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Archive for February, 2012

D.C Circuit Court to Twitter – Release Anonymous Threatener’s ID

Hmmm…no applications at all here in Wisconsin, right?

(Of course, like you’d see charges for it in Dane County?)

A federal district court judge ruled this week that a federal grand jury is allowed to subpoena the identity of a Twitter user who threatened Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

The man, who was notified by Twitter of the request, had asked the court to quash the request to protect his identity.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in his decision referred to the Twitter user only as “Mr. X,” but said his name should be disclosed to the grand jury investigating whether he constitutes a genuine threat against Bachmann. He wrote that the tweet in question is “extremely crude and in almost incomprehensibly bad taste.”

The judge’s opinion, released Thursday, is also a scathing criticism of the motives of “Mr. X” and the content of his Twitter feed, which is also unnamed.

“More offensive than even Mr. X’s chosen vocabulary is the pathetic transparency and vapidity of his attempt to elicit the attention of the Internet that he surely lacks in real life,” Lamberth wrote.

“There appears to be nothing serious whatsoever about Mr. X’s Twitter page. [E]xcept perhaps the severity of mental depravity that would lead a person to produce such posts.”

The judge concluded, however, that a review is warranted because the allegedly threatening tweet, which was sent last August and “professed desire to engage in sadomasochistic activities” with Bachmann, was directed at a presidential candidate.

Judge Lamberth is a Reagan appointee.  He’s best known in recent years for the 2010 injunction against Obama’s executive order on expanded embryonic stem cell research as well as ordering the Nixon archives (also in 2010) to publish the sealed Watergate testimony of the president to the public.

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IRS Refunds Taking Longer Than Usual

The IRS says delays are due to enhances security measures for those filing their returns online.

Delays are now getting people their tax refunds about a week longer than they did last year.

Taxpayers are continuing to wait longer than usual to receive their refunds, and a recent problem with the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund” tool caused many to fear that their returns hadn’t been filed at all, tax preparers say.

In the past, most taxpayers who filed their tax returns electronically received their refunds in one to two weeks, said Gene King, a spokesman for H&R Block. This year, it’s usually taking 10 to 21 days, he said.

That’s still within the historical time frame for delivery of refunds, said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge.

The IRS has attributed the delays to new safeguards installed in its computers to prevent refund fraud. While that means the IRS will provide additional screening of tax returns before refunds are issued, “The vast majority of taxpayers can still continue to expect to receive their refunds in a timely fashion,” Eldridge said.

Bill Nemeth, an enrolled agent with Jackson Hewitt in Atlanta, said his clients usually receive their refunds in seven to 13 days. This year, it’s taking 15 to 21 days, he said.

The average refund for a refund is just under $3,200.   The Gannett News Services doesn’t say if that’s for a single filer or for a couple filing jointly.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

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UW / U of M to Stage Outdoor Hockey Game

Now this is the way to end a near century in one of the oldest college hockey conferences in the country.

Note to self – Get tickets.

The date has been changed, but the proposed outdoor game between the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team and Minnesota is closer to being finalized.

UW has a preliminary contract to face the Gophers in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 at Soldier Field in Chicago. It will be staged two days after the teams open a landmark league series at the Kohl Center.

The final meeting between the rivals as WCHA members – they will move to the newly created Big Ten Conference in 2013-14 after more than 40 seasons of shared membership in the WCHA – will be part of a regional college doubleheader that is expected to include Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio) out of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

It would be the third outdoor game for the Badgers since 2006, but their first outside the state. They defeated Ohio State 4-2 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in 2006 and knocked off Michigan 3-2 at Camp Randall Stadium in 2010.

I caught the game at Camp Randall in 2010 with two of my older brothers.  A communications SNAFU with another older brother didn’t get me (or any other family member now that I remember it…) a seat at the game at Lambeau.

Knew I should have just gotten my own ticket back then.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Since its Being Politicized…

My take on the “popular” theory on liberal blogs run by unions (Cog Dis, DPW…) that “Collective Bargaining” saved Ryan Braun:

Actually, it is Braun’s and the MLBPA’s own collective bargaining agreement which pretty much states he was “Guilty until proven innocent” according to the drug-testing policy.

