No Runny Eggs

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.

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Archive for posts by steveegg.

April 16, 2014

The Bucks have been sold for $550 million

by @ 16:10. Filed under Business, Politics - Milwaukee, Sports.

Today, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge-fund managers Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for $550 million pending NBA approval, with the proviso that the team stay in Milwaukee and not become, potentially, the next incarnation of the Seattle Sonics. The three also announced that they would kick in a total of $200 million toward a replacement for the BMO Harris Bradley Center; $100 million from the new owners and $100 million from the old owner.

On the sports end of the story, hopefully the new owners will put a competitve product out on the court more often than once every 6 years (which, not exactly coincidentally, was inevitably the year Kohl was up for re-election ot the Senate).

The word is that a new arena will cost somewhere north of $500 million. I know Wikipedia is less than fully-reliable, but I went through the entries for the 14 aremas built for existing franchises that opened since 1997, and only the newest arena, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, came in at over $500 million when it was built. That $1 billion cost shattered the previous record of $480 million for Orlando’s Amway Center, which was built in 2010, and $420 million for Dallas’ American Airlines Center, which was built in 2001.

Even when adjusting for inflation, only 4 modern arenas came in at over $500 million – the Barclays Center ($1.03 billion in 2014 dollars), the American Airlines Center ($559 million in 2014 dollars), Los Angeles’ Staples Center (opened in 1999 for $375 million, or $531 million in 2014 dollars), and the Amway Center ($514 million in 2014 dollars). The average inflation-adjusted cost of the modern NBA arena, including the Barclays Center, was just under $400 million, with that dropping to $351 million if one ignores the New York Bloat.

I have to wonder whether Milwaukee is ready to shell out for the second-most-expensive arena in the NBA. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, just interviewed on the Mark Belling Show, said that he had not heard any solid plans for financing a new arena. Given the most-likely sites of the former Park East freeway just north of the Bradley Center and the lakefront (which are the parts of downtown without any buildings) are county-owned land, one would expect Abele to be in the loop.

Belling is spitballing the idea that it would be privately owned. There’s a world’s worth of difference between $200 million and $500 million, or even $351 million if the historical average holds. Naming rights wouldn’t cover it – not even the record-setting purchase by Barclays for the Brooklyn arena would cover the $300 million spread. Worse, while other sports venues have worked aignificant money out of naming rights, the Bradley Center board hasn’t been nearly as successful. The entire Bradley Center corporate sponsorship package was revealed to be a mere $18 million over 6 years when BMO Harris bought the naming rights 2 years ago.

The $550 million, plus another $100 million committment toward a new arena, is an amazing price, considering Forbes valued the franchise at $405 million just three months ago. Even though there was reportedly a 9-group bidding war, that does not explain that much of a premium given the no-move proviso. Given all three principals are big-time Democrats (Kohl a Democrat as a Senator, Edens and Lasry as massive, active donors to Democrats), someone might want to keep an eye on Kohl’s still-active Senate campaign committee.

Revisions/extensions (5:18 pm 4/16/2014) - The total $650 million (including the $100 million new arena committment) sale price shatters the previous record sale price of an NBA team – the $513 million sale of the Sacramento Kings and their equally-ancient arena, the Sleep Train Arena, last year.

December 25, 2013

Have a blessed Christmas

by @ 8:06. Tags:
Filed under Religion.

From St. Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1-12, NIV84)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Have a blessed Christmas.

December 15, 2013

Shut Rogers down and fire them all – or maybe not

by @ 16:51. Filed under Sports.

The Packers need a major miracle to make the playoffs as the tragic number is now 1, or at least it will be official in another half. 1 more loss or 1 Bears win (or, likely, 1 more Lions win after they win tomorrow night) means they’ll be watching the playoffs from the comfort of the couch. Why risk Aaron Rogers getting hurt the next 2 weeks when it’s impossible to either make the playoffs or (thanks to the tiebreaker) finish last in the NFC North.

If I were Mark Murphy, I would demand Wile E. Thompson’s, Mike McCan’thy’s, and Dumb Capers’ resignations at halftime today.

Revisions/extensions (6:44 pm 12/15/2013) - I’d like to take credit for that halftime speech. What a comeback! Thank you Cowgirls for piss-poor playcalling that led to a piss-poor performance in the 4th quarter.

December 14, 2013

Sorry about the dust

by @ 10:17. Filed under The Blog.

