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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 ® 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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GOP Weekly Address">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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