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Friday, May 31, 2013

Larson Report - May 30, 2013

Dear Friend,

Wisconsin is still waiting to see what the Republican budget will hold related to voucher expansion. Continue reading for more information on these and other important topics including changes to unemployment compensation, public transit, and the opening of my new, shared district office.

Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7
L-R:
Senator Nikiya Harris & Senator Chris Larson

Milwaukee Office Now Open!

Senator Nikiya Harris and I are excited to announce that our new, shared district office in Milwaukee is officially open! Our shared district office is part of an ongoing effort to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

We are committed to increasing accessibility and better serving our neighbors. The district office will serve as a home base in our community, a resource for our neighbors, and an opportunity for us to showcase the work being done every day in the 6th and 7th Senate Districts. As our community grows, we are here to provide assistance, gather feedback, and recognize the people in our neighborhoods who work tirelessly to improve our quality of life and build a brighter future for us all. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, let us know what is going on in the community, suggest events for our electronic newsletters, or give us a heads-up on any individuals in the community who are doing stand out work and deserve recognition. We encourage you to contact us to set up an appointment or drop by.

Below, you will find the contact information for the district office staff members should you have any questions or need assistance on behalf of our offices.

Jonathan Brostoff
District Director, Senator Chris Larson
Email: jonathan.brostoff@legis.wisconsin.gov
Phone: (414) 273-1509

Lisa Bahr
Communications Director, Senator Nikiya Harris
Email: lisa.bahr@legis.wisconsin.gov
Phone: (414) 273-1555


Put Blame Where Blame is Due, Not on Workers
Once again Republican Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members have used the budget to force an extreme, anti-middle class policy on the state of Wisconsin. Yesterday, JFC approved a provision making it more difficult for Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs to access our unemployment safety net.

For roughly 80 years, the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council (UI Council), made up of employer and employee representatives, has set this policy. However, Republicans pushed through the aforementioned anti-worker measures without any public hearing or scrutiny, and without the support of the UI Council. Refusing to respect recommendations of the longstanding UI Council for the third time in two years, Republicans in JFC unilaterally decided to defiantly pass policies that will raise taxes on construction and manufacturing companies and hurt Wisconsin workers affected by Wisconsin's stagnant job growth.

The Republican changes could prevent an employee from receiving unemployment benefits after being fired for something as simple as having their car towed. Wisconsin workers should not be punished for the failed policies of this administration, which include the corruption and failure of Wisconsin's flagship economic development agency, WEDC. Wisconsin is 44th in the nation in job growth and, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's most recent publication of projected economic activity for all 50 states, is one of only five states projected to see decreased economic activity over the next six months. We should support Wisconsin's unemployed workers and help get them back on their feet by creating jobs, not using them as a scapegoat.

=======================

Thursday, May 30, 2013

MPA-LLC Consumer Protection Group Launches HUD-HACM/IRS-WHEDA-MANDEL GROUP - Voucher/Rent Assistance and LIHTC Review

Affordable Housing - Voucher - Tax Credits
May 30, 2013
MILWAUKEE - (MPA-PPR) A recent review by MPA LLC Consumer Protection Group was launched of the Affordable Housing - Voucher Rent Assistance program that will travel from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Madison, Wisconsin to Washington, DC - and back to Milwaukee.  So far, it includes the following federal-state-local programs.  They are:
  • U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U. S. Department of the Treasury - Bureau of Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • WHEDA - Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
  • U. S. Department of Labor

The Review for Customer Care resulted from a lengthy and RISKY Housing Choice Voucher Program - Rent Assistance process and  incoming dialog with recipients receiving questionable "customer care" while accessing the local offices of Voucher Rent Assistance, Disability and Senior Care.   Milwaukee recipients receive funding through the city government and county government structure for voucher housing.

"Milwaukee receives $$Millions each year to empower the People in areas of quality of life and Economic Development.  The dollars are substantial and if used correctly, overtime there should be an appreciable difference that raises the likelihood of eradicating Concentrated Poverty.  Affordable Housing is one of the basic prerequisites for short- and long-term sustainability of a city of over a half-million folk.  We created the MPA LLC Consumer Protection Group for the purpose of Rebooting the system at the census tract and neighborhood level," said Mary Glass, Chair/CEO, MPA-LLC.  

Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC is a for-profit public policy and channel developer for neighborhood and census tract level services.  Milwaukee Consumer Protection Group is the arm that looks at Customer Care relative to quality of life and economic development for stakeholders.  It seeks the Certificates that support human-legal-civil rights; and, pathways and pipelines that will boost the economy, promote employment, spur entrepreneurship and provide sustainability of families and neighborhoods.  

Through our laws, earned stewardshipbest practices, transparency and accountability in conducting public and private services, the PEOPLE should feel secure when connecting to a government and/or any business entity, such as HUD/Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service, WHEDA/Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, and, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.  What's promised, what it cost and what's delivered will be MPA LLC Consumer Protection Group for evaluation.  We are especially looking at the HUD-IRS-WHEDA funding/support of Mandel Group and its actuarial value to the Voucher - Rent Assistance program.  This includes the assessment of rent prices for to include Voucher - Rent Assistance.

