Saturday, September 21, 2019

Story of Lynyrd Skynyrd

A drone with a nail gun for autonomous roofing

'Come and take it': Leah Vukmir taunts Tony Evers in gun tweet, and the governor pushes back

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Leah Vukmir, a former state senator who lost her bid for U.S. Senate last year, tweeted a photo of herself at a shooting range aiming a rifle and wearing a National Rifle Association hat in response to Gov. Tony Evers' comment that he would consider legislation for a mandatory gun buyback. (Photo: Screenshot)

MADISON - Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' office pushed back Friday against last year's GOP nominee for U.S. Senate after she posted a tweet taunting him over seizing guns. 
Evers on Thursday championed red-flag legislation and said he would consider requiring people to sell their military-style guns to the government. The ideas drew strong opposition from Republicans. 
Leah Vukmir, a former state senator who lost her bid for U.S. Senate last year, tweeted a photo of herself at a shooting range aiming a rifle and wearing a National Rifle Association hat. 
"Come and take it, @GovEvers," she tweeted. 
The gun she held in the photo was not a military-style weapon and would not be subject to a mandatory buyback under the proposals some Democrats have backed.
Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback on Friday called Vukmir's tweet dangerous. 
"Words have meaning, and former politicians should know better than to invoke this kind of dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric," Cudaback said in a statement. 
She noted Vukmir tweeted the photo hours after a woman was killed by crossfire in Milwaukee as she was driving to drop off her children at her sister's house.
"This tragedy is yet another example of why the governor is working to pass the common sense gun safety reforms that 80% of Wisconsinites support," Cudaback said in her statement.

Right, the criminals who commit street shootings are going to turn in their weapons to the government.  Right.

Open Blog - Weekend

Don't drive too fast.

Friday, September 20, 2019

SUV plows through shopping mall outside Chicago

Wisconsin's GOP speaker says he wants to consider legalizing medical marijuana, just after rejecting governor's plan

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
MADISON – Days after rejecting a medical marijuana plan, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Friday he wants to debate the issue this fall even though it would be extremely difficult to pass. 
Vos, of Rochester, in recent years has shown support for legalizing medical marijuana, but other Republicans who control the Legislature have expressed deep skepticism toward the idea.
"I'd like to have at least a discussion about medical marijuana," Vos said Friday when asked about his top priorities for lawmakers when they return to the Capitol in the fall. 
He acknowledged that the idea is unlikely to go anywhere even if he finds enough support for it among the five dozen Republicans in his house. That's because of staunch opposition to the idea from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau.
Vos spoke of medical marijuana with reporters just after he formally sent the state budget to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Republican lawmakers approved the budget this week after removing from it Evers' proposal to legalize medical marijuana and end penalties for recreational marijuana. 

Gov. Tony Evers calls for decriminalization of recreational marijuana use

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gov. Tony Evers delivers his State of the State address at the Capitol in Madison in January. Evers has proposed in his next two-year spending plan to legalize marijuana use for medical use and decriminalize possession and distribution of small amounts. (Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers wants to allow Wisconsin residents to carry or sell small amounts of marijuana and legalize its use for medical reasons, aides said Sunday.
Evers will propose in his first state budget proposal to decriminalize marijuana if its users, manufacturers and distributors handle 25 grams or fewer and create Wisconsin's first medical marijuana program that would be regulated by the state's health and agriculture departments. 
The plan, to be unveiled Monday in the state Capitol, also would expunge convictions of possessing, manufacturing or selling 25 or fewer grams of marijuana from criminal records of those found guilty of such crimes in the past.
For perspective, 25 grams of marijuana could fit inside a standard Ziplock sandwich bag. 
Spokeswomen for Evers did not respond to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel request for full details of the plan. 
Wisconsin is one of 17 states that has not legalized marijuana in some form. In the case of medical marijuana, growers use unprocessed marijuana plants or extracts to treat symptoms of illness or other medical conditions.  
Evers' plans might have trouble getting through the Republican-controlled Legislature, particularly in the state Senate, where leaders there have opposed legalizing marijuana use. 

