Two days left in my vacation.  It has been a particularly good one.  I still have to go through my books – probably tomorrow.  Today will be spent running errands and hanging out with the kid.  Tomorrow I hope to go through my books and work on writing. 

This is one of my better vacations.  I relaxed, slept when I wanted, and wrote a lot.  Yesterday I visited with Laura.  It was a bonus to the week.  We always have such good conversations.  We talked about politics.

Politics are the most difficult topic.  Walker came out on top which was my fear when Barrett was his opponent.  I didn’t feel he was a strong enough candidate.  My fear is that he thinks that all the things he has been doing are justified.  However, he again didn’t win by a large margin which means nearly half the state does not like his policies.  I guess only time will tell if he has learned to play nice or not.  My guess would be not.

The only hope I see on the horizon is that the democrats may have won back the senate.  It seems like the count is for the democrat but the republican has asked for a recount.  We wait to see.  If the senate is democrat controlled then hopefully Walker won’t be able to ram through more of his destroying policies.

Book Publishers Beware!

Governor Walker just repealed the Equal Pay Act.  This is criminal in my eyes.  Women already don’t make the same as men.  The excuses I hear for women earning less is that they are more likely to take time off for having babies.  My answer to that is who do you think put the baby there?  Another one is that women take more time off to care for children.  My answer to that is maybe men should step up then.  We have to carry the kid can’t men step up and do more of the day care. 

I’ll add a note here to all those fathers / uncles and other males who have stepped up to the plate and done what you should, these comments are not directed at you.  They are directed at the outdated and chauvinistic norms that women are held to now.

Recently I read an article about gender bias in the publishing arena – I am taking classes in this field so it only makes sense.  “Vida, an American organization supporting women in literary arts, has compiled statistics on the gender split in books coverage at publications including the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Yorker, and the New York Times Book Review, each of which showed a substantial bias towards using male reviewers and covering male authors.”  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/02/gender-bias-books-journalism-vida?INTCMP=SRCH

In most cases only about a third of the books or reviews were done by women.  I’d have no problem with this if women only made up a third of the offerings but they don’t.

Is publishing stuck in another era?  I’m beginning to think it might be.  I’ve been reading articles about lending ebooks, self publishing etc.  I’ve read naysayers proclaiming the move to electronic books will kill publishing.  I say publishing is going to kill themselves if they don’t move forward.  To me these seem to be symptoms of the same problem.  Publishers and publishing companies are not changing with the changes in the market, those offering product, and those buying product.

If the companies did move with the times they could embrace new technology as well as please the largest group of buyers (which by the way are women). 

The feminist in me rails against the injustice of the publishing industry being so backwards.  The realist in me just wants to work harder to be published and write reviews.  Perhaps I should use a less feminine name to write under.  Or better yet the publishing companies and reviewing papers should come into the 21stcentury and let the women have a voice too. 

More than this though, the publishing industry needs to get behind women and women’s issues in order to keep their audience.  Money is tight during these economic times that means people are being very selective about where their money goes.  Women are choosing how to spend their money.  If they can’t get ebooks or only hear a man’s opinion of a book they might be less likely to purchase books in any format. 

Publishers and other industry insiders should be standing up with women and fighting against actions like Walker’s.  They should also be cultivating good female reviewers.  Newspapers and other review publications should be encouraging more women to write reviews.  This will increase readership and level the playing field for all.  It is past time to embrace the changes in the industry and in our society.  It is time to come into the 21stcentury and recognize who your customers are and treat them better than you have been.

The American Public has spoken

The news is good from both Ohio and Mississippi.  Ohioans told the government to leave collective bargaining alone.  Mississippians protected women’s reproductive rights.  Perhaps this will tell the Tea Party and other conservatives that they aren’t really representing the majority but in reality a minority.
The leaders who are following the radical right conservative should take note.  The public – you know the people who voted you into office – are out in force saying “We don’t like what you are doing.” 
My only hope now is that here in Wisconsin we can recall Walker and Kleefisch.  Then we can work on repairing the damage they did – though it is unlikely we will get the billion dollars back that Walker has cost us.  Hopefully though, we will be able to repair the damage done to workers’ rights and to the educational system. 
This is just the first step in the right direction.  The optimist in me is hoping it is just one of many steps on the journey to recovery for our country.


