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Archive for January, 2010

A Coup Attempt Rumored in AssDem Caucus

From WisPolitics’ new “Quorum Call” blog (Follow it people, seriously.), which reports the rumors and the attempts to quell them.

Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan today shot down rumors that an attempt was underway to depose him as the Dem leader, saying he plans to remain in the position through session’s end.

“That’s my goal. I can tell you I felt very supported” Sheridan told WisPolitics about today’s caucus meeting.

Assembly Dems spent the afternoon in closed caucus as rumors swirled about a possible coup attempt. But several Assembly Dems who emerged from the meeting and spoke with reporters said there was no discussion of changing leaders.

What is it with Democrats who make leadership from the Janesville-Beloit area?  First they toss Judy Robson, now Mike Sheridan.

In all honesty, if the Assembly Democrats did have a coup on Speaker Sheridan, who would they have face them?

Fresh-faced lying snake Majority Leader Tom Nelson of Kimberly? Please the guy’s abrasive as hell and has a horrible track record towards the press. (He’s here to talk about the autism initiative…)

JFC Co-Chair Mark Pocan? Someone at RACC just started drooling about that concept and the revenge it could detail.

Spencer Black of Madison? Been there forever, and a better fit than the two I’ve listed before.

Frankly, the options inside that caucus currently are pretty limited, and they Dems really were smart to go with Sheridan as their Speaker in the first place.  Even though he’s a run of a mill liberal Democrat, he’s boring enough to not be a firebrand or crackpot from either Madison or Milwaukee who could be made into a caricature come election time.

That being said, what does it say about the man’s leadership skills when a former UAW President can’t lead?

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“The Woz” on the iPad

Somehow, TechCrunch was able to get their cameras (or the stream of someone with a flip cam at his location) on Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to get his take on what the newly-released “iPad” could mean.

His thoughts aren’t new, the idea of turning a eBook into a source to download magazine or newspaper content isn’t revolutionary.  If anything, this is where the future now lies in publishing.  Soon, either at an urging of cost-cutting measures or “green marketing” entire magazines and newspapers go digital.  It makes you wonder if there will be some sort of disinformation campaign from the postal, paper making, and printing unions to stop what modern technology will eventually do to their industries.

Finally it must be said, whoever picked out the name for the “iPad,” needs to be shot.  Preferably while tied to the flagpole of Apple’s infamous “pirate flag” they flag outside their headquarters.  The name just is lousy.

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Wonder What the New York Times Numbers Will Be in 2011

If this is the future of newspapers in this country, then the future is not looking good.

In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site, newsday.com, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?

So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com?

The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class.

That astoundingly low figure was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by publisher Terry Jimenez when a reporter asked how many people had signed up for the site. Mr. Jimenez didn’t know the number off the top of his head, so he asked a deputy sitting near him. He replied 35.

Michael Amon, a social services reporter, asked for clarification.

“I heard you say 35 people,” he said, from Newsday‘s auditorium in Melville. “Is that number correct?”

Mr. Jimenez nodded.

Hellville, indeed.

The web site redesign and relaunch cost the Dolans $4 million, according to Mr. Jimenez. With those 35 people, they’ve grossed about $9,000.

The New York Times announced earlier this month, it was planning on setting up its own pay wall in late 2011.

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D&D Ban Okay at Waupun

This is all over the place for its level of strangeness, but I wonder two things: How did this make the U.S. Circuit Court level, and given his legal expertise with ‘prison cruelty,’ how was Ed Garvey not this guy’s attorney?

A man serving life in prison for first-degree intentional homicide lost his legal battle Monday to play Dungeons & Dragons behind bars.

Kevin T. Singer filed a federal lawsuit against officials at Wisconsin’s Waupun prison, arguing that a policy banning all Dungeons & Dragons material violated his free speech and due process rights.

