Saturday, October 1, 2022

Around Town Middleton: Where the sidewalk ends

Photo by Retiring Guy

Other "Around Town Middleton" posts:
August 2022
"Tactical Urbanism" at the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and Middleton Street.  (8/29/2022)
The G Spot.  (8/11/2022)

July 2022
Turfbot mower.  (7/28)


January 2022

November 2021

September 2021
February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

August 2020

December 2019
Roman Candle survives the cut, even without the availability of convenient parking.  (12/12)
The Monona side of town.  (12/6)

November 2019
Bike rack at Sauk Trail Elementary School.  (11/8)
Not everybody's on board in the Meadows neighborhood.  (11/4)
October 2019
Matching car and garage door.  (10/11)

September 2019
Around Town Middleton: Bees love ornamental onion plants.   (9/4) 

August 2019
60-year-old resident arrested for armed robbery.  (8/21)
Staff and visitors may now park in the MCPASD Services Center lot .  (8/2)

June 2019
"ROAD WORK AHEAD" trumps "DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE" on Park Street.  (6/27)
Free lunch Friday.  (6/24/2019)
CBD, just like everywhere else in Wisconsin.  (6/24)
February 2019
According to chapter 8.07 of the city ordinances....  (2/4)

January 2019
More than a snow fort, but not a standing-room igloo.  (1/2)
December 2018
This section of sidewalk was replaced in 1980.  (12/18)
The post office's new and improved self-service kiosk.  (12/18)

November 2018
Spell checker.  (11/19)

August 2018
Must be on a tight schedule.  (8/6/)

July 2018
What type of seeds?  (7/6)

June 2018
If it's not one thing, it's another.  (6/23)
Bloom Bake Shop to reopen as Bloom Bindery, a bakery/bookstore.  (6/15)

May 2018
The Tiedeman Pond frog chorus.  (5/15)

March 2018
Tiedeman Pond winter fish kill.  (3/30)
Hear that lonesome whistle blow.  (3/22)
Explosion on Elmwood Avenue.  (3/20)
Googling 'Henry Hubbard'.  (3/18) 
A not-so-faded Flo strikes a new pose.  (3/12)

February 2018

A muddled MIddleton slogan: It's the middle things

What does it even mean?

Photo by Retiring Guy

What happened to "in the middle of it all"?  At least that slogan made sense.  But it seems to have been buried as there's little evidence of its previous existence.

GET ME REWRITE: This is the type of clown that the Wisconsin GOP has recruited to run for the State Assembly (Jerry O'Connor edition)


[emphasis added]

Environmental Protection is a low priority for the all-white, all-male Wisconsin GOP leadership

Headline:  Urban Milwaukee, 9/30/2022
Wisconsin’s Green Fire claims legislation, court rulings and politics have undermined efforts to address threats to the environment since 2011. The conservation group, whose members include former Department of Natural Resources staff, highlighted challenges with drinking water contamination by PFAS and nitrates, along with degradation of the state’s waterways. 
“Today, instead of a robust balancing of public interests among stakeholders, a single committee of the legislature and a small number of groups representing industry, real-estate, and some agricultural interests now exercise a high level of influence over conservation and environmental programs, with direct implications for the health and welfare of Wisconsin citizens,” Fred Clark, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

Related posts:
Wisconsin GOP leadership encourages its political appointees not to play by the rules.  (10/30/2022)
Reproductive rights? Fuggedaboudit! What else would you expect from these Wisconsin GOP Gomers?  (8/27/2022
Distrust of elections? What about contempt for Wisconsin's all-white, all-male GOP leadership?  (3/28/2022)
Apparently, the all-white, all-male Wisconsin GOP leadership must think they're something special.  (3/5/2022)

Friday, September 30, 2022

First inside visit to Dollar General in Middleton WI

Photos by Retiring Guy

A lotta product here

6/5/2020 update, "Middleton Family Video reboots as Dollar General", starts here.

Photos by Retiring Guy

Dollar General has been on a tear for a decade now, and the current pandemic, weak economy, and very high unemployment is only accelerating that momentum.
The company, which like its dollar store peers was deemed essential by most local authorities because it sells household products and food, said on Thursday that sales in the first quarter, which ended in early May, had increased 27.6% to $8.4 billion.