I had intended on doing posts here, but when a friend asks to help fill in at his much-larger blog while he attended to the affairs of his late sister-in-law, I help.

Ed will be back at full steam at Hot Air on Monday, so I’ll be back here trying to clear out the dust.

December 3, 2013

Cooking the unemployment numbers

by @ 20:24. Filed under Economy, Politics - National.

Note – a version of this originally appeared on DaTechGuy Blog as part of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven. Do make sure you head there daily from content from both Pete Da Tech Guy and the rest of the Magnificent Seven.

Two weeks ago, the New York Post‘s John Crudele broke the story that the Census Bureau, which conducts the Current Population Survey (CPS) that is the basis for the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), has been falsifying the data since 2010. Curdele interviewed a person who was caught by the Census Bureau in 2010 simply making up data, with the employee claiming his superiors told him to do so because his region was not successfully interviewing enough people for the survey. According to an anonymous source, that effort intensified in the months leading up to the 2012 election, with September 2012′s data specifically falsified to President Barack Obama’s favor, and continues to the present time.

These allegations are currently being investigated by both the House Oversight Committee and the Inspector General of the Census Bureau, with the BLS also quite interested in them.

One place they can start is comparing what came out of the CPS to a measure of unemployment conducted by Gallup, started in January 2010. There are a couple of key differences between the CPS and Gallup which make a comparison a bit harder:

- While the CPS uses a reference week that includes the 12th of the month (5th of the month in November), Gallup uses a 30-day rolling average.
- The CPS surveys (or claims to survey) 60,000 people age 16 and over, while over the course of each 30-day rolling average, Gallup surveys 30,000 adults.

Fortunately, the BLS releases, as part of its dataset, the data from the portion of the CPS that covers adults, or about 57,500 surveyed out of approximately 153,000,000 considered part of the labor force. That allows an apples-to-apples comparison:

Gallup-CPS

For the most part, the CPS measure of adult unemployment is significantly lower than Gallup’s measure. How significant? Let’s take a look at Gallup’s measure on the day that puts the CPS reference day right in the middle of the rolling average, the 27th day of the month (20th for November and also December to avoid an artificial post-Christmas spike). The CPS unemployment was calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the number considered to be in the workforce, so I could get much closer than to the nearest tenth of a percentage point reported. The raw data was not available for Gallup’s measure of unemployment, so I took the closest possible number to the CPS measure that still rounded to Gallup’s tenth of a percentage point reported.

Gallup-CPS divergence

Polls, which is what the CPS and Gallup measures really are, come with a margin of error, within which the true value can be expected either 90% or 95% of the time. For the CPS, the 90%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.20 percentage points and the 95%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.24 percentage points. For Gallup, the 90%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.28 percentage points and the 95%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.34 percentage points.

Two polls are considered to be in good agreement when their values are within each others’ margin of error. Meanwhile at least one poll has to be wildly incorrect when the difference between the two is more than the sums of their margin of error. Out of 46 months’ worth of data:

- 18 months saw Gallup’s and CPS’s measures of unemployment disagree by more than the combined 90%-confidence margin of error of 0.49 percentage points, with 17 months having Gallup’s measure higher.
- 8 months saw the measures of unemployment disagree by between 0.28 percentage points (Gallup’s 90%-confidence margin of error) and 0.49 percentage points, with another 3 months seeing a disagreement between 0.20 percentage points (CPS’s 90% confidence margin of error) and 0.28 percentage points.
- 17 months saw the measures of unemployment in “good agreement”, disagreeing by less than 0.20 percentage points.

When two polls wildly disagree more than they are in “good agreement”, one of them has to be wrong. Given the disagreement has been almost invariably in the administration’s favor, and there already was a proven round of fakery in the CPS, it sure looks like the official measure of unemployment has been cooked longer than a burnt turkey.

November 26, 2013

NBC News – Employers abandoning “Cadillac” plans due to PlaceboCare’s “Cadillac plan” tax…4 years early

by @ 9:07. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National.

I wonder whether this counts against the 80 million-100 million of those with existing group health insurance plans expected to lose said insurance by the end of 2014:

For 75 million Americans who get their insurance through large companies, the Affordable Care Act is a mixed bag. Experts tell NBC News the new healthcare law is only slightly increasing premiums next year, but causing some companies with the most generous plans to reduce their employees’ benefits.

