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Archive for April, 2014

Brewers’ Bullpen “Wang Chung” in St. Louis

Apparently this is a thing that Brewers bullpen catcher (talk about a sweet gig on any baseball team) Marcus Hanel has been doing for the past few weeks — dance videos in opposing teams’ cities to the song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by the ’80s New Wave group “Wang Chung.”

The videos are in honor of Taiwanese Brewers relief pitcher Wei-Chung Wang, and an obvious play on his name.  Here is the latest installment, by the St. Louis Arch.


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LeMahieu Changes from Assembly Run to Senate Run

All in all a good move.  Was not utterly impressed with the folks I was seeing as potential candidates for the GOP from Manitowoc.  Heard some nice things about Jill Hennessy, but Barry Nelson should opt for city council instead of state office to get some experience.

Losing primaries (lost to Paul Tittl in 2012) only makes you more like Mark Neumann, not anything close to a “citizen legislator.”

Sheboygan County Supervisor and Oostburg Republican Devin LeMahieu announced Tuesday that he’s dropping his state Assembly bid and will instead run to replace outgoing state Sen. Joe Leibham, who represents the 9th Senate District.

“We need a strong conservative candidate to represent the citizens in the 9th District,” LeMahieu said in a prepared statement. “This Senate race is vitally important in helping Gov. Walker to continue moving Wisconsin forward.”

The move marks a change in direction for LeMahieu, who in March announced his candidacy for the 26th Assembly District to replace two-term Sheboygan Rep. Mike Endsley, who’s not seeking re-election.

And now the bad news…

With LeMahieu now out of the Assembly race, that leaves perennial candidate Job Hou-Seye as the only Republican seeking Endlsely’s seat.


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WaPo: 2014 Starting to Look a Lot Like 2010

From “The Fix” blog at the WashingtonPost.com.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll offers fresh evidence that Democrats are facing major enthusiasm problems within their base that make it difficult — if not impossible — for them to rebuild the winning coalition put together by President Obama in 2012.

While nearly seven in 10 of all registered voters say they are “absolutely certain” to vote in November, several key Democratic constituencies are much less committed to voting. Barely half of voters ages 18 to 39 are certain about voting (53 percent) and 55 percent of non-whites describe themselves as certain to cast a ballot. By contrast, more than seven in 10 whites and voters older than 40 say they will definitely cast ballots — both groups that have favored Republicans in the past two elections.

The turnout gap is smaller among self-identified partisans, with Democrats six percentage points less apt than Republicans to be certain voters (72 percent vs. 78 percent). Closing that gap, however, could be difficult, given that Democrats are more than twice as apt to rate themselves “50-50” or less likely to vote; 15 percent of Democrats say this, compared with 5 percent of Republicans.

Beyond core partisans, independents who tilt Democratic are strikingly less motivated. Nearly three-quarters of independents who lean Republican are “certain” voters (74 percent), compared with just 50 percent of Democrats.

The dynamic parallels Republicans’ turnout advantage in 2010. In that election, turnout dropped sharpest among young voters, African Americans and Hispanics. Those who showed up supported Republican House candidates over Democrats by 51 to 45 percent, despite Democrats holding leads among polls of registered voters. In the final Post-ABC pre-election poll, Democrats led by five points among all voters but trailed by four points among likely voters — a nine-point swing driven entirely by voting at higher rates.

Democrats of course, know all this.  That’s why you’ve seen so much attempts to manufacture outrage about various state voting laws and other issues — it’s not about “correcting the grievance, it’s about ensuring blacks vote in November so the Democratic bleeding is mitigated.

Ironically, here in Wisconsin, Democrats like Chris Larson seem to think that attacking school choice is going to get them black votes in November.  How he thinks that might happen is anyone’s guess.

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LeVar Burton: Comic Books Started My Love of Reading

As a kid, I used to love watching “Reading Rainbow.”  Though the show no longer airs on PBS since 2009, it does live on.

In 2012, the production team created an iPod and Kindle app which airs new episodes and relates new books for kids. It also shows “video field trips” and is the #1 educational or Kids app on both machines.

Saturday is the annual “Free Comic Book Day,” where shops across the nation will offer up to 60 free titles to anyone who enters their stores.  Marvel is giving out a book tied to their upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie while DC Comics has one tied to a company-wide crossover slated for this fall.

Burton takes a bit of his day to not only promote “Free Comic Book Day,” but gives a little insight into what got him reading in the first place and how comic books kept this army brat in touch with U.S. culture while his dad served in Germany.


