Friday, August 4, 2017

Wopat and Wisconsin

This tells you how far his career has fallen, especially since Dylan Roof got the show yanked from reruns and the residuals stopped coming:

"‘Dukes of Hazzard’ actor arrested in Waltham" by Travis Andersen and Ben Thompson Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent   August 03, 2017

WALTHAM — Tom Wopat, the actor who starred as Luke Duke in the hit show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” was arraigned Thursday on a charge of groping a woman who was to share the stage with him in a local production of “42nd Street.”

Wopat, 65, of New York and Nashville, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Waltham District Court on charges alleging indecent assault and battery and cocaine possession.

Wopat posted $1,000 bail and was ordered to stay away from the accuser, witnesses, and Waltham High School, where the Reagle Music Theatre’s production was slated to open Thursday.

The actor declined to comment outside court, and put on a hat and dark glasses before walking quickly to his truck. His lawyer and publicist did not immediately respond to inquiries seeking comment. A call to a number listed for Wopat was not returned Thursday afternoon.

According to a Waltham police report, Wopat assaulted the woman during a rehearsal at the high school on July 23. The accuser said he came up behind her and “grabbed ... her buttocks,” the report said.

Theater employees had previously spoken to Wopat regarding complaints from other cast members about inappropriate comments and touching, the report said. The artistic director, Robert Eagle, told police he had spoken with Wopat three times, and the actor was also reprimanded for being intoxicated at rehearsal, the report said.

Eagle said that while Wopat’s fame had helped the theatre sell over 3,ooo tickets to the production, he has never in 49 years “encountered a situation that has been so difficult,” the report said.

Wopat became “belligerent” when Eagle confronted him about the alleged assault, insisting he did nothing wrong and shouting “[Expletive] them all!” according to the report.

Other cast members made additional allegations to police, including one performer who said in an e-mail that Wopat tapped her buttocks with his script and remarked, “nice butt,” the report said.

Police came to the high school Wednesday to arrest Wopat. They saw him driving away in his 1996 Ford Bronco.

He was apprehended a short time later at Kennedy Middle School, and police seized what appeared to be cocaine from his vehicle, the report said.

He admitted to flirting on set but denied inappropriate touching, police said.

Wopat told police he buys cocaine “in large quantities and uses it over time,” the report said, adding that most of the drug was located in a “sandwich hefty bag.”

Asked why someone would accuse him of lewd touching, Wopat told officers that “he had no idea and that maybe they were resentful of him,” according to the report. He said he touched one female lightly on the hip and told her, “I like the way you work,” the report said.

Eagle said in a statement posted to Facebook that the show would open Thursday afternoon with “Rich Allegretto in the role of Julian Marsh,” the role Wopat had been slated to play. Think of that for a minute.

A former Hollywood Network star has fallen so far as to be working some local playhouse in the suburbs of Bo$ton?

That would be like the Rolling Stones playing at some out-of-the way New Haven night club.

Hours earlier, someone had tweeted from Wopat’s official account the production was opening Thursday.

“Don’t miss your chance to see it!” the tweet said. The tweet was later deleted.

Wopat took a number other television roles in the ’70s and ’80s, in addition to the Luke Duke character that catapulted him to stardom. He has also appeared on Broadway and received Tony nominations for his roles in “Annie Get Your Gun” in 1999 and “Catered Affair” in 2008, according to a biography on his official website.

Wopat’s also a recording artist.

His Twitter feed plugs his new album entitled “Wopat,” and he previously released a record dubbed, “I’ve Got Your Number.”

“All it takes is a phrase or two from Tom Wopat’s warm, engaging baritone to trigger the desire to hear more,” his biography says. “And the more one listens, the better it gets — from the way he finds the heart of a song’s story to his lyrical phrasing and his gently swinging, jazz-infused rhythms.”

Wopat’s next court date is Sept. 26.


If only he could catch a break:

"Tax breaks for Foxconn plant considered in Wisconsin" by Scott Bauer Associated Press  August 03, 2017

MADISON, Wis. — Supporters of a planned $10 billion electronics factory that could bring 13,000 jobs in the largest economic development project in Wisconsin history called it a once-a-generation opportunity during a public hearing Thursday, while critics said the state was being held for ransom.

State lawmakers are moving quickly to approve a $3 billion tax incentive deal for Foxconn Technology Group, based in Taiwan. The company, the world’s largest contract maker of electronics, announced last week that it planned to construct the first liquid crystal display panel factory outside of Asia in southeast Wisconsin. The deal, which Wisconsin leaders and President Trump have heralded as transformational for the state and national economy, requires the state to approve $3 billion in tax breaks tied to Foxconn hiring and spending as promised.

