I’m gone for the next week, so the content will come from Shoebox and the long list of guest-bloggers.
See you next week Sunday.
The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.
I’m gone for the next week, so the content will come from Shoebox and the long list of guest-bloggers.
See you next week Sunday.
That didn’t take too long – Rasmussen Reports released a fresh poll on the gubernatorial race, and Republican front-runner and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is up on Democrat presumptive nominee and City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett 48%-41%, his largest lead since February. Meanwhile, former Congressman Mark Neumann once again inched ahead of Barrett 44%-42%, after they were tied in April.
While one might say that, and the simultaneous Senate poll, reflects a RPW convention bounce, a couple of other items in that poll suggest otherwise. President Barack Obama’s approval/disapproval split was 49%/50% (Approval Index -9), significantly better than his contemporary overall -8 to -14 national spread (Approval Index between -16 and -22) and a slight improvement of his April 48%/52% (Approval Index -9) numbers.
Meanwhile, Governor Jim Doyle, who is (at least as of this moment) not running for re-election, saw his overall approval/disapproval split improve from 37%/60% (Approval Index -17) in April to 41%/57% (Approval Index -18).
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson is the Republican Party of Wisconsin-endorsed candidate. There’s a few items that have happened since then.
Rasmussen Reports took a poll of 500 likely voters, and found that Russ Feingold (D-WI) holds a mere 46%-44% lead over Johnson. Feingold continues to have a 6-point lead over Terrence Wall (47%-41% this month, compared to 49%-43% in April), and a 9-point lead over Dave Westlake (47%-38% this month, compared to 49%-38% in April).
Meanwhile, George Will is singing the praises of Johnson. Will praised Johnson’s choice of reading material (“Atlas Shrugged”), and noted that, unlike John Galt, Johnson chose to run.
WisPolitics is reporting that the Senate campaign of Terrence Wall, in the wake of losing the RPW endorsement race to Johnson, is imploding. They are reporting that his campaign manager, Ryan Murray, is out, that his honorary campaign co-chairs, Jim Klauser (Tommy Thompson’s Secretary of Administration) and Mary Buestrin (the RPW national committewoman), will be endorsing Johnson (Buestrin is obligated to do so as a party official), and that his departure from the race is “imminent”.
For his part, Westlake told WISN-AM’s Jay Weber this morning he’s in it until the end.
Revisions/extensions (3:12 pm 5/27/2010) - Here’s the official statement from the Wall campaign:
With great reluctance, I am withdrawing my candidacy from the United States Senate race against Russ Feingold. Since we began this journey last October, I have been so grateful for the support of Wisconsinites hungry for real fiscal conservatism and change in their government. And no matter how much I want to stay in and fight, I feel the honorable thing to do is exit.
When I started this effort, I had two goals: First, to turn this country around before it’s too late, and second, to prove that Russ Feingold could be defeated. We did show that we could win this race and we did so running an honest, clean campaign.
Last October, the polls showed us down double-digits and few had heard my name outside of Dane County. Recent polling now shows that we have closed within the margin of error.
As I traveled across this great State, county-to-county, city-to-city and handshake-to-handshake, I realized that the vast number of people I’ve met believe that we need people just like us to bring structural change to Washington.
The Republican Party has an opportunity in this environment to bring in new and out-of-the-box candidates who have made the grassroots effort and done the hard work that is necessary to beat Russ Feingold.
I will continue to fight for fundamental change, such as those solutions I present in my Patriots’ Bill of Rights. I urge you to go to www.patriotsbillofrights.org and sign the Patriots’ Bill of Rights. Just as our politicians try to govern us, so now we must govern them.
I cannot begin to express my sincere gratitude for all of the people I’ve met on the trail who have supported me, from those who have volunteered on my campaign and provided financial support, to the thousands of honest, hardworking Americans that I’ve met as I traveled the state over the last seven months.
I’ll continue to be involved in getting our country turned around, but it’s time for me to take a step back and take a hard look at how we move our country and the Republican Party forward.
