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Archive for January, 2011

Hey, Doyle Went to the Final Four

WisPolitics.com is reporting Governor Scott Walker may attend Super Bowl XLV on Sunday as the Green Bay Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Obviously as the leader of the state and the chief cheerleader for the Green Bay Packers I’d like to be there, but with the State of the State address and the budget we haven’t worked out the logistics yet, but we should know by the end of the week,” he said.

The Green Bay Packers have offered local officials Super Bowl tickets at face value. Asked if Walker has been offered tickets by the team or another source, Walker’s spokesman Cullen Werwie wouldn’t confirm that the guv has been offered tickets, and said no decision has been made yet on whether he’ll go to the big game.

Walker gives the “State of the State Address” tomorrow night.

I wasn’t following state politics much in 1997 and 1998 when the Packers were last in the Super Bowl to remember if then-Governor Tommy G. Thompson attended the games in New Orleans and San Diego respectively.

Former Governor Jim Doyle did go to New Orleans when a Wisconsin team made the Final Four Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2003.  Then, Marquette was there, led by future NBAer Dwayne Wade.

The trip was paid for by a campaign donor, and given the green light by the State Ethics Board, the precursor to the Government Accountability Board.

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Kohl Loans His Campaign $1 Million

From the Hotline:

Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl (D) loaned his campaign $1 million in the last quarter of 2010, seemingly putting to rest speculation that he may retire instead of seeking re-election next year.

According to his fourth quarter FEC report, obtained by The Hotline, Kohl contributed $1 million to his war chest while only spending $12,000. Because of the loan, he finished the year with slightly more than $1 million cash on hand.

Kohl, who will be 77 years old on Election Day next year, had been the subject of retirement rumors because of his age and near empty war chest. He finished the third quarter of 2010 with less than $26,000 in his campaign account.

But Kohl, who has significant personal wealth through his ownership of a grocery store chain and the Milwaukee Bucks, appears to be laying the groundwork to run for a fifth term.

He may face an uphill fight in that race, however. Wisconsin turned a few shades redder in 2010, as Republicans made significant gains at every level of government. No Republican has emerged to run against Kohl yet, but now-Sen. Ron Johnson (R) was a completely unknown quantity when he jumped in the race against Sen. Russell Feingold (D) last year and turned out to be one of the GOP’s strongest 2010 candidates.

Kohl hasn’t owned the grocery store chain in decades.   Can someone go tell the team at Hotline that?

Also, can someone pass a tissue to Matt Rothschild at Progressive Magazine?  I know this news must hurt.

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A Brit Will Play America’s Greatest Hero

Honestly, I couldn’t care less if this guy were an Aussie who can pull off the accent.  The only question is: How’s the script?

“Superman Returns” was possibly the worst penned thing to ever be called a “superhero movie.”

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced today that Henry Cavill has won the coveted role of Superman, the iconic superhero.

The film will be directed by Zack Snyder, who stated, “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen.  I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry.  He is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.”

Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film.  The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan.  Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.

Cavill recently wrapped production on “The Cold Light of Day” and stars in the upcoming “Immortals,” opening this fall.

Targeted for release in December 2012, the new Superman movie will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Weekend Quick Hits

NFL Fandom Geography

If I could figure out how to fix putting up pictures on this blog, I’d post it, but I haven’t so all I can do is send you to the link.  I think overall the map is a tad too simplistic; especially in size of Denver Broncos fandom geography, but this is probably the best map I’ve seen of subject I’ve long discussed as sports bars.

(Usually a few beers in of course.)

The Road to Hell

Paved with Environmentalist Good Intentions.  Andrew Klavan rocks.

Funny, I Felt Exactly the Same in 2007 (But in Reverse)

Bears LB and Captain Brian Urlacher was asked by a Chicago radio station if he could support the Packers in Super Bowl XLV next Sunday.  His answer: “Hell No.”

“I have a ton of respect for that organization and the head coach, but I don’t want them to win the Super Bowl. They’re in our division, I want them to lose.”

In 2007, I openly rooted for the Colts in Super Bowl XLI when they were taking on the Bears.  Such a response by Bears fans should be expected by all Packers fans this week.

The Trouble in Egypt

I’m not going to say much about the situation on the ground because you never know who’s the real good guys and the who’s the real bad guys in times like this.  There’s too much potential fluidity on the ground and frankly you have a greater chance of backing the wrong horse in the diplomatic and political game.  The best one can probably hope for is some sort of military coup with the promise of democratic elections in a six-month window; then a Western-style democracy taking its place.  Egypt is more modern and forward looking than most of the region, and word is some of the protesters are women.  A good sign against a possible Islamic regime rising up.

The worst one can imagine; you have Iran, Version 2.0.

That being said, what the hell was “The Smartest Foreign Policy Mind in the Democratic Party” A.K.A Vice President Joe Biden thinking when he said “Mubarak’s not a dictator?”  The past three decades of sham elections and ruling with an iron fist would say otherwise.

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Senator Ron Johnson Delivers GOP Weekly Address

Nice job Ron.

