July 26, 2011

"Wisconsin weird: Cops probe balloon popping."

The balloon story — which we talked about yesterday — hits Politico.
Pro-union activists have taken to releasing red heart-shaped balloons into the rotunda as a silent protest against Gov. Scott Walker, and [Leslie] Petersen told the paper she was posing for a photograph with her balloon when a state worker approached her with a knife and began “stabbing the balloon.”

Petersen said she went to retrieve the “balloon carcass” and was then shoved into a door by the state employee, who during the incident cut himself, leaving a trail of blood on the rotunda floor....

About 50 balloons were released into the rotunda after the skirmish Monday.
Sounds like a photo op for Althouse + Meade. And speaking of Althouse + Meade photo ops, that state worker is identified by Peterson (the balloon owner) as Ron Blair, an assistant facilities director at the Capitol, and — as I noted in yesterday's post — Meade got shoved by Blair last March, caught on video here:
At 0:58, the supervisor pushes Meade. At 2:20, the supervisor expresses the theory that Meade "want[s] a confrontation" then admits that he put his hands on Meade, which might have been "a sin." Meade says, "I'm not talking about a sin. I'm talking about a tort." The supervisor tells Meade to "go away."...

9:34: Meade asks, "When did [the protesters] catch on to the idea that they should use blue painter's tape?" Worker: "I'm not sure." Supervisor: "Just don't give him any comments... probably not the press, because he's no credentials, but just another one of the bloggers."
I'm just one of the bloggers, pointing out that we saw Blair get pushy last March.

And let me add that I think protesters releasing helium-filled balloons inside the Capitol is a serious problem that the building managers need to control. Now that you don't have to go through a security check to get into the building, it can be a terrible problem. A thousand protesters holding balloons could march into the rotunda at any moment and release a thousand balloons that float up into the space under the dome, which is 280 feet in the air. I'm sure they'd think that was amusing/heart-lifting/justified, but it cannot be tolerated. It damages the building, and it will cost a lot of money and effort to undo. If it is not undone, it creates a free-speech forum, and the state will need to tolerate future balloons representing the full spectrum of messages, and the dome will become the world's most ridiculous gigantic, inverted pile of litter.

44 comments:

pbAndj said...

This also seems WI weird.

Hopefully these changes track w/ changes in population. I can't think of any other reasonable explanation.

Carol_Herman said...

Funny, you can only try to pop the balloon once it is inside the rotunda.

As I said yesterday. Foxy liberals should all go to Walmart. And, try on clothes where they can stuff their balloons front and back.

That way they pick up protection from being caught in crowds ... front and back. Until they pull their balloons out of their pants. And, then? They'll need suspenders ... or their pants will drop ... And, their blouse fronts will hang down to their knees. Probably breaking "exposure laws." For which the cops can arrest them.

Otherwise? The cops in Madison are part of the problem.

Just like in Oslo. Where a "cop pretender" got a lot done. While the "real" cops took a 90-minute-vacation.

Yeah. They blame America over there. But they're very confused in Norway, if they think Madison reflects the whole.

By the way, how are the "handling" the evidence? It's no longer inflated. Are they checking for fingerprints?

How come they just don't check their tapes ... of all those who got to carry balloons in. Wouldn't it show up on the security tapes?

Now. If red balloons mean something to the cops in Madison. What do blue balloons mean?

What about green balloons the same color as Boehner's tie? (That sure was a pretty tie on him, yesterday.)

And, let me add ... this "probe" is a make-work project. Did they ever find out who broke the hinges on the rotunda's doors?

AllenS said...

Sounds like a photo op for Althouse + Meade.

No. Please don't.

rhhardin said...

Evidence bags will have to be tethered.

garage mahal said...

Hopefully these changes track w/ changes in population. I can't think of any other reasonable explanation.

Aren't WI Republicans awesome? DMV centers closing in Democratic districts. Cannot wait for these assholes to go buh bye.

pbAndj said...

Garage,

But what about Balloon-gate? You know, the important stuff.

Maguro said...

Is there a little heart-shaped chalk outline on the floor?

edutcher said...

What AllenS said.

Your incognito outfit is only good in the winter and this Blair sounds like a professional slob.

Ann Althouse said...

Sounds like a photo op for Althouse + Meade.

I know, you can just hear those bugles blowing, "Charge"...

gerry said...

If it is not undone, it creates a free-speech forum, and the state will need to tolerate future balloons representing the full spectrum of messages, and the dome will become the world's most ridiculous gigantic, inverted pile of litter.

