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16  General Category / Sports / Two Bulls teams voted among NBA's 10 best of all time on: June 17, 2011, 04:53:05 pm
Two Bulls teams voted among NBA's 10 best of all time

4:12 p.m. CDT, June 16, 2011
It's certainly no surprise that the 72-win Chicago Bulls team of 1995-96 has been voted the greatest NBA team of all time in a Sporting News poll. But which other Bulls' championship team also made the top-10 list?

According to a panel of current and former coaches, players, executive and media members, the 1991-92 Bulls team that bested the Portland Trail Blazers in six games in the NBA Finals ranks as the ninth-best team ever. That team, which won the second of the Bulls' six championships, shot an NBA-high 50.8 percent from the floor and was led by Michael Jordan (NBA-best 30.1 points per game) and Scottie Pippen (21 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7 assists per game).

Two other franchises are represented twice in the voting, part of the "Great Sports Debates" series that celebrates the Sporting News' 125th anniversary. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won a record 33 straight games, are ranked second and the Magic Johnson-led 1986-87 Lakers are third. The Philadelphia 76ers claimed both the No. 6 (1966-67) and the No. 7 (1982-83) spots.

17  Messages / Causes & Activism / More fraud from the Republican Party of Walker on: June 09, 2011, 04:55:10 pm
More fraud from the Republican Party of Walker
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The Republican Party of Wisconsin is actively and aggressively backing an effort to commit election fraud by urging on efforts to have Republicans file their names as Democratic primary candidates for the seats of GOP state senators who face recall.
The point of the GOP effort is to create confusion among the voters, force even higher levels of campaign spending, and delay the recall election process.
Top Republican operatives have acknowledged the strategy.
So how did they get so comfortable with the art of defrauding voters?
Perhaps they got some ideas from the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of Scott Walker, who campaigned as a mainstream Republican, promised to steer away from his party’s extremes, and pledged to focus on getting Wisconsinites working together to expand the economy.
Walker never outlined the militant anti-labor agenda that has become the central tenet of his administration.
He never detailed plans to undermine local government and shift power to unaccountable political cronies in Madison.
He never explained that he planned to attack SeniorCare and BadgerCare, to dramatically slash funding for public schools while shifting money to the school choice and charter school programs favored by his out-of-state campaign donors, and to barter off public utilities in no-bid deals with friendly corporations.
Walker’s 2010 campaign was a fraudulent one.
So it makes a certain amount of perverse sense that the state’s once proud Republican Party would employ fraudulent tactics to defend Walker’s crumbling mandate.
After all, with the purging of mainstream and moderate officials (a process so ambitious that it has now targeted even former Gov. Tommy Thompson), this is no longer the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
It is the Republican Party of Walker.
And Walker does not play politics by any standard known to Wisconsinites. His is a win-at-any-cost politics that has only two purposes: to advance himself and to enrich his cronies.
Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.
18  General Category / Sports / NFL Nation: 2011 Flash Points NFC on: May 11, 2011, 04:18:03 pm
http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/tag/_/name/2011-flash-points-nfc


NFL Nation: 2011 Flash Points NFC


19  General Category / Sports / Steelers' Mendenhall creates stir with bin Laden tweets on: May 03, 2011, 03:10:33 pm
Mendenhall sounds ridiculous (again)


STORY:  Steelers' Mendenhall creates stir with bin Laden tweets
Reading Rashard Mendenhall’s Twitter feed sounds like a guy who has taken a dangerous number of hits to the head.

You might recall the way Mendenhall tweeted support of the moronic stylings of Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson a while back, even after Peterson backed off comparing NFL players to slaves. Mendenhall specified that they run a parallel course. Yes. Well. Just as long as you ignore, I don’t know, everything.

Now Mendenhall said he doesn’t understand how people could hate Osama bin Laden and celebrate the killing of the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

“What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side...’’ R_Mendenhall tweeted Monday.



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For a guy who claims to read, Mendenhall apparently didn’t read about bin Laden’s issuing a fatwa sanctioning the killing of Americans and Jews in 1988 after being suspected of organizing the killing of them in several previous murderous episodes.

Sounds like we indeed have heard from both sides.

Then came 9/11.

Not that Mendenhall believes the obvious reason that nearly 3,000 people died in that unspeakable tragedy.

“We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style’’ he tweeted.