Jerry Bader found the last interview Dick Leinenkugel did as a candidate, done with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Leinenkugel blamed talk radio for his demise, and claimed the GOP needs to “broaden” the party.
I would say that actions such as endorsing combined reporting (done after he entered the race) and being a key part of the Dirty Talgo Deal did more to torpedo his campaign than simply being the “token opposition party Cabinet member”. Of course, talk radio is what brought those actions out of the memory hole.
I really wish I would have made Sunday’s session. However, allergies really knocked me flat, so I missed the big surprises of the convention – Dick Leinenkugel dropping out, and Ron Johnson earning both Leinenkugel’s and the party’s endorsements. Let’s see if I can play catch-up as part of the wrap.
Before I get to the main part, I do need to clarify to those not familiar with what an RPW endorsement means. It gives the endorsed candidate access to party money, staff and lists. It does not either make the endorsed candidate’s ballot access easier (much less guaranteed) or make the other candidates’ ballot access harder. All candidates still need to circulate and get the same number of signatures on nomination papers filed with the Government Accountability Board.
Speaking of that second result, it is a recognition that the RPW under Chairman Reince Priebus has made significant strides in regaining its small-government mantle after the Thompson-Graber-Schultz-Gard era.
Jordahl noted three elements that would earn the Twitter #fail hashtag for those who actually pay attention. First, after trying to get a massive protest organized through his “50,000 Facebook friends”, he was only able to get a few dozen to show up, and most of those were from his campaign staff. Second, among those few dozen was at least one credentialed delegate, who as a delegate had full access (and indeed, voting rights in the endorsement process). Third, Neumann himself promptly went back into the hall and voted in the endorsement process.
I might have noted this before on the blog, but Neumann hadn’t exactly been trying to court either the party regulars or the Tea Party movement crowd in the first 7 months of his campaign. When he finally tried to tie himself to any portion of the Tea Party movement, he chose the national Tea Party Express rather than any of the local groups, such as the Racine, Wausau or Oshkosh Tea Party groups.
Something I had not had the opportunity to mention prior because I didn’t quite complete the background research also breaks part of that conventional wisdom – the only state or federal-level donation I could find from Leinenkugel was a single 2004-cycle donation to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee. Again, keep that in mind.
There is a recognition that in a high-cost race, one-on-one campaigning simply isn’t enough. That lesson was driven home in 2004, when the NRSC and a previous RPW leadership took their wads of cash and went home after Tim Michels upset their prefered candidate, Russ Darrow, in the primary. The victim of that was Dave Westlake, who went out of the endorsement race on the first ballot with 15.1% of the vote.
Repeating one of the themes in the lieutenant governor’s endorsement race, record matters. In this case of political neophytes, it was Terrence Wall’s donation record, littered with donations to various Democrats, from Jim Doyle to Tammy Baldwin, that overwhelmed everything else. It even overwhelmed a closing trend on Russ Feingold in polls. He didn’t get higher than 23.6% of the endorsement vote, and that was on the first of the two ballots.
The best theme was Ben Collins’ military theme. He had ammo boxes and a pair of shooting games (one electronic, one airsoft gun). The RACC highway signs were pretty nice as well, but the fact they were stuck on a different floor than the main set of suites hurt the attendance.
Since updates might be fast and furious, I’ll be firing up Cover It Live for the endorsement liveblog.
Revisions/extensions (4:22 pm 5/22/2010) - In case you missed the liveblog, Scott Walker was overwhelmingly endorsed by the convention with 91.3% of the vote.
R&E part 2 (6:31 pm 5/22/2010) - Yes, we’re running way late. Round 1 of lieutenant governor endorsement balloting done, and Brett Davis led with 37.40%. Dave Ross (25.20%) Ben Collins (13.85%) also move on to round 2. Rebecca Kleefisch eliminated with 13.75%.
The Senate endorsement votes will be tomorrow.
