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