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Archive for March, 2011

NFLPA Rescinds “Alternate Media Event” for Draft Boycott

Well, this is still a stupid idea; but the Sports PR Blunder to end all Sports PR Blunder may now end with a “whimper” instead of a train wreck.  Nice of the “trade association” now known as the NFLPA came to its senses...a bit.

The NFL Players Association will not stage an alternate event head-to-head versus the NFL on the first night of the draft, league sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Whenever the players association puts together its plan, it is more likely to be an event on a different day, at a different hour than the draft starts. Those decisions still are being made, and the players association still is scheduled to meet later Monday to see if any verdict about the draft can be reached.

Still, the NFLPA is not changing its stance that potential draft picks shouldn’t attend the draft, scheduled for April 28-30 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Sources told Schefter earlier this month that the 17 top prospects who ordinarily would have received an invitation to attend the draft had been contacted and it was recommended that they not attend the draft.

Although the union has decertified, the NFLPA still exists as a professional trade association. By decertifying it declared itself out of the business of representing players, but still exists to support the interests of current and former NFL players.

Also by decertifying, the NFLPA was able to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. An April 6 hearing is scheduled in U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s Minnesota courtroom for an injunction request filed by the players that would keep the NFL and its teams from engaging in a lockout. The NFL locked out its players soon after the union decertified on March 11.

I still think the NFLPA is not helping itself with this stance of a “Boycott” of the NFL Draft.  For starters, as I said before, these college players are not in the union (which is screwing them over with a rookie salary cap) and don’t owe them anything.

Secondly, for those who follow the NFL and knew this ‘long, dark, off-season of the soul’ was coming, the one thing we as fans were promised wouldn’t be effected by the lockout seemed to be the Draft.  The NFLPA is changing that part of the deal with fans with this stunt, and it may lose the permanent public relations war by staging this “boycott” of the event.

They’re going to need the fans on their side to end up on top of this labor dispute.  Messing with the Draft won’t help in swinging public opinion their way.  It comes off as petty and far from classy.

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Sunlight Foundation Find Obama’s Transparency Lacking

Wow, even the left-leaning, transparency watch dogs are noticing the Obama Administration is just talking a good game about the entire subject.

More than two years after he took office the success of President Obama’s open government directive is still very much in doubt, according to a prominent government transparency watchdog.

Sunlight Foundation executive director Ellen Miller called 2010 “tremendously disappointing” for open government advocates and said little has happened in 2011 to change her view that the Obama administration has failed to deliver on transparency.

“It seems like there’s been more promises made than reality delivered and we’re disappointed,” Miller told The Hill this week.

Miller said the president’s open government directive had made the open government community hopeful after years of secrecy from the Bush administration, particularly because the government promised things like data audits of federal agencies and the publishing of high-value government data sets for public use that have yet to come to fruition.

But Miller joined several experts in recent months in questioning the quality of the data sets published on federal transparency websites like Data.gov and the IT Dashboard, arguing the data on the sites is often inaccurate and not as useful as advertised.

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Weekend Quick Hits

So Now They Want Listen to the Legislative Council?

There is a high level of irony going around in conservative circles about Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) going to the Legislative Council in regard to the LRB’s publication of Act 10.  See, this is the very same Legislative Council that informed everyone there was no violation of the Open Meetings Law in the first place, over two weeks ago.

So once again, this all wades back down to the willful ruling of Judge Sumi; who appears to be so chalk full of conflicts of interest she should just open up Tuesday’s hearing with a full confession, apology, and then recusal.  (For more on the Legal Limbo Sumi’s created, I advice you to read this post by William Jacobson.)

But who am I kidding, this is Dane County.  They operate under their own set of rules for radicals.

So is it Law?

Well, I’d be a hypocrite like the Democrats are being now if I thought what the Legislative Council said two weeks ago mattered now, but not Friday night.   So no it’s not “published law,” I think Scott Fitzgerald may have probably over-played his hand a little here on that explanation.  The LRB could just has the law in a holding pattern, waiting for the eventual action by Doug La Follette.  (Counter, and a good counter it is, by Rick Esenberg here)

That said, I grew up being taught it’s law after the President or other chief executive signs it.  So, in my book, it’s been law since March 11th.