R&E part 3 (7:42 pm 5/22/2010 - There will be no endorsement in the lieutenant governor’s race. Unofficially, Brett Davis ended the 3rd and final ballot with a bit under 50%, with Dave Ross a bit under 34%.
Sorry for the general lack of updates, but net access was a bit limited last night, and I don’t have a lot of time before I have to take off to the Midw…er, Frontier Airlines Center. First things first, Rep. Paul Ryan and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty spoke at the chairman’s reception last night at the Harley Museum. Audio links are:
In case you missed my Twitter feed, last night’s highlight was the hospitality rooms. A sign the convention is crowded – nobody had enough food. I’d have to say the first-night winner was Ben Collins, who had an airsoft gun range set up (the gun was shooting a bit high and right) as part of his military-themed room. Other unique rooms were Scott Walker’s Arizona-themed room (complete with a live band), Mark Neumann’s luau-themed room (yes, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt), and Dave Ross’ 50s-themed room. Also with rooms last night were Rebecca Kleefisch, Dave Westlake, David King, Terrence Wall (who was serving up cotton candy and sno-cones), and Brett Davis (who, other than Walker, had the most-consistently crowded room). Down on the first floor were several candidates for the 8th Congressional seat, while Ron Johnson set up a spread on the balcony and Dick Leinenkugel was meeting-and-greeting.
In any case, it’s off to today’s main floor session and some interviews.
Yes, I’m late to this, but I didn’t have time to dig beyond the headline of “Chrysler repays $1.9 billion of its TARP loan” before now. As you can tell by my headline, it wasn’t UAW Motors that repaid it.
Let’s walk back to what went out the door to the Chrysler-related companies run by Cerebus before and during its bankruptcy:
In its write-up of the repayment, The Detroit News mentioned something about the original $4 billion loan I had not known before – the Bush administration placed a $2 billion lien on Chrysler Financial. That lien formed the basis of the continuing claim on the greater of $1.375 billion or 40% of Chrysler Financial’s distributions to the Cerebus subsidiary that was the parent Chrysler Holding company (incorrectly reported earlier as 40% of equity in Chrysler Financial) as it wound down following the Obama administration’s decree that GMAC and not Chrysler Financial handle loans for Chrysler vehicles.
I’ll pick up with the Treasury Department press release (which also offered the correction on the “40%”). Old Chrysler was liquidated on April 30, with, as expected, no repayment of the $5.4 billion debt retained by the company. The $1.9 billion in DIP financing was extinguished at that point, with some small unspecified claims from the sale of certain assets retained by the Treasury. That left only the Chrysler Financial claim to repay at least part of the TARP loan.
Cerebus ultimately coughed up $1.9 billion of that. The Detroit News quoted a Treasury spokesperson as saying that the payment came from “both distributions from Chrysler Financial and contributions from its equity owners”. That was sufficient to satisfy the remaining claim on Chrysler Financial, probably because it was more than the $1.375 billion “floor”, even though it was less than the $2 billion lien the Bush administration put on Chrysler Financial and Chrysler Financial isn’t quite fully wound down.
The remaining $2.1 billion of the TARP loan, as well as the $1.9 billion DIP financing, has thus been written off. Combined with the $7.1 billion UAW Motors still owes the federal government, with the first payments scheduled to begin next year, that leaves $11.1 billion still out there. Given Chrysler’s continuing sliding market share, I somehow doubt the Treasury will get $7.1 billion in payments or $4 billion for their 8%-9.85% equity stake.
I’m running out of witty titles (some of you would say I never had witty titles), but given Ronnie James Dio died this week, there’s only one voice to play today…
For those of you needing a good laugh, JammieWearingFool found some “unfortunately-named” products for you to enjoy.
That’s the kind of stuff I want to see in the comments. Go to it, and good luck.
In case you haven’t heard, Today is Draw Mohammed Day. Since I’m only fair-to-middling with my Photoshop skills, and I have ZERO ink skills, I decided to adapt my Twitter pic for the occasion, showing Mohammed entering and exiting the 21st Century….
