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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

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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