Bet You Did Not Spend Your 68 Degree Day In Madison This Way!

Everyone was loving the warmth and wonder of the past days in most of Wisconsin. In Madison we peaked at 68 degrees on Wednesday.  There  were walks to be taken, young love was in bloom I noted, and there were even out-door grills in operation.  Who had to ask for more?  And who would squander such weather by doing stupid and outlandish things?

Only losers would waste a nice spring-like day.

A drug rip-off led to a chaotic foot chase near the UW-Madison campus during Wednesday afternoon’s record heat. A young man – who had his marijuana stolen – pulled out a knife as he tried to run down one of two strong-armed robbers. Many watched as the pursuit came close to the Red Gym, and the Memorial Union. It was along Mendota Court that the robbery suspect tried to hitch a ride on a garbage truck. He leaped onto the driver’s side door and yelled at the driver: “Go! Go! He’s got a knife!” The driver said the man tried to climb into his cab. At that moment, the guy with the knife came running at the truck. “I nearly ran him over,” the driver would later tell an officer. He says the knife-wielding suspect also jumped on his truck. He ordered both men off. They complied and the chase resumed, now headed toward the Pyle Center. When the MPD arrived, passersby were holding both men down. Detectives learned the business dispute started with a rendezvous in the area. The man with the knife arrived in a car, and two suspects got in. They were to buy marijuana, but instead battered the driver and stole his pot. The second robbery suspect has not yet been caught.  

Trump Trade War Will Hurt Wisconsin

There was a meaty and timely editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal this week that should be read by all who are concerned about free trade.   I fully understand there is a perception among many that trade is a boondoggle aimed at undermining the jobs and economic security of a segment of this state and nation.   But what I am not able to grasp is why the facts about trade are such alien thoughts to so many of my fellow citizens.  When I read the editorial this week I cheered for the clear-headed and robust way the words sailed across the page.  I felt that way as the facts show the folly of those who wish to undermine free trade and erect foolish barriers which will lead to a needless and dangerous trade war.

America enjoys a trade surplus with Mexico on services. And as U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, has pointed out, the U.S. has had a trade surplus in manufacturing, agriculture and services with all 20 countries it has bilateral trade agreements with. That includes Mexico, whose growing middle class wants to buy more of our products.

Both nations win when trade is done right.

Top imports into Wisconsin include clothes, shoes, bicycles and padlocks, according to Census data. Wisconsin’s top exports include aircraft and motor vehicle parts, computer and diagnostic machines, outboard engines and excavators.

In other words, we tend to produce more sophisticated stuff, so our exports provide more family-sustaining jobs here. And about 40 percent of the parts in a typical Mexican product sent to America originated in America, according to the Department of Commerce.

SHOCKER: Majority Find Trump Unfavorable


What Ten Acres Can Do For People–Thanks To Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter’s advocacy for renewable energy is rooted in this tiny community, and on Wednesday those roots bore the fruit of a 1.3-megawatt solar energy station that will provide more than half of Plains’ power.

Along with wife Rosalynn, grandson Jason and representatives from SolAmerica and Georgia Power, Carter took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly operational solar farm in Plains.

A long-time advocate for renewable energy, Carter leased the 10-acre site in his hometown to solar energy company SolAmerica, which has developed the 1.3-megawatt station that is expected to provide more than 50 percent of the electricity for the city.

The single axis tracker (which tracks the sun) solar array installed on Carter’s property is projected to produce more than 55 million kilowatt hours of clean energy for Plains over the next 25 years, powering at least 200 of the town’s 215 homes.

Carter explained at the ceremony that because of his humble, agriculturally-rooted childhood, he saw the importance of renewable energy at an early age.

“I first became acquainted with renewable energy when I was 11 years old,” the former president said. “We lived in a home west of Plains, about two and a half miles. We didn’t have electricity in our house. We didn’t have running water in our house, and my daddy installed a windmill. We then had an indoor bathroom for the first time and a shower bath. My daddy punched holes in the bottom of a tin bucket. Water would pour in the bucket and dribble out on us, so that was our shower bath. That was a very great improvement in my life depending on energy from the sun for wind power.”

Monetizing Grief

Several years ago an extended part of my family (on my dad’s side) suffered the loss of their teenage son in a traffic accident.  Other members of the family were also in the vehicle.  It was a tragic situation that left broken bodies and spirits.   But what followed in the many, many months afterwards was stunning to watch play out.  The family took to the public Go Fund Me site online to raise money.   Through pleas and emotional attempts for cash a home renovation was undertaken with the attic converted to a useable space.  There were other ‘needs’ they requested cash for too, and it left me cold.  Death and sadness were replaced with greed.   It was most unseemly as no amount of money was going to bring back their child.

Today the news from Madison reminded me of that hard cold fact about the death of a loved one.

The family of Tony Robinson, who sued the city of Madison after he was killed by a police officer settled the suit today for $3.35 million.  While I firmly believe in the process to bring suit and have judgments awarded it seemed to me the family wanted a higher outcome.  Since the shooting the family kept referring to justice being sought within the system regarding police behavior and conduct.  Therefore I am left pondering what just happened to their high pursuits.   It is hard for me to understand without a trial to show a legal ruling of misconduct by the police officer how a settlement for a huge pile of cash will resolve the matter of justice.

Personally I have felt the officer involved was doing his job.  The person who was most to blame for the death of Robinson was the one who supplied the drugs taken on the day of the tragedy.  Had Robinson not been in an altered state there would have been no actions on his part that would have ever necessitated the calling of the police.

The death of Robinson was a most sad outcome.  It is always a bitter thing not to see a young person take on adulthood and grow old.   Part of the sadness from his death was displayed in many ways.  Some were positive as when young African-Americans worked to engage the political process.  I applauded that channeling of anger.  Others however were simply troubling and disruptive as when closing down major traffic arteries such as East Washington.

Had true justice been the main driving force the Robinson family would have taken this case to trial and placed the officer before the court.  It should be noted for my readers from outside this city that the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing by the district attorney and the police department.    The family only had to wait a few more days as the civil lawsuit brought against the city was supposed to go to trial on Feb. 27 in Dane County Circuit Court.

Instead the family opted for millions of dollars.  That is, of course, their right.  The process clearly allows for such an outcome.  But one has to ask given the marches, outbursts, and tears over the past two years if the money feels like justice?   I think the outcome today resulted from firm legal guidance which made a win by the family, had the case  gone to trial, far from a certainty.

What is also troubling to me is that the police officer did not have his chance to clear his name in court. The views that some will now have based on the settlement will leave him with a mark on his name.  I have not used the man’s name in this post but know the officer did his job and served his profession honorably.  And, thankfully, still does.