Depending on what you read, the man was saved by a courier who couldn’t find a Fed Ex, not his union or collective bargaining.  The only thing the MLBPA should be commended for is standing by their man.

Not all unions do that.

If you want to read the entire “Joint Drug Agreement” between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, you can go here.

Or maybe “capper” missed those Steroid Hearings in Congress a few years back where the MLBPA was pretty much brow-beaten into accepting the drug testing policy as it is today?

Here’s two hours of the Mitchell Report hearing in 2008 where the committee as whole brow beats former MLBPA chief Donald Fehr like a drum.

 One can have their own opinions, but not their own facts.  Especially since it’s readily accessible via C-SPAN or YouTube.

UPDATE:

Great transcript I found at the New York Times from the Mitchell Report hearings.

2:10 | What Took So Long? Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, was quite direct in putting to Fehr and Selig the question that no doubt is on many fans’ minds: Why was baseball so slow to develop an effective drug-testing program to combat this problem? The responses were notable in their contrast, between Fehr’s clearness and brevity and Selig’s greater equivocation.

Fehr’s answer:

“Did we or did I appreciate the depth of the problem prior to the time that we began to work on it hard? The answer is no. If the question is, “Should we have?” — perhaps we should have. It’s a failure that we didn’t, and it’s a failure that I didn’t.

Then, Selig’s answer:

“As I said in my statement, I’ve thought about this thousands of times. I’ve been in this sport all my adult life. I agonize over that, because I consider myself, at the end, a baseball man. In the ’90s — you know, hindsight is always very beneficial. I watched things. I re-read all the articles that Senator Mitchell had. I take responsibiility for everything, let’s understand that. I take it –- for all the good things that have happened to make the sport as popular as it is today, and when we talk about something negative, there’s no question about that. I’ve agonized.

“But I would also remind you, and who knows how long this has gone on –- the Senator said over 20 years –- we have come a long way in a difficult environment. My minor league program is going into its eighth year. So all of the great players in this sport have been tested eight years.

Do I wish we had reacted quicker? Should we have? Yes, one can make a compelling case. And I do a lot of introspective thinking, and I’ll second-guess myself. As far as responsibility, all of us have to take responsibility.”

Who sounds like who’s got the public relations issue when it came to drug testing?  Sure isn’t Selig in my opinion.

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You Mean “Real Time” Wasn’t Enough of an In-Kind Contribution?

Well, he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

Guess this exempts him from any sort of bitching later this year about campaign financing.  He is giving to a Super PAC after all.

Comedian Bill Maher has pledged $1 million to an independent “super PAC” set up to help President Barack Obama win re-election in November that has been lagging far behind its Republican rivals in fundraising.

Maher made the pledge on Thursday night during his standup comedy special “Crazy Stupid Politics: Live from Silicon Valley” in San Jose, California, which was streamed live on Yahoo. A spokeswoman for Maher confirmed the pledge on Friday.

“I would like to tonight announce a donation to the Obama super PAC, which has the very unfortunate tongue-twister name Priority USA Action. I know it was named by Borat,” he said, referring to a bumbling Kazakhstan reporter movie character.

“I would like to give that PAC $1 million,” said the host of television political talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

In a statement Maher said that having Obama as president over his Republican rivals was “worth a million dollars.”

The contribution comes just days after Priorities USA, the pro-Obama “super” political action committee (PAC), reported to the Federal Election Commission that it raised a measly $59,000 in January.

 

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Orlando Sends Out Riot Police to Shoe Store

I will never understand shoe riots.

Never.

More than 100 law enforcement officers in riot gear broke up an out-of-control crowd waiting to buy a new basketball shoe timed to be released during the NBA All-Star Game in Orlando.

Authorities say there were no injuries or arrests late Thursday outside the Florida Mall. The crowd began getting unruly around 9:45 p.m. as hundreds of people packed the parking lot as they waited to purchase the $220, limited-edition Nike Foamposite One.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the crowd was asked to wait across the street when the mall closed at 9 p.m. But one person ran toward Foot Locker and the crowd followed.

Authorities formed a line and used shields to push back the crowd. Deputies on loudspeakers announced there would be no shoe release.

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Cartoon of the Day

There’d be more truth here if the artist attached “College Administrators” to the guy moving the goal posts.

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