Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Planned Parenthood's Emergency Deception

In the last week of a gubernatorial campaign, the claims and counterclaims between opponents fly so fast it's hard to keep up. A casualty of the dizzying pace is the truth, as few media outlets are actually willing to do the work to research the flurry of accusations made against candidates.

This week, the Doyle for Governor campaign released a television ad featuring a rape survivor who claims that Congressman Mark Green would deny her the choice to have an abortion. Unless Green ascends to the post of Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and takes Justice Anthony Kennedy with him, abortion on demand will remain the law of the land, regardless of who inhabits the East Wing of the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood today, on cue, followed up with a press release which essentially provides more information on Doyle's TV ad. In the release, they cite several pieces of legislation which are supposed to prove that Mark Green wants to deny emergency contraception to rape survivors. Their first citation reads:

(Green) failed to support compassionate care for rape victims and access to emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after an assault. (2005 HR 2928)
Note that there never was a vote of any kind on 2005 HR 2928 in the U.S. House, where Green served. Unable to cite a specific vote, Planned Parenthood criticizes Green for "failing to support" the bill, which means he didn't sign on to the bill as a cosponsor. By this standard, Milwaukee Democrat Gwen Moore also "failed to support" the bill, as she isn't on the bill either. Saying that someone "failed to support" a piece of legislation because they didn't put their name on it is like saying you're failing to support your neighbor if you don't mow his lawn for him every weekend.

That's not to say that Green theoretically didn't oppose the bill, which does something very different than providing "compassionate care for rape victims." The bill summary reads as follows:

Prohibits any federal funds from being provided to a hospital unless the hospital meets certain conditions related to a woman who is a victim of sexual assault, including that the hospital:

(1) provides the woman with accurate and unbiased information about emergency contraception;
(2) offers emergency contraception to the woman;
(3) provides the woman such contraception at the hospital on her request; and
(4) does not deny any such services because of the inability of the woman or her family to pay.
So the bill is really about federal funding, and the ability to withhold that funding unless hospitals and health care centers comply with this heavy-handed federal mandate.

Ironically, the bill attempts to impose the same invasive mandate that Planned Parenthood opposes when pro-life groups attempt to withhold federal funds for abortion-related activities. Doesn't Planned Parenthood believe people should be allowed to make their own choices? Aren't they opposed to government stepping in and hindering those choices? Silly questions, I know.

Let's think about this bill in practice. You run a Catholic health facility that cares for seniors and the disabled, and you rely on hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to care for these fragile individuals. This bill would require your medical center to provide a certain type of procedure that goes against a fundamental teaching of your faith, or you'd lose all of your Medicaid and Medicare funding. Additionally, even if you provide the procedure, you must also provide materials that are deemed "accurate and unbiased" by a government bureaucrat, and you must provide it at no cost; otherwise, your doors get shut down and all of the people for whom you provide care will be left to fend for their own health care.

In essence, proponents of this bill are prioritizing chemical abortion over all other forms of health care. Pulling federal funding from medical centers who know best about what types of procedures they can offer patients is an unconscionable invasion by federal lawmakers. When those millions in federal dollars go away, I'm sure that will help address the rising costs of and availability of health insurance.

The next two bullet points in Planned Parenthood's release aren't any more accurate. They claim that Green:

• Co-authored legislation to allow health care providers to deny women access to birth control and health care. (1997 AB 953)
• Supports allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control. (1997 AB 953)

As you can see from their citations, these two are the same bill - but it's a nice effort to try to split the bill into two bullet points.

1997 Assembly Bill 953 was introduced at the time RU-486 was becoming a reality. The bill expanded an existing state law that allowed medical professionals to refuse to participate in medical procedures with which they disagreed on moral, ethical, or religious grounds (such as abortion). Essentially, the bill added dispensing RU-486 to the list of procedures that medical professionals could sit out because of their beliefs, since the pill prevented implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall.

Planned Parenthood keeps hanging on to the falsehood that somehow these conscience clause bills have something to do with "birth control" as it is normally understood. None of the bills that have ever been considered deal with "the pill," yet pro-abortion groups keep trying to make women think they do, to scare and confuse them.

In fact, the 2003 "conscience clause" bill specifically exempted "contraceptive articles," defined in state law as "any drug, medicine, mixture, preparation, instrument, article or device of any nature used or intended or represented to be used to prevent a pregnancy" (Wis. Stat 450.155 (1)(a). When some legislators tried to remove this exemption (thereby allowing pharmacists to refuse to give out birth control pills), their amendment was voted down by a whopping 86-8 vote - a rebuke rarely seen among members of the majority party.

I actually disagree with Green's stance on abortion - I believe some exceptions (rape, incest, life of the mother) are appropriate. This post isn't meant to sugar coat Green's stance on abortion, as if to say that he's actually closer to Planned Parenthood than they think. He isn't - and good for him. Any position he would take would be opposed by pro-abortion groups.

The purpose of this post is merely to illustrate that if you run as a pro-life candidate, you're not necessarily running on your actual record. You're running on whatever the pro-abortion groups say your record is, real or imagined, as the media never takes the time to research the veracity of claims in the last week of a busy campaign. But I guess we need campaign finance reform to reduce the amount of political speech during campaigns, rather than asking reporters to actually investigate and report on the accuracy of the speech that occurs. That might actually leave it in the hands of the people to decide who's telling the truth, rather than the editorial boards.

The "What is the World Coming To?" Report

11-year-old Pewaukee trick-or-treater robbed of candy

City of Pewaukee - Walking home after an afternoon of trick or treating and playing ghost in the graveyard with friends, an 11-year-old boy was robbed of his candy by a male wearing a ski mask, Chief Gary Bach said.

Corey Sweeney, who will be 12 on Thursday, said he went trick or treating with friends in their Springdale Estates neighborhood Sunday afternoon and then visited a friend. When trick or treating ended at 6 p.m., he decided to walk the short distance to his home.

"A car pulled up alongside me and I thought it was just stopping for the stop sign," Corey said. But a male wearing a ski mask got out of the passenger side of the car, walked toward him and asked him if he had any candy.

Corey, wearing a Michael Vick football jersey for a costume, said he did, and the male grabbed a pillow case full of candy.

Is there any way we can send donations of cash or candy to Corey Sweeney in Pewaukee? I propose taking up a collection, to make sure he gets 10 times the candy that punk stole from him.

Oh, and by the way - another guy got shot in the head in Milwaukee today.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bad Word Choice

In a press release today, State Senate candidate John Lehman vows to go after "corporate tax dodgers."

Seriously, is the word "dodger" really a phrase Lehman thinks he should be using?

Is Radio "Public" if Nobody Listens?

Both Charlie Sykes and Patrick McIlheran have commented on WPR talk show host Ben Merens' column this weekend in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but I thought I'd add an observation. In the piece, Merens argues that somehow debate doesn't actually take place during election seasons, and his show is the only one that talks about the issues, blah, blah, blah.

I suspect Merens' frustration stems, in part, from this interview he conducted with gubernatorial candidate Mark Green. Listen to Merens as he plays the role of Doyle campaign spokesman, peppering Green with follow-up questions that are either not relevant, or show a misunderstanding of the issue they are discussing. Observe as he can't totally grasp the idea of spending more money in schoolrooms rather than on school administration - you could pull a guy off a barstool at three in the afternoon, and he'd get how it works.

Of course, all the callers are likely university professors sitting at home with the munchies, so Green wasn't getting a fair shake to begin with. But you can hear Merens' voice drip with exasperation when Green gives answers that actually don't make him sound like he wants to burn down hospitals for dyslexic puppies. Merens badgers Green to come up with programs he would cut to balance the budget. If I were Green, I would have simply said "I'd start with this radio show."

There is a larger point here, too, that Patrick touches on. Public radio exists solely because nobody listens to it. If people did listen to it, it wouldn't need tax money to survive. Imagine the conceit inherent in the decision to provide public broadcasting: you have a product that can't sustain itself on its own, but you think it is so important, you feel you have to use public money to keep it on life support. The ideas are just so good, that people have to be able to listen to them - even though nobody really wants to.

