Memorial Day

Among the 58,178 who died in Vietnam …

TERRY ALBRIGHT – Marine Corps – PFC – Age 21;
DENNIS CALTON – Army – 1LT – 196th Light Infantry Brigade – Age 23;
ANDREW CHICANTEK – Marine Corps – LCPL – Age 18;
RAYMOND CHURCHILL – Army – SGT – 25th Infantry Division, Age 19;
ROBERT CRAWLEY – Army – SP4 – 9th Infantry Division – Age 22;
ERROLD FARRAR – Army – SGT – Special Forces – Age 22;
RONALD HAGEN – Army – MSGT – Special Forces – Age 39;
ROBERT HASZ – Navy – AN – Age 21;
LELAND JOHNSON – Air Force – A1C – Age 21;
JOHN KAZANOWSKI – Army – CAPT – Special Forces – Age 31;
THOMAS KLEMP – Army – SP4 – 1st Infantry Division – Age 19;
CLAYTON LUTHER – Army – PFC – 1st Infantry Division – Age 19;
GUADALUPE MARTINEZ – Army – SFC – Special Forces – Age 32;
RONALD NEUBAUER – Army – CAPT – Special Forces – Age 29;
THOMAS NEWMAN – Army – 1LT – Age 24;
MICHAEL PROTHERO – Army – PFC – 101st Airborne Division – Age 19;
HECTOR RIVERA-COLON – Army – SFC – Special Forces – Age 30;
WILLIAM ROEGLIN – Army – SGT – 4th Infantry Division – Age 20;
ROBERT SCHELL JR – Army – SP4 – Special Forces – Age 22;
JEROME SCHUETT – Marine Corps – PVT – Age 19;
RICHARD STEIN – Army – SP4 – Age 20;
MURREL THOMAS – Army – SSGT – Special Forces – Age 37;
KENNETH WORTHLEY – Army – SSGT – Special Forces – Age 22.

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8767 days …

… one day at a time.

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Appling v. Doyle

I was pleased to hear that Wisconsin’s 4th District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court in Appling v. Doyle today. Announcement of the decision was put off a day by yesterday’s blizzard.

The crux of the court’s opinion was this: “The same-sex domestic partnerships created by the legislature are substantially different than marriages because, among other differences, domestic partnerships carry with them substantially fewer rights and obligations than those enjoyed by and imposed on married couples. … As the circuit court explained, it would ‘take pages’ to list the rights and obligations that go with marriages but not domestic partnerships. The circuit court provided a subset listing of 33 items. It is not necessary to list that many here to demonstrate that, regardless of the precise meaning of the term ‘substantially similar,’ the rights and obligations of marriage are not substantially similar to the rights and obligations of domestic partnerships.

Appling v. Doyle has never been anything other than a political show, put on by Wisconsin Family Action and the Wisconsin’s Republican leadership, wasting Wisconsin’s judicial resources on nonsense.

Julaine Appling, who heads up Wisconsin Family Action, will, of course, appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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The Man Card

From a Washington Post article noting that Bushmasters were flying out the doors of gun dealers: “On Wednesday afternoon, the Stars and Stripes and a green Remington company flag flew at half-staff in front of Remington headquarters. Behind glass doors bearing a sign that read “Unauthorized firearms prohibited,” an officer with the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office leafed through a hunting magazine under buck heads, a stuffed duck, men-in-the-wilderness paintings and frosted Christmas decorations. He said the company had requested added security.

I guess Remington overlooked a “Man Card” reissue at its corporate headquarters.

I carried the military version of the AR-15 in Vietnam and used it for its intended purpose.

The AR-15 is not a hunting rifle and is less effective as a home protection weapon that a shotgun. I cannot imagine a necessary use for this weapon by anyone other than military, police and security personnel.

I am a gun owner. I own rifles, shotguns and handguns. I use them. I support the right of Americans to own and use guns.

But the Second Amendment does not require us to accommodate paranoid survivalists and Rambo wannabees. If anyone feels the need to have their “Man Card” reissued, let them buy some Viagra.

