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Archive for April, 2011

GAB Puts Supreme Court Recount on the Clock

One wonders how long before this decision is before a judge and one side or the other is asking for an extension.

State law requires the recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race to be completed by May 9.

The recount will begin on Wednesday. County election clerks asked questions to members of the Government Accountability Board during a conference call meeting Monday to outline details of the recount.

JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for the recount after results show she lost to incumbent Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes, roughly one-half of 1 percent of all votes cast in the April 5 election.

Kloppenburg said last week when she asked for the recount that she hoped to shine light on how the election was conducted. Prosser’s campaign has been pressuring her to give up, saying the margin was too large to overcome.

My gut tells me part of the reason the GAB put the clerks on a clock is even they don’t want to be bogged down with the recount any longer than they have to be.  It’s going to be a busy enough summer for the GAB thanks to the recalls in the State Senate.

Funny part is, this is supposed to be their down time.

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Haley Barbour a “No-Go” for President

This one sort of shocks me.  I personally know the guy who Barbour hired a month or so ago to handle his “New Media Outreach” for his PAC and all of the “DC Conventional Wisdom” seemed to point to a Barbour run.

(The weight loss seemed to be the biggest hint, anyway.)  Not so.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced Monday that he will not seek the presidency in 2012, a surprise move sure to send ripples through the evolving Republican field.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, he suggested that he didn’t have “the fire in the belly” to run for the White House, despite having staff in place in early primary states and a national fundraising network.

“I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided,” he said.

“Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.

“I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts.  If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.”

Speculation has now shifted to if Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will now run for President.  He’s good friends with Barbour, and the two were rumored to not wanted to run against each other in 2012.

Admittedly, I’ve said in the past that gun to my head, I’d back Daniels.  I still hold that belief and I am more than willing to go with “My Man Mitch,” but will Daniels even pull the trigger?  That’s the $64,000 Question for many potential Republicans candidates this year.

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The Logistics of a Sheboygan Phone Call

By now, you’ve heard all about this.

A Sheboygan gas station owner is baffled after a mystery caller tells a clerk it’s a bad idea to do business with a Sheboygan-area state senator.

It started Tuesday when a woman called Dick Hiers’s Northeast Standard gas station after she thought she saw Senator Joe Leibham there. Her call was caught on the answering machine.

“I think that this whole thing has to end. It has to stop,” said Hiers. “This type of stuff is totally uncalled for.”

Hiers never thought his little gas station in the heart of Sheboygan would be the stage of political controversy. Then again, his week has been full of surprises.

“I was working back here and the answering machine went off, and I was a little surprised by that, and when I heard the message here, I was even a little more surprised.”

The answering machine here in the back of the store was left on from the night before and was recording the entire conversation.

Caller: “Can you verify that was Senator Leibham at the gas station this morning?”

Gas station clerk: “Senator Leibham?”

Caller: “Yes. Do you guys support him?”

Clerk: “I have nothing to say about that, I am not politically involved.”

Caller: “Alright, well you can tell Dick he’s not good for business, I’ll tell you that.”

Shocked over the 26-second conversation, Hiers quickly traced the call — only to get surprise number two.

“And it turned out to be coming from the Sheboygan area district school office,” he said.

Now to the fun detective work.

The gas station in question “Dick Hier’s Northeast Standard” is a British Petroleum (BP) station located at the corner of Erie Avenue and North 9th Street; right by Fountain Park.  (In fact, it’s often known for having signs proudly announcing it does not sell Ethanol-blended mixtures, only “Real Gas”)   The Sheboygan Area School District offices are located at 830 Virginia Avenue.

That’s about five or six blocks south; and it’s a direct shot down North 9th St. towards the Sheboygan River.   I’ve taken this route myself not to get to the school district offices, but to get to the lakefront or Indiana Ave. or as a shortcut to avoid all the stop signs on North 8th St.

