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Archive for December, 2009

Favorite Picture I Took This Year




Sign Says it All

Orig­i­nally uploaded by kev­in­bin­ver­sie

Took this in May dur­ing my time at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion when they helped with a num­ber of local DC par­ents, fam­i­lies, and chil­dren who were in the DC Oppor­tu­nity Schol­ar­ship Pro­gram. Sadly, thanks to Democ­rats in Con­gress and the demands of the National Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, that pro­gram will lose its fund­ing at the end of the 09–10 school year.

No one knows if the 3,300 kids cur­rently in the pro­gram will be allowed to fin­ish their edu­ca­tion at the school of their par­ents’ choos­ing, or if they will be forced to return to the DC Pub­lic School sys­tem which has been called the dead­liest, costli­est, and most fail­ing school sys­tem in the nation.

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That’s “Sir” Captain Picard

Admit­tedly, Mel Brooks first made him a King (Robin Hood: Men in Tights), but this is quite the honor nonethe­less.

He has played kings, princes, cap­tains and pro­fes­sors on stage and screen, but now actor Patrick Stew­art will have a new title all his own: “Sir.”

The 69-year-old York­shire, Eng­land, native tops the list of those receiv­ing New Year’s hon­ors from Britain’s Queen Eliz­a­beth II, the Cab­i­net Office announced Thursday.

Stew­art, well-known for play­ing Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Gen­er­a­tion,” will receive a knight­hood. It means he will now be known in Britain as “Sir Patrick.”

Oth­ers earn­ing the honor of being made an Offi­cer of the Order of the British Empire include an Formula-1 driver/owner and a cou­ple which owns an Ital­ian cafe in London.

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Cartoon of the Day

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He’s Back!

James “Beam Me Up” Traf­i­cant,” who last we heard was expelled from the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and was serv­ing time in a Fed­eral Prison for tak­ing bribes and hav­ing his aides do things at his farm in Ohio.  He was released in Sep­tem­ber, and has since then held a press con­fer­ence or two, and now may try to run for Con­gress again.

Get the DVR ready if the peo­ple of Ohio send him back.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — For­mer U.S. Rep. James A. Traf­i­cant Jr. revved him­self up in typ­i­cal fash­ion, then eased off as he spoke for 30 min­utes before qui­etly telling a new busi­ness net­work­ing group last night that he will indeed make a bid for Con­gress in 2010.

I’m going to run,” Traf­i­cant declared before some 35 mem­bers of The Biz Soci­ety assem­bled at the Rosetta Stone restau­rant down­town to launch the group’s Youngstown chapter.

Traf­i­cant said he still isn’t sure which dis­trict he’ll throw his hat in, but he has nom­i­nat­ing peti­tions cir­cu­lat­ing in three con­gres­sional dis­tricts –the 17th, the 6th and the 16th. And, the for­mer con­gress­man noted he hasn’t decided on whether to run as a Demo­c­rat, a Repub­li­can, an inde­pen­dent, or per­haps on another party ticket.

I’m going to run for Con­gress some­where,” he said.

All three dis­tricts (6th, 16th, and 17th) are cur­rently held by Democ­rats.  I don’t see any way in which Traf­i­cant runs as a Repub­li­can; if he’s run­ning, he’s going to be some sort of third-party independent.

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Today’s Sign the End is Nigh

“Ed Gein: The Musical.”

(Yes, you read that right.)

APPLETON — The man who influ­enced char­ac­ters in the movies Psy­cho and Silence of the Lambs is now going to be shown in musi­cal form.

More than 50 years after Ed Gein brought the spot­light to Plain­field in Waushara County, a Fox Val­ley group is bring­ing back his story, with “Ed Gein, The Musi­cal.” In addi­tion to being con­victed of mur­der, Gein was known for rob­bing graves and turned body parts into fur­ni­ture, orna­ments and cloth­ing. Now, after eight months of pro­duc­tion and a bud­get of nine thou­sand dol­lars, the movie is about to hit the big screen this Saturday.

Every­one in Wis­con­sin seems to have an Ed Gein con­nec­tion whether or not they’re true, often times they’re not,” said Steve Rus­sell, the direc­tor of the film. “But he’s part of the folk­lore that is Wisconsin.”

Many opposed to the film want Gein’s story wiped from that folk­lore. Pro­duc­ers Dan Davies and Steve Rus­sell received hate mail and death threats about the film. One woman wrote, “Why bring this trash back to the daily liv­ing of all of us? It was ter­ri­ble when it occurred and it’s twice as bad now.”

It’s polar­iz­ing, we either have peo­ple that say wow, this is really great or wow, we want you gone, dead,” said Davies, who also plays Ed Gein.

It’s a musi­cal that will even include par­o­dies of famous songs, which has some outraged.

You know, it’s like peo­ple who laugh at a funeral,” said Will Keizer, who wrote much of the music. “Why do they do that? That seems so inap­pro­pri­ate. But some­times we have to laugh at dark things to be able to under­stand them.”

The idea started as a short YouTube clip and evolved into a full fea­ture film. Davies says he didn’t want to make fun of the lives that were lost but rather show how Gein was raised to be a monster.

The movie/musical makes its world pre­miere at a small the­ater in UW-Fox Val­ley just south of Apple­ton in Menasha.

One won­ders if there’s a song about lamp or purse-making.

