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Archive for July, 2011

Weekend Quick Hits

Paul Menards Wins First Race at Brick­yard 400

Con­grats to the Wis­con­sin native and hard­ware goods store scion. 

Wis­con­sin native Paul Menard became NASCAR’s newest first-time win­ner on Sun­day with an upset vic­tory at Indi­anapo­lis Motor Speed­way, a track steeped in tra­di­tion for his family.

The first half of the race was dom­i­nated by dri­vers with the strongest cars. But when debris cau­tions jum­bled up the pit cycles, the Brick­yard 400 turned into a race of pure strategy.

Menard and his Richard Chil­dress Rac­ing team played it bril­liantly, as crew chief Slug­ger Labbe had Menard give the lead up to defend­ing race win­ner Jamie McMur­ray in an effort to save fuel. Cer­tain McMur­ray didn’t have enough gas to make it to the fin­ish, Labbe then turned his atten­tion to Jeff Gor­don, who fell 12 sec­onds behind after a late fuel stop but was slic­ing his way through the field.

Labbe gave Menard the green-light with just over three laps to go. He passed McMur­ray for the lead, and was silent as he cir­cled the track with Labbe giv­ing con­stant updates on Gordon’s lap times. Gor­don ran out of time, and Menard cruised to his first career vic­tory in his 167th career start.

Menard’s only other vic­tory came in the second-tier Nation­wide Series in 2006.

Quiet and reserved by nature, that didn’t change as Menard crossed the fin­ish line. As his team screamed over the radio, Menard qui­etly asked, “that’s the check­ered, right?”

Atop the pit box, his bil­lion­aire father was far less reserved.

I’ve been wait­ing to kiss these bricks for such a long time. I’m ready!” John Menard yelled.

Not much of a NASCAR fan myself, but I point out his win because 1) I went to col­lege with his older brother and had some mar­ket­ing classes with “J.R.” and 2) Given the way the enviro-nuts in Wis­con­sin hate and treat the state’s rich­est man, I’d rub in his good for­tune for a sec­ond or two.

Have We Finally Nailed “D.B. Cooper?”

Inter­est­ing story from a cou­ple of British news­pa­pers on the sub­ject of the FBI’s longest man­hunt of the world’s great­est sky­jack­ing (com­plete with the para­chute drop).

If you’re a fan of the show “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” on the His­tory Chan­nel you know they did an episode on the DB Cooper mys­tery there.  It was pretty much a lot of cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence try­ing to pin it on one guy, who’s long since dead.

If you wish, you can read a write-up of an episode they did on D.B Cooper here.

Pack­ers Re-Sign John Kuhn

All together now: KUUUUUUUUHHHHHNNNNN!!!!

ESPN.com is say­ing the real force in the Pack­ers offen­sive free agency moves may not be GM Ted Thomp­son, but QB Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers wanted the team to keep James Jones (They did.) and Rodgers wanted the team to keep Kuhn as well.

We Have a Debt Ceil­ing Deal (or Something)

From the looks of it, the GOP won and the Dems com­pletely gave the shaft to their base.  No tax increases, imme­di­ate cuts, and the only thing the White House gets to hang their hat on is no other vote before Elec­tion Day 2012.

As if a vote on the debt ceil­ing will be what decides the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion next year?  It’s going to be the economy’s double-dip recession.

I may not win over the Erick Erickson’s of the world, but that sort of thing works for me.

(Yes, I under­stand the con­cern about defense cuts from some, but I also know there’s plenty of waste at the Pen­ta­gon.  Par­tic­u­larly in the realm of defense contracts.)

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“We Are Wisconsin” Loses La Crosse Offices in Fire">We Are Wisconsin” Loses La Crosse Offices in Fire

And I give it 12 hours before the con­spir­acy the­o­rists get to work on this news.

It just won’t stop burning.

A fire in the 400 block of Jay Street that has already claimed one build­ing stub­bornly refuses to go out, due partly, said Assis­tant Fire Chief War­ren Thomas, to its rub­ber roof.

Crews cut holes in the rub­ber, but the water gets trapped and can’t do it’s job prop­erly, he said.