But I also think a ton of liberals know they have no legal leg to stand on with the Open Meetings lawsuit, and that’s why they’re now going into other legal avenues.

And the 3rd one? Wow, the chief attorney is liberal blogger / former Feingold flack Jud Lounsbury’s wife, huh?  Yeah, beyond the politics of it, I really don’t see it going anywhere since their argument again runs into saying the Leg Council’s advice last night was correct, but incorrect two weeks ago.

Best of luck there with a clearly illogical argument.

“Kinetic Military Action”

Boy, that will be a fun one for those who have to write the History books, won’t it?

The ORR Seen Round the New York Times

Not sure what’s funnier, the way the left is going on about a rather simple Open Records Request, or that Cory Liebmann tries to justify who ALEC actually is (I once applied there myself as a researcher last year at the urging of a number of friends in DC, took the Johnson campaign gig instead.) by quoting from his own Open Records Request when he failed to find anything damaging when he was doing oppo for either One Wisconsin Now or DPW last year.

Some people call that irony…or pathetic.

And as for Cronon’s and the left’s new obsession ALEC, it by the way, pretty much just is a think tank that specializes in state legislative initiatives.  There’s probably one liberals go to for their crackpot ideas too.

Contrary to popular belief, folks like Penny Bernard Schaber, Kelda Roys, and Brett Hulsey aren’t smart enough to come up with their own legislative ideas on their own.

This May Complicate Things This Summer

Politico is reporting Organizing for America, or OFA, the DNC’s “Community Organizing Arm” from the remnants of the Obama 2008 campaign is laying off.  So many in fact, that it may be up to 40 percent of their staff in Midwest states.

Organizing for America, the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign organization, has laid off a set of its regional field directors, the local staffers whose work was said to be central to the group’s mission of maintaining the grassroots energy and organization of the last campaign.

A staffer for the group said they included about 40% of OfA’s Midwest regional staff.

The staffer who passed on word of the layoffs said the move generated ill-will internally because some of the regional field directors had worked for the group for some two years, only to be laid off on two-weeks notice as a cadre of senior Washington staffers moved from the White House political shop to the DNC.

Oh, but I’m sure there’s been all sorts of reassurances put forth to DPW that OFA will be there for them this summer for the recalls.

Probably they’re the same reassurances they had from them last fall.

And Finally…Biden Staffer Locks Reporter in Closet (Seriously)

Guess this could ensure the Joe Biden’s hired his last reporter as a Comms Director (See here to get that punchline).

Oh who am I kidding, reporters love becoming Democratic press flacks and strategists.

“Scott – You have our sincere apologies for the lack of a better hold room today,” wrote Vice President Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander last Wednesday to Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers.

“Lack of a better hold room” is an interesting way of putting it. In order to keep Powers from mingling with guests at a Democratic fundraiser last Wednesday, Powers was escorted into a storage closet by a Biden staffer.

Powers was the designated pool reporter, there to record the proceedings for the press corps in general.

He told ABC News that he showed up at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday to cover Vice President Biden and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., attending a $500-a-head fundraiser at the Winter Park manse of developer Alan Ginsburg.

A young female staffer met him at the door and brought him to the storage closet.

“You’re going to have to wait in here until the VP gets here,” he says she told him.

“You’re kidding me,” he recalls responding.

Forcing reporters into closets is generally not the tradition of politicians in the US. Powers is a respected politics and business reporter who recently wrote about the Space shuttle Discovery coming home to Kennedy Space Center for the 39th and final time.

Making matters worse, Biden didn’t arrive until more than an hour later.


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The Perky One to Bolt from CBSNews

Well, that didn’t last all that long, did it?

The search is on for Katie Couric’s successor.

The new CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, is looking at candidates both within and outside the network, insiders say.