Last night Ken and Alicia stood on the bridge with about 75 – 100 other people protesting the governor’s budget and the actions taken by the government.  Mom and I drove by several times, honking to show our support.  Mom took pictures (of course) and then I took her home. 

Ken and I went to the information meeting.  I was really hoping that a republican or two would show up so we could have an intelligent debate.  However, they didn’t.  It was a room full of like minded people.  I was afraid that it would become a pep rally.  It did not.  I heard intelligent questions put to a former representative and a union leader. 

There were people from all sorts of jobs – teachers, farmers, secretaries, and business owners.  It was a moving and intelligent conversation about the affects of what this budget will mean to so many people. 

I’ve always considered Whitewater to be conservative and Republican.  The good ole boys club is definitely in affect there.  Last night I was proud to say I grew up there.  People came out for honest and open discussion.  It is too bad the Republicans didn’t show up, I think it would be good for them to actually hear what these people have to say. 

One other comment – there were things said about a rep – I don’t know if they are true so I’m not going to repeat them.  However, here is my opinion on an elected officials job.  If you run for office, you better be prepared to speak to and meet with all the people in your district whether they voted for you or not.  Your job as an elected official is to represent the people in your district.  Your job is to hear their opinions and desires when it comes to a bill or topic before the legislative review.  Your job is to LISTEN to these and determine what the majority of those people want.  Then your job is to vote based on the majority of those people.  All of this is whether you agree with what these people want or not.  They are the ones who you are standing for.  It isn’t your opinion that counts – it is THEIR opinions that count.

If you can’t do that, then you should not be in office.  If you can’t listen to everyone and determine what the majority of people want, then you have no right to sit in Madison or Washington as a representative.  Our government is meant to be a government of the people by the people.  It is a founding idealism and if you as an individual can’t follow that – then don’t run for office.  I think a lot of our representatives have forgotten that.  It isn’t about who gave you money to run but about the people and what their needs are.

Various information

I know that some of you are probably tired of the political stuff.  I know I’m stressed and tired of it.  It is hard for me to understand why someone or a group of someones would so completely ignore what is right and what a huge number of people want for their own state… but that is neither here nor there…

I’ve said all along I don’t trust Walker’s numbers.  I don’t trust that he is telling the truth.  Here is a link to an article I found to be very interesting.

On the topic of fiscal responsibility – perhaps EVERYONE should look at this graph – now it is for the national level but it speaks to which party is the more fiscally responsible…
I work at a state university.  The tension at work is palpable.  The anger, frustration, and disappointment hang in the air like cobwebs in a deserted house.  Worry is etched on every one’s face and determination to stand up to this situation is in the stance of nearly all the employees.
I hope that the Republicans and Walker see sense and stop tearing down Wisconsin.  If not I hope they are prepared to lose their jobs.  There is a rally tomorrow in Madison.  If you can, please go – voice your opinion – whatever it is. 
I drove around the capitol square today.  People crowded the sidewalks and near the building.  I saw a lot of people – no thugs, no violence, no disorderly conduct.  I saw people gathering to voice their opinions.  It made me proud.  Now if only there was someone there to listen.

Democracy is Dead

I was trying so hard to not post the political stuff and just give it a bit of a rest to see if things would calm down and work out.  They’ve worked out – or should I say they have been rammed through. 

It is interesting to read comments on articles.  I find that the Democrats letters and such are about compromise and working together.  The Republicans are about name calling and bullying.  I have found this to be the case with those commenting on articles – in general. 

I’m not saying that the dems are better than the republicans but it seems as if people are just not informed.  I read a comment on an article last night where the person said that teachers were all making six figures and getting multi-million dollar retirements.  It was so ridiculous and yet so sad.  Any public sector employees wages are public record – go LOOK. 

What the Republicans did last night was a travesty in the name of democracy.  I’m sure that the assembly will ram it through – they showed that with the last time they voted on this bill.  Here are my predictions for the future…

Walker will still lay off employees under the premise that is financial bill didn’t go through.  He will also implement more furlough days under this same guise.  I think when he’s done with that he will start looking at other benefits like sick time, base pay, vacation pay etc. 

I think the power plants will be sold for a rock bottom price.  I think we are going to see gas at the pumps and in our furnaces go up drastically and horribly. 

I think that he will close all the clinics that help with cancer screening for the poor.  I think we are going to see an increase in babies (no birth control) and then in abortions or worse in babies being born to people who don’t want them. 

Walker I feel is trying to put us back to the 50s.  We aren’t there and won’t go back.