DUE PROCESS, ethics, best practices, transparency should encrypt all transactions. The encryption is based on a promised/guarantee certificate, The Constitution - Oath of Office and related documents that provides the government representative with a charge he/she/they need to communicate securely with the citizenry.  The Constitution Certificates also identify the route for due process and justice.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Schacknow - Today's Briefing, May 29, 2013

Wall Street: Tuesday Streak Remains Intact
Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk

Stocks are coming off a positive start to the holiday-shortened trading week, with the Dow now up for a record 20 consecutive Tuesdays, and the Nasdaq equaling a record by rising for a 10 straight Tuesday.  That quirky streak is solidifying a positive May for the major averages, something that hasn't occurred since 2009. 

The market won't be spurred by positive economic news today as it was Tuesday, since there are no releases on the calendar for today. That pause comes ahead of a flood of data Thursday and Friday, including jobless claims, first quarter GDP, personal income, and consumer spending.


The retail industry highlights the short list of earnings reports out this morning, with Chico's FAS (CHS), DSW (DSW), Michael Kors (KORS), Movado Group (MOV), and Fresh Market on this morning's schedule (TFM). 


Wal-Mart (WMT) is among our stocks to watch, with the retailer paying a fine of $81.6 million after pleading guilty to improperly disposing of pesticides and other hazardous products.

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook hinted that wearable devices are among the innovations coming from Apple in the future. Cook spoke Tuesday at the annual All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Sprint Nextel (S) and suitor SoftBank have reached a deal with U.S. regulators over security concerns surrounding the potential takeover of Sprint by the Japanese company, according to Reuters. The government would be allowed to veto purchases of new equipment by Sprint in certain situations. SoftBank has a deal in place to buy 70 percent of Sprint, although that deal is being challenged by a rival bid from Dish Network (DISH).

IAC/InterActive (IACI) is seeking buyers for Newsweek, according to trade publication Variety. Newsweek was bought by IAC in 2010, and stopped putting out a print edition last year.

Health Management Associates (HMA) chief executive officer Gary Newsome is retiring as of July 31, with the hospital operator's board beginning a search for his successor.

Amgen (AMGN) has signed an agreement Japan's Astellas Pharma to develop and sell new drugs in Japan.

Citigroup (C) has settled with the Federal Housing Finance Agency in a suit involving the purchase of $3.5 billion in mortgage-backed securities by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The court filing that revealed the dismissal did not specify the terms of the settlement.

Wet Seal (WTSL) reported a first quarter profit, with the retailer also providing optimistic guidance for the current quarter amid better profit margins and lower expenses.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Health Care Delivery is an ALL HANDS on DECK, WE CAN Opportunity - Access and Engagement Reform is key

May 27, 2013
WISCONSIN - Wisconsin is a Federally-Assisted Exchange state due to a by-design scheme that was centered around the expected Republican win of the presidency of the United States.  Just as that thought failed so miserably, Wisconsinites/Milwaukeeans are now left with some consequences that lack benchmark basics mandated by the Affordable Health Care law.  They were intentionally left-out by Governor Scott Walker, Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickle, and Health and Human Secretary Dennis Smith.

Wisconsinites must remember how these three (3) elected and appointed individuals for the state government failed to provide due process, honor Oath of Office for political reasons; and, have not addressed the health care variables and how it will short- and long-term create barriers.

URBAN Health Care
Reform that include "patient-centered" health care that improves health require all to be communicating and strategic planning on the same ideas and agreeing on the same policies.  That includes customer/patient, health providers, health practitioners, insurance carriers, pharmaceutical companies, others supporters for service delivery and Medicare/Medicaid.

An innovative and value-way to help ensure long-term cost-containment through IMPROVED HEALTH CARE is a major key.

Chronic Population health care must look first-continuum-last, what is best for the customer-beneficiaries with cost-cutting but not simply financial versus clinical (do not shift cost to the federal budgeting to avoid due diligence to work through the process with the entire population with education, technology and patient-behavior involvement at the census tract-neighborhood level).  

One of the opportunities is in the Virtual PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Memorandum of Understanding project in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC is looking at Wisconsin state government - legislators, Joint Committee on Finance and WI Health and Human Services Department - Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding A Federal-State Partnership to Test a Capitated Integration Model for Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees (Demonstration to Integrate Care for Dual Eligible Beneficiaries).  


Briefings at the 2013 Affordable Health Care Extravaganza, August 2-4, 2013 in Milwaukee will include Dual Eligible beneficiaries and the MOU/Memorandum of Understanding with CMS/Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services.


MEMORIAL DAY - May 27, 2013


MEMORIAL DAY USA - Remembering with loyalty and respect.
May 27, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Door is Open - Singer Terry Steele w/Hiroshima

MILWAUKEE -- Around the World - Every now and then while listen to Hiroshima and this song, I am compelled to share.

This is:  The Door is Open.

Share the song and/or the idea of sharing life.