Aaron Baker, 36, his wife Billie and their two young children are covered under a generous health insurance plan offered by the private Midwestern university where he’s worked for 10 years. When they opened their benefits notice this year, they were pleased to see their $385 premium is only up by four dollars next year. However, they were shocked to discover that instead of covering the first dollar they spend with no deductible, the Baker’s plan now includes a $1,000 deductible and a $2,500 out of pocket maximum. They also will still have small co-pays for services.

According to the enrollment notice, the changes are “to relieve future health plan trend pressure and to put the university in a position to avoid the excise tax that becomes effective in 2018.” The 40 percent excise tax—often called the “Cadillac tax”— is part of Obamacare and is levied on the most generous health plans. It’s designed to bring down overall health costs by making companies and workers more cost-conscious. The thinking is that if consumers have to pay more expenses themselves, through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, they’ll avoid unnecessary or overly costly procedures. And that is supposed to make care more affordable for everyone.

I have to quibble with NBC’s analysis of the PlaceboCare Cadillac plan tax – it’s designed not to drive down costs, but to ensure that, except for the favored nomenklatura, nobody gets high-quality care. I am frankly surprised that some entities, specifically the non-union shops that are the primary targets, are reacting 4 years early.

That will just make the eventual repeal at the behest of the unions, which by 2017 will be essentially the only places still offering group health insurance, that much more odious.

November 19, 2013

Congrats to Sen.-elect Jessie Rodriguez

by @ 22:31. Filed under Miscellaneous.

As usual, WisPolitics had the good news first. What surprised me was Rodriguez carried South Milwaukee.

No NRE Decision Desk tonight

by @ 17:57. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

I had hoped to bring you the results from the 21st Assembly special general election and the 82nd Assembly special primary election as they come in, but I will be otherwise occupied tonight. For those of you who want the results long before the rest of the media gets around to mentioning them, WisPolitics will have those results, as well as the results for the 69th Assembly special general election, on their election blog.

Election day in southern Milwaukee County – TODAY

by @ 6:51. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

There are two special elections for the State Assembly today:

- The 21st Assembly District, in Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, and the strip of Franklin between 27th and 35th, and between Drexel and Central. I wholeheartedly endorse Jessie Rodriguez, who is going up against carpetbagging Democrat Elizabeth Coppola.

- The 82nd Assembly District, in the rest of Franklin (except the northwest corner bounded by Woods, North Cape, Forest Home, and the city limits), Greendale, and the eastern part of Greenfield. That is a primary election, with 4 Republicans looking to advance to take on the sole Democrat in 4 weeks’ time. I didn’t follow that primary because I don’t live in that district, but Kevin Fischer has endorsed Shari Hanneman.

November 10, 2013

Expanding the empire – the Magnificent edition

by @ 21:37. Filed under The Blog.

I’ve known Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi for several years. One can always depend on him for great insight, both on his blog and on his Saturday radio show, and fedoras and cannoli at the conferences he attends. As reserved as I am, that’s how outgoing he is. He taught me that one of the best ways to get the pulse of a particular city is to talk to the cabbies.

He’s been hustling to make a living out of blogging and his radio show the last couple years, and he’s been moderately successful so far. As his next step, he offered 7 people, including me, a unique opportunity to post a weekly piece over at his blog, called The Magnificent Seven after the movie. I get to clean up the week in the role of Harry on Sauturday afternoons, with a repost here late Tuesdays. Sort of fits – like Harry, I left the scene for a while before coming back.

The rest of the crew:

- Marathon Pundit on Sundays
- Linda Szugyi of No One of any Import on Mondays
- Juliette Akinyi Ochieng, aka Baldilocks on Tuesdays
- Fausta Wertz on Wednesdays
- AP Dillon of Lady Liberty 1885 on Thursdays
- Pastor George Kelly from Georgia on Fridays

Do make sure you hit DaTechGuy’s tip jar early and often, and read the rest of The Magnificent Seven, both at DaTechGuyBlog and at their sites. While you’re expanding your reading list, do pick up Juliette’s book.

November 8, 2013

$2.999

by @ 6:12. Filed under Economy, Energy.

That is the price for regular unleaded at one of the local gas stations. With Obama’s EPA still searching for any way to do to privately-owned land and state-owned land where fracking has been occuring what they have done to federal-owned/controlled land, namely stop fracking and new oil exploration, I never thought I would once again see the day I could walk into a gas station with a $20 bill and a $10 bill, pay for 10.000 gallons of gas, and get change back.

