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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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