Archive for December, 2010

Marty Beil No Doubt Approves

Old news by now, the if true, this fills the stereo­type of every pub­lic employee union in the country.

Self­ish San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment bosses from the snow-slammed outer bor­oughs ordered their dri­vers to snarl the bliz­zard cleanup to protest bud­get cuts — a dis­as­trous move that turned streets into a mine­field for emergency-services vehi­cles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretch­ing from as north as White­stone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treach­er­ously unplowed last night because of the shame­less job action, sev­eral sources and a city law­maker said, which was over a raft of demo­tions, attri­tion and bud­get cuts.

They sent a mes­sage to the rest of the city that these par­tic­u­lar labor issues are more impor­tant,” said City Coun­cil­man Dan Hal­lo­ran (R-Queens), who was vis­ited yes­ter­day by a group of guilt-ridden san­i­ta­tion work­ers who con­fessed the shame­less plot.

Hal­lo­ran said he met with three plow work­ers from the San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment — and two Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion super­vi­sors who were on loan — at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches “didn’t want to be iden­ti­fied because they were afraid of retal­i­a­tion,” Hal­lo­ran said. “They were told [by super­vi­sors] to take off routes [and] not do the plow­ing of some of the major arter­ies in a timely man­ner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the lay­offs, the reduc­tions in rank for the super­vi­sors, shrink­ing the rolls of the rank-and-file.”

New York’s Strongest used a vari­ety of tac­tics to drag out the plow­ing process — and pad over­time checks — which included keep­ing plows slightly higher than the road­ways and skip­ping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attack­ing the accu­mu­lat­ing piles of snow.

Word out of New York is Mayor Bloomberg is doing what he always does when it’s cri­sis time: Sit in a cor­ner suck­ing his thumb.  Reports are New York State out-going Gov­er­nor David Pater­son may be the one inves­ti­gat­ing the New York Post’s arti­cle.

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2010 Predictions: How’d I Do?

To read the orig­i­nal post, go here.

And away we go…

1: Oil will trade at over $100 a bar­rel for a por­tion of 2010, send­ing gas prices again over the $3 a gal­lon bar­rier.  Con­gress will do noth­ing to alle­vi­ate the price spike (i.e. increase domes­tic sup­ply) and do the usual (Sue OPEC, Blame Spec­u­la­tors, Hold Con­gres­sional Hear­ings with Oil Copany Exec­u­tives, etc.) song and dance.

Inter­na­tional cur­ren­cies — espe­cially the U.S. Dol­lar and the Euro — tanked to such a level that the price of oil this year was more of a func­tion of exchange rates than of sup­plies.  Gas never reached $3 a gal­lon until the clos­ing weeks.

(Incor­rect)

2: No lib­eral blog­ger in Wis­con­sin will pre­dict Scott Walker will win the Governor’s Man­sion, while no con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger in Wis­con­sin will pre­dict Tom Bar­rett will win the Governor’s Mansion.

Was dead on about the lib­eral blog­gers, as for con­ser­v­a­tive bloggers…my habit of never read­ing her blog, along with not know­ing her patho­log­i­cal hatred of Scott Walker made me com­pletely for­get that Cindy Kilkenny was out there.

As for Cindy’s stand­ing as a “con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger,” well…that is open to debate among the rem­nants of the BBA and has been for years.

(Half-Correct)

3: Wisconsin’s out­stand­ing bud­get mess is big­ger than any­one expects it to be or has been sold in the press.  Due to the manip­u­la­tion of the 2009–2010 bud­get by JFC co-chairs Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and State Sen­a­tor Mark Miller (D-Madison) to avoid a polit­i­cally sui­ci­dal vote in an elec­tion year, the 2011 bud­get repair bill will be left to the next Gov­er­nor and Leg­is­la­ture, and hence part of the 2010 Governor’s race.

The state bud­get repair bill’s total price tag is any­where between $100 to $300 Mil­lion; and the over­all state struc­tural deficit is in the $3 to $4 Bil­lion range.  This is a mess and a half to clean-up.

The bud­get hole was THE issue — along with jobs and the econ­omy — dur­ing the Governor’s race.