How about two planes, pal. If you didn’t believe it the first time -- and no one did -- then how about the next one shortly thereafter? It was in all the newspapers, kid. It was on all the channels.

It doesn’t sound like you took science classes at Illinois. It doesn’t sound like you took a lot of classes at Illinois.

Several other Mendenhall tweets invoked religion, but recounting and debating them would mess up the central point of some remarkably stupid statements.

“There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to #think.’’ Mendenhall tweeted.

You know what I think? I think I’ll bring up another tweet that Mendenhall posted and apparently must be so proud of:

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. Solution, DON'T ARGUE. #islam #wisdom #think’’

He’s right. I’m done arguing.
20  Media & Film / Television / Re: 'Fringe' ratings improve; Fox ties CBS for Friday win on: May 03, 2011, 03:05:00 pm
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/110503_tuesday_morning_quarterback&sportCat=nfl
21  Media & Film / Television / Re: 'Fringe' ratings improve; Fox ties CBS for Friday win on: May 03, 2011, 03:04:12 pm


AP Photo/Fox, Mark Ben HolzbergActress Anna Torv, lead on Fringe, could not explain the plot even with the help of electrodes.


 Friday is the season finale of "Fringe," the best sci-fi series on television. Though "Fringe" is entertaining, yours truly was hoping the show would be canceled. The writers clearly are desperate for material -- they've introduced time travel, always a bad sign. Producer J.J. Abrams has promised that when "Fringe" ends, everything that's happened actually will make sense -- unlike when his "Lost" ended. That's why I was hoping the series would end now, while it was still vaguely conceivably the action could be wrapped up in a coherent manner.
Instead Fox renewed "Fringe" for a fourth season. This leaves it increasingly likely that what to J.J. Abrams qualifies as "makes sense" will mean the series slams to a halt amidst blazing special effects with most loose ends unexplained. Late in the current season, for instance, action centers on a 250-million-year-old device, capable of destroying the world, that can be controlled only by the show's two leads -- whose DNA sequences were encoded into the device 250 million years ago. What are the odds that head-scratcher ever will be explained?
The premise of the series is that there is a parallel universe in which a second Earth is similar, but not identical, to ours. History there is somewhat different, though fast food tastes exactly the same in both universes, the show's best joke. Each character has a similar, though not identical, doppelganger on the other side. With a season finale airing Friday you'd assume, in cliffhanger fashion, that the shocker will be the death of a beloved character. But on "Fringe" a beloved character could die -- then next season be back, replaced by her mirror image from the other universe.
Here was the nuttiest line from this season's "Fringe," spoken by a Harvard scientist wearing a lab coat: "The human body is held together by magnetism. If a person experienced a strong magnetic charge, that person would become incapable of dying." The statement -- the show oozes pseudo-science, and even has a "science" web page -- is gibberish, or else everyone who's been through an MRI would be immortal. The tiny amounts of electrical current in our brains and nerves produce weak magnetic fields, but these have nothing to do with "holding the body together," which happens via chemical bonds. "Fringe" can assume anything it likes about the "science" of interdimensional teleportation. But references to known science should be accurate.
Here was the nuttiest subplot: A scientist played as an occasional character by Leonard Nimoy (the original Mr. Spock) discovers a way to come back from the dead. He does elaborate research and builds the necessary equipment, which must be activated by a living person. A year after the Nimoy character's death, the good guys discover and activate the resurrection system, which they find only by chance. Why? Facing death in the presence of his best friend in the finale of Season 2, the Nimoy character forgot to mention there was a device that would bring him back from the dead. And he left no notes or instructions.
Obviously, the scriptwriters cooked up this subplot as a way to get Nimoy back into the show. This kind of "I suddenly remembered that ..." filler is the reason I wish "Fringe" would just wrap it up and end.
22  Messages / Causes & Activism / Kloppenburg seeks recount in Supreme Court race on: April 20, 2011, 04:39:57 pm
Kloppenburg seeks recount in Supreme Court race

Kloppenburg seeks recount in Supreme Court race
TODD RICHMOND | Associated Press madison.com | (2) Comments | Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:02 pm

