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Wisconsin's Capitol in Madison again arrested, handcuffed and charged its protesting citizens.
Wisconsin's Capitol in Madison again arrested, handcuffed and charged its protesting citizens. (Photo:

Another chapter in Wisconsin's political freak show

In one of the digital news feeds I subscribe to, it was reported Wednesday that the United Nations was calling an emergency security meeting to investigate allegations that the Syrian government has used deadly chemicals on its citizens who were protesting.

In the very next headline, it was reported that police in Wisconsin's Capitol in Madison had again arrested, handcuffed and charged its protesting citizens ... because they were gathering and singing. The arrested suspects included grandmothers and firefighters.

The consecutive headlines kind of put the whole political freak show that is Wisconsin in perspective.

In the words of Forest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that ..."

Baird analyst remains bullish

The U.S. stock market has sputtered this week as analysts speculate that the Federal Reserve Board may be on the verge of tapering its bond-buying program and might even be pondering a slight increase in the core interest rate.

However, despite the hiccup, Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist of Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., is having none of that. He’s still firmly in the camp of the bulls when it comes to his economic outlook.

In his morning Market Update today, Bittles wrote, "Our posture is that the Fed will not entertain any move that could upset the balance in the economy or the financial markets."

Bittles added, "The performance of the U.S. economy has been underwhelming for so long that it is difficult to imagine GDP growth rates returning to trend. Short term, the economy faces hurdles at the consumer level. Wages have not kept pace with inflation and with higher taxes disposable income is being squeezed. 

"This is evident in warnings from Wal-Mart and other broad-based retailers that incremental sales have followed an uneven path. Automobile sales have been brisk but borrowing to purchase a car leaves less for other consumer items. The labor markets have improved but, with most of the job creation in part-time work and in low- paying industries, the average household continues to struggle."

Bittles continued:

"As a result, the U.S. economy is likely to remain in a slow-growth (2.0 percent) mode intermediate term. Looking further out, the potential for the U.S. economy improves significantly. The ongoing energy transformation and the ingenuity of American industry are two important reasons the U.S. stock market has outperformed nearly all international equity markets. History is filled with examples that show that higher-paying jobs are nearly always connected to gains in technology.

"Look no further than the Tesla automobile, U.S. advancements in robotics, 3-D printing and the unbelievable progress in gene engineering as exam…