(Cor­rect)

4: Bob Ziegel­bauer will be re-elected as Man­i­towoc County’s County Exec­u­tive to another four-year term.

Re-elected by a mar­gin of 57% to 43%.

(Cor­rect)

5: “An Insti­tu­tional Mag­a­zine” like TIME, Newsweek, or U.S. News & World Report will either close its doors and end the mag­a­zine or go com­pletely digital.

Newsweek was sold for $1 to the hus­band of a Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gress­woman and then merged with Tina Brown’s “The Daily Beast.”  It still pro­duces a weekly, but it’s clearly on a down­ward spiral.

UPDATE FROM COMMENTS — Steveegg points out to me that U.S. News & World Report is indeed going com­pletely dig­i­tal after it’s Decem­ber issue; the state­ment from the pub­lish­ers is here.  It came out in early Novem­ber.  I was sort of busy at that time.

(Cor­rect)

6: The only Wis­con­sin sports team (Pro or Divi­sion I) to either win or get close to win­ning a sports cham­pi­onship will be UW-Madison’s Women’s Hockey Team.

Right school, right sport, wrong gen­der.  The UW-Madison’s MEN’s Hockey team made the NCAA Cham­pi­onship, but lost it to Boston Col­lege with a score of 5–0.

(Half-Correct)

6a: UW-Whitewater will have its third con­sec­u­tive D-3 Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship match-up against Mount Union.

The match-up (Actu­ally the 6th con­sec­u­tive) hap­pened, like clock­work, on Decem­ber 18th.  UW-Whitewater was the vic­tor, just like in 2009.

(Cor­rect)

7: The NFL and the NFLPA will not reach a new col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment, increas­ing the chances of the 2010 sea­son being “Uncapped” and the 2011 sea­son being pos­si­bly played by replace­ment players.

The 2010 sea­son was indeed “Uncapped” — it’s how the Vikings were able to increase Brett Favre’s salary by $3M with­out a moment’s notice — and despite talk of a “CBA” by the next Super Bowl, no new one cur­rently exists.

(Cor­rect)

8:  She­boy­gan Mayor Bob Ryan stays put and is not removed from office.

Still there and glad to hear he sought help for his dependency.

(Cor­rect)

9) Nei­ther the Pack­ers or the Vikings are the NFC rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Super Bowl XLIV.

The Saints did.  Win­ning the game over the Colts.

(Cor­rect)

10) “Iron Man 2″ out-performs the orig­i­nal at the box office.

Open­ing Week­end “Iron Man” — $98,618,668.  Open­ing Week­end “Iron Man 2″ — $128,122,480.

(Cor­rect)

11) For the sec­ond straight year, Fox Broad­cast wins the rat­ings bat­tle of the four major broad­cast net­works.  NBC recon­sid­ers the move of Jay Leno to 10 Eastern/9 Central.

The train wreck of the most-recent sea­son of “Amer­i­can Idol,”  just barely put Fox above CBS for the year.  Had the Leno-NBC stuff spot-on within a month of the orig­i­nal post.

(Cor­rect)

12) Some­thing called “Health Insur­ance Reform” passes both cham­bers of Con­gress, but it never is enacted as it is held up per­pet­u­ally in the Courts.

Oba­maCare came to pass in March of this year, and the law­suits fol­lowed.  Already the one in Vir­ginia has struck a pos­si­ble death­blow to the Indi­vid­ual Man­date and the big one in Florida (That’s the one with 22-plus Attor­ney Gen­er­als, soon to include Wisconsin’s J.B Van Hollen, suing in Fed­eral Court.) is set to be heard in the new year.

(Cor­rect)

13) Jus­tice John Paul Stevens will retire from the Supreme Court of the United States.

Yeah, this was a no-brainer.  It’s why I pre­dicted it.  Greet­ings Asso­ciate Jus­tice Kagan.

(Cor­rect)

14) A major social net­work (Face­book, Twit­ter, MySpace) will go out of business.

Sadly, my hoped demise of MySpace did not come to pass; but I have yet to run into any­one older than 25 who admits to still hav­ing a “MySpace.”