It's too late. Madison already is a ridiculous, gigantic pile.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lincolntf said...

So turning the Capitol into a giant Chuck E Cheese by letting the Union mouth-breathers and the emotionally precarious "activists" run the show hasn't worked out so well? I'm shocked, shocked. Cartoonish criminality is one thing Madison Libs are actually good at.

E.M. Davis said...

What if some nut fills a balloon with anthrax or something?

Pop it, and a dust cloud of poison appears.

Lincolntf said...

More likely nitrous oxide. Might even make the "protesters" more lucid.

Sixty Grit said...

An inverted pile of litter is an appropriate image for Wisconsin.

As for a protester being able to obtain weaponized anthrax, then put that, and helium in a balloon - well, I suppose it's possible, but highly unlikely.

Chip S. said...

So I went down the squirrel hole pb&j pointed to.

It starts with a link to a progressive blog that links to another progressive blog, from which you'll finally get to an actual news report. Then you'll discover that the "evidence" for the charge that DMV centers are being closed in Democratic districts consists entirely of this:

One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics...

followed by this:

A high-ranking DOT official rejected that claim, saying the changes were based on economics, not politics.

What's really going on? Pork:

Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, called on the state Department of Transportation to reconsider its plants to close the Fort Atkinson DMV center.

Yawn.

MarkG said...

In some places, littering will get you $1000 ticket. Then it's much less amusing.

Lincolntf said...

Just tell the shit-for-brains protesters that the balloons are bad for Gaia and they'll be protesting each other within 24 hours.

Wv: celeri

Multiple celeries?

Curious George said...

No one see the irony of this?

"when a state worker approached her with a knife and began “stabbing the balloon.”

I mean, I keep hearing about the awesomeness of the hard working, dutiful union public employees. Sounds like one of them decided to commit assault because he is sick of cleaning up balloons....you know, his job.

grackle said...

… the dome will become the world's most ridiculous gigantic, inverted pile of litter.

Too bad about the dome but the state authorities that allowed all this to happen are themselves a ridiculous gigantic, inverted pile of …

kate said...

In some places, littering will get you $1000 ticket.

And in some places, yielding a knife as he did, will get you charged with assault.

grackle said...

Oh, and the Blair guy is the type of fellow that shouldn’t be allowed to have a sharp knife, pencil or anything sharp, especially around people. He’s the type of person who accidentally discharges weapons and if we are lucky he’s the only one who gets shot.

Paco Wové said...

"So I went down the squirrel hole pb&j pointed to."

That's why I never follow links from people like pb&j and GM; 99.9% of the time, once you peel away all the partisan screeching, there's generally nothing there, and all I've done is waste time (and reinforce my resolve not to get suckered again).

As Chip has provided information from an actual news article, and not some screechy blog, I was able to track down a better link.

Here's the crux of the story:

The recently enacted state budget requires that DMV driver license and ID card services be offered in all 72 counties at least 20 hours a week. Currently, only 30 counties have offices that meet that 20-hour requirement.

Once the changes are made, there will be 625 more hours of DMV service to the public a week or about 32,000 hours more a year, said Kristina Boardman, the department’s director of field services who is overseeing the plan.

Starting next year, voters must present a valid driver’s license or other acceptable photo identification in order to vote. Critics of that new requirement have said it would be unconstitutional if courts determined voters couldn’t easily access DMV centers where they can obtain the ID cards required in order to vote.

The state currently operates 88 DMV centers but it would drop to 78 under the tentative plan, Newson said. Many of those targeted for closure, like the one in Fort Atkinson, are temporary sites and not leased spaces, like the larger office in Watertown, he said.

Chip S. said...

Paco, Nice work. That high-ranking WisDOT official, Reggie Newson, is a stereotypical Rethuglican oppressor of minorities.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If it wouldn't hurt the beautiful marble, it would be great fun to use an air rifle or bb gun and pop the balloons. Maybe there could be a prize for the most balloons popped. A big giant stuffed cheese wedge or something.

chickenlittle said...

Althouse wrote: ...and the state will need to tolerate future balloons representing the full spectrum of messages, and the dome will become the world's most ridiculous gigantic, inverted pile of litter.

Here's the offending image that the balloon protestors are trying to blot out: link
_______
wv = "ourag" It's a couple letters short of "outrage" and is really just a portmanteau word that "Isthmus" writers use to self describe.

garage mahal said...

That's why I never follow links from people like pb&j and GM;

Knowing what we know about Walker and the WIGOP, I'm sure DMV centers closing in Dem districts, and extended hours in Republican districts is just a coincidence.

