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Archive for March, 2009

Random Thoughts

Been a few years since I did one of these (for obvious reasons), so I thought it was time to waste a few minutes to type away what I’ve been feeling.

– Did you know it’s been two years since I packed my bags and signed a lease on an place to live in the Metro DC area? (I’ll have an expanded post on this later this week.)  Yeah, that fact surprised me too.

– Congrats to Charlie on getting his great book “50 Rules Kids Don’t Learn in School” published in another language.  I’m sure the liberal blogs back home like “Whallah!” and others will try to make a funny with this news.

Though, seriously, other than a poorly-selling book by Bill Christofferson on Gaylord Nelson, has any Wisconsin liberal blogger like ‘capper,’ ‘grumps,’ ‘The Chief,’ and the rest of the pot-shot taking clowns ever been published beyond their own blogs?  I mean, it’s one thing to be published by a publishing house, but how many books get re-published in other languages because there’s a demand for the book?

Joke all you want guys, Charlie’s laughing all the way to the bank.

– If I were to take a guess on little to no Intel from back home, I’d say Terry Van Akkeren wins the mayoral race in Sheboygan next week.  There hasn’t been much news in the Sheboygan Pressthough this is a very good story about a forum between the two candidates –  about the campaign, which either means its a pretty laid back race or I’m not reading the Press like I used to.

Yeah, it’s probably the latter.

– Given how almost 80% of Chris Liebenthal’s posts at his blog are about how pissed off his is at Scott Walker’s policies while being a Milwaukee Co. employee, I just don’t get why he just doesn’t run for County Board himself.

– If DC Comics resets it continuity again, I swear I’ll have an aneurysm.

– Finally, I’m more intrigued by the way the two political parties play off the NY-20 win than who wins it.  Sort of makes me sad in a way since I’d prefer sound policy – no matter whose – win out in the way, not who best markets their respective B.S.

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Quote of the Day

James Sherk, Bradley Foundation Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in today’s Politico “Arena” debating the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act.”

“Organized labor’s problem is that most workers have little interest in joining a union. … General representation makes little sense for most workers today. The fastest-growing job sectors are professional specialty and executive and managerial positions — designers, engineers and marketing specialists. These jobs require individual skills and abilities. Businesses have also flattened the job hierarchy. Employers increasingly expect workers to take individual initiative. Google has supplanted General Motors.”

We’ve long since surpassed the moment in the American labor market where we work more with our brains than with our brawn.  Employment in the traditional trade jobs has been shrinking since the down of the machine and automation.

And unless a portion of the nation wants to go Luddite, you wonder how manufacturing will survive beyond machine maintenance jobs – even in low income nations.

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“The West Wing” is Back

Don’t know what’s going to be worse.  The swooning from DC Democrats still in love with the show; or the swooning from DC Republicans still in love with the show.

Anyway, “Pres. Bartlett”, “Josh,” and “Toby” are back in town.

“The West Wing” is back — sort of.

The award-winning NBC drama went off the air in 2006, but on Tuesday, “West Wing” stars Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff will try to use their celebrity status to promote the Employee Free Choice Act, the divisive labor union bill that has stalled in the Senate.

The three actors will unveil a new program called Faces of the Employee Free Choice Act, sponsored by the pro-labor group American Rights at Work, at a news conference at Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s office. The labor bill is also known as “card check” in business circles because it would get rid of the secret ballot for union elections.

I’m assuming all three actors are members in good-standing in the Screen Actors Guild.  So let’s just get the obvious question out of the way:

How did you enjoy your secret ballot elections to re-elect SAG President Alan Rosenberg and decide whether or not to strike against the studios last year? Or as expected, to strike later on this year?

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I Wouldn’t Exactly Call them “Free Calls”

USAToday’s Tech Blog points out the iPhone is about to get an App for “Skype,” the popular Internet phone and video chat service in its arsenal.

Skype will unveil a free application for the iPhone on Tuesday, enabling owners to make Internet calls via Apple’s popular handset. Skype calls do not count against regular cellphone minutes.

My first call with a friend who has Skype on her PC didn’t go well. I heard her just fine, but she reported that my speech was somehow “elongated” and that I “sounded like one of those cartoon” voices.

I had a decent experience on other calls.

Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, you can be on a Skype call only while you have access to Wi-Fi. In cellular-only coverage, you can chat only with Skype buddies.

My assumption is Apple is trying to keep its cellphone carrier partners happy. Skype calls could cut into AT&T’s cellphone business.

Let’s count the number of ways you still have to pay, shall we?

1) Your contract for the iPhone with AT&T.  This is likely still around $100 a month, more if you’re a big talker.

2) You have to access to a Wi-Fi connection.  While this is pretty easy to find for free if you’re pirating off of your neighbors, but if you’re in the open this means you will have to find a public source like a Starbucks or other cybercafe.  That means a charge for their service.

3) Any special features you have with Skype such as unlimited hours to non-Skype members with land lines.

Again, this is cool for iPhone users, but the idea of selling this as “a free phone call” is laughable.

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Did NYT “Spike” an Obama-Acorn Story Last October?