3/7/2020 update starts here.

Photo by Retiring Guy

SourceMiddleton Plan Commission agenda

6/7/2018 update, "Dim the lights at Middleton Family Video", starts here.

Photos by Retiring Guy

I've been expecting this outcome for a long time.

Original 1/5/2018 post, "The parking lot of the Family Video in Middleton always looks like this", starts here.

2014 photo by Retiring Guy
(How does this store stay open?)

So how much did this 'undisclosed amount of money' add up to?

CIVICSEND email from Middleton Police Department

Republicans: Still evil after all these years

Headline: Des Moines Register, 9/29/2022
It’s at least the second legal challenge this week to the sweeping proposal laid out by President Joe Biden in late August, when he said his administration would cancel up to $20,000 in education debt for huge numbers of borrowers. The announcement, after months of internal deliberations and pressure from liberal activists, became immediate political fodder ahead of the November midterms while fueling arguments from conservatives about legality.

LOCK HER UP: Insurrectionist Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas

Top headlineLos Angeles Times, 9/29/2022
Bottom headlineNew York Times, 9/29/2022

New York Times excerpt: 
Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who pushed to overturn the 2020 election, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that she never discussed those efforts with her husband, during a closed-door interview in which she continued to perpetuate the false claim that the election was stolen.

7/25/2022 update starts here

HeadlineBusiness Insider, 7/24/2022
Thomas, who was briefly a member of Lifespring — a controversial group that was part of the "human potential movement" — before becoming an anti-cult activist, has surprised many who once knew her by aligning herself with far-right conspiracy theory groups such as QAnon that some say have cult-like qualities. 
Nonetheless, Steven Hassan, a former-cult-member-turned-cult-expert who worked with Thomas during her anti-cult activism days, told Insider he is not surprised by her involvement with the far-right conspiracy theory movement. 
"Ginni Thomas was in a cult, and anyone who has ever been in a cult is vulnerable to another cult if they haven't properly counseled and done their homework," Hassan said.


6/21/2022 update starts here

Headline:  Washington Post, 6/20/2022
While text messages and emails unearthed in recent weeks have shown that Thomas was involved in those efforts before Jan. 6, her attendance at the Orlando gathering indicates that her alliance with election deniers continued even after Joe Biden was inaugurated. Frontliners has hosted hard-right lawmakers, insisted on strict secrecy and proclaimed that the nation’s top enemy is the “radical fascist left,” according to social media posts, court filings and interviews with several people involved in the group. 
One photograph from the Orlando event shows Bryant posing with Thomas. Others show Thomas wearing a name tag decorated with a yellow ribbon she and others wore saying “Trouble Maker.”

6/16/2022 update starts here
Headline:  Washington Post, 6/15/2022
The emails show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, two of the people said. The three declined to provide details and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. 
The committee’s members and staffers are now discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, the three people said. The Washington Post previously reported that the committee had not sought an interview with Thomas and was leaning against pursuing her cooperation with its investigation.

6/12/2022 update starts here

HeadlineWashington Post, 6/10/2022
New documents show that Thomas indeed used the platform to reach many lawmakers simultaneously. On Nov. 9, she sent identical emails to 20 members of the Arizona House and seven Arizona state senators. That represents more than half of the Republican members of the state legislature at the time. 
The message, just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, urged lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure” and claimed that the responsibility to choose electors was “yours and yours alone.” They had “power to fight back against fraud” and “ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen,” the email said.

5/20/2022 update starts here

Headline:  Washington Post, 5/20/2022
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. 
The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear. 
Just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, Thomas urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” She told the lawmakers the responsibility to choose electors was “yours and yours alone” and said they have “power to fight back against fraud.”

3/27/2022 update, "LOCK THEM UP:  'Best friends' Ginni and Clarence Thomas", starts here.

