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February 17, 2011
Photo

On February 11, newly elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed a fast-tracked budget repair bill. If passed, it would place the burden of balancing the budget squarely on the working class and remove their rights to protest these changes. State employees in nearly all sectors would lose massive benefits, but more importantly they would lose their right to collectively bargain for sick leave, working conditions, and even working hours. Walker has stated that if unions refuse to cooperate, he will not hesitate to send in the National Guard.

The only unions exempt from these proposed changes would be firefighters, police and state troopers—coincidentally the only unions who supported Governor Walker in his election bid to begin with. But, even these unions are coming out against Walker, backing labor, and standing as a unified front.

While union leaders have agreed to the pension and health care cuts outlined in the bill, Republican leadership has held fast to the bill’s provisions that collective bargaining be eliminated for state workers.

In Madison the past three days, tens of thousands have shown up to protest the governor’s bill. Teachers, students and workers from accross the state have flocked to the capital to voice their disappointment and show their solidarity.

These photos are from the demonstrations on Feb 16.

Workers' rights are human rights - Madison, WI
  • Firefighters for labor protests - Madison, WI
  • Students march union protests - Madison, WI
  • Teachers union protest - Madison, WI
  • Union protests - Madison, WI
  • Protest Flags - Madison, WI
  • Union protests - Madison, WI
  • Union protests - Madison, WI
  • Educators union protest - Madison, WI
February 16, 2011
Writing

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump
Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump

The sprit of the 1960s and ’70s, that which reshaped our nation, redefined a people, and changed America on a fundamental level, can be summarized in three words: “Run, Forrest, run!” Robert Zemeckis’s 1994 classic, Forrest Gump, is a film about a country in transition. Its title character embodies that country and represents its journey through history, running the whole way. Forrest Gump represents change, and a challenge to the established status quo, yet he is a character that has been adopted by right-wing politicians as a shining example of why we should look to our past to recover our lost virtues. Conservatives, especially during the 1994 congressional elections, latched on to the film’s less-than-favorable depiction of radical Liberalism. But, their analysis overlooked the fact that this film does not advocate for a return to past values, and instead recommends a rationed approach to progress. As a character born from deep within American history, Gump breaks the oppression of earlier generations, navigates the tumult of cultural flux, and leads the nation from past to present—not the other way around.

February 12, 2011
Film

This is a short film on Alex Ruff as a he creates one of his hand-crafted skateboards. I decided to make this film without any extra audio because I wanted to emphasize the artistry, almost musicality, of the craft itself.

February 11, 2011
Writing

Originally published October 12, 2010 in the Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin student newspaper

Politicians have a way of tapping into public anger and directing it at the easiest target—as long as that target isn’t themselves. This election cycle, it would appear that they’ve settled on The People’s Republic of China.

Across the nation, politicians have used China as a scapegoat, claiming their political opponents are sympathetic with the Communist state. Here in Wisconsin, we’ve seen advertisements from Ron Johnson accusing Russ Feingold of helping create “3,000 jobs in China.”

The trend is not confined only to the only Right or the Left—campaigns on both sides of the aisle have attempted to tie their opponents to Chinese job creation. Ohio Democratic Congressman Zack Space accuses his opponent Bob Gibbs of advocating policies that create Chinese jobs at the expense of American workers. “What about Ohio?” his ad asks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, too, attacked his opponent, calling her “a foreign worker’s best friend” for supporting taxbreaks for companies outsourcing jobs to China.

Ads like these have appeared across the nation, and it’s easy to see why. With unemployment rates still soaring, the last thing a candidate wants is to be seen as more sympathetic to foreign than American workers.

But, such an approach may be unwise.

February 10, 2011
Drawing

My favorite place in Madison: The Terrace on Memorial Union. When the warm weather returns after a very long winter, it just can’t be beat. This sketch was done on one such spring day, when the warm breezes were just starting to roll back in, bringing students along with.

Union Terrace Sketch - Madison, WI
February 9, 2011
Photo

Winter in Wisconsin has the reputation, not without justification, for being horribly long, cold, and miserable. But, as with everything, there’s a great deal of beauty that can be found in the long nights and subzero temperatures. These are some shots from around the Great White North in 2011.

Union Terrace in Winter - Madison, WI
  • Union Terrace in Winter - Madison, WI
  • Lake Mendota in Winter - Madison, WI
  • Frozen Bush - Madison, WI
  • Frozen Bush - Madison, WI
  • Frozen Bush - Madison, WI
  • Frozen Gas Meter - Madison, WI
  • Frozen Gas Meter - Madison, WI
  • Frozen Gas Meter - Madison, WI
February 8, 2011
Photo

For some reason, it took me until the fall of my senior year at UW to realize that I had no good collection of photos in Madison. But, if there’s any time to take pictures of the city, it’s got to be autumn. I hope this series manages to capture the feel of the campus in the fall—the changing colors, and the slight chill in the air as the campus collectively enjoys the last few warm days before a very long winter.

State Street in Fall - Madison, WI
  • Madison Orpheum Theater
  • Union Terrace - Madison, WI
  • Union Terrace - Madison, WI
  • Union Terrace - Madison, WI
  • Fall Construction - Madison, WI
  • Triangle Market - Madison, WI
  • State Street, Capitol - Madison, WI
  • Bascom Hill - Madison, WI
  • Bascom Hill - Madison, WI
  • University Ave - Madison, WI
February 5, 2011
Writing

Originally published September 17, 2010 in the Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin student newspaper

Ron Johnson. Ring any bells? If you’ve been following Wisconsin politics, it might, but before the 2010 Republican primary, it probably wouldn’t have. And yet, this relatively unknown plastics manufacturer has just won the Republican nomination for United States Senate with 84% of the vote.

Russ Feingold. Recognize that one? For almost 18 years he’s represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, and yet the relative no-name Johnson is sharply contesting his seat. The polls show that the two candidates are virtually neck-and-neck in what should be a fierce competition this November.

It probably will surprise no one that Johnson can thank a Tea Party endorsement for much of his momentum. It’s a trend we’re seeing across the country—previously unheard of candidates, backed by the Tea Party, suddenly spring to the national stage, threatening the seats of Republican and Democratic politicians alike. The Tea Party is filled with charismatic leaders, and individual rallies have drawn crowds in the tens-of-thousands. The strength of the movement resides largely in the fact that, more than any other political institution, they have been able to articulate the frustration gripping the American masses.

But with steadily increasing political sway, what exactly does the Tea Party stand for? How will these libertarian candidates fare when it comes to governing? Thus far, much of the party’s strength has derived from its ideology—an ideology that has been defined much more by what it’s against than what it supports.

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