Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reynolds Amends Death Penalty Bill

Madison – Sensing opposition to his recently introduced bill to bring back the death penalty under certain circumstances, State Senator Tom Reynolds (R-West Allis) today announced a significant change that he believes will garner legislative support for the bill.

Under the original legislation, the death penalty in Wisconsin would have been reinstated if the victim had been sexually assaulted and murdered, and the corpse had been either dismembered, disfigured or mutilated.

Under Reynolds’ new bill, someone convicted of murder could be sentenced to death if the corpse had been subjected to all the following:

-Sexually assaulted;

-Dismembered;

-Mutilated;

-Disfigured;

-Covered in Ms. Butterworth’s syrup;

-Beaten in a game of rock, paper scissors (corpses always pick paper);

-Set on fire;

-Told they were adopted;

-Forced to view an episode of “Becker;”

-Dragged around wearing sunglasses by two guys at a beach house as if it were alive;

-Made to return a sweater to Banana Republic without a receipt;

-Insulted with jokes about their obese mothers;

-Forced to run as a Democrat for Attorney General;

-Home schooled; and

-Cut into tiny pieces and fed to Alex Trebek.

Reynolds’ push for the death penalty coincidentally comes at the same time Steven Avery is being held in the death of a 25 year old local photographer, after he served 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

“See,” said Reynolds, “If we had the death penalty in place, we can fry these bastards before they’re exonerated and kill someone.”

When informed that nobody in the Wisconsin corrections system is currently being held for the crime he is currently proposing, Reynolds said, "facts make Baby Jesus cry."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beam Me Up, Bernie!

Nice post today by Jenna at "Right off the Shore" on the newly formed "Justice Party," which is the brain child of some nut job named Bernie Dalsey. I came to this story via the Capital Times, which reports:

Dalsey, a former Green and Libertarian candidate for state Assembly, has called the Federal Election Commission and the Wisconsin Elections Board to get authorization for the party name to appear on the ballots, if any candidates surface...

Dalsey is currently the only official party member, although he said several people he's spoken with agree with many of his stances.

Some of the ideas are extreme, including closing all overseas U.S. military bases, severely limiting special-interest dollars in political campaigning and eliminating all foreign aid.
Dalsey is targeting nonvoters as those most willing to follow the Justice Party.


Gee, nobody's ever thought of the whole "start your own party" shtick, have they? A couple thoughts:

1. How exactly is one crackpot forming his own party worthy of an article? Of course, this is the same paper that prints Matt Pommer's articles, so Bernie may make complete sense to the cognoscenti over there.

2. I talk to at least two people a week that agree with many of my stances. That means in any given week, I have doubled Bernie Dalsey's membership.

3. How on earth does someone run as both a Green Party member and a Libertarian? Does that perhaps indicate some confusion on Bernie's behalf? Would anybody be surprised if they saw Bernie Dalsey pouring thousand island dressing down his pants at the Pizza Hut salad bar?

4. Targeting nonvoters is a brilliant political strategy. "Let me see... in order to get elected, I should appeal to those people who are too lazy to vote." The whole idea that nonvoters are conscious objectors to the electoral process is absurd - 96% of nonvoters are sitting at home waiting to find out who the next baby daddy is on "Maury Povich." The other 4% are locked in Steven Avery's basement.

5. Another statistic - 77% of all third party members end up in the same house, wearing Nikes and breathing in the contents of suspicious balloons. The other 23% end up playing alien warlords in John Travolta movies.

6. Anybody who wastes the time of a poor government staffer that has to verify all these dopey election forms should have to pay the full cost of that staffer's time. Otherwise, I have to pay for it and I'm so poor, I can't pay attention.

7. There has never been a third party that didn't advocate for restrictions on election spending. While legitimate parties serve as efficient fundraising machines, Bernie Dalsey will have trouble buying T.V. ad time with a button from his jacket, his childhood collection of "Highlights" magazines, and a signed, glossy picture of Ernest Borgnine.

Funny side note: The Heaven's Gate movement is described as a a "destructive, doomsday cult centered in California" by a website called "Religious Tolerance.org." I'd hate to see what they say about religions they may not treat with such reverential tolerance.

Wisconsin State Journal Now National Paper of Record

I take back all the mean stuff I've said about the Wisconsin State Journal. They are clearly now an unstoppable journalistic force.


2006 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Million Dollar Ideas

I have a couple of ideas that will allow me to retire within hours of obtaining a patent.

First, I'd create toupees that simulate male pattern baldness. How many well meaning dudes are going to walk around with rugs that look like a rabid racoon fell out of a tree onto their head? At least be realistic - nobody's going to believe that grew on your head - why not thin it out and start the hairline back a little bit? It's better than the dreaded combover (which I am convinced is the reason Al Qaeda hates us).

My second idea is a real winner. Know how when you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you can't wait for the cinnamony milk at the end of the bowl? Why not eliminate the "Crunch" portion of the equation and just sell the cinnamony milk? I'd buy it by the gallons! Who wouldn't buy Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch leftover milk?

I've seen some commercials on TV that have offered to patent my inventions for me, so send them some money, quick, if you too want to be as wealthy as Tom Vu.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gas Tax Fever - As Told by Larry King

With the blogosphere breathless about Scott Walker’s “plan” to eliminate automatic increases in the gas tax, I thought I would add a little of my own perspective (it appears Owen may have passed out at his keyboard absorbing the “genius” of the plan). In order to make it more readable, I will add Mcbridean bold face to key terms.

I also heard a rumor that Larry King would return to writing his column for USA Today. I grew up reading his column, and revered it. So I will also write this post as if it were Larry King’s unintentionally funny USA Today column, with barely relevant, semi-lucid non-sequiturs and random thoughts.

* As everyone in the blogosphere has heard, candidate for Governor Scott Walker announced a plan that would eliminate indexing of the gas tax, earmark funds from vehicle related sales for the transportation fund, and protect the transportation fund from future raids. Apparently some bloggers are upset that local news didn’t break into “According to Jim” to report this groundbreaking news. Actually, this “plan” is the exact plan that State Senator Tom Reynolds introduced in the form of Senate Bills 330 and 331 back in September. Walker may have heard that Reynolds’ plan was gaining traction and decided to get out in front of it to take credit if it happens, but it is by no means his original plan. In fact, both Walker and his primary opponent, Congressman Mark Green, are likely to have taken interesting votes on this issue during their tenure in the Legislature (Xoff is reporting that Walker voted against what he is proposing now, but I need citations to figure out what the exact vote was).

