I’ve been watching what’s going on in Wisconsin, and trying to figure it all out.  I know there are some crazy people there: you know, the ones that wear the cheese head hats and root for the Green Bay Packers.  And my brother-in-law has a couple of ex-wives from Wisconsin, they’re pretty much nuts too!  But from what I can tell the several times I have visited there (mostly in Milwaukee), Wisconsin folks seem almost as normal as the rest of us, unless you count eating tons of bratwurst and drinking all that beer.

So why are they all worked up over the new Governor Scott Walker’s move to ask the teachers unions and the other public workers unions to help pay for some of the costs of their pension plans, and some of the costs of their health care plans, AND to give up their collective bargaining rights?  I’m not really sure, but they seem pretty agitated about it.

I did come across this earlier this morning, and thought it was rather shocking –“From 2001 to 2010, Wisconsin taxpayers paid more than $8 billion for state employee health care coverage, while state employees contributed only $398 million, less than 5% of the total costs. From 2000 to 2009, taxpayers paid $12.6 billion for public employee pensions, while the employees only contributed $55.4 million, less than 0.5% of the total cost”.

The teachers seem to have pretty much moved in to the State House at the Capitol in Madison, and don’t seem too interested in leaving any time soon.  I guess they felt that since the Democrats went to Chicago on extended vacation, there would be plenty of room for them to hang out there.

I saw a guy on TV at lunch today. He was the head of the Wisconsin Teachers Union (didn’t catch his name), and he was explaining why the teachers were so stirred up.  Seems that they are all upset that their students may somehow get a raw deal out of the whole affair being rammed through by Governor Walker.  You see, that’s what it’s all about to them: the well being of their students – especially the part about having to give up their collective bargaining rights.  Without that, they won’t be able to properly fight for those things that their students need to give them the best education in America.   Things like big fat paychecks (for the teachers, not the students), lots of sick days and personal days off, stuff like that.  Oh, and don’t forget the opportunity to pay the Union almost $700 a year in union dues, so the union can buy all those political ads supporting Democratic candidates (who then support the unions in their collective bargaining agenda).

Well, hold on a minute…  what about making sure the students are in class, learning all kinds of good stuff.  Aren’t they concerned about the time that the kids have to stay home, with no classes available, while they are down at the State House, munching on brats and beer, and waving all those cute signs around (probably paid for with union money???)  I guess it’s okay for the teachers to stay down there as long as they want, since the union has already managed to bring in the Mobile Medical Unit of Doctors without Borders or Ethics, to set up assembly lines writing “get out of school free because I was low sick, or really stressed out” excuse slips (to teachers who aren’t their actual patients).  That should make the kids feel better, knowing that their teachers had a good excuse to just walk off the job, and that some day real soon, they can get back to class and at least 3 out of 10 of them can start learning how to find Wisconsin on a map, and the other 7 that can’t find Wisconsin, can maybe find the US on the US map.

Hopefully when this is all over, the teachers can all sit down and have a good laugh, and then start working on their lesson plans again, and seeing that their students get the care they deserve.  Maybe one of those lesson plans could include a suggested reading list for the high school kids.  I’ll bet way up close to the top of that list will be Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.  That should help the kids understand why their dedicated (and highly qualified) teachers sacrifice so much for their sake. Maybe they could their legislative pals at the State House to pass a Wisconsin State Law to have Dr. Rand’s book renamed “Collective Bargaining for Dummies”.

I sincerely hope Governor Walker will stand up to these idiots. If he fails, I can’t think of a worse horror story for the children of this country.

I have always felt that in any organization, whether it be a business, a pro football team, the military, a university community, almost any organization you can think of, that approximately 20% of the staff do approximately 80% of the work, and the other 80% of the staff (what I call the moochers and freeloaders) do the remaining 20%.  This is almost a perfect picture of what labor unions have achieved in America.  Perhaps 20% of the people working for a company could qualify to work there if there were no collective bargaining unit in place, and the remaining 80% are only there because the union has, through coercion and extortion, forced the company to hire the remainder, who are not only not qualified for the job, but are paid several times more than the job is actually worth in a true free market economy, especially when you consider the perks and benefits that come with the $45/hour for turning a screwdriver.

