Wal-Mart Seeks To Save Social Net Programs

This is quite telling about the state of affairs for poor people, and the bottom line of Wal-Mart.

A couple of items stand as newcomers to Wal-Mart’s menu of risks. Here’s what the annual report released on Friday says:

“Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control … These factors include … changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans, …”

In other words, Wal-Mart, for the first time in its annual reports, acknowledges that taxpayer-funded social assistance programs are a significant factor in its revenue and profits. This makes sense, considering that Wal-Mart caters to low-income consumers. But what’s news here is that the company now considers the level of social entitlements given to low-income working and unemployed Americans important enough to underscore it in its cautionary statement.

10-Year-Old Fiddlin’ Carson Peters Takes Grand Ole Opry Stage Tonight–Live On WSM Radio


Hot damn!

Carson Peters, 10, has been busy all week practicing his fiddle. In less than 24-hours, he’ll make his lifelong dream come true as he takes the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.

“I hope that I remember the song and hopefully all will be well,” Carson said.

Carson will have the help of country music singer Ricky Skaggs, who invited Carson to play with him at the Opry. It’s the second time they’ll perform together this week. Carson opened for Skaggs’ Knoxville concert last Friday.

“I came and talked to him and he asked me if I ever played on the Opry before and I told him ‘No, Sir,’ and he said ‘Well, would you like to?’,” Carson explained.

He told us he said yes and started practicing.

“The most I’ve ever played two songs at one time,” Carson said.

Here is a video from last week of Carson Peters and Ricky Skaggs.


Republican State Rep. Bill Kramer “Groped Her Breasts And Groin”

And it is official.

And sad.

bill kramer

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel has charged state Rep. Bill Kramer with two counts of sexual assault for an alleged attack on a legislative aide three years ago following a Republican gathering, according to a criminal complaint.

The charges of second-degree sexual assault issued Friday stem from an alleged incident in Muskego on April 8, 2011. The alleged victim, who was an aide to an unnamed state senator, reported the incident to Muskego Police on March 5, just days after the allegations surfaced that Kramer had sexually harassed two women during the out-of-town trip.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman, identified only by her initials, reported that Kramer approached her after a Republican gathering called “Pints and Politics” at the High Tide Pub and Grill in Muskego asking for a ride.

She told Muskego Detective Stephen Westphal that Kramer pushed her against her vehicle hard enough to bruise her back while groping her breasts. Later, while sitting in the passenger seat of the woman’s vehicle, Kramer groped her breasts and groin and forcibly kissed her, the alleged victim told Westphal.

“(She) states that she felt dirty, scared and was afraid that the defendant was going to rape her,” the criminal complaint said. “After the defendant leaned into the back seat to pick something up she was able to send a quick text message asking friends to return to the parking lot.”

Although the woman did not report the alleged incident to police, the criminal complaint said she and an attorney drafted a letter warning Kramer to stay away from her. The detective said the letter, sent to Kramer on May 18, 2011, warned him to have no contact with the woman because of the “physical and sexual assault you perpetrated on (the victim) at the recent Pints and Politics event in Muskego.”

The woman’s account was bolstered by another woman, who said she found the alleged victim crying and “in a panic” when she met her in the parking lot that evening, and by Keith Best, first vice chairman of the Waukesha County Republican Party, who also was at the political event.

All three witnesses reported that Kramer was very intoxicated that evening.

Bridget Anne Kelly Has Every Reason To Let Loose The Dogs Of War On Gov. Chris Christie

Regardless of the $1 million the taxpayers anted up when paying defense lawyers for Gov. Chris Christie to write a 300-plus page report that ‘exonerates’ his role in ‘Bridge-Gate’ there is no way that the money can buy credibility.  Even for those who are trying everything to find a way to get Christie out from under the mess he finds himself will find the report, and the way it was prepared, to be faulty.  But perhaps the most damming part of the report regards the way they treated Bridget Anne Kelly.

Before I go forward with this post let it be stated I in no way find her a person with any high standing when it comes to ethics.  She was up to her neck in political chicanery (and worse) when it came to this whole sad episode.  But having said that I deeply feel she operated with the knowledge of Christie and in an office culture that festered in a way to allow for these plans to be hatched and carried out.

Still, I would not want (if I were Christie) to further inflame Kelly at this time, given two other investigations are underway.  And I might note, real investigations, as opposed to the political spin machine that operates 24/7 in the Christie political shop.

When I read the following in the New York Times I had to smile as this is not just sexist on the part of Christie, but politically stupid.  There is no way that Christie is not going to regret this attack on Kelly.

Gov. Chris Christie, seeking to stanch the damage the scandal had caused to his political fortunes, fired her as his deputy chief of staff after that, calling her “stupid.” But the report commissioned by Mr. Christie and released Thursday doubles down on a strategy of portraying Ms. Kelly as duplicitous, weeping frequently and dependent on men for approval and stability.

Though the lawyers who wrote the report did not interview her, they explain her conduct in unusually personal terms — she is out of the office attending to a family member who had been hospitalized; a brief relationship “had cooled” at the “behest” of the man, Mr. Christie’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien.

The report raises these details but does not explain how or why they would have prompted her to send the damning email. It simply concludes that “events in her personal life may have had some bearing on her subjective motivations and state of mind.”

The portrayal conflicts with ones offered by others: legislators who worked with Ms. Kelly in her role on Mr. Christie’s staff, who describe her as devoted to her job and assiduous to detail; friends who describe her as tough-minded through the challenges of a divorce and family health problems; her lawyer, who describes her as a 42-year-old single mother trying to make do even with cameras camped outside.

Recalling The Early Days Of WGN Radio

Really interesting if you are a radio buff.

Radio Hall of Famer Chuck Schaden talks to Dave Plier about the ‘Early Days of WGN Radio’ including the launch of call letters W-G-N when the Chicago Tribune assumed control of WJAZ The Zenith Edgewater Beach Hotel station on March 29, 1924, the first Cubs broadcast, the Scopes Monkey Trial,  and the groundbreaking programs and events that launched our legendary station.