Enjoy and give thanks this MEMORIAL DAY.
Mg - Mary Glass


Hiroshima performs The Door Is Open live at Grooves on the Green

Thursday, May 23, 2013

DIAMONDS in the ROUGH - The Un- and UNDER-Engaged Economic Engines

May 23, 2013
CITY OF MILWAUKEE - (MPA-PPR)  - "By-Design" limitations that perpetuate Enduring Concentration of Poverty in the city of Milwaukee will come to a HALT by the RAMPING-UP, capacity building by Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC "ALL HANDS on DECK, WE CAN Action Initiative.  That is, PREPAREDNESS in education and technology attainment for hidden talent and vetted businesses to create INNOVATED and linked business opportunities at the Census Tract and Neighborhood Level - all 190 neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee. 

DIAMONDS in the Rough represent the born-talent and the "acquired-talent" that is waiting to burst at the seam and create opportunity through the Affordable Health Care opportunities.

DIAMONDS in the Rough represent businesses that are tried-and-true at the census tract and neighborhood level.  They are primarily businesses 1-50 employees and 50-1000 employees.

It is not a question of IF, it is a question of HOW SOON/WHEN?
============================



Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

RE-DEFINING the HEALTH CARE MARKET INDEX with NCT/Neighborhood-Census Tract market share in Health Care

May 21, 2013
MILWAUKEE (MPA-PPR) -- The ALL HANDS on DECK, WE CAN Action Initiative is taking another action step with the leadership of Preparedness for the Affordable Health Care law in the City of Milwaukee.
Wisconsin is a "Federally-Assisted Exchange" state.

August 2-4, 2013 will create history in the focus of POPULATION health care and launch a NEW blueprint to create over the next 3-5 years a STRUCTURAL framework implementation of America's first national health care plan. 

NCT
The NCT/Neighborhood-Census Tract focus is on 170 neighborhoods where over a half-million folk live in the city of Milwaukee.  The majority of the population is made-up of People of Color.  The largest People of Color group is African American and comprises over 40% of the population.

It is at the neighborhood-census tract level where poverty prevails due to a number of reasons but the over-arching one is capacity ACCESS with Opportunities for the hidden and vetted talent that is in the 170 neighborhoods.

Mary Glass, Chair/CEO, Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC said in a planning meeting for the 2013 Affordable Health Care Extravaganza Fair today, "The Affordable Health Care law will allow Urban Milwaukee to rise with opportunities connected to the marketplace of plenty.  Our blueprint seeks the tsunami opportunities that are service and retail oriented.  The opportunities that will provide entrepreneurial, employment, training and research in the 170 neighborhoods while improving population health.  The fields are begging for capacity building at the neighborhood-census tract level.  We see competitiveness that will provide market entry and economy of scale over the next 3-5 years using the health care, technology, sales and retail industries."
====================================

2013 Affordable Health Care Extravaganza Fair will be August 2-4, 2013 in Milwaukee.
It has an INSIDE/SUMMIT Conference with National and International stakeholders for strategic planning and partnership.

It has has an OUTSIDE/FAIR for first-hand exposure to the health care providers, health practitioners, IT providers, insurance providers and academic providers.

MORE

Monday, May 20, 2013

Schacknow - Morning Brief, Monday, May 20, 2013 - Special addition: Texas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher

US Stocks Seen Down on Fed Easing Fears

Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk

Barring a major selloff in the month's final two weeks, investors clearly have not "sold in May and gone away". The major averages are coming off their fourth consecutive week of gains, with the Dow and S&P 500 at record highs once again and the S&P having chalked up 17 gains in 21 sessions.

There are no economic releases on the calendar to begin the week, although later in the week we'll be getting the latest FOMC minutes, data on new and existing home sales, and the latest number on jobless claims and durable goods orders.

Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans has a 1 p.m. ET speech today on the state of the economy, amid closer scrutiny by the markets of Fed-related comments for any signs of when the central bank might begin exiting its current accommodative monetary policy.

Campbell Soup (CPB) is one of the few companies of note out with quarterly earnings this morning, while after the bell releases include the latest numbers from TiVo (TIVO) and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

Yahoo (YHOO) leads our list of stocks to watch, with sources telling CNBC the company's board has approved a deal to buy blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Yahoo would not immediately confirm the deal, saying it does not comment on rumors or speculation, but does have a media event scheduled for later today.

Boeing (BA) 787 jets will return to service for United Airlines (UAL) today, four months after being grounded for battery problems.

Elan (ELN) has struck several deals as it continues to fend off a $5.7 billion takeover bid from U.S. based investor Royalty Pharma. Elan has bought two privately held drug makers, is spinning off an experimental Alzheimer's treatment into a private company, and is buying back more shares.
Acquity Group (AQ) will be acquired by Accenture (ACN) For $13 per share in cash, more than double Acquity's Fridayi closing price. Accenture, a major U.S. consulting firm, wants to expand its digital marketing services.
================================

"But the boats are still tied to the dock," says Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher." Adding, "we have not seen the type of robust job creation that we would like to see," discussing Fed's monetary policy.   What have we done for working men and women? 

