Daily Bread for 10.10.21: Candidate for Wisconsin’s Worst Legal Argument of the Year

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with showers and a high of 78.  Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 6:19 PM for 11h 15m 41s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 21.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1973, U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after being charged with evasion of federal income tax. For a detailed account of Agnew’s crime, see Rachel Maddow’s podcast The Bag Man.  (She also has a book on the topic, and a film is in the works.)

Antonio Planas and The Associated Press report Hunting laws allowed Kyle Rittenhouse to carry weapon during fatal shootings in Wisconsin, lawyers say:

Attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with fatally shooting two people during a protest in Wisconsin last year, argued that hunting laws allowed him to carry the assault-style weapon used during the shootings.

Wisconsin law prohibits anyone under age 18 from being armed, but Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that state laws only forbid minors to carry short-barreled rifles and shotguns. The other prohibitions pertaining to children fall under hunting laws, which say children under age 12 can’t hunt with guns, Rittenhouse’s attorneys said at a hearing Tuesday.

Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was 17 on Aug. 25, 2020, when he fatally shot two men and wounded another man while carrying an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle at a protest prompted by a police shooting of a Black man, prosecutors have said.

“There appears to be an exception for 17-year-olds,” defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger responded that if the defense wants to tell a jury that Rittenhouse was only hunting, it should do so.

“They can submit evidence that the defendant had a certificate to hunt and he was engaged in legal hunting on the streets of Kenosha that night,” Binger said, according to the newspaper.


Rittenhouse’s attorneys are looking for dismissal of a weapons charge, and so they’re advancing whatever arguments they can. They’re trying to find exceptions in state statutes, and presenting in-court arguments to a trial judge. The case, however, is high-profile, and reporters across the nation are covering all the proceedings. Every single word spoken in court can become a national story.

Sometimes advancing any arguments one can causes more harm than good.

I’ll write tomorrow about a local decision of the Whitewater School District that, similarly, has attracted adverse national coverage.

Caltech’s LEO robot hybrid can skateboard, tightrope walk, and fly:

Researchers at Caltech have built a drone-robot hybrid that can do it all.

LEONARDO, short for LEgs ONboARD drOne (if that’s too much of a mouthful, it also goes by LEO), is a bipedal robot that can skateboard, hop, walk a tightrope and fly.

The 2.5-foot-tall robot was developed at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies and is the first to use multi-joint legs and propeller-based thrusters to control its balance, according to a release from Caltech.

Soon-Jo Chung, corresponding author and Bren Professor of Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, said the team drew inspiration from nature when designing the robot.

“Think about the way birds are able to flap and hop to navigate telephone lines,” Chung said in the Caltech release. “A complex yet intriguing behavior happens as birds move between walking and flying. We wanted to understand and learn from that.”

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