I am certainly opinionated, but I don't for a second think any of my ideas are so profound that they deserve public funding. I, of course, think conservative ideas are mostly pretty good. But it wouldn't in my wildest dreams occur to me that somehow public tax dollars should support a conservative radio station, in the event stations like WTMJ and WISN weren't available.

(Dork Alert) And if we are willing to throw around public money for things only a few people listen to, then I may be one step closer to my dream of a radio show featuring Jennifer Connelly reading passages from H.L. Mencken. That might be my giant bag of popcorn equivalent.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The "People Who Should Hate Me" List

In the event that I ever do drop the whole lame anonymity schtick, I've been trying to keep tabs on people that are likely to burn my house down when they find out who I am. And most of them probably have a point.

Anyway, looking back through some old posts, these are people who may justifiably hate my guts:

1. Mike McCabe*
2. Neil Heinen*
3. Dave Magnum*
4. Paul Barrows*
5. John Nichols*
6. Ahmad Carroll*
7. Reverend Sue Moline Larson*
8. Vanilla Ice*

(* denotes that I don't care)

I may be leaving people out, but there are a lot of people that I joke about toward which I don't really harbor any ill will. If anyone else wants to be added to this list, feel free to nominate yourself in the comments section.

Oh, and my wife Weezie wants to do a "Counterpoint" column arguing that I'm too hard on Neil Heinen. I figure it's probably enough that I just mention it here.

You Know You're a Parent When...

You know you're officially a parent when you look at the Wiggles website and swear out loud when you find out they're not bringing their live show anywhere near your hometown.

I am now going to put my head in the oven.

Ain't That America

I was going to comment on the ubiquitous John Mellencamp Chevy commercials that feature Rosa Parks, Hurrican Katrina, and 9/11 images to sell trucks, but Bill Simmons at ESPN.com summed it up nicely:

That reminds me, we didn't get a breakout promo for a new Fox show this month (although "Justice" feels like it's about to break into an SNL sketch at any time), but after everything's said and done, we'll remember these playoffs for four haunting words: "This is our ... country." We couldn't get away from the song all month in the Chevy ads, and about 109 days after it had become completely intolerable -- seriously, what does Katrina footage have to do with me wanting to buy a Chevy? -- they made us wait over a minute before Game 2's pregame performance, which would have been the most horrifying moment of the playoffs if not for Bob Seger's teeth on HDTV. I made a joke in a previous column about how John Mellencamp was gunning to replace Seger as the sellout rock artist of his generation, but this has taken on a life of its own.

In fact, I even spent a few minutes on his Web site recently hoping to find SOME explanation, even if it was something like, "Guys, I'm sorry, I'm going through a bad divorce, my wife took everything, it was either do these Chevy ads or declare for bankruptcy." But here was his actual take on the song, courtesy this weekend of the Detroit Free-Press, which reported that a message on his Web site said: "I wrote this song to tell a story about some of the challenges our country faces and how our beliefs and ideals can help us meet them, a message of hope and tolerance. It's a song that is all about standing up for the working people who are the backbone of our nation."

Here's how that same message reads on his Web site right now:

"About a year ago, I wrote this song to tell a story about some of the challenges our country faces and how our beliefs and ideals can help us meet them. This partnership with Chevy -- an American company that is creating jobs and supporting our communities -- makes perfect sense for a song that is all about standing up for the working people who are the backbone of our nation."

Hmmmm ... Quote No. 1 sure reads differently than Quote No. 2! But let's assume that he meant everything he said in Quote No. 2, and that he's not just shilling this song to make money and promote his new album that comes out in four months. And let's factor in his outspoken views against the war in Iraq and our own government over the past few years (explained in this open letter). What does any of this have to do with a Chevy Silverado?

He can't possibly expect us to believe the "partnership with an American company" angle, right? So was he thinking, "I'm not getting my political message across, maybe I'll do it secretly through a Chevy ad?" Does he have a master plan to use these never-ending ads to increase his visibility, then use that visibility to take more shots at the government? Or am I putting way too much thought into this subject because they won't stop showing the ads and they're beginning to drive me crazy?

And in his most recent column:

On an unrelated note, I thoroughly enjoyed this e-mail from George in Chicago: "What is your problem with the 'This is Our Country' Chevy truck ads? Whoever thought that Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War, Watergate, western wildfires, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11 should be bunched together to sell a truck is a genius! When Chevy opens a new ad campaign for the Malibu, they should use the same song with a montage of the AIDS crisis, the Rodney King beating, Kurt Cobain's suicide, the O.J. trial, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine massacre, and the Abu Ghraib prison photos. You're telling me you wouldn't want to buy a Malibu after seeing that?"

UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: Courtney Love sold her share of the Nirvana music rights for $50 million. If you happen to take part in a Death Pool, Courtney Love with $50 million in her pocket is about as solid of a lock as there is. Add her to your list before it's too late.

Green for Governor

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Free Harold Ford

The national Republican Party is sending out an e-mail to bloggers that rips Tennessee U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford. Only problem is, it shows that he's awesome.

From the e-mail:

After denying he attended a playboy party numerous times, Harold Ford has finally decided to come clean, explaining “I like football and I like girls.”

You can see video here.

Now wait a minute - this is supposed to make him look bad? Of course, the charge is that he previously lied about attending the party, which I guess isn't great. I'm confused about why he would feel the need to deny it in the first place. What I can guarantee is that Ford is about to receive a large special interest donation from the Tennessee Association of Blind Guys with Hairy Palms.

When they introduce another campaign finance reform bill at the federal level, I propose it contain a provision allowing candidates to lie at least once about whether they like naked women. And someone might want to check into Mark Foley's claims that he never attended a boy scout jamboree.

The RNC is running a TV ad against Ford accusing him of cavorting with playmates and accepting money from porn producers. As I've argued before, there's nothing wrong with accepting money from purveyors of porn - they have First Amendment rights, too. The only problem would occur when Ford introduces the "Give It To Me Harder Act of 2007" as a reward.

I might have to run down to Tennessee and cast my vote for Ford. Do you need a photo ID down there?

Waste of Taxpayer Money Advocates Wasting Taxpayer Money

I hadn't planned on posting anything tonight, but I was compelled to based on a ridiculous documentary I just viewed from my treadmill. The PBS show "NOW" aired an appalling hour-long love letter to the campaign finance reform movement, which they refer to throughout the show as the "clean elections movement." And of course, they claim it's bipartisan, since they find some Republican named Woodcock that's funding his gubernatorial campaign with taxpayer money.

I'd be surprised if 90% of the show isn't spent cheerleading for full public financing of campaigns. And the other 10% features some barely functional egghead trying to explain the basic concept of why not allowing voters to speak is an infringement on free speech. Rarely has a documentary been so clueless about how actual campaigns are run.

If you can stomach it, you can follow the link to watch the full hour long video here. I think my wife thought I fell off the treadmill, I was yelling at the TV so much.

It seems fitting that a public television system that wastes taxpayer money on slanted garbage like NOW finds no problem in wasting taxpayer money to run political campaigns.

P.S. – On the main page, there’s a poll question that asks, “Are campaign contributions a form of free speech?” The results – “Yes,” 8%, “No” 86%. Any question about who watches PBS again?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Great Keaton Family Debate

I don't really have much to say about the now infamous gubernatorial commercial featuring impartial observer Michael J. Fox that other blogs won't cover in detail. With all the chatter it has produced, Doyle probably doesn't need to run it a single time. I certainly think the ad says a lot more about Jim Doyle than it does about Michael J. Fox. One is a poor guy pleading for his life, while the other is willing to cash in on that desperation.

I was going to crack a joke about Doyle's next ad being Tina Yothers pleading for stem cells to cure her fatness - she's on Celebrity Fit Club 4 - which led to this instant messenger discussion with my pal Evil Grossmouth. We sound like we're out getting our nails done at the salon.

York: Will stem cells cure Tina Yothers' obesity?

York: She's on "Celebrity Fit Club 4"

York: HUGE

Grossmouth: She was kind of huge right around Family Ties time, wasn't she? or is that a recent thing?

