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Archive for April, 2010

Cartoon of the Day

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Quick Hits

Schultz Family Regains Rights of “Peanuts” Characters

Sometimes, corporations aren’t the made-for-TV villains we’ve been led to believe.  Sometimes, it’s newspaper syndicates.

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the cast of Peanuts are finally leaving the nest, as Iconix Brand Group Inc. has partnered up with the family of late creator Charles Schulz to buy the comic property from United Feature Syndicate and E.W. Scripps for $175 million.

“We are grateful and proud of the active partnership we have had with United Media for the past 60 years. From the beginning, my husband worked directly with the people using his art to preserve the authenticity of his characters. Since his death, we have continued to do the same,” said Charles’ wife, Jean Schulz in a statement. “It is a joy to partner with a company whose founder is at the helm. [Iconix CEO Neil Cole] and his team have great respect for who the Peanuts characters are and they honor all we have accomplished, and the spirit with which we do business.”

So What Happens to Spencer Coggs?

The most telling line in the story about Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski getting out of the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor is the one about is how advisers from the Barrett campaign told him that “two candidates from Milwaukee being unable to win.”

So far, the only remaining that fits the “I’m from Milwaukee” bill is State Senator Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee.  He’s also the only African-American in the race.  Will the Barrett people really have the political stones to get rid of him too given how word is the black community of Milwaukee already has a large level of mistrust for Tom Barrett?  (Anyone else remember that map the Journal Sentinel did of racial voting in the Barrett-Pratt mayoral race?)

Time will tell.

Who is Tom Nelson?

A pure gem from “Snarlin’ Marlin” Schneider, Democratic Assemblyman from Wisconsin Rapids.

I warned Tom Nelson, oops, it’s now Thomas, a couple of years ago not to get too ambitious too fast but obviously he has not heeded that advice….Mr. Nelson should step down as soon as the session is completed so that a new majority leader can look out for the interests of the caucus as a whole and not use this position as a fund-raising gimmick at the expense of everyone else.

I can’t wait for the endorsement, can’t you?

Trevor Hoffman

Dude…I respect your career and am grateful you came to Milwaukee, but seriously.  Find your stuff again or retire.

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The Extended “Suitcase Armor” Scene

With the world now T-minus ten days and counting to the opening day of “Iron Man 2,” Marvel Studios and Paramount have begun the trickle of extended scenes from the movie.

Below is the extended scene where Robert Downey Jr, as “Tony Stark” dons what is the Iron Man Mark V Armor, also being called “The Suitcase Armor.”  Also in the scene are Gwyneth Paltrow as “Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts,” Mickey Rourke as “Whiplash,” and “Iron Man 2” director Jon Favreau as “Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan.”

Enjoy.  (If it fails to embed, please see here.)

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Nelson Running for Lt. Governor

Two thoughts:

1) This could make for what could be a straight-out switch between the two parties for the 5th and 80th Assembly Districts; ironic since both parties would lose them because the current office holder is running for Lt. Governor.

2) The announcement is said to be in two weeks, but will Nelson do it after another night camped out in the Assembly?

State Rep. Thomas Nelson (D-Kaukauna) has filed papers with the Government Accountability Board to run as a candidate for Lt. Governor in the fall election.

Nelson served as the Assembly Majority Leader in the last legislative session which adjourned late last week. He has served in the legislature since 2005.

Nelson told Channel 5 News he plans to make a formal announcement in two weeks and is building his campaign organization.

Nelson will face three democrats in a September primary. G. Spencer Coggs, Henry Sanders and James Schneider are vying for the spot. Anthony Zielinski of Milwaukee dropped out of the race Tuesday and endorsed Nelson.

Republicans Ben Collins, Brett Davis, Rebecca Kleefisch and Dave Ross are also running.

Nelson’s entrance makes him the only Democrat running for Lt. Governor from Northeast Wisconsin.

