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Random Thoughts and Quick Hits

Same-Day Reg­is­tra­tion

I’ve got a longer piece in to my edi­tors which should run either tonight or tomor­row, but the the­sis is along the lines of this.

So…let me get this right:  The same state polit­i­cal party which in 60 days claims it got over 1,000,000 sig­na­tures to recall Gov. Scott Walker is now say­ing they can’t han­dle the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing to set up a voter reg­is­tra­tion drive?

Puh-lease.  Same-day is about con­ve­nience, always has been.  It’s for those too lazy to reg­is­ter before hand and polit­i­cal par­ties and third-party groups too lazy to get the job done them­selves.  On top of it all, it makes the voter lists a dis­as­ter every two years because cities like Madi­son and Mil­wau­kee quit car­ing about track­ing col­lege stu­dents and more into pan­der­ing to them for votes on the local level.

Frankly, groups like United Coun­cil should be glad no one sug­gested what I’ve been call­ing for since I myself was a col­lege stu­dent: Manda­tory Absen­tee Bal­lots for all UW cam­puses.  You live at home, why the hell should be allowed to vote at school?  Bet­ter yet, why the hell should some “Coastie” be allowed to vote in Wis­con­sin when they’re back to New York or Cal­i­for­nia the sec­ond the ink is dry on their diploma?

The Big Ten Expansion

Color me not thrilled.

This is all about the money – none of which will go to either aca­d­e­mics or the foot­ball play­ers them­selves — and expand­ing the mar­ket reach of the Big Ten Net­work (or is it now the Big Four­teen Net­work) into the New York cable mar­ket with Rut­gers and the Wash­ing­ton, DC cable mar­ket with Maryland.

The cash-register is ring­ing, loudly in what is about the be an entire con­fer­ence with the most impres­sive foot­ball train­ing facil­i­ties mankind has ever pro­duced and cable TV dol­lars have bought.

But will the games be any good?  To the big-wigs at the Big Ten, they hon­estly don’t care as long as the checks keep clear­ing from alumni or otherwise.

Will the Ames Straw Poll End?

If only…

Is one of the quirki­est rit­u­als of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cal­en­dar head­ing for the grave?

It is, if Iowa’s Repub­li­can Gov. Terry Branstad has his say.

Eye­ing the wreck­age of the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, which Rep. Michele Bach­mann won only to fiz­zle as a can­di­date soon after, Mr. Branstad wants to do away with the whole thing.

I think the straw poll has out­lived its use­ful­ness,” Mr. Branstad said of the 33-year-old GOP rit­ual. “It has been a great fundraiser for the party but I think its days are over.”

Going back to 1979, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial con­tenders have flocked to Ames, Iowa, in August to eat fried food, dance to coun­try bands and whee­dle votes from the party faith­ful in what amounts to an overblown party fund-raiser dis­guised as a trial run for the real Iowa cau­cuses early the next year.

Its track record as an anoin­ter of GOP nom­i­nees falls far shy of impres­sive. Only two vic­tors, Bob Dole in 1995 and George W. Bush in 1999, went on to win the Iowa cau­cus the next year and then the nom­i­na­tion in Novem­ber. And only one, Mr. Bush, went on to become president.

It’s all there, the poll is a party fund raiser.  It helps bring bod­ies to the Iowa State Fair and every­one goes home happy.

Every­one except the cam­paigns, the can­di­dates and every­one else who doesn’t kiss the ring of the Iowa GOP Chair­man.  So don’t expect this over-glorified ego trip to go any­where any time soon.

NBC Wins Novem­ber Sweeps

And hell freezes over.

With 25 of the 28 nights of the sweeps period con­cluded, NBC is in first place among the valu­able adults 18–49 demo­graphic, aver­ag­ing a 2.8 rat­ing, up 17 per­cent from last fall. CBS won among total view­ers. The news con­tin­ues NBC’s over­all improved per­for­mance this sea­son, dri­ven by the fourth-quarter addi­tion of real­ity hit The Voice.

