I wondered when I listened to the morning news how the Wisconsin Repthuglicans had managed to get the legislation passed; that is, by what maneuver they had done it. Here is Huffington Posts' description of the events. I wasn't sure exactly why separating the anti-union provisions from the budget provisions made a difference but this CNN story explains that without the fiscal matters the legislation required a smaller quorum well below the majority the Repthuglicans have in the senate. I thought that might be the case because a number of states require a supermajority quorum for budgetary bills.
For a very good analysis of the implications of Wisconsin for the rest of the country go to Rainy Day Things and read Rain's take. All her points are right on the money but one I think needs to be emphasized more is the question of 'who is the 'our' in 'our movement?' When I taught Western Civ courses (way back when) I inevitably had to answer the question students raised about how the ancient Greeks could have a 'democracy' when the majority of their people had no voice. After all women and slaves couldn't vote. I told them that the matter is all in the definition--who is by definition part of the 'demos' (people). And then you refine the definition even more since women were considered part of 'the people' but only for determining who among each succeeding generation were citizens but they had not voting rights. Anyone remember the end of 'Animal Farm?' "All animals are created equal; but some are more equal." We are now deciding who is more equal.
Here is another 'sign of the times' story from Huffington Post. Although the buzz word in today's politics, economics and society seems to be 'transparency,' I would say that the true governing principle is 'opacity.' If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, bamboozle them with bullshit (as the old saying goes.) It doesn't matter so long as their money becomes yours. Or in this case so long as their debt becomes your profit.
This story illustrates why I don't rely on American mainstream media for information. I have been reading about the depletion of the Oglala aquifer for the last twenty years or so but the sources have rarely been the media. Recently the notion of 'peak water' has been gaining coverage. This article shows the complexity of the problem that has been largely under the radar.
I missed the "60 Minutes" program featured in this Huffington Post story. That program, like so many that used to be among my favorites, has become too much oriented toward 'infotainment' and are too light on the 'info.' Again, the subject of this story--the right to clean water and adequate sanitation--has surfaced in the mainstream media sporadically over the last couple of years but with no resolution. Except, of course, to leave things alone to get worse. Note the impact of the proposed federal budget.
To segue only slightly, Grist has an interview with James Howard Kunstler (who is one of my favorite writers) on the topic of the "American Dream become nightmare."