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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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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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