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Warner Bros. Wants a “Justice League” film by 2018

Honestly, the more I read about moves like this, the more I get inclined not to see it when it comes out.  In my mind, Warner Bros. is only seeing these properties as something they can make money off of, not respect the source material or the longtime fans of the comics.

It’s not a well-kept secret that since the end of the movies revolving around the Harry Potter books, Warner has been scrambling for a franchise to get butts in the seats of movie theaters every summer or so.  And watching Disney makes billions hand-over-fist with its various Marvel Studios films has them seeing green — both in envy and in dollar signs.

Confirming the studio’s plans for a movie based on its iconic super-team for the first time, Warner Bros. president of worldwide production Greg Silverman said the studio has set plans to make a “Justice League” movie.

Like “Man of Steel” and its follow-up, which starts production next month, “Justice League” will be directed by Zack Snyder. Henry Cavill is expected to return as Superman, along with Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, who play Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively, in 2016’s “Man of Steel” sequel tentatively titled “Batman vs. Superman.”

“It will be a further expansion of this universe,” said Mr. Silverman. “’Superman vs Batman’ will lead into ‘Justice League.’”

A script is still in development and Warner has not set a release date, though the movie is unlikely to come out before 2018. Mr. Silverman would not comment on what other heroes might join Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in the movie. However the studio has recently been casting the role of Cyborg, a half-robotic hero who is expected to have a cameo in “Batman vs. Superman” and then appear in “Justice League.” Other DC heroes who have been in Justice League comic books include Aquaman, Flash and Green Lantern.

The plans for three superhero movies in relatively quick succession show how intent Warner is on catching up with rival Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios in building a cinematic superhero universe after years lagging behind.

Although the “Dark Knight” trilogy was a hit, Warner’s other efforts such as “Green Lantern” and “Jonah Hex” have flopped. A “Justice League” movie with a young cast that was to be directed by George Miller of “Mad Max” fame nearly went into production in 2008 but was killed at the last minute.

What worries me about a “Justice League” movie isn’t that it might threaten Marvel’s dominance.  If anything, it will lead to competition which will only drive Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige and Joe Quesada (Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer) harder.  It’s that Warner is showing why Marvel was smart to do what they did (build their universe through characters first, then the team) in the first place.

Prior to Marvel’s first “Iron Man” movie, the Hollywood thinking was “introduce the team, then build the players into franchises.”  Marvel inverted that.  Clearly, that is why they did “Hulk,” then “Thor,” then “Captain America” mixed in with “Iron Man 2” along the way before we finally got to “The Avengers.”   The point was, “origin story for each of them, get the masses knowing who these characters are, then have them team-up.”

Warner’s clearly has no intention of doing that.  Already behind in both years (and billions in revenue) of getting their comic book films off the ground — Superman and Batman films not included — they feel they have to jump head first into getting “Justice League” up and running.  Honestly, while the geek in me might be thrilled to see it finally happening, I have real worries that suddenly these film become origin story train wrecks and exposition dialogue dumps as characters tell the audience who they are, how they got their powers, and why they’ve suddenly shown up in Metropolis or Gotham City, or any of the other fake cities throughout the DC Universe.

Already the unnamed, already delayed “Batman / Superman” film is going to have appearances by “Wonder Woman” and “Cyborg” — two current Justice Leaguers in DC Comics — in it.  Will these characters be cameos, or will they be given subplot arcs which will only drag down the movie?  Nobody knows because reports and rumors keep coming out saying the script is constantly being rewritten.

At this rate, I’m half-expecting Aquaman in a post-credits scene which takes place at an aquarium.

As for sticking with Zach Snyder as director, honestly, after the mess he made of “Man of Steel,” I can’t think of what drugs the suits at Warner Bros. are on to consider him “Their Guy” when it comes to comic book movies.


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John Oliver Lambasts “Cover Oregon” Collapse with Lisa Loeb

John Oliver left “The Daily Show” last year after a successful summer filling in for John Stewart while Stewart was overseas making a movie (not starring in one, producing and/or directing it), as a result, the gang over at HBO gave him his own show, “Last Week Tonight.”

Pretty much, it’s a recap of the week’s news, just like “The Daily Show” and allows Oliver to still do other projects like appear on NBC’s “Community” and do stand-up.

Last night, the cheeky Brit took on the utter mess that is “Cover Oregon,” the Beaver State’s joke of a state exchange website which has cost nearly $250M to operate and or attempt to fix which has signed up exactly ZERO people in nearly eight months of service.  Of particular note in this clip is the use of Lisa Loeb, who is best known for the song “Stay (I Missed You)” from back in the 90s and has since gone into folk music, as they mock the ads the state bureaucracy made to try to sell the non-function website.


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Cartoon of the Day


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Cartoon of the Day


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