One strong contender if Couric vacates the anchor chair in early June, as now seems almost certain, is veteran newsman Scott Pelley. [Aside – KJB:  Seriously, take a look at Pelley if you need a refresher on who he is.  The guy looks like he comes out of “Anchorman Central Casting;” high, well-managed, grey hair and in mid-50s.  Can’t get any more “Anchor” than that.] The 60 Minutes correspondent has long been a favorite of Fager, who doubles as the show’s executive producer. But with Fager taking a methodical approach to his first major decision, Pelley is not a lock. A few short weeks ago, the expectation in the Couric camp—after discussions with top CBS management—was that she would sign a new deal to stay in the anchor’s job through the 2012 elections as she figured out the next phase of her career. But the thinking on both sides has now changed as Couric has aggressively tested the waters—and found substantial interest in her services.

After jumping from the Today show in 2006, Couric realized what many skeptics had predicted, that a 22-minute newscast was confining and gave her little opportunity to showcase her interviewing and ad libbing talents. She is now exploring daytime or syndication deals—including with CBS, whose chairman, Les Moonves, remains a strong supporter. CBS is hopeful about finding a way to keep Couric, but her team is also talking to her former network, NBC; to ABC, and to Time Warner.

If she is to launch a syndicated program in the fall of 2012, it would debut in the middle of the general election campaign—and the enormous preparation involved in such a launch would be difficult if her day job was as a network anchor.

Frankly, Couric would be smart to go the syndicated talk show route.  There is a GIANT void about to be created in May when Oprah Winphrey pulls her show off the air and head to cable.  Couric is a known commodity for that type of media given her Today background and it would both a better suit for her style and lucrative at the same time.

Plus, they wouldn’t have to change the set just to make sure the world sees her legs like they did at CBS.

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Act 10 Published, World Didn’t End

I’m sorry, I’m laughing up a storm here.

A controversial bill limiting collective bargaining for public workers has been officially published despite a temporary restraining order barring its publication.

The legislation was published Friday with a footnote that notes the restraining order, but says the law “requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 working days after its date of enactment.”

The publication of the law means that it will take effect Saturday.

The restraining order was issued against Secretary of State Doug La Follette, not the reference bureau. La Follette is a Democrat and the Legislature is run by Republicans, but the reference bureau is a nonpartisan agency widely respected by both sides.

La Follettte and aides to Gov. Scott Walker and legislative leaders could not be immediately released.

All together now…”Thanks Doug!”

A third lawsuit was always filed today.  This one possibly the most fascinating since its Madison fire fighters and other Dane Co. public employees saying the very law is a violation of the state constitution.

I’m not a legal scholar, but since the law as it initially was proposed in 1959 was never turned into a state constitutional amendment, you kind of have to wonder what sort of standing they have there.

UPDATE: Clearly seeing the response from a number of legislators and even the press, clearly no one saw this option as happening.

Finally, the Egg-Man has found the actual state statute which applies to the publication of legislation.  It is 35.095 (3).

(3) PUBLICATION. (a) The legislative reference bureau shall publish every act and every portion of an act which is enacted by the legislature over the governor’s partial veto within 10 working days after its date of enactment.

(b) The secretary of state shall designate a date of publication for each act and every portion of an act which is enacted by the legislature over the governor’s partial veto. The date of publication may not be more than 10 working days after the date of enactment.

(c) Copies of each act or portion of an act enacted by the legislature over the governor’s partial veto shall be available on or before its date of publication to subscribers under s. 35.87 who pick up their documents. At appropriate intervals, the officer designated under s. 35.87 shall certify to the secretary of state that each act or portion of an act was available to subscribers on or before its date of publication.

It appears that the key here is the act of “Enactment,” which pretty much is the Governor’s signature.  That was two weeks ago.

It also shows the actual legal and statutory powers of the Wisconsin Secretary of State are even fewer and farther between than any of us have ever speculated.

Here’s what the State Department of Justice said on the publication:

The Wisconsin Department of Justice learned this afternoon that the Legislative Reference Bureau published Act 10. As noted in the published act, section 35.095 imposes a mandatory, ministerial duty on the legislative reference bureau to “publish every act … Within 10 working days of enactment.” In the same statute, the date of enactment is defined as the approval of a bill by the governor. No action by the Secretary of State is required by this section for the legislative reference bureau to publish an Act. The Secretary of State did not direct the publication of Act 10 by the legislative reference bureau and he is not in violation of the TRO issued by the Dane County Circuit Court.