With the burn­ing build­ing behind it knocked down, all the efforts of the La Crosse and Onalaska Fire Depart­ments is now on the front build­ing at 423 Jay St., par­tic­u­larly the south­east cor­ner. If the fire in that cor­ner gets out of con­trol, Thomas said, it could jump to the build­ing on the cor­ner at Fifth Avenue and Jay Street.

We don’t want it spreading.”

Begin­ning at about 9:30 a.m., crews attacked the fire from lad­der trucks high above the roof tops as the blaze spread south.

By late after­noon crews brought in an exca­va­tor to demol­ish one struc­ture after its roof col­lapsed ear­lier in the day.

The build­ings are home to six apart­ments, whose res­i­dents all escaped safely. Fire­fight­ers have been treated for heat exhaus­tion through­out the day, but no one was seri­ously injured.

The struc­ture also houses the local head­quar­ters for We Are Wis­con­sin, a Demo­c­ra­tic orga­niz­ing group. It is a total loss, said group spokesman Kelly Steele.

Staff was inside when the fire broke out and escaped safely, he said.

It is unclear how the fire started.

At one point in the after­noon, it appeared the fire was under con­trol, but new clouds of black smoke began bil­low­ing from store­front and apart­ment windows.

Police have blocked off Fifth Avenue from Main Street to Jay Street. Offi­cials ask that you avoid dri­ving down­town near the fire.

Given past reports from the gang at MacIver, I will admit, I’m a bit shocked to see the Shilling cam­paign offices weren’t effected either.

In mul­ti­ple cities across the state, recall cam­paign offices for Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­dates and “We Are Wis­con­sin” offices share the same building.

No coor­di­nat­ing there, right?  (Where’s a BS com­plaint fil­ing from Mike McCabe to the GAB when you need it?)

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How to Lose 40,000 Twitter Followers in One Day

Step 1)  Have a lot of Twit­ter fol­low­ers by being, say, Pres­i­dent of the United States of America.

Step 2)  Be the first POTUS to urge peo­ple to use Twit­ter to con­tact law­mak­ers in a non-press conference.

Step 3)  Have your staged non-press con­fer­ence be noth­ing more than a front for your media and polit­i­cal strat­egy team to send mes­sages to your sup­port­ers and have them inun­date the Twit­ter accounts of Repub­li­can lawmakers.

Step 4)  SPAM your legion of Twit­ter fol­low­ers enough they get annoyed and stop fol­low­ing you.

Pres­i­dent Obama brought his debt bat­tle to Twit­ter and he lost – more than 40,000 Twit­ter followers.

Obama asked Amer­i­cans Fri­day to call, email, and tweet Con­gres­sional lead­ers to “keep the pres­sure on” law­mak­ers in hopes of reach­ing a bipar­ti­san deal to raise the nation’s $14.3 tril­lion debt limit ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline.

Obama’s cam­paign staff used the @BarackObama Twit­ter account to post the Twit­ter han­dles of tweet­ing GOP lead­ers – state by state, tweet by tweet.

Tweet at your Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors and urge them to sup­port a bipar­ti­san com­pro­mise to the debt cri­sis,” Obama’s cam­paign staff wrote on his account before launch­ing the day-long Twit­ter campaign.

The cam­paign appears to have served its pur­pose: Repub­li­can Twit­ter accounts were flooded with pleas for compromise.

Not every­one is a fan of the pres­i­den­tial spam. By Fri­day evening, the Pres­i­dent had lost more than 40,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers — and counting.

Many mem­bers of the Twit­terati took to the social media plat­form to voice their annoy­ance over the bar­rage of par­ti­san tweets. A search for “@BarackObama unfol­low” turned up scores of irri­tated posts.

Hon­estly, @BarackObama, I’m going to have to unfol­low you if you don’t stop fil­ing up my Twit­ter inbox soon,” tweeted Boston­ian @melisthreadgill, a self-described “Pro­gres­sive activist”.

Can’t believe I had to unfol­low @BarackObama for spam­ming Twit­ter. Really, really strange behav­ior,” wrote @Arevill inConnecticut.

I want to unfol­low @BarackObama but his des­per­a­tion is too enter­tain­ing,” tweeted @rdpatrick of Lavo­nia, Geor­gia.