(Incor­rect)

15) The GOP will cap­ture the State Sen­ate by cap­tur­ing at least two seats and the State Assem­bly by cap­tur­ing five or six seats while los­ing only the Brett Davis seat.

GOP actu­ally cap­tured four seats (5th, 21st, 23rd, and 29th) and retained the one seat Democ­rats thought they had a shot at — the 1st with the return of Frank Lasee to state pol­i­tics.   As for the Assem­bly, the GOP gained 13 seats and we saw the 80th Assem­bly Dis­trict fall into Demo­c­ra­tic hands.

(Cor­rect)

16) Scott Walker wins the Governor’s elec­tion 52% to 48% over Tom Barrett.

Walker won the Governor’s elec­tion by a 52% to 47% margin.

(Cor­rect)

17) J.B. Van Hollen wins re-election as Wisconsin’s Attor­ney General.

Van Hollen beat Scott Has­sett 58% to 42%.

(Cor­rect)

18) Dawn Marie Sass doesn’t sur­vive her pri­mary chal­lenger for re-election for State Trea­surer.  (No pre­dic­tion for Gen­eral elec­tion since GOP can­di­date Joe Pun­zel just announced he was with­draw­ing from the race.)

Marie Sass’ pri­mary oppo­nent got weighed down in a scan­dal if I remem­ber cor­rectly and dropped out.  She would go on the lose to Kurt Schuller for the State Trea­surer position.

(Incor­rect)

19) Russ Fein­gold is re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

Never before have I been more proud to have helped prove myself wrong.

(Incor­rect)

20) Despite head­lines in Politico and the MSM, desires of lib­eral Democ­rats, and noise made by fights between the NRSC/RNC/NRCC and the blog Red­State and oth­ers, no “Civil War” ever mate­ri­al­izes between “Estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans” and “the Tea Party Move­ment” in 2010.

Do I need to go into the count­less media head­lines which proved me right?

(Cor­rect)

21) GOP nonethe­less cap­tures four to seven Sen­ate seats.  One of them being Connecticut’s Chris Dodd who refuses to retire or step aside to help ensure the seat stays in Demo­c­ra­tic hands.  The GOP cap­tures between 25 to 30 House seats.  In Wis­con­sin, his­tory repeats itself, but not in a man­ner Steve Kagen wants.  Like in 1978, a Roth defeats a two-term Demo­c­rat in WI-08 who used two straight cycles of anti-Republican sen­ti­ment to stay in Con­gress.  In WI-03, Kapanke makes it close, but comes up short.  While in WI-07, Sean Duffy fails in his bid, but is close enough he’s put at the top of the list of “go-to guys” to run for the seat when Obey final retires.

Okay, let’s break this down.…

GOP gained 6 U.S. Sen­ate seats.

GOP gained 63 House seats.

Chris Dodd retired, his seat won by a guy who made up a story he served in Viet­nam but never did over the wife of the WWE guy.  (Con­necti­cut pol­i­tics used to be so bor­ing until 2006…)

Kagen lost, but to Reid Rib­ble who beat Roth by a 2 to1 mar­gin in the GOP Primary.

Obey retired in a move no one saw was com­ing in May of 2010 and Duffy cap­tured the seat in 2010 over a lack­lus­ter cam­paign by Julie Lassa.

Kapanke made it close, but came up short.

(One-Quarter Cor­rect)

22) Speak­ing of Con­gres­sional retire­ments, talk begins to swirl after Novem­ber about Sensen­bren­ner, Petri, Obey, and Kohl all being pos­si­ble retirements.

In the past month, we’ve all seen the beg­ging of Madi­son lib­er­als to get Herb Kohl to retire to bring back Russ Fein­gold and I’ve heard pon­ders about Petri hang­ing it up which I don’t buy.

Obey already is gone, and Sensen­bren­ner is wished retired by lib­er­als through­out the state.

(Half Cor­rect)

23) I finally break­down and buy one of the fol­low­ing tech devices this year: A Dig­i­tal SLR cam­era, an HD TV of 720P or more, or the new rumored Apple tablet.