Of course, it is the winter blend of Algore/Whitman Memorial Reformulated Gas With 10% Corn-A-Hole, so it’s 10% less efficient than the summer version of that (and even less efficient than untainted gas). It’s also still too damn high.

November 7, 2013

It’s a long way to the top if you want to blog and roll

by @ 22:57. Filed under The Blog.

First, we need a bit of music to set the mood…

YouTube Preview Image

No, the lack of posts here isn’t intentional. I’ve been putting in time over at Hot Air along with Bruce McQuain and Morgen Richmond to try to fill the shoes of Ed Morrissey while he’s on vacation. Even with all three of us, it’s not quite enough to fully duplicate just his daily writings – Jazz Shaw, who does weekends, has set up a couple of posts to start each weekday morning off. That doesn’t count The Ed Morrissey Show (Mondays-Thursdays at 3, Fridays at 2).

I never had a lot of comments here, but those who know me know I like to hang around in the comments sections of wherever I might find myself. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t promise Ed too many posts – I keep getting distracted from the next post by answering comments, and distractions don’t let one be regular with the multiple posts per day needed on a high-traffic blog. It’s also why, as much as I liked Twitter back in the day, I can’t go back (even if I hadn’t said I won’t be back) and still keep this place.

I’ve seen some people complain that people like Ed, Allah Pundit and Ace don’t have much of a presence in the comments. I knew on a theoretical level that it was because they have to keep providing fresh content, and I knew (and forgot) on the practical level the last time I helped fill in at HA that was the case, but, perhaps enhanced by the rust I still have, it’s really hit home this time.

No, this isn’t complaining; it’s just stream-of-consciousness (or at this time of night, semi-consciousness) thinking out loud so I have something posted here. I’ve seen several messages of “good job” from the rest of the HA commenting gang, and I just don’t have time to thank every one of them individually. I truly appreciate every one of them.

November 5, 2013

Expanding the empire – vacation edition

by @ 7:11. Filed under The Blog.

Don’t ask me how Ed Morrissey thinks this is a good idea, but he has handed me a spare key to Hot Air for the next 2 weeks while he and the First Mate enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Fortunately, I won’t be alone in trying to fill his shoes – he’s also lined up Bruce McQuain of Questions and Observations to pitch in. Bruce comes highly-recommended in my book.

I have another expansion coming soon, which I’ll let you know about on Sunday.

Wasn’t it just a month ago I dusted this place off?

October 31, 2013

Last call – How many wins will it take to win the NFC North this year

by @ 7:07. Filed under NRE Polls, Sports.

I quietly put this poll up at the beginning of the month, when the Packers were both stinking up the joint and having players carted off the field on a weekly basis. They fixed the latter immediately afterward, and finally stopped the physical bleeding to take sole possession (by a half-game and, at the moment, a tiebreaker) over Detroit.

As things stand now, the Packers are in first at 5-2 with one win each over the Vikings and Lions (a second game against each is upcoming), and the first of the two division games against Duh Bears coming up on Monday Night Football, the Lions are 5-3 with one win each over the Bears and Vikings and a loss against the Packers, the Bears are 4-3 with a win against the Vikings and a loss against the Lions, and the Vikings are 1-6 with a loss to each of the other NFC North teams (sorry, Shoe; maybe you could buy the team and really create a conflict of interest for the blog ;-)

I’m not asking how many wins the eventual winner of the NFC North will have, I’m asking how many wins it will take to take the division. You have about 11 hours from the posting of this to put your guesses in.

How many wins will it take to win the NFC North in 2013?

Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

  • 10 (50%, 4 Vote(s))
  • 9 (25%, 2 Vote(s))
  • 7 (13%, 1 Vote(s))
  • 11 (13%, 1 Vote(s))
  • 13 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 12 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 5 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 8 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 6 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 14 (0%, 0 Vote(s))

Total Voters: 8

Loading ... Loading ...

RightWisconsin column – Taking a Deeper Dig at Latest MU Law School Poll Data

by @ 6:55. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

I did say when I came back that I would be writing in more places. One of those is RightWisconsin, a venture started up early this year by Charlie Sykes. I sent my analysis of the latest Marquette Law School’s poll over there, and it hit the digital press early this morning.