(Thanks also to a friend in the Senate Republican Communications Center for the heads up and the transcript.)

“Hello, my name is Ron Johnson. I’m the newly elected Senator from the great State of Wisconsin.

“For those of you who don’t know me, this is the first elective office I have ever sought or held. The reason I ran is simple and straightforward. We are bankrupting America, and I thought it was time for citizen legislators to come to Washington to help those individuals already here that are seriously facing that reality.

“For the last 31 years, I have been running a plastics manufacturing plant in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As a manufacturer, I have learned to identify and attack the root cause of a problem, not spend my time addressing mere symptoms. Huge deficits, slow economic activity, high unemployment, and woefully inadequate job creation are severe symptoms of the problem. They are not the root cause. The ever expanding size, scope, and cost of government is. This is what we must address. This is what I hope the President has come to realize.

“I hope the President and his allies in Congress accept a simple truth: big government is blocking job creation, not helping it. The sooner Washington ends its dependence on more spending, the sooner our economy will see real growth.

“I bring the perspective of someone who’s been creating jobs, meeting a payroll, balancing a budget, and living under the rules, regulations, and taxes that politicians here in Washington impose on the rest of us. I know firsthand the incentives and disincentives, the intended and unintended consequences of government intrusion into our lives. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating jobs, government is rarely helpful. Government tends to make it harder and more expensive to create jobs. We need to make job creation easier and cheaper.

“Recently, President Obama talked about the harmful effect of government overregulation. Highlighting this problem is long overdue. The Small Business Administration estimates that government regulations cost our economy $1.7 trillion annually. According to the IRS’s own figures, it cost taxpayers 6.1 billion hours to comply with tax code just last year. This is a staggering amount of money. And it is money that is not available for consumption, business investment, or job creation. That’s a problem.

“The President often speaks of making investments in our economy. If he  means allowing taxpayers and businesses to keep more of their hard earned dollars, and providing them the freedom to invest where they choose, I’m all for it. Unfortunately, I’m afraid he means more government spending and more government control. The lesson we all should have learned from the pitiful results of the $814 billion stimulus bill, is that growing government does not grow our economy or create long term, self-sustaining jobs. It is the private sector that creates jobs.

“History proves that governments do not know how to efficiently allocate capital. Millions of private individuals, acting independently within the free market system, do it best. We need to encourage and incentivize entrepreneurs, not tax and regulate them out of business.

“We’ve also heard the President talk about controlling spending and the deficit. If he’s serious about it, he should present a serious plan. If he does, I feel confident Republicans will be willing to help him get it passed.

“In his response to the State of the Union Address, my fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan – a leader in tackling our spending problem – did a great job of expressing our willingness to work with the President, and pointing out how critical it is for us to act now, before it’s too late.

“The issues of spending, deficits, and the debt will be central in the upcoming debate over the 2011 spending bill and the need to raise the debt ceiling. This will be the moment of truth when talk and rhetoric must be turned into action and tangible results. Real reductions must be part of the solution.

“As a business person, I’m used to getting things done. I came here to accomplish something, to help solve the very serious problems facing our nation. I also came to Washington with a deep reverence for the genius of our founding Fathers, what they passed on to us, and what they hoped we would preserve. Their fight for freedom, their belief in the power of the free market system, and their vision of a limited government is what has made America the greatest nation in the history of mankind.

“It is our honor and our duty to be worthy stewards of this legacy.  It is our turn to act responsibly.

“Thank you.”

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Another Fiscal Warning Sign for America

While many people are watching (or warning) about the United States becoming Greece, Ireland, or Spain when it comes to its national debt — all legitimate warnings — there’s another nation we should be watching: Japan.

Japan, which is now on its second decade of organized collapse by growing public debt and make-work infrastructure programs (Sound familiar?) has seen its once stellar governmental bond rating get knocked down as credit houses and creditors worry about the ability to see it paid back.

Yesterday, it took another beating seeing its bond rating downgraded from AA to AA-.

The downgrade reflects our appraisal that Japan’s government debt ratios–already among the highest for rated sovereigns–will continue to rise further than we envisaged before the global economic recession hit the country and will peak only in the mid-2020s. Specifically, we expect general government fiscal deficits to fall only modestly from an estimated 9.1% of GDP in fiscal 2010 (ending March 31, 2011) to 8.0% in fiscal 2013. In the medium term, we do not forecast the government achieving a primary balance before 2020 unless a significant fiscal consolidation program is implemented beforehand.

Japan’s debt dynamics are further depressed by persistent deflation. Falling prices have matched Japan’s growth in aggregate output since 1992, meaning the size of the economy is unchanged in nominal terms. In addition, Japan’s fast-aging population challenges both its fiscal and economic outlooks. The nation’s total social security related expenses now make up 31% of the government’s fiscal 2011 budget, and this ratio will rise absent reforms beyond those enacted in 2004. An aging and shrinking labor force contributes to our modest medium-term growth estimate of around 1%.