Bought none of the above.  Got a new Toshiba lap­top instead.  Prob­a­bly get­ting the D-SLR cam­era and TV in 2011, wait­ing until I need and iPad to get an iPad.

(Incor­rect)

24) There will be more talk about Brew­ers GM Doug Melvin’s off-season moves (or lack thereof) than Pack­ers GM Ted Thomp­son’ off-season moves (or lack thereof).

Actu­ally thought I had blown this one, and then Melvin makes the trade for Zach Greinke and makes the 2011 Brew­ers pitch­ing rota­tion a poten­tial force to be reck­oned with.

(Cor­rect)

The Car­di­nals again repeat as NL Cen­tral Cham­pi­ons.  The Phillies win the World Series.

We saw the return of “The Big Red Machine” as Cincin­nati is crowned NL Cen­tral Cham­pi­ons, Phillies lose in the NLCS to the even­tual World Series Cham­pion San Fran­cisco Giants.

(Incor­rect)

25) Nei­ther Steven Avery or Bran­don Dassey will be granted a new trial for the mur­der of Teresa Halbach.

Avery was denied his request for a new trial in Jan­u­ary (he’s appeal­ing that deci­sion); Dassey saw his request denied ear­lier this month.  No word if Dassey is going to appeal.

(Cor­rect)

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Guess What Dennis, It Happens

CNN is report­ing that since Ohio isn’t just los­ing one, but two Con­gres­sional Dis­tricts in the 2012 redis­trict­ing due to the Cen­sus, the like­li­est tar­gets will be one of the areas around Cleve­land — which is los­ing peo­ple in droves because of decades of eco­nomic malaise.

(The futil­ity of their sports teams is just an unfor­tu­nate curse hap­pen­ing to oth­er­wise good people)

Not wait­ing to see if he is the one who will sud­denly find him­self in a newly-drawn dis­trict com­pet­ing against another Demo­c­rat, lib­eral fire­brand Den­nis Kucinch isn’t wast­ing any time ral­ly­ing his cur­rent con­stituents for his next race.

The state of Ohio will lose two con­gres­sional seats thanks to the lat­est U.S. Cen­sus fig­ures, and lib­eral stal­wart Den­nis Kucinich is wor­ried his seat is on the chop­ping block.

In an e-mail to sup­port­ers Wednes­day, the seven-term Demo­c­ra­tic con­gress­man and two-time pres­i­den­tial can­di­date says the Republican-controlled Ohio leg­is­la­ture is likely to elim­i­nate his heav­ily Demo­c­ra­tic Cleveland-area district.

But Kucinich says he’s not just going to stand by while that happens.

I will not wait until a new Ohio map is pro­duced to begin this cru­cial dis­cus­sion of the con­se­quences of con­gres­sional redis­trict­ing,” writes Kucinich. “I will not wait until the Ohio Leg­is­la­ture pro­duces a new map to start think­ing of the options. The ques­tion will not be: Who is my oppo­nent? The ques­tion will be: Where is my dis­trict? Seriously.”

He’s also call­ing on sup­port­ers for ideas on how to proceed:

We are going to have to pre­pare for a dif­fer­ent kind of elec­tion, pos­si­bly in a dif­fer­ent place because my dis­trict may be elim­i­nated. We are going to have to orga­nize in a dif­fer­ent way, now. The ques­tion will remain: Where? This dis­cus­sion is con­se­quen­tial. Please par­tic­i­pate by pro­vid­ing your insight and advice.”

A dif­fer­ent kind of elec­tion,’ yes Con­gress­man Kucinch, it’s called “A Primary.”

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Today’s Sign the End is Nigh

The Wik­ileaks guy has report­edly signed a book deal worth $1.5 Mil­lion for his memoirs.

Julian Assange, the Wik­iLeaks founder cur­rently out on bail fol­low­ing his arrest on a sex-crimes war­rant, con­firmed Sun­day that he has landed a lucra­tive deal for his autobiography.