Wisconsin Supreme Court justice candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg addresses supporters gathered for an election-night party at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 6, 2011. JOHN HART — State Journal
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Related: State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years
Supreme Court results by county
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A Wisconsin Supreme Court hopeful says she will seek a statewide recount against an incumbent justice, prolonging a messy race defined by the state's bitter fight over union rights.
JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign surged after her supporters worked to tie conservative incumbent Justice David Prosser to Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Walker's plan to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Initial returns from the April 5 election showed Kloppenburg had defeated Prosser by a little more than 200 votes. But the Waukesha County clerk announced she had failed to report 14,000 votes, which flipped the race to Prosser.
Final county tallies completed on Friday showed Prosser with a 7,316-vote lead.
Copyright 2011 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritte

Report confirms Walker budget would cut tax aid for poor, decrease overall taxes
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Report confirms Walker budget would cut tax aid for poor, decrease overall taxes
MARY SPICUZZA | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com | (163) Comments | Posted: Saturday, April 16, 2011 7:30 am
http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/2/0b/282/20b2828e-66f1-11e0-9e32-001cc4c03286-revisions/4da786dd5e46a.image.jpg http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/2/0b/282/20b2828e-66f1-11e0-9e32-001cc4c03286-revisions/4da786dd5e46a.image.jpg
 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 14, 2011, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to discuss the problems with balancing state budgets in a tough economy. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE - Associated Press
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Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget would reduce tax credits for the poor — effectively taking money out of their pockets — while decreasing taxes overall, according to a nonpartisan report released Friday.
Low and middle income people would lose tax credits worth about $49.4 million over two years, the new Legislative Fiscal Bureau report said.
Those affected most by Walker's proposal would include low-income families who qualify for the earned income tax credit program, and low-income homeowners who receive tax rebates under the homestead tax credit.
Walker repeatedly promised during his campaign for governor not to raise taxes.
Democratic lawmakers now accuse the new Republican governor of breaking his word, and making corporations a priority at the expense of poor families.
"Budgets really are about choices and priorities," said state Rep. Donna Seidel, D-Wausau. "And while we hear Gov. Walker talk about shared sacrifice, what we see is that he is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of working class families and the most vulnerable, while continuing to give tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations."
Net taxes would decrease about $34 million overall under Walker's budget proposal, and fees would increase by nearly $110 million. Most of those changes would come from University of Wisconsin tuition and fee increases.
"The Governor proposed a balanced budget that creates the lowest structural deficit in recent time, lowers taxes, holds the line on fees, and maintains core services," Walker spokesman Chris Schrimpf said Friday.
In an interview with the State Journal last month, Walker called the tax credit a "redistribution program" that involves "taking money from other taxpayers and giving it to individuals who have a limited tax liability."
"This is reducing how much money other taxpayers have to give to those individuals," Walker said at the time.
Rep. Robin Vos, R- Rochester, agreed. He said the changes basically amount to sending people a smaller government check than they expected.
"I don't know how you can call that a tax increase," Vos said.
Copyright 2011 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 
Posted in Govt-and-politics on Saturday, April 16, 2011 7:30 am Scott Walker Budget, Scott Walker, Political Economy, Tax Credit, Tax, Earned Income Tax Credit, Tax Reform, Alternative Minimum Tax, Robin Vos, Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Donna Seidel, Chris Schrimpf, Dennis Kucinich, Collective Bargaining,
State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years
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State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years
MARY SPICUZZA | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com | (171) Comments | Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 5:10 am
http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/0/1a/3c5/01a3c55a-6215-11e0-9fb8-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d9f5f8eb5700.image.jpg http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/0/1a/3c5/01a3c55a-6215-11e0-9fb8-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d9f5f8eb5700.image.jpg
 Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is at the center of a political fire over vote vote counts in the state Supreme Court race between David Prosser and Joanne Kloppenburg. MICHAEL SEARS – Associated Press
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Related: Waukesha County clerk has drawn criticisms in the past
Political coverage on Twitter
 
