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Prominent Liberal Donor Accused of Beating his Wife

A little harsh?

So was this.

According to a Dane County criminal complaint:

Police in Maple Bluff were dispatched to Rottier’s lakefront home on the evening of Feb. 7 for a report of a disturbance between a man and a woman.

Rottier’s wife, Frankie, told police her husband was supposed to take their children to the movies but came home about 7:30 p.m. and had been drinking. She admitted being angry that he was no longer going to take the children to the movies and confronted him about being drunk.

Rottier then drew back his cane. His wife said she turned away, and was struck across her back. Officers observed a red welt, about an inch wide and seven inches long, from her shoulder blade to her spine. Emergency medical staff arrived and treated Frankie Rottier, but she declined transport to a hospital.

Rottier, 62, was arrested and taken to the Dane County Jail, where a preliminary breath test indicated a blood alcohol level  of 0.13.

Rottier is charged with misdemeanor battery, domestic abuse, use of a dangerous weapon. Neither he nor his attorney, Stephen Meyer, returned calls seeking comment. The case is scheduled for a plea hearing Friday.

“Officers observed a red welt, about an inch wide and seven inches long, from her shoulder blade to her spine…”

Wow, that’s old school.  Like “Rule of Thumb” old school.

Commonly used term originating in the early 1900s, when it was legal for men to beat their wives, as long as they used a stick no wider than their thumb.

No word yet if Rottier will be trying to use that as a legal defense.

As for being a “prominent liberal donor,” according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Rottier has given over $107,000 in donations to Democratic and liberal candidates since at least 1992.

That’s as far back as WDC’s database goes.  The last donations listed are for Marquette law professor Ed Fallone, who unsuccessfully ran for state supreme court last year.   Nothing reported to likely Democratic candidate Mary Burke (yet), but any wise campaign or activist group now knows to make a headline when it does.

Rottier is worth millions, and if he’s got a lakefront home in Maple Bluff that’s likely worth millions too.  You know what else is in Maple Bluff?  The Governor’s Mansion.

You know, quite the real “salt of the earth” neighborhood that is.

UPDATE: Remove the “Yet.”  Records from the Government Accountability Board show that Rottier gave $4,500 to the Burke campaign on December 20, 2013.  Let’s hold our breath collectively as to when a liberal women’s rights group demands they return the donations — or better yet — donate the money themselves to a battered women’s shelter.

UPDATE II: Dan Bice reports the Burke campaign is indeed donating the $4,500 it has received from Rottier and giving it to a battered women’s shelter in Madison.

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Brett Bielema Couldn’t Recruit

One of my biggest pet peeves during the “Brett Bielema Era” of Wisconsin Badgers football was that the man couldn’t recruit to save his soul.  While Ohio State and Michigan were constantly reloading (until “Big Blue” was derailed by the Rich Rodriguez experiment) with studs from across the country, Wisconsin couldn’t find anyone beyond a battering ram running back to fill the Badgers’ needs.

And let’s not forget other oversights — some of them due to the way the Badgers played, some due to his own decisions — of how top Wisconsin high school talent was overlooked.

(Did you know that Pewaukee’s J.J. Watt — a top NFL Draft pick in 2011 — transferred as a walk-on after spending some years playing at Central Michigan?)

Sports Illustrated has a piece online right now highlighting the perils Bielema now faces as the head coach of Arkansas.  Mostly, it’s about how his move from the Big Ten to the SEC has brought to light a lot of his faults as a coach.  Chief among them, his arrogance, his swagger that he can’t back up (Current lifetime record in the SEC: 0-8), and at the end  he can’t recruit with the big boys.

So says SI.

The bad news, though, is that even with the three league titles that Bielema won with the Badgers, his Wisconsin teams rarely beat opponents with more touted high school talent. Under Bielema, the Badgers went 1-5 against Ohio State, 2-3 against Penn State and 2-4 in bowl games. In a study that strongly correlates recruiting rankings with victories, SB Nation’s Matt Hinton divided the major-conference FBS programs into five tiers (five-stars, four-stars, etc.) based on their recruiting rankings from 2010 to ’13. Wisconsin fell into the two-star group, alongside the likes of USF and Purdue, yet did not overachieve to the extent that one might assume. “They were actually very ordinary in that span against blue-chip competition, putting up losing records against five-star (2-3), four-star (3-6) and even three-star (5-6) opponents,” wrote Hinton. “Much of Wisconsin’s success is based on thorough, consistent dominance of its two-star peers in the Big Ten — Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue — against whom the Badgers have won 17 in a row.”