He said the sum — about $1.5 mil­lion — will be used to fight the alle­ga­tions that he sex­u­ally assaulted two women in Swe­den. The deal is with U.K. pub­lisher Canon­gate, who will han­dle the trans­la­tion rights accord­ing to busi­ness web­site Daily Finance, and U.S. pub­lisher Alfred A. Knopf, who will pro­vide the bulk of the salary to the tune of $800,000.

I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” Assange told Britain’s Sun­day Times. “I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep Wik­iLeaks afloat.”

Wik­ileaks, which con­tin­ues to cause inter­na­tional con­tro­versy for its releas­ing of nearly 250,000 clas­si­fied US State Depart­ment cables, has been fac­ing fur­ther finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties after Bank of Amer­ica, Visa, Mas­ter­Card and Pay­Pal blocked dona­tions to the site.

Assange remains in Britain fight­ing Sweden’s efforts to extra­dite him for the sex­ual assault claims. A hear­ing in Lon­don is sched­uled for Feb­ru­ary 7. There have also been reports that the U.S. is look­ing at ways to extra­dite him for the State Depart­ment leaks.

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My Favorite Christmas Tradition

NORAD con­tin­ues to track Santa; and here’s why.

For more than 50 years, NORAD and its pre­de­ces­sor, the Con­ti­nen­tal Air Defense Com­mand (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.

The tra­di­tion began in 1955 after a Col­orado Springs-based Sears Roe­buck & Co. adver­tise­ment for chil­dren to call Santa mis­printed the tele­phone num­ber. Instead of reach­ing Santa, the phone num­ber put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s oper­a­tions “hot­line.” The Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indi­ca­tions of Santa mak­ing his way south from the North Pole. Chil­dren who called were given updates on his loca­tion, and a tra­di­tion was born.

In 1958, the gov­ern­ments of Canada and the United States cre­ated a bi-national air defense com­mand for North Amer­ica called the North Amer­i­can Aero­space Defense Com­mand, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tra­di­tion of track­ing Santa.

Since that time, NORAD men, women, fam­ily and friends have self­lessly vol­un­teered their time to per­son­ally respond to phone calls and emails from chil­dren all around the world. In addi­tion, we now track Santa using the inter­net. Mil­lions of peo­ple who want to know Santa’s where­abouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website.

Google has been help­ing with the tra­di­tion in recent years, using their ana­lyt­i­cal soft­ware to pin­point where those vis­it­ing the web­site are com­ing from and its “Google Earth” map pro­gram now gives you a “3D” look of the jolly fat-man’s trip around the world.  Also, searches of “Santa” on your mobile phone’s Google Maps Appli­ca­tion will get you the live-track on your phone.

The entire thing is made pos­si­ble through the dona­tions and char­ity of “evil, soul­less, multi-national corporations.”

He should be in Chi­nese air­space as of this morning.

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Wisconsin Prison Population Declining

The snarky, imma­ture Col­lege Repub­li­can in me wants to go “HA HA!” to United Coun­cil.  This really puts a drag in their usual com­plaint about where their money goes come state bud­get time.

(Not that it will stop them mind you…)

It’s been get­ting a lit­tle less crowded in Wisconsin’s pris­ons. Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions Sec­re­tary Rick Raemisch says the num­ber of inmates in state pris­ons was at about 22,000 at the end of fis­cal year 2009, down nearly 1,800 over the past three years. The num­bers reflect a three-percent drop in the pop­u­la­tion over the last five years.

Raemisch says it’s the result of efforts launched by Gov­er­nor Jim Doyle nearly eight years ago, with a push for pro­grams that hold offend­ers account­able and give them the tools needed to avoid re-offending when they get out of prison.

Raemisch says there are actu­ally empty beds now in Wisconsin’s pris­ons, which trans­lates into some big sav­ings for the state. It costs about $33,000 a year to house an inmate in a Wis­con­sin prison, com­pared to about $3,000 to prop­erly super­vise them in the community.

As of ear­lier this year, the state’s prison pop­u­la­tion was up slightly for 2010.

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RNC Chairman’s Race">Priebus Nets Big Fish in RNC Chairman’s Race

Don’t know if it will seal the deal for him, but it’s going to send some shock waves inside the RNC’s upper echelon.