Of course there are many good workers caught in the middle who are forced to join the union just to get the job, and then forced to pay exorbitant union dues to support the power hungry union bosses and their shameful corruption.  Many of these folks are decent hardworking Americans who are simply at the mercy of these collectivists – “either join the union and pay up, or go work somewhere else…  this is OUR shop”!  And the union bosses are in bed with the Democratic Party. Fancy that, what a cozy arrangement.  I wonder how many Republican candidates get union support.

Well, it’s a sad situation for America; it is literally killing the productivity of this country.  Look around you and see what is going on.   Why do you think the auto companies needed bailing out in the first place?  Ever heard of the UAW?  Oh, wait, that must have been that pesky George Bush’s fault.

Collectivism, Communism, makes no difference what you call it, it’s the same disease.  Dr. Rand had a unique perspective growing up in Crimea; she didn’t simply just make all this stuff up.  She grew up surrounded by it, and saw the brutal cruelty of it all, and fortunately was able to escape to America with her life.

If you live outside of Wisconsin, it may not be too late to read it, and see what could be in store for our once great country.  But the clock is ticking, very fast now.


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14 Responses to WHAT’S UP IN WISCONSIN ???

  1. JERRY WEXLER says:

    (i just hope David Fleming doesn’t see this)
    ….or Jim Moore.

    • Nancy McCurdy says:

      I am reading Ayn Rand now. Maybe the pendulum has swung! I pray that it has. I am only a little over half.

  2. Virgil Cook says:

    Love it Joe…. Did you notice the Ads Google attached at the bottom of the Blog? “Union Member Scholarships”

  3. Bud Keirn says:


  4. Nancy McCurdy says:

    Joe it is as true as your ride around Gwood in the early 60’s.

  5. Armstrong Hart Pillow says:

    It seems to me that if we care about our democracy, then we care about the rights of the workers in this country (that’s you and me). The public workers in Wisconsin are being attacked by the power people/groups because public workers unions oppose them politically. This has very little to do with the budget deficit in Wisconsin. If it did, the governor would accept their offer. The workers have agreed to reduce their pensions and increase their insurance premiums. He has refused that offer. (Wouldn’t you protest if your livelihood was being threatened at the same time that Congress gave tax cuts to the rich, allowed the Wall Street bankers to get away with wrecking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and also got bailed out with taxpayer money?) There is another side to what’s happening in America. Please tune in to an independent news source, DemocracyNow.org, on the web. The hosts of the show have won Peabody awards for excellence in journalism. Unfortunately, there is not one TV channel (non-cable) or radio station in the state of Mississippi (that I can find) that carries this show. Satellite companies may carry Link channel which carries it here in North Carolina. There is another side (maybe more) to what’s happening in Wisconsin that you may be surprised to learn.

    • joeseawright says:


      I certainly care about the rights of workers in this country, we just may differ on our view of what those “rights” are. I see my “rights” as the right to work for a company that wants or needs my help, and is willing to compensate me based on my education, my skills, my character, my performance and my dedication to doing the best job I can do, and NOT simply because I belong to a union run by thugs who promote the enslavement of its members, to achieve their personal goals of power, greed and total domination of the company or industry which they parasitically infest, and by so controlling those companies, continue the stranglehold they have, and dictate who can be hired and who cannot. That in essence is what collective bargaining brings to the party, and it is a near perfectly mirrored microcosm of the larger problem we bear with our Federal government, and those 535 misguided souls that occupy the chairs in our Congress (yes, Democrats and Republicans alike, equally guilty I think – and don’t forget to throw in one very confused President into the mix), whose only concern is “what must we do to hold on to our positions, at all costs”?

      But sadly, until our schools return to trying to teach the principles of personal responsibility, and individual achievement, rather than embracing a life of entitlements, we are likely to continue our accelerating slide down the chute into oblivion.

  6. Joe Kennedy says:

    Joe , You hit the nail on the head ..

  7. Jimmy "Footrunner" Reed says:

    Armstrong (Strong-Under-The-Arm?) no doubt uses The Communist Manifesto as her Bible: Workers unite!

    She should remember what Margaret Thatcher said: Socialism will never work because, sooner or later, other peoples’ money runs out.

  8. Harris Powers says:

    Right on. Joe! For any of those who think the workers are getting a raw deal, please explain to me who is going to pay for the deficit in not only Wisconsin, but the rest of the country. On the brighter side of this, the working parents whose children are not in school because of a lack of teachers are slowly coming to the realization that they are having to pay for child care while they are at work since the teachers are not in the classroom. And before anyone starts on the “we can’t cut the cost of education because it will mean the loss of teaching jobs in the classroom” bandwagon, there is nothing wrong with reducing the administrative cost of education.