York: I think that's pretty recent.

Grossmouth: Interesting.

Grossmouth: By what definition is Tina Yothers a celebrity? (looks up VH1 Website)

Grossmouth: OK, so the Snapple Lady is a "celebrity" according to VH1

York: As is Ted Lange

Grossmouth: Who I have never heard of

York: Isaac the bartender on Love Boat!

Grossmouth: Good God.

Grossmouth: Who is Angie Stone?

York: Singer, I think

Grossmouth: Who is Bone Crusher?

York: I know the answer, but I am ashamed to admit it

York: He was in Bone Thugs n' Harmony

Grossmouth: Is that chick from Wilson Phillips? I thought she just had stomach stapling

York: EXACTLY. Carnie Wilson - formerly known as Carne Asada.

York: How fair is it that she gets to be on this show?

Grossmouth: Who are Erika and Nick? I've never heard of any of these people.

Grossmouth: Tina Yothers looks like she's auditioning for the role of Monica Lewinsky in a Bill Clinton biopic.

Grossmouth: And what would a fat show be without a guy from the Sopranos?

York: Carnie Wilson is officially the Barry Bonds of Celebrity Fit Club

Grossmouth: Everyone hates her?

York: She's a damn cheater!

York: That would be like having a spelling bee where only one contestant gets to use all the letters

York: You can't let someone who has had their stomach stapled on the show!

York: I'm outraged

Grossmouth: How must the doctor who did her surgery feel? Her presence on that show is a walking advertisement that he sucks as a doctor.

Grossmouth: By the way, you should just cut and paste this exchange and post it.

York: I may

Grossmouth: The public deserves to know this stuff

Monday, October 23, 2006

Toddler Congressman Admits to Pooping in Pants

Washington (AP) - Surrounded by family and friends, first-term toddler Congressman Benjamin Forville (R-VA) today tearfully announced that he has, on more than one occasion, pooped his pants. For days, Forville had denied accusations from his mother that he had dropped a load in his big boy drawers, and he confessed to doing so emotionally on Thursday. "This is a painful day for me and my family," said Forville, adding, "I would just hope now we can talk about the issues."

The revelations of this impropriety sent shock waves through Washington, as it is believed that House leadership sat on this stool for some time. Rumors of a renegade lincoln log surfaced early last week on the floor of Congress, when the House was debating a defense appropriation. When members became aware of the breach, Congressman Chris Cannon of Utah demanded that everyone be inspected, which led to him sniffing the butts of both Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at close range.

This news comes at a particularly bad time for Congressional Republicans, who are fighting to retain control of the House and Senate. "Everyone knows that the Speaker of the U.S. House's number one priority should be overseeing the personal lives of each of his members, not running the legislative business of the country," said Pelosi. In fact, Congress recessed last week as Hastert ran to his office to call Forville to warn him not to rent "The Family Stone" if he intended on going to Blockbuster that night. "Unfortunately, he didn't catch me in time, and I watched the whole disastrous thing," said Forville. "That's kind of on him," he added.

Forville had been groomed from birth (three years ago) to represent Virginia's 4th Congressional District. When he was two, his parents began showing him "Baby Feingold" DVDs, which teach infants the value of self-love and unwavering belief in their own moral and intellectual superiority (told with giraffe puppets). Potty training is mandatory for members of Congress, with the exception of 124 year-old Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Forville blamed his vigilante stool on his love of double malt scotch, and immediately checked into the Super Grover Treatment Center for Preschool Alcoholism. He is currently being allowed to stay in the suite that is being reserved for Britney Spears' children when they turn three.

Corruption Done Correctly

I'm midway through Peter Baker and Susan Glasser's excellent book Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and the End of Revolution, and I just had to pass on a couple of entertaining tidbits.

The overarching theme of the book is that Putin is no joke. From his KGB background to his imprisonment of independent publishers critical of the Kremlin, to his campaigns of misinformation, to his insistence on escalating the brutal war with Chechnya, it is clear that Putin does not F around. A couple stories, however, stand out as particularly interesting.

Many of you remember August 12th of 2000, when the Russian submarine Kursk sank. The sub, which was designed to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers, sunk to the bottom of the ocean when one of its own torpedoes exploded, instantly killing 118 of the crewmen.

The immediate reaction of Putin's government was to deny anything bad had happened. As the facts became known in the days and weeks following the accident, the Kremlin continued its campaigns of misinformation, saying the sub may have been struck by an enemy naval fleet.

A meeting was held between relatives of the crew and military officers six days after the Kursk sank. At the meeting, Nadezhya Tylik, one of the mothers of the crew members killed in the accident, stood up and began justifiably ripping the military rescue efforts. While she was delivering her tirade, a female military medic snuck up behind Tylik and injected her through her heavy coat with a tranquilizer that caused her knees to buckle. As she fell to the floor, the medic and others ushered the incapacitated mother back to her seat, as if she had a heart attack.

This unbelievable event was captured on film, and pictures are available here.

Some other interesting tidbits:

Page 39: "It did not take much for Putin to genuinely impress a country fed up with Yeltsin. Sobriety alone became a major element of Putin's appeal, in contrast to his frequently drunken predecessor; one poll found that 40 percent of Russians said the quality they admired most in the new president was that he was sober."

If I ever run for office, I am most certainly making this part of my platform:

"Vote Dennis York: Only Occasionally Drunk!"


Here's a little something for Kevin Barrett and his gang of lunatics - evidence exists that Russia actually planned apartment bombings against itself in an attempt to blame them on the Chechnens and drum up support for the war. On September 22, 1999, two witnesses saw two men and a woman walk into an apartment building basement with a number of bags. When the cops got there, they found bags of hexogen, a crystalline explosive, and a timer set for 5:30 AM. While the local authorities believed they thwarted a bombing attempt, the FSB (successor to the KGB) took control of the powder and announced that it was actually just sugar, and that nobody was ever in danger. Of course, they destroyed all the "sugar," preventing further tests.


When Putin worked in the Kremlin for Yeltsin, he went to great lengths to crush anyone that challenged the authority of his boss. In 1999, Russia's prosecutor general, Yuri Skutarov, began nosing around some of the business dealings of the Yeltsin family. In March of 1999, state television aired a grainy video in which a naked man that looks like Skutarov has sex with two women identified as prostitutes. The prosecutor said it wasn't him, but Putin publicly declared the video "authentic," which forced Skutarov's resignation.

Now that's corruption done the right way. What part of this has the Doyle administration not picked up on? If you're going to take part in some sketchy stuff, make sure it's more entertaining than boring old travel contracts.

Mail Chauvinism

Today a friend of mine was trying to mail a fat envelope, hoping that they could get by with just a regular stamp. I can imagine the snide comments big letters get when they get to the post office:

Letter 1: "Can you believe that letter thinking she can squeeze into a 39 cent stamp?"

Letter 2: "I noticed she had been putting on a little weight, but I was afraid to tell her."

Envelopes can be so unforgiving.

I'm With Hillary

So John Spencer, who's playing the role of Republican fodder for Hillary Clinton this election cycle, announces that she's had "millions of dollars" worth of plastic surgery.

Honestly, if you've had millions of dollars worth of plastic surgery, you better look a lot more like this.

In related news, it was discovered that potential presidential challenger Barack Obama also has had millions of dollars worth of plastic surgery. Here's a picture from his youth.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Me and The Whore of Mensa

I'm feeling kind of sick tonight, so no heavy duty blogging.

Instead, I thought I'd shine a little light on what a dork I was in my teenage years. When I was in high school, I got my hands on one of my Dad's Woody Allen paperback books, Side Effects. In reading it, I immediately decided I wanted to write stories just like that - this is before I even really knew him as a filmmaker (I was probably 14). His short story writing style is completely different from his work writing screenplays, and to be honest, I much prefer it.

From "My Speech to the Graduates," in Side Effects:
"More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Anyway, here's a link to one of Woody Allen's short stories, "The Whore of Mensa," from his book Without Feathers. Good way to knock off about 10 minutes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Making Your Day 28% Sexier

A few years ago, some friends of mine got together and shot this video. Hope you like it, and good luck getting the song out of your head. Who said the day of the great music video is over?