In the meanwhile the unions, democrats, AFL CIO, women’s groups and whoever else gets a fancy to will sue.  It will take a while but these suits will eventually go through the courts and hopefully will win.  The sad thing is – in the long run it is tax payers who are going to pay – look at Milwaukee County.  Some of these things can’t be undone.  Some of these things will permanently change how Wisconsin is and not for the better. 


I watched the Governor’s news conference today.  He tried to convince all of us what a horrible position we are in.  He can say we are broke a million times and every time he does I think about the tax breaks he gave his cronies.  What he really said were half truths and lies.  I get that he is trying everything in his power to convince the citizens of Wisconsin that he is being truthful and trying to do what is best for Wisconsin.  He comes across as a slick used car salesman.

I watched the Democrats’ response to the Governor’s news conference.   I think they were genuine in their response.  I listened to the Republicans attempt to bully the Democrats and realized that they were doing their best to stand up to them. 

Walker says that the stimulus money was misappropriated.  Where is his proof?  I worked for the DOT and I know how careful everyone was for making sure about how the money was spent.  I know that we let (this means to put out for bid) a billion dollars worth of contracts which is twice what we normally do in a year.  We worked our asses off to get that money out to the contractors.  I’m offended that he would accuse us of spending it unwisely or erroneously. 

Walker said nothing new in his speech.  He just spewed more of the same rhetoric.  I saw Republicans yelling at Democrats because they weren’t getting their way.  It is sad that adults who are supposed to be leaders act like bullies on the playground.

Building Wisconsin’s Economy?

Here are a few numbers for people to consider.  Since before Walker took office here are some things he has sent away for us.
·         800 Million in High Speed Rail funds
·         23 Million in Broadband funs – WI libraries fought for this and it was supposed to go to schools, libraries, police, fire and hospitals in rural areas for the last three
·         70 – 75 million in transit funds will be lost if the collective bargaining goes away because the Federal Dept of Labor requires this be in place to receive federal monies.
Approximately 900 million will be lost by this man in six weeks of being in office.  For those who cry out for recall – recall of public officials cannot begin until they have been in office for 1 year.  Impeachment is reliant on the legislators to impeach him.  Do you see that happening with a Republican legislature? 
How much can Wisconsin afford to lose?  These funds were going to go towards making a better Wisconsin and now we are out nearly a billion dollars. 
Governor Walker – How do you intend to replace these funds?  I can guarantee that state workers will stop existing if you take more from them.  Private sector employees should pay attention because what happens in the public sector will happen in the private sector.  You think you are paying a lot now for your benefits – wait till this goes through.  You will pay even more and you won’t have a chance of getting a union anywhere.
I’d like to believe that our representatives would listen to the outcry of the workers of this state but they are sheep all following party lines. 
I’ve read some of the comments about state workers on the Journal Sentinel and other sites.  Here are a few things I’m sure the general public won’t want to hear.  State workers tend your old, your poor, your battered, your roads, your schools, and your safety from crime and fires. 
Some of the workers are lazy.  They do only what they have to in order to keep their jobs.  These workers are few and far between.  Most workers for the state give of their time and energy for a paycheck that is smaller than what they could get in the private sector.  Yes their benefits are better than the private sector.  No state worker has said they aren’t willing to pay more for any of the benefits.  However, taking away collective bargaining rights is not going to balance the budget. 
What that does is allow Walker to make arbitrary changes.  He can then fire people for no reason other than he wants to save money.  He can add furlough days and state workers have no choice or protection.  He can make all sorts of changes.
Here is the thing – the state of Wisconsin is not a business.  It is a complex government body that needs careful consideration in how it should be run and where cuts can be made.  Walker does not care about children, women, workers, poor, middle class.  He cares for the rich and businesses. 

