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Sheriff Rich Stanek supports judge on weapons checks

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Duluth mayor plays tough over casino; Lonnie Dupre’s mountain climb; Wisconsin’s “John Doe” probe; a deer tale; Target truck troubles; Best Buy views; and more.
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Sheriff Rich Stanek is supporting the judge who is refusing to preside in courts without weapons inspections. Abby Simons of the Strib says: “Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek blasted county commissioners Thursday for repeatedly stonewalling calls for stronger security measures in suburban courtrooms. ‘Go up to the County Board on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center, past weapons screening … and when you get up there, ask one of the County Board members why their door is locked,’ Stanek said. ‘Ask them why they’ve got two security guards in the boardroom, and occasionally deputies. What makes them any different from the other folks that use the division courts at Brookdale, Southdale and Ridgedale’?” County Board chairman Mike Opat describes the judge’s behavior as “knee jerk.”

Duluth Mayor Don Ness is playing tough with the Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe over their Fond du Lac casino. Says Peter Passi in the News Tribune: “Ness upped the ante Thursday, threatening to shut down the Fond-du-Luth Casino if the city is unable to negotiate a new profit-sharing agreement with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. At a morning news conference, Ness cited terms in an initial 1986 contract with the band that he contends give the city authority to prohibit all gambling at the casino if the profit-sharing agreement is invalidated. He said discontinuing the casino’s operations would be a ‘last resort’ for the city and expressed hopes that a fresh agreement can be reached with the band instead.” Simultaneously, Duluth TV stations are covering talk of a state-run casino at the Exposition and Convention Center (DECC).

And talk about a déjà vu-vu “Groundhog Day” story. The News Tribune is also reporting: “For the fourth time in five days, wind kept Grand Marais adventurer Lonnie Dupre pinned down Thursday at 14,200 feet on Alaska’s Mount McKinley. Dupre had hoped to move to high camp at 17,200 feet Thursday, but woke to a temperature of minus-35 degrees and a 45 mph wind. He spent the day digging out the door of his 4-foot-by-4-foot snow cave and stretching. … Dupre, 50, is attempting to be the first person to reach the mountain’s summit solo in January. He figures that with good weather he could reach the summit in three days: one day to climb to high camp, one day to rest and acclimate there, and one day to reach the summit and return to high camp. … Dupre tried climbing McKinley last winter, but bad weather stopped him at 17,200 feet.” We’ll check back in January ’13.

Embezzlement is the charge against two Scott Walker appointees in the so-called “John Doe probe.” A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel team report says: “Two Milwaukee County officials appointed by Scott Walker when he was county executive were charged Thursday with embezzling more than $60,000 intended for veterans and their families, instead using the stolen funds on everything from Caribbean cruises to wedding expenses to renewing Walker-for-governor websites. Prosecutors are accusing the two men — Timothy D. Russell, Walker’s one-time deputy chief of staff, and county veterans official Kevin Kavanaugh — with multiple felonies as part of the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker staffers. The pair is accused of stealing the funds at different times using separate means. Prosecutors also charged a third man — Brian Pierick, Russell’s domestic partner — with two felonies for child enticement. Walker, in an eight-minute conference call Thursday with reporters, said he was “very disappointed” about the alleged theft but emphasized that his office had been responsible for raising initial concerns about bookkeeping at Operation Freedom, an annual military appreciation day held at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Tom Nardelli, his chief of staff at the time, had contacted prosecutors about discrepancies in Operation Freedom’s past records under Kavanaugh. Walker did not directly respond to questions about his decision to later put Russell, one of his top Milwaukee County aides, in charge of the finances of Operation Freedom.” As a measure of Cheeseheadistan’s hyper-politicized environment, by late morning the story had already elicited 1,220 reader comments.

Oh yeah, on that bit about “child enticement,” The Journal Sentinel’s Bruce Vielmetti writes today: “Brian Pierick, 48, was charged Thursday with child enticement and exposing genitals, felonies related to a series of text messages he exchanged with a 17-year-old Waukesha boy in 2010, according to the criminal complaint. Pierick is named in the complaint as the domestic and business partner of Timothy Russell, the former Walker aide. And while Russell is not charged in the case, the complaint states Pierick was acting with a co-conspirator in attempting to lure the 17-year-old into Russell’s van for a sexual encounter. Other evidence showed the men used the screen name “Walker04” to procure online porn involving young boys. …According to the criminal complaint: The Waukesha teen posted a salacious ‘man seeking man’ ad on Craigslist early on Aug. 30, 2010. Within five hours, someone using Pierick’s iPhone texted him back, the first of 115 messages to the teen — who replied with 97 texts of his own — through at least Nov. 21, 2010. The texts from Pierick’s phone often referred to ‘we’ in the sexually explicit back-and-forth about fathers-and-son role playing. On one occasion, at Pierick’s urging, the teen sent a photo of his own genitalia, and Pierick sent him a photo of Pierick and Russell seated together with martini glasses.

