Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Dems' Substantive TPA Debate

Good writers don't just tell you something is absurd, they actually point out why it is so. But I'm so flustered by the most recent "controversy" over Glenn Grothman's "secret" TABOR meeting, I can't help but just say that we have all lost our minds.

I know I should be the last one telling anyone to be serious, but come on. As reported in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, State Senator Glenn Grothman held a meeting with some local officials to get their input on the proposed Taxpayer Protection Amendment. And apparently Grothman had the gall to (gasp!) not call the press and invite them! And he didn't let all of his constituents know! I will take a moment to let you catch your breath, because I care about you, dear reader.

After I saw the article, I rolled my eyes as any thinking person should have done. But then I watched in horror as Democrats actually tried to make this an issue. Unable to argue against TPA on the merits, suddenly Democrats have tried to gin up some completely phony argument that the public is being "shut out" of the process. Most galling are other legislators criticizing Grothman for holding this meeting.

Let's back up here for a minute. Grothman was trying to get input from people that oppose the TPA. He was listening to an opposing viewpoint, and decided he could have a productive meeting with those that care about it the most, local officials. He made an honest attempt to take input on the bill, and suddenly he gets whacked for it. The article even concedes nobody was kept from attending. Local officials were likely much more willing to show candor without the media there, as they know they are on the losing side of a popular public issue. What's wrong with an honest conversation?

And for legislators like Mark Pocan and Russ (the human breathalyzer) Decker to come out and criticize him for the "secret" meeting is absolutely ridiculous beyond words. Certainly Pocan and Decker meet with constituents and local officials all the time, and never alert the media or the "general public." A quick open records request of their office calendars will surely confirm that.

I mean, Democrats, I'm on your side on the TPA for the most part. But if you're going to argue against the TPA, argue against the bill and not the process. The people that are trying to drum this smokescreen up as a legitimate issue are showing that they have no interest in a legitimate debate on the effects of this massive constitutional amendment.

Who is it that's afraid of public debate on the TPA again?

SIDE NOTE: Owen did a good job of covering this today, but I don't think he was nearly outraged enough. I am outraged by his lack of outrage.

Jamie Aulik's Think Tank is Empty

On Tuesday of this week, lefty blogger Xoff was having hot flashes because gubernatorial candidate Mark Green had the audacity to not rattle off his entire campaign platform at a press conference. Said Xoff:
I've often marveled, and sometimes commented here, about Mark Green's ability to avoid talking about issues when he doesn't want to, which seems to be a good deal of the time...

This guy's running for governor. When he has a rare news conference, any question a reporter wants to ask should be fair game. Do you think Jim Doyle could get away with saying he'll tell you about his political positions later?
As it turns out, Green was downright chatty compared to 9th State Senate District Democratic candidate Jamie Aulik. Aulik, a 26 year old Iraq war veteran, gave the following answers to these questions when posed to him by the Sheboygan Press:

However, Aulik avoided indicating how he would have voted on a few contentious matters resolved in the current legislative session or currently under debate. He wasn't prepared to say how he would have voted on the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the right of citizens to carry concealed weapons, or reviving the death penalty. "Those issues are divisive. They make people turn against each other," said Aulik...

Concealed Carry...

Aulik declined to take a position. He said state legislators should be more concerned about creating an affordable health care system.

Same sex marriage ban...

Aulik is concerned opposite sex unmarried partners might not be able to exercise medical decisions for the other individual. He would not say how he would have voted on the amendment, which will be on the November ballot.

Mandating ethanol for the lowest grade of gasoline...

"It is an issue I should study further ... in general, I support consumer choice," Aulik said.

So who deserves the blame here? The media or Aulik? I will anxiously await Xoff's response.

Also, notice Leibham called Aulik "an honorable young man ... who should serve as an example to all of us." Aulik then turned right around and trashed him. At least someone in this race is showing the class befitting a State Senator.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

They Are So Worth It!

Did anyone else find this headline for the Wisconsin State Journal today a little unsettling? As in, it could mean two different things?

"Chandler: Children Are Worth Tougher Sex-Crime Penalties"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jerry Lewis to Hold Telethon for Scott Walker



(Milwaukee) - French royalty Jerry Lewis today announced he would be holding a special telethon to benefit society's least fortunate member, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. In March of 2006, Walker was diagnosed with a terminal case of a terrible campaign. "No human should have to go through the injustice of being told that they can't be Governor of Wisconsin," said Lewis. "Forcing him to go back to his crappy job of representing 600,000 people is almost inhumane," said Lewis. "Wisconsin residents are now stuck with a GOP candidate who can actually win," moped Lewis.

The telethon was called in part due to Walker supporters wailing about his unfair treatment during the campaign. "Walker deserves a purple heart for his decision not to make baseless and mean-spirited personal attacks against his opponent," said supporter James Wallace. "Just like I deserve credit for going home every night and not calling my wife a dirty whore," said Wallace. Wallace's dirty whore wife was not available for comment.

Despite being unable to carry on with the campaign, Walker still manages to muster up the strength to respond to bloggers' criticisms of his campaign. "That shows the type of thick skin that would have made him an excellent chief executive," said talk show host Mark Belling. "The fact that he is willing to clarify his positions when nobody gives a damn anymore shows a never say die attitude," said Belling. Belling also pointed to Walker completely screwing up the announcement of his withdrawal as proof he had what it takes to lead our state. "If you can't trust the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with a secret, who can you trust?" said Belling.