One item I did not include was an analysis of the shocking reversal of opinion on gay “marriage”. Less than 7 years after Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment reserving marriage to one-man/one-woman couples in an electorate the exit polls said had a built-in 4-point advantage for Democrats, a majority now say that gay couples should be recognized as “married” by the state.

Even though the half of the sample that was asked this, as well as abortion on demand, citizenship for illegal aliens and pot, was skewed even more-heavily Democrat than the half that was asked their opinion of Sen. Ron Johnson (with a D/R/I of 35.0% D/23.0% R/37.5% I), that radical undersampling of Republicans, one not seen even in 2008, did not matter – the liberal position on all of those issues would have carried the day even with the “natural” D+2.4 advantage.

October 29, 2013

It’s official – Obama administration violating the 9-month-minimum coverage-or-penalty provision of PlaceboCare law

by @ 10:56. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National.

You heard the rumblings here last week about the Obama administration looking into administratively rewriting their signature law one more time to benefit those who can’t use their PlaceboCare exchange website by 2/15/2014. Yesterday, they made it official. From the AP:

The extension — granted for 2014 only — addresses confusion that was created when the administration set the first open enrollment period under the law from Oct. 1-March 31.

The problem was that health insurance coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications. So somebody signing up March 16 — well within the open enrollment period — wouldn’t get coverage until April 1, thereby risking a penalty for being uninsured part of the year.

While there is a limited authority for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to grant individual waivers from the ta…er…penalty, the key word is “limited”. Specifically, that authority extends only to those who have “no affordable qualified health plan available through the Exchange, or the individual’s employer, covering the individual”, or to those covered by the other, specified exemptions from the individual mandate. Mere “glitches” and general failures of the exchange website do not qualify as a complete lack of available plans.

October 24, 2013

Brett Favre is absolutely, positively not coming back*

by @ 9:44. Filed under Sports.

Deadspin reports that fan-favorite-turned-fan-favorite-target Brett Favre turned down a plea from the St. Louis Rams to return to the NFL after losing their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, for the season to an ACL tear this past Sunday.

* I’ll believe he’s finally stuck with the proverbial fork when game tiem hits on 11/24 rolls around and he hasn’t signed with the Vikings to give us one more chance to boo his ass out of Lambeau.

Speaking of that, let’s give Christian Ponder a warm welcome back to the starting lineup. Sorry, Shoe, but the Vikes continue to be the Kansas City Royals Chicago White Sox of the NFL (and I like it).

PlaceboCare Über Alles, IRS Edition?

by @ 9:05. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National, Taxes.

The IRS choosing to implement its portions of PlaceboCare fully as its top priority during the 17% Shutdown instead of ensuring it could start receiving individual income tax returns on-time next year is the charge House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) leveled after the IRS announced that it will not be starting the Tax Year 2013 filing season on-time. Camp noted that the prior tax season, the IRS managed to start accepting tax returns on-time even though there were wholesale changes approved by Congress in December 2012, though my memory says it was delayed by a couple days.

The IRS counter-claimed that they were in the middle of building a new system for the Tax Year 2013 filing season when they were forced to prioritize. One can only hope that they didn’t choose the 404Care Exchange designers for that.

The significance of the delay is those big spenders who budgeted for a big income tax refund check to arrive February 2014 (an aside – that is perhaps the stupidest financial decision one can make) won’t get one.

October 23, 2013

Broken website? We’ll just break the law (again).

by @ 19:36. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National.

Unless you’ve been in a cave watching NBCCBSABCCNNPMSDNC or reading the NYTWaPoLATUSATodayYourLocalPaintcatcher, you know that we’ve entered the third week of EPIC FAIL of PlaceboCare’s exchange website. Not two weeks after they torpedoed the GOP’s “fallback” position of a 1-year delay in the individual mandate to buy PlaceboCare “coverage”, Democrats have started calling for a “delay” until the exchanges are actually up and running, a process that likely will take months.

The early response from Team SCOAMT:

Before I continue, I need to explain a couple things. Health insurance is sold by the month, with coverage beginning on the first day of a month. In order to get coverage for the following month, one must complete the application process 2 weeks prior to the month.