So says a paper in Philly…

A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a “a game changer.”

Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the committee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”

Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN’s election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.

During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office.

Ms. Moncrief told Ms. Heidelbaugh the campaign had asked her and her boss to “reach out to the maxed-out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN.”

Yes, you probably read that right, according to this story the Obama Campaign dropped off its list of maxed-out donors (those who had hit the magic $2300 mark for the general election) and then turfed them off to ACORN.  I’m not an elections lawyer and I try to rarely play one on this blog, so I have no idea if such a tactic is even legal or not.

(I’m leaning towards not since its electioneering.)

However it does kill the fairy tale that there was no connection between the Obama Campaign and ACORN they’ve been shopping us from Day One.  I mean, double-dipping is double-dipping after all.

I also don’t think this story will gain much traction until Ms. Moncrief comes out and talks or testifies under oath.  According to the newspaper’s article, she was in the hearing room, but never took the microphone.  Yet, if this story from last October is true, Ms. Moncrief might be too terrified to tell her side of things; until then, we’re just left with hearsay which may make for good newspaper copy, but something inadmissible in court.

Minutes later, I read this: “Anita MonCrief. Google me. Please do not use my name with anyone until we connect. I also emailed Michelle Malkin but she scares me.”

I responded: “I googled that name and hope it’s the real you. If it is, you should have plenty to prove that should be publicized. Please call me at or after 9 PM: 631-757-9452. I will be home by then and free to talk.”

Anita emailed: “I am really terrified. When I say threats and intimidation, I am not kidding. We (my 2 year old) are moving and I have had union pressure to make me be quiet. I am on linked in. If you still have doubts add me and I will confirm you.”

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cherry Blossom Festival – Opening Weekend

This is how I spent a couple hours on Sunday.  Think I actually worsened the cold I felt coming on, but hey, that’s what happens when you mix up a cold with dry air.

It happens.

Anywho, here are about 50 photos I took along the Tidal Basin during the opening weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  I hope to go out every weekend during the festival, since you can see in some of these photos the blossoms are still yet to bloom.

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Longest-Running Soap Opera On Chopping Block

Wow.  My sisters were big fans of The Guiding Light when I was a kid – and because we only had one TV at the time, I was forced to watch it – and this news will probably hit them hard.

That’s if they’re still watching soap operas these days.

CBS may soon decide to pull the plug on “Guiding Light,” the longest-running daytime drama in television history.

While no final decision has been made, the network’s deal for the Procter & Gamble-produced drama—the least watched of the eight daytime serials currently on the air—ends in September. But if CBS does drop “Guiding Light,” it likely would lock in a decision within the next month, people familiar with the matter said. That would give writers a chance to tie up storylines.

CBS also would need to finalize new programming for the daytime hour that “Guiding Light” would be vacating.

In the most significant indication that the network is seriously pondering life without “Guiding Light,” CBS has been talking to outside studios about potential replacement programming for the show, sources said.

Possibilities under discussion include both game shows and talk shows. CBS could easily cut its programming costs for the hour in half by switching away from a scripted drama.
Representatives for CBS and P&G declined comment.

In addition to contracting with an outside studio for programming to replace “Light,” CBS daytime chief Barbara Bloom has been developing possible in-house candidates for the soap opera’s slot.

The Guiding Light has been around for over 70 years; first as a radio serial, than as one of the first TV daytime dramas.

There is talk of possibly keeping the show alive online, but the reality is any soap opera with rating as low at Guiding Light, will probably close up shop.  The only question is how the story ends.

Here’s hoping for no demon possessions, alien abduction, evil twins, or other such craziness takes place.

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A True Power Player

Heritage President Ed Feulner was the feature of “Fox News Sunday’s” Power Player of the Week segment.  In the past, the segment has included White House movers and shakers, the head of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and many, many more.

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Future New York Archbishop Speaks on Notre Dame Issue

Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan doesn’t take over as New York’s Archbishop – the equivilent of the head of America’s Catholics – until April 15th.  That didn’t stop him from speaking out on the latest brush fire mixing the church and the American Presidency.

Yesterday, while on a local Milwaukee political punditry show, Dolan said Notre Dame University made a mistake asking President Barack Obama, a very strong supporter of abortion, to be its spring commencement speaker.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan appeared on Today’s TMJ4’s “Sunday Insight” with Charlie Sykes, and was asked if the University of Notre Dame made a mistake by inviting President Barack Obama to speak at the school’s graduation ceremony.

Dolan didn’t hesistate a bit, responding “They did, and I say that as one who loves and respects Notre Dame.  They made a big mistake.”

“There’s a lot of things that President Obama does that we can find ourselves allied with and working with him on, and we have profound respect for him and pray with him and for him,” Dolan said. “But in an issue that is very close to the heart of Catholic world view, namely, the protection of innocent life in the womb, he has unfortunately taken a position very much at odds with the Church.”

Dolan believes honoring and giving Obama a platform to speak at a premier Catholic University like Notre Dame sends a mixed message about the Church’s teachings.

You can watch the full episode of “Sunday Insight” online here.  The Notre Dame comments come in the third segment around the 14 minute mark.

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