One of the best-known con­ser­v­a­tive voices on the Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee will sup­port Reince Priebus in the race for national party chair­man next month, accord­ing to an email sent to com­mit­tee mem­bers today.

Priebus, the chair­man of the Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can Party, has won back­ing from Indi­ana national com­mit­tee mem­ber Jim Bopp, a promi­nent Repub­li­can attor­ney and the founder of a group of con­ser­v­a­tive mem­bers of the RNC.

Bopp’s group, the Repub­li­can National Con­ser­v­a­tive Cau­cus, was formed just before the 2009 RNC elec­tion. Many saw it as a way to coa­lesce behind a can­di­date other than Michael Steele, who went on to win the chairmanship.

Priebus “has suc­cess­fully employed in Wis­con­sin and intends to imple­ment in the RNC a lead­er­ship team approach, which I believe is vital for any Chairman’s suc­cess. This means bring together a top notched group of RNC mem­bers and pro­fes­sion­als … to guide the RNC’s activ­i­ties,” Bopp wrote in an email to fel­low RNC members.

Bopp’s endorse­ment means 18 of the 168 mem­bers of the RNC pub­licly back Priebus, far more than sup­port any other can­di­date for the chair­man­ship. And Bopp’s endorse­ment will help Priebus con­vince waver­ing con­ser­v­a­tives that he is the right can­di­date for the job.

Bopp’s name may be famil­iar to some in Wis­con­sin.  He was lead attor­ney dur­ing the Wis­con­sin Right to Life vs. FEC Supreme Court case in 2007 which was the first break in the dam of the McCain-Feingold Cam­paign Finance bill.

Bopp has also been a con­stant and vocal critic of cur­rent RNC Chair­man Michael Steele.  By get­ting the Bopp endorse­ment, that should help alle­vi­ate fears being tossed around by some try­ing to say Reince would be a sec­ond Steele Chair­man­ship; some­thing he won’t for sure.

CNN has the full let­ter Bopp wrote to the 168 vot­ing mem­bers here.  This is the meat of it:

As to vision, it has two parts in my view. First is how one under­stands the proper role of the RNC within the cur­rent polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment. Years ago, we elected Politi­cians as our “Lead­ers,” who told the Peo­ple what gov­ern­ment poli­cies they should sup­port and what Politi­cians they should elect. The Party was a sup­port group for the Politi­cians. This par­a­digm has been destroyed. The most promi­nent man­i­fes­ta­tion of this is the tea party move­ment, but it is uni­ver­sal, cut­ting across all ide­o­log­i­cal lines. Now, it is the Peo­ple who are in charge, who are the lead­ers. Politi­cians are elected to do a job that the Peo­ple need done and the Party is to be the People’s agent, hold­ing Politi­cians account­able for car­ry­ing out the will of the People.

The sec­ond part is that what we do as a Party and our Politi­cians do in office must be based on the core Repub­li­can prin­ci­ples con­tained in our Party Plat­form. When we devi­ate for this, as in 2006 and 2008, we suf­fer defeat; when we embrace them, as in 2010, we achieve victory.

By this mea­sure, I have found Reince, based on his actions as Wisc. Chair­man, on his efforts as Gen­eral Coun­sel, and on my in depth dis­cus­sions with him, to have the best grasp of both parts of this vision. He is will­ing to imple­ment this vision as RNC Chair­man. I think he under­stands that we need more active RNC mem­ber par­tic­i­pa­tion and that mem­bers need to be empow­ered to hold the lead­er­ship accountable.

As to skill set, first Reince has the per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics, ana­lyt­i­cal mind and com­mu­ni­ca­tion abil­i­ties to be an effec­tive Chair­man. Sec­ond, he has the demon­strated man­age­ment, admin­is­tra­tive and fundrais­ing abil­ity. I have major con­ser­v­a­tive clients in Wis­con­sin and they are unan­i­mous in ver­i­fy­ing this. Third, he has suc­cess­fully employed in Wis­con­sin and intends to imple­ment in the RNC a lead­er­ship team approach, which I believe is vital for any Chairman’s suc­cess. This means bring together a top notched group of RNC mem­bers and pro­fes­sion­als together to guide the RNC’s activities.