Thursday’s hearing came just six days after the bill was introduced. Democratic critics, who don’t have the votes in the Republican-controlled Legislature to stop it, have cautioned that there shouldn’t be a vote without a detailed analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

‘‘Why do we have to be held ransom for $3 billion?’’ asked Democratic Representative Amanda Stuck, of Appleton. ‘‘Why should they come here with their hand out when there are already reasons to be here?’’

Good question, and it shows you how much things have changed. It used to be that a factory or business located somewhere due to the resources and human capital that surrounds it; now politicians have to bribe corporations to come.

Wisconsin’s top economic development official Mark Hogan said Wisconsin had to be competitive with other states also trying to land the plant.

That's a nice excuse for corporate welfare and the race to the bottom.

Critics have raised alarms about other provisions waiving environmental permits and regulations to speed construction of the plant. Foxconn has said it intends to build a campus with 20 million square feet of office space over 1.56 square miles. But critics question whether Foxconn will follow through, noting that it promised in 2013 to invest $30 million and hire 500 workers for a new, high-tech factory in Pennsylvania that was never built.

‘‘We cannot let this opportunity pass us by,’’ said Scott Neitzel, the top aide to Governor Scott Walker.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou submitted a statement that was read by committee chairman Representative Adam Neylon. Gou said the project would ‘‘transform the American electronics industry.’’

‘‘Made in America makes sense for Foxconn and our customers and our business partners,’’ Gou said in the statement.

Foxconn hopes to open the plant by 2020 with 3,000 workers that could grow to 13,000 over six years. Walker’s administration said there would be 22,000 additional indirect jobs created through the plant’s opening, 16,000 of which would be construction-related.

Under the deal, most of the $3 billion in tax breaks would be tied to Foxconn delivering on its investment and job creation promises. The money would go as cash payments, as much as $200 million, but there is a provision for the state to recoup the money if the jobs are lost.

There is also a provision calling for the state to reimburse local governments 40 percent of costs related to infrastructure expenses, like expanding roads and sewer lines, if the factory is not built.

The bill would also allow the state to borrow $250 million for the Interstate 94 rebuilding project, which connects Milwaukee and Chicago and is near where the plant is expected to be.

The committee on jobs and the economy planned to vote on Tuesday to advance the bill to the full Assembly, which is expected to pass it as soon as Aug. 14. It must also clear the GOP-controlled Senate, but Republicans there have said they first want to pass Wisconsin’s month-late budget.

Foxconn is best known for making iPhones and other Apple devices but its long list of customers includes Sony Corp., Dell Inc., and BlackBerry Ltd. In addition to the primary plant in southeastern Wisconsin, Foxconn is also eyeing a location in or near to Madison for a possible secondary site.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said during a news conference Thursday that Foxconn wants green field space for a facility that could employ as many as 600 people.

He said he has offered the company two field sites as well as a shuttered Oscar-Mayer plant in the city. He acknowledged the plant isn’t what Foxconn wants but said it would make sense for the company.

Soglin, who is mulling a run for governor, warned that the city would not get into a ‘‘race to the bottom’’ in incentives.

‘‘We are not in a position where we have to give away the farm,’’ Soglin said.


They are locating where?

"President Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that’s expected to create 3,000 jobs. The factory will produce liquid-crystal display panels that are used in televisions and computer screens, according to a senior White House official who insisted on anonymity to discuss the announcement. Foxconn will locate its plant in the congressional district of US House Speaker Paul Ryan, although the official declined to provide a specific location. Foxconn could eventually employ 13,000 workers at the factory, the official said. This would mark a substantial gain for a state that currently has 472,000 manufacturing jobs and is still recovering from factory layoffs — including the closure of a General Motors plant in Ryan’s hometown — that hit after the 2008 financial crisis. Taiwan-based Foxconn is perhaps best known for assembling Apple iPhones in China."

Foxconn is also known for employees jumping to deaths from windows due to working conditions, so much so that the company had to install nets to catch them.

Any one else protesting?

A lone protester held up a sign as the Assembly Committee on Jobs and Economy met about the incentive deal for Foxconn Thursday in Madison, Wis.
A lone protester held up a sign as the Assembly Committee on Jobs and Economy met about the incentive deal for Foxconn Thursday in Madison, Wis. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

I like the sign and I like the shirt!!!