So, what you had likely here for this individual — and the Sheboygan Press is now saying its a woman who the SASD won’t name, but are disciplining — drive past the BP station, saw Mike Leibham’s car or van filling up at the station (This makes me wonder if Mike’s mini-van still has the traditional campaign paint job, which helped ID the vehicle…), got angry, drove to work five or six blocks down, and then called the station from their work phone.

Not the smartest move in the world I’d say for this woman to do.

Now the other question after today’s news; why is SASD not publicly naming this woman?

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Obama Lied Repeatedly About Ryan Medicare Proposal

Of course he did. Being a politician is all Barack Obama can excel at it seems.

President Barack Obama misrepresented the House Republicans’ budget plan at times and exaggerated its impact on U.S. residents during an April 13 speech on deficit reduction.

– Obama claimed the Republicans’ “Path to Prosperity” plan would cause “up to 50 million Americans “¦ to lose their health insurance.” But that worst-case figure is based in part on speculation and assumptions.

– He said the GOP plan would replace Medicare with “a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.” That’s an exaggeration. Nothing would change for those 55 and older. Those younger would get federal subsidies to buy private insurance from a Medicare exchange set up by the government.

– He said “poor children,” “children with autism” and “kids with disabilities” would be left “to fend for themselves.” That, too, is an exaggeration. The GOP says states would have “freedom and flexibility to tailor a Medicaid program that fits the needs of their unique populations.” It doesn’t bar states from covering those children.

– He repeated a deceptive talking point that the new health care law will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion. That’s the Democrats’ own estimate over a 20-year period. The Congressional Budget Office pegged the deficit savings at $210 billion over 10 years and warned that estimates beyond a decade are “more and more uncertain.”

– He falsely claimed that making the Bush tax cuts permanent would give away “$1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire.” That figure — which is actually $807 billion over 10 years — refers to tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000, not just millionaires and billionaires.

– He said the tax burden on the wealthy is the lowest it has been in 50 years. But the most recent nonpartisan congressional analysis showed that the average federal tax rate for high-income taxpayers was lower in 1986.

Yeah, I know, this completely sets back that joint DCCC-DPW-White House effort to defeat Paul Ryan.  Seems the facts are on Paul’s side.

(Which they usually are.)

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Happy Easter

Hope my Catholic parents don’t mind, but the best video I could find of an Easter song is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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How Was This Approved?

Let’s be honest, marketing a toilet is not something many of us envy.  It’s a toilet after all, we all use one, but we rarely think of buying them until we have to.

But honestly, singing?

This has long been my personal favorite Kohler ad. It just slams the company’s long-held motto of “The Bold Look of” in your face.

Masterfully done.

ADDENDUM: Had forgotten about this ad; which was a rather strong way (if sexist) to market a toilet.


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DC Insiders: Democrats Will Suffer Wrath of High Gas Prices

Well, this explains the “Commission to investigate Oil Price Speculation” that was announced yesterday.   If anything this White House have proven in the two-plus years of existence, it is finding a straw-man to place the blame on when they’re losing an issue big time.

Political operatives in both parties overwhelmingly agree that Democrats will be hurt more than Republicans by the escalating cost of filling up at the pump, according this week’s National Journal Political Insiders Poll.

Who is hurt more by rising gas prices?
(94 votes)
(102 votes)
Democrats 75% 94%
Republicans 17% 6%
Both (volunteered) 5% 0%
Neither (volunteered) 1% 0%
Incumbents (volunteered) 1% 0%
The economy (volunteered) 1% 0%
Political Insiders in both parties concurred that the party that controls the presidency in the White House was the one that was going to shoulder disproportionate blame with the public. “If you’re in the White House they are your gas prices,” said one Democratic Insider. “The president sets policy and he will live or die by results,” echoed a GOP Insider.

But the Insiders said there were additional factors that explained why the Democrats were particularly vulnerable on the issue. A number of Republican Insiders said that the Democrats’ environmentalist sympathies and their opposition to the GOP’s more robust policy of increasing domestic oil production was likely to tilt voters against the Democrats.