The fact we jumped from fourth [place] to first, and haven’t been in this posi­tion in nine years, is really aston­ish­ing to all of us,” says NBC Enter­tain­ment chair­man Bob Green­blatt on a con­fer­ence call with reporters Tues­day. “It feels great … there’s a kind of intan­gi­ble excite­ment in the build­ing. I think it’s infec­tious for our pro­duc­ers, our clients, our advertisers.”

That said, NBC has real­is­tic expec­ta­tions about the sec­ond half of the sea­son. The network’s pow­er­house sports fran­chise Sun­day Night Foot­ball will exit the field and suc­cess­ful new drama Rev­o­lu­tion and The Voice will soon take a break until March. Fox typ­i­cally becomes a com­pet­i­tive force start­ing in Jan­u­ary with the return of Amer­i­can Idol and has won the last eight sea­sons in a row.

Yes a “Win” in TV is win­ning the 18–49 demo­graphic.  CBS con­stantly wins on total view­ers, but many of them are of an older demo­graphic, which in the eyes of TV exec­u­tives don’t exist.

Why?  Because they’re done buy­ing things and least likely to respond to advertising.

Host­ess / Union Fail to Reach Deal

Rest in Peace Twinkies (Until the Mex­i­cans buy  the brand…oh the irony.  If only orga­nized labor got the joke?).

Host­ess Brands Inc, the bank­rupt maker of Twinkies and Won­der Bread, said on Tues­day that it failed to reach a deal in medi­a­tion with the Bak­ery, Con­fec­tionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union.

The com­pany said it will have no fur­ther com­ment until a hear­ing sched­uled for Wednes­day before the U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court for the South­ern Dis­trict of New York.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Bak­ery, Con­fec­tionery, Tobacco Work­ers and Grain Millers Inter­na­tional Union (BCTGM) did not imme­di­ately respond for comment.

The ail­ing com­pany, which also makes Won­der Bread and Drake’s cakes, went to bank­ruptcy court on Mon­day to seek per­mis­sion to liq­ui­date its busi­ness, claim­ing that its oper­a­tions were crip­pled by the bak­ers’ strike and that wind­ing down was the best way to pre­serve its dwin­dling cash.

But Bank­ruptcy Judge Robert Drain of the South­ern Dis­trict of New York urged the sides into a pri­vate medi­a­tion, prompted by a desire to pro­tect the more than 18,000 jobs at stake.

The union offered no com­ment huh?  Gee, you’d think they’d want to speak their side of things if as labor apol­o­gists say, they’re being slan­dered here.

Guess not.

I Think the Blaska is onto Something

Thought this myself a few times, but glad to see another writer put it down.  The “John Doe” witch hunt is for Democ­rats what the Geor­gia Thomp­son inves­ti­ga­tion was for Repub­li­cans (myself included), a too-good-to-be-true con­spir­acy the­ory where the hard­core haters in the oppo­si­tion believe it could bring down a sit­ting gov­er­nor they loathe.

And it seems his­tory has indeed repeated itself — com­plete with pros­e­cu­to­r­ial wish­ful think­ing.  The left is no doubt hop­ing that Tim Rus­sell flips on Walker, but given how even that case appears to be going no where, it’s safe to say the “John Doe” is done.

As for any wish­ful think­ing about “ille­gal cam­paign­ing,” it always amazes me how quickly the state press corps for­gets the name “Anson Kaye,” and how he mar­ried off one of their for­mer mem­bers after help­ing secure Doyle’s re-election on 2006.

Oh, how time flies since Melanie left her report­ing gig to be Doyle’s press sec­re­tary, huh?

I Don’t Tell Him How to Cel­e­brate Box­ing Day

Paul McCart­ney used to pride him­self on not being a mil­i­tant veg­e­tar­ian.  Guess those days are over, since the “Bea­t­les” leg­end is urg­ing peo­ple to have a “Turkey-Free Thanks­giv­ing” at the behest of.…you guessed it PETA.

So much for “Let it be” ah, Paul?

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