Any week that features Newt, the Herminator, Blago and The Donald at the top of the news is going to make The Week in Review write itself.
So, let's start with Herman Cain "suspending" his presidential campaign after checking in with his wife about some stuff. In this case read "suspend" without the "susp." Polls show his supporters, disappointed in allegations of multiple cases of sexual harassment and at least one lengthy affair, are now switching their allegiances to Newt Gingrich, who has admitted to affairs as well as serving his fist wife with divorce papers when she was in a hospital bed fighting cancer. So, this all makes perfect sense.
Of course, Newt helped his case immeasurably by being among the first to accept Donald Trump's summons to appear on his debate show. If Newt wants to turn around his image for quirky arrogance there's no better way to do it than to get cozy with The Donald.
But let's level with the American people here. Despite the GOP base dumping the Herminator to date Newt, they know that Mitt is the guy they'll eventually marry. Sure, they're going to sleep with every flat tax bad boy (and girl) they can find before they face the inevitable, responsible, heavy decision to hook up not with the man they love, but with the man who has the best chance of getting them a really nice big white house in Washington. Mitt Romney is as inevitable as death and taxes, and you know how Republicans feel about taxes.
One man definitely not running for president is former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who got 14 years in prison essentially for talking like a wise guy. I don't know. Seems harsh to me. I mean the guy didn't break any unions or consider hiring thugs to disrupt peaceful protests. Just sayin'.
The New York Times article on Blago's sentencing held one of the more curious lines in any news story this week: "The sentence was… tougher than those for previous Illinois governors convicted of crimes." So in the sentencing category of Illinois Governor Corruption this is a pretty stiff one. You can imagine a mom, years from now, taking her daughter on a tour of the state house in Springfield and as she reviews the busts of governors she tells her child, "Look honey, there's George Ryan! He was a great governor of our state. He only got six and a half years. With time off for good behavior!"
On the international front, Germany has told Greece, Italy and Spain to clean up their rooms and mow the lawn before they'll get a dime of their allowance, and this time they mean it.
For their part, Greece, Italy and Spain have told Germany to lighten up for once, take an afternoon off, sit in a café, sip a nice Chianti and nibble a little cheese and they'll feel better about everything. German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't like their attitude, but I mean, what's the worst thing you can expect Germany to do to Europe if they get really mad? Oh. Yeah. Well, let's hope they work something out.
One plan being floated at the European Union is to invest in Packers stock. The team is making only the fifth offering of stock in the team's 92-year history. Each share costs $250 plus a $25 handling fee, it does not appreciate in value, no dividends are paid and it cannot be sold. In other words, it's still a better investment than Greece.
I myself am a longtime owner of the team, since Dianne bought me a share at the last offering in 1998. Ever since then, I've been actively involved in the operation of the team, providing Coach McCarthy with real-time advice as I watch the games on TV and offering my thoughts on player moves to General Manager Ted Thompson as I read the sports page. I don't want to claim full credit for the team's recent success, but it does feel good to be part of the ownership group.
On the local level, Kaleem Caire, head of the Urban League, was told by the Madison Metropolitan School District that his plan for a charter school aimed at improving the achievement levels of minority kids was too expensive. So, he got the cost down below the level the MMSD asked for. You'd think they'd be happy, but you'd be wrong. Now he's being told that the school isn't expensive enough because he got there by not going with union teachers.
So he's got a tough choice to make: hire union teachers and come in with a cost that the school board won't accept, or come in at a much lower cost without union teachers, which the school board won't accept. Next, the MMSD is going to put several million dollars under one of three identical hats and then mix them up really fast on a table in front of him. If he picks the right hat, he gets to open a school! If he doesn't, well, he still gets one of those really cool Madison School & Community Recreation t-shirts. So, really, he and the kids he's trying to help are winners no matter what.
And finally, at the 17th annual world climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, the U.N. reported that greenhouse gases have reached record levels, yet there were no representatives at the conference from the Obama administration, nor any members from Congress. However, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) did issue a five-minute video essentially insulting the attendees and crowing that efforts to slow the production of greenhouse gases were dead in the U.S. And, in fact, few heads of state from any nation attended this year's conference. Finding that meeting the Kyoto Protocol is really hard, world leaders now say that they're going to just recommend a tripling of sunscreen production by 2015 and they're calling on Jimmy Buffett to release a new album of beach party songs.
Well, that's all I've got for now. Have a good weekend, kids.