“The Democrats have no plan of action to immediately assuage voters’ pain at the pump, whereas the Republicans can re-invoke ‘drill baby, drill,'” said one GOP Insider, referring to the party’s popular 2008 campaign chant. “Presidents own these problems and his intervention in Libya and opposition to off shore drilling create a compelling narrative,” predicted another Republican. Even a few Democratic Insiders admitted that their party was vulnerable for its green impulse when gas prices were spiking.

Democrats worried that the rising gas prices were going to endanger the economy’s rebound from the recession. “Obama needs a healthy recovery more and energy prices put pressure on the recovery and there are no easy quick fixes,” said a Democratic Insider. Democrats also expressed some exasperation that despite the GOP’s traditional ties to the oil industry, their party would be faulted if they failed to address the problem. “Should be the Republicans [who are blamed] because they are more tied to oil companies but if Democrats don’t do anything” they will be blamed “because it seems like we don’t get it,” said one Democratic Insider.

Due to the gross neglect which is our economic education in America, the average citizen only sees one thing as “The Economy,” that thing is gas prices.  It’s the one indicator they see on a daily basis and it’s the one thing they see which directly effects their pocketbooks.  Obama may think he’s stopping the finger-pointing at his administration by going after “Speculators,” but the reality is oil is a global commodity and if you have areas of unrest (Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, etc) in its centers of production along with decreased U.S. production and the complete and utter tanking of the U.S. Dollar is causing this price spike.

In all seriousness, inflation caused by over-government spending as well as any and all “quantitative easing” the Federal Reserve is doing has left the dollar one very weak currency.  A stronger dollar alone would probably drop $40 from the price of a barrel of oil.

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Leibham Files ORR on Sheboygan School Union

Interesting and a sad continuation of a fight that’s been going on for years between Joe Leibham and the heavy-handed Sheboygan Education Association.

State Senator Joe Leibham wants to know if someone affiliated with the Sheboygan Area School District recently attempted to dissuade an area gas station from doing business with him.

In an e-mail to Superintendent Joe Sheehan and School Board President Dave Gallianetti, Leibham today made an Open Records request for information about the incident.  Leibham was among the Republican Senators approving Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights.  Leibham said the gas station received a phone call from a person who said it was a bad decision to conduct business with him (Leibham).

Leibham says the call reportedly came from a Sheboygan Area School District number and he is asking if the administration is aware of the call, if an employee made the call, and if the employee had been directed to make the call as part of his or her job responsibilities.

Gallianetti, in a responding e-mail this morning, said the district will be looking into the matter and getting back to Leibham in a timely manner.

Green Bay radio talk show host Jerry Bader, who has his show simulcast on Sheboygan’s WHBL 1330 AM, has more; including the email Leibham sent to the Sheboygan Area School District’s superintendent.

Bader redacted the number in his original post.

Dear Mr. Gallianetti,

It is my understanding that on the morning of Tuesday, April 19, 2011 a local gas station business received a phone call from a person inquiring whether I was conducting business at the location and whether I was still on the property. In addition, the person making the call suggested that it was a bad decision for the business owner to allow me to conduct business at his operation.

The phone call received at the local business came from the phone number 920-459-xxxx which I am told is a number connected to the taxpayer funded Sheboygan Area School District (SASD). As such, in an effort to gather information and pursuant to Wisconsin Public Records laws, I would appreciate your responses to the following questions:

Is the phone number 920-459-xxxx connected to the SASD and if yes, to what specific department, area or employee is the number assigned?

Are you or the administration of the SASD aware of the above referenced phone call being made on the morning of Tuesday, April 19, 2011?

If yes, which employee made this phone call?

If it was a SASD employee, what is the employee’s name, title and job responsibilities?

Was the SASD employee making the phone call per the direction of the SASD or as part of his/her job responsibilities?

