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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - BE WELL

A Safe, Healthy and Happy NEW YEAR!
Drive safely - Select a designated driver.

Chin-Chin to the memories of those who are In Memoriam - Special thoughts.
Hear's to our family members near and far.
Hear's to MORE love and care for us ALL.

MILWAUKEE PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION LLC family looks forward to continued services as a  Premier leader in 2013 to help inform Affordable Health Care beneficiaries.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Schacknow - Today's Brief, December 27, 2012

December 27, 2012

Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk


Wall Street has all but sewn up a positive 2012, but the major averages are clearly limping to the finish. With worries about the oncoming "fiscal cliff" increasing, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq have fallen for three straight sessions and four of the past five.

There are no earnings reports on the calendar for today, but investors will have a number of fresh economic reports to consider, starting with the Labor Department's weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30am ET. Economists are expecting claims of 364,000 for the week ending December 22, compared to 361,000 the prior week. At 10am ET, new home sales for November are seen increasing 3.5% from October levels, to an annual rate of 381,000 units, according to consensus forecasts. Also at 10am ET, we'll get the Conference Board's monthly Consumer Confidence Index, expected to fall to 70.0 for December from November's 73.7.

Toyota (TM) leads our list of stocks to watch, as the automaker agrees to a $1.1 billion settlement of all claims related to unintended acceleration and the accompanying recalls back in 2009 and 2010. The settlement must still be approved by a judge, who is expected to review it tomorrow.

Amazon.com (AMZN) remains on top of an online shopping satisfaction survey for the eighth consecutive year. The annual ForeSee survey ranked Amazon with a score of 88 out of 100, with L.L. Bean coming in second at 85. J.C. Penney had the biggest year-to-year drop, while last place was shared by Gilt.com and Fingerhut.com.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is reportedly giving low-rated networks a take-it-or-leave-it offer of $0 to be carried on its systems, according to the New York Post. Sources also say TWC is pressuring smaller channels not to provide their shows for free online.

Nokia's (NOK) new Lumia phones are already being sold at a discount or being provided for free at some mobile carriers, according to the Wall Street Journal. That could hurt Nokia, which has been betting on the success of the Lumia line to stem years of red ink.

BCD Semiconductor (BCDS) will be bought by rival chipmaker Diodes (DIOD) for $151 million, or $8 per share in cash. That's slightly more than double BCD's Wednesday closing price.

W.W. Grainger (GWW) will pay $70 million to settle charges that it submitted false claims relating to contracts with the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. The hardware distributor maintains that it complied with all rules in its contracts and points out the settlement does not contain any admission of wrongdoing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

KWANZAA - 2012 Celebration

MILWAUKEE - (MPA-PPR) December 26 - January 1 is Kwanzaa.

Dr. Maulana Karenga
Founder of Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States (and more recently, Canada) but also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora.

The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.

Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba):
It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.
Principles and symbols
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy," consisting of what Karenga called "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world."

These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in God, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The Kinera

 

Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat on which other symbols are placed, corn and other crops, a candle holder with seven candles, called a kinara, a communal cup for pouring libations, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.
Wikipedia

Thursday, December 20, 2012

LARSON BI-WEEKLY REPORT - December 20, 2012


Dear Friend,

This week we remember those we lost to gun violence in Connecticut. We also take a look at the challenges facing our state as we approach the New Year and a new legislative session.

Sincerely,
Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7
================

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505

Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487

Email: Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

Web Site:
SenatorChrisLarson.com
================

Mourning Those We Lost
Our country is currently in a state of mourning for the 20 children and 7 adults that were killed in Newtown, Connecticut late last week by a lone gunman. As a father, I cannot help but see my son's eyes when I look into the faces of those we lost so young.

The sheer magnitude of what was lost that day was summed up well by President Obama when he said:

"Our hearts are broken today. The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams."

As stories have been coming out, it has become evident that many of the teachers and staff that gave up their lives on that tragic day did so out of love to protect their students. I am humbled by these brave and selfless individuals who sacrificed everything and acted heroically to try and save the innocent children they often referred to as "their kids."

As a community that experienced the devastation of violence first-hand earlier this year, at both the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek and Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, we know it takes time to grieve and start to move forward. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and neighbors of those wounded, killed, or present in the shooting during this difficult time. In the days to come, we must step beyond partisan roadblocks to seek real solutions to prevent such tragic and senseless acts of violence.

Challenges to Tackle in New Year
Last session was a historic one in Wisconsin. As we approach the New Year, it is time to examine the challenges facing our state as we get closer to the start of the new legislative session.

ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY
Another challenge Wisconsin has had to grasp is how to stretch what little money we have during these tough economic times. One of the best ways to ensure our tax dollars are being used wisely and as intended by the people of Wisconsin is to increase accountability and transparency measures so we can all track where the money is going to determine if the investments we are making are sound. In general, Wisconsinites agree that accountability and transparency are crucial to a well-functioning government that places the people first. This is illustrated by our laws requiring open meetings and records, thoughtful checks and balances in government structures, and significant disclosure for campaign contributions.

We recently saw what can happen when accountability and transparency are sacrificed by state agencies. Major concerns with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) were brought to light in a public hearing on October 17 in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

WEDC was hastily created in 2011 by Governor Walker, who is now the chairman of the WEDC Board, to replace the state's Department of Commerce. Unfortunately, WEDC was handed $85 million in taxpayer dollars but never given a rule book. This mistake has cost taxpayers dearly and caused the agency to perform irresponsibly. For two years, calls for common sense accountability and transparency measures were ignored by those in charge. Void of checks and balances to properly safeguard our limited resources, WEDC has been allowed to operate in the shadows.

This public-private agency has had persistent problems since its inception. These include circumventing Wisconsin’s fair and competitive bidding process and ignoring federal and state laws when giving out grants. The final straw, which led to an independent audit being conducted, was losing track of $50 million in loans, including about $12 million already overdue. According to the audit, WEDC also failed to double-check credit card purchases and accounting journals of staff. Such a basic business practice is necessary to prevent internal fraud, including embezzlement. Additionally, the agency did not track the tens of millions in taxpayer dollars it gave to businesses. This shoddy accounting contributed to WEDC failing to follow-up on delinquent loans.

WEDC’s culture of secrecy has left taxpayers in the dark on their investment in this agency. We cannot afford to continue footing the bill to cover the mistakes made by WEDC. With Wisconsin still struggling economically, failing to create promised jobs, and lagging behind the rest of the country, it is unacceptable to allow WEDC to continue to play fast and loose with our tax dollars.

Regardless of which party is in control, it is always better to error on the side of more accountability and transparency, not less. I look forward to working with my Democratic colleagues, Republican legislators, and the governor to make our state agencies, like WEDC, more transparent on behalf of Wisconsin’s taxpayers.

HEALTH CARE
Health care is a major economic issue as it affects all Wisconsinites and businesses statewide. A healthy workforce means less sick days, catching health issues before they become chronic conditions, and increased productivity. Our state still has many challenges to overcome regarding health care in Wisconsin, including recent attacks on women's health priorities and opting to punt implementation of health care exchanges to the federal government. As we approach the upcoming legislative session, economic issues, including health care, must be a top priority.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care reform law on June 28, 2012, making meaningful health care reform implementation in Wisconsin imperative. Unfortunately, in November, Governor Walker submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stating that Wisconsin will not adopt a state-based exchange but rather let the federal government create one. Despite initially rejecting this opportunity, Wisconsin may still have a chance to adopt its own exchange in the future. Given that Wisconsin is unique with its own health care needs, moving forward with implementing a state-based exchange, instead of one controlled by the federal government, seems to be the best option for our state.

Wisconsin will also face challenges regarding women's health, such as combating problems that have arisen in other states that, like Wisconsin, passed regressive women's health measures during the last legislative session. Providing women in Wisconsin an opportunity to seek preventive care services, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support in our state. However, last session, Republicans attacked Wisconsin’s health services for women by eliminating all state funding for health centers that provide all-options family planning services. These funding cuts affected at least 50 health centers throughout the state, some of which act as the sole provider of family planning and preventive care services for low-income women. This means more mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters will lose access to life-saving cervical and breast cancer screening and other reproductive health services unless these centers are able to independently maintain adequate funding.

Other states, including Texas, passed similar regressive laws regarding women's health recently and have come to realize that such pursuits may end up costing taxpayers dearly. Texas estimates that their decision to cut $73 million from family planning and women's health centers could cost taxpayers an additional $273 million during the 2014-2015 biennium due to an anticipated additional 23,760 babies being born in poverty because of decreased access to birth control. This consequence of eliminating funding for women's health and family planning centers has already caused Texas legislators on both sides of the aisle to rethink their hastily crafted law.

To move forward together, we need to stand on the side of best practices that promote healthy communities, save taxpayer money, and give all Wisconsinites an opportunity to receive basic health care services. In fact, for every public $1 spent on preventive family planning services taxpayers save, on average, $4. Like Texas, Wisconsin should also stop to think of the unintended consequences of eliminating state funding to family planning and women's health centers.

Richards Report - December 20, 2012

State Representative Jon Richards - 19th District
December 19, 2012


It is Time for Common Sense Gun Safety Laws

Dear Neighbor:

I have heard from so many of you this week asking for action after the tragedy in Connecticut. On Monday I came to the Capitol right away to work with my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to gain support for public safety measures that we need in Wisconsin. As part of that effort, I am drafting a bill that would require background checks for all gun sales in Wisconsin. Nationally, 40% of all gun sales occur without a background check.

