconsin tug-of-war over union rights officially ended today. Despite the absence of fourteen Senate Democrats who had fled to Illinois and have been hiding from reality for nearly three weeks, the Wisconsin Senate voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers. Up until today, the Democrats hiding in the shadows of Illinois were preventing the chamber from having enough members present to vote on Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill (a solution to plug a $137 million budget shortfall).

Discovering a way to overcome the chamber’s aloof Democrats, Senate Republicans split the proposal to reduce union rights from the legislation, effectively avoiding a quorum (a fixed number of members in a legislative assembly required to be present before certain legislation can move forward), which is required to take up any measures that spend money---reducing union rights spends no money. The bill was passed shortly thereafter.

The one Democrat present on the special committee, Peter Barca, shouted that the meeting was a violation of the state’s open meetings law. Republicans voted over his protests, the Senate convened within minutes, and the measure was passed without debate.

“There is nothing Democrats can do now to stop the bill.” Those were the words of Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller in an interview with The Associated Press.

After pointing out that Democrats had nearly three weeks to debate the bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come back, Walker stated, “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.”

Walker’s measure prevents most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation, requires public workers to pay more into their pensions, and it doubles their health insurance contribution. Police and firefighters are exempt.

“The people of Wisconsin elected us to come to Madison and do a job,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement following the vote. “Just because the Senate Democrats won’t do theirs, doesn’t mean we won’t do ours.”

Wisconsin has a $3.6 billion deficit and something had to be done…something big. Rather than pussyfooting around the very important decision of whether it is a better idea to pretend the deficit will magically go away, much like the federal government, or making some tough and effective decisions right now that will strengthen the immediate future, Governor Walker chose the latter. Furthermore, whatever raging quotes or bitter disgruntlements we may read or hear in the coming days from the fourteen Senate Democrats who fled Wisconsin ought to be automatically dismissed as words from individuals who lack all credibility. Their act of running away from the legal lawmaking process because they could not have their way will stand out, at least in my mind, as one of the most ridiculous, unexplainable, desperate measures I have lived to see. They refused to take part in this legislation. In refusing to return to Wisconsin, they forfeited their involvement and their opinion on this issue. If they didn’t have anything to say on the Senate floor for the past three weeks, they certainly don’t have anything worth hearing now.

1,533.6 miles to go.


  1. Does Walker's measure prevent most government workers from collectively bargaining for wage increases beyond the rate of inflation only? Or does it prevent them from any collective bargaining for any reason? I don't know why firefighters and police are exempt. Maybe teachers and nurses are weaker targets... must have been a tough decision.


  2. I'm not sure to what capacity collective bargaining has been restricted beyond the rate of inflation. As far as police and firefighters go, I think maybe the element of danger in their jobs and their unique willingness to endure it is an investment not worth challenging by the state. What differs between the various careers involved in this battle can only be interpreted through the eyes of Wisconsin.