(The chances of you adopting a fake Swedish accent and mock dancing for your co-workers just rose to 100%)

H/T, Dave Barry

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Christ Violates State Campaign Finance Law

Madison - In an unprecedented legal maneuver, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today filed a complaint against Jesus H. Christ for his advocacy on behalf of his father, our Lord. "When Jesus goes around pushing the Lord as our savior, he needs to include the proper disclaimer," said noted idiot Mike McCabe. "We all know that deeply held religious views are what are corroding our state," said McCabe. As a result of the ruling, God will have to recall all of his campaign literature, commonly known as "The Bible."

Earlier this week, McCabe filed a complaint against the Madison Catholic diocese, which had the gall to urge their members to vote for the ban on gay marriage in Wisconsin. Coincidentally, that happens to be an official church teaching. Apparently immune to irony, McCabe's "nonpartisan" organization has urged voters to oppose the marriage ban, yet still refuses to disclose his donors. In fact, the only campaign that McCabe failed to influence was the democratic primary in which he actually ran as a candidate, and was beaten by a 4 to 1 margin.

When reached for comment, Christ said he opposes gay marriage, but in fairness, also opposes marriage between straight ugly people. "I'm being crucified for this. I mean, Jesus Christ, what's the big deal?" said the Son of God. The Lord has been locked in an eternal struggle with the Devil for universal supremacy that has recently turned ugly, with the introduction of a new Satanic television ad that criticizes God for being soft on tsunamis.

The complaint also alleges Christ failed to list his gift of eternal salvation to mankind as an in-kind contribution, when it is clearly valued at around $75. A judge sentenced Christ to 30 hours of community service, where he will help the poorest of Wisconsin's citizens by granting them more minutes on their monthly cell phone plans.

In a rare use of his omnipotence following the trial, Christ turned McCabe into a plate of potatoes au gratin, which instantly raised McCabe's IQ by 30 points. The Democracy Campaign also filed a motion prohibiting the Church from teaching the story of Jesus caring for the lepers, instead directing priests to refer to them as "partial Americans." The popular Judy Blume book "Are You There God?, It's Me, Margaret" will also be pulled from elementary school libraries, as it clearly constitutes issue advocacy.

In related news, 6 year old Simon Benjamin of New Glarus informed his mother that her instructions to clean up his room weren't valid, as she had not turned in the required paperwork.

Authorized and Paid for By Anyone With Any F-ing Common Sense

Hero Pup

I'm sorry, I still can't get over this story:

Dog Saves Owner, Dies Trying to Save Cat

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. Oct 16, 2006 (AP)— After a disabled woman's cat started a house fire, her specially trained dog came to the rescue, then died trying to help the cat still in the house. Jamie Hanson said the 13-year-old dog named Jesse brought the phone so she could call 911 and also brought her artificial leg.

This is the most heroic dog in our state's history. The dog brought the woman her artificial leg and the phone so she could call 911. Then, he selflessy went in to save the cat, who he probably hated and just knew started the damn fire. And he gave his life to do so.

I propose naming at least one humane society in the state after my man Jesse. May the toilets in heaven always provide you with fresh drinking water, my friend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Doyle's Federal Spending Amnesia

One of Governor Jim Doyle’s key talking points against challenger Mark Green has been Green’s supposed fiscal irresponsibility as a member of Congress. In a television ad currently running, Doyle paints himself as a responsible budgeter, while Congress has been “spending like crazy.”

In the first gubernatorial debate, Doyle tried to hammer this point home:

"This is going to be a lot about how they've done things in Washington compared to how they do them in Madison," said Doyle. "We've balanced our budget . . . as opposed to a federal deficit that has just grown and grown and grown."
In the second debate, Doyle stayed on message:

Doyle twice accused Green of lecturing him, which the governor said was hardto take given what he said was the inability of Congress to balance the federal budget or reform health care. "I've seen Washington fail us over and over," Doyle said.
Set aside, for a moment, the idea that Wisconsin’s budget is actually balanced. State law requires it to be, on a cash basis. So if Doyle hadn’t “balanced” the budget, he’d be breaking the law. Additionally, Doyle’s enormous transfers of one time money and budgeting gimmicks have actually left the state with a $1.5 billion hole to fill in the next budget, when you account for future obligations.

What’s more interesting is Doyle’s sudden aversion to federal spending. When the federal government spends money, a large chunk of that spending goes to the states to fill their budget holes. In the current biennial budget, federal spending makes up 25% of total state spending ($13.5 billion) – primarily for big ticket items like Medical Assistance. If this money were cut, the state would have a huge hole to fill, and Doyle would have to make a decision to either cut senior benefits or raise taxes to pay for them. Somehow, I think he’d just prefer the federal money.

The gods of irony were laughing especially hard this week, when Doyle proposed a brand-new program to provide $4.25 million in increased dental care for kids. And where did Doyle find the money to spend on his pre-election gimmick? That’s right – it’s the same federal money that he complains about when it’s politically expedient. Just last month, Doyle actually tried to play politics with Medicaid money, complaining that Green wasn't spending enough. If Congress hadn’t had an itchy spending finger, Doyle would have to fund his campaign pandering out of pocket.

One needs only to think back to the last couple of state budgets to find Doyle at the federal government’s doorstep with his hand out, begging for more money. In the 2003-05 budget, Doyle relied on a complicated federal billing scheme known as the Intergovernmental Transfer Program to plug a $400 million state budget hole. In the end, it was money that didn't fully materialize. During that budget, Doyle was singing a different tune about federal spending:

In his speech, Doyle promised to fight hard for the additional $408 million - which he needs to pay for future health-care programs.

"Washington is taking its usual position of saying they won't pay," Doyle said. "Democrats and Republicans are in this together, and we all need to make Wisconsin's taxpayers get their fair share under the law."

Doyle plans to bill the federal government for the past three years of Medicaid costs, hoping to draw $580 million more in federal funds, since Washington pays 60% of the program. After costs of the deal are subtracted, Doyle said state government would net $408 million more.

Incidentally, I eagerly anticipate Doyle criticizing Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin for Congress “spending like crazy.” A brief look at Baldwin’s press releases shows how proud she is of all the spending she brings back to Madison. In fact, at a recent Wispolitics.com lunch event, Baldwin openly bragged that she just topped the $150 million mark in bringing resources back to her district (click here and fast forward to the 10:15 mark). Surely, an aggressive federal deficit hawk like Doyle would disapprove of such reckless spending increases.

Isn't Doyle criticizing Green for federal spending increases a little like being angry at your pimp for buying a new pinky ring? Doyle is dependent on the billions of dollars the federal government sends him to make his budget whole. Rather than criticize Green, who as one of 535 members of Congress really doesn’t have much say over federal spending levels, maybe Doyle should actually be thanking him for the cash. Without it, how else would Doyle run his campaign?

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Politics of Beauty

There's an old saying the politics is Hollywood for ugly people. If that were the case, I'd be the Leonardo DiCaprio of Wisconsin Politics.

This Washington Post Story is a prime reason why you'll never see Dennis York for Congress:

...Attractive politicians have an edge over not-so-attractive ones. The phenomenon is resonating especially this year. By a combination of luck and design, Democrats seem to be fielding an uncommonly high number of uncommonly good-looking candidates.

The beauty gap between the parties, some on Capitol Hill muse, could even be a factor in who controls Congress after Election Day.

Democratic operatives do not publicly say that they went out of their way this year to recruit candidates with a high hotness quotient. Privately, however, they acknowledge that, as they focused on finding the most dynamic politicians to challenge vulnerable Republicans, it did not escape their notice that some of the most attractive prospects were indeed often quite attractive.

Of course, one of the "hot" candidates that they mention is U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford of Tennessee, who kind of looks like a martian - so they may be conconcting a "trend" that isn't necessarily there. I guess "hot" in politics applies to anyone that doesn't resemble a sleestak.

Parents and Kids Around America

In looking for pictures for one of my past posts, I ran across a Flikr.com photo album of fathers and sons. It looks like anyone can post a picture with their kid, and a lot of them will make you go "awwwwww...." I also think you can watch them as a slide show.