The mandatory background check law would address what happened in the Azana Spa shooting in Brookfield. In that case, two days after a judge ordered a domestic abuser not to have a gun he was able to ignore the law by going online and purchasing the gun he used in his rampage.

This week colleagues of mine introduced proposals for an assault weapons ban in Wisconsin and a ban on hollow-point bullets. I support those measures and hope they gain the bi-partisan support they will need to become law this year.

I was encouraged to hear that President Obama is pursuing gun safety laws at the federal level. We should encourage our members of Congress to support those as much as we can. But Wisconsin should not wait for the federal government to act. As we have done through our history, we should lead – especially when it comes to keeping people safe.

Thanks to all of you have sent me your ideas on the changes we need to make to improve safety. Please keep sending me your ideas and let’s work together to make the change we need so badly.

Sincerely,

JON RICHARDS
State Representative
Assembly District 19

Friday, December 14, 2012

Larson Bi-Weekly Report - December 13, 2012


Dear Friend,

As we approach the holidays, the next budget process is already underway, which is discussed in this week's report. Additionally, we examine proposed changes to Wisconsin's registration and voting laws. Continue reading for more information about these and other current state and community issues.

Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7
Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

Mailing Address:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

Web Site:
=====================

Preserving Same Day Registration is Common Sense
While Republicans have said little about jobs initiatives they may introduce to help Wisconsin catch up and experience the economic recovery other states have enjoyed, they have been vocal on plans to introduce legislation to eliminate same day registration. Such a proposal was even touted by Governor Walker while laying out his legislative agenda at a dinner for donors in California. 

Wisconsin has historically been one of the top states for voter participation. Much of this stems from our adoption of same day registration laws, which make it easier for eligible voters to participate in Wisconsin's elections by allowing them to register at the polls on Election Day prior to voting.

A study done by George Mason University examining voter turnout for the 2010 general elections ranked Wisconsin among the top five states with the highest voter turnout. This trend continued in the general election this year, as well. According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, Wisconsin saw a turnout rate of 70.1% in the most recent elections. Additionally, 3,071,434 votes were cast for president in the November 2012 elections. This was the highest number of votes cast for a single office in a statewide election in Wisconsin history. These are numbers of which to be proud.

Same day registration has proven to be a popular option for voters, and is also widely supported by the nonpartisan officials that administer our elections. According to the Government Accountability Board, during major statewide elections, 10-15% of Wisconsin voters opt to register to vote or update their registration information on Election Day. This rate is even higher in our area. The Milwaukee Election Commissioner Neil Albrecht reported that in the most recent election 19% of those who voted in Milwaukee registered that day.

Eliminating this widely used registration option would be a tremendous inconvenience for many voters and create countless problems. If same day registration were to be eliminated, Wisconsin would immediately become subject to federal voter protection laws, including the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Wisconsin was previously exempt from these laws because it offered same day registration. These laws require that voter registration take place at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as well as at agencies that provide federal or state public assistance or administer programs that primarily assist neighbors with disabilities. Many DMV locations in Wisconsin, especially in rural areas, are open during limited hours. Additionally, some Wisconsinites have to drive nearly an hour to reach the nearest DMV center. These complications, among others, will make it increasingly difficult for the people with full-time jobs, the elderly, students, individuals with disabilities, and Wisconsinites in rural areas to register in a timely manner prior to elections. 

Furthermore, eliminating same day registration will also prove costly to taxpayers. The Government Accountability Board, which would be tasked with implementing any changes to our registration and voting laws, has estimated that implementing this change will initially cost approximately $5.2 million during the first two years of the switch. Continuing not to offer same day registration and having to instead comply with federal laws will then cost the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board at least $2 million every two years from here on out. No word yet on what the costs would be for other agencies, such as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 

Fortunately, it appears that common sense may have prevailed in this battle over whether or not to continue with same day registration. This past Wednesday, Governor Walker flipped his position on this issue by stating that he would not sign legislation to eliminate same day registration, citing cost concerns that were brought to his attention by neighbors, advocacy groups, state agencies, and legislators. I hope that he is committed to upholding this promise to voters and taxpayers, which will preserve the ability of Wisconsinites to register to vote on Election Day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BOTTOM-UP Change - Open, Collaborative & Transparent CN-FAHC



"As you all know, on the president's first full day in office, he had challenged the country to be more open, more collaborative and transparent", said Aneesh Chopra, 9-12-2011, Consumer Health IT Summit.

Aneesh Chopra, 1st Federal Chief Technology Officer, uses his comments to introduce outreach pledgees at the 2011 Consumer Health IT Summit.  Fast forward 1:06:13 minutes of the video to hear Aneesh Chopra.