City of Racine’s trick or treating will be on Oct.31 this year

From The Journal

RACINE — Do you have your costume yet?
On Friday, Mayor Cory Mason announced that the City of Racine’s trick or treat will be from 5-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, the actual night of Halloween.
In 2018, Racine, Elmwood Park, Raymond, Rochester, Wind Point and North Bay all had trick or treat on Sunday, Oct. 28, while every other Racine County municipality had trick or treat on Oct. 31.
In the coming days, The Journal Times will release a full list of when trick or treating events will be held. 

Man charged with stealing Challenger from Lynch Superstore

From The Journal

BURLINGTON — A man accused of defrauding a Burlington car dealership in May of a $47,267 car was charged in Racine County Circuit Court Thursday of felony theft by false representation.
Jordan M. Hardy, 27, of South Beloit, Ill., was charged with defrauding Lynch Superstore, 2300 Browns Lake Drive, on May 8, and driving off with a 2019 Dodge Challenger.
According to the criminal complaint:
The general manager at Lynch contacted police on May 9 and said that, the day before, a man identifying himself as Shomari Wright bought the Dodge at the dealership and possessed the necessary documents.
Lynch submitted the loan paperwork to the bank, but on May 9, the bank returned the paperwork because the personal information was fraudulent.
Lynch contacted “Wright” and asked him to provide a copy of his Social Security card and pay stubs; he agreed but never returned to the dealership.
During the investigation, police learned that the driver’s license used by “Wright” when buying the vehicle was fraudulent. Rockford, Ill., police recovered the vehicle and informed the investigator that the buyer had actually been Hardy.
The investigator also learned that an auto dealership in West Allis had two cars fraudulently taken by “Wright” and a woman identifying herself as Everly Jackson. The pair left that dealership with an Audi and a BMW. Hardy arrived at Lynch in the same Audi.
According to online court records, Hardy failed to appear in court Thursday for his initial appearance, a warrant for his arrest was requested, and he will forfeit his bond.

Trump urged Ukraine to investigate son of political rival Joe Biden

From The Journal

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington.

President Donald Trump urged the new leader of Ukraine to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
The revelation is likely to raise more questions in the ongoing controversy over a mysterious complaint submitted by an intelligence whistleblower that involves Trump's communications with a foreign leader. The complaint has created a showdown between Congress and the White House.
Two people familiar with the matter say the complaint was based on a series of events, one of which was a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
WASHINGTON (AP) — There are many unanswered questions about a whistleblower's complaint that reportedly says President Donald Trump's made an inappropriate, even alarming "promise" involving Ukraine. For starters, it's not publicly known who the whistleblower is or what he or she is specifically alleging.
One of the people says Trump urged Zelenskiy to probe the activities of potential rival Biden's son Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company. The people were not authorized to discuss the issue by name.
Trump is angrily labeling the allegation as "partisan" even as Democrats move to investigate the interactions.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Trump pressured Ukraine's president during a July phone call to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter, repeatedly suggesting that he work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to carry out the probe. 
The Washington Post also reported that the President pressed the leader of Ukraine to investigate Biden's son during the call, which took place one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about Russian interference in US elections.
A look at controversy over intelligence whistleblower law
WASHINGTON (AP) — The rancorous standoff between Congress and the Trump administration over a whistleblower's complaint hinges on a 20-year-old law designed to protect those in the intelligence community who want to raise concerns about things they've seen or heard.
The complaint deals at least in part with Ukraine, The New York Times and Washington Post reported Thursday night.
In the July 25 phone call, Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know" whether allegations were true or not, one of the people said, according to the Journal.
Trump suggested Zelensky enlist the help of Giuliani about eight times, the Journal reports. The Post did not report that detail.
The person familiar with the call told the Journal that Trump did not mentioned the issue of foreign aid to Ukraine during the conversation and did not believe the President explicitly offered any quid-pro-quo for Ukraine's cooperation on an investigation.
A readout of the call put out by the Ukrainian government, which occurred one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about foreign interference in US elections, references discussion of investigating corruption, but the White House version makes no mention -- saying only that he was congratulating him on his recent election.