That trend does not bode well for Arkansas, considering five of its six SEC West opponents (Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M) fell into Hinton’s four- or five-star tiers. Yet, so, too, did the Razorbacks, so theoretically they’re not that far behind their competition. But there aren’t many Indianas on the schedule to help boost their record.

Any Badgers football fan already knows all these stats, I just don’t believe many wanted to believe them while “the Cardinal and Cream” were going to back-to-back-to-back Rose Bowls (losing all of them by the way…) and the Big Ten title plaques kept going up at Camp Randall.  The truth of the matter is, Wisconsin under Bielema wasn’t much of a national powerhouse.  It was a just the big kid on the block beating up on all the smaller children in the neighborhood.

Perhaps that will change in the new “East / West” divisional format starting next year in Big Ten football (now encompassing 14 teams) and with a Badgers team that will now be much more the product of Gary Andersen’s than it was Brett Bielema’s.  Oh, I still have my issues with Wisconsin playing nothing but cupcakes for its non-conference games, but that too appears to be changing.

Bucky will be taking on a number of SEC teams in the coming years, many of them at NFL stadiums to fulfill the demands of the public’s interest.

There are many things to dislike about Brett Bielema post-Wisconsin — such as the comparison to Andersen personally calling all of his players to inform them he was leaving Utah for Wisconsin, while most in Wisconsin found out about Bielema as he was cleaning out his desk at Camp Randall — but for me, it was always his recruiting and the inability to make Wisconsin Badgers football something more.

Good luck with that attitude in the SEC, coach.  You clearly look like you’re going to need it if you’re going to make it past this season still employed.

Until then, #KARMA.

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Bill Would Give Local Governments Right to Veto Roundabouts

Frankly, this is long overdue.

Wisconsin lawmakers are considering a proposal which would give local governments more power over the European import that’s becoming more familiar to state’s drivers: roundabouts.

Currently only the Department of Transportation or local county officials can decide the specific where and when decisions on the traffic circles. The proposed bill would require municipal officials to sign off before project managers went forward with a roundabout project.

There are approximately 200 roundabouts in Wisconsin. Their purpose is to be in lieu of stop signs and traffic lights. A sponsor of the bill says that developers should have to consider business and motorist concerns before building new roundabouts.

According to DOT officials although they are typically disliked by drivers, once the traffic circles are built they are more likely to be favored.The Assembly Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday. The measure isn’t expected to more further this session.

Sadly, this is far too late for my hometown of Kiel, which now has two roundabouts no one wanted but the state DOT.  Instead of trying to get a four-way stop or a stop light at the corners of highways 67 and 57-32 as local residents would have preferred, the state dictated the roundabouts.

I’ve long railed against roundabouts here and still see them as a nuisance.  In fact, in my mind, they’re only popular with the DOT because it gives road builders more surface area to play with as it sucks up more land that could be better used for other purposes.

We’re not Europe.  Stop trying to import their way of driving.

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Harold Ramis, Rest in Peace

He was my personal favorite of the “Ghostbusters” as “Egon Spengler,” namely because like Egon, I saw myself as the most “professorial” of the Eco-1 crew growing up.

His death is shocking, not just because of his age, but because of what he meant to American comedy films since the late 1970s.  Just look at his resume:

“Animal House” — He co-wrote it.

“Caddyshack” — He wrote and directed it.

“Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II” — He co-wrote and starred in it.

“Groundhog’s Day” — He script-doctored (made edits along the way) and directed it.

And then there was “Stripes.”  How can you forget about this?

bill_murray-stripes1981-2220Rest in Peace.

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Tea Party Challenger in Kansas Put X-Rays of Dead People on Facebook

To quote Erick Erickson — known egomaniac — from a past “Coffee and Markets” podcast,  “Tea Party candidate vetting sucks.”

(Ya think Erick?  Yet you still push these clowns for three cycles straight, don’t ya?)