Joanna said...

Popped balloon? Cutting yourself on your own knife? Why is this junk getting national newsy attention?

My suburban elementary school playground had worse things going on and was far less regulated than the Capitol. (Oh, and no media attention at the school.)

Chip S. said...

"Will no one rid me of these nettlesome facts?"

--garagemahal, rewritten for clarity

pbAndj said...

Chip,

I read the source reports before I linked to Balloon Juice.

I read the official denial re this being a political decision.

But, unlike you, I would like to see some population data that would show these changes were related to better serving folks where they live. This seems especially important now that these offices have been transformed into a voting requirement.

Some dude simply stating that politics weren't involved isn't enough for me. Show me.

Chuck66 said...

A balloon got popped and the police are investigation. Good fucking God. Is that how bad things have gotten in Madison?

BJM said...

Weren't progressives whining about balloons killing the dolphins a while back and now they are their go-to protest icons??

Gaia weeps.

traditionalguy said...

Blair can always get a job as Prosper aide de camp.

Lincolntf said...

Balloons are made of plastic, a byproduct of oil. Why do the Madison Libs continue to line the pockets of the Koch brothers with petrodollars? Because they hate the Earth and everyone on it?

Curious George said...

"pbAndj said...
Chip,

I read the source reports before I linked to Balloon Juice.

I read the official denial re this being a political decision.

But, unlike you, I would like to see some population data that would show these changes were related to better serving folks where they live. This seems especially important now that these offices have been transformed into a voting requirement.

Some dude simply stating that politics weren't involved isn't enough for me. Show me."

The "dude" is black. Therefore you are clearly racist. I don't remember you questioning the policies of the "dude's" white predecessor.

S said...

I can understand the guy's frustration, but he clearly shouldn't have done it.

The littering also has to stop, of course. I would put up a sign reminding people that it's illegal before starting to enforce it, especially if it has been ignored for a while. But if it keeps happening, people should be cited.

There should be more DMV outlets per capita in low-density areas than in high-density areas. I like the proposal that each county have a location, though they might not all need to be full-time. It shouldn't take someone all day to get to the DMV and back. I don't know that there's a need for Milwaukee to have more than one, though if Milwaukee were going to have only one, it should be large and well-staffed.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Some dude simply stating that politics weren't involved isn't enough for me. Show me

According to the link, one Democrat has made the allegation. What are the other Democratic districts involved? The link doesn't tell us. Maybe it's a secret. Any way, some dude simply making an allegation that politics are involved isn't enough for me. Show me.

Chip S. said...

Wisconsin--the new Show-Me State.

grackle said...

The littering also has to stop, of course. I would put up a sign reminding people that it's illegal before starting to enforce it, especially if it has been ignored for a while. But if it keeps happening, people should be cited.

Yeah .. and letters written to the protesters telling them to gosh darn it just cut it out!

Sorry, S – couldn’t resist. All in fun …

chickenlittle said...

The paranoia is in bloom, the PR,
The inflations will resume
They'll try to blame thugs
Keep our ballons all tied down and hope that
We will never raise a balloon around
(So come on!)

Another compromise, another scene, another Koch package to keep us trapped in greed
With all the tight belts wrapped around our behinds
And endless red tape to keep the truth confined
(So come on!)

They will not force us
We will not kiss ass
They will not control us
We will be weightless, without gravitas


-The (balloon) Uprising
by Garage Marley Mahal

chickenlittle said...

Chip S. said...
Wisconsin--the new Show-Me State.

With this new balloon fetish, it could be the Blow-Me State

Smilin' Jack said...

...it cannot be tolerated. It damages the building, and it will cost a lot of money and effort to undo.

Oh please. They'll drift down in a couple of days, as the helium leaks out.

...it creates a free-speech forum, and the state will need to tolerate future balloons representing the full spectrum of messages, and the dome will become the world's most ridiculous gigantic, inverted pile of litter.


Well, I hate free speech as much as anyone, but I think a dome full of balloons would look pretty cool.

Sue D'Nhym said...

pbAndj, apparently with little self-awareness, scribed:

Some dude simply stating that politics weren't involved isn't enough for me. Show me.

Some dud simply stating that politics might have been involved isn't enough for me. Show me.

AllenS said...

Charge the people releasing the balloons with a littering citation. Nothing like a fine to change people's behavior.

Curious George said...

Call in the WI National Guard! It would stop all this balloon bullshit, and eliminate one lie from the Democratic list.