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Archive for April, 2010

How GM Paid Its Loans

Great video from the gang at Reason.TV explaining for those of us who didn’t take a college Accounting course.

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The Census Takers are Coming

Haven’t turned in your Census form yet?  Well, get ready for a visitor.

If you haven’t returned your census form yet, this could be the weekend you get a visit from a census taker.

Starting Saturday, the U.S. Census Bureau is sending workers door to door to follow up with households that didn’t complete or return their forms.

In most cases, census workers will visit in the afternoons, early evenings and on weekends. They’re instructed to identify themselves with a census ID badge that has a Department of Commerce watermark.

Census takers will visit each address up to three times. Each time they don’t get an answer they’ll leave a phone number the resident can call to schedule an interview.

Census spokesman Stanley Moore asks that residents cooperate with census takers. He notes they’ve taken an oath never to reveal any private data.

No word if it will look (or go) anything like this.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Victory Over EFCA

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) posts on its blog, Shopfloor, points out that this morning at 9:00 AM EDT, the AFL-CIO took down their giant banner promoting the Employee Free Choice Act, or EFCA.  They even have pictures.

Irony alert, the banner blocked the AFL-CIO’s view of the White House over Lafayette Park from their building.  Double-irony Alert: The AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce and NAM are on opposite blocks near the White House on F Street if I recall.

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David Frum Dumps on Crist, Supports Rubio

“Welcome to the Party Pal!” – John McClane, Die Hard

Well, better late than never I suppose. Of course, it’d mean more if it weren’t on the day word leaks Charlie Crist is going to turn back on his word and run for the Senate as an Independent.

The Crist-Rubio contest is a tough one for modern-minded Republicans. As Eli Lehrer has noted here, Crist is no paragon of good government. On the other hand, what has got Crist in trouble is not his beach-house bailout, but his willingness to cut a deal with the feds to rescue his state finances – kind of a governor’s job. It’s unnerving too that it is so hard to predict how Crist would behave as a U.S. senator. With Rubio, you have a more certain idea of what you’ll get.

But here’s where I come down: The center right has got to hold together. We cannot afford more NY-23s. In all but the most extreme circumstances, the rule has to be that those who participate in a party contest abide by the results of that process. It’s one thing if the race is Lieberman v. Lamont, and what’s at issue is success or failure in war. I used that comparison in a tweet today, but it does not stand up to scrutiny: the differences between Crist and Rubio are much more differences in tone, temperament, and personality. Had Crist prevailed in the Florida Republican primary, he would have had every valid reason to expect Rubio to support the outcome. The reverse should have held true.

Possibly the best way to describe the Florida Senate race after 5 PM Eastern (Crist’s rumored announcement time), is that Crist is likely to become an after-thought very soon.  No Republican is going to work for him for fear of killing their future career options, no Democrat is going to lend him a hand because they want to see Kendrick Meeks win the seat.  How Crist fund raises from now on is going to be something to see.

So in short, he’s a lot like how Dick Leinenkugel might perform in his quest for the Senate.

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Quote of the Day

From FoxPolitics.net, a businessman who attended a discussion Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton) held last week on the effects of the health care bill on small businesses.  (Reports from Fox 11 on Green Bay show it was not the event Kagen’s ego — or the state AP which just rehashed Kagen’s press release — made it out to be.)

Kagen has crossed the Rubicon. He’s helpless. He’s useless.

Some points from the meeting:

  • “If you are keeping score, it’s Kagen 3, Pelosi 0.” That line drew groans. And laughter from a couple.
  • CBO estimates are accurate according to Rep. Kagen. When pressed he just said, “we didn’t cook the books”. Uh huh. Right.
  • They are creating a marketplace for healthcare. Creating a marketplace? Jeebus.
  • Kept talking about transparency. WOW.
  • People that attended – all 12 of us were very unhappy about the information about the meeting. I found out at 8:30am today and most people found out Friday afternoon. When we asked Craig [Moser, Kagen’s in-state “Constituent Services Director], he said, “It’s in the paper today.” Dumb.
  • The good doctor was 25 minutes late for the meeting.
  • “Your health relies on your neighbor’s health”. He talked of limiting body mass index. I kid you not.

I am objective (or at least try to be) – all I see from this man is arrogance and lies. He has gone from representing the 8th congressional district to just another hack politician who represents the Democratic Party. He has no interest in debate. I don’t even think he believes what he says. Very contentious … once again.

‘Kagen 3, Pelosi 0?’  Note to self: See if I still have that Heller cartoon from 2007.  You know, the one with Kagen sporting the big head.

One thing I keep wondering; especially with the non-stop help the Cap Times seems to be giving Kagen in adoring editorials, Nichols columns, and sudden attacks on Rep. Roger Roth (R-Grand Chute), is when will John Nichols write the one thing everyone who’s watched the 8th CD dynamic for these past five years knows: The only way Steve Kagen wins, is if John Gard is running.