Rights in Jeopardy

I’ve been reading the articles and announcements. I’m not one to just believe some of the propaganda put out by one side of an issue.  I will go looking for information until I can get information from the original source.
I watched Walker say he was surprised that the protests were peaceful.  He’s called out the National Guard to make sure the protests this week are peaceful.  I don’t believe that is the real reason.  I think he did it to try to intimidate the people coming to the protests. 
Some serious concerns I have is he is talking about health risk assessments.  Does this mean if you are a smoker, have a disease, or are obese he will deny insurance coverage?  This would be an extreme invasion of privacy. 
While the money issues concern me, I’m aware that we will have to pay more during these economic issues.  The favoritism he is showing towards his contributors is more of an issue.  The companies from the Green Bay area who want to build in an area for the endangered Cranes backed him and now he is trying to overrule the DNR.  These cranes are rare and this is their nesting area.  If we allow companies to build there these cranes may die out.  The unions he is exempting from the busting he is trying to do are the ones that supported him during the election. 
Is this really the kind of politician we want in?  Someone who allows people to buy his influence?  Shouldn’t he be looking out for the good of Wisconsin – all of Wisconsin – not just those who paid for him to do it? 
The man has cost the state $800 million in federal funding for the high speed rail project.  He has lost jobs of at least 900 for the train company who will be moving as soon as their contract is up.  The jobs he is supposedly creating are minimum wage jobs that are part time and offer NO benefits.  Apparently we are going to become a serfdom with him as the lord of the manner.  Minimum wage jobs will not pay the bills.  If you work 40 hours a week at $7.25 your gross pay would be $290.  In a month that is $1160.  If your mortgage is a $1000 then you can’t live on one job.  Most of these jobs are part time so you wouldn’t actually get 40 hours per week.  Then you are stuck working two or three jobs.  We will be working ourselves to death just trying to live in poverty because the annual wage would be a bit over $15,000 which is well below poverty level. 
Whatever he does in the public sector, will stream outward into the private sector.  If we lose our rights to negotiate, get raises, strike, whatever, then the private sector will as well. 
I agree the government needs to curtail spending and reduce the amount of money going out.  However, banishing unions is not going to help.  Neither is giving the rich tax breaks.  Since we are already one of the states that have a high tax rate it would be best to look at options like raising the sales tax or cutting spending across the board.  This may mean that some of the pet projects needs to go.  Sacrifices will need to be made.  I don’t think our programs for children and poor should be the first to go.  Let’s look for the pork and cut that. 
We also need to have an open discussion.  The people of the state and the people most affected by cuts should have a say in the cuts being made.  Public hearings, open discussion, communication are all key factors in facing these difficult economic times. 
Bullying and ramming through changes which aren’t going to make a difference will not help the state but hurt it.  Walker needs to wake up and realize he is a public employee and his job is to serve the public not be a dictator.
I watched an hour last night of the finance committee hearings.  No one spoke for the bill, one person even said that since 1:15 (I was watching at 8:15 still) had spoken for the bill.  Each speaker was given only 2 minutes to speak.  Yet I feel that this bill will get rammed through and the entire state of Wisconsin will pay for it.

Money Money Money

I’m looking at an 11% plus cut in my pay due to Governor Walker and that is on top of the 3% I already took with the furloughs.  This is significant as it will put me from making it to not making it.  I’m a public employee and proud to be serving the public.  I do the best I can in my job, helping as many people as I can regardless of what they are asking of me.  I don’t just say that isn’t my area I can’t do it.  I say it isn’t my area but let me see who could help you.  I did this when I worked at the DMV, BPD and now at the University.
Unfortunately this is not seen or appreciated by those in power.  My bosses have appreciated me and given me pats on the back but the legislature and governor apparently can’t be bothered to promote workers. 
I don’t know Scott Walker at all.  I didn’t vote for him.  I don’t like his way of treating people.  I find him arrogant and irresponsible.  He is not a person I would choose to run anything let alone our state.  However, now that he is in power I have to deal with the fall out. 
For me this means, we are no longer going to have any cash to spend on anything other than the absolute necessities.  We may even be looking at dropping services. I’m not sure what we will have to sacrifice but something will have to go.  I may have to drop my insurance – if that is allowed mid-year.  Other options are to drop cell phones or cable… I’m not sure what else.
This will not mean tightening our belts.  It will mean that we are doing without.  I was working on paying off my credit card debt but we may have to let our credit rating tank in order to pay for our basics with this type of drastic cut in pay.  
I know the propaganda out there is that state workers make six figures and they don’t do anything.  There probably are a few who are like that.  However, the majority of state workers are not that well off.   Between my husband and I we don’t make six figures.  We are not living high off the hog.  We get paid.  I pay the bills.  The money is gone.  There is no emergency fund. There is no huge retirement fund.  There is no savings.  It is just us working to pay our bills. 
Does Scott Walker understand that is how most of the state employees are?  Does he understand that we are just like all the other workers in Wisconsin who are struggling to stay afloat during these difficult economic times?