Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Weekend Boost

Given the number of weird cravings I get, you’d think I was seven months pregnant. Then again, you’d get that idea by looking at my gut. But this weekend, I decided that I wanted something from Jamba Juice to beat the heat. I have never been to Jamba Juice (or any other smoothie establishment) in my life, so this was a big step. Normally, I get my required daily serving of fruit from a variety of Jolly Ranchers.

I immediately began the process of planning out my trip to Jamba Juice. I got on the computer and looked up their location (State Street) and checked out their incomprehensible menu. Once I decided what I wanted, I practiced saying it over and over again, so I didn’t look like “guy who had never been to Jamba Juice.” I finally settled on the “Orange Dream Machine,” which sounded like a good deal since all it would cost me to get it would be $4.25 and my testicles.

I drove all the way down to State Street in search of my smooth, icy friend. When I finally got to the store, I walked in and I was the only male amongst about 12 females. Having said “Original Orange Dream Machine” about 200 times on the drive in, I confidently ordered, while triumphantly pulling out my wallet. But then, as if a microcosm of life, things got much more complicated.

Sensing I was a little overconfident, the guy behind the counter suddenly threw me a curveball and offered me something called a “boost.” I was completely unprepared for this. Suddenly, my palms got clammy and I became shifty and evasive. I was breathing into a paper bag when he pointed me to a little chart of what kind of “boost” I was eligible for.

At this point, you are forced to reflect on the state of your life and how this drink can be improved to meet your needs. Need more energy? There’s a boost for that. Lacking protein? There’s a boost for that. Do you feel that your immune system is lacking the ability to fight off viral intruders? Get the “Immunity Boost.” (Although I’m quite certain that boost makes you immune to ever seeing another naked woman.) Evidently, there is also a "Femme Boost," which is mandatory for any man who goes to Jamba Juice more than twice in a fiscal year.

Having taken a moment to take stock of my life, I decided the energy boost was for me. I handed over my money, now wet from perspiration, to the guy behind the counter. He seemed a little overly satisfied, having “outed” me as a first-timer. I could feel the contempt from the other customers burning the back of my neck. I was just anxious to finally wrap my lips around my fruity orange friend.

I realized at that point how great the whole "boost" concept was. What if other eating establishments could put things in your food that enhanced the true effect of the food? You could go order a pizza with the "fat boost." You could go to Burger King and just have them sprinkle your double Whopper with a boost of arsenic, to speed up your dying process.

Once it was in hand, I began the long sojourn back to my car. At this point, I realized that I should have really stopped off and picked something else up at a nearby store, so people didn’t know that I went down to State Street just to go to Jamba Juice. About halfway to my car, I realized that they probably gave me the “gay boost.” I suddenly felt the desire to own a poodle. I think if someone beat me up while drinking an Orange Dream Machine, that would qualify as a hate crime.

Here's my great marketing idea for Jamba Juice - for $1.00 more, you can get your drink in a cup that doesn't have the words "Jamba Juice" on it. I'd pay it - then I could walk down the street and drink it in peace. Make it one of those nondescript "to go" cups you get at a diner. Or have the cup say "This Drink Was NOT Purchased at Jamba Juice." That will fool everyone.

When I relayed the horrifying experience to a buddy, he said I played it totally wrong – I should have acted like a guy who had never been to Jamba Juice before. He thinks I would have won more respect from people in the store if I clearly had no idea what I was doing. And I think he’s right, which reminded me of another time where I had to play dumb.

About 10 years ago, I went to a bachelor party in Vegas for one of my uncles. Naturally, the party ended up at an “adult establishment,” which wouldn't have been that bad, except that my Dad was there. So I had to totally act like I had no idea where I was, including saying things like:

“This looks like a nice place – what are all these nice ladies doing here? All the lights and noise – I’m so confused! Excuse me, miss – If I put this $20 bill on the stage, do you think you could make change for me? I really need a Diet Pepsi.”

The final Jamba Juice verdict? The drink was fantastic. As was the nice Nine West purse I picked up on sale at Field's on the drive home.

Positively Doylean

Given his naked exploitation of the mentally ill and kids with diseases, it's just a matter of time before Jim Doyle resorts to this:

Josh Rales, a Democratic candidate for Maryland's U.S. Senate seat, paid a drug-treatment center in Baltimore to drive its recovering addicts to last week's debate in College Park, where they held signs supporting his campaign. About 20 patients from the I Can't, We Can (ICWC) drug-treatment and counseling center in northwest Baltimore attended the debate, said Adrian Harpool, president of the 21st Century Group, a Baltimore public-relations firm hired by the Rales campaign to recruit volunteers.

"It's not something that happens on a regular basis," Mr. Harpool said, adding that the recovering addicts were unpaid volunteers who were to help post signs but ended up holding the placards. "It was a real error in judgment on my part."

Using recovering addicts as campaign supporters does not appear to be illegal, said a spokeswoman for the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Kelly Huff said campaigns can use their money for "pretty much any lawful purpose as long as it relates to the campaign."

Still, Derek Walker, executive director for the Maryland Democratic Party, said the Rales campaign's volunteer-recruiting method was unusual. "I have not heard of it being done," Mr. Walker said. "Certainly, you get supporters to events in any way you can."

Mr. Rales, a Bethesda real estate investor and political newcomer, has spent $2 million this month on TV ads and could spend up to $5 million of his own money running for the Senate.

After last week's debate at the University of Maryland, Mr. Rales said he was "not familiar" with the treatment center but that he had no problem with recovering drug addicts holding the signs. "If I can help people who have some drug issues ... participate in the democratic process, I think that's great," he said.

Somewhere, the Doyle campaign is kicking itself for not thinking of this first.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Be a Poocher Smoocher

In June, federal officials seized 46 pit bulls from the property of Robert Lowery of the Town of Dunn, which in near Madison. Lowery is suspected of running a pit bull fighting operation, although the criminal charges against him deal with drug trafficking and possessing firearms as a convicted felon.

As a result of the raid, there are now 46 pit bulls which have to be cared for at the Dane County Humane Society. Not only do these pit bulls have to be fed and cared for, they also have to be guarded at all times, so nobody comes to steal them. They can't be euthanized, as Lowery won't relinquish his ownership rights. This becomes an expensive proposition for an agency that barely had the funds to operate under normal capacity. It appears that the Humane Society is asking the county for funding help, and the county will then attempt to turn around and assess Lowery the bill.

In the meantime, however, the pit bulls are displacing resources from other puppy dogs there that are looking for homes. Make sure you go to the donation page and make a contribution to help the dogs that are rightfully there get the care that they need. Or sponsor a dog that's there. I think contributions may even be tax deductible.

I mean, how can you say no to little Barney or Ram?

And for Robert Lowery, any respectable judge would sentence him to the following: Load up his underwear with peanut butter, strap him down on a log, and let him spend a little quality time with his 46 pit bulls all at once.

I'll let someone else worry about the mean, smelly cats.

UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: Malcolm Gladwell wote an excellent piece on pit bulls in February. It's mostly about racial profiling, and there's plenty to disagree with, bit it is a good Friday read.

Uncomfortable Word Choice

From Jessica McBride, commenting on "Chorizogate:"

As I said on my show, sports are the great uniter in society (at least they should be), so the more sausages the merrier, if you ask me.

Does this mean she's joining *NSYNC?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Brewer Chorizo Sausage Deported

Milwaukee - In a surprise yet mouth-watering twist, the Milwaukee Brewers have had to cancel their plans to add a Chorizo to their sausage races, after it was found that their Mexican sausage was an undocumented refugee in this country. INS Officer Steve McCabe, when asked about the actions taken against the Chorizo, said "the last time I 'deported' a chorizo, I had to call Roto Rooter." Documents show that during interrogation, federal officials grilled the Chorizo slowly for about 20 minutes before he was sent back to Mexico.

The Brewers hired the Chorizo to run in the sausage races, and agreed to pay 43 cents an hour. Additionally, the club was going to make him mow the lawn in between games. Down in the minor leagues, there was once an incident where a player mockingly hit the Chorizo with a bat. The Chorizo then pulled out a blade and knifed the player to death, to the delight of the crowd.

A background check on the Chorizo found that he was smuggled over the U.S./Mexico border in 1999, packed into a box of 36 other assorted sausages. Once in America, he did several odd jobs, including a stint in poorly lit films such as "Chorizo Grande," the exotic pool boy.

Later, the Chorizo became more politically active, participating in "a day without encased meats," in which 24,000 Wisconsinites died of malnutrition. Things got rough at one of the rallies, where police chased him with a vat of boiling water. The Chorizo joined the group Voces de la Relish, who already had planned protests if the Chorizo didn't win enough sausage races.

This isn't the first time trouble has erupted amongst the sausages. Many fans recall 2003, when the bad blood among sausages boiled over and the Italian sausage was caught planting a horse's head in the Hot Dog's bed. In the 2004 season, the bratwurst got drunk and invaded the Polish sausage's home, urinating on all of his plants. Last year, DEA agents raided the Hot Dog's home and found a whole room full of ecstasy and marijuana, which explains why he wears sunglasses during the day.

The move to hire the Chorizo was an attempt by the Brewers to lure more Latino fans to the ballpark, which the team decided was a more cost effective strategy than actually fielding a competitive team. Next year, the Brewers will add another mascot to honor the vibrant fat white people community in Milwaukee.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Doyle: Stem Cells Hold Promise for Curing Dying Campaign

Madison (AP) - Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced a stunning scientific breakthrough that allows embryonic stem cells to be used to revive an ailing campaign. "We here in Wisconsin have pioneered a procedure that gives life to the most frail and vulnerable political campaigns," said Doyle, whose administration has been swamped by criminal ethical problems.

Doyle himself has been part of a human cloning experiment where travel company Craig Adelman was cloned ten times. As a result of the experiment, Doyle was able to raise an additional $100,000 for his campaign from the team of Adelman clones. Unfortunately, since there weren't ten state travel contracts to trade away, Doyle gave each one of them an unsigned picture of the San Diego Chicken.

"We need to have a kinder and more thoughtful policy on stem cell research," said Doyle. "It will bring comfort to the families of sick kids to know that when they die, the memory of their disease helped me win re-election," added Doyle. The Governor noted that while no procedure actually currently exists to cure anyone through embryonic stem cell therapy, his fundraising has never been healthier.

When told about gubernatorial candidate Mark Green's concerns about human cloning, Doyle quickly dismissed the criticisms. He noted 100% of Green's contributions have come from individuals who were previously embryos, and were therefore tainted. "We need to address this issue in a mature way," said Doyle, adding "the only thing that can really help these sick children is rigorous research, serious experimentation, and cramming the words 'Mark Green' and 'George Bush' in as many sentences as possible."

When told that adult stem cells, and not embryonic cells, have actually been used in procedures to help sick people, Doyle quickly took a large bite of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Your Lonely Mustached Masturbator Update

A couple months back, I posted a report from a Cleveland newscast that caught a guy named Mike Cooper strangling the ostrich at the public library. Later on, reporter Carl Monday filed this follow up report.

More importantly, Cooper was actually arrested for his behavior, and was recently sentenced. Fortunately, the same reporter was there to cover the trial and attempt to interview Cooper after the verdict. Needless to say, it was an explosive exchange.

Doyle's Stem Cell TV Ad

Since absolutely nobody has asked me my opinion of Doyle's new "stem cell" TV ad, I thought it was imperative that I chime in. Mark Green's press release said a lot of the same things I was going to, so I'll post it here.

For those of you who haven't seen the ad, it features the mother of a young diabetic girl speaking to the camera about her daughter's condition and how a "Washington politician like Mark Green" wants to outlaw stem cell research. She says it's stem cell researchers in Wisconsin "who might find the cure" for her daughter's diabetes. Of course, embryonic stem cells currently aren't used in any procedure that has ever helped a single person with any disease. Certainly, nobody is more objective on the merits of embryonic stem cell research than the parent of a sick child. Of course, Jody Montgomery is the same shy woman who introduced Doyle at the Democratic convention.

At the end of the ad, she challenges people who want to "outlaw stem cell research" (meaning: nobody) to "tell it to my daughter." To that, I say fine. Get her on the phone for me.

"Hi, Maddy? It's me, Dennis. Your mother is exploiting you and your disease using false information for a political campaign. I saw your mommy lying on the ad six times today, and six times, it broke my heart. Sleep tight."

If you were the parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes and you hear Jody Montgomery detail it as essentially a death sentence, wouldn't you be a little bit irritated? Don't hundreds of families courageously wake up every morning and go through the same routine without having the governor give them a statewide platform to complain about it? Incidentally, Adam Morrison was the third pick in this year's NBA Draft and he is a Type 1 diabetic.

Of course, Mark Green has never taken a vote on "banning stem cell research." He has, however, voted on banning human cloning, of which the American public is overwhelmingly in favor. It is new cloned embryos that would give stem cell researchers the stem cells they need through the process of killing the newly created embryo. The ad cites four bills as showing that Green wants to "outlaw stem cell research." They are basically all the same bill, and all outlaw human cloning.

In July, a group of Catholic Bishops urged Doyle to change his position on embryonic stem cell research, as they oppose the creation of cloned embryos for research purposes. In a letter to the bishops, Doyle fired back, saying that embryos created in fertility clinics could be used for research. In the letter, he said, "Therefore, the ultimate question isn't whether embryos will be destroyed but whether we should allow a few of those unused embryos to be utilized saving lives instead of discarding them." Boy, he really showed them, huh?

Well, guess what- Mark Green's voting record is completely consistent with Doyle's own statements. Green's votes against cloning would have nothing to do with research on fertility clinic embryos. There is nothing that Green has ever done that would prevent stem cell research on these leftover embryos. So while it's a downright lie to say that Green wants to "outlaw" stem cell research, it's even equally disingenuous to say that he opposes embryonic stem cell research.

