After days of journalists meeting with the fugitive Wisconsin “Badger 14” senators and disclosing only that they’re in an “undisclosed location” in Illinois, it appears that one press outlet has broken the embargo on their precise location.
Early this evening, Wausau’s WAOW reported on its website: “The 14 Democratic Senators who fled the state are assumed to be just over the border in Harvard, Illinois.”
That report appears corroborated by the remark Sen. Tim Carpenter made earlier in the day, when asked by an interviewer with Milwaukee’s TMJ4 where, exactly, in Illinois he was. Sen. Carpenter said: “Well, I can look out my window and see Wisconsin. But not the Soviet Union — just Wisconsin.” Read and listen here. Indeed, it turns out that Harvard, Illinois, is on the northern border of Illinois (about 85 miles southeast of Madison), so that someone in a high-rise Harvard hotel could easily see Wisconsin out the window. Google map here.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. The “Badger 14” senators are hiding at Harvard. Able to see Wisconsin. Straining to see the Soviet Union.
Earth to Senator Carpenter: Perhaps your choice of a hideout location is prompted by a need to polish up your resume for your next job, now that you’ve vacated your senate seat, but please think twice before describing yourself on that resume as a “Harvard man.” In addition to your coming off looking like “an idiot” this past weekend in your e-mail exchange with an exceedingly polite Wisconsin citizen, it may interest you to know that the Soviet Union ceased to exist back in 1991. Yes, really. You can read about it here. You may like to joke about Sarah Palin, but at least she’s aware that the nation across the Bering Strait from Alaska has for the past two decades been called Russia, not the Soviet Union.
Update (2/22, 11:19 a.m.): In response to this blog’s Twitter feed calling attention to this post’s discussion of Sen. Tim Carpenter, by noting the “Sarah Palin joke by ‘idiot’ fugitive Wisconsin senator fails — says he can’t see Soviet Union out of his window,” Toddy Littman throws out an apt question:
[W]hy would he be able to see the place his entire mind is wrapped in?
Update (2/22, 12:55 p.m.): Correction. According to some of the commentators on this post who apparently have first-hand knowledge of the matter, this post was mistaken in its remark “that someone in a high-rise Harvard hotel could easily see Wisconsin out the window.”
Apparently there are no high-rise hotels in Harvard. David Casper recounts:
I spent a night in Harvard on accident about 5 years ago. It’s a tiny little farming town (and one-time Dairy Capital of the World!!!!!!!), and I doubt there are any buildings tall enough from which anyone could see across the border. I don’t recall it offering much in terms of night-life either. And considering Wal-Mart was probably the most happening place around, these Dem senators must be in a living hell!
Harvard is the last stop on a commuter rail coming out of Chicago. Sort of like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, they took the last train out of town. How romantic. But Harvard really is pretty a nondescript little town. Beer is probably really cheap.
Don Ruhter agrees:
The last time I was in Harvard, the tallest structure was the water tower and the tallest building the old high school.
There are no high rise buildings much less high rise hotels in Harvard..
Heck there are no mid rise buildings.
Not that it is not a nice little town.
Going further to suggest that Sen. Tim Carpenter must have lied during his interview, “Fredipus” states:
“High-rise Hardvard hotel?” Boy, oh boy, you sure don’t know Harvard. Until the (now-shuttered) Motorola plant opened, Harvard was a sleepy little farming community. It’s a bit bigger now (various subdevelopments were built for Motorola workers) but still a small farm town in the middle of nowhere. (The town square has a large cow statue called “Harmilda” that’s probably the most famous thing about the town.)
The biggest “hotel” in Harvard is the Heritage Inn and it’s a two-story building about 8 miles from the Wisconsin border.
There is absolutely *no* chance that someone can “see Wisconsin” from any hotel in Harvard – it’s just not that close to the border.
Apparently, a Wisconsin State Senator can’t even tell the truth about what he can see with his own eyes…
Even assuming the highest building in Harvard is the two-story Heritage Inn & Suites at 1701 S. Division Street in Harvard (information here) — which Gateway Pundit is reporting as the location of the “AWOL WISCONSIN DEMS,” here — this blog takes Sen. Carpenter at his word that he could see Wisconsin out his window. From Google Maps it appears the hotel is only six miles from the Wisconsin border. Unless there is something unique about the curvature of the earth in northern Illinois, it seems likely that someone on the second floor of the hotel could see some point in Wisconsin, such as the top of a water tower or high-rise building.
[Update, 4:40 p.m.: The commentors who have analyzed this point — apparently pulling out some topographical maps to do so — see first two comments here (“Agribusinessman” and “Rod”), have confirmed it with some specificity:
1. On the second floor of the Heritage Inn & Suites, 16 feet above the ground, an observer could see 5.4 miles assuming no trees or buildings, and normal earth curvature.