*When midgets and dwarves get married, is it considered a “mixed marriage?”

*Proponents of the plan argue that there shouldn’t be any tax that goes up automatically every year. Fair enough. But in raw dollars, every tax automatically goes up every year, because most other taxes are figured on a percentage basis. For instance, the state always collects more from the sales tax because inflation pushes the price of goods and services upward, and five percent of that cost goes to the state. In most years state incomes increase but the tax rate remains the same, meaning the state collects more in income taxes without “raising” taxes at all.
The gas tax is different, in that it is a flat 31 cent fee on every gallon of gas, and is not figured as a percentage. There is a legitimate reason for assessing this tax differently. Since gas taxes are dedicated to a single purpose (road construction), it would cause havoc with the state transportation fund given the mercurial price of gas. If gas were taxed on a percentage basis, there would be no way to project how much would be in the fund for road construction in any given year. While prices of other goods and services fluctuate, the tax collected on them gets dumped into the enormous general fund and pays for an array of government programs, so it tends to even out. Assessing the gas tax as a flat fee allows state government some certainty in what projects they go ahead with.

Following the logic of the gas tax indexing opponents, you could say the gas tax actually goes down when gas prices hit $3.00 per gallon, since the percentage tax per gallon actually shrinks with the higher cost of gas and stagnant tax. So you see, the indexing of gas taxes is merely meant to reflect what happens to every other sales tax in the state, just assessed differently. (For information about the state sales tax, check this document out - you can see on page 14 that sales tax collections have grown from about $2.4 billion a decade ago to $3.9 billion in 2003-04, without a change in the rate.)

*For NBA purposes, do Europeans count as white people? If they do, do I have to start rooting for Dirk Nowitzki?

*Obviously, eliminating the automatic increase in the gas tax is the sexiest and most important part of the plan. The other parts are merely talking points and are essentially meaningless. “Protecting the transportation fund” from raids sounds good, but it’s impossible without a constitutional amendment. Sure, the Legislature could pass a law prohibiting fund transfers out of the transportation fund, but absent a change to the state’s constitution, the next Governor could just introduce a future budget that repeals this “protection” and not take much of a political hit for it.

*Can the name Robin Williams be used in a sentence without the word "genius" in it? Like in the brilliant Patch Adams, when he puts on the fake nose to make the little kids with cancer laugh? What a great message - it says laughter is the best medicine, unless you happen to be dying of cancer.

*Earmarking sales taxes from a specific source is worthless given the point made above, plus the fact that it just steals money from the general fund, causing a deficit there that would likely be filled from another one-time source. In the end, there wouldn’t be much change to the status quo. And fine, go ahead and lobby the EPA to do away with reformulated gas requirement until you’re blue in the face. That strategy seems to have worked pretty well so far, hasn’t it?

*Ranch dressing! The utility infielder of condiments!

*Just because I raise these concerns, don’t think that I’m not in favor of this plan. I am. I think road projects for the most part are bloated, and are a prime source of government waste. Any government should have to work within the parameters of what the people can afford, and Wisconsin’s gas tax is excessive.

But if the Legislature were to go ahead with this plan, they need to fund it. The State’s road plan scheduled projects between 10 and 15 years ahead of time, and the transportation fund is already facing a shortfall for the projects they have already approved. Merely passing the Walker/Reynolds plan without making cuts to road projects is a little short of honest, as it would create a transportation fund hole the size of which hasn't been seen since Liberace's final colonoscopy.

*Pancakes! Are they the new waffles?

*Conservatism, as I understand it, means lower taxes and smaller government. The plan addresses the lower taxes part, but takes a pass on the smaller government aspect. Less money means scaling back the road building plan. Where is that going to happen? If the Legislature passes a bill that doesn’t make the cuts to fund the loss in revenue just to get a cheap political vote and get a lap dance from conservative bloggers, it better be ready to increase the tax in the future or increase vehicle registration fees, which is the other way roads are funded.

*If I were arguing in favor of gas tax indexing (which I am not), I would point out that if there ever was something that could be considered "Republican spending," it would be road building. New and improved roads generate economic development - think the state could get by without renovating the Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee? Is there any question that businesses would help revitalize the north side of Milwaukee if there were a northern highway similar to I-894 to the south? Instead, all the north side malls are rotting and businesses are fleeing en masse. There's a reason this plan is usually proposed by Democrats - it would substantially curtail road building, which placates the environmental left wing.

*We can clone dogs but we can't make a pair of adult diapers that don't make me look like I dropped a couple egg rolls in my shorts?

*One final note: It's fine to believe legislators are in the pocket of this special interest group or that. Cynicism is healthy. But it's a charge that is often thrown around without any facts, and is a cheap political trick generally used by liberals. It would be a shame to see conservatives resort to this type of trashing without evidence against fellow conservatives. If you have names, dates, and contributions that you can tie to specific legislation or legislative action, by all means make that connection known. Disclosure laws already exist that shed the light on most contributions, which is in stark contrast to the old days when state contracts could have been sold to the highest bidder and nobody would ever know. But generally decrying the influence of money in government only leads to more heavy handed regulation of political speech, and we've seen how convoluted that can be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Turkey Day!


I'm shuttin' the ol' blog down for a few days while I try to break the world caloric intake record over the weekend. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and gets to spend time with their family (although often those two goals are mutually exclusive). If you can, be sure to help a food pantry out to make the holidays a little better for someone else. I mean, who are you kidding - that can of green beans has been sitting in your cabinet for a year!

As for me, I'm thankful for all of you that have come to my little dopey blog to check out my posts. I'm also thankful for all the support I've gotten from my new pals in the blogosphere - a lot of them are on my blogroll over there ----->, and a few you will have to find yourself. Most importantly, I am thankful that I am not Corey Feldman.

If you happen to be the poor sucker that my single, chain-smoking aunt drags to this year's feast, I apologize ahead of time for the rest of my family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Planned Parenthood Advocate Terminated in 258th Trimester

From the obituary:

"In his long years at Planned Parenthood, Roy Holly probably helped oversee the medical care of more women than just about any doctor in the state.

'We were then the Planned Parenthood Association and had the one big clinic at 12th and State in downtown Milwaukee,' said Barbara Jane 'B.J.' Bacon, now vice president for patient services at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

'As medical director, Dr. Holly was in charge of running the program,' she said. "And we saw 13,000 to 15,000 patients a year.'"

