...and Appleton, Eau Claire, Fort Atkinson, Fond Du Lac, Lacrosse, Racine, and Wausau. See below for links and details.
I find the Tea Party movement quite interesting. A prime example of how conservatives are manipulated by their corporate and political masters. While I'm sure that a few Tea Parties really are local grassroots efforts, most are organized and funded by conservative astroturf organizations and the GOP. Very well funded, judging by what I see here in Madison. More on that GOP connection in a later post.
When I mention the rather obvious top-down organization of the Tea Parties to my conservative friends, one of the standard responses I get is "So what, you do whatever MoveOn tells you to do!" Now, I've organized several anti-war events through MoveOn, including two that were attended by over four hundred people, so I know a bit about how this stuff works. The only support I got from MoveOn was access to their web tools to list my events. That's it. No money. No staff. No logistics support. No training. No Rush Limbaugh or Fox News hyping things 24/7. And absolutely no help, or even recognition, from the county or state Democratic Party.
Now compare that to the upcoming Madison Tea Party. Somebody is putting up mighty big bucks for this event. Several tens of thousands of dollars from the looks of it. Free buses from all over Wisconsin. Free parking and shuttles from the Allient Energy Center (a great idea, but not cheap). A big sound system and crew. Professional web presence and PR. All very nice, but not very grassrooty.
So, who's paying for all this? Americans for Prosperity appears to be the major culprit. AFP is basically a corporate-funded astroturf group that has an anti-government, anti-tax, and anti-regulatory agenda. They seem to particularly have it in for environmental regulations. Just like Exxon-Mobil, although I'm sure it's just a coincidence. AFP also has strong ties to the Republican Party, which might explain why they didn't make a peep when George Bush was destroying our economy and turning a huge suplus into record deficits. Be a good dittohead and repeat after me: Republicans good, Democrats bad. Republicans good, Democrats bad. Republicans good, Democrats bad...
Here are all the Wisconsin Tea Parties I know about. This site has the biggest list I've seen, although it doesn't include them all. Given how paranoid, bigoted, and violence-prone many of the teabaggers already are, I'd suggest giving them a wide berth.
Still, it might be kind of fun to yell "Get a job!" if you just happen to be passing by...
Appleton - Fox Banquets, 111 E. Kimball
April 15, 5:30 pm - 7:00pm
Eau Claire - City Hall
April 15, 12:00 noon - 3:00pm
Fort Atkinson - Municipal Building, Main Street
April 15, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Fond Du Lac - Veterans Park (across from City County Government Building)
April 15, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Lacrosse - Location TBA
April 15 - Time TBA
Madison - Capital Square
April 15, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Racine - City Hall
April 18, 2009 - 12:00 - 1:00pm
Wausau - City Square Downtown
April 15, 2009 – 5:00-7:00pm