Clarence and Ginni Thomas

New York Times, 3/26/2022
The Thomases have been a fiercely close couple for decades. In his memoir, Justice Thomas wrote that they were “one being — an amalgam” and called her his “best friend.” She often uses similar language to describe her husband. 
In one of his texts to Ms. Thomas, Mr. Meadows called the election a “fight of good versus evil” and added: “Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues.” 
“Thank you!! Needed that!” Ms. Thomas replied. “This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!” [emphasis added]

3/25/2022 update starts here

Meet Ginni Thomas, insurrectionist

New York Times, 3/24/2022
In the weeks between the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent a barrage of text messages imploring President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff to take steps to overturn the vote, according to a person with knowledge of the texts. 
In one message sent in the days after the election, she urged the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to “release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down,” invoking a slogan popular on the right that refers to a web of conspiracy theories that Trump supporters believed would overturn the election.

Original 2/25/2022 post starts here

New York Times, 2/22/2022
As Trump insisted, without evidence, that fraud had cheated him of victory, conservative groups rushed to rally behind him. The council stood out, however, not only because of its pedigree but also because one of its newest leaders was Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a longtime activist in right-wing circles. She had taken on a prominent role at the council during the Trump years and by 2019 had joined the nine-member board of C.N.P. Action, an arm of the council organized as a 501(c)4 under a provision of the tax code that allows for direct political advocacy. It was C.N.P. Action that circulated the November “action steps” document, the existence of which has not been previously reported. It instructed members to pressure Republican lawmakers into challenging the election results and appointing alternate slates of electors: “Demand that they not abandon their Constitutional responsibilities during a time such as this.”

Ron Johnson has misrepresented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate for 12 years. Enough is enough!


Top headlineDaily Beast, 7/7/2021
Bottom headlineWashington Post, 9/29/2022

Related posts:
Multimillionaire Ron Johnson wants to put everyone's Social Security and Medicare in jeopardy.  (9/27/2022)
Dear Wisconsin voters, There are many reasons to deny Ron Johnson another 6 years in the U.S. Senate. Here's another one. Best, Retiring Guy.  (series)

GET ME REWRITE: Kansas City Star asks a rhetorical question

Headline from Kansas City Star Morning Rush email
If Missouri elects Attorney General Eric Schmitt to the U.S. Senate, which version of him will they be sending to Washington: The former state senator with a reputation for working across the aisle or the hard-line conservative attorney general who’s sued schools and cities over mask mandates?

GET ME REWRITE: Wisconsin GOP leadership encourages its political appointees not to play by the rules

HeadlineWisconsin State Journal, 9/30/2022
The other three are among dozens of Evers appointees that are waiting to serve on various state boards, including the UW System Board of Regents, but lack the Senate’s confirmation. 
Terms on the technical college board expired in May 2021 for dairy farmer Becky Levzow, vice president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Kelly Tourdot and former Republican state Rep. Mary Williams. 
Their approach is the same taken by Walker appointee Fred Prehn, of Wausau, who was encouraged by Republicans to keep his seat on the state Natural Resources Board to ensure GOP control, even though his term expired last year.

That would be, in full, encouraged by Republican leadership....

Related post:
"Turd in water" Frederick Prehn refuses to be flushed, swirls around on DNR board to provide stronger conservative stench,  (9/29/2022)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Aftermath: Day 48 of shuttered Robin Vos-Michael Gableman 2020 election review clown show circus

HeadlineForbes, 9/26/2022
Trump and some of his allies latched on to the idea of Wisconsin decertifying its election results after Michael Gableman, the special counsel Vos appointed to investigate the state’s election, suggested in March the state should take a “hard look” at doing so (his investigation did not find any signs of widespread fraud). Legal experts, including Gableman’s own attorney, have said decertification would be legally impossible and “pointless,” however, and the Washington Post reports Gableman himself later told Vos that doing so would be “a practical impossibility” and “[raise] numerous substantial constitutional issues that would be difficult to resolve.” Vos hired Gableman in June 2021 to investigate the state’s election results but fired him 14 months later in August and ended the probe, calling the special counsel an “embarrassment.” Vos is one of a number of Republicans who have opposed the House committee’s subpoenas in court, though CNN notes those challenges so far remain pending or have been unsuccessful, and several Trump allies have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply.