On 12-12-12, Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC announced its CN-FAHC, Collaborative Network for Affordable Health Care.  It is based on President Obama's challenge his first day of office in 2008,  4 years ago.
===================

There are 8 items on the table for creating and supporting Wisconsin Federally-Facilitated Exchange:
  • Accountability Standards - open, collaborative and transparent
  • Benefits and Values in the Marketplace 
    • Exchanges
    •  Health Practitioners
    •  Health Training, schools
    •  Hospitals, Clinics and Homes
    •  Insurance
    •  IT Devices
    •  local-state-federal government 
  • CN-FAHC  Standards Committee
  • EHRElectronic Health Records
  • INFORMATION SHARING
  • PHR Personal Health Records
  • Privacy and Security for Consumers
  • Self Management – Health Coaching
====================

MPA LLC has upgraded its leadership and commitment to assist with customer-centered care by linking Milwaukee area stakeholders in a "collaborative" for awareness-building and decision-making.  The TRANSFORMATIVE PENETRATION method is using awareness, commitment and behavior-change as the entry for transformative learning.   The method engages the Milwaukee area population in "paradigm shifting".

"We know that best practices, transparency, accountability and partnering for PREPAREDNESS can make the difference between awareness and success versus confusion, frustration, chaos and failure," said Chair/CEO Mary Glass - Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC.   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MILWAUKEE PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION announces its next step in Education Attainment for Affordable Health Care

MILWAUKEE (MPA-PPR) - 12-12-12,  Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC has added another platform for spearheading re-defining, re-branding and un-trapping Milwaukeeans in the All Hands on Deck, WE CAN Affordable Health Care component.

We see the advent of the "Federally-Facilitated Exchange" as a tsunami opportunity to cut-to-the-chase.
We see it as an opportunity for our U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to link true possibilities of necessary INFRASTRUCTURE reform.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime to lay the foundation and work right with the END-USER.
However, they must be clear on the method of operation, engage from the jump small businesses (for-profit and non-profit), public organizations and all who are willing to shoulder the challenge.

It is imperative that small for-profit neighborhood level businesses step up and provide trustworthy, straight-forward, competitive and genuine products and services.

Likewise, it can not be assumed that because local, county and state government agencies and their pre-planned partners with monopoly, hold-the-key to what is needed.  In fact, it is quite the contrary.

It should be an earned process going forward.
We have researched the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, local public schools, the state departments and the federal agencies for years, we have observed a clear pattern of elected/appointed/hired/donor for hire and volunteer representatives run our city into "bad health" and "enduring concentrated poverty".

We are well-aware of the cronyism, the old boys and girls networks, donor for hire, gatekeepers and obstructionists.  We know the bias and discrimination that takes place that is racial, class and against those of us that are "small neighborhood for-profit" businesses.

Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC has hit-the-floor running for Affordable Health Care as a "premier" small business in the city of Milwaukee and we are actively engaging in "outreach" for like-minds who see the benefit in working with our format.

Background
On September 19, 2012, MPA LLC kick-off was held at the Bethesda Senior Center, 2845 W. Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, WI 53210.  Bethesda is one of 22 senior centers in the Milwaukee area.

On September 25, 2012, Mary Glass, Chair/CEO announced the "Host & Learn" panels for sharing information.  It is basic Affordable Health Care information that will affect all stakeholders.  The panelists will provide information for innovative planning of the "patient-centered"Affordable Health Care at the neighborhood level to ensure that the fingerprint of the end-user is an intricate part of the main blueprint.

On November 16, 2012, we found out that Governor Scott Walker declined to implement a state exchange for the state of Wisconsin.  His refusal is to have NO part in the installation/implementation of the Affordable Health Care Law for January 1, 2014.  The choices for implementation of the Affordable Health Care exchange are:
  • state exchange - state
  • partner exchange - state and federal
  • federally-faciliated exchange - federal.
On January 1, 2014, Wisconsin will have a federally-faciliated exchange.

It is important to note that there are processes and "benchmarks"that have gone unfulfilled by Governor Walker, Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel and Secretary Dennis Smith, WI Health Services, the three top representatives for Wisconsin to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  MPA LLC is mindful of the unfulfilled and upcoming mandates due by October 1, 2013.  It is crucial that stakeholders are well-informed and prepared for the first implementation of America's national health care insurance plan.

The law says:  no state is exempt.

MPA LLC has upgraded its leadership and commitment to assist with customer-centered care by linking Milwaukee area stakeholders for awareness-building and decision-making.  The TRANSFORMATIVE PENETRATION method (using awarenesscommitment and behavior change through transformative learning) that will be used was announced November 19-20, 2012 on MPA LLC blog.   The method engages the Milwaukee area population in "paradigm shifting".