This is going to get fun and interesting.

So until then, we can expect screams, whining, calls of Wisconsin as a “Banana Republic,” and then more court cases next week; possibly even a contempt charge.

I wonder how that last one will go since apparently even Judge Sumi assumed only the Secretary of State had the power to publish laws in Wisconsin.  As has just been shown, that clearly isn’t the case.

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Wisconsin’s Great Pot Advocate Dying of Lung Cancer

At one time or another, anyone on the left or right, has battled with Ben Masel on something.  It’s been both cordial and…well, interesting.

That being said, this is sad news nonetheless.

Ben Masel, the longtime face of the movement to legalize marijuana in Madison, is dying of lung cancer.

Doctors can’t say whether there’s a direct connection between Masel’s cancer and his marijuana use, since he also smoked tobacco for 40 years. But unlike his cigarette use, which was light but long term, Masel acknowledges his marijuana smoking has been heavy “by anybody’s standards.”

Dr. Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, said it’s impossible to determine what caused Masel’s lung cancer.

What is known is that the longer a person smokes, and the more cigarettes he or she smokes, the greater the risk of lung cancer, Fiore said. “In terms of marijuana and lung cancer the jury is still out, but the answer is that it is probably a cause of lung cancer.”

Masel, 56, was diagnosed with lung cancer in January and learned two weeks ago the cancer was stage IV, meaning it has spread beyond his lungs. Medical scans showed that the cancer has metastasized past a cure, he said.

At that point, his treatment strategy went from “cure to contain,” he said this week from his home away from home, EVP Coffee on East Washington Avenue.

During the Senate race, Masel was so confident of a Feingold win of 100,000 votes,  he offered via Twitter a bet on August 24th.  Even money odds, $50 minimum bet / $500 maximum bet.

We on the Johnson campaign were privately barred from taking him up on it.

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Bachmann to Form Exploratory Committee

So reports CNN, and confirms the Congresswoman herself.

CNN has exclusively learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time.

But a source close to the congresswoman said that Bachmann could form the exploratory committee even earlier than June so that she could participate in early Republican presidential debates.

“She’s been telling everyone early summer,” the source told CNN regarding Bachmann’s planned June filing and announcement. But the source said that nothing is static.

“If you [debate sponsors] come to us and say, ‘To be in our debates, you have to have an exploratory committee,’ then we’ll say, ‘Okay, fine…I’ll go file the forms.'”

Three GOP presidential primary debates are planned before and during early June: The first one on May 2 at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California and another on May 5 in South Carolina. CNN plans a GOP presidential primary debate in New Hampshire in early June.

Meanwhile, CNN has also learned that Iowa Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson will likely be hired to be Bachmann’s political director for the state – and that Bachmann aides hope to have a complete team together for Iowa by this weekend.

From my limited knowledge of Iowa politics being short talks with former RPW Political Director Jill Latham in 2006 (now working for Mitt Romney last I heard) about her home state, Sorenson’s a good pick-up to have for Hawkeye State networking.  Politico seems to confirm this.

My overall feeling at this time is that her entrance will probably hurt her fellow Minnesotan, former Governor Tim Pawlenty the most in Iowa.  Bachmann is a much more energetic speaker than Pawlenty and due to her ability to be a political firebrand — and target — she’s probably got a better national fund raising base than most think.

The woman did raise over $13 million for a small Congressional seat in Minnesota last cycle, so that says something for her appeal.  My assumption has always been, that if Bachmann eats into Pawlenty in Iowa, T-Paw may opt out of a Presidential run and instead take on sitting Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher who is up for re-election in 2012.  His entrance into that arena would be a huge recruiting coup for the NRSC and make a takeover in the Gopher State a real possibility for the GOP.

That being said, Bachmann is said to be notoriously hard to work for and goes through staff — especially press staff — very fast.  The Hill is reporting her last Chief of Staff, a native of Minnesota, will be voting for Pawlenty if given the chance.

For what it’s worth, I’m leaning towards Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at this moment; and he might not even enter the race.