Texas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher makes sense in his overall comments on this morning's CNBC's "Squawk Box" - Mary Glass, Chair/CEO, Milwaukee Professionals Association

Click to hear his points.
Published: Monday, 20 May 2013

7:27 AM ET By: Matthew J. Belvedere
===============
Additional info
Fed’s Fisher Says U.S. Fiscal Policy Hampering Job Growth

Hampering Job Growth
Bloomberg
By Jeanna Smialek - May 20, 2013 9:27 AM CT Producer, CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

SWEET GRASS PRODUCTION - UW-MILWAUKEE & THE GULLAH PEOPLE

Click photo to Enlarge
The Gullah are the descendants of slaves who live in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia, which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands.
Historically, the Gullah region extended from the Cape Fear area on the coast of North Carolina south to the vicinity of Jacksonville on the coast of Florida; but today the Gullah area is confined to the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry. The Gullah people and their language are also called Geechee, which some scholars speculate is related to the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia. The term "Geechee" is an emic term used by speakers (and can have a derogatory connotation depending on usage). "Gullah" is a term that was originally used to designate the language spoken by Gullah and Geechee people, but over time it has become a way for speakers to formally identify both their language and themselves as a distinctive group of people. The Georgia communities further identify themselves as either "Saltwater Geechee" or "Freshwater Geechee" depending on their proximity to the coast.

The Gullah have preserved much of their African linguistic and cultural heritage. They speak an English-based creole language containing many African loanwords and significant influences from African languages in grammar and sentence structure. Properly referred to as "Sea Island Creole," the Gullah language is related to Jamaican Patois, Barbadian Dialect, Bahamian Dialect, Belizean Creole and the Krio language of Sierra Leone in West Africa. Gullah storytelling, cuisine, music, folk beliefs, crafts, farming and fishing traditions all exhibit strong influences from West and Central African cultures.
Wikipedia
==================================

UWM Dance Professor Ferne Caulker Bronson and Film Professor Portia Cobb
The Sweet Grass Project is dedicated to the perseverance and ever-present spirit of survivors and descendants of the middle passage and slavery in the United States. Africanisms preserved through the traditions of the Gullah people of South Carolina and Georgia maintained a distinct cultural legacy that embodies the soul of a people. Their story is the foundation upon which this project is built and celebrated. This evening length work is a collaboration between UWM Dance Professor Ferne Caulker Bronson and Film Professor Portia Cobb. Using imagery, historic and contemporary interviews and personal reflections, the work is interwoven in the forms of dance, song, music and prose.

This performance is not suitable for ages under 13.

7:30pm Friday

Saturday
Matinee - 2pm
Evening Performance - 7:30pm

Place
Mitchell 254

Tickets: $12 adult/$10 UWM faculty & seniors/$9 UWM students/$5 PSOA students/Free to dance majors and children under 12

arts.uwm.edu/sweetgrass
==============================

Gullah People Culture, Art and Crafts
Click photo to Enlarge

Friday, May 17, 2013

BACKSTORY - In this MegaVote for Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District, May 17, 2013


Top Down:  U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore
May 13, 2013

In this MegaVote for Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District:
  • Recent Congressional Votes
  • Senate: Internet Sales Tax – Final Passage
  • Senate: Water Infrastructure Projects – Amendment Vote
  • House: Private Sector Comp Time – Final Passage
  • House: Debt Payment Prioritization – Final Passage
  • Upcoming Congressional Bills
  • Senate: Water Resources Development Act of 2013
  • Senate: Nominations
House: To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
House: SEC Regulatory Accountability Act

Recent Senate Votes
Internet Sales Tax – Final Passage - Vote Passed (69-27, 4 Not Voting)

Last week the Senate completed action on bipartisan but controversial Internet sales tax legislation. More than two-thirds of senators (all but five Democrats and about half of Republicans) agreed that states should be allowed to require online firms to collect the same sales taxes as their domiciled brick-and-mortar businesses. States would be required to provide free tax-calculation software to affected businesses. Firms with gross annual receipts of $1 million or less would be exempted from the new requirements. Prior to final passage the Senate adopted an amendment from Wyoming Republican Mike Enzi, one of the measure’s co-sponsors, which would extend the implementation timeline from three to six months and specify that requirements for filing returns and making tax payments must be the same for online and offline firms. President Obama supports S. 743, but House Speaker John Boehner and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., have both expressed skepticism toward the legislation.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin voted YES
Sen. Ron Johnson voted NO
 =============================