Naturally, you'll never hear the word "cloning" in any of Doyle's ads, since human cloning is wildly unpopular. Instead, you'll hear about "stem cell research," which polls well. In the end, however, cloning really is the big issue that sets the candidates apart. Doyle wants human cloning, while Mark Green does not. And if you hold your breath waiting for any media organization to make the points I just did, you'd better have 911 on speed dial.

SIDE NOTE: In Doyle's first release exploiting Maddie Montgomery, they spell her mom's name "Jodi." Ever since, they have spelled it "Jody." Wouldn't you think they'd pay a little more attention to the people that they exploit?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Must See TV

My wife was out of town for the weekend, and took my daughter with her. So I had "bachelor weekend," meaning I remained in a horizontal position for about 36 straight hours. I still think my newspaper is sitting outside. I didn't read any news or do anthing remotely responsible - for all I know, America could have invaded North Korea by now (someone leave a comment if we have).

I also attempted to set the world pizza eating record, until my arteries called their social service worker to complain. Incidentally, me eating that much, coupled with the Brewers blowing two games, is a deadly combination - like a caloric molotov cocktail. Don't ask me why I feel the need to stuff my face when my wife leaves town. Just getting back in touch with my "inner bachelor," which involves going downstairs to ogle all of my most valuable personal possessions, all of which are fastidiously sealed in tupperware containers in the basement.

While indefinitely reclined, I caught a couple of shows that I now can't think of my life without. I watched a few episodes of the "World Series of Pop Culture," and I'm hooked. I absolutely must try out for this show - I'm soliciting for other Madison contestants to join a team with me. It's about a simple of a concept as can be - you just stand up there and answer pop culture questions (there's usually only one hard one per set of six questions). Then, when you win, you have to go give an interview to Lisa Guererro (who looks like she has been hooked up to a mayonnaise I.V. since she got booted from Monday Night Football).

I am the king of useless trivia. My wife refuses to play Trivial Pursuit with me because I'm so good. Actually, it's because I taunt her relentlessly - when I get a question right, I get up and do a dance reminiscent of Daniel's bird pose in "The Karate Kid." But I do know a lot about meaningless stuff, and the questions are easy. Just get me on the show, and I'll dominate.

Two other notes - this show is replete with cute girls who are carrying a few extra pounds. Not making a value judgement, merely an observation. Also, it features the greatest team name I've ever heard. Unfortunately "We're What Willis Was Talkin' About" lost in the semifinals.

I also caught a couple of episodes of the inexplicable "Pants Off Dance Off" on the FUSE Network. There just aren't words for this show. Apparently, regular folks go on TV and strip to their favorite song for the chance to win like 20 bucks or something. All it costs them is their dignity. Rather than describe it for you, I'll just point you to the webpage, where you can see the contestants and watch videos. I highly recommend "Steve," for beginners. And you might not want to tell people you enjoyed it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dane County Fair Time

I've always been curious about the whole "ribbon awarding" process at county fairs. Why should some husky 4-H'er get all the credit for raising a big fat pig? It's not like she somehow magically coaxed the pig into growing - the pig does all the work. So why does the owner get the ribbon? Can't we at least get the pig a lap dance before he becomes an award winning BLT?

The Bottomless Pit Gets Lower

I invite you to check out the new portion of Jim Doyle's campaign website that encourages you to share your "personal story about how stem cell research affects you and your family."

I am dying to see some of the responses they get, given the fact that embryonic stem cell research isn't used in any procedures in any way to cure anything. So any family that has a sick kid can urge Doyle's support of a procedure that doesn't exist regardless of whether stem cell research could actually help their child in the future or not.

As long as we can just make stuff up, I am hoping embryonic stem cell research one day allows me to engage in a "love pretzel" with Keira Knightley. As long as Doyle is preying on the false hopes of Wisconsin's citizens, I thought I'd throw a Hail Mary.

I could go on, but a reader e-mailed me with pretty much exactly what I was going to say. So I'll let him say it:
Has there been a more shameless, self-serving political stunt in recent Wisconsin political history than this one?

-- Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign is soliciting personal stories about stem cell research in an e-mail sent to supporters today. Molly Walsh, the Doyle campaign's stem cell coordinator, asks recipients to "[h]elp our campaign by sharing your personal story about how stem cell research affects you and your family."

See the solicitation:
Why doesn't he just do it honestly and say "Attention, if you'd like to have your illness or, preferably, the illness of your child exploited for my political gain, please contact my campaign ASAP. Thank you, Diamond Jim Doyle."

This is truly despicable. Imagine if Green had sent out a similar e-mail asking anyone who had an abortion and regret it to "share their story" or if John Gard was out trolling for people who were victims of terrorism to use them in an ad for his race? The left would go berserk.

Doyle's team really has no shame.

On the site it says "Mark Green opposes stem cell research and has voted to ban or criminalize stem cell research eight times in Congress," which is of course, false. Everyone supports "stem cell research," while some have expressed concerns about human cloning for the purpose of embryonic stem cell research. But since there aren't any media outlets (other than Channel 3 in Madison) willing to expose Doyle's childish lies, there's really no incentive for him to stop promulgating them.

It wonderful that the media complain about negative campaigns, yet they sit back and do nothing to actually investigate the veracity of the false claims made. They might want to put down their campaign finance reform pom-poms just long enough to cover the issues in a campaign, rather than covering polls, fundraising numbers, and who has the shinier new campaign bus.

Bo Jackson's Tecmo Greatness

Guys between 25 and 40 often sit back and reminisce about the greatness of Bo Jackson in the Tecmo Bowl video game. For those of you that think that's crazy, sit back and bask in the power and the glory.

If any of your friends ever did this to you while playing the game, you would be well within your rights to light their groin on fire. No court in America would convict you.

I'm With Soglin

Question his motives if you will, but I am 100% in agreement with Paul Soglin on the new City of Madison Halloween plan. For those of you outside of Madison, the city wants to charge a $5.00 fee for Halloween partiers to enter State Street to hit the bars.

Soglin says:

I suppose it is debatable as to whether or not blocking the street and charging admission is Constitutionally permissible. I think it is not.

This is not a toll road.
This is not a section of a public park.
This is not a public street where vendors can charge but everyone has free access.

Even if reactionary courts say such an impediment to the First Amendment is permissible, it is rather stunning for a city that is trying outdo Berkeley as the most progressive American town.

True, Madison property taxpayers have to pay the expense of extra police for the party. However, the Halloween problem is a law enforcement problem, not a taxpayer problem.

My solution? Eliminate bar times on Halloween. Rather than having 50,000 kids dumped out onto the street at the same time, let them all trickle out on their own terms throughout the night and early morning. The crowds will be more sparse, and the cops will be able to address any post-bar problems more effectively. On the down side, kids will get drunker staying in the bars for longer, which ups the likelihood that some poor girl will end up smooching a guy that looks like me.