"We know that best practices, transparency, accountability and partnering for PREPAREDNESS can make the difference between awareness and success versus confusion, frustration, chaos and failure," said Chair/CEO Mary Glass - Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC.   
Milwaukee CN-FAHC 
Today, Milwaukee Collaborative Network for Affordable Health Care was announced as the group for partnering of stakeholders - residential and commercial, public, private and non-profit entities to address the importance of coming together for Preparedness in All Hands on Deck, WE CAN initiative.   

The expectation of the membership for the 13 months, 1st Phase, is to provide strength in input that is vital to full implementation of the Wisconsin Federally-Assisted Affordable Health Care. 

It is a membership network that pledges to accountability, transparency, best practices, truth-telling, linking resources, empowerment through infrastructural reform, education attainment and technology attainment.  

Mission - To empower the people of the Milwaukee area for patient-centered readiness and preparedness of/for the implementation of the Affordable Health Care law through direct and open information sharing for access, literacy and fluency of health care practitioners, health care providers, IT tools, policies and procedures that include education and technology attainment, with enforced maximum assistance from DHHS/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, other federal, state and local government offices and legislators for hands-on input and decision making.  

The Milwaukee CN-FAHC welcomes individuals (all eligible recipients of the Affordable Health Care insurance coverage); health practitioners - physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, other health professionals; health care assistants, i.e., in-school interns, office workers of medical records, IT/Information Processing staff; IT vendors, APP vendors, health care providers - hospitals, clinics, home-care, pharmacies, insurance carriers, diagnostic centers; schools of health care, i.e., 2-year, 4-year and beyond; organizations - for profit, public/government, clergy, non-profit and philanthropy; legislators, elected representatives, student representatives and unions.

The first Milwaukee CNFAHC meeting is in the process of scheduling and will be available before Xmas, 2012.

Stay tuned.

Schacknow, Today's Brief - 12-12-12

December 12, 2012

TODAYS PRIMER                             
Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk 

    The new day begins with the major averages having made up all their post-Election Day losses – the Dow and S&P 500 are coming off their highest closes since October 22, the Nasdaq since October 18.  The Dow’s 5-day winning streak is its first of that length or longer since March, and the S&P has also risen for five consecutive sessions.

    Today’s major focus – besides the ongoing fiscal cliff talks – is the latest policy statement from the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee.  That will come at approximately 12:30pm ET, followed by a news conference from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke at 2:15pm ET.  The Fed will also issue its latest economic forecasts at 2pm ET.

    Also on today’s economic calendar: November import and export prices at 8:30am ET, and the November federal budget statement at 2pm ET.

    The earnings schedule is extremely light today, with Costco (COST) and Joy Global (JOY) among the few companies of note on the schedule for this morning.  Restoration Hardware (RH) will be out with its quarterly numbers after the closing bell.

    Costco (COST) is already out with its fiscal first quarter numbers,  earning $0.95 per share, two cents above estimates.  Revenue and profit margins also beat consensus, as the warehouse retailer posted higher sales and benefited from higher membership fees.

    Microsoft (MSFT) will make its new Surface tablet available at more retailers, and will extend the run of temporary Microsoft holiday stores.  Some of those locations will transition into permanent Microsoft retail outlets.  Separately, office supplies retailer Staples (SPLS) has announced it will begin to carry the Surface this week.

    Molycorp (MCP) chief executive officer Mark Smith has left the producer of rare earth metal products.  Constantine Karayannopoulos will service as interim chief executive while a search is conducted for a permanent CEO.  Karayannopoulos is former CEO of Neo Material Technologies.

    DuPont (DD) says it sees full year 2012 earnings at the high end of its previously projected range of $3.25 - $3.30 per share, versus Street estimates of $3.29.  The Dow component also announced a $1 billion share buyback.

    Lazard (LAZ) has declared a special dividend of $0.20 per share, and the investment firm is also accelerating its regularly quarterly dividend – ordinarily payable in February – into December in anticipation of higher tax rates.

    Thor Industries (THO) is taking a similar action, declaring a special dividend of $1.50 per share, and accelerating its January quarterly dividend payment into December.  Thor is a maker of recreational vehicles, commercial buses, and ambulances.

    Dolby Laboratories (DLB) has declared a special dividend of $4.00 per share, payable on December 27 to shareholders of record as of December 21.

    Moody’s (MCO) has boosted its quarterly dividend by 25% to $0.16 per share.
    Cummins (CMI) has authorized a $1 billion share repurchase program.  That comes as the engine maker’s current $1 billion program nears conclusion.

