Category Archive 'Wisconsin'
19 Sep 2016

Welcome to Wisconsin

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04 Aug 2015

Wisconsin Angler Hooked 200-Year-Old Flintlock With His Anchor

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I didn’t see the story back in 2013, but Outdoor Hub is re-circulating it right now.

Fond du Lac resident Ray Groff expected windy conditions and a good bite when he set out on the waters of Lake Winnebago last week. What he did not expect was that he would dig up a piece of American history.

“It was around 11 a.m. on Sept. 4 and as soon as I saw the barrel I knew what it was,” Groff told Action Reporter Media.

The antiquated firearm had been sitting on the bottom of the lake for over 200 years before the angler came along. He did not reel in the heavy, 47-inch-long gun but instead found it dangling off his anchor.

“This is crazy. It’s like one of those tall fish tales,” he recalled thinking.

The firearm’s bore shows signs of its great age. Rust had eaten away much of the barrel and a large section of the wooden stock had completely rotten off. The object was coated in a layer of invasive zebra mussels. Remarkably, the original piece of flint included with the musket was still in place, half-cocked, as if waiting to be shot.

Groff speculates that the gun may have once belonged to a trapper from the area 200 years ago, or was maybe a prized possession of the Winnebago Indians that used to live there. Around that time there was a small French fur trading post along the Fond du Lac River run by the explorers Augustine Grignon and Michael Brisbois. The two men would buy furs from trappers as well as trade with the local Native American tribes, exchanges which may have included this particular item.

Whatever the case, Groff says the rifle is a catch of a lifetime and will be proudly displaying it in his home. It will be unaltered except for a layer of sealant.

23 Apr 2015

It Is Happening Here

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Kevin Williamson notes how, from Texas to Wisconsin to the US Senate, democrats today are proving eager to manipulate the law to target political opponents.

Texas, as I argued in the March 23 edition of National Review, has a corruption problem—from its police to its universities. One of Texas’s acute corruption problems is the fact that the Travis County district attorney’s office, which prosecutes corruption cases, is absurdly, comically corrupt—by which I do not mean the “Hey can you get my dopey kid into UT law?” level of corruption that is commonplace in Texas, but Boss Hogg levels of corruption. You wouldn’t know it from the typically witless and servile reporting of the Austin American-Statesman, but the drunk-driving conviction of Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is the least of that office’s problems—much more significant is the fact that is she recorded on camera threatening legal retaliation against the police who booked her. She is as explicit as can be about this: “You’re going to be in jail,” she said.

The same prosecutor is trying to put former governor Rick Perry in jail for having vetoed funding for her office. Why did he veto the funding? Because the corruption prosecutor is grossly corrupt and a convicted criminal to boot. She went to jail, for pity’s sake.

The Texas state house understandably has passed a bill that will curtail the Travis County district attorney’s special role in prosecuting ethics and corruption cases against elected and appointed officials. Instead, those cases will be investigated by the Texas Rangers. (Old punishment: jail. New punishment: Ranger roundhouse kick! Okay, not really, but that would be kind of awesome.) Naturally, Texas Democrats have sought to block that reform. And a handful of Republicans have, to their discredit, joined them, which is inexplicable.

Why do Democrats want to keep things in Austin? Because Democrats control Travis County, which is home to the state capitol and the University of Texas, and Democrats generally dominate jurisdictions where there are lots of government employees. (Shocking, right? It’s almost as if people do not cease to be self-interested profit-seekers when they go into government.) And they have long enjoyed using Travis County prosecutors as political weapons: Lehmberg’s office under Ronnie Earle was responsible for the risible and corrupt prosecution of Tom DeLay, which ultimately was laughed out of court, but not before ruining his political career and upending his life—which, of course, was the point. The issue is not successful prosecution; it’s successful persecution. If you want to really appreciate what Democrats with guns and badges at their disposal will do in furthering their political interests, you will not find a more terrifying story than David French’s recent account of the Gestapo tactics used by Democratic prosecutors in Wisconsin against Scott Walker and conservative activists. It is nearly impossible to believe that this sort of thing is going on in the United States of America in 2015, but it is. We aren’t talking about petty politics here—we’re talking about using battering rams to knock down people’s doors and sticking guns in their faces because they supported a ballot initiative displeasing to Democratic authorities.

Harry Reid—and every Democrat in the Senate—voted to repeal the First Amendment to render the Supreme Court powerless to protect Americans from this sort of abuse. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wants to put Americans in prison for disagreeing with him about global warming—and many so-called progressives agree with him. Under the Obama administration, we have seen a weaponized IRS targeting conservative groups for persecution and a weaponized FBI leaning on conservative activists, followed up by a weaponized ATF.