Paperwork filed to start recall of Racine County district attorney

From The Journal

RACINE — Paperwork has been filed to enable people to sign a petition in an attempt to recall Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson, the Wisconsin Election Commission confirmed Friday.
As a result, Friday becomes the first day of a 60-day window to collect enough signatures to hold a recall election. Recall organizers need to collect nearly 22,000 signatures.
Supporters have until Nov. 18, and organizers plan to be out at Party on the Pavement Saturday to collect signatures. 
The decision to file the petition was made following the district attorney’s decision, announced Wednesday, to not file charges against Mount Pleasant Police Sgt. Eric Giese, who shot and killed 18-year-old Ty’ Rese West during an arrest attempt on June 15.
William Leverson, who is listed as the treasurer for the recall committee, the Campaign For Confident Justice, called Hanson’s decision not to file charges against Giese “a miscarriage of justice.”
He stated on Facebook: “She has at once acted as judge and jury and has upheld the dangerous precedent that those in positions of authority are not beholden to the due process of law. It would have been far more prudent to allow the accused to face his day in court, allowing a jury of his peers to determine if the material facts and evidence constitute an acquittal.”
Hanson declined to comment on the recall effort.

Hanson's decision 

In her 23-page decision released Wednesday, Hanson explained that state statute requires the district attorney of the county where a police officer used deadly force to review the incident and determine if the killing was a legal use of force, justified under law.
In her decision, Hanson stated that the need for self-defense in this case arose in a matter of seconds and that West’s choice to possess the handgun changed the dynamics of what occurred.
Her report states: “Sgt. Giese reported that Mr. West continued to reach for the weapon, despite being given commands to lay down and stop reaching for the gun. Mr. West made a choice not to comply with the lawful commands of a police officer, his actions put Sgt. Giese at a disadvantage that he could not overcome by other means … Ultimately, the use of lethal force was the only alternative he had left to exercise.”
Michael Burmeister, who is chairman of the recall committee, said West “wasn’t the first person Tricia Hanson denied justice. We are going to make sure he is the last.”
Burmeister said he also is upset that charges were never filed against the driver of a car that hit his aunt and uncle, Phillip Burmeister, 65, and Nadine Burmeister, 62, following a fatal May 25, 2018 crash. They were thrown from the motorcycle they were riding on their way to Burlington’s Chocolatefest and killed.

Wisconsin Senate leader snuffs medical marijuana bill that appeared to have some GOP backing

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON - The leader of the state Senate all but ruled out adopting medical marijuana legislation Friday, just hours after backers released their bill on the issue.   
Supporters had hoped they could gain traction on the bill because of support from some Republicans who control the Legislature. But one of the Legislature's most powerful leaders quickly said he opposed the measure. 
“Everyone knows that medical marijuana leads to legalized marijuana," said a statement from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau. "We’ve already seen that some states with easier access to marijuana have seen an increase in emergency room visits and impaired driving accidents. I don’t support this plan and I think that it’s going to be a tough sell to a majority of my caucus.”
Fitzgerald — who announced Tuesday he is running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner — has long been skeptical of medical marijuana. His comments on Friday were some of his strongest against the idea.
Republicans this spring rejected a part of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' budget that would have allowed medical marijuana. But supporters of the idea have expressed optimism because GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester announced in June he wanted to explore such legislation this fall. 
Backers' enthusiasm was further buoyed Friday morning when Republican Sen. Patrick Testin of Stevens Point unveiled the bill with two Democrats. 
Any momentum supporters gained was undercut hours later when Fitzgerald issued his statement.

Testin in a statement said marijuana had helped his grandfather, who had lost much of his vitality because of bone and lung cancer.  
“I saw him make the decision to go outside the law to seek treatment with medical marijuana," Testin said. "It restored his appetite, and I believe it added months to his life. Doctors and patients, not government, should decide if cannabis is the right treatment.”
Testin, who is in his first term, was a lead sponsor of a 2017 law allowing hemp farming. 
Releasing the medical marijuana bill with Testin were two Democrats who have long pushed for it — Sen. Jon Erpenbach of West Point and Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison. 
Erpenbach said he hadn't gotten Republican co-sponsors in the past and he hoped Testin's support would help the bill advance in the Legislature.
"To have a Republican on the bill I think helps," Erpenbach said. "I've never viewed this as a partisan issue. I think there are Republicans who want to support it but haven't said it publicly or loudly. I hope more will sign on."
He said he hoped Fitzgerald would consider public sentiment before sidelining the legislation. Sixteen counties strongly supported some form of marijuana legalization in nonbinding referendums last year and 83% backed medical marijuana in a Marquette University Law School poll this month.