You can see it here, and there's one of mothers and daughters here.

The Ironic Award of the Week

Good to see that the State Elections Board is getting awards for being nice to blind people. Then again, they should - the visually impaired are the only people left in the state that can't see that the Elections Board is rigged.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New Anti-Sex Offender Program Urges Children to Dress Like Adults

Madison - A revolutionary new law enforcement program hopes to confuse pedophiles by having their child targets dress as adults to throw them off the scent. "This is a cutting edge police program that should serve as a model for the nation," said Madison Police Chief Noble Wray.

A recent test of the program yielded spectacular results. First, a number of known sex offenders were pulled from the Democratic Party mailing list and stationed around a local elementary school. The cops then sent a fourth grader out of the school dressed as a janitor smoking a cigarette and talking about what a pain in the ass his wife is, and he slipped by, unscathed. Another kid was then sent out of the school dressed as Batman. "Everyone knows Batman is really a grown man, so there's no way I was going to mess with him," said sex offender Miles Charles. "You don't get good at luring children into your van by being stupid," he added.

"We're going to need $3.2 billion in order to carry out the program, which will save thousands of children from sexual abuse," said Wisconsin Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Burmaster. The additional funds are necessary to buy approximately 200,000 fake mustaches for the boys and an equal number of fake cigarette burns for the girls. The teachers' union has some experience with a similar program, where they dress children up as union demonstrators and bus them down to Madison to protest their lack of a pay increase.

Despite the program's resounding success, it has has some minor glitches. So far, a problem with the program occurred when a child dressed as a cowboy gave a kid dressed as an Indian a blanket infected with smallpox during naptime. The little Indian was immediately sent home from school, where he was greeted by Governor Jim Doyle seeking a campaign contribution. In another mixup, Stevie Jensen dressed up as a soldier and was immediately called up to join fighting in Fallujah by the Bush Administration.

In an ingenious move, little Joey Moretti decided to dress up as a pedophile, in hopes of repelling actual pedophiles. Ironically, Joey was immediately hired as the Dean of Students at UW-Madison.

This program will be followed up by a new sting operation where police officers dress like children in an attempt to lure pedophiles.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quote of the Year (So Far)

Courtesy of "Flavor of Love 2:"

"Quit interrupting my prayers before God direct me to whoop yo ass."

Dying to See the Game

A new report out proving that the Packers are conspiring to kill me:

Televised sports could be killing its key male demo...literally.

That's according to a study being presented to the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in New Orleans.

The three-year study, conducted by Dr. David Jerard, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, found that "Male patient visits to the ED [Emergency Department] increase significantly in the hours immediately after the conclusion of sporting events broadcast on radio and TV."

How significantly? His emergency room saw 75% more male patients in the few hours following a Division I college football game broadcast on TV and radio than during a comparable nongame period, 50% more male patients immediately following a pro football game, and 30%-40% more following a baseball game.
Remind me to put 911 on my speed dial for the next game. Thankfully, the Pack has a bye week this week, so Commissioner Goodell has granted me an extra week to live.

We Can Learn from the Muslims

In the spirit of multicultural understanding, I thought I'd post this clip from Saudi Arabia, where the speaker explains the difference between the sexes. Proof that we may actually be able to find common ground with the people of the Middle East.

Brag Time

For those of you dying to know what I look like, my daughter drew a picture of me. It's a dead ringer - I may just see if I can sub this in as my driver's license photo. I also think it accurately reflects my mood while at work.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Falk Tears ACL; Out For Remainder of Campaign Season

Madison - The Wisconsin Democrats' chances of winning took a big hit yesterday when Attorney General candidate Kathleen Falk fell to the floor in agony during a debate. Apparently, Falk was injured while attempting to back-pedal on the previous pro-illegal immigration stance that she championed in the primary.

Early this week, Falk and Governor Jim Doyle announced that they had found $1.2 million in the couch cushions of the Governor's mansion to pay for increased staffing at the state crime lab. Political observers have noted how closely aligned the Falk and Doyle campaigns have become, especially since Falk has begun to refer to the Governor as "Captain Snuggles."

As Dane County Executive, Falk is best known for the political courage it took for her radically change hairstyles in mid-administration. Political observers have called it the most daring change in Wisconsin political hair since Lee Sherman Dreyfus began waxing his armpits.

With Falk unable to campaign, the Democrats have the option of using her backup, current Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, to finish out the campaign. However, Lautenschlager is reportedly unfit to run, as she has ballooned to a weight of 330 pounds on a diet of Quarter Pounders and Colt 45 malt liquor since her devastating primary defeat. Sources say Lautenschlager routinely spends her entire day at home watching the Maury Povich show, yelling "OH, NO - SHE DIDN'T!" at the television, while her dog Bubbles licks her feet.

At the beginning of the race, Falk was asked whether she had ever driven drunk, given that she would eventually attack Lautenschlager for her drunk driving arrest. Falk said she didn't know, then admitted that she also doesn't remember how she woke up with so many beads after Mardi Gras a couple years ago.

A True Packer Insider

I think I'm a pretty astute follower of Wisconsin politics, but how in the world did I miss this story for a week?

Candidate touts sex with Packers in campaign

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) -- Sex! The Green Bay Packers! Sex WITH the Green Bay Packers! The usually ho-hum race for Wisconsin secretary of state is being spiced up by one candidate's naughty tell-all book about her bed-hopping exploits with Green Bay football legends during the team's glory days under Vince Lombardi in the 1960s...

Hornung did not return numerous messages left by The Associated Press. The book, however, includes a foreword in which he describes Sullivan as a "carefree, fun-loving girl who fit right in with me and the rest of the 'Pack.'"

Actually, I think Hornung has it wrong. It sounds like the Packers actually fit right in her.

Seventy-eight-year-old Carol Williams of Menasha said she was surprised at Sullivan's openness, but not her exploits.

"Who isn't doing things like that these days?" she said.
She's absolutely right - in fact, I went to pick up some braunschweiger at Sentry the other day, and accidentally ended up having sex with Bubba Franks. It really is unavoidable.

To pick up on the media attention, JB Van Hollen today announced that in college, he once got hammered and plowed a girl that looked like Ray Nitschke.

Give Perfecto a Chance

If you're a regular reader of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, you are probably unaware that there's actually a race for the 4th Congressional District seat, currently held by Democrat Gwen Moore. Republican Perfecto Rivera is challenging Moore, and the Journal Sentinel has yet to write a single, solitary word about a race that affects 650,000 Milwaukee area residents.

Granted, we already know who is probably going to win this seat, and Rivera's campaign had a little trouble getting off the ground. Maybe he isn't mounting much of an active campaign. But isn't the first Latino congressional candidate in Wisconsin newsworthy at all? The local media were hyperventilating when Tammy Baldwin became the first female Congressperson from Wisconsin, and they were equally as dazzled by Gwen Moore becoming our first African-American Representative. The difference? They're Democrats.

There's a larger issue at work, too. Here we have newspapers screaming for campaign finance reform so we can have fairer campaigns. Yet when it comes time for a challenger to mount a campaign against an intrenched incumbent, the papers are nowhere to be found. If a race receives no media coverage, the natural advantage always goes to the incumbent.

Furthermore, even if Rivera is a big underdog, isn't a campaign a good time to examine the voting records of our elected representatives? Regardless of who wins, don't campaigns provide citizens the microscope they need to judge their politicians? Without media coverage, this examination simply doesn't occur. The only way voters are going to learn anything about the two candidates is if the candidates raise and spent boatloads of money (sometimes known as political speech), which the paper has actively lobbied to curtail.


Jessica McBride makes the case for mandatory drug testing of bloggers with this post that says some embarrassing stuff about me. Says I'm the funniest looking person in the state, or something like that.

Incidentally, beware - being Yorked in public is a Class D felony, I'm pretty sure.

Campaign School Day 1: Depress Voters to Death

I know I was (deservedly) hard on Democratic State Senate candidate Kathleen Vinehout last week, but the hits just keep coming. Check out this spooky television ad - does this really get you excited to go out and vote? If anything, it's inspiring me to wrap my lips around the tailpipe of my car.