It was easy for Kagen to vilify Gard the past two cycles.  John’s may be a great guy, a good friend, and a wonderful family man, but his political career was a walking cliche.  Hell; I’m half wondering when our side does the same the Left did to Gard to Tom “Call Me Thomas” Nelson.  That guy is just, just…wow…

Kagen won’t have that help this time around.  Oh, he’s trying to turn Roth (through the Cap Times) into this cycle’s Gard for him if you believe the Kagen Campaign blog.  I’m sure he’ll do the same if Reid Ribble or Marc Trager win as well.  It’s the Kagen campaign M.O.; so full of projection and lies you wonder if even the reporters covering it believe them anymore.

(Really need to ask that of the N.E. Wisconsin reporters I communicate with on Twitter about that…)

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Cartoon of the Day

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Quote of the Day

Arlen Specter; Senior Pennsylvania Senator from the “Keep Me in the Senate Party,” on the anniversary of his switch from the GOP to the Democrats:

”Well, I probably shouldn’t say this,” he said over lunch last month. ”But I have thought from time to time that I might have helped the country more if I’d stayed a Republican.”

He’s all yours donkeys…

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Cook Moves PA-12 to “Lean Republican”

Looks like the DCCC’s winning streak on special elections might be ending.

“But polls don’t always paint the whole picture, and for special election watchers who think this is the same kind of animal we saw in NY-20 and NY-23 last year, it’s time to think again. In this climate and corner of Pennsylvania, Democrats’ path to 50 percent is considerably more uphill than Republicans’, and the GOP is well-positioned to snap its disheartening string of special election losses.”

Haven’t seen what other political predictors have said on this race, but Cook’s movement could be just the first of many for this race.

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“Mr. Baseball” Goes on the DL

It never dawned on me how much my experience enjoying baseball was connected to the voice of Bob Uecker until I was 18.  As a college freshman, one of my dorm mates from Chicago and a Cubs fans (don’t hold that against him, he’s a good guy) went through the loss of long-time broadcaster Harry Caray.

He took it hard.

Watching him grieve made me realize that what Caray was to him, Ueck was to me: A bridge to my childhood.  Of sitting in the yard, playing catch with my brothers listening to a Brewers game in the background.  Of great moments you can share with friends and family.  Of one-liners only Brewers fans would know.  Of summer, baseball, your father, your grandfather, and on and on.

It’s said that it’s easy to show someone baseball.  Just flip on a TV, or take them to a game.  But to hear baseball?  For Brewers fans, that will always be easy to say in two words: Bob Uecker.

In Ueck, Brewers fans have something special, and with him about to be laid up for three months recovering from heart surgery, it will be like a friend ain’t there.  He’ll be missed on the radio, but also in the clubhouse at Miller Park and other ballparks across America.

The absence of Ueck won’t just be felt by those of us who are fans of the Crew; but the team as well.  During the press conference yesterday, a handful of the team stood in the corner, watching, concerned for their friend, their teammate.

Trevor Hoffman, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Jim Edmonds, Casey McGehee, manager Ken Macha and Milwaukee’s own Craig Counsell stood quietly in the corner while Uecker answered about 20 minutes of questions.

“We’re concerned,” Counsell said. “He’s just one of the guys, so every time you take someone out of that, you miss him. He swims every morning and I’m kind of an early riser, so from time to time on the road, we’ll meet and have breakfast together. Just sitting with him and listening to him tell stories, that’s something everyone should experience.”

Counsell used to listen to Uecker on the radio, just like the rest of Wisconsin. Counsell was born in Indiana, but grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay.

“My memories were listening to him, like a lot of people, on a summer night outside the house while we played baseball until it got dark,” Counsell said. “I remember listening to him in my front yard for sure.”

Ditto for Pirates reliever Jack Taschner, who grew up just south of Milwaukee in Racine.

“Games here weren’t on TV as much as they are now, so everybody listened to Uecker,” Taschner said. “I’d ride my bike to my grandfather’s house in Milwaukee and cut his lawn, and he’d sit out on the deck listening to Bob Uecker. My other grandfather, I’d go to his house, and the game is on and we’re listening to Uecker.

“You have a lot of people in different parts of the country that talk about someone being a voice. But Uecker has been here from the beginning. He is the Brewers. Obviously, I hope the best for him. He is everything to baseball in Milwaukee. Bud Selig saved the team, but Bob Uecker is the voice.”

Said Counsell: “Baseball is every day, and he becomes part of your summer. It’s going to be like one of your friends is gone.”

But only for a short time. The doctors expect Uecker to be back in the broadcast booth by August.

Until a few years ago, Fielder didn’t know Uecker had a spot in a “real” broadcast booth at all. Fielder knew Uecker from his turn as Harry Doyle in the Major League series of films. He didn’t know that Uecker was the Brewers’ longtime radio man until 2002, when Milwaukee made Fielder its first-round Draft pick. In the years since, the men have become very close.

“It’s unfortunate, but he’s had a good spirit about it,” Fielder said. “No matter what, he’s always a happy person. He has a good aura about him. Whenever he’s around, it’s a good time.”

Fielder, Counsell and every other Brewer said the same thing about Uecker: “He’s part of the team.”

“That’s the way they treat me,” Uecker said. “They’re concerned, I know they are. So am I.”

We all are concerned for “Mr. Baseball.”  Get well soon Bob.

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