      
http://twitter.com/" \l "!/madpolitics http://twitter.com/" \l "!/madpolitics   Madison.com Politics
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All Wisconsin politics. All the time. For the junkie in us all.    
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Harsdorf is 4th GOP senator facing recall
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The state's investigation into vote irregularities in Waukesha County will stretch back at least five years, the head of the Government Accountability Board said Thursday.
Questions over vote totals in Waukesha have lingered over the past week after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced she failed to report more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield in initial vote totals.
The new total gave incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser a lead of about 7,000 votes over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race. Official results in that race have not yet been announced.
Now questions have emerged over Nickolaus' published vote counts from as far back as the fall of 2006, when there were key statewide elections including races for governor and attorney general.
"This is part of what we're looking into. We have a lot of complaints," said Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel for GAB. "It's part of our investigation."
Kennedy said the board's current priority is determining the integrity of numbers reported in this spring's election but added investigators are reviewing broader questions about Nickolaus and vote counting.
GAB staff members have been in Waukesha County much of the week, and they were there again Thursday, staff attorney Mike Haas said.
‘Hand-entered results'
Additional questions surfaced after bloggers raised questions and Nickolaus posted a note to the clerk's website this week explaining discrepancies between the total ballots cast in several elections and the votes for particular offices.
In many cases, the number of votes totaled more than the number of ballots cast.
The results for the 2006 attorney general's race, for example, show 174,047 votes for either Democrat Kathleen Falk, Republican J.B. Van Hollen or write-in candidates, a total that is 17,243 votes higher than the total ballots cast recorded elsewhere in the results.
In her note, Nickolaus said the reference to ballots cast "is the number of ballots that were fed through the election machines at the polling places and the results were collected using a modem in the office" but does not include "any hand-entered results."
It was unclear what Nickolaus meant by "hand-entered results," and she was unavailable for comment Wednesday and Thursday.
Democrats seek answers
Calls for investigations into Waukesha County's vote count controversy have grown. Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said in a letter to Kennedy on Wednesday that "these apparent repeated problems from the Waukesha County clerk undermine the public's confidence in elections."
Also Wednesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter urging joint Assembly-Senate hearings to investigate the results and conduct of election officials in Waukesha County. Others, including U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the matter.
Haas said investigators have spoken with Nickolaus and want to make sure "we understand her explanation."
23  Messages / Causes & Activism / Re: Harsdorf is 4th GOP senator facing recall on: April 20, 2011, 04:38:39 pm
"Reports have shown that out-of-state and out-of-district interests are behind the spending and organization of the recall campaign," Harsdorf said. "We cannot have these special interests dictate spending levels that would crush job creation and lead our state into bankruptcy."

Ms. Harsdorf, since you feel so strongly about this, perhaps you should approach your governor and ask him to take down his plea to Florida for funds to support you and your cohorts. And let's inform that Utah group, that they have no business to give funds to get our Fab 14 recalled.

You know--what's fair for one, is fair for all? Oh, maybe Harsdorf hadn't heard about all these plans by her government.
24  Messages / Causes & Activism / Re: Harsdorf is 4th GOP senator facing recall on: April 20, 2011, 04:38:12 pm
So far, Dems:4
Repubes: Empty threats
25  Messages / Causes & Activism / Harsdorf is 4th GOP senator facing recall on: April 20, 2011, 04:37:52 pm
Harsdorf is 4th GOP senator facing recall

Story Discussion Font Size: Default font size Larger font size Harsdorf is 4th GOP senator facing recall
JASON SMATHERS | Associated Press madison.com | (46) Comments | Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:25 am



Related Links
Related: Full coverage of Gov. Walker's budget law and protests
Related: Full text of 2011-13 budget bill
Related: Election 2011: Full coverage at wi-elections.com
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Wisconsin Democrats filed a petition Tuesday to recall a fourth GOP state senator for her vote to curtail collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Nan Lambert, a volunteer for the committee to recall Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, filed more than 23,000 signatures with the Government Accountability Board. If at least 15,744 signatures are valid, the board would certify the petition. A recall election would be held six weeks after the date of certification. The board is expected to ask a court for an extension of its 31-day review period.

Lambert said she decided to join the recall effort soon after the Senate passed Gov. Scott Walker's bill curtailing collective bargaining rights for most of the state's public workers.

"I cannot comprehend trying to balance the budget on the backs of people who can least afford it, while giving billions of dollars to wealthy people," Lambert said. "It just doesn't make sense to me, I can't comprehend it. And it would appear that this is our only recourse."

Harsdorf said in a statement Tuesday that the recalls only represent a minority of her district's population and that she is "committed to getting our state's fiscal house in order."

"Reports have shown that out-of-state and out-of-district interests are behind the spending and organization of the recall campaign," Harsdorf said. "We cannot have these special interests dictate spending levels that would crush job creation and lead our state into bankruptcy."