Water Infrastructure Projects – Amendment Vote - Vote Rejected (56-43, 1 Not Voting)
After passing the Internet sales tax bill, the Senate moved on to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a catch-all piece of legislation usually passed every five years dealing with everything from dams and levees to port dredging. Traditionally one of the biggest magnets for pork barrel projects, this version of WRDA is the first since both chambers of Congress adopted earmark moratoria. Similar to last year’s highway bill, WRDA makes various changes to existing law in order to speed up project approval, including the imposition of financial penalties on tardy agencies. The bill also attempts to capture a larger share of the revenue that accrues to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund each year for actual harbor maintenance – a seemingly novel concept, yet one that Senate appropriators initially objected to, as they have grown accustomed to diverting much of the trust fund’s receipts to unrelated accounts. Several amendments were voted on last week, including this one from Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn that would enable individuals to bring guns on to Army Corps of Engineers-administered water projects. The amendment failed due to a 60-vote requirement. At week’s end the legislation had stalled over Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu’s insistence on a vote for her amendment that would prevent a rise in flood insurance premiums. Though a cloture vote is currently scheduled for May 14, it appears that there is some agreement on a vote for the Landrieu amendment. The White House leveled several criticisms of the bill in its policy statement , though a manager’s amendment from Barbara Boxer and David Vitter, the chair and ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, may have addressed some of these issues.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin voted NO
Sen. Ron Johnson voted YES
=================================

Recent House Votes
Private Sector Comp Time – Final Passage - Vote Passed (223-204, 5 Not Voting)
The House passed a measure last week to allow private sector employers to provide comp time to their workers in lieu of overtime pay. Under current law, such an arrangement exists for most workers in the public sector and a few in the private sector. Republicans classified the measure as providing flexibility to both employers and employees, while Democrats and their allies in the labor movement suspect an attempt to weaken workers’ rights. In particular, they claim that there is no guarantee an individual will receive time off when he desires it and that employers could put pressure on workers to accept comp time instead of overtime. The White House seems to agree with these critiques, as it has threatened to veto the bill.
Rep. Gwen Moore voted NO
==================================

Debt Payment Prioritization – Final Passage - Vote Passed (221-207, 4 Not Voting)
In its final action of the week, the House took another foray into debt limit politics. The "Full Faith and Credit Act" would mandate that in the event of the government hitting the debt limit, the Treasury Secretary would prioritize payment to holders of government debt and to Social Security recipients above all other obligations. These payments would in fact be exempt from the debt limit, such that the government could theoretically continue functioning, if only in order to issue Social Security checks and service the debt. No Democrats backed the measure, and the administration has threatened a veto.
Rep. Gwen Moore voted NO
 ==================================

Upcoming Votes
Water Resources Development Act of 2013 - S.601
The Senate will continue debating the water infrastructure bill this week. If no agreement on amendments is reached beforehand, a cloture vote on the measure will take place May 14.

Nominations -
The Senate may vote on the nominations of Ernest Moniz for Energy secretary and Marilyn Tavenner to oversee the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which manages the two health care programs.
To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 - H.R.45

The House is scheduled to vote on a bill to repeal "Obamacare." Curiously the bill as currently written appears not to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a body created by the law to make binding recommendations on Medicare cuts, which congressional Republicans have previously targeted individually for repeal.

SEC Regulatory Accountability Act - H.R.1062
The House is also scheduled to take up a measure that would amend the charter of the SEC to force the agency to conduct cost-benefit analyses before issuing new regulations.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Richards Report - Gutting the Stewardship Fund, May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013


Gutting the Stewardship Fund

Dear Neighbor,

The Stewardship Fund has ensured that hundreds of thousands of acres of land, some of it in the city of Milwaukee, will be forever natural and open to the public. The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee gutted that program yesterday; cutting its funding by more than 20% and requiring the state to sell more 10,000 acres of land it already owns.

Even Governor Walker didn’t go this far.

The 20% cut comes after the legislature cut the program by more than 30% in the last budget. If this cut stands, the Stewardship fund will have been cut by more than 50% in the two most recent state budgets at a time when many politicians are crowing about the state budget surplus.

In their haste to harm Wisconsin’s open spaces, the Committee went beyond simply cutting funds for Stewardship. They i.) put limits on the amount of forest land and park land the state could own, even if we have money to buy more and people are willing to sell their land to the state for conservation, ii.) gave the Joint Finance Committee the power to define project boundaries for land purchased with Stewardship dollars and, iii.) required that every piece of Stewardship land the DNR owns, including “no-motor-vehicle- allowed” properties like Rock Island State Park in Door County, have a plan for motor vehicles.

Please know that I voted against every cut and change to the Stewardship Plan that passed yesterday. I will continue working with my colleagues in the legislature to restore the cuts and erase these misguided changes to the Stewardship Program.

Anyone who has enjoyed a peaceful walk in a Wisconsin forest, lingered near a forest-lined lake, or soaked in the unique beauty of an urban park should be deeply concerned about this misguided decision. Wisconsinites like you, Democrats and Republicans, have always stood for protecting our natural heritage and for making it accessible to us and preserved it for our children. The fund is named for former Democratic Governor Gaylord Nelson and former Republican Governor Warren Knowles who shared a passion for protecting our environment and wild places.

If you share that passion, please join me in protecting Wisconsin’s natural beauty by reversing these massive cuts and radical policy changes to the Stewardship Fund.