And Democrats, individually and collectively, have supported and enabled every one of these gross abuses of power.

20 Apr 2015

“It Can’t Happen Here”

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Except, it did. David French, at National Review, describes the Wisconsin reign of terror which occurred when democrat Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm used John Doe warrants to send police raiding the homes, and confiscating the personal computers and cell phones, of conservative supporters of Governor Scott Walker.

They came with a battering ram.” Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking. She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram. She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door. “I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.

“I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.” She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee.

“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.” They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer. She looked outside and saw a person who appeared to be a reporter. Someone had tipped him off. The neighbors started to come outside, curious at the commotion, and all the while the police searched her house, making a mess, and — according to Cindy — leaving her “dead mother’s belongings strewn across the basement floor in a most disrespectful way.” Then they left, carrying with them only a cellphone and a laptop.

Read the whole thing.

29 Oct 2014

“People May Not Always Understand Why, But an Armored Vehicle is Almost a Necessity Now”

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The town of Stettin, Wisconsin sent 24 cops and an armored car to collect a civil judgement from a 75-year-old man. The sheriff captain explained that the old man was known to be “argumentative.”

Journal Sentinel story

Reason story

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

07 Jun 2012

Had to Happen: Hitler Hears About Wisconsin

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07 Jun 2012

Best Post-Wisconsin Tweet

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06 Jun 2012

“Wisconsin = Stalingrad”

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German socialists surrender at Stalingrad.

Lexington Green is in a gloating mood this morning.

Mr. Walker’s victory is the Stalingrad of the Left.

They sought this recall election.

They chose to fight here.

They made it into a symbol and a do-or-die fight.

They threw everything they had into it.

And they lost it all.

Hubris led to Nemesis, to catastrophe.

The tide has turned.

On to Kursk.

On to Berlin.

On to



26 Feb 2012

Before Photoshop

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There were tall tale postcards available in the early years of the last century. Here is a collection mosty from Wisconsin.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

05 Aug 2011

Connecticut Mountain Lion, Update

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A Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff member examining the dead mountain lion at the Sessions Woods Wildlife Center in Burlington, Connecticut

Science News came up with some more information on the mountain lion killed in Milford on Connecticut’s Wilbur Cross Parkway in June.

Original story

[H]air and fecal matter [from the exactly same cougar] had been collected more than a year earlier by biologists tracking the Connecticut-bound cougar across Wisconsin. First spotted in Champlin, Minn., in December 2009, biologists tracked him as he zig-zagged through Wisconsin, leaving behind a trail of paw prints, hair and poop.

Even in Wisconsin — with its bears and wolves — cougars are unexpected visitors, says mammalian ecologist Adrian Wydeven of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Park Falls.

There have been only four confirmed cougars in that state since 2008, so when the traveling cougar appeared, Wydeven and his team kept a watchful eye on his movements. From December 2009 through late spring 2010 they haunted the cat’s trail, collecting samples and sending them to the lab. In December, a trail camera captured a cougar prowling through the evening snow near an area where hair had been sampled earlier, providing scientists with a glimpse of the cat.

Then, after another trailside portrait in May 2010, the cat disappeared.

The next time he appeared was more than a year later and a half-continent away, just a few miles from the Connecticut shore. Scientists don’t know much about the cat’s journey between Wisconsin and Connecticut, but wildlife biologist Clayton Nielsen of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale speculates the cat probably crossed Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, then wound his way down through New York. “There’s no real way of knowing,” he says. “But going south through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio — that’s very poor habitat, with a high likelihood that people would see the animal.”

Nielsen, who is studying cougars in the Midwest, says while roaming young males are increasing in the area, there are still no known breeding populations east of the Black Hills, except for an endangered group of less than 100 in and around the Florida Everglades. Scientists hypothesize that the Connecticut cat was wandering in search of food and a mate — but since he didn’t find a mate, he kept on moving. Female cougars don’t travel nearly as far as males, which limits the establishment of new breeding populations. But, Nielsen hypothesizes, if a few females made similar journeys, it’s plausible that a cougar population could re-establish itself farther east.


David Baron wrote a kind of obituary for the Connecticut cougar in the form of a New York Times editorial, provocatively titled The Cougar Behind Your Trash Can:

Thanks to the South Dakota cat and its incredible journey, residents of the Eastern United States can now experience the fear and thrill that come with living below the top of the food chain. America has grown a bit less tame.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

08 Apr 2011

Watch Them Turn on a Dime

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Yesterday’s later-found-to-be-erroneous reports of JoAnne Kloppenburg’s narrow victory in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race were hailed by HuffPo’s Amanda Terkel as making that election a “nationally watched bellwether on the electorate’s mood” and a “watershed moment for Wisconsin and a Waterloo for Scott Walker” that “should give Republicans… pause.”