But let's be honest - while the kids are drinking at the bars, the ones that get drunk enough to cause problems are the ones that get completely bombed at home before showing up on State Street. We shouldn't penalize the businesses for the actions of underage out of staters hell-bent on destruction.

UPDATE: George Twigg in Mayor Cieslewicz' office took time off from singing for Depeche Mode long enough to e-mail me and point out that it would take a change in state law to allow bars to stay open past bar time. So get on your phone to your state legislators (although session is done for this year, and nothing will be passed before Halloween of this year). Maybe we can negotiate a two year deal where some bars close early this year, while the others agree to close early the year after, just to keep the crowds staggered. Probably unlikely, but the bars are going to lose revenue from partiers with the plan announced yesterday - they're hurt either way.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wye Yer Kidz Cant Reed

My wife and I have begun the unenviable process of looking at preschools for our daughter. When I began the search, I had absolutely no idea what to look for in a pre-school program, although I figured it was a bad sign if knifeplay was encouraged.

I wasn’t prepared, though, for what I actually encountered while perusing preschool websites. Most sites have special sections that illustrate their “philosophy” or “mission,” presumably to give parents an overview of what type of education their children will receive. What you often find is some semi-lucid platitudinous nonsense that would make an episode of Barney the Dinosaur sound like it was written by Bertrand Russell.

Fifteen years ago, George F. Will wrote a column where he noted the “cult of self-validating expression contributed to the debasement of education, which came to be considered of process of letting something out of students rather than putting something into them.” This seems to be the guiding principle of Madison area preschools.

Take, for example, the “Once Upon a Time” child care center in Verona. Their “Philosophy” page reads, in part (my emphasis):

Balance, harmony and quality education for your child is the philosophy of Once Upon a Time Child Care Center (“Once Upon a Time”). Providing a nurturing and safe environment is a given and will be the foundation of the center. However, we will expand on the traditional approach to child care and will focus on creating a stimulating, interactive learning center blending basic theory and environmental curriculums with holistic, stress relieving life skills...

Children will focus on developing academic skills as well as the following characteristics: kindness, compassion, caring, understanding, and a respect for others. Children will work on being polite, learn to acknowledge kindness, avoid competition, help others in need, share skills and talents, and celebrate the diversity of our planet.

"Avoid competition?" Do they expect kids to grow up and only work jobs for which they aren't required to submit a resume? Is my daughter supposed to get into college somewhere that doesn't accept applications? Clearly, the proprietors of this day care center reject the very foundation of American society that provides incentives for individual excellence. Instead, they would rather teach three year olds "stress relieving life skills." I can honestly say I have never uttered the words "you know, my daughter is really stressed out from all the napping, pooping, and watching 'Blue's Clues' that she does. She really needs some relief from her onerous schedule."

Or as my friend succinctly put it: "The sooner my son learns that life is a painful race to the top, the better."

Lest you think that this is an isolated day care center, and lest you think I just wanted to use the word "lest," here's the mission statement from the expensive Creative Learning Preschool:

We provide children with a warm, safe and nurturing environment and strive to meet each child's developmental needs. Our low child to staff ratios and small group sizes ensure quality, personalized care for every child. Creative Learning Preschool is a culturally diverse child care center with a preschool program based upon the High/Scope Philosophy. This philosophy is directed toward the use of a child-directed/initiated curriculum and age appropriate play activities. Teachers are experienced, well-educated early childhood professionals who genuinely care about children and understand child development.
This seems to be a common theme in area day care centers - the "Montessori" philosophy of "child directed/initiated curriculum." (In Italian, "Montessori" means "your child's head is unusually large.") Sure, there may be some genius kids who can direct their own learning, but if left to her own devices, I'm fairly sure my daughter would specialize in "the philosophy of pouring syrup down your pants."

This, of course, is in stark contrast to the philosophy I learned as a youngster, which was known as the "school sucks, and I hate learning English, math and science, but my parents care for me so I better do what the teacher says" method. Apparently, this outdated model has gone the way of Jim Doyle's hairline - extinct. Today, the words "teaching" and "learning" are pejorative terms. Now, we must let each child get in touch with their "inner child," meaning "teacher has yoga class soon, so play by yourself for the next hour and make sure your parents are on time picking you up."

These preschools, of course, work in a free market, so they are welcome to represent themselves to parents in any way they want. Obviously, this type of education is in demand, as waiting lists around town are prevalent. In fact, these syrupy mission statements may just be a way to lure parents in, where they nefariously switch gears and actually "teach" children things.

Now you may think to yourself that since the state licenses all of these day care centers, that there must be some minimum standards for each center. When you go to the state Department of Workforce Development child care website, however, it takes time to shill for higher day care worker pay.

The state Department of Health and Family Services website is even more curious. On a page entitled "Is your child care center secure?" you would expect the tips about access to the day care center, pickup procedures, and the like. But they obviously couldn't help themselves, as there is a link to a PBS page entitled "Talking to Kids about War and Violence." Certainly foremost on the minds of parents concerned about their kids' safety. Doesn't exactly instill confidence that state bureaucrats have any idea what they're doing.

It doesn't get any better post-pre school, either. Take the mission statement for the Elm Lawn Elementary School:

We believe that each of us in the Elm Lawn School community is responsible for helping to create a physically and emotionally safe environment where all people feel welcome, trusted and valued. We strive to openly listen to the opinions and ideas of others in order to appreciate and celebrate our differences. Our goal is to create a nurturing, non-critical environment where each person feels free to take risks and where both individuality and a feeling of community is honored.
Allow me to translate:

"We know your kid was probably an unwanted mistake, but as long as he's in our school, he won't be made to feel inadequate in any way, regardless of his abilities. We will make sure that no child will be pushed to reach their full potential, as it may make goofball children like yours look bad. Most important is how your kids "feel," not what they learn, how they're challenged, or that they'll be able to have a snowball's chance in the cutthroat world someday."

Such an educational cultural ethos leaves a parent with little confidence that their preschooler is going to get a quality education. There's a better chance my daughter goes to a school that teaches that conflicts must be resolved by a break dancing contest than one that actually teaches spelling and math.


Some other child care oddities:

From the Preschool of the Arts' "FAQ" section:

What kinds of food or snacks do you serve the children?A special and wonderful aroma wafts out of the kitchen of Preschool of the Arts and into the hallways and around to the door. Chef Tom Morrison-Weeks is hard at work preparing some lovely homemade bread or steaming hot soup or scrumptious pasta or beautiful fresh vegetables. Trained at Madison Area Technical College, Chef Tom has been cooking at our school for over 10 years when his daughter Emily attended.
Sign #1 that you're paying too much for day care: Your kids are eating more five star meals than you are. I knew something was wrong when my daughter left my wife the following note:

Dearest Mom: I found your macaroni and cheese pungent, yet lacking adequate flavor. While it was served in a timely manner, it failed to challenge my palate. The side of graham crackers was an elegant touch, yet left my taste buds lonely and confused. Please kick it up a notch.
P.S. - I licked your iPod.