Sincerely,

JON RICHARDS
State Representative
Assembly District 19
State Capitol, 118 North, Madison, WI 53708, (608) 266-0650

Monday, May 13, 2013

BACKSTORY - Amazon smartphone rumored to have 3D capabilities. How have others fared?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks off after unveiling the Kindle Paperwhite,… (Gus Ruelas/Reuters )
By Hayley Tsukayama,May 10, 2013

The lure of 3D video has drawn many gadget makers. In the post-“Avatar” world, it seemed like a good idea to bring that sort of realism into living rooms and pockets around the world. But, it hasn’t quite managed to catch fire with general consumers.

Not that it’s stopped folks from trying. And the latest company rumored to be taking on the 3D challenge is a big one: Amazon, which The Wall Street Journal says is working on a smartphone with a very advanced display. According to the report, the smartphone would have a hologram-like display — shades, it seems, of “Star Wars” — and may even let users track through the images using only their eyes.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
==============================================

Hayley Tsukayama is a Technology blogger for the Washington Post.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Here's to My Mother, Madam Queen - MOTHER'S DAY, May 12, 2013

Mother of 4, wife, Administrator, Teacher, Community Leader

At 67 years, I am fortunate to be able to look back on years past and look forward to times to come due to the special "time-released" fertilizer with love given while I was growing up at home and when I left home, thanks to the tutelage of my Mother.

I think so often of the words my Mother, Ms. Jeanette, Madam Queen, so often shared with me (the oldest) and my other two sisters and my brother.  I think about how she would say, "just keep living, you will see".  I think about how she sacrificed for our well-being. How she shared love and expectations to set our foundation. How devoted she was to her parents and their quality of life.  How she gave to her fellowmen. How she supported her family church and her husband's church with leadership and service.  How she provided a support to her husband, our father.

A woman with broadness.
She commuted 56 miles (round trip) to the school she taught in.  How she laid down the laws of discipline and expectations for us to behave and do our chores for the house.  How excited we were to see her come home each day.  How she would bring us gifts.  Gifts that sometimes consisted of a "stick of gum".  We were so happy to get the chewing gum.  Today, that seems so interesting that we were so happy to receive "one stick" of usually "Juicy Fruit" gum.

How doing light moments while listening to the radio she would dance and pop her fingers.  She loved B.B. King, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Diana Washington, Ray Charles, James Brown, and Billie Holiday to name a few.  Often she would tell jokes, talk about her day and laugh.

As a sports enthusiast, she listen to the radio at night for "her ball boys".  They were baseball teams.  I think the ones she listen to the most were out of Chicago and St. Louis.

She was also a tenderhearted woman, so she would sometimes cry and we - her children, would share the moment together.

Another side that told of her upbringing related to expectations.
She was a woman of high principles, a devoted Baptist and deeply committed to family.
She expected no less with/from her four children.  Every Sunday, we were off to church - sometimes all day because we would attend morning and afternoon events.  Since my Mother was a speaker, she would often be the guest speaker at the afternoon events.  That automatically meant that Mother would at the last minute labor over her speech.  A time we all witnessed during her practicing.

Each one of us was expected to get an undergraduate degree.  One of her greatest feelings that was voiced to us, "I am proud all four of you got your head fixed with a degree." 
She would then say, "I saw that all four of you graduated from college."  "Not a one of you can say, she did not help me get my degree."

To the high level of greatness she put on Motherhood.
She would so often tell us about how proud she was to be our Mother.  How proud she was to have all four of us.  And because we had her blood in us, we could not do certain things.  She came from a large family of  8 brothers and sisters. She loved her Mother and father, she was her Father's favorite.

She was a proud lady to be a Mother.  She was 25 years old when I came along.
I was 37 when my daughter Yvette came along.

Happy Mother's Day Mama!

and

Happy Birthday to all Moms
Mary Glass

Friday, May 10, 2013

US Futures Point Higher as Rally Continues, Friday, May 10, 2013

US Futures Point Higher as Rally Continues

*CNBC.com

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday as the global risk-on rally regained strength in early trade in Asia and Europe. Major U.S. averages remain on pace for their third straight positive week.

In Asia, both Japanese and Australian equities extending their bull run, after the yen weakened through the key 100-mark against the U.S. dollar for the first time in four years. Analysts said the rally was partly fueled by Thursday's strong weekly U.S. jobless claims data, and renewed concerns about the Federal Reserve scaling back its bond-buying program.

Meanwhile, European stock indexes hit five-year highs on Friday, boosted by better-than-expected results from the likes of BT (British Telecom).

Shares in the U.K.-based telecoms firm jumped around 8.5 percent after posting full-year results that beat forecasts. The company announced on Thursday that it will be offering free live soccer games to its broadband customers.

However, Friday will largely be quiet on the earnings front with Gold Fields posting first quarter numbers before the start of U.S. trade.

So far, close to 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results, with 67 percent topping earnings expectations and 24 percent missing forecasts, according to Reuters. If all remaining companies post numbers in line with estimates, earnings will be up 5.3 percent on last year.

But sales have come in 1 percent below estimates on average, with only 46 percent of companies beating their revenue projections.