In our opinion, the Democratic Party of Japan-led government lacks a coherent strategy to address these negative aspects of the country’s debt dynamics, in part due to the coalition having lost its majority in the upper house of parliament last summer. We think there is a low chance that the government’s announced 2011 reviews of the nation’s social security and consumption tax systems will lead to material improvements to the intertemporal solvency of the state. We even see a risk that the Diet might not approve budget-related bills for fiscal 2011, including government financing authorization. Thus, notwithstanding the still strong domestic demand for government debt and corresponding low real interest rates, we expect Japan’s fiscal flexibility to diminish.

Why should this matter?  Well, in the past year, Moody’s said the American Bond Rating of AAA could be downgraded to AA sometime this decade.  If such a thing were to happen, it would increase the interest rate the U.S. Government is paying as it pays off its own bonds to other governments, businesses, and American citizens who purchased the bonds the U.S. Government sells.

Fiscally, in the short-term future, Japan’s more our reality than some nations in Europe.

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Great Moments in Higher Learning

Perhaps he was marking his territory.

A California university professor has been charged with peeing on a colleague’s campus office door.

Prosecutors charged 43-year-old Tihomir Petrov, a math professor at California State University, Northridge, with two misdemeanor counts of urinating in a public place. Arraignment is scheduled Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando.

Investigators say a dispute between Petrov and another math professor was the motive.

The Los Angeles Times says Petrov was captured on videotape urinating on the door of another professor’s office on the San Fernando Valley campus. School officials had rigged the camera after discovering puddles of what they thought was urine at the professor’s door.

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Who’s Vetting These People?

First Kiel, now neighboring New Holstein.  Are these pervs just lying on their resumes and background checks?

Two newspapers are reporting that the suspended New Holstein superintendent, who was arrested in Milwaukee last week for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, left his job with the Madison school district in 2005 after being caught viewing pornography on his work computer.

Both the Sheboygan Press and the Wisconsin State Journal report that New Holstein school officials were not aware of the circumstances under which he left the Madison job when he was hired in 2009. In fact, the State Journal reported, the New Holstein school board president first learned of the situation from a reporter on Wednesday.

It was reported in 2005 that Christopher Joseph Nelson, 58, left his job as athletics coordinator for the Madison schools because of health reasons. He landed two other administrative education jobs in Wisconsin between leaving Madison and being hired in New Holstein.

Milwaukee police arrested Nelson Jan. 19. According to a criminal complaint, he had been communicating since June on craigslist.com with a Milwaukee police officer posing as a 15-year-old boy.

After agreeing to meet the boy in Milwaukee, Nelson described several sex acts he intended to perform during the meeting, according to the complaint. He was arrested after checking into a Milwaukee hotel, where officers found several items, including condoms, massage oils and lubricant, according to the complaint.

The Sheboygan Press reported that Nelson was arrested in Milwaukee while on a district-funded trip to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards’ annual convention at the Frontier Airlines Center in Milwaukee.

He has been suspended without pay.

I honestly don’t see how this discovery is going to help him keep his job.

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Colleges to Play Basketball Game on Aircraft Carrier

This idea is so ridiculous, it’s awesome.

North Carolina and Michigan State are closing in on a deal to play a men’s basketball game on an aircraft carrier next season.

Tar Heels Coach Roy Williams said on his radio show Monday night that the teams hope to play on Veterans Day in San Diego on a carrier.

Larry Gallo, a senior associate athletic director at UNC, said Tuesday that a contract isn’t in place yet. “We feel as though all systems are go, we’re just trying to finalize” details, he said. “But until you have a contract, a deal hasn’t been consummated.”

Gallo said discussions also involve the federal government and a promoter.

Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis declined to comment, though he spoke earlier about playing a game on a carrier.

“It’s something that we continue to pursue with the Navy,” Hollis said. “From our perspective, it would be something where Americans could reach out to those who protect our borders and create a national celebration around it.”. . .

My guess here is it would be an outdoor game on whatever Carrier group is in San Diego on Veterans Day this year.  The novelty alone would make it worth tuning in.

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Already a Classier Form of Congressman

Amazing, a White House Visit story from the 8th Congressional District that doesn’t involve bathrooms, wife’s being misnamed, and other aspects of tales told long, long ago.

Even before he arrived in Wisconsin Wednesday, President Obama was fielding personal reminders of the Chicago Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday.

The President hosted a White House reception Monday night for new members of Congress, and when Reid Ribble was introduced as the congressman from Green Bay, he let out a soft groan.

“He said ‘Oh, no,’” said Ribble, who brought a present for Obama, a Packers tie. The President good-naturedly held it up over his own tie and posed for pictures, Ribble said.

‘He was a good sport,” said Ribble, a Republican.

Ribble actually brought two Packers ties. He left one with the President. The second one was signed by Obama and Vice President Biden. Ribble also signed it, and said he plans to have the state’s two US Senators sign it, then present it as a memento to a soldier recuperating  at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C.

A slightly better idea would be to auction the tie off and use the money to buy gifts and other things for recovering soldiers from Wisconsin who are recuperating at Walter Reed.  A tie is nice, but the other idea puts a smile on more than one individuals face.

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