Prison officials instigated the Dungeons & Dragons ban among concerns that playing the game promoted gang-related activity and was a threat to security. Singer challenged the ban but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld it as a reasonable policy.

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures, often working together as a group, with the help of complicated rules.

Singer, 33, has been a devoted player of the fantasy role-playing game since he was a child, according to the court ruling. After the ban went into effect, prison officials confiscated dozens of Dungeons & Dragons books and magazines in his cell as well as a 96-page manuscript he had written detailing a potential scenario for the game that players could act out.

Prison officials enacted the ban in 2004 after an inmate sent an anonymous letter expressing concern about Singer and three other inmates forming a “gang” focused around playing the game.

A 96-page manuscript?  Okay, we know now he was the Dungeon Master of the group.

“Gang activity?”  That’s funny, since anyone who’s played or tried to be a session’s Dungeon Master knows half the night is spent wasted as you try to herd the players where you hope to lead them

Singer is serving a life sentence for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for killing his sister’s boyfriend with a sledgehammer.  No word if at the time witnesses reported him screaming “Take this goblin, while I smite thee with my +4 War Hammer!!!

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Why Political Donation By Text Message Ain’t Happening Soon

So you’ve probably thought the same thing I have over the past two weeks as millions of dollars from millions of Americans have been donated to the Red Cross for Haitian earthquake relief:  Imagine if that could happen for political campaigns.

Nate Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report has a great column explaining why such a thing is currently highly illegal with FEC rules and regulations.  That being said, it’s not like someone isn’t thinking of a way to make it copacetic with the letter of the law.

It may be the “new stream of philanthropy,” a Verizon Wireless spokesman told the Associated Press, but there are some significant roadblocks before federal candidates can do the same thing.

First of all, candidates and campaign committees need to collect basic information about all donors including their name, address, and occupation. This is not necessarily prohibitive but candidates would need to establish a “best effort” to obtain the information after the contribution, according to a Federal Election Commission spokesman. This is more of a practical roadblock than a legal one.

But more importantly, collecting political contributions via text messaging may run afoul of the law because corporations are prohibited from being conduits for contributions. In order for the transaction to work, cell carriers such as Verizon, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, or AT&T would have to collect the contribution on the bill and then write a check to the particular campaign.

Keep in mind, the FEC has not issued a formal advisory opinion on the matter of accepting contributions via text (mainly because no candidate has requested one). Until that time comes, we won’t have a definitive answer on the legality of the issue.

One wonders who will be the first.

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Cartoon of the Day

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This Only Tempts the Football Gods

From Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com, former Packers beat writer for the Wisconsin State Journal.

Apparently, someone from the IT department who was prepping for if the Vikings beat the Saints pushed the wrong button and made this the front page of Vikings.com for a time during the game.

So if you’re a Vikings fan and don’t want to blame Favre’s interception on Favre being Favre, and the Sports Illustrated cover jinx wasn’t enough for you, perhaps we have another reason for why the purple lost.

I don’t doubt every team in the Conference Championship round had to prepare for this sort of thing.  Be it the T-Shirts, the ticket packages for fans, the team hotel arrangements in Miami, but you DO NOT TEMPT FATE by putting you’ve clinched the conference championship on the team website until the game is over.

You’re tempting the football gods, and that’s never good.

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Wow, He Really Said This

I haven’t seen the ABCNews interview with Diane Sawyer, but the Drudge Report posted the link from the Hill last night.

President Barack Obama said that he would rather be a really good one-term president than have two mediocre terms.

In an interview to air Monday, the president stated his preference as negotiations have stalled over the healthcare reform package he championed.

I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president, he told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

Obama words come just two days before he gives his first State of the Union address, in which he will lay out his agenda for the next year.

I realize Obama’s seeing only two options here: His own ego-driven self and I’m guessing George W. Bush with the “two mediocre terms” line.

There is a third, it’s called “The Carter.”  That’s the one where you’re a mediocre one-term President.

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Cartoon of the Day

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