"I'm sure it's popular in his congressional district that he's running in," Erpenbach said of Fitzgerald. "This issue is a real libertarian thing, always has been."
The latest discussion about medical marijuana in Wisconsin comes after two neighboring states — Illinois and Michigan — legalized recreational marijuana. Minnesota allows the use of marijuana for medical reasons.
The Wisconsin bill is now being circulated among lawmakers to try to secure additional support. Fitzgerald's comments make it clear it will have difficulty getting a committee hearing and vote in the Senate once it is introduced. 
The bill's prospects in the Assembly are better. Vos in June said he would "like to have at least a discussion about medical marijuana" this fall.  
Vos opposes recreational marijuana and said Evers' plan for medical marijuana was rejected in the budget in part because Evers also included provisions that would have eliminated penalties for recreational marijuana.
In February, Vos said there was a 10% chance the Legislature would adopt a medical marijuana law. Fitzgerald in January cast doubt on the Senate approving such a proposal.
"I still don’t believe the support’s there within the Senate caucus to move in that direction, but I know that the debate's going on nationwide," he said then. 
Fitzgerald has long been cooler to the idea than Vos. In 2017, Fitzgerald expressed surprise when Vos acknowledged his openness to medical marijuana.
"He said that?" an incredulous Fitzgerald asked reporters when they told him of Vos' comments.
Contact Patrick Marley at Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.
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Heavy rain possible this weekend; Farm Aid attendees will want to keep rain gear handy; forecasters concerned about potential for flooding

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rain, some possibly heavy, may fall across portions of southern Wisconsin during the next couple of days, forecasters say, and anyone planning to attend Farm Aid in East Troy — or any of the other big events across southern Wisconsin this weekend — will want to keep their rain gear handy.   
A warm, humid air mass will be in place over southern Wisconsin on Saturday as a cold front approaches from the west, said Denny Van Cleve, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Sullivan.
"We could see multiple rounds of showers and storms Saturday into Sunday," Van Cleve said. 
"We'll be keeping an eye out as this system draws closer," he said. "There is still some uncertainty with how fast the front is going to move through."
The weather setup taking shape is similar to what we usually see during the middle of summer rather than the third week in September.
"There is the possibility of locally heavy rainfall," Van Cleve said. "There will be a pretty moist air mass across the area for this time of the year."
That forecast comes amid a weekend packed with outdoor events across southern Wisconsin.
In addition to Farm Aid, the Wisconsin Badgers play the Michigan Wolverines in a showdown of nationally ranked college football teams at 11 a.m. Saturday in Madison.
Meanwhile, thousands of baseball fans will be tailgating outside Miller Park as the Milwaukee Brewers, in the thick of a pennant race, wrap up their final homestand of the year.

Other big events taking place this weekend include the Bay View Bash and the Cedarburg Wine & Harvest Festival.   
The better rain chances don't arrive until Saturday night, although scattered rain showers will be possible during the day.

"Saturday, we're going to have a chance for showers and storms on and off through the day," Van Cleve said. "It doesn't look like a complete washout but that threat is going to be there.
"We are going to have such a moist air mass in place, it is not going to take much to trip off some storms." 
Attention then turns to Saturday night where forecast models, at least for now, show all the ingredients coming together for potentially heavy rain.
"The best (rain) chances will be Saturday night into Sunday morning," the weather service said in a statement. "Heavy rainfall and some flooding are possible during this period."
Weather service forecasters will be monitoring where storms set up during the weekend.
"For the last couple weeks, we've seen repeated rounds of storms, particularly in the south toward the Illinois border," Van Cleve said. "Several counties have been hit multiple times there. 
"The higher concern is going to be for those areas that have seen the most rain during the last couple weeks," he added.
Much still depends on when all the ingredients for rain and storms come together. Rain chances are up around 90% for Saturday night in some portions of southern Wisconsin.
"There is still that question mark about how fast this system moves through," Van Cleve said. "It's not real clear-cut timing."
Contact Joe Taschler at (414) 224-2554 or Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTaschler or Facebook at

Watch out Party on the Pavement attendees.  Bring an umbrella, just in case it rains.