For the third year, I’ll be covering the Republican Party of Wisconsin State Convention. I’ll be joined by a few of my friends:
If you can’t make it down to Milwaukee for the fun, stick around, visit the friends, and stay tuned for the news from the convention. Of course, if you can make it to Milwaukee, come on down – there’s going to be so many people here that the RPW needed to get the Midw…er, Frontier Airlines Center for Saturday’s portion.
Revisions/extensions (5:18 pm 5/19/2010) - There’s some rather good, learned takes that are better than mine out there. First up, there’s a whole series from Jim Geraghty. Then, there’s Melissa Clouthier, who linked to this missive. DaTechguy compared and contrasted PA-12 with Massachusetts. Stacy McCain filed a back-home closing dispatch after spending a lot of shoe leather in the district. Go read their takes as well.
In case you missed the toplines from yesterday’s primaries (and special election for the seat formerly held by John Murtha), Arlen “Scottish Law” Specter (D-PA) is now a lame-duck Senator, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is headed for a runoff in her primary, Rand Paul knocked off Trey Grayson in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary, and the Democrats hung onto the House seat formerly held by John Murtha. Let’s see if I can make any sense out of all that.
The first two items are actually the same phenomenon – After riding the nutroot wave to power, Barack Obama has become The Establishment, and the nutroots are as anti-Establishment as ever. When old Scottish Law became Specter the Defector (credit BobNoxious’ mom for that one), Obama and the establishment in the Pennsylvania Democrat Party embraced him. Joe Stestak ran as the “real” Democrat, and won going away.
Meanwhile, Blanche Lincoln, despite voting (or perhaps because she voted) with Harry Reid and Barack Obama, couldn’t pull 50%+1 to avoid a runoff with nutroot-approved Lt. Gov. Bill Haller. I’m still waiting for the presstitute exposés on how the nutroots have taken over the Democrat Party at the state level.
That brings me to the mixed-bag main events, ones that may have implications for Wisconsin. The first is the Paul trouncing of Grayson. Paul wholly-embraced the Tea Party movement, with full reciprocity. Meanwhile, Grayson clung solely to the establishment that tried to install him. The results weren’t even close, even though (or more-likely because) it was a closed primary limited to Republican party members.
I’m sure the Mark Neumann camp would like to make hay of that result. However, they already botched the attempt to tie themselves to the Tea Party movement; while Neumann waited until February 2010, a full year after the movement began and 7 months after he entered the race, to publicly reach out to Tea Party-related groups, Scott Walker was out there early and often.
That brings me to what is being spun as the “Big Dem Win” – Mark Critz’s 7.6-point win over Tim Burns in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district, the seat formerly held by John Murtha. While on the surface, it is a big win, the fact that normal primary elections happened at the same time means one can quantify just how unpopular even a Dem who ran away from the Dem agenda, as Critz did, is. In the 3-person Democrat primary for the full-term fall election, just under 81,000 Democrats participated, with just under 46,000 Republicans participating in their 2-person primary (also won by Burns), which made for a participation margin of D+27.6 points. In the special election, 10,000 of those who voted in the Democrat primary did not vote for Critz, 15,000 who did not vote in the Republican primary voted for Burns, with 3,000 voting for the Libertarian candidate. That still leaves a 20-point swing away from the Dem column and to the GOP column.
22,000 23,000 (forgot to round up) votes in the Democrat primary that did not go to Critz. Somehow, I doubt 10,000 of them voted in the Democrat primary, then turned around to vote for Burns in the special election, so I’ll take the scenario that those 10,000 simply didn’t vote in the special election. Even with that assignment, Critz would have only won by 14 points, a 13.6-point swing to the Republicans.
Neither Steve Kagen (the Dem Congressman in the 8th District) nor Julie Lassa (the Dem state senator who is the anointed candidate for the 7th Congressional seat being vacated by Dave Obey) can be too happy with that bit of math. The 8th is considered a “swing” district, even after the last 2 elections, while the 7th isn’t nearly as Democratic as Pennsylvania’s 12th. Moreover, neither Kagen (who proudly proclaimed he was one of the architechts of PlaceboCare) nor Lassa (who voted for Healthy-and-Depopulated Wisconsin back in 2007) can credibly run as anything other than Huge Government Liberal Democrats.