Oh, and the boom microphone making an appearance is a professional touch, too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Growing Up Optional

Let me just start this post out with a disclaimer: My wife is a smokin' hot babe. (You can tell I'm about to get myself into trouble.) Somehow, I tricked her into marrying me, and the Devil hasn't even shown up to collect my soul yet.

Men are often accused of living in a state of arrested development. Much of this is purely optional - I don't have to use the top of the pizza box as my plate, I simply choose to. The vacuum cleaner sitting in the middle of the living room floor is just fine with me, as long as it's not in the way of the TV. But sometimes, there are things simply beyond our control.

My wife and I took our daughter in for a checkup recently. My daughter's pediatrician is, to put it diplomatically, a fine looking woman.* (Men only - please check the end footnote for translation.) So she starts doing the usual tests on my daughter, and begins asking me questions. Suddenly, I got really clammy and started stuttering. I could feel myself breaking out into a cold sweat. I assume words were exiting my mouth, but I don't know what they were. There's an equal chance that I was either answering her question or telling her how much I enjoy tuna salad.

After a couple minutes of this, my wife shot a look at me, as if to say "ARE YOU COMPLETELY RETARDED?" And the answer was, well, yes. For some reason, despite being happily married to the woman of my dreams, I still have a complete inability to talk to other pretty women - even when my wife is in the room. Even though I'm a grown-ass man, I still expect every conversation I have with a pretty girl to end up with her beating me over the head with a Trapper Keeper, as most of them did in high school. And this time, I can't hold on to false hope that getting my braces off is going to turn things around.

So how am I supposed to get over this? Should I not leave the house? To make sure I don't run into any pretty women in public, should I just hang out at Democratic Party events? (Hee hee.) I know that I now shouldn't care what women think about me, but it feels like I'm on the spot - and I don't know what to do, other than carry out conversations with my shirt pulled over my head, which may or may not send the wrong message.

And at what age does this stop? Is there a certain point that you reach where you just don't care anymore? Does this point roughly coincide with the age where you decide to wear sweatpants exclusively?

Are there shy 70 year old men at the nursing home that get nervous about talking to Mabel in the room next door? Does he keep getting up to shave and comb his hair every day, just on the chance that he might get to see her? Does he sneak her the occasional extra bran muffin in the cafeteria to get on her good side? Maybe hide behind a bush to force a "chance encounter" when she goes out for a walk? I would think that at that point, most of your day is spent trying not to die, so I don't know how much time old guys actually have to pursue romance. Then again, God did the hard work and took care of making this woman single, so it was meant to be, right?

Mostly, I just wanted women not to be too tough on their husbands or boyfriends if they suffer from the same affliction. If your guy can't spit out a coherent sentence when talking to the ladies, it doesn't mean he doesn't think you're the greatest person alive. It just means that maybe he isn't necessarily convinced that he is.


* - Bootylicious

P.S. - At some point, everyone's going to figure out who I am - when that happens, if you are a female who I have had a meaningful conversation with, don't be insulted. I was likely drunk when it happened. Who are you again?

*Media Bias Alert*

From today's Wisconsin State Journal:

MON., OCT 9, 2006 - 12:04 PM
Hundreds rally to legalize marijuana

An article about marijuana written by Nathan Leaf? Was Smokey von Bongwater not available?

Random Notes - October Edition

Some things that didn't really fit into a post:

I finally buckled and bought a plasma HDTV, just in time to watch the Packers' disaster yesterday. In fact, I actually think it did the trick - the high clarity and resolution made Favre's fumble seem 30% more like sticking my head in a deep-fryer. With big screen TVs, I actually found that each inch of additional screen space translates to 15 minutes less per day that you spend with your family.

Has there ever been a moment where an entire state drank rat poison at once? That may have been close to occurring after yesterday's game. One of these days, the whole state is just going to end it all after a Packer game, then what used to be Wisconsin will be up for grabs for whatever existing state wants to take it over. We'll be known as "North Joliet."

The Packers losing that game would be like Mark Green surging ahead in the polls in the last couple of days in the campaign, then denying that the holocaust existed the day before the election. Or saying Julia Roberts deserved her Best Actress Oscar for Erin Brockovich. One of the two.

I had the chance to go see "The Departed" on Friday night. Just an outstanding movie - a masterpiece of violence. Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon may have just assumed the roles of Deniro and Pacino for the new milennium (I'm actually just trying to get on a TV ad). Alec Baldwin and Marky Mark Wahlberg are even good. I really suck at reviews, but I'm just telling you - go see it.

Senator George Allen of Virginia is back in the news, for reportedly failing to report his stock options. You may recall his previous episode, where he called one of his opponent's campaign workers "macaca," which apparently is a slur. Here's my advice to George Allen - if you're going to call someone an ethnic slur, at least make it one everyone already knows. If you pull out a really obscure one, people are going to think you stay up all night thinking of new and exciting ways of offending people of color. You know your campaign is in bad shape when your chances of being President would actually improve if you got caught molesting 16 year old boys.

I was walking down State Street last week, and I saw two birds on the sidewalk standing right in front of a whole bag of popcorn that someone had dumped over. Those may have been the two happiest birds alive. If you were to extrapolate that to the human world, what would be the human equivalent of a pile of popcorn that big? Is there anything that would even translate on the human happiness scale? A 100 inch plasma TV? Charlize Theron ordered to feed you Krispy Kremes every morning by the Supreme Court? A bloody Ben Affleck zamboni machine accident?

A friend of mine watched "The Presidents" on DVD the other night (some History Channel thing), and came away from it wondering how in the world Republicans lost the black vote in America. Historically, the Democratic Party was horribly racist - most notably Andrew Johnson and his southern Democrat pals. The GOP were instrumental in getting blacks the right to vote during Reconstruction, so why don't Republicans have 80 percent of the African American vote today? Personally, I think blacks turned away from the GOP when Dwight Eisenhower famously banned the playing of "Whoomp, There it Is!" at major sporting events.

I don't get HBO, so if there's any TV show I want to watch, I have to rent the DVDs. So my wife and I have plowed through two and a half seasons of "The Wire," and I think it may be the best TV series I've ever seen. Seriously.

Yet Another Reason to Vote for Mark Green

'Nuff said.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Totally Bush's Fault

Our friends at the Third District Court of Appeals send us this case this week:

A woman who was staying at an assisted living facility looked up to watch Air Force One fly over her head while President Bush was leaving Duluth. When she looked up, the resident dog wrapped its leash around her legs, which caused her to trip and fall. She then sued the owner of the facility for damages, saying their insurance should pay for her injuries. The trial court and now the appeals court both shot her down, and we here in Wisconsin are all a little dumber for having been exposed to this bogus lawsuit.

Random Thought

Does the Overture Center for the Arts have a "customers only" policy for their restrooms? If I'm walking down State Street and really need to "go," would they force me to look at a couple paintings before I could pee?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What Makes Money "Dirty?"

During the Wisconsin gubernatorial campaign, you’re going to continue to hear about who has more “dirty” money. Television ads are already flying back and forth accusing each candidate of raising “dirty” or “tainted” money.

Of course, candidates are free to characterize each others’ fundraising in any manner they want. But it’s up to us, the public, to cut through the rhetoric and decide what it is about money in campaigns that really bugs us. In other words, what really makes “dirty” money dirty?

(This post is going to go on a while, Hey Jude-style. I know my campaign finance screeds are more anesthetizing than an elephant tranquilizer, so I will reward you, the prospective reader, by interspersing pictures of Jessica Alba throughout. I may even throw in a little something for the ladies, too.)

Let’s start with the basics: Candidates need to raise money to broadcast their message and counter their opponent’s criticisms. Money can be raised in a variety of ways, but all of it is reported in one form or another and available for media or the public for scrutiny. The three main ways to raise money are:

Individual Contributions – These are contributions from individual citizens. When a candidate receives a contribution from an individual, the contribution is listed on a campaign finance report and filed with the Wisconsin Elections Board or the Federal Elections Commission. Individual contribution amounts are limited by both state and federal law.