HeadlineWTMJ, 9/27/2022
All records from the Republican-ordered investigation into the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin are being uploaded to a website for the public to view. That’s what an attorney representing the office created to lead the investigation told a judge on Tuesday. The investigation was led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who was fired in August by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. But the office Gableman led still exists after he was fired. American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group, has filed four open records lawsuits against Gableman, Vos and the office seeking records created during the investigation.

Headline:  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/26/2022
"I was surprised to receive a subpoena since I have no information to provide about the events surrounding January 6th," Vos said in a statement.  [emphasis added]
Vos' new battle to avoid testifying comes after two years of Trump leveling the weight of his voice in the Republican Party against the Wisconsin Assembly speaker to extract a promise from him to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss, a move that has been repeatedly rejected by Vos and would have no practical outcome. 
Legal scholars, attorneys, lawmakers, professors and constitutional experts characterize Trump's wish to be nothing more than a fantasy the former president could use to falsely claim to his supporters that he did not lose the presidential vote in Wisconsin. 
Trump made a phone call to Vos in July after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the use of unmanned absentee ballot drop boxes were illegal. The ruling governs future elections, however, and does not invalidate votes cast via dropbox as Trump contends. Drop boxes have been used in Wisconsin for years, including in 2016 when Trump carried the state. 
"So what’s Speaker Robin Vos doing on the Great Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling declaring hundreds of thousands of Drop Box votes to be illegal? This is not a time for him to hide, but a time to act!" Trump said in a statement blasted July 19 to millions of followers after his phone call to Vos.

Headline:  Wisconsin State Journal, 9/26/2022
Committee chair and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., issued the subpoena on Saturday, which references a July phone call Vos, R-Rochester, had with Donald Trump in which the former president asked Vos "to take measures to change the result of the 2020 Presidential election in Wisconsin," according to court documents first reported by Politico. 
Vos filed a suit on Sunday in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, arguing the subpoena "imposes an undue burden, seeks to infringe on Speaker Vos’ legislative immunity from civil process, lacks a lawful purpose, and was issued from an unlawful Committee," according to court documents. The lawsuit has been assigned to Chief Judge Pamela Pepper. 
Pepper is an Obama appointee.

9/20/2022 update starts here

Headline:  Wisconsin Examiner, 9/19/2022
Gableman spent more than a year searching for evidence of fraud in the 2020 election but his review resulted in little more than lawsuits over his failure to produce public records showing how he spent taxpayers’ money. Multiple lawsuits, recounts, reviews, audits and investigations have affirmed that Joe Biden won the 2020 election in Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes.  
On Monday, Gableman appeared in court on behalf of Harry Wait, a 66-year-old Racine County man who has admitted to requesting absentee ballots in the name of Vos and City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason. Wait said online he made the requests in an attempt to prove that the state’s online voter registration and ballot request system, MyVote, is vulnerable to fraud. 
Elections officials have said Wait’s request of the ballots is only evidence of a crime, not evidence that the system is vulnerable. Voter impersonation using an absentee ballot would be detected as soon as the person being impersonated attempted to request an absentee ballot or vote in person.

9/17/2022 update starts here

HeadlineWKOW, 9/16/2022
Gableman delivered the remarks at a Constitution Day dinner held by the Outagamie County Republicans Sept. 9 in Appleton. Tim Michels and Eric Toney, the GOP candidates for governor and attorney general, respectively, were the featured guests alongside Gableman
Lauren Windsor, a liberal citizen journalist, recorded the video. A recording posted by her outlet, The Undercurrent, shows Gableman and conservative talk radio host 'Regular Joe' Giganti call out Windsor and invite her up to the stage. 
During the part of the speech where Gableman discussed the idea of revolution, Windsor said her phone was pointed toward the ceiling and didn't record video of Gableman's comments. However, the audio is consistent with Gableman's voice during the parts of the video where she's on stage with him. 
Gableman broached the subject of Americans being too comfortable to carry out a rightful revolution. This was in the context of Gableman repeating debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election and decrying private funding Wisconsin clerks received to carry out that election.