BAM! Your kids can't read!

From the Campus for Kids Learning Center:

We accept children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, creed, political persuasion, ancestry, handicapping condition or age if an opening is available in the requested age group.
Political persuasion? Good to see my three year old daughter's strong opinions on the UN's soft stance on Hezbollah won't be held against her. Will she be able to watch her Baby Scalia DVDs? Will she be the only kid with a Donald Rumsfeld lunchbox?

Child Development, Inc. actually takes credit for the successes of its alumni:

A cancer research at the UW-Madison, a Boston lawyer, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, a member of a Grammy-award winning musical group, a Denver Broncos football player, and Madison Police Chief Noble Wray. What do these people have in common? They're all alumni of the South Madison Child CareCenter and proud of it. Each attended this CDI preschool and credits that experience with giving them the head start needed to make their big dreams come true.

As if the things they accomplish have anything to do with the preschool they attended. Do they have a cancer research lab with bunsen burners and little mini lab coats? Is there a vigorous weight training program for three year olds who want to play in the NFL? Somewhere out there, there's a day care bragging that one of their alumni is a "nationally known researcher who believes the 9/11 attacks were an inside job."

The Caring Center has a section where they outline the "Childrens' Rights." These, of course, were ratified at the Preschooler Constitutional Convention in 1786. They include protection against self poop incrimination, the right to bare butts, and the controversial right to publicly pick your nose, inspect its contents, and consume your findings. This provision has been repeatedly sustained in Toddler Supreme Court rulings.

Monday, July 17, 2006

There Just Aren't Words for This

A perfect gift for your loved one, as long as you are willing to spend $15,000 on a handwritten journal that suggests eating your own flesh as the cure for cancer. Sounds like this guy might be qualified to teach oncology at the UW Medical School.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Feds Seize Bin Laden's Snowblower

On July 14th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made a major announcement: that they would finally be getting tough on illegal immigration - of engines that pollute. They bragged that there would be a crackdown on importation of engines that may endanger U.S. air quality.

According to the EPA's press release:

The federal Clean Air Act (CAA) requires new gasoline and diesel engines sold or distributed in the United States to meet EPA emissions requirements to protect public health and the environment from air pollution. There has been a recent and dramatic increase in imports of gasoline and diesel equipment, chiefly from China, which do not meet these standards.
So the movement of illegal combustion engines across our borders is worthy of federal resources? Is there a sleeper cell of lawn mower engines plotting to take down America by mulching us to death? For every dollar they spend looking for illegal engines, they could be looking for illegal aliens or terrorists. The biggest threat to American air quality is the exhaust from a burning building after al-Qaeda bombs it.

This brings to mind the obvious question: What if we catch a Mexican zooming across the U.S./Mexico border on an illegal engine? Keep the alien and have the scooter deported?

Here's the picture that accompanied the EPA press release. It shows how tough on immigration they really are getting. Thank you, Federal Government. I now feel safe.

All in the Family

Last week, Governor Doyle quietly appointed William Pocan to be a Milwaukee County circuit court judge, replacing Michael Sullivan. As you may know, William Pocan is the brother of outspoken Democratic State Representative Mark Pocan.

By all accounts, Mark Pocan is a good guy. He's a royal pain in the backside to Republicans, but it's because he can afford to be, given his ultra-liberal district. For all I know, his brother's a decent guy as well.

However, I looked up his biography at his current law firm, Jastroch and LaBarge, and it says the following (my emphasis):

William S. Pocan received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison Law School in 1984. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Bar Association and the Waukesha County Bar Association. He is also a member of the Wisconsin State Bar's Consumer Information and Protection Committee and the Milwaukee Bar Association Bench/Bar Civil Committee. Attorney Pocan concentrates his practice in the area of civil litigation, primarily representing consumers in automobile warranty litigation (Wisconsin Lemon Law and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act cases) and other consumer matters.
So how exactly does one go from suing car dealers for warranty violations to a seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court? How in any way does drumming up Lemon Law violations prepare someone for dealing with Milwaukee County criminals? When someone accused of stabbing comes to trial, Pocan will likely sentence him to three years of driving a Yugo with a bent axle. Sleep well, Milwaukee.

So how did he get the job? Does it have anything to do with the fact that his brother carries Jim Doyle pom-poms around, publicly defending him at every turn? Wasn't it Mark Pocan that called a legislative hearing that aimed to get answers about criminal indictments in the Doyle Administration a "dog and pony show?" Wasn't that Mark Pocan somehow blaming gubernatorial candidate Mark Green for the failure of a bogus ethics bill to be scheduled for the floor of the Assembly, when Doyle himself won't even call a special session on the same bill? Isn't that Mark Pocan out campaigning for Doyle's hand-picked Democratic Attorney General candidate, Kathleen Falk? Need I go on?

Of course, William Pocan is a generous Jim Doyle donor, having given him $500 over the last four years. I don't hold this against him, because governors always have appointed financial supporters to positions, and always will. In fact, I plan on giving money to Mark Green in the hopes that he names me to the prestigious position of State Booty Inspector.

SIDE NOTE: If anyone at Pocan's law firm deserves to be a judge, it is Vincent Megna, fresh off his role of Carbone in Goodfellas. Brother is ca$h money.

It's Official

A root beer float cannot be made so big that I cannot drink it.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Small Town Mourns Beloved Rooster That Acted Like Person (Video)

I dare you to keep a straight face while watching it.

And what the hell is going on in Oregon these days? In just the past few days, they've had:

The guy who sued Michael Jordan for $832 million because he thinks they look alike.

The desperate woman who called 911 to get the phone number for a cute police officer; and

The guy who repairs his truck naked (Video)

Quite a hat trick.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Pre-Emptive Barrett Postmortem

Now that UW lecturer and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett is well into minute 14 of his 15 minutes of fame, I just wanted to pose some questions while the issue is still alive. For those of you visiting family on the moon for the last two weeks, Barrett is part of a cabal of crazy people who think Dick Cheney planned the destruction of the Twin Towers to start an international war.

1. Which is the more plausible theory – Barrett’s “inside job” theory, or the theory that Barrett is actually a Karl Rove plant designed to make the Bush Administration look competent? Think about it – Rove puts a couple of struggling actors on the White House payroll, arms them with some fake resumes and they go around talking up this theory? This, in turn, forces the administration’s enemies to defend this lunacy, which makes them radioactive. It’s genius. That is a hundred times more plausible than Barrett’s theory, which has helped…the very people that he’s accusing of mass murder. Can I get a job at the UW now?

2. George W. Bush would have been justified starting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with or without the attack on 9/11 (my opinion, but Bill Clinton agrees with me). Why, then, would he need to cook up the 9/11attack? Was it sweeps month? Couldn't Bush just have said Saddam stole Barbaro?