In macroeconomic news, the Treasury will post its April deficit numbers at 2 p.m. on Friday. The deficit stood at $107 billion in March.

Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at 9:30 a.m. ET on "monitoring finance", at Chicago's annual conference on bank structure and competition.

Meanwhile, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors from the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are meeting in the U.K. on Friday. They are expected to discuss whether central banks can do more to encourage the fragile global recovery at the two-day event.

"Interestingly, U.K. Chancellor Osborne released a statement saying the meeting was 'an opportunity to consider what more monetary activism can do to support the recovery, while ensuring medium-term inflation expectations remain anchored'," said Derek Halpenny, the European head of global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, in a research note.

"So it would appear from that, that the onus is likely to remain on central banks to support the global economy, meaning more easing ahead, which will act to benefit the dollar further. Bernanke is not attending!"

Chemist - JOB ANNOUNCEMENT, Deadline May 20, 2013

Attached you will find a job announcement for a Chemist in the Division of Management Services-Bureau of Lab Services. Please see link for further information.

CLICK

Application deadline is May 20, 2013
=================================
State Job Search:  www.wisc.jobs
Agency for this job announcement, RECRUITMENTS and to preview the applicable "exam" is DATCP.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Schacknow - Today's Primer, May 6, 2013

Dow, S&P 500 Aim For New Milestones After Historic Week

Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk

The Dow and the S&P 500 are both coming off record closes, after a session that saw the Dow break 15,000 for the first time while the S&P 500 was making its first foray over 1,600. The Nasdaq Composite is coming off its highest close since November 7, 2000, but still sits 33 percent below its record close from March, 2000.

Investors will get a breather from economic reports today, with a relatively light week ahead. Thursday morning's weekly jobless claims report is one of the few of significance out this week.

The pace of earnings season slows considerably this week as well after a busy two weeks. Sysco Corp. (SYY) and Tyson Foods (TSN) are among the companies releasing quarterly numbers this morning, while Anadarko Petroleum (APC), FirstSolar (FLSR), and Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) will be out with their earnings reports after today's closing bell.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, BRKB) leads our list of stocks to watch, following its late Friday earnings report and the high profile annual meeting in Omaha over the weekend. Berkshire earned $2,302.00 per share for the first quarter,above estimates of $1,995.50, while revenues beat estimates as well. Berkshire's Warren Buffett will be on Squawk Box for all three hours this morning from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET.

Pfizer(PFE) plans to begin selling its best-selling erectile dysfunction drug Viagra online, according to the Associated Press. A prescription will still be required, but the move is seen as a significant disruption to the industry's current distribution model.

BMC Software (BMCS) is close to a deal to be bought by a private equity group led by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital, according to Reuters. The deal is said to be worth about $46 per share, or a total of more than $6.5 billion.

JPMorganChase (JPM) shareholders are being urged by proxy advisory firm ISS to reject three board members up for re-election. ISS told shareholders that directors David Cote, James Crown, and Ellen Flutter should not be returned to the board because of "material failures of stewardship and risk oversight".

Toyota (TM) profits are expected to come in at $13.1 billion for the fiscal year that ended in march, according to the Nikkei business daily. That would be more than 3-1/2 times the prior year's profit.

Caterpillar(CAT) shares appear "cheap", according to an article in this week's Barron's. The paper says the construction equipment maker will benefit from the ongoing economic recovery.

Macerich(MAC) will replace Coventry Health Care (CVH) in the S&P 500 after the close of trading Wednesday. Coventry is in the process of being acquired by Aetna (AET) and the deal is expected to be completed this week.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Richards Report - State jobs agency fails as Wisconsin ranks last in Midwest for job growth, May 3, 2013

Rep Jon Richards - 19th District
May 3, 2013


State jobs agency fails as Wisconsin ranks last in Midwest for job growth

This week, the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau released a scathing audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), showing gross negligence, willful ignorance of the law and misappropriation of taxpayer funds by the state’s flagship economic development agency.


Among other things, state auditors found that WEDC had made taxpayer-funded financial awards to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects and for amounts greater than policies allowed. WEDC employees were also found to have used taxpayer money to make highly questionable purchases of football tickets, alcohol and iTunes gift cards. WEDC's incompetence and mismanagement of over a half billion dollars in job creation funds helps explain why Wisconsin is dead last in the Midwest in job growth.

The legislature’s audit committee is scheduled to discuss the WEDC audit on Thursday—the same day that the legislature’s budget committee is scheduled to approve millions in funding for WEDC in the 2013-15 state budget. As a member of both the audit and budget committees, and as your state representative, I find it inappropriate for the budget committee to consider providing tens of millions in additional taxpayer funds to WEDC until we receive answers to the countless questions that have been raised by the recent audit.

So this afternoon, I and three of my colleagues on the budget committee asked the co-chairs of the committee to postpone consideration of WEDC budget until the legislature and the public have had an opportunity to fully review the audit and get our questions answered. No action should be taken on the WEDC budget until additional corrective measures are implemented to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer funding and prevent additional financial mismanagement.