Let's see... 13,000 to 15,000 patients for 17 years? I'm sure those 221,000 to 255,000 children that were never born are appreciative of his efforts.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Canonization of "Saint Lyndee"

It's payback time.

In 2001, disaffected state worker Lyndee Wall dialed up Dee Hall from the Wisconsin State Journal to "blow the whistle" on what she had seen as a worker at the Assembly Republican Caucus in Madison. Wall went into great detail and provided documentation to Hall, and was largely credited for sparking the entire recent investigation into legislative ethics.

As soon as Hall’s puff piece about caucus “scandal” informant Wall surfaced this morning, I immediately received e-mails from Capitol staffers and ex-staffers asking me to offer a more balanced view of Ms. Wall (now Woodliff). Backed with documentation provided from past press stories, they painted a picture of Wall's motives for coming forward that is far different than Hall portrays of her buddy Lyndee. After reading the article, it's hard to understand how the Catholic Church could have possibly passed over Wall in favor of Joseph Ratzinger for the next Pope.

From the article:

"The reason I was willing to accept the personal risk ... was because I truly, deeply cherish my democracy more than the security of my state paycheck," Woodliff said recently.

"I couldn't bear the fact that while I worked there, I was being paid by taxpayers to commit crimes against their democracy."

Oh really?

Maybe the most notable crime against democracy occurred on November 30th of 2000 when the police were called to investigate Ms. Wall drunkenly trying to kick in window at Ken’s Bar near the Capitol after she found out her boyfriend, a Republican state legislator, was cheating on her. The relationship with the legislator reportedly ended in April of 2001, right about the time Wall decided to go public with the legislature's dirty laundry. (She apparently got over the relationship fairly quickly, seeing as how she now has a 3 year old son - do the math.)

After this episode, Wall called Dee Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal to “blow the whistle” on alleged abuses she had witnessed as an employee of the Assembly Republican Caucus. Many around the Capitol still apparently believe she did so as retribution for her boyfriend’s activities, not out of any sense of “cherishing her democracy.” In the article, Wall said that she knew her first day on the job that there was something "drastically illegal" going on at the Assembly Republican Caucus. Apparently, she had no problem with breaking the law for nine months after that first day.

So there you have it. Hall's brave and "idealistic" heroine likely used to her to get revenge on an-ex lover. How courageous. But because Wall gave Hall the story she had already written in her head, the love fest now continues with people like Jay Heck of Common Cause comparing her to "Deep Throat." (Heck is apparently unmoved by the irony created by his tenure at the Senate Democratic Caucus.) Steven Walters of the Journal Sentinel wrote an article in 2001 about Wall that is similarly gushing, but at least acknowledges the "unwise personal choices" Wall made during her tenure in the legislature.

What makes this recent Dee Hall article so objectionable is the tongue bath treatment Hall gives her former informant. Obviously, Wall delivered the goods back in 2001, and now it is payback time. Exactly what was the story here that merited a front page story? The fact that she has left the Legislature, never suffered any type of meaningful retribution, and lives a fairly normal life?

In fact, the article strains to give Wall credit to the degree that it actually makes misleading statements. For instance, it says “Now, more than four years later, two Democratic state senators have pleaded guilty to related charges, and cases are pending against three Republican legislators.”

Presumably, Hall is referring to Chuck Chvala and Brian Burke as the two Democratic state senators who have pleaded guilty to "related charges." In fact, the charges against Burke and Chvala had nothing to do with the so-called "caucus scandal." Chvala was charged with running a front group that he and and his Chief of Staff, Doug Burnett (who worked for Chvala, not the caucus) controlled, and extorting money from lobbyists to illegally fund Democratic legislative races.

Burke was busted for falsifying per diem sheets and for shaking down lobbyists in his office, while the "caucus scandal" dealt primarily with the partisan staffs used primarily for election purposes. As long as she's stretching the truth, Hall might as well throw Gary George's conviction in there with the rest, just to further pad the numbers a little bit.

To date, Wall's accusations against legislators and legislative staff have yet to yield a single criminal conviction.

Of course, just because Wall may have had questionable motives for coming forward, it doesn't discredit anything she revealed when she came forward in 2001. This post isn't an attempt to smear Wall, just an attempt at giving a fuller explanation of why she did what she did. Everything she said may be the truth, and she may be a wonderful human being (that occasionally gets drunk and tries to kick in bar windows). In fact, I think elimination of the partisan caucuses is a good thing, and a more sensible use of taxpayer dollars.

What is truly disappointing, however, is Dee Hall's sycophantic portrayal of Wall as an independent, courageous voice - without ever even acknowledging the significant personal issues that were likely driving her crusade. Everyone in state government and in the press knew about the caucuses, and few citizens were shocked when reports surfaced that ***NEWS FLASH*** legislators were trying to get re-elected. Wall simply provided the press with information that they were too lazy to get via open records request themselves (more on this later).

Apparently at the State Journal, what matters is who gives you the information, not the facts as they occured. Future readers of Dee Hall articles should wonder whether she's hiding details to protect the reputation of her sources.

SIDE NOTE: The graphic that accompanies the print copy of the story shows a memo distributed to caucus staff by caucus director Jason Kratochwill that essentially says "don't ever put our illegal activities in writing." A typed memo. Distributed to his employees. Is there a Stupidity Hall of Fame?

UPDATE: The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board plant their lips firmly on Ms. Woodliff's backside the next day with this editorial, in which they say "political hacks tried to smear Wall's reputation. But it didn't work."

Oh really? Political hacks like Spivak and Bice and Steven Walters at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel? Or did they just actually report what happened and not what they wish happened? A search of statewide media shows that the Wisconsin State Journal never acknowledged what could have been Wall's motivation for blowing the whistle, while other papers dug a little deeper. In my post above, all I do is link to information made public by papers other than the "Lyndee Times," A.K.A. the State Journal.

Of course, actually reporting the facts would have forced the State Journal to stop patting themselves on the back and trying to win awards for a few minutes.

Least Requsted Song - Ever

1. Find the one you love
2. Lower the lights
3. Break out the scented oils
4. Brush your teeth (your breath is pretty bad. Seriously. No, seriously.)
5. Turn the stereo on...

Just when you think the nutjob campaign finance reform crowd can't be any more self-parodying, feast your ears on this nugget: "The People's Legislature Song."

I have been critical of The People's Legislature in the past (and will continue to do so), but this really takes the cake - and provides a portal to who exactly makes up "The People's Legislature." Even the song ridicules Republican involvement (see my previous post for info on Carol Mcky.)