3. This week’s Isthmus details Barrett’s overt and virulent anti-Semitism. The Left is always on high alert for racial insensitivity, yet it seems anti-Semites seem to have settled into Liberalism quite comfortably. Are there any ethical Democrats willing to condemn his clear hatred of Jews?

4. Barrett has rejected as “ridiculous” the notion that “19 guys with box cutters” could bring down the twin towers. Someone might want to mention to him the small issue of the TWO GIANT PLANES that hit the towers. It’s not as if Mohammed Atta stood outside the World Trade Center throwing plastic knives at the windows.

5. A group of 9/11 conspiracy theorists – and I am not kidding – actually believe that no plane ever hit the Pentagon and that United Flight 93 (which crashed in Pennsylvania) never existed. They believe that both these occurrences are FAA cover-ups. Wouldn’t this be a fairly easy theory to disprove? Do the families of the victims still think that after five years their loved ones are still at Blockbuster, trying to hunt down a copy of “Ocean’s 11?”

6. The oddest take on the whole Barrett episode has come from Capital Times columnist John Nichols in this week’s Isthmus, when he takes a shot at Bush and Cheney for not having the “intellectual capacity,” or the “political cunning” to pull off an inside job. Is that an insult? Are Bush supporters supposed to say, “No way – he totally could have plotted the deaths of 3,000 Americans to serve a political purpose.”

And is Nichols saying he’s smarter than Bush and Cheney? Is he bragging that he could have planned the attack? In order to say someone lacks "intellectual capacity," wouldn’t you have to know what you are accusing them of not knowing? If you didn't know what you accuse them of not knowing, how did you know they didn't know it? Don't try this type of deep philosophy at home, people. Leave it to the experts. I think I just sprained my hippocampus.

7. Barrett consistently cites a Zogby poll that says 42% of Americans think the 9/11 Commission report “concealed” or “refused to investigate” critical information about the attacks. If I think it was a fraud that Jamie Gorelick’s role in creating a wall between intelligence agencies wasn’t addressed, does that put me in the 42%? I am 73% sure it does.

And if 42% of Americans are conspiracy theorists, that means at least 4 out of 10 Muppets are in on it. I've always been suspicious of that damn Count. A little beady-eyed for my tastes. I was wondering why the topic on "Elmo's World" today was "Thermite Explosives."

8. How on earth can you possibly do a poll on what Americans think about the details of the 9/11 Commission Report? What percentage of Americans have read the report and can make an accurate assessment of its contents? 1%? You could get 20% of Americans to agree that Taylor Hicks is a secret al-Qaeda operative if you phrased the question correctly. McAdams, help me out here.

9. Can we set up a dating service for Embarrassing State Employees? A 900 number where walking taxpayer waste can connect up for some hot lovin'? Seriously, we need to get Barrett together with the Prison Witch Chaplain from a few years ago. A match made in Heaven. Or... the flames of Hell, or whatever they believe in. If we can pair these delusional people up together, we can put them on the same health plan and save the state money. I demand this be made part of the next TABOR.

Wisconsin Baseball Featured in Sports Illustrated

Wisconsinite Luke Drury toured baseball games for a week in the Midwest and kept a journal for Sports Illustrated. The first three stops feature his native Fort Atkinson, Madison, and Milwaukee. Good reading - check it out.

Campaign Kickoff Notes

Yesterday was the day that candidates had to turn in their signatures to the Elections Board, which really makes it the first day of the campaign season. Some things I noticed:

I was thinking it was strange that Dan Aude (88th Assembly District) would mention in the title of his press release that it was his second run at the seat. Isn’t he essentially announcing that the voters have already rejected him? But then, I saw this part of the release, and realized that we might be dealing with a totally different bird altogether:

When asked about the campaign he said, “ like Hannibal in the second Punic war with the Roman Empire, he too was out numbered in resources, but set a standard in battle tactics and strategy at Cannae” Aude was out spent by his incumbent opponent in 2004 by a ratio of 3 to 1. “ This will be our battle cry for leadership in the 88th Assembly District in 2006, AUDE FOR 88 CANNAE!”
Wow. Is it racist if we don’t hand out ballots printed in Latin at the polls?

Dave Magnum (2nd Congressional District) issued a release bragging that he turned in 2,000 signatures, and 1,744 of them were actually valid. Congratulations on announcing that 13% of your signatures were found invalid, Dave. Masterful.

Former Democratic State Treasurer candidate Robert Fyrst fired off a bitchy letter to Democratic Chair Joe Wineke, announcing his resignation as the party’s treasurer. Fyrst, as you may recall, was running for Treasurer until it was discovered that a creditor moved to foreclose on his Madison home after falling behind on his mortgage payments. According to Summit Credit Union, Fyrst missed four payments on his home. Lest you be wary of his ability to manage a $50 billion annual state budget, the dispute was later resolved.

Of course, in his letter, Fyrst says he dropped out of the race to “pursue another avenue.” Uh-huh. That "avenue" must have been code for "extra shifts at Arby's."

From out of nowhere, Nick Voegeli of Sun Prairie announced he was running for Lieutenant Governor. In his release, Voegeli proudly brags that he got 42% of the vote when he ran for State Assembly two years ago. He says:

Voegeli received 42% of the vote in a district that has been voting about 38% Republican. “Thirteen thousand or so people in the 46th district voted for me in that race. I’m hopeful they’ll do so again.”
Of course, the same year Voegeli ran for Assembly in the 46th District and got 42% of the vote, George W. Bush received 44% of the vote in the 46th, while a GOP state senate candidate received 46% in the same district. Congressional Candidate Dave Magnum got 42.5%, while U.S. Senate candidate Tim Michels did actually get 38%. Details weren’t immediately available as to what planet Voegeli is from.

How great is it that Rep. Terri McCormick (8th Congressional District) can use the atrociousness of her campaign as a trick to get free press? Last week, when she announced that her campaign was making "a major announcement," everyone assumed she was dropping out of the race. Instead, she released some pointless policy garbage. But it was because her campaign is on life support that people paid attention.

This is like campaign jujutsu - using the crappiness of your campaign as your greatest media attraction. Well done. Her next release will say she has "a major announcement regarding the future of her campaign," and it will be about ethics or some other worthless crap.

I am thrilled that Republican State Senator Ted Kanavas has some guy named Stiffler running against him. No word on whether his mom is hot.

Assuming this is the same Andrew Stiffler, it appears that he and his wife are like the Pamela and Tommy Lee of Brookfield. Andrew has been arrested for simple battery against his wife (he plead guilty to disorderly conduct), and his wife later filed a restraining order against him. Stacey Ann Stiffler, on the other hand, also was convicted of disorderly conduct herself in 2004.

So when Stiffler says he's "fighting special interests," those special interests likely include "women."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Defending The Nutty Professor

I think we can all agree that UW lecturer Kevin Barrett is nuts. We also can all agree that he is now the most publicized crazy person in the state, and is loving every minute of it. He's probably sitting back at his house, smoking a cigar and playing poker with Tim Osman, laughing his unsettling beard off. They are likely cooking up another conspiracy theory about how Dick Cheney is responsible for the horrific destruction of Star Jones' career.