While Harsdorf was targeted along with seven other Republicans, she was not seen as particularly vulnerable to a recall. Harsdorf won her 2008 election with more than 56 percent of the vote. However, spring campaign finance reports showed recall organizers spent more than $67,000 on the signature collection for Harsdorf —  more than any other state recall effort.

Democrats in recent weeks have filed recall petitions against Republican Sens. Luther Olsen of Ripon, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse. Hopper and Kapanke's campaigns are challenging the signatures. The Harsdorf campaign said it will review the signatures before deciding whether to file a challenge.

Four other Republicans and eight Democrats are also being targeted by recall groups for their support or opposition to the collective bargaining bill. Walker signed the bill into law on March 10, but a judge has blocked its implementation.

Organizers for at least two groups targeting Democrats have said they intend to file their petitions later this week.

 

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_71fbb3fe-6b47-11e0-87fc-001cc4c002e0.html?mode=story
26  Messages / Causes & Activism / State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years on: April 15, 2011, 03:09:27 pm
State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years

State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years
MARY SPICUZZA | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com | (102) Comments | Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 5:10 am




Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is at the center of a political fire over vote vote counts in the state Supreme Court race between David Prosser and Joanne Kloppenburg. MICHAEL SEARS – Associated Press
Related Stories
Related: Lawmakers call for hearing on Waukesha County controversy
Related: Politics blog: Waukesha County clerk rejects calls for her resignation
Related: Politics blog: Waukesha County Dem canvasser asks 'How is this possible?'
Related: Rep. Baldwin asks feds to investigate Waukesha votes
Related: Waukesha County clerk has drawn criticisms in the past
Political coverage on Twitter
 
      
http://twitter.com/" \l "!/madpolitics http://twitter.com/" \l "!/madpolitics   Madison.com Politics
@MadPolitics
All Wisconsin politics. All the time. For the junkie in us all.    
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undefined
Jennifer Shilling announces she'll challenge Dan Kapanke
Rep. Baldwin asks feds to investigate Waukesha votes
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Waukesha County clerk has drawn criticisms in the past
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The state's investigation into vote irregularities in Waukesha County will stretch back at least five years, the head of the Government Accountability Board said Thursday.
Questions over vote totals in Waukesha have lingered over the past week after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced she failed to report more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield in initial vote totals.
The new total gave incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser a lead of about 7,000 votes over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race. Official results in that race have not yet been announced.
Now questions have emerged over Nickolaus' published vote counts from as far back as the fall of 2006, when there were key statewide elections including races for governor and attorney general.
"This is part of what we're looking into. We have a lot of complaints," said Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel for GAB. "It's part of our investigation."
Kennedy said the board's current priority is determining the integrity of numbers reported in this spring's election but added investigators are reviewing broader questions about Nickolaus and vote counting.
GAB staff members have been in Waukesha County much of the week, and they were there again Thursday, staff attorney Mike Haas said.
‘Hand-entered results'
Additional questions surfaced after bloggers raised questions and Nickolaus posted a note to the clerk's website this week explaining discrepancies between the total ballots cast in several elections and the votes for particular offices.
In many cases, the number of votes totaled more than the number of ballots cast.
The results for the 2006 attorney general's race, for example, show 174,047 votes for either Democrat Kathleen Falk, Republican J.B. Van Hollen or write-in candidates, a total that is 17,243 votes higher than the total ballots cast recorded elsewhere in the results.
In her note, Nickolaus said the reference to ballots cast "is the number of ballots that were fed through the election machines at the polling places and the results were collected using a modem in the office" but does not include "any hand-entered results."
It was unclear what Nickolaus meant by "hand-entered results," and she was unavailable for comment Wednesday and Thursday.
Democrats seek answers
Calls for investigations into Waukesha County's vote count controversy have grown. Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said in a letter to Kennedy on Wednesday that "these apparent repeated problems from the Waukesha County clerk undermine the public's confidence in elections."
Also Wednesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter urging joint Assembly-Senate hearings to investigate the results and conduct of election officials in Waukesha County. Others, including U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the matter.
Haas said investigators have spoken with Nickolaus and want to make sure "we understand her explanation."
Copyright 2011 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
27  Messages / Causes & Activism / 'No cop in the state' would arrest Senate dems: Fitzgerald on: April 05, 2011, 03:12:57 pm
'No cop in the state' would arrest Senate dems: Fitzgerald