If you’re not reading American Thinker, you are missing out on some of the brightest minds in political thought. Most outfits would put their “B-side” blog as their front page. A pair of posts from Monty Pelerin and Vasko Kohlmayer on the American debt bomb that is about to go off are prime examples of that. First, Mr. Pelerin on a possible doomsday scenario:
It is likely that Greece represents the prototype for early US responses. Political denial and cowardice will defer hard decisions. Eventually external forces will force action. The US government will become the same Pavlovian dog conditioned to respond to riots and violence. California is likely to be the first “trainer.” If the US government resists bailing out CA, then the streets of CA will be the learning center for the US Pavlovian dog. When (and I believe they will) the US government bails out CA, there is no end to the beggars that will show up. Eventually we run out of money, at least money that can be raised in financial markets. (We may be at this point already.)
My guess, and it is only that, is that the US government will do everything it can to avoid the necessary cuts and the resulting violence in the streets. That implies massive monetization to fund commitments. Ultimately that will destroy the currency and result in an hyperinflationary depression that will cause markets to cease to function other than on a barter system. Savings and fixed income pensions will be destroyed.
While printing money might buy some time, it will worsen outcomes, including worse violence. A hyperinflationary depression will destroy the country and perhaps our mode of government.
Somehow, I think that’s the goal. All the Boomers who are running things need to do is keep the plates spinning for another 20 years or so.
Next, Mr. Kohlmayer explains the nature of the public debt (link to Wikipedia removed as I don’t trust Wikipedia as far as I can throw it):
If anything, Intragovernmental Holdings – the part Mr. Hall terms “soft” – would be far more difficult to renege on than the other portion of the debt, since it concerns retirement money of Americans. One can well imagine the outrage that would erupt if one day politicians announced that we were going to simply “forget” about it. Given that senior citizens are electorally most potent demographic, no politician would ever dare to suggest that we do such a thing.
If any portion of the debt will ever get repealed it would be the Debt Held by the Public. Given that most Americans do not own government bonds, initially this form of default would directly affect only a comparatively small portion of the population. Much of the immediate loses would be, in fact, borne by foreign central banks and governments that hold US dollars as reserve currency. There would, of course, be much anger and protestations on their part. Politicians, however, would much prefer to face the wrath of foreigners than of their own citizens, since the Chinese cannot participate in our elections (or at least they are not supposed to)….
I do have to raise a point of order or two at this point. First, attempts by governments to renege on foreign-held debt have historically been met with war. Something tells me that the ChiComs aren’t simply going to walk away from north of $2 trillion, even in the “kinder, gentler” Third Millenium.
Second, that day of reckoning on the Intragovernmental Holdings is coming. It won’t affect those at or very near retirement, but those of my generation (the aptly-named GenX) are already being conditioned to accept that government won’t be there for us, even as we’re being told that we have to pay and pay and pay and pay for the lack of foresight on the part of our elders by not producing enough of us to keep the SocSecurity Ponzi scheme going while blindly depending on pensions that for the most part died before they got to use them.
The question is, will the publicly-held debt bomb explode before the Boomers die off? Something tells me that the proverbial spinning plates are already wobbling beyond stability.
Back to Mr. Kohlmayer for his close:
The dire nature of our fiscal situation has been recently pointed out by the International Monetary Fund which explicitly warned that the US national debt is soon to exceed 100 percent of GDP. The Fund cautioned that if nothing is done the figure will rise dramatically in the years ahead. Paradoxically, the IMF recommended that the amount by which the US needed reduce its structural deficits was greater than that recommended for Greece.
With the deficit projected to hit 10.6 percent of GDP this year and with long-term unfunded entitlement liabilities of some 104 trillion, the United States is indeed quickly becoming Greece on the Atlantic’s western shore.