Admit­tedly, 40,000 is a drop in the bucket for the President’s Twit­ter account. He’s the third most-followed per­son on the planet (Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are 1 and 2 respec­tively), so it’s nothing.

But a more inter­est­ing fact was that later on in the day, the Sen­ate Repub­li­can Conference’s online shop (for­mer employer of WI blog­ger Sean Hack­barth) announced it had seen fol­lows for itself and Sen­ate Repub­li­cans jump 6,500.

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Cartoon of the Day

Notice the date on the calendar…


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Police Make Pot Bust on Fremont St.

Scratch this off the list of things I never thought I’d see hap­pen in Kiel.

Two peo­ple were arrested Wednes­day in Kiel after police uncov­ered more than 20 mar­i­juana plants in a raid of a down­town apart­ment, police said.

Chief David Funkhouser of the Kiel Police Depart­ment said police served a search war­rant about mid­day Wednes­day in the 600 block of Fre­mont Street.

Offi­cers seized the plants as well as equip­ment asso­ci­ated with the grow­ing, dis­tri­b­u­tion and use of marijuana.

A 23-year-old man was arrested and police will ask that he be charged with felony counts of mar­i­juana pos­ses­sion with intent to deliver and mar­i­juana man­u­fac­tur­ing, Funkhouser said.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested and later released, though she may also face charges.

Funkhouser said the inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing and more charges are expected.

For those who know Kiel, know the 600 block of Fre­mont is often where most of the city’s small busi­nesses are.  I won­der if the police got these guys at one of the aban­doned shop fronts or one of the apart­ments above?

If it’s the for­mer, then I could def­i­nitely see some form of tres­pass­ing charges com­ing down the line.

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And in Expected Packers News…

Justin Har­rell is no longer on the team.

Justin Har­rell has said his good­byes to coaches and team­mates as his dis­ap­point­ing four-year tenure in Green Bay offi­cially ended.

Reached by phone Thurs­day, the defen­sive line­man said that the Pack­ers have released him.

Basi­cally, I’m just going to head back, keep work­ing out, keep work­ing on my knee and see what hap­pens,” Har­rell said. “I have no bad things to say about Green Bay. It was a great place while I was there. With the frus­tra­tion of the fans and arti­cles writ­ten about you, it’ll be good to come back (and get a new start). Green Bay’s where I’ve been for four years. I wouldn’t change a thing other than the injuries.”

On Wednes­day, Har­rell had his knee checked out by doc­tors and, he said, they cleared him to prac­tice. He tore his ACL in the Pack­ers’ sea­son opener last year and has been rehab­bing since. After meet­ing with doc­tors, Har­rell was pre­pared to take it day by day and work his way back to full tilt here in Green Bay.

Today, the team decided to move on. By doing so, the Pack­ers save $1.25 mil­lion of cap money. In four years, the 2007 first round pick played just 14 games and had zero sacks.

If there was one bad top draft pick in Ted Thompson’s era as Pack­ers’ Gen­eral Man­ager, this is it. Har­rell was held back by almost non-stop injury which never allowed him to see him play let alone see any poten­tial within him.

He hopes another NFL team will call him in the com­ing days.  That’s pos­si­ble, but he’s ripe to spend a year on someone’s Prac­tice Squad…if he stays healthy.

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Federal Judges Toss Out Robson’s Redistricting Lawsuit

The first of many.  Get used to them lib­er­als and par­ti­san Democrats.

A trio of fed­eral judges in Mil­wau­kee has refused to step into Wisconsin’s polit­i­cal redis­trict­ing fight.

For­mer state Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­tic Major­ity Leader Judy Rob­son asked a three-judge panel in June to take over the redis­trict­ing process if leg­is­la­tors didn’t put a con­sti­tu­tional plan in place in a timely fashion.

The Republican-controlled Leg­is­la­ture passed new bound­aries ear­lier this month. Repub­li­can Gov. Scott Walker has yet to sign them into law.

The judges said no spe­cial cir­cum­stances exist that would war­rant the extra­or­di­nary rem­edy of tak­ing over redis­trict­ing from the Legislature.