2. The hotel is 6.7 miles from the Wisconsin border, so even without obstacles ordinarily Sen. Tim Carpenter would not be able to see Wisconsin out of his window.
3. But, fortunately for the senator, the earth’s surface curves upward between Harvard, Illinois, and southern Wisconsin. Specifically, the hotel is at 948 feet above sea level, and the highest point in Sharon, Wisconsin (on the Wisconsin border just north of Harvard) — just 8.8 miles away — is 1,026 feet above sea level. Thus, Sen. Carpenter “should be able to easily see Sharon, Wisconsin.” Indeed, he could see parts of Wisconsin more than 10 miles from the hotel. Thus Sen. Carpenter appears to have been correct when he stated in yesterday’s interview with Milwaukee’s TMJ4, “I can look out my window and see Wisconsin.”]
Update (1:12 p.m.): Many thanks to Prof. Glenn Reynolds for his Instapundit link to this post (here), which has resulted in an additional 10,000 visits to this website in the past several hours — now more than 24,000 visits since the blog began five days ago!
Update (2:55 p.m.): EXCLUSIVE by Jeff Winkler of Daily Caller: “The Illinois Tea Party finds the Wisconsin Flee Party” — “They ran like rats” — “They’re on the run now.” — Tea Party activists Mary Alger, Jane Carrell, and “Doc” track down wayward senators. Read the whole thing.
Update (3:05 p.m.): Video of “Badger 14” senators yesterday in their hotel in Harvard, Illinois, from Eau Claire’s WQOW.
Update (10:45 p.m.): More photos of Wisconsin “Badger 14” senators at their Harvard hotel, from Jim Hoft on Gateway Pundit.
Update (10:55 p.m. ): Still more awesome photos of Wisconsin “Badger 14” senators, from former McHenry County, Illinois, Treasurer, and former Illinois state representative, Cal Skinner, on his McHenry County Blog. Mr. Skinner also includes a delightful essay about how the senators reacted when they were discovered hiding out in the hotel. A sample:
I didn’t see any individuals in the lobby dressed like the political class, so I decided to ask the desk clerk whether any Wisconsin State Senators had checked in.
After the desk clerk got off a pretty long call at 11:20, I recognized the white-haired gentleman [Sen. Jim Holperin; see here] who didn’t want to talk to the Rockford Tea Party videographer asking why he and his colleague driver were had fled Madison.
With me he was more congenial, especially after I introduced myself and told him I had served 16 years in the Illinois House.
When he asked why I was interested in his and his colleagues’ presence, I told him I wrote a political blog named McHenry County Blog and he was in McHenry County.
* * *
He said the Senators had been meeting with reporters and, indeed, I learned later that a TV truck had been at the motel Monday night.
He asked me not to identify the location, so the group could continue helping out the McHenry County economy.
I told him I pretty much had to say they were in McHenry County, which seemed OK with him as long as I was not specific as to the location.
He said that the Senators didn’t want a crowd of sign-carrying demonstrators outside of the motel.
I told him I didn’t think local tea party people could mobilize what he envisioned.
But since arriving home, I’ve been told that a caravan of State Senators was seen heading south on Route 23, so I guess there is no harm in revealing the Harvard location.
* * *
As I was leaving the parking lot, who should I run into but Crystal Lake Tea Party honcho Mary Alger. She was holding this sign saying, “IL Tea Party Finds Wisconsin ‘FLEE’ Party.”
Subsequent information arrived telling me that a representative of the Northern Illinois Tea Party arrived, starting asking questions like, “Do you know any reason why you shouldn’t be recalled for your failure to fulfill the duties of your office?,” and was asked by the desk clerk if he were a paying customer and, if not, to leave.
Three cars pulled up.
She called the Harvard Police.
Note: if you can put names to the faces of the senators, please use the comment section on the post to help Mr. Skinner identify who is in each photo.
Update (2/24, 9:45 p.m.): This morning’s New York Post had an entertaining article by Jennifer Fermino entitled: “Dems hiding in plain ‘spite’: Wis. runaways’ Ill. motel found,” which began:
HARVARD, Ill. — Wisconsin state Sen. Dave Hansen, the assistant minority leader, thought he was staying at a secret location in Harvard, Ill., just south of the Wisconsin border. That was until a group of picture-taking party activists from the Northern Illinois Tea Party showed up at the Heritage Inn and Suites off of Route 14. Hansen, officially outed, looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a speeding tractor trailer. Hansen and several other Democratic refugees were forced to find another location. “We’re not about to give in yet,” Hansen later said.