9/11/2022 update starts her

Headline:  WisPolitics, 9/8/2022
Tomorrow, Tim Michels plans to attend a fundraiser headlined by Michael Gableman, the man who wasted over $1 million taxpayer dollars on Republicans’ sham investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin and suggested the legislature should consider illegally decertifying President Biden’s victory in the state. 
 Trump-endorsed Tim Michels, who has voiced his support for Gableman, has said that “President Trump probably would be president right now if we had election integrity” and that he does not think that Trump “did anything wrong” on January 6. Michels also has said that illegally decertifying the 2020 presidential election will be “on the table” if he’s governor. And Michels also will not commit to letting Wisconsin’s vote for president count in 2024 if he is governor.

Headline:  Eagle Herald, 8/29/2022
Gableman’s “independent” probe instead turned into a highly partisan taxpayer-funded boondoggle that cost state taxpayers more than $1 million—including $100,000 that went into Gableman’s pockets—and turned up no evidence of fraud or issues that weren’t already known, such as the use of election drop boxes. 
So what did taxpayers get for that $1 million? The probe was characterized by political grandstanding, shoddy record-keeping, court challenges and bogus expense claims. The fact is that only 24 people out of nearly 3.3 million who cast ballots in Wisconsin in the 2020 election have been charged with election fraud. None of them came from Gableman’s investigation. 
One of the highlights of Gableman’s probe was his admission that he didn’t understand state election procedures.

HeadlineWisconsin State Journal, 8/29/2022
The subpoenas were issued as part of Gableman's effort to interview officials for the one-party review of the 2020 presidential election. The former state Supreme Court Justice later requested that the Waukesha County sheriff compel the mayors to meet with him or else face jail time, leading to a pending lawsuit over the matter. Several officials, including Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, said they would meet with Gableman in public but objected to doing so in a private setting as he demanded.

HeadlineCBS58, 8/25/2022
GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gablemen are both headlining a fundraiser in Appleton next month. 
Protestors are demanding Michels cut ties with the man who led the investigation into the 2020 election, which costed taxpayers over a million dollars. 
State Senator Chris Larson also joined the protestors today. 
"We want to do the opposite of what Michael Gableman does which is promote everybody to vote. So encouraging people to get out, to register, to make sure their voice counts and to not be intimidated by this election fraud," said State Sen. Chris Larson.

Headline:  Wisconsin State Journal, 8/26/2022
"Speaker Vos has finally recognized that this cynical and divisive exercise should be ended," Madison City Attorney Michael Haas said in a statement Friday. 
"Despite wasting over one million dollars of taxpayer funds, the Special Counsel has only fanned false conspiracy theories and harmed public confidence in Wisconsin elections," Haas said. "The voters and the public should observe and ask questions about our elections, but they can also have full confidence in the security and integrity of Wisconsin elections."

HeadlineWisPolitics, 8/2/2022
A private attorney for the Office of Special Counsel argued in a letter last week that Gableman’s termination had no impact on the subpoenas filed in Waukesha County seeking to jail the mayors of Green Bay and Madison unless they complied. Attorney James Bopp wrote the subpoenas were issued by the Assembly, not Gableman, and the Office of Special Counsel continued to exist. 
The Department of Justice Monday said that argument lacks any merit and fails “to provide a reasonable basis for continuing this case.”

HeadlineWISN, 8/22/2022
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling also attended Lindell's event. 
A spokesperson for the Racine County Sheriff's Office said Schmaling participated in a break-out session with other sheriffs discussing voter integrity issues. The spokesperson added the trip was not funded through taxpayer dollars. 
Gableman's bio at the event now listed him as a senior counsel at The Thomas More Society. A spokesperson for the law firm didn’t return a request for comment.

Gableman listed his occupation as senior counsel at The Thomas More Society in a presentation he delivered over the weekend at a conference hosted by MyPillow executive Mike Lindell that focused on election conspiracies. 
The new position is being promoted days after Vos terminated Gableman's contract overseeing the Assembly's election review after Gableman campaigned for Vos' primary opponent Adam Steen, who came within 300 votes of defeating the legislative leader. 
The law firm subleased office space in Brookfield from Gableman while he was conducting the election review. Gableman planned to have the firm take over the lease when his review was complete.
Related posts: