It's raining today, literally and figuratively.
Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled, curiously in the nick of time, that whether the Republican majority violated the state's open meetings law really didn't matter. In the end, the court said, the Legislature can make up its own rules as it goes along. That secured (at least for now, pending the outcome of other legal challenges) the gutting of collective bargaining rights for most public workers.
Hours earlier the state Senate passed a concealed carry law that will allow you to carry a gun just about anywhere, even into the Capitol Building, which currently has metal detectors to keep out things like pocket knives.
Meanwhile a budget that cuts $800 million from public education and $250 million from the UW System, attacks programs like SeniorCare, Family Care and Planned Parenthood and weakens environmental protections while spending extravagantly on new roads appears headed for passage by the end of the week.
How could it get worse? Biddy Martin could go to Amherst, that's how. Chancellor Martin was a big hit with the students, who even wrote her a song and named an ice cream after her. I liked her from the start. You expect a chancellor to be smart, but Biddy is also fun and funny. I looked forward to our occasional lunches when I was mayor not just because we could get some business done but because I just enjoyed her company.
And as for the controversy over her push for independence for the UW-Madison, look, something's got to be done about the simultaneous cut in funding and increase in micro-managing coming out of the Legislature. If Biddy's bid to break free turned back that tendency it was worth something.
And, on top of all that, the Brewers blew a late-inning lead to drop two straight to the pathetic Chicago Cubs.
Okay. So, it has been a rotten week and it's only Wednesday. But here are some reasons to take heart:
Now that the damn union-busting bill is actually law, there are lawyers lined up around the block to file suits of various kinds to challenge it. It ain't over yet.
The overreaching, far-right legislative agenda being rushed to passage is way, way, way out of character with the people of Wisconsin. Eventually, it'll be rejected and overturned. That could start as early as this summer with the recall elections, but I'm convinced a new, strong progressive movement is being built.
Keep in mind that this stuff is being rushed precisely because the GOP fears it is about to lose its across-the-board control. (And when the Dems do get power back, let's hope we push an agenda as humane as the other was brutal.)
I loved Biddy Martin, but I liked John Wiley very much as well. Like Biddy, John was a down-to-earth, straight-talking guy with a good sense of humor. My plea to Kevin Riley is to keep that track record: Give us another Biddy or another John and we'll be all right.
Finally, the Brewers pitching staff is more than solid, Fielder and Braun are tearing it up, and Ron Roenicke seems to know how to keep his club loose and productive. The Brew Crew will play in October.
The way things are right now is as bad as they're going to get. Better times are ahead.