The case against Barrett teaching at the UW is an easy one. He's obviously delusional, and the University is hemorrhaging as a result of his unfortunate hiring. While teams of bloggers have done excellent jobs dismantling his delirious rants, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could make the case for Barrett. I did this exercise a while back for Jim Doyle when Georgia Thompson was indicted, and if I may humbly say so, I think he should have followed my advice.

So if I were the UW-Madison, my statement would look something (although a little more formal) like this:

Every workplace environment has people with unorthodox opinions who may harbor questionable conspiracy theories. It may be Willie in your office's mailroom, or it may be the president of your company. In the case of the UW System, which has over 40,000 employees, it could be a janitor, it could be a department head, or a softball coach. In the Kevin Barrett case, it happened to be a first year part-time lecturer.

Followers of the UW-Madison know well that Barrett's teachings on 9/11 aren't exactly the first conspiracy theories to be floated in the halls of the University. For decades, the UW has had a reputation for being a place where all theories are welcome, no matter how unconventional. Radical thinking is as much a part of the fabric of the UW-Madison as Bucky Badger is (rumor has it Bucky is a Holocaust denier). During the Vietnam era, some of the theories kicking around the UW's halls make Barrett's "inside job" theory sound like an Ann Coulter production.

Students in Barrett's class are adults who are free to either challenge his views, or research them further. Needless to say, after the media coverage of Barrett's views, no student will walk into his class without knowing what they are getting into. Vice President Dick Cheney actually credited the radical thinkers at UW-Madison with helping him become a better conservative while a grad student there, as he constantly worked to disprove many of the campus theories of the time.

Firing Barrett at this time for his views wouldn't be wise for the University. Recently, the UW-Madison took swift action against a Dean who was accused of improper conduct after much pressure from politicians. Now the University is embroiled in endless expensive legal wrangling to justify the firing, and it is entirely possible that a court will rule that he must be reinstated at his original salary. We will continue to monitor Barrett's curriculum to make sure his students are presented an opportunity to challenge any assertions or opinions expressed in his class.

There is no doubt that Kevin Barrett's views are controversial. But the UW cannot set the precedent of "human resources by press release." The idea that taxpayers are paying for Barrett is misleading, as tax money continues to constitute less than 20% of the total UW budget. Barrett is primarily funded by tuition money - tuition paid for by students that are free to take his class or to decide not to take his class.

Someday, there will be a professor or lecturer that espouses unpopular conservative views, and the faculty may apply pressure to have that person removed. In that case, as in the Barrett case, we will stand up for the right of our faculty to challenge their students to either prove or disprove the theories to which they are exposed. We will continue to support our employees, regardless of their personal opinions - unless they are Chicago Bears fans, in which case they will be immediately dismissed.

I'm not sure if I'm even buying it, but I gave it a shot, purely out of boredom. In my next post, watch me defend orange juice against misleading claims of being "low pulp."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just When You Think You've Seen it All

Thanks to this lawsuit, Allen Heckard will no longer be mistaken for someone who isn't a complete moron.

You see, Heckard has lived a tough life - he is often mistaken for Michael Jordan, despite being six inches shorter than Jordan himself. And because at least one person a day thinks that Michael Jordan has shrunk six inches and lives in Northeast Portland, Heckard feels harrassed when they are mistaken for each other. Thus, he has done what any thinking person would do - sue Jordan and Nike for $832 million because of the pain and suffering he has endured due to looking like Mike.

And what has Heckard done to make sure this horrible injustice never occurs again? Well, he... wears his pair of Air Jordans around.

In related news, I have begun legal proceedings myself, as the ladies are constantly telling me I look like a white Denzel.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Now That's a Man With Initiative

Last week, the Green Bay Press Gazette decided to do a lengthy story about State Capitol goings-on during the summer. In the article, they quoted a homeless dude that apparently hangs out in the basement:

The biggest difference that Elliott Smith sees in the legislative off-session is that the basement cafeteria is less crowded.

Smith, originally from Texas but now homeless, says he seeks refuge in the Capitol in the daytime.

"I come here like a lot of people do who are homeless," said Smith, 52. "I like the quiet so I can think about what I want to do to stop being homeless."
So.... he sits around in the basement of the Capitol all day so he can think about how not to be homeless? Has it occurred during these intense soul-searching sessions that maybe it would help him to get off his ass and get a job? And remember, taxpaying visitors to the Capitol - keep it down. Elliot prefers smelling like Wild Turkey and three day old urine in a quiet and serene environment. If you see him face down on a bench in the Capitol basement, do not disturb him. He isn't passed out - he's merely exhausted from his rigorous mental workload, and likely on a lunch break.

And he"seeks refuge?" From what? Soap? Responsibility?

SIDE NOTE: Smith is not to be confused with the late/great singer Elliott Smith, who apparently committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart. That, my friends, is how A MAN kills himself.

Walking Dirty Air Violation

Apparently my wife equipped our home with some kind of lifesaving device that detects carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases within the home. Until the other night, I barely even noticed that the stupid thing was in our bedroom. Needless to say, my parents were less than concerned about noxious gas, as I had never seen one of those before in my life. Somehow, people have been able to live comfortably for thousands of years without one of these dopey things.

So, anyway, I'm in our room the other night watching the Brewers and chowing down on some potato chips and dip. My daughter was sleeping comfortably. And let's just say I was feeling some... intestinal distress, accompanied perhaps by the occasional "one cheek sneak." Don't judge me - you all do it.

As you can guess, suddenly alarms started going off in the house with flashing lights and loud sirens. I ran over to unplug the damn thing, but it had a battery that was secured by a screw, and I didn't happen to have a phillips head on me. I finally took it and threw it outside to keep it from piercing my eardrums. My daughter woke up and started crying, my wife thought the house was on fire, and I think the neighbors started gathering outside my house to see what the commotion was. It wouldn't have surprised me to see fire trucks and police cars race up to my house, with crowds of people crying and covering their faces. Men in Hazmat suits would cover my house with a giant bubble while the American Red Cross sets up trauma centers up and down the street.

So the question is...

Could I have set the thing off? Am I a walking DNR clean air violation? Someone has to know how those things work. Settle a bet for me. My wife thinks it was me, while I think there's no way that's how those things work.

SIDE NOTE: There's nothing worse than eating a half a bag of potato chips, then realizing after the fact that they were Olestra chips. At that point, you become a ticking time bomb. You just have to sit there and look at the clock for a half hour before the stomach pains start - you're a dead man walking. It's like the walk to the bathroom suddenly becomes The Green Mile.

Wisconsin - Life's So Expensive

Like many other bloggers out there, I routinely frequent The Drudge Report to find amusing stories. Drudge may actually be the largest blog in the country, read by millions of people per day.