Conduit Contributions – Conduits are organizations that bundle contributions from their members and send them to candidates. The contributions are treated exactly like individual contributions, with the contributor’s name, address, and amount listed. The only change with a conduit contribution is that the conduit must file a report with the elections agency reporting the total amount they have collected and sent to the candidate. There are no limits on total contributions by a conduit, although the limits on individuals still apply.

Political Action Committee (PAC) Contributions - PAC contributions are made by groups that send the candidate one check, with no individual contributors listed. However, in Wisconsin, registered PACs must also file a report with the Elections Board listing their donors and the amount of their donations. PAC contributions to a campaign are limited in both the amount a single PAC can give and the cumulative amount a candidate can accept from all PACs. The candidate must also report PAC contributions on his or her report.

As you can see, each type of contribution to a campaign is registered and reported in some fashion.

Why would laws requiring full reporting of contributions and setting limits on PAC donations necessary? Obviously, the intent is to limit special interest influence, or at least to be able to catch it if it occurs. One of the fundamental principles of open and honest government is that a campaign contribution shouldn’t be able to purchase your ability to influence the writing of new laws or any other governmental action.

The allegations of Governor Jim Doyle’s misconduct deal directly with this fundamental principle. The reason that finance laws are in place are to ensure fair dealings with government – that someone without a penny in his pocket should have as much influence as a millionaire. Yet, as proven in the Georgia Thompson trial, the Doyle Administration betrayed this principle in providing campaign contributors favorable treatment for lucrative state contracts. In fact, it was the existing set of campaign finance reporting laws on the books that exposed the scandal, which makes one wonder why so many people are pushing for a revised set of campaign finance laws.

Doyle has fired back at his opponent, Congressman Mark Green, making numerous allegations of impropriety. First, Doyle attempted to characterize contributions Green received (and has since given away) from Congressional leadership as “dirty.” Now, Doyle has called the federal PAC contributions Green shifted from his congressional account to his state account "illegal."

In the course of a campaign as expensive as this gubernatorial race is bound to be, campaigns raise millions of dollars from thousands of contributors. It is impossible for a campaign to track down the background of each contributor to determine whether they should accept the donation or not. Is it inappropriate for a candidate to take a contribution from someone that has a domestic abuse arrest a decade ago? Should Mark Green accept money from someone who likes to cut up canteloupe, drop it in his underwear, and run around miniature golf courses? (If so, he better cancel my check.)

And if someone with a questionable past does contribute to a campaign, so what? Do we want to restrict the right of political speech for those who fall under some completely subjective standard of "appropriateness?"* Doesn't it make a lot more sense for the public to be more wary of official actions that come as a result of campaign contributions than who gives the contribution? Scandals occur not as the result of a campaign accepting money from a certain contributor. Scandals are borne from actions that occur because of those contributions. The crime isn't to accept Canteloupe Man's contribution - the crime happens when he gets the official State Canteloupe Dancing contract (my fingers are crossed). And that is where Doyle has gone wrong.

Doyle's second complaint is that Green shifted PAC money from his federal account to his state account. This was completely legal at the time Green made the transfer, which has been covered well by other blogs over the past few weeks. Keep in mind, however, that Doyle isn't arguing that Green has somehow been unduly influenced by the federal PAC money he accepted. Doyle just reflexively calls it "illegal" because his handpicked Elections Board ordered Green to divest his campaign of the money.

These federal PAC contributions are funds that Green raised and reported legally. If anyone wants to look up Green's federal campaign reports, they are free to see which PACs gave him money. If anyone wants to see who gave those PACs money, they can do that, too. If anyone wants to accuse Green of voting a certain way because of the PAC contributions he accepted, that's fair game. But nobody is making those charges, which are really the only charges that matter. Why?

First of all, there's only one candidate in the race who has had a staffer sentenced to prison time for trading campaign cash for government favors. So if Doyle attempts to frame the race in those terms, he's opening himself up for a more thorough discussion of the various investigations his administration continues to face. Secondly, as long as he can direct the Elections Board to rule things "illegal," he can just use the words "Mark Green" and "illegal" over and over and hope it resonates with the voters. That's a heck of a lot easier than trying to make a realistic, plausible argument.

A campaign contribution only can be called "dirty" when official action is taken as a result of the donation. A donation in and of itself cannot be "dirty" if made legally. When Craig Adelman wrote Jim Doyle a $10,000 check, it was, to our knowledge, perfectly legal. When the books were cooked to provide the state travel contract to Adelman, that contribution retroactively became "dirty." Under this same standard, money Chuck Chvala raised in exchange for legislation was "dirty," and he ended up in prison.

If any member of the public wants to form an opinion about whether any of Mark Green's contributions are "dirty" by the aforementioned standard, they are welcome to review his finance reports and voting records. The numbers are all there, in black and white. But until someone actually makes a case that the money Green has raised has directly influenced his actions, there should be a moratorium on any attempt to equate the candidates' ethical standards.

Mark Green isn't being accused of a single thing that contradicts the fundamental intent of campaign finance law. Nobody is accusing him of official actions benefiting a contributor with undue influence, which is the reason campaign finance laws exist. Only one candidate in this race has shown a willingness to cut the public out of their right to open and equitable government in return for campaign contributions. Unfortunately for Doyle, voters are smart enough to figure that out.


*Jay Bullock at Folkbum (who I really like) is twisting himself into knots trying to tie Republicans to the Foley "scandal" based on contributions. For instance, he says congressional candidate John Gard received money not from Foley himself, but "from some people tied to the Foley scandal."

Set aside whether these PACs actually have "ties" to Foley. My point is this - I don't care if Mark Foley himself wrote the check to Gard's campaign while getting a massage from a troop of Eagle Scouts. The contribution has absolutely nothing to do with John Gard's ideals or his campaign. The only problem would come about if John Gard then wrote a bill legalizing pajama parties with 16 year old boys. (They could have the bill signing at the Neverland Ranch.)

UPDATE: Tonight, I just happened to catch this new Doyle ad where he makes a weak allusion to the fact that Green votes for contributors "instead of voting for you." This, coming from a Governor who has had an employee sent to prison for that very thing, and who remains under investigation. You have to wonder how Doyle rode a bicycle as a child with the size of the stones that he has.

You Can Fool 100,000 People Some of the Time...

Special thanks to the confused person reading this blog at 5:31 PM today, who became the 100,000th unique reader. Goes to show Wisconsin has a long way to go if we want to claim to have good taste.

Then again, Ann Althouse gets 100,000 readers a week, which makes my yearly total look a little paltry. But thanks to everyone who takes a break from doing something important every day to read this dopey blog. I can now cross you all off my "people to stab today" list.

I thought a quote from Statler and Waldorf was appropriate when describing my blog:

Statler: "Hey, that wasn't half bad!"

Waldorf: "You're absolutely right - it was ALL BAD!"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Losing Her Mind Before Our Eyes

Being speechless isn't a very good trait for a blogger, but I have to admit that a completely incomprehensible "press release" issued today by Democratic state senate candidate Kathleen Vinehout has me completely perplexed.

We all know that running a campaign is stressful, but it appears that Vinehout has completely lost her mind. In her "release," she writes a rambling four page poem about her opponent, incumbent Ron Brown of Eau Claire, that simply defies description.

Has Wisconsin ever seen a candidate melt down so completely? Her semi-lucid release reads like it was written while she was on acid. In it, she accuses Brown of somehow being in cahoots with Saudi Arabia to lower gas prices so he can get re-elected, she attempts to take shots at a primary opponent (Chris Danou) that she defeated two weeks ago, and she takes lame shots as Senator Dave Zien (whose name she misspells throughout), who is running in a completely different district.

My description can't even do this justice, so just read it for yourself. It is proof positive that Kathleen Vinehout isn't fit to serve in the State Legislature. I'm not sure I'd even let her near my kid. Is she going to demand that all their debates be done in haiku? Are her radio ads going to be in iambic pentameter?