Finally, are there any dis­qual­i­fiers? I have already pub­licly spo­ken of this and I invite you con­sider my find­ings, after ask­ing the hard ques­tions and seek­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tions where appropriate.

I par­tic­u­larly wanted to men­tion that the con­cern about his involve­ment in his law firm’s effort to profit on stim­u­lus funds is not well founded. I have talked to the peo­ple at the law firm and have found that his name was listed as involved in this project with­out his knowl­edge or con­sent and that a review of his billing records dis­closes that he did not work on this project.

As a result, I believe that Reince Priebus is the best choice for Chair­man. It was a close deci­sion, par­tic­u­larly between Saul [Anuzis, Michi­gan Com­mit­tee­man] and Reince, since I think Ann [Wag­ner] has an insur­mount­able dif­fi­culty reach­ing a major­ity of the votes, because of our unfair gen­der require­ment for Co-Chairman.

Priebus, Anuzis, and Wag­ner are seen as the top three can­di­dates for the posi­tion not named Michael Steele.

The “dis­qual­i­fiers” Bopp men­tions is a non­sense story being cir­cu­lated — mostly by con­ser­v­a­tive blogs back­ing Wag­ner — say­ing that Priebus set up a divi­sion at his law firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, to help com­pa­nies in Wis­con­sin nav­i­gate the com­pli­ance of reg­u­la­tions for the stim­u­lus bill.  MBF and Priebus have denied he was ever part of the work and his name was placed on the project by mistake.

If, as MBF is telling Bopp, the firm has the billing records show­ing Priebus was never involved, that should end the story to any con­cerned RNC Com­mit­tee members.

Same prob­a­bly can’t be said about Dan Riehl, the blog­ger who started it all.  He may still be call­ing any­one who thought Chris­tine O’Donnell had no chance of win­ning in the Delaware Sen­ate race was not a true conservative.

(Yeah Dan, we pre­ferred to be called “Realists.”)

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GOP Announces Rule Changes">Incoming House GOP Announces Rule Changes

I espe­cially like this one.

On the spend­ing front, Repub­li­cans plan to imple­ment a series of rules called CUT/GO — a con­ser­v­a­tive answer to the PAY/GO rules insti­tuted by Democ­rats. Under CUT/GO, increases in manda­tory spend­ing would have to be off­set by spend­ing cuts in other pro­grams. Manda­tory spend­ing refers to the autopi­lot por­tion of the bud­get cov­er­ing Social Secu­rity, Medicare and other pro­grams designed to make pay­outs based on eli­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria rather than a set dol­lar fig­ure each year.

Under CUT/GO, off­sets could not be achieved by rais­ing taxes, accord­ing to the summary.

In addi­tion, GOP lead­ers will elim­i­nate the so-called Gephardt Rule, which has long allowed House mem­bers to avoid a direct vote on rais­ing the nation’s debt ceil­ing. The rule pro­vided that a bill increas­ing the debt limit was auto­mat­i­cally gen­er­ated when the House adopted a con­fer­ence report on the annual bud­get resolution.

As some­one who had to read more about “PAYGO” in the past eight months than he thought was pos­si­ble, the House GOP’s “CUT/GO” will have actual teeth to it.  “PAYGO” has been a joke — espe­cially under past Con­gresses.  To put it to you another way, all spend­ing under the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion — where they increased the national debt to the tune of over 3 Tril­lion dol­lars — was legal under the PAYGO rules.

This way seems to actu­ally do some­thing about increases in gov­ern­ment spend­ing since past PAYGO “off­sets” have never been off­set in future budgets.

As for the elim­i­na­tion of “the Gephardt Rule,” that’s a trans­parency and account­abil­ity mea­sure which should have hap­pened a long time ago.  (Gephardt’s been out of Con­gress since 2004 if my memory’s cor­rect.)  Not only in the past has Con­gress hid the debt limit increase in bud­get res­o­lu­tions, but they hid them in con­tro­ver­sial bills like TARP, the Stim­u­lus, and var­i­ous “must-pass” Omnibus spend­ing bills.