    Big Lots (BIG) executives reportedly sold more than $23 million in stock in March, just before negative news that sank the price.  That’s according to the Wall Street Journal, which says these sales were made outside of prearranged trading plans.

    Coinstar’s (CSTR) Redbox unit is launching an unlimited streaming video plan that also comes with four nights of physical DVD rentals for $8 per month.  That’s seen as a challenge to Netflix (NFLX), which dominates the category.

    Avon Products (AVP) is cutting about 1,500 jobs globally, and also will exit the South Korea and Vietnam markets.  The moves are part of a restructuring plan that was announced last month.
    Apple (AAPL) is in the early stages of designing a large, high resolution TV set, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The paper says Apple is working with Hon Hai, which assembles the iPad and iPhone, as well as Sharp, on the design of the new set.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

EXPANDED INTEREST, SPACE & DESIGN moves IT MART to 2013 Rescheduling


MILWAUKEE (MPA-PPR) - Today, Sunday, December 9, 2012 - Milwaukee Professionals
Association LLC, a premier small business for Affordable Health Care in Milwaukee,   ANNOUNCED that it will NOT host its first IT Mart on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

"We are in the process of re-scheduling the first of four IT MARTS SUMMITS for 2013 in the city of Milwaukee.  With growing excitement of ideas and possibilities the last three weeks regarding the IT MART as well as outreach awareness of the Affordable Health Care law to the residential, commercial, industrial and government stakeholders; on Friday, it became evident that the space and growth needs would be best served with an expanded design at another facility and with at least a 2-day format.  Our marketing group will be out with the dates before Xmas," said Mary Glass, Chair/CEO, Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Schacknow - Today's Brief, December 6, 2012

TODAYS PRIMER                             
Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk

    U.S. stocks come off a day of what some are calling “Dow-vergence”, with the Dow up triple digits for most of the day while the Nasdaq was lower for the entire session.  Had the Dow been able to finish 100 or more points higher, it would have been the first time those two events coincided since May 2002.

    Investors are still focused on the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations, but they also have the November employment report in their sights.  Ahead of tomorrow morning’s release, we’ll get fresh jobs data today via the Labor Department’s weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30am ET.  Economists are expecting first-time claims of 375,000 for the week ending December 1, down from the prior week’s 393,000.

    We’ll also get fresh interest rate decisions this morning from the Bank of England (7am ET) and the European Central Bank (7:45am ET), followed by ECB President Mario Draghi’s usual post-meeting news conference at 8:30am ET.

    Also out today: the monthly Challenger report on planned layoffs (7:30am ET) and the Energy Department’s weekly assessment of natural gas inventories (10:30am ET0.

    H&R Block (HRB) and Smithfield Foods (SFD) are among the handful of companies planning morning earnings releases, while Smith & Wesson (SWHC) is on the short list of after-the-bell reports.

    Medical products maker Stryker (SYK) is on our list of stocks to watch, as it raises its quarterly dividend by 25% to 26-1/2 cents per share.  It’s also boosted its stock buyback authorization by $405 million to a total of $1 billion.

    Broadcom (BRCM) has boosted the lower end of its current quarter revenue guidance, and the chipmaker also says its profit margins will be better than previously expected.  Broadcom says sales have been better than forecast, and it has spent less than expected on areas like research and development, selling, and overhead.
    Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) has declared a special dividend of $2.00 per share, which will be funded from the sporting goods retailer’s excess cash on hand. 

    General Dynamics (GD) is accelerating its quarterly dividend payment, becoming yet another company to move a scheduled 2013 payment into 2012 in anticipation of higher tax rates next year.

    Garmin (GRMN) will be joining the S&P 500 following the December 11close, with the GPS products maker replacing R.R. Donnelley (RRD).  Donnelley is moving to the S&P MidCap 400, replacing Medicis Pharmaceutical (MRX), which is being acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX).

    Men’s Wearhouse (MW) earned $0.95 per share for the third quarter, two cents below estimates, with revenues falling short of estimates as well.  The clothing retailer also says its fourth quarter results will range from a loss of $0.05 per share to a profit of $0.01, versus estimates of a $0.14 per share profit.  The company says the northeast storms, the presidential election, the “fiscal cliff”, and other economic concerns have all been contributing to reduced traffic levels.

    CME Group (CME) is accelerating its annual dividend payment of $1.30 per share into 2012, in anticipation of higher tax rates.

    Hillenbrand Industries (HI) has increased its quarterly dividend by $0.01 per share to $0.195 per share.
    Apple (APPL) and Samsung return to court today, with Samsung trying to overturn an August court decision that found it guilty of patent infringement and ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1 billion.

    HSBC (HBC) may reportedly be subject to a $1.8 billion U.S. fine over lapses in money laundering enforcement.  Reuters reports the settlement could be announced as soon as next week.