The flip-flop she references in her campaign poem deals with her position on abortion. Vinehout, a Catholic, always considered herself pro-life - she was active in the Catholic Rural Life Conference. However, as her Democratic primary opponent pointed out, her position on abortion changed completely when she began running for the State Legislature.

In 2004, Vinehout gave an interview to the National Catholic Reporter, where she said - and I am not making this up:
Meanwhile, as Vinehout plans her bid for office, she worries that support from traditional Democratic backers will not be forthcoming because of her antiabortion views. "I've been told that if I run as a 'pro-life Democrat' that I won't get any union money, Sierra Club money or environmental money," says Vinehout...

Vinehout plans to soft-peddle her pro-life stance when she runs for office. "If somebody asked, 'How do you feel [about abortion],' I'd tell them," said Vinehout, but she will go out of her way to avoid the "pro-life Democrat" label.

So, in other words, she's ashamed of her position, and is willing to switch it if it helps her get more special interest (union, environmental) money. She even recently spoke at a Women's Choice event, where she was endorsed. So fetuses need to watch their backs - their life is only worth something to Kathleen Vinehout in the years she's not running for the State Senate and needs special interest cash. Better start up FetusPAC and give her money if you want to stand a chance.

So if Vinehout is so willing to change her position on a fundamental moral issue like abortion to chase campaign money, what do you think she's going to do on issues of taxes and spending? Ironically, it was Vinehout who may have terminated her own campaign today with her incomprehensible press release. She won't be missed.

31 NFL Teams Take Their Phones Off the Hook

Both consistent readers of this blog are aware of my visceral contempt of Ahmad Carroll. It appears that I now will no longer have him to kick around anymore, as the Packers mercifully released him today. A stroll down memory lane from some of my posts over the past year and a half:

October 23, 2005:

1:43 – The Vikings are immediately on the move. Koren Robinson, three weeks out of alcohol rehab, catches a pass after receiving a lap dance from Ahmad Carroll, and tips Carroll 5 bucks. After the catch, play is halted, and Carroll is awarded a trophy for being “Worst Player on an NFL Roster.” Carroll accepts the award, and play resumes.

2:00 – Troy Williamson catches a pass for a first down on third and ten, after being “covered” by guess who? Ahmad Carroll.

2:02 – On the next play, Culpepper throws a touchdown to Marcus Robinson in the same spot of the end zone. I’ll give you one guess as to who was covering (or not covering, in this case) Robinson. That’s right. #1 draft pick Ahmad Carroll.

Remember the part of “The Muppets Take Manhattan” when Kermit gets run over by a car, gets amnesia, and thinks he’s a soap salesman? He shows up at work (named Phillip Phil) and comes up with terrible new slogans like “Ocean Breeze Soap – for people who don’t want to stink,” and “Ocean Breeze Soap – it’s like an ocean cruise, except there’s no boat, and you don’t actually go anywhere.”

It’s like Ahmad Carroll was hit in the head at some point, got amnesia, and now believes he is an NFL player. He just keeps showing up for work, and nobody wants to say anything in case it hurts his feelings. One of these days he’s going to get hit in the head again, regain consciousness, and return to filling the ketchup dispensers at Culver’s. 17-7 Packers.

August 13, 2006:

Somehow, Derrick Turnbow managed to make it out to San Diego and sneak into the game at cornerback for the Packers, wearing number 28. I actually thought about adding a picture of Ahmad Carroll to my "people who suck" post, but I thought it was too parochial. Imagine how prescient that would have been - although predicting Ahmad Carroll will give up a touchdown catch is like predicting Katie Couric will bomb at CBS.

August 28, 2006:

York: Ahmad Carroll defending...
York: Carson Palmer could be playing in a wheelchair, as long as he keeps throwing to Carroll's guy.
Lamas: At least Carroll didn't kick him in the groin.
York: Carroll is never close enough to anyone to kick them in the groin. He'd need 20 foot legs.

September 6, 2006:

That's 8 out of 25 players acquired via the draft that are on the active roster after three years. Of those 8, three are first-rounders: Nick Barnett, who is a quality linebacker; Aaron Rodgers, who has yet to play any meaningful downs; and Ahmad Carroll, who has proven that he has about as much business on a football field as I do performing open heart surgery.

September 18, 2006:

Game time is upon us, as the captains make their way to the middle of the field. I rhetorically ask what the hell Ahmad Carroll is doing out there with the team captains for the coin flip, then joke that that’ll be the closest he gets to a Saints player all afternoon...

Then, with about a minute left in the half, the Saints are driving again. Following a pass play, Ahmad Carroll drops to the ground in pain, causing the Packers to take a time out. After laying on the ground like he had been shot for two minutes, Carroll gets up…and then…stays… in the… game. I immediately stood up and started yelling in disbelief. Let’s see, if you’re the Saints, and you know there’s a terrible corner staying in the game after being injured on the previous play, what would you do? I was yelling “THEY’RE THROWING TO CARROLL’S GUY!” over and over, but sadly, Mike McCarthy didn’t hear me.Sure enough, with 56 seconds left in the half, Saints receiver Devery Henderson blew by Carroll and caught an easy touchdown pass.


So how is it that it took Packer coaches three years to figure out what everyone already knew?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Married Men Lobby for Ban on Straight Marriage

New Berlin - A new organization of married men today announced that they would be seeking a constitutional amendment banning marriage between heterosexual Wisconsinites. The controversial proposal comes on the heels of a new amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that seeks to ban gay marriage. "Why should lucky gay Wisconsinites be able to avoid the suffering of marriage?" said group spokesman Philip Dale. "Come live with my wife for a week, and see if marriage is something they want any part of," said Dale, adding, "We're the ones really pushing for equality - to make sure everyone's not equally as miserable."

Dale recently flew across the country to Portland with his wife and three children, and says he now believes he knows what Guantanamo Bay must feel like for detainees. "Being trapped on a delayed plane with three young children is like being locked in a Volkswagen Bug with hungry wolverines," he said. In fact, a nationwide group of Vietnam veterans has begun to pool its donations in order to build a monument for Dale. "Man, that guy really had it bad," said legless former P.O.W. Benny "Nostrils" McGee.

The proposed amendment immediately garnered opposition from pro-straight marriage groups. "Heterosexual marriage is a lot better than people think," said Nelson Scott, President of Wisconsin Wieners are for Women. "When a guy gets married, he can do things he never could do when he was single," said Scott. "He can stop working out, he doesn't have to shower as often, he can stop using big words like 'solipsistic,' and he can go grocery shopping without any pants on," said Scott, who has been arrested 46 times for public indecency.

Amendment proponents, however, aren't buying Scott's argument. "Why gay people want to be told three times a day to mow the lawn is beyond me," said Parman Nagresh, 42, of Franklin. Just last week, Nagresh was reminded to get an oil change a record 32 times by his wife. "Every time I do a load of colored laundry, she reminds me to use cold water - I don't know how I managed to live 27 years on this earth without her constant advice," he added.

"Traditional marriage really works against those of us that don't have a very strong Pimp Hand," said Nagresh. He also pointed out that if nobody can get married, it makes it a lot easier to part ways if your wife starts dating Flavor Flav, or if you're a congressman that decides he likes 16 year old boys. According to Nagresh, last week he mentioned to his wife that he intended to begin looking at HDTVs at Best Buy, but was immediately vetoed. Rather than convince his wife that they could afford a new TV, he took on a much easier task - negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and Hezbollah.

Scott's group said they soon would be introducing a constitutional amendment that would prevent homosexuals from attending straight weddings. The amendment is strongly opposed by couples who actually appreciate thoughtful gifts.

CSI: Hamster Division

From Janesville:
Janesville woman arrested for hamster neglect

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Police arrested a woman over the weekend for neglecting hamsters at her home after her roommate called authorities, police said Sunday.

Sgt. Rick Larson said police arrested the 23-year-old Saturday morning on 39 counts each of two charges: failing to provide food and drink and failing to provide proper shelter to animals.

The Rock County Humane Society removed 33 live and six dead hamsters. The woman was already is facing charges of failing to provide shelter and food to a Great Dane removed from her home in August.
Immediately, actor Richard Gere selflessly offered to assist in the rescue effort.