Is it the responsibility of any SASD employee to monitor the personal activities of elected or other members of the public and it is the responsibility of any SASD employee to contact area businesses and advise them in their business practices?

What are the SASD’s policies regarding personal or political calls/activities during SASD work hours and with taxpayer funded SASD phones/resources?

Please provide me with a listing of all out-going calls from the 920-459-xxxx telephone number or any phone connected to this number for the period of January 1, 2011 to April 21, 2011.

Please provide me with any additional information you, the SASD Board of Directors or administration have regarding this matter.

I look forward to an acknowledgement of receiving this e-mail and to your timely response to my request for information.


Joe Leibham

Makes you wonder what will be found when the “There, there” is uncovered.

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Graphic of the Day

I seem to still need to have a chat with my tech guy [Read: Sean] about the inability to place graphics up on the blog.

So please, take a look at this chart from Politico showing statewide recounts since 1980 and the margins between the two candidates when the recount was requested.

I’d tell you where Prosser-Kloppenburg is, but why ruin the surprise?

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REPOST “Onto the Recount”

Just a repost from April 6th, when I assumed we were dealing with a sub-1000 vote recount.

This one, will be a waste of clerk time and taxpayer dollars, but this isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last a Dane County temper tantrum cost the state money.

Let me first of all say, I think when the base counting is done, David Prosser will still have the lead. I believe we’re now left with under 25 precincts and he’s still up over 800 votes.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the basics.

1) There will be no hanging chads.

No where in the Badger State does a butterfly ballot or anything close to it come into existence. The most popular type of ballot is “Optical Scan” with the difference being either “Filling in the Circle” (The choice in my hometown polling place in the Town of Schleswig in Manitowoc County) or “Finish the Arrow” (Popular in most cities).

This method will also speed up the recount, and not damage the ballots.

After that, the most popular choice among city, town, and municipal clerks is the simple “X the box.”

2) There are a Lot of Idiots Voting Out There.

Having worked as a volunteer in the 2002 Recount of Wisconsin’s 9th State Senate District between incumbent Jim Baumgart and challenger-now State Senator Joe Leibham, (Leibham won election night by 23 votes, won the recount by 46) you come to realize a lot of people have trouble following simple instructions; or had the electoral equivalent of a “Brain Fart” when they get behind the curtain. Folks will have both circles filled out, but one will have an “X” through it. People will write-in a candidate who already has a line.

And then there’s my favorite; the guy who starts filling out one arrow, realizes he screwed up, but “corrects it” by completing his arrow towards the other candidate. It takes infuriating to a whole new level.

3) That Noise You’re Hearing is the Lawyers Landing in Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay.

Name to know from the get-go: “Michael Maistelman.” He’s the state’s top elections attorney, and a Democratic hack.

Also, with Wisconsin’s Reince Priebus now RNC Chairman, expect to see some top national GOP talent on their way to Wisconsin. Many working in Wisconsin now also worked the Al Franken – Norm Coleman recount and have the experience to know what could be coming at them and will be ready for it.

Finally, this won’t come cheap. Expect to hear the formation of legal funds shortly.

4) Anticipate “Found Ballots,” Expect “Old Eyes.”

I might be popping a lot of theories about “Ballots in car trunks,” “Ballots in Backrooms,” and so on — not to say this couldn’t happen — but you’re more likely to have a massive flip of numbers in certain precincts because of a simple mix-up by the elderly poll workers in many of the smaller municipalities; especially those with “Fill in the Box” ballots. The only verification there is the poll workers, not the ballot-counting machines.

Think miscounts. Think ballots put on the wrong pile. It’s has happened before, and if it weren’t for the Towns of Liberty and Meeme in Manitowoc County doing just that in 2002, Joe Leibham probably wouldn’t be a State Senator.

5) Finally, There Will Be Good Days and Bad Days. Don’t Let it Get to You.

Really as simple as that. Can’t go any further.


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