There is a ta…er…penalty for not having PlaceboCare “coverage” (the greater of $95 or 1% of one’s adjusted gross income for 2014, payable when one files one’s 2014 income tax return in winter/spring 2015), with a 2-consecutive-month grace period for non-”coverage”. That means, at least according to the state of law when the sun rose this morning, one had to complete their PlaceboCare exchange application by February 15 to get coverage for March and thus not pay at least 3 months’ worth of ta…er…penalty. Since PlaceboCare’s 2014 open-enrollment period ends on March 31, that is the last day one can avoid paying the full 2014 ta…er…penalty, but one would still be liable for 4 months’ worth of the ta…er…penalty because they wouldn’t have “coverage” until May 1.

Now, I can continue. There was some confusion on whether the “6-week delay” would be an extension of the PlaceboCare open-enrollment period until mid-May or an increase in the “grace” period described above. I’ll let Phillip Klein explain why administratively extending the administratively-set end of the open-enrollment period is illegal.

NBC News later clarified what Team SCOAMT was talking about:

As the law stands now, individuals are expected to begin the application process via HealthCare.gov by Feb. 15 to avoid a financial penalty. But under the prospective change, individuals will be expected to have started enrollment by March to avoid incurring the penalty.

It figures that they would go with the more-blatantly-illegal route. 26 USC § 5000A (e) (4) specifically proscribes the exemption from the ta…er…penalty for those with “short coverage gaps”:

(4) Months during short coverage gaps

(A) In general
Any month the last day of which occurred during a period in which the applicable individual was not covered by minimum essential coverage for a continuous period of less than 3 months.

(B) Special rules
For purposes of applying this paragraph—

(i)the length of a continuous period shall be determined without regard to the calendar years in which months in such period occur,

(ii)if a continuous period is greater than the period allowed under subparagraph (A), no exception shall be provided under this paragraph for any month in the period, and

(iii)if there is more than 1 continuous period described in subparagraph (A) covering months in a calendar year, the exception provided by this paragraph shall only apply to months in the first of such periods.
The Secretary shall prescribe rules for the collection of the penalty imposed by this section in cases where continuous periods include months in more than 1 taxable year.

In short, the United States Code, which prior to Teh SCOAMT’s ascension to the Oval Office, trumped administrative decisions, mandates that those without PlaceboCare “coverage” for more than 2 months must be ta…er…penalized. Of course, in the ObamiNation, Teh Royal Team SCOAMT decrees override any and all laws or provisions of the Constitution.

October 22, 2013

The NRE Decision Desk calls the 21st Assembly District Republican nomination for Jessie Rodriguez

by @ 21:00. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

Based on the unofficial results from Oak Creek’s Facebook site, The No Runny Eggs Decision Desk has called the 21st Assembly District Republican nomination for Jessie Rodriguez. Yes, South Milwaukee and Franklin have not posted results online yet, and the local media hasn’t reported anything, but Oak Creek does comprise more than half of the district, and a larger majority of those who are likely to participate on the Republican side of the primary even with an uncontested primary on the Democrat side.

The results in Oak Creek are:

Jessie Rodriguez 939
Ken Gehl 415
Chris Kujawa 350
Larry Gamble 89
Red Arnold 22

Revisions/extensions (9:09 pm 10/22/2013) - Franklin’s results are in, and push the totals to:

Jessie Rodriguez 996
Ken Gehl 425
Chris Jukawa 372
Larry Gamble 111
Red Arnold 22

R&E parts 2 and 3 (9:16 pm and 9:19 pm 10/22/2013 for more info) - Now South Milwaukee has reported, and it’s all over but the certification later this week. Jessie Rodriguez is the Republican nominee for the 21st Assembly District, and she will face Democrat Elizabeth Coppola on November 19.

The residents in the rest of Franklin and the other parts of Assembly District 82 will have a Repubilcan primary to begin the process of filling that seat on November 19 as well.

The unofficial final vote totals:

Jessie Rodriguez 1,512
Chris Kujawa 864
Ken Gehl 535
Larry Gamble 170
Red Arnold 73

House to use Air Force to shuttle en masse to attend Bill Young’s funeral

by @ 12:45. Filed under Politics - National.

Yes, you read that right – the House of Representatives will shut down on Thursday and use multiple Air Force planes to take a day trip down to Florida to attend the funeral of late Congressman Bill Young (R-FL). Well, it’s appropriate since Young was one of the kings of pork, serving as chair of the appropriations committee from 1999-2004, and as exempted-from-term-limits chair of the appropriations subcommittee on defense when he died in the middle of his 22nd term in Congress.