Let's just say Casey Kasem isn't coming out of retirement for this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CRG Announces Recall Against Mayor McCheese

In a stunning announcement, Citizens for Responsible Government has announced that they will be filing recall papers against the Mayor of McDonaldland, Mayor McCheese.

"Mayor McCheese is rotten beef that needs to be recalled," said Chris Kliesmet, organizer of McDonaldland CRG. "It is appalling that McCheese would refuse to pay me a lot of money to show him how to save money in city government," said Kliesmet. "Not giving in to my blackmail attempt is a clear sign that he is corrupt," added Kliesmet.

When asked why he would plan to recall the wildly popular McCheese three weeks before the next general election, Kliesmet answered, "The people can't be trusted to make the right decision about who they elect. Therefore, we need to trust the people to make the right decision about who they elect, just three weeks earlier. It's all about trusting the people, who can't be trusted."

Feather Bees, spokeswoman for MCRG, said "It was important for the whole group of us, none of whom actually live in McDonaldland, to go in and tell the people of that city who their mayor should be. Since I'm really not all that bright, it has never occurred to me how stupid it looks for me to meddle in their city's politics, given the fact that McDonaldland is entirely capable of electing a mayor infinitely more objectionable than McCheese," said Bees.

Kliesmet also cited McCheese’s opposition to a proposed McDonaldland constitutional amendment that would restrict the growth in the number of ketchup packets handed out by each restaurant. Kliesmet referred to McCheese as a "BINO (Burger in Name Only)" for turning his back on the plight of processed meat everywhere.

Speaking at a public hearing last year, McCheese bemoaned what the constitutional amendment would do to his city, saying it would cause draconian cutbacks in napkin quality and force everyone to drink out of straws less than an inch long. “If we are forced to cut back, the prisons will close and hardened criminals like the Hamburglar will run wild in McDonaldland,” said McCheese.

Orville Seymer of CRG immediately accused McCheese of government intimidation, saying last night he witnessed a sweaty, morbidly obese purple figure hunched over, slashing his tires. Originally believed to be McCheese's henchman Grimace, it was later determined to be Kirstie Alley.

McCheese’s legal problems began in 1973, when he was successfully sued by Sid and Marty Krofft for being a ripoff of H.R. Pufinstuff. Following the lawsuit, McCheese fell into depression, battling addiction to Secret Sauce. Following an arrest for soliciting a prostitute, McCheese attempted to commit suicide by feeding himself to a terrier. The dog declined the invitation when he realized he would be eating his cousin, Javier.

“Mayor McCheese is in a real pickle," said noted UW Professor of Lunchmeat Politics Avery von Snooterston. "Generally, politics is so complicated only highly educated UW professors can understand it, so I'll try to make it understandable to you common folks. He's fried," said von Snooterston.

In order to deflect attention from the recall movement, McCheese announced his intention to invade Subway, as he had heard Jared is developing some lethally good chipotle dressing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Martin Luther Speaks Against Self Defense from the Grave

My favorite arbiter of right and wrong, the Reverend Sue Moline Larson, has returned to tell us why carrying concealed weapons is wrong, and that Martin Luther himself would have opposed the concept (For a complete roundup on my thoughts about Reverend Sue, go here).

In a Wisconsin State Journal editorial on Sunday, Larson channels Luther, saying unequivocally that Luther would oppose carrying concealed weapons (she most likely got this idea from his translation of the Bible that includes the passage "I get scared when I go to Minnesota.") I don't suppose anyone in the early 1500s was carrying around any weapons on them. Were there even murder laws then?

After going through a semi-lucid account of how the Bible is like the U.S. Constitution (in that they are interpreted differently in different times), this astonishing passage appears:

In today's consumer culture, expense is not an issue. Guns can be purchased in shops, ordered online, collected at gun shows, or bought from a neighbor. For gun owners, a firearm is as common as having a chainsaw or a Weber grill. If the bill they support becomes law, more people will bring guns to the grocery store, gas station, library, child-care centers, shopping mall and even church.

The people of Wisconsin don't want that. An April 2003 survey by the Public Policy Forum, a non-partisan, nonprofit research organization in Milwaukee, found that only 27 percent of Wisconsinites supported allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons.

I'll leave comment on the first paragraph to the devoted gun people to make the case that this makes us all safer, and you would just be legalizing carrying a weapon for those people that are already carrying weapons into these places. There wouldn't be an increase in the number of guns at all - just a legal recognition that people are already carrying them, and a licensing provosion that makes sure that those who are carrying them are competent.

What amazes me is the fact that Reverend Sue, as the director of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, would actually cite a poll of Wisconsin residents in her push against concealed carry. What religion bases their beliefs on public opinion? You think you'd ever see a press release from the Catholic Church that says "55% of Wisconsinites believe abortion is wrong, so therefore it must be?" You think the Catholic Church is going to change its stance on birth control because a high percentage of women use it? Is the divinity of Christ in question if a certain percentage of Wisconsin residents believe he ain't coming back?

I'm no theologian, but religions exist to dictate public opinion, not reflect it.

Side note: I'm also a fan of this statistic she uses: People who live in a home where there is a handgun are four times more likely to have someone in the house accidentally shot. The newsflash here: somehow 20% of people who are accidentally shot get shot in a home with no gun in it. How does this happen?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rallying Behind Steven A. Stehling - Go For It!

I read the following passage from a post at "Standards and Grudges," and was genuinely moved.

For the past two years there's been one girl that I've had very strong feelings about. I screwed it up the first time around, but I never could shake those feelings for her and believe me I tried. I found myself making excuses to ignore those feelings and rationalizing that now is not a good time to make a move. I was constantly setting another benchmark that needed to be accomplished before I tried again. Time kept going by and I waited. I'm tired of waiting. The feelings I have for her haven't changed in two years. Obviously trying to ignore those feelings isn't working. Lately has been especially difficult. I've had more contact with her, but by no means a lot. I actually see her maybe once or twice a month. But I've been dreaming about her lately. Very strange dreams. I can't seem to get her out of my head and my subconscious seems to be giving me an ultimatum.

I've decided that excuses be damned. Get the girl or die trying. I have to make a move, but what kind of move? I could work my way into gradually spending more time with her or I could just blurt it out. Maybe a combination of the two. I'll admit that the dreams I've been having fall along the lines of blurting it out. Probably a bad move, but the urge to do so is strong. At this point I think any amount of planning is pointless. I've suppressed this for so long that I don't have much will power to resist my feelings and abide by a plan.