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Kevorkian Attorney Leads MI-Dem Governor’s Primary Poll

Well…it’d be a suicide pact if they went with Geoffery Fieger, that’s for sure. (H/T The Fix)

If Democratic voters had the chance, they would make Oakland County trial attorney Geoffrey Fieger their candidate for governor in November, according to a poll released Friday to the Free Press and WXYZ-TV (Channel 7).

Fieger, who gained fame as assisted-suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer and lost in a landslide as the Democrats’ candidate for governor in 1998, has hinted he might join the race.

But he’d need to move quickly, with less than three weeks left to collect the 15,000 valid petition signatures required to put his name on the Aug. 3 primary ballot.

The poll, conducted Wednesday by EPIC-MRA of Lansing, found that 28% of 400 likely Democratic primary voters would choose Fieger, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

The poll showed House Speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township with 20%, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero with 13% and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith of Salem Township with 8%. Nearly a third of voters were undecided.

Fieger was the choice of 51% of Detroit Democrats and 40% of Democrats in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, where he nearly doubled the numbers of the second finisher, Dillon.

Fieger’s lead — and the number of undecided voters — shrank when those polled were given brief descriptions of the candidates and their backgrounds.

Fieger is most popular among voters ages 41-49. He’s preferred by union members, though he tied among them with Bernero — 29% each — when those voters were given more information about the candidates.

Word is, if Fieger does run and win the Michigan Governor’s Primary, all forms of national Democratic help to help retain the Michigan Governor’s Mansion would disappear.

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White House/HHS Buried Medicare Actuary Report Before HCR Vote

As I was reading this at the American Spectator, I kept asking myself one thing: How would the MSM be reacting if the Bush White House even dreamed of doing this?

The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama’s health care “reform” law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius’s staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

“The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote,” says an HHS source. “Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think.”

The analysis, performed by Medicare’s Office of the Actuary, which in the past has been identified as a “nonpolitical” office, set off alarm bells when submitted. “We know a copy was sent to the White House via their legislative affairs staff,” says the HHS staffer, “and there were a number of meetings here almost right after the analysis was submitted to the secretary’s office. Everyone went into lockdown, and people here were too scared to go public with the report.”

In the end, the report was released several weeks after the vote — the review by the secretary’s office reportedly took less than three days — and bore a note that the analysis was not the official position of the Obama administration.

Here’s pretty much what we now know after this report:

1) The White House and HHS knew the bill was going to blow up costs, and couldn’t release this report to the public because its facts would have derailed their legislative agenda.  This is actually worse than the whole “WMD” meme from the Left in the lead-up to the Iraq War.  At least with the WMD intelligence, other nation’s had similar facts and findings that the CIA and NSA had.  In this case, they actually had the counter-intelligence telling them otherwise, and acted anyway.

Maybe those suggesting Health Care Reform was Obama’s Iraq War were truly on to something after all…

2) Everything the White House and other Democrats said in the final week up to passage was a lie.

3) Any Democrat who parroted the White House talking points like a Champion, is either a) Ignorant, b) A Puppet, c) An Ideologue d) Also Lying, e) All of the Above.

The act of burying the report; for short-term legislative gain, is going to end up costing many Democratic Congressmen and Senators their jobs in the long-term.  The Obama White House must be so proud.

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SNL’s “Public Employee of the Year” Award Sketch

It’s not too funny — has a few moments — but it is rather timely.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Stephen Hawkings and Aliens


Aliens almost certainly exist but humans should avoid making contact, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.

In a series for the Discovery Channel the renowned astrophysicist said it was “perfectly rational” to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere.

But he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on.

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” he said.

Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact.

He explained: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.”

I keep thinking there is intelligent life out there.  Simply put, the odds are too enormous in the vastness of space that we are alone.

That being said, I can get what Prof. Stephen Hawkings is saying here, but I can’t help but think that most of intelligent life out there views us as “the Alabama of the Universe,” too ignorant of what’s really going on in the universe to be paid attention to.  Pretty sure, we’re safe until someone pulls off faster than light travel.