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Snow Cone, Tweety Bird?

It looks like we’ll end up with about 14 inches in the back yard, which isn’t the end of the world.

The birds are enjoying (NOT!) a new holiday tradition — snow cones. We have a heated bird watering station on the deck, and the birds are usually all over it in the winter, when streams and ponds are frozen over. Not so today. The birds hover over it, but can’t get to the water.

It will probably sort itself out overnight. We’ve seen this before. I often toss a shovel or two into the water after a snow, and it typically melts within a day.

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The Weather Channel and the Weather

The Dells hasn’t made the national weather news since the 2008 storm that drained Lake Delton, but we’ve got Mike Seidel, a Weather Channel reporter, embedded in town today.

Of course, I don’t need to be embedded, so I can can skip the Weather Channel and look out the window, or go outside.

It is 10 am and we are through the first half of the storm, and waiting on the second half to arrive.

Draco is typical of strong winter storms in Wisconsin, in the sense that Draco can be thought of in three waves. The first wave, running ahead of the storm, has about half the snow, which typically comes down in light to moderate winds. The second wave is a brief quiet spell as the low passes, with snow dropping off to flurries and light winds. The third wave is the one in which all hell breaks loose, dumping the other half of the snow accompanied by high winds, blowing and drifting snow. The National Weather Service is predicting blizzard conditions furing the third wave of Draco, so we’ll have a blow from noon to midnight.

We are through the first wave, with about 8-9 inches of snow, and are coming to the end of the second wave. I took the opportunity to get out with the snow blower during the second wave, which is coming to an end, snowblowing the driveway, walks and parking areas, working for an hour and a half, starting about 8:15 and coming back in about 9:45. The cuts the work that I’ll have to do tomorrow by about half.

The good news about blizzard conditions, if there is any, is that the snow that comes during the third wave, the blizzard wave of a storm, is generally light stuff, because the temperatures drop as we get to the back end of the storm. It won’t be too much work, I hope, to clean up tomorrow morning.

In an hour or so, the third wave will come through and we’ll be toast until around midnight. The winds are picking up outside, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation is expected to close I-90/94 from Tomah (45 miles to our northwest) to Madison (45 miles to our south) and maybe all the way to Janesville (45 miles south of Madison) this afternoon.

So it looks like Mike Seidel, the embedded Weather Dude from the Weather Channel, will be with us for a while. Luckily, he’s broadcasting from the south end of Lake Delton, and has Denny’s, Famous Dave’s, Culvers and several other restaurants at hand. So we don’t have to worry about him starving.

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Lucky Us

Winter Storm Draco is coming in as we speak, and the latest projection of the storm’s track predicts that we’ll have 16 inches of wet snow by tomorrow night, combined with 20-30 mile per hour winds starting around noon and continuing through Friday morning.

Lucky us.

Where’s Harry Potter when we need him?

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A Haunting Portrait

Time Magazine released the cover portrait of its “Person of the Year” issue, coming out next week.

It is a haunting, somber portrait of President Obama, dark in tone, striking and thought-provoking.

The potrait is the work of Nadav Kander, born in Israel and residing in London, who is know for his exquisite lighting of portraits and other studies of the human body.

Time commissioned Kander for the cover. The photograph was taken on December 12, the day of the Oregon Mall shooting, which killed three.

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Brzzzz Brzzzz

I spent the day making noise, chainsawing in the woods in back of the house, limbing out a few fallen trees and cutting out some of the smaller red oaks, trying to create sight lines from the house to the ridge, and getting the snowblower ready for a storm that might be coming in Wednesday and Thursday, making sure that it was running properly, lubricated and adjusted.  It was a guy day, to be sure.

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Bull in a China Shop

I don’t think we have to wonder how Justice Scalia will vote on the Prop 8 decision coming up next June.

The only real question is how far he goes in his dissent.

Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas was a classic display of judicial distemper.

God help us if he decides to up the ante. It looks like he’s getting us prepared.

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