For us guys, I think we have all been there. There's a girl that you can't get out of your head, and it just kills you. The thought of her makes you stay up all night, babbling incoherently. You pencil her name in your notebooks over and over. You try to find out where she hangs out, so you can occasionally "bump" into her. You construct an elaborate tunnel system underneath her house and camp out with a stethoscope held up to her floor, to hear everything she says. Okay, maybe that last one is just me.

You don't even really want a physical relationship - your reward is to just be in the same room with her as much as possible to feel the electric nervousness you get when she is around. You just want to be privy to the way her hair falls over her eyes and she flips it back, the way she giggles at your jokes that don't necessarily deserve a laugh, and the way she bites her lip and looks at the ground when she smiles. She has no idea how big all the little things are to you, but you soak them all in.

You sit home and try to devise ways that you can trick her into being with you forever (since the last time you wore full body length spandex and a Seattle Seahawks helmet to her house didn't work). You feel like you have a bowling ball in your stomach when she's around. When the doctor tells you that you do, in fact, have a bowling ball in your stomach, you realize you have to take action, as you have only 12 minutes to live.

You play Scooter Libby and try to leak sensitive, classified information to her via friends, to see what she thinks. True story - in high school, I had a friend of a girl that I liked call her while I was on the other line via three way calling, just to see what she thought about me. During their conversation, my little sister picked up one of the other lines in our house and started yelling "Dennis likes a girl! Dennis likes a girl!" They never found my little sister again after that.

You finally decide that you want to tell her everything about what you think, but it has to be the right time and right place. You spend weeks penning the perfect speech and committing it to memory, as if you are going to debate Stephen A. Douglas. You chicken out at least 34 times before the scene is just right. After a delicious meal at KFC, your heart is pounding and your blood is on fire. You finally stumble through your speech, making nervously unexpected detours through the topics of David Hasselhoff, the occult, Chef Boyardee products, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Seconds later, you will have no recollection of a word you said.

So I want to use my blog for the power of good - we need to get Steven some tips on how he can best court this young lady. Go to the post above and comment to offer him some encouragement, or e-mail him some tips (or e-mail your best tips to me, and I'll post them). I will stay on this until he does give her the big speech, and report on what happened. And if you know this woman, slap her upside the head and tell her she's missing out.

Steven A. Stehling deserves this woman. He has served his country, now it is time for his country to serve him. Help him out!

In Lehman's Terms: He's Toast



Buried in the October 21st Wispolitics REPORT:

A new poll looking at the race to replace GOP Sen. Cathy Stepp shows fellow Republican Racine County Executive Bill McReynolds edging out his Democratic opponent, Rep. John Lehman. The poll, conducted by the Building IndustryCouncil, a group associated with the Wisconsin Builders Association, says McReynolds beats out Lehman in name awareness (73 to 64 percent), "hard awareness" - knowing either candidate well enough to form an opinion (47 to 32 percent), and favorability rating (32 to 20 percent).

The respondents to the poll also said the McReynolds would get 38 percent of the vote if the election were held today, compared to 31 percent to Lehman.

Some candidates stub their toe out of the gate after they announce, but Lehman stubbed his toe, sprained his ankle, fell in the mud, got trampled by a family of hippos, and burst into flames. Here's his quote in the Racine Journal Times in the very article that announces McReynolds' candidacy:


"Bill McReynolds does not have a legislative record," Lehman said, "but he does have a record as a sheriff and county executive that I would love to debate... He has the philosophy of small government, watching taxes. And the question is if that philosophy will best serve Racine County."


So I guess we now know who the candidate of bigger government and not watching taxes is, eh? Is higher taxes the philosophy that will best serve Racine County? It's almost like Lehman is working for the Republican Party - get that man a membership!

It's pretty clear that this election will be war - although it will be the first war in which Lehman will ever see action. He was convicted in 1971 of refusing to submit for induction into the armed services for the Vietnam War and served three months in prison*. He was pardoned by President Gerald Ford, which allows him to currently hold state office (unpardoned felons are prohibited from holding state office).

*Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 6, 1996

Monday, November 14, 2005

My Daughter - Punk Rock Queen


I know nobody likes hearing lame stories about other people's kids, but a seminal event in our family occurred this morning when my two and a half year old daughter declared that her favorite song is the Ramones' "Sheena is a Punk Rocker."

She could now go on to win a Nobel Prize and I wouldn't be as proud of her as I was this morning. She has rejected the Wiggles/Barney/Nemo paradigm and is destined to kick ass.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Steven Avery - Doyle's Poster Boy


Wow. Whoever new blogger Playground Politics is, they come out of the box with a bang, unearthing holy pictures with Jim Doyle and recently minted Wisconsin punchline Steven Avery. Don't suppose we'll be seeing this picture come election time, will we?

Read the link here - and be sure to follow the timeline of what Avery has done besides the disproven rape charge for which he famously served 18 years. The only thing I would add to the timeline would be this egregious lapse in judgement:

2005 - Avery shows up at a press conference celebrating his innocence wearing a pair of jean shorts and a blue t-shirt with a burrito stain on it.

Makes you wonder why politicians would tie their fortunes to a guy who would set a cat on fire.

Here's Playground's take:

Avery has been out of prison hardly more than two years, and now is on the precipice of being convicted of one of the most horrific and brutal slayings that Wisconsin has ever seen. If you won't stand by him now, well, that says one of two things:

You are horrible judges of character, and surely anyone who misjudges a person that badly cannot be entrusted to do the will of the people or to hold a leadership position in the State Legislature.

You are shameless media whores who never really cared about Steven Avery and simply used him as a visual aid to get yourselves on television, on the radio, and in the paper.

Take your pick, gentlemen. Steven Avery is your buddy. Which is it?



UPDATE: For a copy of the the press release Doyle issued at the above press conference, go here. In the release, he bemoans what a poor guy Avery is that he lost his marriage and his job. In hindsight, it appears that Avery's prison time did all those people a service. Doyle says:

Steven Avery spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. At the time of his arrest, Avery had a wife, five children, and a job. When he was released, his wife had divorced him, his children - two of which were less than a week old when he was imprisoned - were grown, and his job was long gone.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Van Hollen's Big Score

In a press release today, Attorney General Candidate J.B. Van Hollen included the attached picture to show how tough on marijuana he is. What Van Hollen doesn't tell you, however, is that the next day, he scored a large amount of a different substance. His office provided me a photo of that announcement, too.





Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Xoff Spin Cycle

I've settled into a cycle with liberal blogger Xoff over at Wispolitics.com, It goes something like this:

1. Xoff posts something completely absurd
2. Xoff posts something completely absurd
3. Xoff posts something completely absurd
4. Xoff posts something that he gets 100 percent correct, leading me to say "this guy actually gets it." I then forget every absurd post he had done previously.
5. Xoff posts something completely absurd
6. Repeat, indefinitely.

I was led to point #4 today by his assessment of John Nichols' opinion piece in the Capital Times, urging Kathleen Falk to run against Governor Jim Doyle instead of Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. I read the editorial with my mouth agape at how stupid a theory it posited. In fact, I don't really have anything more to add to it - just read it yourself. I agree with every word (except the part about Bucher and Van Hollen being extremists). If Nichols wanted Falk to run in a primary against Doyle, he would be handing the GOP the two most important statewide offices in Wisconsin. Exactly how does that promote a "progressive" agenda?

He is also correct in assessing the GOP attacks on Falk. In campaigns, you only need to look at who is being attacked the most to find out who the frontrunner is. He has clearly decided that he wants the office to remain in Democratic hands, so Lautenschlager has to go. In fact, I might get a "Republicans for Lautenschlager" group together to make sure she sneaks through the primary (she will not).

I also have to chuckle at Xoff's turn against Lautenschlager. To his credit, he has been on this for a while - see his June posts. Early on, I did a post critical of State Senator Mary Lazich, and Xoff linked to it, accusing Republicans of "eating their own." In fact, what I wrote was a puff piece compared to the way he's gone after Lautenschlager (I also wrote my article because I legitimately believe Lazich is nuts, not out of any political calculus).

That Xoff is a smart guy.

Wait... he said what today?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Clarence Thomas - Bringin' the Funk

It usually takes me a few days to comment on breaking news, primarily because:

A. I am lazy;
B. I like to think about things before I write about them;
C. I spend a great deal of time locked in the bathroom, sobbing quietly to myself about the fact that Jennifer Garner chose Ben Affleck as her baby daddy and not me.

So here’s my take on the whole Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial where they claim Clarence Thomas should have an asterisk next to his name because he doesn’t represent the views of mainstream black America. My topical column on the O.J. Simpson trial will be forthcoming next week (Spolier alert: I think he might be guilty).

A lot of great blogs have covered the topic up and down, and the controversy has even gotten national attention. The Journal Sentinel even issued a response editorial yesterday trying to explain the editorial, in which they said:


That Thomas' stances while on the Supreme Court are outside the black mainstream is fairly evident, we believe, on such matters as the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, diluting black voting power, proving discrimination and on what constitutes "cruel and unusual."

The single sentence in this editorial did not say Thomas is not black because he departs from other views on these or other topics. It did not, as some respondents contended, insist that all black people must think alike. We are well aware that there is diversity of thought in the black community, but we are also aware that there are some fairly evident common themes derived from common experiences among African-Americans in the United States.

So the MJS doesn’t think Thomas votes the “right” way on this small sliver of topics before the Supreme Court. What the Journal Sentinel fails to recognize, however, is a dirty secret in politics – that in many respects, the African American community is actually more conservative than whites. Take the strong religious black communities in the South (Thomas is from Georgia) – you think they are big on gay rights down there? Think there are a lot of Alabama pastors that own RuPaul records?

A couple weeks ago, “WNBA superstar” Sheryl Swoopes came out of the closet, admitting she was gay. This would put her directly at odds with “mainstream black Americans.” Does this mean that Swoopes now deserves an asterisk? Think she woke up the morning after she declared she was gay and realized that suddenly she wasn’t black enough?

Side note: The phrase “WNBA superstar” is an oxymoron. Like “unscented perfume.” 99% of WNBA players couldn’t get their name in the paper if they faked their own kidnapping and ended up in a marsh.

You think there aren’t African American families in the urban centers of Milwaukee that are conservative on crime issues? Every home break-in that occurs immediately gives birth to two new political philosophies – liberal (the criminal) and conservative (the victim). I imagine African Americans that work three jobs to support their families aren’t particularly sympathetic to a thug rifling through their personal possessions.

It is clear that the Journal Sentinel puts more emphasis one one’s “blackness” based on a handful of issues. But what about the other 98% of cases that come before the Court? What is the “black” position on abortion, for instance? What is the “black” position on euthanasia, or application of the Commerce Clause, or the exclusionary rule, or religion in public schools, or vouchers, or illegal search and seizure? All these issues deserve serious legal contemplation, and Thomas has shown himself up to the task on each.

If the only acceptable "black" position to the MJS is to be in favor of racial preferences, does that make Ruth Bader Ginsburg a "black" justice? Should we now give her an asterisk because she doesn't reflect the views of mainstream white Americans? This week on "Pimp My Ride - Justice Ginsburg gets a hot tub and disco ball installed in her 1982 El Dorado.

(Keep in mind that in 1977 as an ACLU attorney, Ginsurg wrote that the age of consent for sexual activity should be lowered to 12 years old - a move hailed as "revolutionary" by singer R. Kelly. Given that opinion, I would happily trade Ginsburg to to The Black Team for, say, Halle Berry, as long as she promises not to make "Catwoman 2.")

It is pretty clear that the Journal Sentinel is interested only in a justice that can produce their desired results in a few select issue areas, regardless of how one actually reads the facts of the cases before them. Conservatives objected to Harriet Miers' confirmation on this very principle - while the White House seemed to be making assurances that Miers would overurn Roe v. Wade, Miers' breathtaking paucity of experience on other more mundane issues what what forced her to rescind her nomination.

If we wanted a justice that reflects the “black” position on just a handful of issues, we should just end the charade and appoint George Clinton to the Supreme Court. At least then, we would be “one nation under a groove.”

Future Headline: "Supreme Court to Rule on Constitutionality of Waving Your Hands In the Air As if You Did Not Care."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a serious note, here is an excerpt from Thomas' dissent in the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case, which upheld portions of the University of Michigan's racial preference entrance policy. If you want, read it to the tune of P-Funk's "Flashlight," if you think that makes it sound "blacker."