I was a little surprised the other day when I went to Drudge and saw an advertisment from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism posted. Given the fact that it is a national blog, read by so many, I figure advertising on that site is pretty expensive. The closest I came to finding advertising rates was this rate card from a company called Intermarkets that apparently does all of Drudge's advertising brokering for the site. According to their list, an ad like that (the 120x600 skyscraper ad) costs $7.50 per CPM, whatever that means.

Someone might want to look into what the Department of Tourism is paying to advertise on the Drudge Report, of all places. Doesn't exactly seem like the most targeted of all audiences. Obviously, they will contend that advertising outside the state brings a high rate of return, as visitors come to Wisconsin and spend their money. Maybe I'm an idiot and it's a fantastic bargain that Wisconsin is getting. Maybe they have some special regional advertising deals that are cheaper. But it seems awfully expensive to advertise on a national blog when 90% of our visitors come from Minnesota and Illinois.

Here's a screen capture:

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Phil Garner is a War Criminal

I demand an international tribunal be convened to investigate Phil Garner's snubbing of Chris Capuano for the All-Star team in favor of one of his own less-deserving players. Rumor has it that Garner is hiding in a cave in suburban Houston. So naturally, we should invade New Mexico.

UPDATE: Capuano was named to the All Star team today to replace Tom Glavine. Clearly my hyperbolic lobbying worked. Next, I will compare Doug Melvin to Stalin because he refuses to trade Geoff Jenkins.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Democratic Primaries to Watch

Readers of my little blog have probably figured out that I tend to be a more politically practical Republican. That is; as much as I'd like to see more conservative Republicans in office, I also recognize that sometimes a moderate candidate matches their district for a reason. I'd much rather have a moderate Republican in a Democratic-leaning district that a Democrat, and if they're a RINO, then so be it. It's in every Republican's best interest to have control of the Senate and Assembly, as you will get some of what you want rather than none.

So basically, my philosophy is to make things as good as you realistically can. In keeping with this theory, there are actually a couple of Democratic primaries that you should keep an eye on. They both occur in districts that no Republican could ever win, but having the right Democrat in office will make a big difference. And of course, because I am advocating for their election, I am essentially euthanizing their chances in their respective primaries.

First, incumbent State Senator Jeff Plale faces a primary for his seat. Plale is a relatively conservative Democrat from South Milwaukee who took office when Rick Grobschmidt quit his senate seat a few years back. Plale has a big strike against him with his shenanigans of a couple years ago, when he told the newspaper that he would support the property tax freeze before switching his position and voting against it. He is, however, your prototypical South Side Democrat, as he is pro-life and a big defender of the school choice program. This, of course, doesn't sit well with the East Side Milwaukee intellectual crowd, so they've recruited a more conventional liberal to run against Plale.

So if you're a Republican in Milwaukee and feel like helping out a local race, help Plale. While you may not be used to helping Democrats, you will be helping retain a vote for some core issues in a district that will never elect a Republican. And everyone in the state will be better off for it. Also, when you go to his website, you can get a list of his favorite recipes. Given his physique, you may not have enough printer paper to print them all off.

Conversely, here in Madison Henry Sanders Jr. is running against incumbent liberal dinosaur Dave Travis for the 81st State Assembly District seat. Sanders has worked for Tammy Baldwin, the Urban League of Greater Madison and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and clearly recognizes the benefit of a vibrant business committee. People in the know have told me he may not exactly be as centrist as he's portraying himself, but I'm convinced that he would bring an energetic, pro-growth philosophy to the Legislature. Dave Travis continues to roll through his uneventful, uninspired career without a challenge and only making news when presented with a breathalyzer test.

So while neither of these candidates are going to be confused with Barry Goldwater, helping their election will make the state better. If you are a Republican and do decide to help them, just don't tell anyone.

UPDATE: When I say "help," or "support," I don't necessarily mean "vote for," unless you consider yourself to be a moderate Democrat. Give them money, drop some lit, stick a sign in your yard or whatever. But I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on the chance to vote in the GOP AG primary. But you're all smart people - you'd figure that out.

More 9/11 Conspiracy Theories to Investigate

I honestly sat with my mouth agape for an hour looking at this Democratic Underground post that attempts to prove that 9/11 was an inside job. This genius takes a little cup of kerosene and lights it on fire to prove that it's not hot enough to melt his bunny rabbit cage, to show that explosives must have been planted in the Twin Towers to make them go down the way they did.

As long as he's disproving 9/11 conspiracy theories, he should attempt to disprove that jumping 100 stories out of a burning building really isn't bad at all. I could suggest some tall buildings he start with.

Via Owen and Jonah Goldberg

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Terrorist Next Door

This is for those of you that actually think the internet makes people smarter.

Amid Jessica McBride's excellent reporting on the Kevin Barrett story, one thing specifically jumped out at me. As you know, Barrett is the delirious UW-Madison professor who believes that Dick Cheney planned the 9-11 attacks in order to give the U.S. an excuse to start a holy war.

In Part Three of her radio interview with Barrett, he implies that the U.S. was actually working with Osama bin Laden on the plot. In making his case, he says that bin Laden at one point actually toured U.S. military facilities under a false name. And the name that the U.S. Government supposedly gave one of the world's most dangerous killers?

Tim Osman.

Tim Osman! The world's most dangerous man, and they call him "Tim?"

I can see the discussion at one of the bases now:

"Hey, who's the new guy with the beard taking notes?"

"Oh, that's just Tim from the temp agency. He's here to help fix the computers."

"What's with the seven foot tall walking cane?"

"That's IT people for you. They're kind of weird. You should check out his MySpace page, though. Seems pretty popular."

I looked it up, and it's true - there are crackpot conspiracy theorists pitching the theory that the U.S Government was working with Tim Osman on military operations as far back as 1986. Search Google for "Tim Osman," and you come up with stuff like this account of a military meeting in Los Angeles:

The meeting, Gunderson confirmed, took place at the Hilton Hotel on Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, Calif., with four men present.

They included Gunderson, who was accompanied by scientist Michael Riconosciuto, then a long-time weapons and explosives expert linked to the CIA. Two representatives of the Afghan rebels were also present: Ralph Olberg, described as a “prominent American businessman” who worked at the Afghan desk at the State Department, and a man using the CIA-provided cover name of Tim Osman, who, according to Grabbe, was bin Laden without his beard.
Actually, the CIA has released a photo of what bin Laden actually looks like without his beard. No word on whether the agents took Osman by Mann's Chinese Theater to see Pee Wee Herman's star on the walk of fame.

And this one, which is my favorite:

Tim Osman, identified by Grabbe as bin Laden, was dressed in sports clothes and, like Gunderson, did not say much, leaving most of the discussion to Riconosciuto and Olberg.
Sports clothes? Was he wearing a George Brett jersey?

Incidentally, every time I order a pizza from now on, it will be under the name "Tim Osman."

Note: Tim Osman is in no way related to Donny Osmond, who has been slowly destroying America in more secretive and insidious ways for 30 years.

Double note: In more important news, here's a picture of a fat naked guy with a mustache playing the bongos. Diamonds.