TCD’s week in review (1/20/12)
1. The recall
With more than one million signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker, and another 845,000 to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefish, organizers have taken the all-important next step with the handing in of petitions. While few doubted whether the signatures would be collected, groups have exceeded expectations. The one million signatures reportedly collected is roughly equivalent to 46 percent of the total voters in the 2010 election, in which Walker received 1.12 million votes (52 percent). Now comes the hard part, finding a candidate to challenge the controversial governor (more on that later).
2. Rep. Tamara Grigsby
Milwaukee representative Tamara Grigsby was released from a hospital where she was receiving care for an unknown illness, and is now recovering at her home. In a statement released Monday following her hospital discharge, the office of Rep. Grigsby said, “In lieu of flowers, Rep. Grigsby requests that interested parties instead make a small donation to a Wisconsin organization representing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To honor the Martin Luther King Day of Service, Grigsby prefers that, instead of flowers, the cause of social justice move forward.” We hope she continues to progress in her recovery.
3. Wisconsin manufacturing
While we’ve been taking note of the decline of manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin over recent months, there’s encouraging news this week as aircraft manufacturer Kestrel Aircraft Corporation announced that the company will open its new headquarters and build a new plant in Superior, Wisconsin. Kestrel could add an estimated 600 jobs to the region. There was competition for this plant between Gov. Walker and Maine governor Paul LePage (R), and the company chose Wisconsin’s package, which includes more than $18 million in tax incentives through an “Enterprise Zone” set up by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
23-year-old Laura Kaeppeler of Kenosha became the second Miss Wisconsin to win the Miss America pageant. The new Miss America won the talent portion with her performance of “Il Bacio,” and will be using her $50,000 scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in speech and language pathology. During Saturday night’s pageant, Kaeppeler introduced herself by saying, “If you’re watching, Aaron Rodgers, call me.” So far, that hasn’t happened.
Whitefish Bay native Craig Counsell is calling it a career after a 15 years in the big leagues, the last five of which were spent playing for his hometown team. “It’s easy when you’ve got more softball teams calling you than baseball teams,” Counsell joked at his press conference. But Counsell won’t be done working in baseball; he’s been named special assistant to Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin. In other Brewer news, Nyjer Morgan is back for another year (#AHHH!).
Amidst all of the excitement this week from the Wisconsin Democratic Party and other recall groups hoping for Gov. Walker’s departure is the underlying problem of a viable candidate. While Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is currently polling as the (potential) primary frontrunner (and picked up two union endorsements on Thursday), many fear that Mayor Nice Guy won’t be able to bring it statewide. Same for Madison Democrat Kathleen Falk, who announced her candidacy this week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel presented this graphic (for free!) outlining other potential candidates in a recall primary, including Assembly minority leader Peter Barca, state senators Tim Cullen and Jon Erpenbach, and former U.S. congressmen Steve Kagen and David Obey. While Obey in particular would be a compelling candidate, there doesn’t appear to be a candidate that recall-backers are rallying behind, and time is short.
2. Private sector jobs
While the United states gained 212,000 jobs in the month of December, Wisconsin went the other direction, losing an estimated 3,900 private-sector jobs during that same time period. While the number of private-sector jobs created in the state is up 13,500 from a year ago, this is now the sixth consecutive month in which Wisconsin lost.
As President Obama rejects the Keystone Pipeline proposal, not based on its merits or lack thereof, but because of GOP-controlled, House-led efforts to impose “a rushed and arbitrary deadline” for his decision. Obama said the timeline requirement “prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.”
4. Wisconsinites on YouTube
Wisconsin went viral this week, as Packer fan Casey Lewis had an epic drunken meltdown after the Packers’ loss, which she blamed on her sister Megan’s choice in fingernail polish and Packers attire. The video has made Lewis an internet sensation and has been a popular local media topic all week, as the video now has more than 1 million views. Even linebacker/gladiator Clay Matthews responded in a tweet, saying “D_mn you Megan and your sparkles!!” Ms. Lewis wasn’t the only web star this week, as Madison resident Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop (no, I didn’t fall asleep on my keyboard, that’s his name), who was arrested for excessive drinking and drug use, got the late night TV treatment from Jimmy Kimmel, which included a montage of local TV anchors attempting to pronounce the 30-year-old’s entirely ridiculous name.
5. Cheeseheads everywhere
The Green Bay Packers’ quest to repeat as Super Bowl Champions came to an abrupt end on Sunday at the hands of Eli @#$%ing Manning and the New York Giants. Now that there’s been a few days to adequately digest the Sunday afternoon disaster, here’s where I think the loss ranks among the Pack’s worst playoff losses of the past 15 years:
- 1997: Super Bowl XXXII
- 2008: The overtime loss in the NFC Championship (Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer, back when we still cared about that stuff).
- 1998: The Jerry Rice fumble game (or as it’s known in San Francisco, The Catch II)
- 2003: 4th and 26.
- 2002: The Vick Game.
- Sunday’s loss to New York.
- 2004: Losing to the Vikings 31-17 in the playoffs after beating them twice in the regular season
- 2009: Packers/Cardinals shootout