Also, if aliens are going to raid use for Earth’s resources, chances are they’d just show up and do it; with or without us contacting them.  It’s being said that TV signals keep on going out there in space, so if someone wanted to know we are here — they now.  So the alien invasion will be more “Independence Day,” than “V.”

They’ll come, they’ll wipe us out with their far superior technology, they’ll take what they want, and they’ll leave.

End of story.

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He’s a Lame Duck You Say?

Welcome to “Lame Duck Status” Governor Jim Doyle —  a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEAC, about to be replaced by a newer model — it must really be having an effect on your ego.

Yeah, too bad the only waning effect Jim Doyle won’t have is if a properly-run Republican campaign for Governor is able to use him as an anchor to bury Tom Barrett with.  Is there really any issue that Barrett has tried to distance himself from Doyle from since announcing his run last November?

That’s going to be something I really need to look at for the next couple of months.

Democrats in charge of the Legislature and the governor’s office couldn’t pass signature priorities at the end of the legislative session on energy, education and transit, revealing how much outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle’s clout has waned.

The death of major pieces of legislation – including a bill meant to curb global warming – also could be attributed to a weak economy, a record budget deficit, a poor political climate and thin majorities in both houses, according to legislators and political observers.

“There is little doubt that this governor, at this stage in his term, is not at the peak of his power,” said Democratic political strategist Evan Zeppos. “And not running for re-election further weakens him.

“But when you start with a rocky relationship with the legislative leadership, an election coming and you’re dealing with difficult issues, well, it’s hard to get business done up there, for any governor.”

Other major bills that fell by the wayside would have created or expanded regional transit authorities and allowed people to register to vote online. The transit bill would have allowed the sales tax in Milwaukee County to increase by up to half a cent, to 6.1%.

Doyle and other Democrats said while they didn’t get everything they wanted, they made major progress in the two-year legislative session by providing tax credits to businesses that create jobs; expanding access to health care; cracking down on drunken driving; regulating payday loans; and passing a smoking ban that takes effect in July.

Another bill that passed grants the state superintendent of public instruction more power to fix failing schools.

But education reform fell far short of what Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wanted. Doyle spent months asking the Legislature to give the mayor the authority to appoint the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent. But his fellow Democrats rebuffed him, even though Barrett is the leading Democratic candidate for governor.

Many expected Democrats to accomplish more, but they were doing what controlling parties often do. With elections looming in the fall, “to a certain extent, you are playing defense,” said Mordecai Lee, a former Democratic legislator and a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“It’s sort of like in football when you sit on a lead. You want to give the opposition few opportunities to attack,” he said.

But Doyle has lost significant power. He can no longer dole out budget favors and has fewer appointments he can give away.

“The power of a governor is that they have both a carrot and a stick, and a lame duck has neither,” Lee said.

It’s not Doyle’s fault alone the Democrats in the legislature completely shot this opportunity.  Word is that Speaker Sheridan and Majority Leader Decker loathe each other, and had no real intent on getting along in the first place.  So, it’s always hard when you have sort of personal animosity going on to get a legislative agenda through.

With the legislative session pretty much over other than the clean-up, the focus of each side is now November.  Each side is or has already put together their targeted list of seats in trouble, seats they can capture and on and on (By my math, I’ve got already 4-5 GOP pick-ups, and 1 likely Dem pick-up in the Assembly; 1-2 GOP pick-ups in the Senate, a possible Dem pick-up), so that has to be taken into account with many of these pieces of legislation.

How many of these bill died because; truthfully, the votes weren’t there?  How many of these bills died because of lack of Doyle leadership as well as in-fighting between Assembly and Senate leadership?  How many of these bills died because; for pure political reasons, were not taken up because of how hard a vote it would be to defend come Election Day?

The bigger question voters must look at, will be who will be keeping these ideas alive for the next legislative session, and how determined they will be to make them the law of the Badger State.  That will be more likely to determine who is in the majority in Madison next January.

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