    Zynga (ZNGA) has filed for a Nevada gaming license, its first step towards eventually offering online gambling games in the U.S.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Richards Weekly Report - December 4, 2012

Rep. Jon Richards - Assembly District 19
December 4, 2012

Mass Transit Should Get Help in Next State Budget Dear Neighbor:

At a community forum last night I heard from many concerned neighbors about the ever-declining service for Milwaukee County Transit. One employer, who employs entry-level workers at a number of nursing homes in Milwaukee County, said that many of his employees need to have two jobs to make ends meet. These employees don’t have cars and need the bus to get to work. Bus service takes so long that people can’t get to work.

 Another speaker spoke about how many people working two jobs need to use the bus to get to one job near Bayshore Mall and to another in Wauwatosa and also factor in picking up their kids from daycare. It takes some of these employees three hours – one way – to get to work at one job.

 Funding mass transit is about jobs. But for all the rhetoric in legislature about creating jobs, we are failing the tens of thousands of people who rely on decent mass transit to get to work. 

In the last state budget, funding for mass transit was cut by $9.62 million, the first time in anyone’s memory that it was cut. The Department of Transportation’s budget request for next year locks in the decrease. If mass transit remains cut at its current level, that will mean for the two-year budget cycle, mass transit aid will be $15 million less than it was in Governor Doyle’s last two-year cycle. 

 And as the funding for mass transit go down, the price of all of the items needed to keep the buses rolling keeps going up. The result is a continuing slide in bus service around the state, but especially in Milwaukee. 

 Please join me in contacting the governor’s office and requesting more aid for mass transit in the next state budget. 

Sincerely, JON RICHARDS 
State Representative Assembly District 19

Monday, December 3, 2012

MARKET-2-MARKET, A PATH for Neighborhood Businesses in Milwaukee


MONDAY, December 3, 2012
MILWAUKEE - (MPA-PPR), Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC announced additional opportunities for the December 12, 2012 IT MART.   

Neighborhood Businesses
We have a NLSB-Neighborhood Level Small Business discount for members to help ensure that the small neighborhood business, product and/or service, is conveyed and part of the marketplace on December 12, 2012 - MPA LLC IT/Information Technology and during the 2012-2013 timeframe, a special discount for Registration is available.

IT MART TALK
Roundtables are available for to help ensure that efforts are made to spread the word to Affordable Health Care beneficiaries.

The round tables are now available for one-on-one Talks and networking all through the day to provide information about a business, an industry, product, or service at the IT MARTS, starting December 12, 2012.  Sign up TODAY.

"We feel that Information Technology/IT businesses, industry leaders and neighborhood-owner businesses; and,  Health Care Providers, insurance carriers, hospitals, home care providers, clinics and health care schools, get options for participation, a 'bang-in-the-buck' and increase sharing for better decision making", said Mary Glass, Chair/CEO, Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC.

Place
Prince Hall Grand Lodge
Lower Auditorium
600 W. Walnut Street
Milwaukee, WI  53212

Time
9:00am - 3:00pm

MORE INFO to Sign up

Be the First to See It - ALVIN AILEY, New York City Center


December 3, 2012
NEW YORK - ALVIN AILEY COMPANY

Join us for a week of historic firsts at New York City Center as we premiere a new work by the hot young choreographer Kyle Abraham - his jazzy Another Night - and add the stunning Petite Mort to our repertory, the first by Jiří Kylián, "one of the most influential choreographers of the last 30 years" (New York Times). Plus, be the first to see our new Ailey Classics program, highlighting some of Mr. Ailey's best-loved works.

This week also marks the final 7 performances by Renee Robinson, who ends her incredible 31-year career with the Ailey company on Dec. 9. Don't miss your last chances to see this incomparable dancer. 

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Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC supports the Alvin Ailey Company

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Larson Bi-Weekly Report - November 29, 2012

December 1, 2012


Dear Friend,

I hope you enjoyed a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Continue reading for an update on state news, including Wisconsin's decision regarding health care implementation, the cancellation of LogistiCare's contract with the state, and how Wisconsin's hunters fared this season.

Sincerely,
Chris Larson
Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487
Email: Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov
Web Site:
SenatorChrisLarson.com

=======================================================================
LOGISTICARE ENDS CONTRACT WITH STATE
State Senator, District 7

On November 21, 2012, the Department of Health Services (DHS) alerted the Legislature that LogistiCare would be ending its contract with the state. LogistiCare, a company based out of Atlanta, Georgia, contracted with the state to manage and provide non-emergency medical transportation services for neighbors that rely on our health safety net programs, such as Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus. According to the letter submitted by LogistiCare to DHS, the company will no longer be responsible for providing these vital transportation services as of February 18, 2013. DHS is currently in the process of issuing a new Request for Proposal, which enables them to hear bids and select a new business with which to contract.