Other rules the House GOP are imple­ment­ing or return­ing are term lim­its on com­mit­tee chair­man­ships to six years (Dave Obey and Char­lie Rangel demanded that one had to go after the 2006 midterms),  restor­ing or chang­ing the names of some com­mit­tees, and lim­it­ing access to the “Mem­bers Only” gym­na­sium for ex-members of Con­gress who become lobbyists.

The only real ques­tion is how the Chair­man rules will apply to the cur­rent sit­ting rank­ing mem­bers who are set to become the Chair­man of these com­mit­tees.   If that rule applies, Paul Ryan will only have this Con­gress to be House Bud­get Chair­man since he has been Rank­ing Mem­ber since 2007.

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MKE Television Viewers Discover NCAA Football is a Cartel">MKE Television Viewers Discover NCAA Football is a Cartel

I’m not one of those “Con­gress Must Break Up the BCS” people.

For starters, I believe it has much more impor­tant things to deal with than col­lege foot­ball.  Sec­ondly, believe the act of even hold­ing a hear­ing on the sub­ject is a gross over-extension of Congress’s use of the Com­merce Clause of the Con­sti­tu­tion (Sorry Sen­a­tors from Utah who root for BYU and Utah.).

Finally, I went to a Divi­sion III foot­ball school (UW-Eau Claire), where an actual cham­pion is crowned on the field, not by a com­puter program.

But this just con­tin­ues to high­light that the NCAA gave up on the best wishes of stu­dent ath­letes decades ago.  TV cash is King.

The request by WISN-TV (Chan­nel 12) to carry the Rose Bowl has been declined, said Jan Wade, the station’s pres­i­dent and gen­eral manager Monday.

This is the first year that the Rose Bowl has not been avail­able on free TV.

As part of a four year agree­ment with the Bowl Cham­pi­onship series, cable sports chan­nel ESPN has exclu­sive rights to the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and BCS cham­pi­onship through 2014.

The Rose Bowl is played Jan. 1, and because the Wis­con­sin Bad­gers are play­ing WISN-TV had hoped to be allowed to broad­cast ESPN’s cov­er­age of the game, as it does when the Green Bay Pack­ers play on Mon­day Night Football.

In an e-mail, Wade said that the deci­sion to not let them carry the game did not come from ESPN, but from the NCAA “who does not oper­ate under the same ‘home mar­ket’ rules that the NFL does.”

The sta­tion also had its request for a “view­ing party” declined “again due to a rights issue,” Wade said.

No report yet for the other TV mar­kets in the state and if they requested waivers or not.  Given how the NCAA is, they will prob­a­bly be com­ing shortly.

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HHS Bought “ObamaCare” Google Search">HHS Bought “ObamaCare” Google Search

(H/T George Scov­ille of the CATO Insti­tute)

The White House clearly has lost the brand­ing war over it’s top pol­icy initiative.

The U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices has bought a Google adver­tise­ment to steer peo­ple search­ing for “Oba­maCare” to a page that is cus­tomized to detect searchers’ loca­tions and steer them both to local health insur­ance infor­ma­tion and to a list of “what’s in the law for you.”

We are using a bunch of search term[s] to help point peo­ple to HealthCare.gov. Part of our online efforts to help get accu­rate infor­ma­tion to peo­ple about the new law (i.e. also use Face­book, Twit­ter, blogs and web­casts),” an HHS offi­cial con­firmed by e-mail.

For those unfa­mil­iar with how Google Search ads work — here’s a refresher when two firms of trial lawyers in Wis­con­sin went at it over Google ads — you pretty much pay Google a cer­tain amount to make sure your web­site or link appears as the first page in a search.  This method of adver­tis­ing is actu­ally how Google makes most of its rev­enue I’ve been told.

So, the ques­tion I have is this:  What sort of bid­ding war did (or could) go on with the White House and var­i­ous con­ser­v­a­tive groups opposed to the health care law to lock down this spe­cific search?

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