On Online Brainstorming, Or, "Hey, Unions...Wanna Grow?"

Sometimes stories happen because of planning; other times serendipity intervenes, which is how we got to the conversation we’ll be having today.

In an exchange of comments on the Blue Hampshire site, I proposed an idea that could be of real value to unions, workers...and surprisingly, employers.

If things worked out correctly, not only would lots of people feel a real desire to have unions represent them, but employers would potentially be coming to unions looking to forge relationships, and, just to make it better, this plan bypasses virtually all of the tools and techniques employers use to shut out union organizers.

Since I just thought this up myself, I’m really not sure exactly how practical the whole thing is, and the last part of the discussion today will be provided by you, as I ask you to sound off on whether this plan could work, and if so, how it could be made better.

It’s a new week...so let’s all put our heads together and rebuild the labor movement, shall we?

Plale-Larson profile: A firm grasp of the obvious

WisPolitics.com does a profile on the Chris Larson-Jeff Plale Dem primary in the 7th State Senate District, and reaches this shocking conclusion:

But it’s obvious Larson is running to Plale’s left.

There is no room to run anywhere but to Plale's left in a Democratic primary.  He has hogged the right lane and no one's going to pass him on the right.  That's what the race is all about -- Plale running as a Dem but operating like a moderate Repub.

Rain, Rain Go Away

“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day,” the little Eau Claire girl sang to her mom. The rain came down in sheets.

When the rain and storms did go away, left in the wake was a trail of destruction. From Martel Township in the north to Little Fall Township in the south, our Senate District saw substantial damage.  Downed power lines, trees toppled, tin from barn roofs blown off, semi trailers and campers blown over.

Roads and bridges were washed out or damaged. Many saw blocked culverts turn into substantial road damage for town roads and private drives.

In Buffalo County homes were flooded, some perhaps damaged beyond repair. Cows were stranded. Pierce County deputies assisted a farmer who had about 80 heifers “floating down” the Rush River. Thankfully, most of the animals were recovered alive.

It’s been a tough summer.

From high winds, tornados and now, lots of rain, Western Wisconsin has seen more than its share of extreme weather events.


To solve the problems spawned by the storms, people turn to local government.

Walker expecting a primary blowout

The Journal Sentinel may be on to something.

First, it noted that Mark Neumann seems to be pulling his punches of late in the Republican primary for governor, after earlier going aggressively after rival Scott Walker.

Neumann insists that's not because he's giving up. But Walker, by all accounts, has a big lead, and if Neumann is to have any hope of winning a month from now he will need to be on the attack.

Sunday's JS story on a Neumann-Walker debate reinforces the idea that Walker is already looking beyond Neumann to the general election race against Tom Barrett.

It doesn't have to be that way, but Neumann -- maybe responding to criticism from some Repubs when he went negative earlier -- is now running hokey upbeat commercials that will not beat Walker. To win, he needs people now leaning Walker's way to change their minds. And his spot speaking to a group of fawning, head-nodding admirers in a very clean barn just won't get it.

No wonder Walker and his campaign have moved on to the general.

Where is Whistling Straits again?

The Sunday NY Times writes of different datelines used to file stories from Whistling Straits, where the PGA golf championship is being played this weeekend, and says:

It depends whom you ask. On all its materials, from its Web site to the I.D. cards it issues to staff members and reporters, the P.G.A. declares that Whistling Straits is in Kohler. Kohler County, which owns the place, says so, too.

There is no Kohler County, of course. It is in Sheboygan County. It is corrected in the online version. It is Kohler Company that owns the course, which looks georgeous on national TV.

There's more:

... [R]ight by the entrance to the Whistling Straits course is an unincorporated community called Haven (home to Haven Bar and Grill, the only watering hole within miles of here).

Walker still fudges on college record

Scott Walker, the degree-less candidate for governor, continues to describe his college career in ways that are terribly misleading if not outright fibs.

The latest came after Saturday's debate with Mark Neumann, and it unfortunately is a paraphrase so we don't have Walker's exact words, just the essence, from the Journal Sentinel:

Walker said he didn't graduate because he got a job and he suggested that in the current economy college students close to graduating might consider doing the same.

Here's the thing: Walker was not "close to graduating," although he has given the impression over the years that he might be just a few credits shy of a degree.

But here are the facts:

Netroots Nation a 5 Year Retrospective and Netroots Wisconsin

This video, giving a retrospective of Netroots Nation, was released recently.  We have an opportunity to bring a lot of this progressive goodness to our own state, with the upcoming Netroots Wisconsin conference.  It's the meeting of the Cheddarsphere, and the place where all the cool progressive kids will be hanging out.  Sept. 25 in Madison ---- be there!

Netroots Nation Five Year Retrospective, 2006-2010

Walker's Dept of Waste, Fraud & Abuse

Governor wannabe Scott Walker says he knows how to rid state government of waste, fraud and abuse -- appoint another commission dominated by the legislators who passed those state budgets to begin with.

Walker does quallify as something of an expert on waste, fraud, and abuse, having contributed more than his share of all three during his tenure as Milwaukee County executive, as Wisconsin's Democratic Party highlights in this video.

RoJo, going the Feingold way

Ron Johnson's running an insipid, content-free new TV ad critical of the "Feingold way," but a conservative talk show host in the Fox Valley says RoJo is letting Feingold show the way in the Senate race. Says Jerry Bader:

Maybe playing the "I made a rookie mistake" mea culpa will play with voters as honest. Maybe it'll make him look not ready for primetime. I'm not sure. I do know this; he's playing follow the leader and that's a terrible place to be. Trust me, there will be another Feingold ad which will prompt a response, and another, and another and another. Johnson has to break that cycle right now.

... if he doesn't go on the offensive Feingold will lead him by the nose from here to November. He has to start calling out Feingold and let Feingold respond. Yeah, it'll get ugly. It'll be uglier still for Johnson if he doesn't.

So far, it's the Feingold way or the highway.


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