Another fed­eral law­suit chal­leng­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the Repub­li­cans’ new maps is still pending.

You can read State Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s state­ment on the deci­sion here.

There’s sup­posed to be another law­suit out there, but it eludes me at the moment who filed it. It too will meet a sim­i­lar fate to this one.

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Wonder if He’s a “Justified” Fan

This makes sense to me.  Being a judge makes one a tar­get, not just by those in the pub­lic, but often by those who have their cases before them.

Agree­ing to put on the robes can be dan­ger­ous busi­ness (Insert oblig­a­tory Prosser — Bradley to your polit­i­cal leaning’s lik­ing joke here.)

When Tim Duket car­ries a hand­gun, it will def­i­nitely be concealed.

Under his judi­cial robes.

As a Marinette County Cir­cuit Court judge, it is my inten­tion to carry a con­cealed weapon in the cour­t­house and court­room,” Duket wrote in a July 17 email to the state Judi­cial Con­duct Advi­sory Com­mit­tee. “I sus­pect that other cir­cuit court judges in Wis­con­sin have the same intention.”

Per­haps, but the oth­ers haven’t been as open about their plans.

Duket has a good rea­son for con­tact­ing state judi­cial offi­cials with his plans.

He wants to make sure he doesn’t get into trou­ble for pack­ing heat while on the bench.

Law­mak­ers ear­lier this year passed a bill allow­ing Wis­con­sin adults to carry con­cealed weapons under cer­tain con­di­tions. Judges were even given spe­cial per­mis­sion to bring firearms into court­rooms — though that might not be advis­able for those on the tension-filled state Supreme Court.

But Duket noted that a Wis­con­sin judge was pun­ished years ago under the state’s judi­cial code for con­ceal­ing a revolver in his courtroom.

Back in the early ‘90s, the Supreme Court barred for­mer Kenosha County Judge Jerold Bre­it­en­bach from judi­cial duties for two years after he admit­ted keep­ing a loaded Smith & Wes­son .357-caliber Mag­num revolver with him — and occa­sion­ally leav­ing the firearm in his court­room waste­bas­ket — when met­ing out justice.

Duket wants a for­mal rul­ing from either the state Judi­cial Com­mis­sion or the advi­sory com­mit­tee to clar­ify the issue.

It’s impor­tant for them to weigh in on whether they feel it is or is not a vio­la­tion of the code of judi­cial con­duct (to have a con­cealed weapon), even though the statute says judges can,” Duket said.

He shouldn’t expect a rul­ing any­time soon.

James Alexan­der, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Judi­cial Com­mis­sion, directed the vet­eran judge to the advi­sory com­mit­tee. Appeals Court Judge Kitty Bren­nan, chair­woman of the advi­sory com­mit­tee, hasn’t responded to Duket’s note.

In an inter­view, Bren­nan said she couldn’t dis­cuss whether she had even received a request for a for­mal opin­ion because that would be confidential.

For those won­der­ing, the “Jus­ti­fied” ref­er­ence is for a the char­ac­ter of “Judge Mike “The Ham­mer” Rear­don” played by Stephen Root (“Jimmy James” from News­Ra­dio, “Mil­ton” from Office Space, and “Gor­don” from Dodge­ball).  Reardon’s a con­ser­v­a­tive fed­eral judge based out of Louisville and after a num­ber of death threats to him related to a coal min­ing land case he was pre­sid­ing over, took to wear­ing a con­cealed weapon under his robes.

Of course, for comic relief, it was often one of the few things Rear­don would have under his robes.  The few times the character’s been seen, he’s been known to wear only a Speedo under his robes while on the bench.

In DVD com­men­tary, the writ­ers say that was pitched from Root’s himself.

(I’m a huge fan of the show and am open­ing to riot if Margo Mar­tin­dale is robbed of an Emmy.)

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Cartoon of the Day

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It May Someday Come to This

Con­gress urg­ing us to live faster and die younger?

It’s the Onion, but you just never know?

Lan­guage def­i­nitely “NSFW.”

Social Secu­rity Reform Bill Encour­ages Amer­i­cans To Live Faster, Die Younger

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