Archive for September, 2012

Cartoon of the Day

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Marc Webb Back as Director of “Amazing Spider-Man” Sequel

Smart move by Sony and Marvel’s film divi­sion.  It keeps con­ti­nu­ity and the cast trusts him.  Plus, styl­is­ti­cally, Webb took web-slinging cam­era angles to new and amaz­ing heights that Sam Raimi never even considered.

After help­ing Sony relaunch its biggest super­hero fran­chise by guid­ing “The Amaz­ing Spider-Man” to an impres­sive $751 mil­lion world­wide haul, direc­tor Marc Webb is set to return to helm “The Amaz­ing Spider-Man 2,” which will swing into the­aters in 3D on May 2, 2014. Pro­duc­tion will begin early next year with stars Andrew Garfield set to return as Peter Parker and Emma Stone in talks to reprise her role as love inter­est Gwen Stacy. Avi Arad of Arad Prods. will pro­duce with Matt Tol­mach. The sequel’s screen­play will be cred­ited to fre­quent tent­pole scribes Alex Kurtz­man and Roberto Orci, as well as Jeff Pinkner, based on a pre­vi­ous draft by James Van­der­bilt. In July, Colum­bia Pic­tures prexy Doug Bel­grad was quoted in the press as want­ing Webb to return while acknowl­edg­ing that “there are obsta­cles,” namely, that Webb owed Fox Search­light a movie after mak­ing his direc­to­r­ial debut with “(500) Days of Sum­mer” for that stu­dio. “We could not be more con­fi­dent in the direc­tion we are tak­ing this new Spider-Man sto­ry­line and we are tremen­dously excited to be ramp­ing up pro­duc­tion again with Marc at the helm and Andrew con­tin­u­ing on as Peter Parker,” said Bel­grad, who made the announce­ment along with pro­duc­tion prexy Han­nah Minghella. “We can’t wait to share what we have in store for Peter and Spider-Man with audi­ences worldwide.”

Webb is a Madi­son native.

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NFL Won the Referee Lockout">The NFL Won the Referee Lockout

Don’t mind me, I’m just look­ing at the deal which was just approved 112 to 5.

The best descrip­tion of the approved deal is at the Wash­ing­ton Post.

The deal runs through the 2019 sea­son and gives sig­nif­i­cant raises to the offi­cials, who are part-time employ­ees. The aver­age NFL offi­cial earned $149,000 last year. Under the new deal, that is to increase to an aver­age of $173,000 in 2013 and $205,000 in 2019.

The two sides had been par­tic­u­larly at odds over pen­sions, which seemed to emerge as the major stick­ing point late in the nego­ti­a­tions. Ref­er­ees wanted to retain their pen­sion plan, which the league appar­ently con­sid­ered too gen­er­ous, par­tic­u­larly for part-time employ­ees. The NFL wanted to switch the offi­cials to 401(k) retire­ment plans.

The com­pro­mise that was struck, accord­ing to an announce­ment by the league about the terms of the deal, would keep the pen­sion plan in place for cur­rent offi­cials for five years through the 2016 sea­son, at which point it will be frozen. Newly hired offi­cials will be given 401(k) retire­ment plans, as will all offi­cials begin­ning in 2017.

The league also sought dur­ing the nego­ti­a­tions to make some offi­cials full-time employ­ees and to increase the over­all num­ber of offi­cials to enhance its abil­ity to replace those offi­cials that it con­sid­ers to be under-performing.

The deal, accord­ing to the NFL’s announce­ment, allows the league to make some offi­cials full-time employ­ees begin­ning in 2013. It also allows the league to hire addi­tional offi­cials for train­ing and devel­op­ment, and gives the NFL the abil­ity to assign those offi­cials to work games. The league’s announce­ment said it could deter­mine the num­ber of newly hired offi­cials. There cur­rently are 121 officials.

So what does that all tell us.

1) Refs will be paid more.

Okay, the NFL makes a fleet of boat­loads of money annu­ally.  Most thought the ref­er­ees were going to get paid more any­way when this whole thing started in June.

ROUND WON BY: PUSH.

2) Pen­sions go bye-bye in 2017, new hires get a 401K.

So…all this pretty much tells me is we’re going to see a high turnover of expe­ri­enced NFL refs in five years when the pen­sion gets frozen after 2016.  Good to know that today’s B1G Ten offi­cials are tomorrow’s NFL ones.

If this was the stick­ing point in nego­ti­a­tions, all it did was speed up retire­ments. (Boy, that sounds famil­iar for Wis­con­sinites doesn’t it?)

ROUND WON BY: NFL.

3) Good­ell has the power to sack under-performing ref­er­ees mid-season

Frankly, I’m sur­prised he never had this abil­ity before now.

ROUND WON BY: NFL.

4) Good­ell gets his extra crews.

Guys like Mort and Adam over at ESPN seemed to think this was not going to hap­pen.  Well, it did.  So it means that Good­ell and future NFL com­mis­sion­ers have their extra crews for train­ing or even replace­ments for under-performing crews mid-season and thus tak­ing away pay for “Reg­u­lar refs.”

ROUND WON BY: NFL.

So we may have got­ten our “real refs” back tomor­row, but other than a short-term pub­lic rela­tions hit (which the NFL has only just begun to reverse the dam­age of), the League didn’t take too much on the chin in labor negotiations.

Remind me again why the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka thought this was a “win” for Labor exactly?

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Cartoon of the Day

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Senators Not Happy With Administration’s Answer on Libya

Finally, both par­ties remem­ber they have “Checks and Bal­ances” related pow­ers when it comes to dis­cov­er­ing what really hap­pened in Benghazi.

