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Wisconson public employee debate puts thousands on the streets

Supporters of legislation to reduce public employee union bargaining power and benefits in Wisconsin were far outnumbered by opponents on Saturday, as the two sides shouted competing slogans but did not clash. Tens of thousands have demonstrated this week against Republican Governor Scott Walker‘s proposed legislation, which supporters say is needed to control spending and opponents contend would break the back of state worker unions. Wisconsin is the flashpoint for a U.S. struggle over efforts to roll back pay, benefits and bargaining rights of government workers. If the majority Republicans prevail, other states could be emboldened to take on the
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The Wisconsin debate highlights chance in political process

As demonstrators wrangled on Saturday over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker‘s move to weaken public unions, analysts weighed the consequences of 14 Democratic senators’ decision to flee the state to stall the bill’s consideration. Their absence means the State Senate, controlled by Republicans, lacks the necessary quorum to act on the proposal. “This is seen as an extreme action you can interpret in two ways,” said Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Either they are trying to unfairly deny the people’s vote in November or they feel that things are so inequitable that they have been
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Well, at least they agree on the beer in Wisconsin

When the two sides in Wisconsin’s bitter battle over the future of the state’s unionized public employees converged on the Capitol on Saturday for dueling rallies, the fear was trouble would break out. Instead, the day was marked by a surprising civility when the shouting stopped and the one-on-one conversations began. The slogans they had chanted had highlighted the stark differences that separated them. “Kill the bill!” cried the opponents of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to cut the pay and benefits of unionized public workers and sharply reduce their collective bargaining rights. “Pass the bill!” supporters of the proposal
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Big crowd, major event but still a stalemate in Madison

Sometimes they cursed each other, sometimes they shook hands, sometimes they walked away from each other in disgust. None of it — not the ear-splitting chants, the pounding drums or the back-and-forth debate between 70,000 protesters — changed the minds of Wisconsin lawmakers dug into a stalemate over Republican efforts to scrap union rights for almost all public workers. “The people who are not around the Capitol square are with us,” said Rep. Robin Vos, a Republican from Rochester and co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee. “They may have a bunch around the square, but we’ve got the rest on
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Rage Against The Machine Guitarist Coming To Wisconsin For Concert

MADISON, WIS. – For the past week, the protests outside of the Wisconsin statehouse have had a background soundtrack of Bruce Springsteen, Journey and even the Beastie Boys blasting from speakers as marchers walk around chanting “Kill the bill!” and “Recall Walker!” But on Monday, Madison will get some live music — a concert headlined by Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. For nearly a decade, Morello has also been playing political folk music — inspired by people like Woodie Guthrie and Mother Jones — under the alias The Nightwatchman. On his Facebook page, fans had been
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Wisconsin Putting The Civility Back Into Discourse

(Reuters) – When the two sides in Wisconsin’s bitter battle over the future of the state’s unionized public employees converged on the Capitol on Saturday for dueling rallies, the fear was trouble would break out. (SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE UPDATES) Instead, the day was marked by a surprising civility when the shouting stopped and the one-on-one conversations began. The slogans they had chanted had highlighted the stark differences that separated them. “Kill the bill!” cried the opponents of Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to cut the pay and benefits of unionized public workers and sharply reduce their collective bargaining rights.
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