 DEE J. HALL | dhall@madison.com | 608-252-6132 madison.com | (146) Comments | Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 3:00 pm
  Chairs with the names of Democratic senators went unused except by members of the Assembly at Gov. Scott Walker's budget address. This picture was taken before the address. Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald acknowledged Friday that the efforts to return the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state to Madison came off as “comical” and would have become a public relations “disaster” if any lawmakers had been hauled back to Madison in a squad car. CRAIG SCHREINER – State Journal
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Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was repeatedly warned he would be stepping outside the law if he forcibly returned 14 Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin in February, according to internal emails.
Records obtained from the offices of Fitzgerald and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Ted Blazel show Fitzgerald was told he was on shaky legal ground by attorneys from three state agencies. The memos and email correspondence were released in response to a public records request from the State Journal.
In an interview Friday, Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the flight of the senators and the resulting legislative stalemate were “uncharted territory” that no one knew how to navigate.
But he acknowledged the efforts to return the senators to Madison came off as “comical” and would have become a public relations “disaster” if any lawmakers had been hauled back to Madison in a squad car.
“The whole thing was a mess,” Fitzgerald said. “You just can’t compel a senator to come back to the chamber.”
He said the reality was brought home when police agencies refused to carry out his March 3 order to forcibly detain the senators. Among them was Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden, who said his department would not honor any order to bring in Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.
Said Fitzgerald: “There was no cop in the state that would enforce it.”
Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, said Fitzgerald was more interested in bullying Democrats than “working to find a reasonable compromise that protected people’s rights and helped create jobs.”
The ordeal began Feb. 17 when the Democrats fled to avoid a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial anti-union bill. Fitzgerald issued a “call of the house” to compel the 14 senators, who went to Illinois, back to session. On Feb. 18, Fitzgerald sent State Patrol officers to Miller’s home. He was not there.
Three days after the walkout, on Feb. 20, Fitzgerald staffer Rob Richard reviewed his understanding of the law with attorneys from the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau. Richard recited the state constitution’s prohibition against arresting lawmakers while the Legislature was in session except in cases of treason, felony or “breach of the peace.”
“It would appear that Section 15 prevents us from ‘arresting’ or ‘physically forcing’ a member to attend,” Richard wrote in an email to attorneys at the two legislative service agencies and John Hogan, Fitzgerald’s chief of staff. “It now seems that monetary penalties and removal of privileges may be our only recourse with this resolution.”
Nevertheless, four days later, Fitzgerald once again sent troopers from the State Patrol, which is run by his father, Stephen Fitzgerald, to senators’ homes.
On March 3, two weeks after the walkout, Fitzgerald ratcheted up the pressure. He called his 18 Republican colleagues into session, and when the Democrats did not return by 4 p.m., the Republicans found them in “contempt of the Senate.” Fitzgerald ordered that the Democrats be “forcibly detained” if they stepped foot in Wisconsin.
That day, Fitzgerald and his private attorney, James Troupis, sounded confident in Fitzgerald’s legal authority to bring the errant senators back to Madison. Troupis cited a constitutional provision that allows the Senate to “compel the attendance of absent members.”
The Senate resolution authorized Blazel to use force and enlist the help of law enforcement to bring in the missing members. Troupis explained that detention was not an “arrest” because the senators were not suspected of any crimes.
When Fitzgerald tried to have the order to detain put out on the statewide system that officers use to check for arrest warrants it drew the attention of the state Department of Justice, which urged the Senate to back down.
“We would strongly recommend that you attempt to get the Senate’s Order to Detain out of the system, i.e. to the extent possible indicate publicly that it has been withdrawn so that law enforcement do not rely upon it and attempt to enforce it, thereby creating unnecessary liability exposure to them and the state,” Kevin Potter, an assistant attorney general, said in a March 4 email.
The email response from Troupis, three hours later, was defiant: “We are not withdrawing the Order.”
On March 7, Senate Chief Clerk Robert Marchant asked for a meeting with the Department of Justice, Fitzgerald’s office and Blazel to clarify what the sergeant-at-arms could legally do to “understand the risks involved in proceeding.”
The effort ended March 9 after Fitzgerald removed certain “fiscal” items from the bill that had required a 20-vote majority, and it quickly passed the Senate. Implementation of the law — which strips most collective bargaining rights from most public employees in Wisconsin — is now stalled in a court battle.
Fitzgerald said he doesn’t regret trying to force the Democratic senators back but “I certainly understand it was futile.”
“Every time we made a move it was always something that you in your wildest dreams never that you’d be involved with,” Fitzgerald said. “The discussions we had were incredible, almost surreal.
“They characterize me as some evil overbearing guy who was trying to do all these dirty tricks. We were just trying to do the best we could ... to figure out how to get these things back on track — get the Senate back.”
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, called the efforts “pathetic.”
“They wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to make us look bad rather than working to resolve the issues,” Erpenbach said.