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Kwik Trip Offers Free Electric Car Charging

Just felt I should point this out, especially to all the green and other enviro-types engaged in the union boycott of the La Cr0sse-based gas station change.

Ben Nelson, an advocate of green cars, was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kwik Trip, a convenience store that he frequents, installed an electric vehicle charging station that’s free of charge. In fact, Kwik Trip has installed 70 of these so-called “charge stations,” at its stores throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The Kwik Trip charge stations are nothing more than 120-volt outlets attached to poles stuck in the ground, but Ben’s not complaining. And, while the chargers are far from fancy, they’re free to use. Well, sort of. You see, Kwik Trip has got to know that at 120-volts, electric vehicles get approximately four miles of range per hour of charging, which means that drivers of plug-ins will need to spend a fair bit of time perusing the stores’ aisles to get any real benefit and, if all goes as planned, they will buy items before hitting the road.

In its defense, Kwik Trip does plan to upgrade its chargers to “something more powerful in the near future,” but even if the chain doesn’t install 240-volt Level 2 equipment, a 120-volt plug-in point is better than nothing at all.

If you wish, there’s also a video by Mr. Nelson which shows hies excitement over the electric chargers — perhaps the first in Wisconsin — it’s pretty much what you expect it to be.

On the down side of the rise of electric cars and their charging stations, states will naturally see a drop in their traditional source of highway money: Gasoline taxes.  Some state, of course, are planning for the inevitable and will be introducing legislation creating the “Vehicle Mileage Tax” or “VMT.” VMTs are pretty much what you think they are; instead of being charged through the gas you buy, you are taxed on the miles you drive.

Opting to buy a battery-powered, all-electric vehicle not only frees your vehicle of tailpipe emissions. It also means owners of plug-ins don’t have to pay gas taxes, right? Well, for residents of the states of Washington, Oregon and Texas, that sort of depends on whether or not soon-to-be introduced legislation to establish Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) taxes for electric vehicles gets passed into law.

Instead of taxing fuel to finance road infrastructure, a VMT tax system charges motorists based on their “road consumption,” as measured by total miles traveled. VMT could be implemented via the use of GPS units, which records distance traveled and charges motorist accordingly.

GPS in the car, installed by the government, tracking your every mile.  Big Brother isn’t just watching, he’s riding “Shotgun!”

I’ll pass on the VMT thank you very much.

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Miller Park Introduces SmartPhone Concession Ordering

This is an idea that is long overdue.

The Milwaukee Brewers will begin offering concessions that can be pre-ordered and paid for through smartphones this season through an Austin, Texas-based company.

Bypass Lane allows smartphone users to look at menus and order at select concessions stands near their seats. When the order is ready, the application sends a text message to users for pickup.

Bypass is already used by the Texas Rangers and a handful of other pro and college teams. The company typically charges a .99 transaction fee for each order at the other venues using the application.

For the extra $1, one would be more than willing to pay that to beat the lines.

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Gorelick Said to be on Obama Shortlist for FBI Director

If this is true, this will be a disaster waiting to happen.

The Obama administration reportedly is considering former Clinton administration official Jamie Gorelick, among others, to become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez first reported the news last week, citing “U.S. officials” familiar with the situation.

Gorelick served as vice chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) when the government-sponsored enterprise began bundling subprime loans into securitized financial instruments. Prior to that, she served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department under then-Attorney General Janet Reno from 1994 to 1997.

But Gorelick is perhaps best known for her 1995 memo, written when she was deputy attorney general, that later became known as “Gorelick’s Wall,” a policy prescription limiting the flow of information between intelligence gatherers and criminal investigators that some believe helped allow the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center to go unchallenged.

Remember that moment (Sure you do!) on the 9/11 Commission Panel’s public hearings in 2004, where former Attorney General John Ashcroft was testifying about what happened between communications of the CIA, the FBI, and fingered Gorelick right then and there?

You had all the commissioners turn towards her, start mouthing questions while at the same time Gorelick was mouthing her own defense.

Made for great TV.

By the by, in case any liberal is looking for an easy out for defending Ms. Gorelick, I’ll throw you this line. She’s now a defense attorney for British Petroleum, aka BP.

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