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Archive for April, 2013

Soglin Resorting to Bribs in Attempt to End Mifflin

It’s for the children…can’t you see that?

Attendees at Saturday’s Mifflin Street block party could help keep youths off the street this summer by toning down the drinking and accompanying misbehavior at the annual event, Mayor Paul Soglin said Monday.

Soglin said he wants to put any unused portion of the $190,000 designated for policing the unauthorized block party toward funding summer day camp or employment programs for youths. The budget amendment would require City Council approval.

“Is he trying to make us feel bad?” asked Lauren Cochlin, 23, who lives in the 500 block of Mifflin Street and plans to once again participate in the celebration marking the end of the UW-Madison school year.

Soglin called it a “real-world decision” for attendees who in recent years have gone beyond “the right to party and the tradition” associated with the event with “some very serious situations that have been life-threatening.”

Cochlin, who attributes the problems associated with the block party to people from out of town, said “it would be great” if money earmarked for police costs could instead benefit local youths.

But just how likely that will be remains to be seen, said Soglin, who would consider it a success if the city could cut police costs for the day to $95,000 this year.

Soglin and the police have been trying to end the Mifflin for years; especially after a number of stabbings took place at it during the 2011 gathering.  It was the highest escalation of violence at the Mifflin which in years past has seen more than its fair share of drunken fist-fights, underage drinking arrests, violations of open container laws and tons of open air vomiting.

The irony to all this is that Soglin was at the first Mifflin in 1969 — back when it was a protest march against the Vietnam War — and seems hell bent on being that last mayor at the party.

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Wisconsin is “The Big Winner” in Big Ten Realignment Plan

Of course, this was been well-discussed and pointed out by Big Ten fans and UW alumni for the past week when the plan to replace “Legends and Leaders” with an “East / West” format was undertaken.

All that’s keeping Bucky from near annual appearances from the Big Ten Title game is Nebraska unless someone steps up.

Admittedly, if you wanted a more realistic, competitive Big Ten (with 14 teams), you’d be better off going with a “North / South” alignment with “The North” being Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Rutgers.  “The South” would be Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, and Maryland.

I don’t design this league, but I do watch it.

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Tim Tebow is Now Unemployed

Not surprising.

His team couldn’t trade him during the off-season and just this past weekend, took the 1st quarterback (West Virginia’s Geno Smith) in the just completed NFL Draft.  Tim Tebow is bound for either Canada, the Arena League, or some other minor football league like the UFL (the latest in attempts at a professional spring football league) if he wants to try to play football professionally.

Of course, the players and coaches of the UFL have recently sued league ownership for not paying them after they canceled the second half of the 2012 season, so who knows if that league will even be around anymore.

One year after bringing Tim Tebow to Broadway, creating a nationwide fascination that slowly evolved into a salacious controversy, the New York Jets made the long-anticipated move Monday of releasing one of the NFL’s most popular players.

The Jets confirmed the release in a three-paragraph news release, a long way from his Super Bowl-sized news conference last March.

“We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow,” coach Rex Ryan said. “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped.  Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward.”

Ryan and general manager John Idzik informed Tebow early Monday morning in a face-to-face meeting at the team’s facility, before he worked out with teammates, a source said. Tebow left the building shortly thereafter.

Tebow was dressed in his workout clothes Monday when he was called to Idzik’s office, according to league sources.

So ends one of the strangest chapters in team history — maybe in league history.

The saga of Tim Tebow is an analysis of both lost potential and media over selling of a player.  While there is little doubt that Tebow was a great leader of men and motivator of his teammates both at the University of Florida and in Denver, he also never did much to overcome his flaws when it came to football mechanics (his throwing motion is still one of the most hideous I’ve ever witnessed) and ability to move past his inability to handle the speed of the pro game.

Add in the media examination of being a two-time NCAA champ, the New York media market, a strange compulsion of some to focus only on the Christian aspects of Tebow’s life, and the mental basket case which is the Jets organization were all a recipe for disaster for Tebow in the end.  I wish the kid luck in trying to find some kind of safe landing given all the attention which will now be back upon him, but seriously think he’s going to be in the Arena league if at all still in football this fall.

It’s not fair, but it is how the business of football goes.

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The Growth of Europe’s “Pirate Party” Continues

Always knew the Europeans had strange political tastes, but this is stranger than most.

On Saturday, Iceland held national parliamentary elections and the newly-formed Pirate Party of Iceland won 5.1 percent of the vote. This earned the party three seats in parliament, making the new Píratar the most successful Pirate Party in any national legislative body around the globe.

Iceland’s unicameral parliament, known in Icelandic as the Alþing (“All-thing”), has just 63 members to represent the country’s 320,000 people.

By comparison, the Czech Republic has one Pirate Party parliamentarian, Germany has 45 state-level Pirate lawmakers (plus, recent party struggles), and Sweden has two representatives of its Pirate Party in the European Parliament. As is the case anywhere Pirates hold elective office, the group still represents a tiny minority in Iceland—most of the seats in the Alþing will go to the center-right Independence Party. In the United States, the Pirate Party has had very limited success and is extremely unlikely to get elected to either the House of Representatives or the Senate.

According to its website, the Pirate Party operates in eight states — Yes, Wisconsin is one of them thanks to GAB approval — and it’s more or less a neo-liberal outfit which sounds like an off-shoot of every other group of left-wing anarchists out there.  The only thing that makes it “special” is two things: 1) It focuses on technological issues like “government transparency,” “hacker’s rights,” and 2) They’re clever with their namings; such as calling the party chairman “The Captain,” vice chairman “The First Officer,” and so on.

The only “piracy” these guys advance is online with little regard to copyright laws and creator rights.  If that’s what floats your “Jolly Roger,” by all means, climb aboard.

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Why Playing Amateur Detective Still Never Works Out

Be it trying to solve who stole your socks or try to put together clues to the Boston Marathon Bomber, sometimes it’s best to leave things to the professionals.

And most importantly, it’s never wise to group-source it via Reddit. 

The body of 22-year-old Sunil Tripathi was identified through dental records, Health Department spokeswoman Dara Chadwick said Thursday.

It was not immediately clear when Tripathi, who was last seen March 15, died. The cause of death has also not been determined.

Police said that no signs of trauma were found initially and that the investigation could take months.

Tripathi’s body was found Tuesday by members of the Brown University crew team.

The Pennsylvania native was on leave from the Ivy League school but was living in an apartment near campus in Providence, R.I., with several other students.

After the April 15 bombings of the Boston Marathon, crowdsourcing groups drawing upon photos released by the FBI of a suspect erroneously reported via Reddit, a social news website, that the person in a baseball cap strongly resembled the missing student.

At one point, Tripathi’s name landed on the Twitter top trends list.

“The last eighteen hours have generated tremendous and painful attention — on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, as well as from television media inquiries — linking Sunil to the video stills released by the FBI yesterday afternoon,” said Akhil Tripathi, Sunil’s father, in a family statement last week, WPVI-TV reported.

“Unequivocally, we have known that neither individual suspected as responsible for the incident in Boston was Sunil,” the statement said.

On Monday, Reddit general manager Erik Martin apologized for the “dangerous speculation” that “spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties.”

Admittedly, since I don’t go to Reddit much, I first heard about the Brown University student getting mixed up into this by listening to ESPN.com’s “B.S. Report” with Bill Simmons when he was talking about the situation in his native Boston with Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi (also a Boston native).  It’s amazing how quickly speculation about anything can get out of hand.

Too bad things like this, never stop it.

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