Bo(eh)ner and company just lost all ability to bitch about Air SCOAMT’s multiple trips for SCOAMT, the missus, and the dogs. As Wile E. Coyote would say, “Brilliance, Bo(eh)ner. Sheer, unadulterated brilliance!”

21st Assembly Republican primary – TODAY

by @ 8:08. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

I really should have done this sooner, but you have, as of this writing, a bit less than 12 hours to vote if you are in South Milwaukee, Oak Creek, or the half-mile wide strip of Franklin between Central and Drexel. Because former Assemblyman Mark Honadel resigned to return to the private sector, there are 5 people running for the Republican nomination for his seat – Jason Red Arnold, Larry Gamble, Ken Gehl, Chris Kujawa, and Jessie Rodriguez. Each of them would be better than the singular Democrat candidate put out there, Elizabeth Coppola, but as always, the primaries are the time of choosing the direction of the Not-Democrat candidate.

I honestly know nothing, other than the videos he put out there and his campaign website, about Arnold. Worse, for the most part, he’s running an issue-free campaign, which in the absense of prior knowledge of his stands on the issues is a red flag. What little there is out there does mitigate against the red flag.

Gamble’s reputation with the Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty precedes him. In many ways, he’s a more-fleshed-out version of Arnold, with an emphasis on shrinking government.

Gehl’s greatest strength is that he is a good at “retail politics”. He was the only person who actually caught me at home, though a couple others left flyers on my door. Unfortunately, the politics part of that is his greatest weakness – his major differentiation from the other 4 candidates is that he promises to bring more state money into the district. Though state general finances are pretty close to healthy, half of all state spending is financed by a federal government that is anything but healthy.

Kujawa is the closest thing to Honadel in this race. Indeed, his relationship with Gov. Scott Walker goes back to Walker’s days as county executive.

Rodriguez is starting to grow from being just a school-choice advocate. That growth is in a small-government direction.

So, who did I vote for? I’ll need a couple beers for you to find out.

October 21, 2013

The most-”bought” Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is…

by @ 17:24. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

In the proverbial case of a flashing VCR being right exactly once a year, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (via the Captial Times) looked through the electronic versions of campaign finance records for the 6 current Justices who raised enough money to be required to file their campaign contribution records electonically to try to determine who was most-influenced by donations from lawyers with immediate business before the Court. That look excludes Justice Patrick Crooks as he did not raise enough money in his 2006 unopposed election bid. Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was easily the biggest recipient of the current Court members of campaign contributions from “donor attorneys” appearing to seek influence on cases they had before the Court at the time of donation, pulling in $188,650 from “donor lawyers” between July 2002 and June 2013. That was well ahead of second-place Justice Annette Ziegler’s $8,300.

Notably, Abrahamson was more likely to side with “donor attorneys” when they gave her campaign more money – while she sided with donors 58% of the time overall, “big-money” donors who gave her at least $1,500 just before or just after their cases were heard won her support 71% of the time.

Meanwhile, the Left’s favorite whipping boy, Justice Michael Gabelman, who took in $2,350 from “donor attorneys”, sided with them twice in four cases. That amount is just over half of what just one attorney who appeared to rent-seek from Abrahamson donated to his opponent, then-Justice Louis Butler.

The only current Justice, other than the unchecked Crooks, who took in less than Gabelman was Justice David Prosser, who received $225 from “donor attorneys”. While the WCIJ didn’t note this, his campaign was the only one hamstrung by the since-eliminated limits on fundraising and spending on judicial campaigns imposed right after Abrahamson won re-election.

Light blogging

by @ 8:08. Filed under The Blog.

Of course, you should have expected that. I’m just not feeling all that well with the onset of winter.

I’ll definitely have something to say about the September jobs numbers, which are due out tomorrow morning, and I absolutely need to say a word or two about the Republican primary in the 21st Assembly district happening tomorrow as well.

October 17, 2013

Thursday Hot Read – Ace’s “How The Permanent Activism/Advertising Mentality Is Killing Honesty, Accountability, and Thoughtfulness”

by @ 19:01. Filed under The Blog.

Ace articulated an internal struggle I’ve often had, especially in the leadup to my sabbatical from blogging and ultimately Twitter, and again as I finally caved to pressure from several people to return to the online world. The excerpt is longer than I really am comfortable giving, but I can’t honestly chop it up any more than I have and still do it justice:

I’ve mentioned before my growing weariness with what I’ll dub the Viral Mentality of the Internet.