Sen­ate Democ­rats on Thurs­day will join their Repub­li­can col­leagues in press­ing the admin­is­tra­tion for more infor­ma­tion about the deadly attack that killed Ambas­sador Christo­pher Stevens and three other Amer­i­cans in Benghazi.

I will say that this has now turned into a very bipar­ti­san con­cern,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told Fox News Thurs­day morn­ing. “It’s my under­stand­ing today that all mem­bers of the For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee — both Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans — are ask­ing the admin­is­tra­tion for answers. So this is now some­thing that cer­tainly could never be col­ored as partisan.”

The Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee said a bipar­ti­san let­ter is in the works, but did not reveal details of what it would include.

The let­ter comes as Repub­li­cans have attacked the Obama administration’s mud­dled expla­na­tion of what hap­pened in Beng­hazi on the anniver­sary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Offi­cials ini­tially attrib­uted the attack to a spon­ta­neous protest against an anti-Islam video before label­ing the assault an act of ter­ror­ism sev­eral days later. The admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to say the attack was not planned in advance, despite Stevens’s reported con­cerns that he might have been on al Qaeda hit list and mul­ti­ple media reports that have called the administration’s account into question.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Liberals Cheer When Obama Does it, Screamed “Illegal!” When Walker Did it

This sound familiar?

Ear­lier this month on MSNBC, Rom­ney spokes­woman Andrea Saul said Pres­i­dent Obama “hasn’t cre­ated one sin­gle net new job since he’s been president.”

The claim, though lack­ing some con­text, was true in a lit­eral sense and served as an entic­ing line of attack for the Rom­ney cam­paign, fuel­ing his nar­ra­tive that Obama has failed to sub­stan­tially improve the economy.

But the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics found that it had under-counted pri­vate sec­tor net job growth from April 2011 through March 2012 by 453,000, and over-counted new gov­ern­ment jobs by 67,000. That’s 386,000 net new jobs cre­ated — enough to put Obama into pos­i­tive net job growth ter­ri­tory since tak­ing office, a time when the econ­omy was in free fall.

Rewind four months ago, and we all remem­ber this.

Wis­con­sin Depart­ment of Work­force Devel­op­ment spokesman John Dipko said the Washington-based agency con­firmed Wednes­day that Wis­con­sin added 23,608 jobs in 2011. That fig­ure is slightly higher than the ini­tial 2011 fig­ure pub­li­cized by Walker, which showed a gain of 23,321 last year.

How­ever, Rick Clay­ton, a senior Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics offi­cial on Wednes­day would only con­firm that the agency had com­pleted its review of Wisconsin’s 2011 jobs data.

Clay­ton, who over­sees the prepa­ra­tion of the state jobs data, declined to say whether the fig­ure used by Walker was accurate.

We have com­pleted our review of the data, and we will release that data on June 28,” which is the reg­u­larly sched­uled release data, Clay­ton said.

The jobs num­bers dom­i­nated polit­i­cal debate Wednes­day night after Walker’s announcement.

In response to Walker, Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Wis­con­sin Chair­man Mike Tate issued a state­ment claim­ing that Walker’s pre-release is “ille­gal” — a charge that a bureau offi­cial said is unfounded.

Tate cited a 2006 order by the com­mis­sioner of the bureau that said it is ille­gal to pre-release monthly bureau jobs data, which at the national level comes with a closely held embargo and is highly sen­si­tive because it can cause major moves in finan­cial markets.

But the monthly BLS data, which is col­lected and owned by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, is dif­fer­ent from the Quar­terly Cen­sus of Employ­ment and Wages data, which is the infor­ma­tion Walker released. The Quar­terly Cen­sus data is col­lected and owned by each state, Clay­ton said.

The commissioner’s order does not apply to the (Quar­terly Cen­sus of Employ­ment and Wages,),” Clay­ton said. “The states have the right to use it as they see fit.”

What the Obama BLS released today was the Quar­terly data.

Some­how, I missed the press release of rage from DPW.  Go figure.

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Packers’ T.J. Lang Sets “ReTweet Record”

Hon­estly, I never knew Twit­ter was even keep­ing track of this sort of thing.

Move aside, Justin Bieber and Floyd May­weather, there’s a new Twit­ter cham­pion: Green Bay Pack­ers offen­sive line­man T.J. Lang.

Fol­low­ing the Mon­day night offi­ci­at­ing deba­cle on the final play that gave the Seat­tle Sea­hawks a 14–12 vic­tory over the vis­it­ing Pack­ers, Lang sent out what would become the most retweeted unspon­sored post in Twit­ter history.

F*** it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the reg­u­lar refs,” Lang tweeted, except with­out the aid of edited profanity.

By Wednes­day after­noon, a lit­tle more than 36 hours after it was posted, Lang’s tweet broke the Twit­ter record when it sur­passed 92,314 retweets. Accord­ing to the Twit­sprout blog, that’s when Lang became No. 1 on the all-time retweet list by over­tak­ing Mayweather’s post from Jan. 10, 2012, when he called out fel­low boxer Manny Pacquiao.

Not far behind in sec­ond place was Bieber, the pop singer who had 87,882 fol­low­ers retweet him in Novem­ber 2011 when he posted, “I’M SEXY AND I KNOW IT.”

As of 6:30 p.m. CT Wednes­day, Lang’s tweet had 96,340 retweets, 4,000 more than the pre­vi­ous record.

The NFL has elected not to pun­ish Lang for the tweet.  Lang has since said the only thing he wished he didn’t use in his Twit­ter rage was the foul language.

Oh, and our long national night­mare is over…until the real refs screw up and NFL fans re-adjust their rage towards them.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

Just let this one sink in for a minute.  It’s a real thinker. ;-)

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