But, whoops! it turned out that a computer error by a red-faced County Clerk had misplaced more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield. Once the missing votes were added to the tally, Justice David Prosser zoomed into a lead of 7,582 votes over his challenger.

Mary Katherine Hamm observed via Twitter: Small, state-wide election with vital national implications soon to have no national implications whatsoever.

16 Mar 2011

Watch Out, America, Professor Leiter Is Starting to Get Angry

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Brian Leiter

Brian Leiter, the University of Chicago’s John P. Wilson Professor of Law and Director of its Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values, was so moved by recent events in Wisconsin that he predicted on his personal blog that the time is rapidly approaching when it will be necessary to contemplate terrorist violence.

[T]he Republican criminals in Wisconsin forced through their attack on workers’ rights. … At some point these acts of brazen viciousness are going to lead to a renewed philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified, an issue that has, oddly, not been widely addressed in political philosophy since Locke. … [T]he attack [sic] on fundamental rights of collective bargaining, assuming they stand, are going to raise hard issues about civil disobedience and other forms of unlawful resistance on which philosophers might make a contribution. [emphasis added]


How quickly the lefty mind turns toward violence.

observes the divine Miss Althouse.


James Taranto, in the Wall Street Journal, was deservedly derisive about the intimidation value of the philosophical threat.

Having long viewed academia with a jaundiced eye, we’re inclined to view the Leiter post more with amusement than disgust. Just imagine if a Wisconsin businessman got a letter from a philosopher:

    Please be informed that I have recently completed an article arguing that acts of political violence are morally justified when businessmen fail to support the dedicated public employees who serve our communities. As soon as the peer-review process is complete, I expect it to be published in the prestigious journal Terrorism & Political Violence.

Really strikes fear into you, doesn’t it? Leiter seems more like a character from Monty Python than “On the Waterfront.”


Kenneth Anderson, at the Volokh Conspiracy, began contemplating whether or not the good professor’s Gedankendrohung (“thought threat”) should be humorously compared to an article from The Onion.

I humbly tug my academic forelock before Professor Leiter, whose greater brains and greater virtue I’ll cheerfully concede upfront. Still, the rapidity with which Professor Leiter reaches, however coyly or indirectly or teasingly or hintingly, to justifications, or thinking this suddenly would be a good moment for talking about justifications, for political violence did put me in mind of this news item from the Onion of several years ago.

    In Retrospect, I Guess We Might Have Resorted To Cannibalism A Bit Early

    I have no idea how long we’d been marooned when we started edging toward Jerry. Twenty, thirty minutes, time has little meaning when you’re in a situation like that. It wasn’t a spoken decision, either. We just all looked at each other and knew something had to be done. …

I feel somewhat the same about Professor Leiter’s call (purely in the philosophical abstract, you understand) to reconsider political violence — you know, this might be an appeal just a tad early in the saga of criminal and illegitimate and unjust oppression. I leave it to Professor Leiter to say definitively, but I wonder if Locke might not also agree.


Adam Freedman, at Ricochet, took Brian Leiter a bit more seriously.

[I]t is clear that Leiter thinks that Walker’s move to limit — not eliminate — collective bargaining rights for public employees is literally something that might justify, say, killing a bunch of Republicans. In an update to his blog, here’s how this philosopher-king explains his rationale:

“1. Collective bargaining is, per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a human right.

2. There are circumstances in which violations of human rights call for unlawful actions, including violence.”

And that’s it. Because the elected representatives of the People of Wisconsin want to pass a law that may conflict with some charter passed by a bunch of unelected UN windbags (but never enshrined in US law), Leiter wants blood.


On his return from the Very Important Conference on metaethics and legal philosophy which he had been attending, Professor Leiter rapidly retreated from the barricades, placing the bottle with a suspicious-looking rag at its mouth deep in his pocket, endeavored to look innocent, and explained in an update:

[I]t is quite natural for philosophers to ask (this is, after all, a blog aimed at philosophy teachers and students) whether the current circumstances–in which Wisconsin and other states are launching an attack on the human rights of organized workers–are ones in which unlawful resistance, violent or not, to the violation of human rights could be morally justified. Contrary to Professor Althouse’s invention of an answer, which she then attributes to me, I in fact do not know what the answer is to that question.

He also assured Mr. Freedman over at Ricochet.

I do not advocate violence in Wisconsin. … I expect most philosophers are likely to conclude, even if they think Wisconsin’s attack on collecting bargaining rights wrong, that violent civil disobedience would not be justified.

To which one can only respond:

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