The Viral Mentality is one in which people are over-excited to push certain memes and facts (or pseudofacts) in an effort to shape the national conversation. Blogging really indulged in this mentality — as I’ve said, my flaming skull is my version of Drudge’s siren, an effort to advertise certain memes and stories — but it’s the ADD format of Twitter that has really supercharged the mindset.

My real problem is that if you scratch the surface of most online writers, you’ll find that, without quite admitting it to themselves, they’ve largely defined success and failure in online writing according to the standards of success and failure in Advertising.

To be really good at “Pushing Memes.” To be really good at “getting stories to go viral.”

To be really good at branding.

I joked a while ago that we will all know this syndrome has reached its lethal phase when your grandmother tells you, “I wanted to mention your new Son on my FaceBook page, but I was afraid it would undermine the Branding image I was going for.”

We all know this is beneath us — well, most of us know this; some idiots might actually aspire to be Kings of Online Advertising — and yet nevertheless it has become the default model of online communication….

Now, online, both the right and the left have accepted the notion that activism is the highest ideal of online communication — if not the highest ideal to aspire to, at least one of the top two, competing successfully most of the time versus the other criterion, Speaking the Truth (or one’s murky vision of the truth, at least)….

Now, every political writer is, ultimately, an activist. People do not write about politics disinterestedly. Everyone has his own take on what the Social Good looks like, and his writing will always, always be informed by this.

Every writer, every blogger, every Tweeter, every commenter writing about politics has his own conception of The Good and will write in support of this.

There is no avoiding that.

There will always be Political Advertising encoded into any political essay.

It’s a question of the degree to which we permit ourselves to be captive to the lowest form of communication, Advertising.

It’s a question of whether we elevate the Advertising Imperative above the Truth-Telling Imperative, and by what margin.

As I always say, READ IT ALL. Whether you do it before or after continuing with the self-aggrandizing bullshit I’m about to spew, or you skip said bullshit, is your choice.

I know I have a bit of an ego. Otherwise, I would never have started NRE nor restarted writing. At the same time, my conscience won’t just let me write bullshit just for the sake of getting my name out there, or really to promote what I write. In fact, I was surprised to find that the folks at WisPolitics noticed immediately that I had returned (guess they never dropped the RSS feed) and saw fit to link to the first post back.

When I started this place 8 years ago, I never imagined it would have any real following outside of the people whose blogs I had been commenting on for the several months prior to writing long-form. I never expected to really be able to write long-form posts – writing has always been a major struggle for me, and self-promotion has never been a strong suit.

Then Fred Dooley and Mark Block, then the state director of Americans for Prosperity, invited me out to the first Defending the American Dream summit in 2007. Things sort of snowballed from there, with invites to more national events, meeting and befriending a lot of people I never would either have met nor expected to be in the same circles as, seeing some of the inner workings of politics that the average Joe never does.

On the flip side, I started letting The Brand creep into my musings. Whether it was the NRE Brand I never really intended to build or a larger Conservative/Libertarian Brand (the current iteration being the TEA Party Movement) is immaterial. I started feeling the strain between merely aping whatever came down the pike and taking a critical look at everything.

A long time ago, Jib gave out a key piece of advice – when it stops being fun, it’s time to stop. A year ago, it stopped being fun, with the Twitter part dragged out a few months after that. I pretty much did a hard reboot of the process that began, really, in early 2001 when I joined Free Republic.

In my restart, I can only hope to live up to what Ace closed with:

So when you see me balk at the idea of permanently subordinating my belief in what the truth is for the purpose of advancing the Brand, this is why.

It’s because I don’t want to be Matt Yglesias.

I may be ridiculous inadvertently, but I refuse to make myself ridiculous.

No matter how much some buffoonery and dishonesty might Help the Brand.

Matt Yglesias believes:

Humans are hierarchical primates by nature and have a kind of fascination with power and dignity.>

And by “dignity,” he means the trappings of power– that which “dignified” the nobleman.

That may be true — that may be true of man at his base animal level — but man is not limited to his base animal level. He can aspire to more.

He can aspire to more than being a monkey who begins repeating the squawks of the higher-ranking Alpha Monkey, in order to get the monkeys around him to begin squawking in the same fashion.

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