28  Messages / Causes & Activism / Walker administration hired lobbyist's son for $81K job on: April 05, 2011, 03:11:43 pm
Walker administration hired lobbyist's son for $81K job



Gov. Scott Walker is flanked by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Mike Huebsch, state Secretary of the Department of Administration at a cabinet meeting in this January file photo. JOHN HART — State Journal archives
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The administration of Gov. Scott Walker hired the 27-year-old son of a veteran lobbyist then promoted him to an $81,500-per-year job overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees, despite his having no college degree and little management experience, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.
One critic of the administration said it looks to him like political payback. "It has all the markings of political patronage," said Michael McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and a frequent critic of the new Republican governor.
The newspaper reports that according to Brian Deschane's resume, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, worked for two Republican lawmakers and held part-time jobs with Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Business Council before being hired by the state earlier this year.
Deschane didn't respond to questions from the Journal Sentinel. On Monday, he didn't respond to a telephone message and email sent to his office by The Associated Press.
He's the son of Jerry Deschane, a longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association. The group's political action committee gave $29,000 to the campaigns of Walker and his running mate, putting it among the campaign's top donors.
The newspaper reports that members of the trade group also funneled more than $92,000 to Walker's campaign over the past two years, bringing the contribution total to $121,652.
Jerry Deschane told the newspaper that during the gubernatorial campaign, he might have reminded Keith Gilkes, Walker's campaign manager and now chief of staff, that his son "was out there and available."
"I put in good words for every one of my children in their jobs," he said. "But that would be the extent of it."
Jerry Deschane also said his group doesn't lobby his son's division, which deals primarily with regulating underground storage tanks and petroleum tanks and products. He said he didn't think his group's political contributions helped his son. "He got the position himself," he said. "I didn't get it for him."
Some are not so sure.
State Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, called Brian Deschane's hiring a case of the new administration using state jobs to repay various industries. He noted the younger Deschane's resume indicates he lacks environmental or management experience.
"It doesn't look like he's ever had a real job," Hulsey said.
David Carlson, spokesman for the Department of Regulation and Licensing, confirmed to the newspaper that Gilkes recommended Deschane for an interview with the agency.
A month later, department Secretary David Ross, a member of Walker's Cabinet, named Deschane the bureau director of board services, a job that paid $64,728 a year.
Not long after, lawmakers approved the governor's plan to convert the Department of Commerce to a public-private hybrid in charge of economic development, with its regulatory functions being moved to other agencies. Commerce Secretary Paul Jadin then appointed Deschane to his new job there to oversee the changes.
"It was felt that he would be helpful in working through the transition issues," said Commerce Department spokesman Tony Hozeny.
The move meant that after only a few months with the state, Deschane was given a pay raise of more than $16,500 a year.
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the administration knew about the younger Deschane's drunken-driving convictions — most recently in 2008 — but it "felt he had changed his habits and that these past incidents would in no way affect his performance at this job."
29  General Category / Sports / Bad NCAA title game is part of the Bulls' good future on: April 05, 2011, 03:09:09 pm
Bad NCAA title game is part of the Bulls' good future


The marginal-to-lousy college talent -- air quotes around talent, not even worth real quote marks -- is that it will breed lousy NBA play.

No, wait, it already has. The college game has been unwatchable for a while. Blame the high schoolers going from the prom to the pros, blame the one-and-done guys who go to college like it’s high school detention, blame whatever, but the show is so bad that it’s a wonder the host isn’t Jim Belushi. It’s a joke that college is considered a coach’s game.