While the termination of this contract was not necessarily foreseen, it is not surprising given the problems that have plagued LogistiCare, which replaced the county-based system used in the past. One of the most common complaints neighbors raise about LogistiCare is the wait-time to schedule a ride for upcoming doctor and hospital visits. LogistiCare's contract states that the average daily hold times cannot be longer than two minutes on both the scheduling line and the "Where's My Ride" line combined. According to recent Journal Sentinel analysis, LogistiCare has met that standard only 32% of the time since September 1, and on only three weekdays. Additionally, many patients have reported waiting over an hour to schedule a future ride, return ride, or complain about a ride not showing up. Some have also questioned whether the long hold times may have contributed to LogistiCare now receiving 40% fewer calls than it did in early September.

Wisconsinites that rely on LogistiCare, medical professionals, and advocates have also raised concerns about LogistiCare's unreliability with getting passengers to their appointments. Some patients have notified DHS that despite arranging rides to appointments through LogistiCare well in advance, the company failed to pick them up and take them to their appointment. As a result, the health and safety of patients using this safety net have been jeopardized.

Things had gotten so bad that despite contracting with the state for less than two years, Wisconsin legislators, including myself, were already calling for the Legislative Audit Committee to approve a nonpartisan audit of LogistiCare to determine if it was ever fulfilling its contract goals and how services could be improved for Wisconsinites that rely on LogistiCare for medical transport.

While this contract change will likely be a welcome one for those familiar with LogistiCare, I hope DHS takes seriously the need to select a new provider that will not only be able to provide a service at a rate Wisconsin can afford, but also to improve the quality of services our family, friends, and neighbors need.

MORE

Representative Jon Richards Report - November 30, 2012


State Representative Jon Richards - 19th District
Dear Neighbor,

During a speech earlier this month in California, in which he unveiled his agenda for the next state budget, Governor Walker sent mixed messages on his plans for education in Wisconsin.

On one hand, Walker wants to tie new spending on our public schools and universities to unspecified performance standards. On the other, he wants to expand the unaccountable school voucher programs in Milwaukee and Racine, which got an additional $300 million in this state budget—while public schools were cut by a record $800 million.

Now is not the time to tinker with risky pay for performance schemes for our public schools. They have not been proven to be helpful and unfairly hurt schools that need the most support to turn around achievement.

Instead of punishing public schools and rewarding unaccountable voucher schools, the next state budget needs to correct some of the inexcusable mistakes Republicans made in their last budget.

This time around we need to work in a bipartisan fashion to reinvest in public schools, technical colleges and measures that will help create good-paying jobs for Wisconsin families. Making these public investments will benefit and grow the middle class.

As always, it is a pleasure to be able to stay in touch with you. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns, questions or ideas you may have.

Sincerely,

JON RICHARDS
State Representative
Assembly District 19
  ___________
Representative Jon Richards
State Capitol, 118 North
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-0650
Facebook: facebook.com/RepJonRichardsTwitter: @RepRichards

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Votes cast for President Obama in 2012 Fall Election largest in history - 3,071,434 votes


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:            FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
November 29, 2012                                   Reid Magney, 608-267-7887

G.A.B. Certifies Fall 2012 Election Results

MADISON, WI – Wisconsin set a voter turnout record in the Fall 2012 General Election, according to official results certified today by the Government Accountability Board.

“The 3,071,434 votes cast for President was the highest number of votes cast for a single office in a statewide election in Wisconsin history. This record turnout reflects the voting public’s deep-rooted commitment to participate in the selection of their governmental leaders,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “Wisconsin’s turnout rate of 70.14 percent of eligible voters casting ballots in the presidential race was the fourth-highest percentage since records have been kept going back to 1948.”

Board Chair David G. Deininger certified the official results of the November 6 election, which are now available on the Board’s website: http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/results. Updated statistics are now available as well: http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/statistics.

Kennedy praised voters, poll workers and local election officials for a generally smooth election. “Preparation was key to preventing problems at polling places,” Kennedy said. “Our ‘Back to Basics’ initiative helped ensure election officials were ready for the large turnout and voters had ready access to information about their registration status and polling place location.”

Voter turnout is calculated based on the highest number of votes cast for one office as a percentage of the estimated voting-age population, as determined by the state Department of Administration’s Demographic Services Center. Other statistics, such as the number of absentee ballots cast and Election Day Registrants will not be available until later in December because municipal clerks are still reporting this information to the G.A.B.



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The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) is responsible for administration and enforcement of campaign finance, elections, ethics and lobbying laws in Wisconsin.  The G.A.B. is made up of six non-partisan, former judges and is supported by an agency of non-partisan staff members.