  9. David Fleming says:

    Well, having worked for the State of Wisconsin for 14 years before taking a job doing the same thing in the Private Sector, I have something to say about both sides of this. While working for the state as a non-represented employee I recieved the same benefits that the represented employees did. The I took the private sector job making approximated 30 % more in wages, which more than made up for the LACK of BENEFITS the private sector provided.
    The teachers, only in Madison, took off 4 days. They spend more time with the kids than the parents do. The parents share some responsibility in bad kids. Exactly what private job can you compare a teacher’s to?
    The people rallying here are either on forced, but excepted furlogh days or lunch breaks.
    For the sick notices, the doctors were doing simply what any other doctor would do for an oppressed people.
    The state workers have not recieved a raise since 1995, which was a 2% cost of living increase. They have with every aggreement of collective bargaining conceded to paying more and more for Health Care and Pensions.
    The shortfalls here are due to tac-cuts for the Koch brothers companies and other to the amount that he will reclaim from the state employees.
    All in all I found the state workers to be more productive than the private sector. There were always arguements going on out there.
    I believe people who work, and they who they are, deserve rights just like any other worker.
    Collective bargaining gives workers better and less expensive Health Care plans than individuals or small groups, because they can gaurentee a company so many participants.
    Hey, the majority of us in the country work. I reckon what I am saying is, I am for those people.

  10. Chitlins, by Jimmy Reed

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Oxford resident Jimmy Reed is a newspaper columnist, author and college teacher. For information about his latest book, “Boss, Jaybird And Me: Anthology Of Short Stories,” contact jcreedjr@bellsouth.net (662/236-2116) or Square Books (662/236-2262). For an “I’d Rather Read Reed” bumper sticker, contact Reed. He’ll mail you one.

    If reading novels in old age that one read in boyhood indicates regression into second childhood, I’m headed that way.

    Before my tenth birthday, I read everything Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote, especially the Tarzan novels. I even memorized the Ape Man’s special language for communicating with jungle beasts, and preferred it to English, which drove my mother batty.

    Burroughs didn’t start out as a writer. Barely able to support his growing family, he resolved to find ways to earn more money, and the answer came while reading cheap pulp magazines.

    “I knew … I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I … read in those magazines,” Burroughs said, and did so … seventy novels in all. A half century later, I’m rereading his works, and enjoying them as much as I did during boyhood.

    As they did years ago, Burroughs’ adventurous story lines, inimitable descriptive powers, and numerous sub-plots keep me turning pages long into the night. This great American writer’s craftsmanship was impeccable: He was a quintessential wordsmith; his command of grammar, vocabulary and syntax was limitless, and his insight into human nature was profound.

    One such insight explains why I enjoy chitterlings (called “chitlins” in the Mississippi Delta, where they are haute cuisine), and accepted a local construction company owner’s invitation to attend a “gut cooking” this past weekend.

    In “The Beasts Of Tarzan,” Burroughs states, “That he [Tarzan] could … eat raw meat … and enjoy small rodents and disgusting grubs, seems to us who have been always ‘civilized’ a revolting fact; but had we learned in childhood to eat these things … they would seem no more sickening to us now than do many of our greatest dainties, at which a savage African cannibal would look with repugnance and turn up his nose.”

    When I was a boy, my esteemed mentor and constant companion, Jaybird, taught me to appreciate chitlins. The old black man killed his hogs when all meteorological factors were most propitious, especially the temperature — the colder, the better. When the day’s work was done, his swineherd had been converted to hams, chops, hocks, ribs, souse, pickled feet and ears, and cracklings.

    And, of course, chitlins. Before dropping them into a huge black iron cauldron set to boiling with firewood, Jaybird cut and split the intestinal delicacies into foot-long sections and scraped off the fat.

    As a boy, I ate whatever Jaybird ate. When fishing, we enjoyed sardines, crackers, and onions, which is still my favorite day-on-the-lake snack. His barbecued raccoon attracted eaters from all over, including one little white kid — me.

    But the chitlins were his chef-d’oeuvre, served fried and boiled, with a green salad, hot peppers, sliced deer sausage, and cold buttermilk. What a feast!

    Nowadays, folks who have been always civilized turn up their noses at such a feast, especially my daughters, who consider it one of their dad’s most disgusting uncivilized indulgences … but that doesn’t stop me from eatin’ chitlins.

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