Thursday, February 17, 2011 quickly becomes the go-to-place for news on the protests and political shenanigans in Madison

Just two weeks ago The Capital Times announced that it had acquired the local political website -- and in an amazing bit of serendipity the website has become much in demand as the place to follow the protests and actions in Madison, Wisconsin's state capital.

For those not following the events in Wisconsin, a little background: The new Republican governor Scott Walker, has proposed a budget bill that would strip most state workers of the right to collective bargaining. The governor, however, inserted a special exemption for local police, firefighters and the Wisconsin State Patrol. Walker, the candidate, was endorsed by the Wisconsin State Troopers, the Milwaukee Police and Firefighters associations and the West Allis Professional Police. (!)
As I write this, has reported that Democrats have walked out of today's legislative session, preventing Republicans from achieving a quorom -- they are one representative short. "Clearly they just decided to check out today," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is quoted as saying by Greg Bump, the Budget Blog editor.

Bump also reports that Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller’s office has released a statement: "Democrats believe it is wrong to strip people of their right to have a say in the conditions of their employment and to use state law to bust unions. Over the last several days tens of thousands of citizens, young and old, union and non-union, labor and management, from every corner of the state, have travelled to the Capitol to peacefully and respectfully exercise their right to speak to their elected officials. These people deserve to be heard and their rights ought to be respected."

In the meantime, schools in Madison, and in several other Wisconsin communities, are closed today as teachers continue boycotting their classrooms to join the protests.