Justice Thomas, with whom Justice Scalia joins as to Parts I-VII, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Frederick Douglass, speaking to a group of abolitionists almost 140 years ago, delivered a message lost on today's majority:

"[I]n regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us... . I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! ... And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... [Y]our interference is doing him positive injury." What the Black Man Wants: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts, on 26 January 1865, reprinted in 4 The Frederick Douglass Papers 59, 68 (J. Blassingame & J. McKivigan eds. 1991) (emphasis in original).

Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators. Because I wish to see all students succeed whatever their color, I share, in some respect, the sympathies of those who sponsor the type of discrimination advanced by the University of Michigan Law School (Law School). The Constitution does not, however, tolerate institutional devotion to the status quo in admissions policies when such devotion ripens into racial discrimination. Nor does the Constitution countenance the unprecedented deference the Court gives to the Law School, an approach inconsistent with the very concept of "strict scrutiny."

No one would argue that a university could set up a lower general admission standard and then impose heightened requirements only on black applicants. Similarly, a university may not maintain a high admission standard and grant exemptions to favored races. The Law School, of its own choosing, and for its own purposes, maintains an exclusionary admissions system that it knows produces racially disproportionate results. Racial discrimination is not a permissible solution to the self-inflicted wounds of this elitist admissions policy.

The majority upholds the Law School's racial discrimination not by interpreting the people's Constitution, but by responding to a faddish slogan of the cognoscenti. Nevertheless, I concur in part in the Court's opinion. First, I agree with the Court insofar as its decision, which approves of only one racial classification, confirms that further use of race in admissions remains unlawful. Second, I agree with the Court's holding that racial discrimination in higher education admissions will be illegal in 25 years. See ante, at 31 (stating that racial discrimination will no longer be narrowly tailored, or "necessary to further" a compelling state interest, in 25 years). I respectfully dissent from the remainder of the Court's opinion and the judgment, however, because I believe that the Law School's current use of race violates the Equal Protection Clause and that the Constitution means the same thing today as it will in 300 months.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wisopinion.com "Blog of the Month"

In a sign that the standards over at Wispolitics.com are dropping at an alarming rate, they have named my little blog here as their "Blog of the Month."

Many thanks to the bored employees over there who obviously haven't found any good blogs to read yet. And good luck getting the award out of my cold, dead hands.

In true Hollywood fashion, I feel like I need to now give a speech about how Bush only went into Iraq for the oil, how all the votes haven't been counted in Florida and Ohio, and how Dick Cheney secretly employs puppies in a sweatshop in his basement. Instead, I think I'll have a Kit Kat left over from Halloween and call it a night.

Again, thanks - to both my readers.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Doyle/Nichols Love Child: Cooking the Books on Gas Prices

What do you get when you combine a popular public issue, a press hungry governor, a dishonest UW “economist” and a lazy press?

You get articles like this one, in which Governor Doyle calls for oil companies to return $88 million to Wisconsin consumers, saying they had been “gouged” in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From the article:

"To price-gouge consumers under normal circumstances, that's dishonest enough," Doyle said. "But to make money off the misery of others is downright immoral."

Exactly what is price gouging “under normal circumstances?” Aren’t “extraordinary circumstances” exactly what cause gouging to be gouging? If someone doubled the price of toilet paper under normal circumstances, you’d figure out a way to get it cheaper. If someone doubled the price of toilet paper after you had downed an order of Denny's Moons Over My Hammy, that would be (the worst type of) gouging, and an extraordinarily bad circumstance all around.

And just how did Jim Doyle come up with this $88 million number? He called his buddy, Doyle campaign contributor and University of Wisconsin-Madison “economist” Donald Nichols to cook up a bogus “study” that purports to show oil companies overcharging consumers.

One needs only to read this laughable “study” to realize either:

1. What a terrible economist Don Nichols is, barely capable of teaching a seventh grade economics class;

2. What a political hack Don Nichols is, willing to stain his reputation by putting out a dishonest politically motivated “study” to help his preferred candidate, Jim Doyle, get a good press hit;

3. How lazy the press is that they themselves wouldn’t even bother to read the study written by Nichols and used by Doyle as the centerpiece of this naked press hit;

4. All of the above.

Nichols’ thesis is essentially this: Since the price per barrel of oil before Katrina was roughly the same as it was after Katrina, then the price of gas shouldn’t be any greater. See the bottom of page 6 of his study, where he projects what the price of gas should be given the price of a barrel of oil.

In doing this politically motivated calculation, Nichols ignores all the differences in gas production and marketing that occurred after Katrina. For instance, crude oil has to be refined before it becomes gas. Refineries off the gulf coast went off line for weeks after the hurricane, which left a shortage of refined gas. Although the supply of crude oil wasn’t affected in any substantial way, the process of turning that crude oil into gas was affected significantly, which left less gas for the same number of consumers.

To put it in Wisconsin terms, imagine if cows around the state were inflicted with a disease that caused half of them to stop producing milk. By Nichols’ logic, milk should stay the same price because there were just as many cows as there were before the disease hit, although there is now half as much milk being produced.

Additionally, transporting the refined gas after the hurricane proved to be a tremendous challenge. Trucks and tankers couldn’t enter the region for weeks, which led to scarcer supply of refined gas.

Nichols also completely ignores the market force of increased demand on gas prices (being an economist, he likely has heard of both “supply” and “demand”). After Katrina hit and the stories of the shortage of refined gas were plastered all over the news, citizens across the U.S. rushed out to get gas, fearing a crippling shortage might be imminent. And when citizens are willing to pay a certain price for something, businesses are usually willing to sell it for that price.

I love it when consumers sit in line for a long time and complain how expensive gas is. They never figure out that gas is that expensive because you are willing to sit in line for a long time to get it. Generally, consumers think that cheap gas is some kind of birthright that government has to supply for them. "How dare those mean gas stations sell something for a price that I am so willing to pay!"

If gas stations held the price of gas down artificially for the sake of the good of mankind, there would have been lines miles long for gas and there would have been shortages, as the first people in line would have bought it all up. Maybe Nichols missed his economics class on the way to becoming an economist, but prices are one way a free market has of rationing goods and supplies. Surely he remembers the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, where the government mandated price controls, thereby exacerbating the scarcity of gas and causing long lines and gas shortages around the U.S.

So what would cause such a distinguished economist at the UW to provide such a sloppy “study” of gas prices? Could it be the four contributions he has made to Governor Jim Doyle, totaling $350? Or the numerous contributions he has made to Chuck Chvala, or the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee? (For his full list of contributions, click here and here.)

I assume the call went something like this:

Doyle: “Don, it’s me, Jim. I need a favor.”