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TV Ad Writes Itself">The TV Ad Writes Itself

If Chris Dodd is still a Sen­a­tor by next Novem­ber, frankly I’m going to be sur­prised.  Rum­blings all over the polit­i­cal tip sheets are that even Democ­rats in Con­necti­cut are look­ing for some­one to pri­mary him or “Pull a Torch” so he can just be replaced on the bal­lot by some­one less controversial.

Most of Dodd’s prob­lems stem from his count­less con­nects to the finan­cial indus­try (He is Chair­man of the Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee), his sweet­heart loans from Coun­try­Wide Mort­gage and other issues.

May well be time to add another problem.

Back in July, Sen­a­tor Chris Dodd, D-Conn., pro­posed an amend­ment reduc­ing avi­a­tion secu­rity appro­pri­a­tions by $4.5 mil­lion in favor of fire­fighter grants — a noto­ri­ously innef­fec­tive pro­gram. In fact, the money was specif­i­cally “for screen­ing oper­a­tions and the amount for explo­sives detec­tion sys­tems.” The amend­ment was also spon­sored by Sen. Lieber­man, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be sin­gled out here because the fire­fight­ers union is a pet con­stituency of his.

I have a cou­ple of friends work­ing on dif­fer­ent GOP Sen­a­to­r­ial cam­paigns in the Nut­meg State.  They both must now be drool­ing to return to work when that lit­tle tid­bit became news yesterday.

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Charlie Sheen’s Wife: “He Put a Knife to my Throat”

Hey, I’ve long thought the Sheens were crazy for sometime.

I still can’t think what pos­sessed Mar­tin Sheen to do “Spawn.” But it appears the crazy didn’t fall far from the tree.

DENVERChar­lie Sheen’s wife told police the actor pinned her on a bed, put a knife to her throat and threat­ened to kill her in a Christ­mas Day fight in Aspen that began when she said she wanted a divorce.

An arrest war­rant affi­davit released yes­ter­day quotes Brooke Mueller Sheen as say­ing that the actor strad­dled her on the bed with one hand grasp­ing her neck and the other hold­ing the knife. She said Sheen told her, “You bet­ter be in fear. If you tell any­body, I’ll kill you.”

He also warned, “Your mother’s money means noth­ing. I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done and they won’t leave any trace,” accord­ing to the affidavit.

Sheen, 44, who was arrested for sus­pi­cion of men­ac­ing, assault and crim­i­nal mis­chief charges, denied threat­en­ing his wife with a knife or chok­ing her.

Also yes­ter­day, police released the 911 record­ings of the woman iden­ti­fy­ing her­self as Brooke. At one point she says, “I thought I was gonna die for one hour.”

TMZ has reported that Sheen’s wife has recanted much of her story and is no longer coop­er­at­ing with the investigation.

This is the audio of the 911 call, it’s not mak­ing Sheen look at all like a good guy.

This is not Sheen’s first inci­dent of vio­lence with a woman.  In the early 90s he reported shot Kelly Pre­ston by acci­dent while the two were dat­ing.  A year after that, she was mar­ried to John Travolta.

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Cartoon of the Day

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TV in Wisconsin Near You">Coming Soon to a TV in Wisconsin Near You

(Via Politico)

Seems a lib­eral group believes they can con­vince Wis­con­sin Sen­a­tor Russ Fein­gold to either change the Sen­ate Health Care Bill — the very one he just voted to pass — to include a pub­lic option in the Con­fer­ence committee.

Wish­ful think­ing is so nice when it’s lib­er­als wast­ing money from TV ads on pipe dreams.

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Butler Nomination Returned to the White House

One of the boys at “Blog­ging Blue” is right upset about this, but often this stuff hap­pens.  Not that it looks well for Louis But­ler; he does after all have his posi­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Wisconsin’s Law School.

No for­mal vote was taken, but the six nom­i­nees who were “returned to the White House” for recon­sid­er­a­tion and pos­si­ble renom­i­na­tion “ran into oppo­si­tion,” said Jim Man­ley, a spokesman for Sen­ate Major­ity Leader  Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

[…]

The nom­i­nees rejected by the Sen­ate were:

Dawn E. Johnsen: Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral for Office of Legal Counsel

Mary L. Smith: Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral for Tax Division

Christo­pher H. Schroeder: Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­eral for Legal Policy

Craig Becker: National Labor Rela­tions Board board member

Edward Chen and Louis But­ler, U.S. Dis­trict Court nom­i­nees for Cal­i­for­nia and Wis­con­sin, respec­tively, were also returned to the White House.

I per­sonal love how the “Blog­ging Blue” guy is com­plain­ing about how But­ler is being treated given the 12–7 par­ti­san vote which cleared him in the Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee.  Hate to say this, but just because some­one clears a hur­dle in the Sen­ate — at any level — doesn’t mean jack.  Holds can hap­pen for any rea­son (Just ask for­mer Con­gress­man Mark Green before he began his Ambas­sador­ship,) and if that wasn’t going to hap­pen on Loop­hole Louie, it’s likely But­ler may have actu­ally gone down in a full con­fir­ma­tion vote.

After all, if Louis But­ler was rejected TWICE by the vot­ers of Wis­con­sin, who’s the say the entire Sen­ate wouldn’t have had due cause to reject him as well?

Now, it’s up to the Obama White House to decide what to do with the Louis But­ler.  There are other fine, capa­ble judges in Wis­con­sin, maybe they will be selected for the judge­ship, or maybe Obama will renom­i­nated But­ler.  Time will tell, until then we have another judge selec­tion farce to watch in Wisconsin.

I hope to have more on that in com­ing days…

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