The AP has a story out this morning which shows that Jeremiah Wright (I refuse to call him “Reverend” anymore) has publicly recognized that he’s seen the underside of the Obama motor coach. According to the article, after a request to lobby the White house for funds for Africa, Wright wrote:
“No one in the Obama administration will respond to me, listen to me, talk to me or read anything that I write to them. I am ‘toxic’ in terms of the Obama administration,”
Apparently Jeremiah is not quite as delusional as I thought he was. While I’m sure he still doesn’t understand that it was his own idiotic and racist statements that landed him under the bus, he certainly recognizes the tread marks on his chest.
Jeremiah however, isn’t really what caught my interest in the AP story. The story goes on to tell about Muhammad Ali’s former manager, Arthur Morrison, and how, while in prison, he is apparently trying to aid children in Haiti via a charity. Read this:
Prischak (an associate of Morrison’s) told Wright in a Feb. 11 letter that he was seeking the clergyman’s help in reaching out to the U.S. Treasury Department. He said that Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussein, had entrusted 87 million British pounds in 1990 to Morrison and Ali to buy pharmaceuticals, milk and food for the children of Iraq.
Uday Hussein of the famed “mustard gas on Kurds” Husseins has left money for a charity to buy “pharmaceuticals” for Iraq’s children? I wonder if this fund is managed by Mr. Clemen Okon in Nigeria?
There’s obviously a punchline, if not two or three, in here somewhere. I’m just too slow to figure out what it is!
So, I’m reading through an AP article about the DOW’s wild ride today and come across this sentence:
Investors are questioning whether steep budget cuts in countries including Greece, Spain and Portugal will hinder an economic recovery in Europe.
Do “investors” not understand that each and every dollar that is spent by any government is appropriated from the private sector somewhere?
Even after the experience of Obama’s “stimulus”, are “investors” still delusional enough to believe that government spending actually stimulates anything?
Do “investors” not understand that without dramatic changes in most government spending that nations one by one will see defaults?
Do “investors” not understand that their desire for increased government spending is simply satisfying a short term thrill for long term, significant pain?
Real investors understand each of the items I outlined. However, the bunch of government, teat sucking sycophants that operate wall street don’t. Those “investors” are morons!
For many years, cougars have been but a ghostly rumor in Wisconsin, showing up now and then in mysterious sightings but quickly melting again into the dusk of the forest and the realm of imagination.
Now, however, cougars are back, and state Department of Natural Resources workers must develop a plan for how to deal with a powerful animal that hasn’t lived in Wisconsin since about 1910.
The state Department of Natural Resources has confirmed three wild cougars in Wisconsin over the past two years through sightings and genetic testing, said Adrian Wydeven, a DNR wildlife biologist, and the agency has received many more unconfirmed cougar sighting reports. Though it is unclear whether the cats were resident animals or passing through, state wildlife workers need to know how to deal with them and how to prevent clashes between cougars and people as the animals move into the state.
Too bad “24” has been cancelled – we could’ve brought the show to Wisconsin for a reunion between Kim “Cougar Bait” Bauer and a cougar.
That is the Brewers’ home record percentage so far this year. How pathetic is 4-14? Let me count the ways:
Boo stale beer!
In a statement released by the Terrence Wall campaign, former Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum said:
Terrence Wall has balanced budgets for the last 20 years as a small business owner. That’s exactly the kind of experience we need in Washington today. I’m endorsing Terrence because I know he will stand up to the power brokers in Washington – Democrats or Republicans – and fight for a balanced budget that won’t saddle our children with any more debt. As Governor, I wasn’t afraid to propose true spending cuts, and I know Terrence won’t be either.
This ties into a pledge from Wall last week to vote only for a balanced budget.
Normally, an ex-governor’s endorsement would be gigantic news. However, McCallum was a “caretaker” governor who happened to be lieutenant governor when Tommy Thompson left for the Bush administration, and his attempts to put Wisconsin on a track toward budget solvency wasn’t well-received even by his fellow Republicans.
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