Nichols: “I’ve already given you almost four hundred bucks. On my measly $136,000 per year salary, I can’t afford to give any more. It’s like getting syrup from a turnip.”

Doyle: “Don’t wet your pants, Donnie. This is even better. I need you to put on your lab coat and cook me up some numbers that show oil companies are gouging Wisconsin consumers. And make it a big number, like $200 billion.”

Nichols: “I’ll make it $88 million if you throw in a George Foreman grill.”

Doyle: “Deal!”

In fact, some enterprising reporter might want to take a look at the Doyle office correspondence with Nichols, either by phone or e-mail. Did Doyle actually order the report, or did Nichols loan out his demonstrable intellect on his own accord?

Of course, since this fraudulent press hit, gas prices have dropped without any government interference, due to refineries coming back online, transportation being more available, and consumer demand subsiding somewhat. In fact, gas prices are falling to below pre-Katrina levels. Apparently Nichols knows exactly how much money oil companies should be making (to the dollar). I am anxiously awaiting Doyle’s press release calling on Wisconsin consumers to write a check to the oil companies to make up for the revenue they are losing by keeping gas prices so low.

I would hope Nichols would flunk any one of his students that came to him with such a shoddy report. Apparently in all his years of study, Nichols has learned the most important economic lesson of all – suck up to the governor, academic standards be damned.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sex Offender of the Month


You may know him as Corey, your friends may know him as Samuel or Leroy, but he's known here at the York Website as the Sex Offender of the Month. Our congratulations to Corey L Reynolds, convicted on November 10th of 1998 for Repeated Acts of Sexual Assault Against the Same Child. In just a few days, you will celebrate your seventh year of terrorizing families in Madison with small children.

He's #00362347 in the penal system, but #1 in our hearts. Monthly winners of the Sex Offender Award will win a bottle of Johnson and Johnson baby oil and a free parking space in hell for all eternity.

Congrats, Corey/Samuel/Leroy. Castration is too good for you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Who is making all that oil money again?

It's not often I get to toot my own horn (at least not with anyone else in the house), so I'll do so now. Before all the post-Katrina indignation about gas prices and how all the evil oil companies were gouging consumers, I wrote this post, which exposed the hypocrisy of Democrats on the issue.

Yesterday, Governor Doyle issued a statement that he would be calling oil executives from around the country to answer questions about rising gas prices. One question - since gas prices have actually fallen up to 80 cents per gallon over the last month without government intervention, why isn't he asking them to answer questions about why they are forfeiting enormous potential profits to keep prices down? What a cheap and tawdry tactic - pretend you are having some bogus investigation into gas prices, when in fact there is absolutely nothing Jim Doyle can do about the prices set by the market across the U.S. Even if there were a justification for government interference in the market, it would be a federal problem, not a state one. For Doyle to imply that he's doing something about gas prices is just a sham.

In the process of this obnoxious grandstanding, Doyle released this release on October 27th, in response to Exxon's third quarter earnings reports. In it, Doyle says:

“Following one of the biggest natural disasters to hit America, the world’s largest oil companies are reaping record profits. To price-gouge consumers under normal circumstances is dishonest enough, but to make money off of the misery of others is downright immoral.”

“This week’s reports make it crystal clear that these oil companies have reaped more than enough profits to give a refund to U.S. consumers,” Governor Doyle said. “There are proposals currently in Congress that would require a refund, but we have yet to see action on them. This issue is not going to go away on its own, or with action only on the state level. I again urge Congress to act immediately on behalf of millions of Americans by investigating the excessive profits being made by oil companies, and demanding a refund.”

Not to be outdone, Senator Russ Decker, who won't even let a high blood alcohol content keep him from filling his tank up with expensive gas, issued this release demanding oil companies give their profits back. He says:

“It turns my stomach to see these greedy oil companies who are already making enormous profits getting billions of dollars in tax breaks while the hard working folks in Wisconsin struggle to squeeze every nickel out of every dollar just to be able to fill up with gas so they can drive to work,” said Decker.

“If Congress does not act then we will demand that the Republican leadership in the Legislature convene a special session to review local windfall profits tax alternatives. I shudder at the thought that the children of Wisconsin will shiver in cold homes and schools this winter because of the unconscionable actions of the oil companies,” concluded Decker.


...Just make sure those poor children aren't out riding their bikes on a night Decker is plowing through your neighborhood, Lautenschlager-style. Note to Decker: Maybe that stomach-turning sensation is the fifth of Wild Turkey you forgot you drank last night.

Well, fortunately, I can save the U.S. taxpayers the time and money on an investigation into who is profiting off of these "immoral" profits. I reviewed the stock holdings of Russ Decker, and found that he might want to look himself in the mirror if he wants to find out who is profiting from high gas prices.

According to legislator ethics statements, Decker holds between $5,000 and $50,000 in the Vanguard Institutional Index Plus Fund. According to the Vanguard website, the #1 stock holding of this fund is Exxon-Mobil. In fact, the fund also holds shares of Chevron and Conoco-Phillips.

With this information in mind, I now challenge you to go back and re-read Decker's quote and challenge yourself to keep your Whopper with Cheese down. Who is "greedy?" Who is profiting on the backs of Wisconsin children who will be shivering in the cold come winter time? Is Russ Decker going to be returning all of the windfall profits he received from the oil companies?

If you clicked on my previous post above, you have seen that there are other hypocritical Democratic legislators that continue to make money as stockholders in oil companies, while decrying the "greed" of "big oil." (By the way, is there any other kind of oil company? Are there any "small oil" companies setting up in strip malls?)

For the most egregious example, see Fred Risser's holdings in Exxon in excess of $50,000. On September 16th of this year, Risser was quoted in Wispolitics:

The price of gasoline isn't due to the mark-up law. It's due to the oil cartels.--Democratic Sen. Fred Risser before a Senate committee 3-2 rejected Zien's bill to repeal the state's so-called minimum mark-up law.

The most disappointing thing about the whole gas price issue is the willingness by which press outlets are willing to swallow statements whole, without challenging them. The information I provided above is public information, available to anyone with an internet connection. This isn't exactly cloak and dagger stuff. Yet each time Doyle opens his mouth on gas prices, the media is there to dutifully reprint it, without ever asking questions about whether such an investigation might be an immense waste of time and taxpayer money for a cheap press hit.

As for Decker and Risser, I hope they take their windfall profits and buy blankets for all those poor children that are going to freeze to death because of their "greed."