Circus Maximus: Madison Protests Descend Into Farce

Wisconsin Democrats continue to hide in an "undisclosed location" (while giving press conferences, so some in the media know where they are, but won't report that) and deny the State Senate a quorum to vote on fiscal bills. Senate Republicans are showing a spry sense of parliamentary humor in putting the screws to their colleagues. They have passed a rule change requiring State Senators to pick up their paychecks in person on the Senate floor.

An oddity, however: the vote on the rule change passed 3-2 on a party line vote. Party line vote? I thought all of the Dems had fled to Illinois! Turns out you can participate in committee votes remotely. Or you could up until yesterday. Now, GOP senators have eliminated that rule too. They have already passed a Voter ID law out of committee despite the phoned-in presence of an obstreperous Dem.

Republicans on a state Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday to require voters to show ID at the polls, in their latest effort to entice Democrats to end their boycott of Senate proceedings.

The committee made significant changes to the bill in a meeting that included a bizarre element. Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) participated in the meeting by phone, but Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the committee chairwoman, refused to let him vote because he and the 13 other Senate Democrats left the state Thursday.

Senators routinely participate in committee meetings by phone and are allowed to debate, offer amendments and vote on measures. But Lazich said she wasn't allowing Erpenbach to vote because he had an invalid reasons for being absent.

"I won't extend courtesies for unethical behavior," Lazich told Erpenbach.

"Do you want the headline to be, 'Republicans won't let Democrats vote,' even though we've allowed that many, many times?" Erpenbach said.

Erpenbach's name was not called as the clerk took the roll, but he repeatedly yelled, "No!" over the speakerphone. The committee's three Republicans voted for the bill.

Hilarious. But, also, not so funny when you realize how it is virtually impossible to pass even common sense laws like having to show ID to vote without a crazy circumstance like the mass decamping of the Democratic caucus.

Speaking of "funny/not funny," The Daily Show appeared on the streets of Madison along with a camel - the better to make the link between Wisconsin/Cairo and Walker/Mubarak - but quickly found that bringing a camel into an icy Wisconsin public square will not lead to happy results.
The show's comic actor John Oliver was on the scene. Obviously, the idea was to play on the comparison between Egypt and Wisconsin, which has been pushed by the local protesters.

Truly nauseating. The linked piece in the Isthmus says it "ends happily" because the animal is eventually able to stand up again. Ithmus is a newspaper of sorts. Let's see if — instead of smiling on camera and calling it a happy ending — the reporter finds out where the TV crew got the camel, who thought it was acceptable to bring a camel out in the ice and snow, who decided to put a collapsible metal fence around the animal, what training the handlers had, why the owners of the camel entrusted its welfare to these people, and what ultimately happened to the animal?
Yep, John Stewart and the Daily Show are just common sense moderates! That's why they're playing up the sort of nonsensical "Madison=Cairo" comparisons pushed by middle aged drama queen liberal educators. (who are acting more like Mubarak's apparatchiks clinging to their perks than they can ever admit). The first comment on the linked post is classic, btw: "As God is my witness, I thought camels could walk on ice."

Liberals continue to hold the line both in Wisconsin and elsewhere, demanding the continued payment of bloated salaries and unsustainable pension benefits to public employees to the exclusion of everything else. Perhaps to prep the battlefield for more "shared sacrifice" by the public, some are already suggesting low-cost sources of nutrition as a way to cut personal budgets further. Are you ready for...the benefits of eating insects?
Could beetles, dragonfly larvae and water bug caviar be the meat of the future? As the global population booms and demand strains the world's supply of meat, there's a growing need for alternate animal proteins. Insects are high in protein, B vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc, and they're low in fat. Insects are easier to raise than livestock, and they produce less waste. Insects are abundant. Of all the known animal species, 80% walk on six legs; over 1,000 edible species have been identified. And the taste? It's often described as "nutty."
"They" say that insects are part of many diets in the developing world. Pass. I thought the whole point was to become more civilized, not less.

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