And don’t kid yourself, the tournament isn’t any better, either. Not in terms of quality play. It’s just more dramatic.

Same goes for the NBA -- largely unwatchable until the playoffs. Again, that’s because of the drama, but mercifully, there is more than one talented player per team. Overall, however, the NBA would need to fold about six teams just to rise to the level of watered down.

And that’s good for the Bulls.

They already have their young star. They already have their free-agent signing in the low post. They have enough good players to shove Luol Deng down to the third option, which makes my point. Deng is a perfect example of the college game’s flooding the pros with all manner and combination of ill-equipped, overrated and uncoachable players.

Deng was a member of the overrated family, an example of how a general manager fixated on a pretty, shiny thing that became an ill-equipped starting point for constructing a championship team. John Paxson overrated Deng, then overpaid him, then it was over for the Bulls, who were going nowhere with the guy some people just couldn’t trade for Kobe Bryant. Remember that? Yeesh.

And then the Bulls got lucky. They hit the lottery in the lottery. They got Derrick Rose, All-Star, future MVP, and maybe champion.

But here’s the thing: If Paxson had decided that the low-post presence was just too irresistible, the Bulls would’ve become a steaming pile of mediocrity for another decade. Michael Beasley might not have become Dalibor Bagaric, but he looks every bit the well-traveled, ineffective doppelganger for Eddy Curry. And Beasley was the No. 2 pick, people.

Young players who haven’t matured physically, mentally or emotionally are suddenly secure financially, so what’s the point in working to get better? I’m not saying that’s a prevailing attitude, but just watch. Have you ever seen so many amateurs masquerading as pros? Just as bad, the so-called pros who want to learn don’t know how beause they’ve never had to. They’ve never done anything except rely on their talent, which has always been better than the rest of the neighborhood, and probably the rest of the region, and then they look stupid and selfish when they get to the “Association.’’

By the way, “Association’’ is not a hip term for the NBA any more than “skirt’’ is a hip term for a female. Stop saying it, OK? Making it part of your vocabulary does not make you peachy-keen-a-neato or bitchen. You are not a cool cat. And another thing: Using “cool cat’’ makes you a square.

But anyway, it’s undeniable that both the college and pro games would be better if players stayed at least three years. But that won’t happen, so the NBA will be, like the ad should say, where crappy happens.

Which makes the Bulls a team for the next decade, if not THE team for the next decade. Maybe the Bulls’ ascension to the top of the Eastern Conference and maybe all of the NBA happened faster than everybody imagined, but that’s where they are now, and only injury will kill all hope, but only if the injury is to Rose.

This isn’t to say the Bulls won’t face tough competition through 2020, but it is to say that the competition won’t come from college players making an immediate difference. The NCAA isn’t producing much NBA-ready quality, which means the bottom-feeders won’t enjoy some miracle turnaround, while the teams in the middle have no chance -- no chance -- of escaping hoop hell, which means the good teams that retain their great players get the NBA’s version of the 10-year PGA Tour exemption.

But wait. There’s more. It gets even better for the Bulls because they are this good right now with one of the youngest superstars in the league. I realize this good feeling could go ka-boom in the playoffs, but look at the top four teams in each conference and tell me how many of them can combine a young superstar with a quality supporting cast that projects to stay that way. Boston has playoff savvy, but the Celtics find ways to look older earlier and earlier. Orlando has Dwight Howard, the most dominant big man in the game, but I’m not convinced that their new look is a scary playoff opponent. Miami is the biggest threat for all of the next five years because Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are in their prime.

In the West, the top three teams -- the Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks -- are driven by 30-somethings. Kobe Bryant will stick around the longest to remain a threat, meaning it ought to be all you can eat for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook soon. Or maybe not. They’re terrific, but it’s still a coin flip whether they’ll ever achieve more than Steve Nash’s Suns used to.

The power has shifted to the East. The Bulls have the best record in the East. We haven’t seen these Bulls with this coach in the playoffs, but I can see how Chairman Reinsdorf talked about four more titles.

And I think Butler just missed another shot.
30  Messages / Causes & Activism / Re: Return to Wisconsin: The Beginning or the End? on: March 31, 2011, 01:24:33 pm
Hey, Michigande­rs, you've got a fight too!

http://www­.thepetiti­onsite.com­/1/recall-­govenor-ri­ck-snyder/
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