Sincerely,
JON RICHARDS

State Representative
Assembly District 19
facebook.com/RepJonRichards

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Schacknow - Today's Brief, May 2, 2013

Investors Follow May Cliche With First-Day Selloff
Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk

The old "sell in May and go away" maxim may eventually wind up not applying, but May's first trading day did follow that particular script, with the major averages seeing their biggest one-day drop in two weeks. The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq haven't registered May gains since 2009.

The European Central Bank will garner some early morning attention, with its latest policy statement due at 7:45 a.m. ET. The bank is expected to cut its benchmark lending rate by a quarter point to 0.50 percent, the first cut in ten months.

Here in the U.S., investors will see three economic reports at 8:30 a.m. ET, the weekly jobless claims numbers, the March international trade report, and first quarter productivity figures. Economists expect claims to rise to 349,000 for the week ending April 27 from 339,000 the prior week, while the trade deficit is seen coming in at $42.1 billion, down from $43.0 billion in February. Consensus forecasts call for productivity to increase at an annual rate of 1.3 percent for the first quarter, compared to a 1.9 percent drop in 2012's fourth quarter.

The EIA will issue its weekly report on natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Kellogg (K) and International Paper (IP) are among the well-known companies set to issue quarterly earnings this morning. Also on the morning docket – Becton Dickinson (BDX), Beam (BEAM), Cardinal Health (CAH), Cigna (CI), Estee Lauder (EL), and Marsh & McLennan (MMC).

Kraft Foods (KRFT) will be out with its quarterly numbers after today's closing bell, accompanied by Mylan (MYL), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Dun & Bradstreet (DNB), and AIG (AIG), among others.

Facebook (FB) leads our list of stocks to watch, reporting first quarter profit of $0.12 per share, excluding certain items. That was one cent below Street estimates, though revenues were slightly above consensus as Facebook's mobile advertising sales continued to grow.

Visa (V) earned $1.92 per share for its fiscal second quarter, 11 cents above estimates, with revenues beating forecasts as well. The credit card payment network also raised its earnings forecast for the fiscal year, as credit card use increases.

CBS (CBS) reported first quarter earnings of $0.73 per share, beating analyst estimates by five cents. Revenues were slightly above consensus as well, helped by record ad rates during its broadcast of this year's Super Bowl game.

Yelp (YELP) lost $0.08 per share for the first quarter, three cents wider than analyst were anticipating. However, revenue exceeded consensus, and its second quarter revenue projection is well above Street forecasts. The consumer review site is being helped by strong results in its local and mobile ad segments.

Boston Beer (SAM) fell short of forecasts by 11 cents in reporting first quarter profit of $0.51 per share, though revenues did exceed analyst forecasts. The beer brewer was impacted by higher processing and ingredient costs.

Marriott (MAR) reported first quarter earnings of $0.43 per share, three cents above estimates, with revenues also scoring a beat. The hotel operator saw higher REVPAR (revenue per available room) as well as higher average daily rates.

Avis Budget (CAR) earned $0.08 per share for the first quarter, excluding certain items, beating analyst estimates by six cents. Revenue was essentially in line, and the car rental company raised its full year forecast, thanks in large part to higher rental rates in North America.

Tesoro (TSO) reported first quarter profit of $0.73 per share, three cents above estimates, as the energy producer saw higher fuel sales and increased profit margins in its refining business.

Seagate Technology (STX) reported fiscal third quarter profit of $1.26 per share, excluding certain items, nine cents above estimates, with revenues also beating forecasts. The hard disk drive maker also gave an upbeat revenue forecast for the current quarter.

Moody's (MCO) still has Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway as its largest shareholder, but that stake is now a bit smaller with Berkshire selling 1.75 million shares, according to an SEC filing. Berkshire still holds 12 percent of the rating agency.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Move to knock rent-to-own and residency out of budget thwarted again


April 30, 2013


Move to knock rent-to-own and residency out of budget thwarted again

Dear Neighbor,

Today, we on the legislature’s budget committee held a second round of votes on the governor’s state budget proposal.

For a second time now, the co-chairs of the committee broke from historical precedent and denied members the opportunity to vote to remove items identified by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau as non-fiscal policy items from the budget. These items include authorizing rent-to-own companies to operate in Wisconsin, prohibiting residency requirements in local communities and funding for a special-needs voucher, among others.

I will continue to press for a vote to knock these non-fiscal policy items out of the budget. Each one should be considered individually, out in the open in standing committees with public hearings, not buried in a 1,080-page budget.

Democrats and Republicans did join together in unanimous support of a budget package for veterans and to remove the governor’s proposal to take over Circus World in Baraboo. But we still haven’t done any heavy lifting on important priorities like health care and public schools. Those issues will have to wait for another day, as our nonpartisan fiscal analysts are still preparing revenue projections for the next two years.

The budget committee will meet again at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, May 9. You can watch the proceedings live on Wisconsin Eye: http://www.wiseye.org/.

Sincerely,
JON RICHARDS
State Representative
Assembly District 19