It's day 109 in the state budget stalemate. A day after the Assembly rejected a revised budget plan in a special session called by Governor Doyle, the Assembly speaker called for an extraordinary session of the Legislature to deal with the budget crisis. Sorry, but it's just impossible at the moment to imagine any session of this Legislature qualifying as special, much less extraordinary.
Over the noon hour today, a corporate-sponsored group called Americans for Prosperity staged an anti-tax rally, presumably to try to put a scare into any legislative Republicans who might be toying with the idea of straying from the no-budget-is-a-good-thing camp. AFP is hardly homegrown. . . . It is on the front lines of a national crusade against health care reform and pretty much any other initiative that might require a tax dollar to support it. Wisconsin just happened to be AFP's battleground of choice for today.
AFP paid to bus in a crowd estimated at between 350 and 500 for the rally, and they were met by about 800 counter-demonstrators. Cameras and microphones and reporters with notebooks were everywhere. Evidently, political paralysis is news.
On the other end of State Street from the Capitol, there was another rally. On the University of Wisconsin's library mall, a dozen students and passersby, maybe two, listened while representatives of the ACLU and Progressive Magazine and student activists tried to raise awareness of the Military Commissions Act and what it's done to the right to habeas corpus. There wasn't a camera crew or tape recorder to be seen. News, suspending civil liberties is not.