Somehow this got missed during the questioning process after he answered “I will do whatever Jim DeMint tells me to…”

U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf posted a collection of gruesome X-ray images of gunshot fatalities and medical injuries to his Facebook page and participated in online commentary layered with macabre jokes and descriptions of  carnage.

Wolf, a Johnson County radiologist anchoring a campaign for the Republican nomination with calls for federal heath care reform, said in an interview the medical images were legally uploaded to public social media sites and other online venues for educational purposes. They also served, he said, to demonstrate evil lurking in the world.

However, Wolf and others viewing these Facebook postings relentlessly poked fun at the dead or wounded. The gunshot victim, Wolf joked online, wasn’t going to complain about the awkward positioning of his head for an X-ray. In a separate Facebook comment, Wolf wrote that an X-ray of a man decapitated by gunfire resembled a wounded alien in a “Terminator” film and that the image offered evidence people “find beauty in different things.”

Wolf declined in an interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal to clearly answer questions about whether he continued to place images of deceased people on the Internet. He asked to keep copies of the Facebook posts shown to him, but when denied, he walked away.

“I’m not going to play these kinds of gotcha games,” he said.

An array of professionals involved in medical ethics who viewed the images or were provided a description of the materials made public by Wolf condemned his airing of the information outside confines of a doctor-to-doctor consultation or for the purpose of formal medical research or textbook instruction.

“The dignity and privacy of the individual should be protected,” said John Carney, president of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo. “It doesn’t sound like they’re being protected if they’re, obviously, on Facebook.”

So let me get this right, the Tea Party groups (many of which are nothing more than multimillion dollar front groups when you really break them down) thinks someone like this would be a better option than Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Roberts, by the way, is just shy of 80.  If these groups had a brain, they’d just wait for Roberts to either retire in six years or die in office (Last Democrat to win statewide in Kansas was Kathleen Sebelius, who’s a political legacy there…) than embarrass themselves, their groups, or the GOP in general.

Something tells me Dr. Wolf was a personal project of the Ryun Brothers, since it’s right in their backyard.  He’s not Matt Bevins in Kentucky, but he’s listed second on the Madison Project’s list of endorsements.

I realize I’m not making many friends in state Tea Party groups by going after Erickson, Senate Conservative Fund, and the Madison Project for the actions of the idiots they find to run for high office.  Frankly, I don’t care and if they want to have that debate with me in private, they have my email address.

But if someone doesn’t speak up and call them out for this crap, they’re going to continue to find these people and continue to cost the GOP chances at U.S. Senate seats. What many of these guys are doing doesn’t help conservatism, doesn’t help get ObamaCare repealed any faster, and sure as hell doesn’t end big government in Washington.

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WI Assembly Passes 1st in the Nation “Patent Troll” Bill

Still has to clear the state Senate, but this is a huge law if we want to see technological businesses (and the end users who often are the victims of patent trolls) flourish in Wisconsin.

Patent trolls cost the U.S. economy over $29 billion-plus annually.  That’s lost innovation, lost jobs and lost revenue to people who didn’t create the initial tech, but only bought an expired patent and then proceeded to sue for money that never was rightfully theirs.

Madison – Today the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 656, the Patent Notification Act, a bill authored by State Representative Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) targeting “patent trolls.” The legislation makes predatory patent trolling illegal in Wisconsin by creating a standardized notification process for patent assertion entities to notify individuals or entities operating in Wisconsin, which they suspect are infringing on their intellectual property rights. Wisconsin is the first state to have passed such legislation.

“Wisconsin is leading the fight to protect businesses from patent trolls in America. This bill sends a clear message to patent trolls around the country to think twice before scamming Wisconsin businesses. As new technology develops, this type of predatory behavior will persist unless something is done to level the playing field. We must protect the innovation leading to job creation, without over regulating the process so companies or institutions making a legitimate claim are protected.

“I’d like to thank my colleagues in the Assembly for joining me in the fight against patent trolls. By offering this proactive solution to address the issues facing us today, we show our ability to adapt to the times and protect innovation to ensure economic prosperity continues in the state of Wisconsin now and into the future,” Neylon commented.

The bill passed on a voice vote, which means it likely passed on unanimous consent.

ADDENDUM:  Obviously, there is some legal question as whether this will have any teeth to it.  Patents are a federal issue, and their rules may trump Wisconsin’s.

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