“Conservation officers never know what they may encounter.” That’s a quote from a Dennis Anderson blog in the Strib. He adds: “In Cook County, CO Darin Fagerman of Grand Marais received a call of a buck with its antlers wrapped in a hammock. ‘It was dark and the deer was extremely tangled in the hammock, but the buck was still on its feet and able to move,’ Fagerman said. Killing the deer was the last thing he wanted to do, Fagerman said, but after surveying the situation he saw no alternatives. Approaching the deer with his sidearm, he shot, intending to kill the deer. But he missed when the buck pulled back at the last moment. … Which was lucky for the deer. ‘The gunshot startled the buck, which then pulled straight back on the hammock, exposing about two inches of the antler just above the base of the head,’ Fagerman said. ‘Thankfully, the buck stayed still and I was then able to shoot the antler off. The deer, wasting no time, then ran off into the darkness,’ Fagerman said. ‘Conservation officers never know what they may encounter.’ ”

I’m sure someone will make a joke about Target’s fourth-quarter based on the pictures of a semi that wound up windshield-deep in a pond off I-94 this morning. Here’s KARE-TV’s brief report, saying: “It happened shortly before 6:30 a.m. Friday. State Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Eric Roeske says the driver managed to escape the cab and crawled across the ice to safety. He was treated and released at a local hospital. A truck driver who moved through the scene says it appears the trucker lost control of his rig, left the road and plowed through the catcher cables, across two lanes of freeway traffic, and into the pond.” Did someone need a second Thermos of truck stop coffee?

Judging by the headline presentations, editors aren’t quite certain how to portray Best Buy’s December performance. Better than ‘10? Soft? Beating analysts projections? The Financial Times story, by Dhanya Skariachan, says: “Best Buy Co. appeared to gain market share from rivals in the United States during the key holiday season and stood by its profit outlook for the financial year despite a 1.2% same-store sales decline in December. The news boosted Best Buy shares nearly 3% and also allayed some concerns that all its holiday sales were driven by profit-sapping discounts. The world’s largest consumer electronics chain said on Friday that sales at stores open at least 14 months fell 0.4% at its U.S. unit, while they slipped 4.3% internationally on weakness in Canada and Europe. ‘Given competitor comments and supplier input, these are relatively impressive results,’ Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter said, adding that ‘the reconfirmation of … guidance by management should put to bed the worries of massive margin deterioration to drive those sales.’ ”

And finally, an example of why I read John Hinderaker at Power Line. John is chronically upset with the 99%-er crowd. Class warfare and all that. So now, with an icon of America’s 1%-ers under attack from the rabble, he rallies to the defense of … Kim Kardashian: “Miss Kardashian has the same right to enjoy the fruits of her labor (such as it is) as the rest of us. Which is why it is important to defend her against this sort of attack:

… A California group calling itself the Courage Campaign has released an ad targeting Kardashian, arguing that the reality TV star needs to pay more in taxes. The television ad, and accompanying website, attempt to gain support for a November ballot initiative that calls for increasing taxes for California’s wealthiest citizens by 3 to 5 percent. … After a montage of Kardashian images, the campaign alleges, ‘Kim Kardashian made $12 million in 2010!’ The ad stacks this up against the average ‘Middle-Class Californian,’ who made $47,000. The ad alleges that while Kardashian’s tax rate was 10.3% — just one percent higher than the tax rate for average citizens. ‘Ask Kim to support the Millionaires Tax of 2012,’ the ad concludes. ‘Not everyone was born a Kardashian, but we all need to pay our fair share.’

“This illustrates the viciousness of the Left, which is always eager to target the unpopular. First they came for the Kardashians … It also shows how unable liberals are to learn from their mistakes. California is dying because its high taxes and anti-business political climate have driven its most productive citizens, and many of its highest taxpayers, to other states. The result is a budget crisis from which California likely will not recover. It is rather shocking that the state’s top income tax rate is already 10.3%. That rate, and the state’s other income tax rates, need to be lower, not higher. Moreover, the ad’s comparison is highly misleading. The $47,000 income earner (single, like Miss Kardashian, usually) pays 8% only on taxable income in excess of $38,000, which is almost certainly zero. That taxpayer’s effective rate, depending on deductions, is almost sure to be less than 4%. Kardashian, on the other hand, probably paid more than $1 million in income taxes to the state of California last year. That would seem to be her “fair share,” and more. In fact, California liberals should thank their lucky stars that there are still some high earners like Kardashian who haven’t left the state. If she were to follow her sister Khloe to Dallas, she could save around $1 million a year.” By John’s reasoning, Miss Kardashian is also a jobs creator. I mean how many professional waxers, pluckers and enhancers does she personally keep in high-paying, non-government jobs?