Yesterday, Congressman Mark Green announced a groundbreaking deal with Walker. In return for Walker withdrawing from the campaign, Green agreed to appoint Walker to the newly created position of "The Guy I Beat."

Fun With Statutes, March Edition

Check out this state law, which describes the types of weapons that individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from carrying:

948.60 Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

948.60(1) (1) In this section, "dangerous weapon" means anyfirearm, loaded or unloaded; any electric weapon, as defined in s. 941.295 (4); metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles; a nunchaku or any similar weapon consisting of 2 sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather; a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand; a shuriken or any similar pointed star-like object intended to injure a person when thrown; or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends.

First of all, for those of you who don't know what a cestus is, here's a picture:



So for those of you planning on starting a fight with an ancient Roman, watch your ass. Or those of you planning on throwing blows at Caesar's Palace.

Secondly, what is with all the dorky weapons references? Are the state's bill drafters big Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts? Did they put down the 12 sided dice long enough to draft up this law? Should we dictate how many hit points are given to a victim being attacked by a "shuriken or any similar pointed star-like object?"

Am I allowed to assault someone if I am a "Skull Legion Mercenary" or an "Orish Warbringer?" (loosely translated to English as "Dateless Masturbator.")

Giving "Flagpole" a Whole New Meaning

So apparently there is a big controversy over in Racine "popping up" that involves tastless pictures sent out by a political operative. I'm not really interested in the sordid details of the story, but I do think one part of the controversy is being completely overlooked.

The man is wearing the American flag as a banana hammock.

Any red-blooded American should support shutting down any business that produces American flag penis pouches. I mean, seriously - our men and women are fighting overseas for our freedom, and this guy is wrapping his crank in Old Glory.

Back in the boy scouts, we were taught that according to flag etiquette, you had to burn the flag if it even touched the ground. What are you supposed to do if this jerkoff is playing "pig in a blanket" with it? I propose the following amendment to flag etiquette - you have to burn it while he's wearing it. That will teach him a lesson.

Where will the Supreme Court stand on this? This gives Texas v. Johnson a whole new meaning. Only in flag burning cases, the dissenters are demonstrating. The only thing the hammock demonstrates is that this Bene-dick'd Arnold must keep it awfully cold in his house.

Finally, a Man With a Plan to End the War

If you haven't caught any of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave Redick's press releases, you truly are depriving yourself of one of life's great pleasures. They are truly the ramblings of a madman. They are a delicious bouillabaisse of non-sequiturs, different fonts, and semi-lucid stream of conscious observations (not unlike my posts). He's like your old uncle that has to register with the state Department of Corrections every time he moves, when he gets drunk and starts spouting off at the mouth.

In particular, check out this release from March 16th, which states:

"Thus, I am proud to announce that I have mailed to President Bush today the draft of a settlement agreement to be used by him to negotiate the end of these wars. This document will be enhanced in the weeks ahead, and resubmitted, as volunteers contribute ideas. Please ‘Join David’ in this worthy project!"

Seeing as how he is taking requests for his peace agreement with Al-Qaeda, I e-mailed his campaign the following:
Dear Future Senator Redick:

Thank you for having the stones to stand up to Republicans in their support of this most unjust and unholy of wars. This position will undoubtedly be what easily propels you through the Republican primary in September, when you will then beat that warmonger Herb Kohl. Your clearly stated and well thought out position on the war will undoubtedly resonate with the voters of this state, and will most certainly offset the tens of millions of dollars, name recognition, and unparallelled popularity Herb Kohl currently enjoys.

In response to your open solicitation for ideas for your peace agreement, I submit the following:

What we need to do is lure Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to the negotiating table with a peace offering of the Season One "Facts of Life" DVD (U.S. intelligence has picked up that he has a thing for Tootie, pre-braces). When he leans over the table to accept this most valuable of gifts, I propose you punch him in the face really hard and knock him out. You then use a sharpie to draw a convincing beard on yourself and dress yourself in his clothes.

After going back to his terrorist base camp, you must take two weeks to assimilate yourself with the terrorists, so they don't suspect anything. During this time, you must continue to kill American soldiers and blow the limbs off of women and children - but don't worry, because it's for a good cause. Finally, one day you spike all of the terrorists' Red Bull energy drinks with arsenic that you have cleverly hidden in your colon for two weeks.

Senator Redick, it takes a man of superhuman fortitude to carry off a plan this foolproof. I believe you are just that man. May God bless you in your campaign of righteousness.

Stay black,

-Dennis York

I won't "fisk" the rest of his ridiculous release, but I do have to mention his genius in somehow working the Scott Jensen conviction into a rant about Vietnam. And I will end this post with these wise words from Redick:

"An unbiased thinking person can find the REAL REASONS we started these wars with a little research on the Internet."

I think I might also be able to find the necessary forms for involuntary commitment on the internet, too.

That Can't Really Be a Word

I looked up the criminal record of a friend of mine, and it appears he had a little run-in with the law for a criminal transgression that I didn't believe existed. I looked it up, and sure enough, here it is:

Wis. Stat. 943.12 Possession of burglarious tools.

Whoever has in personal possession any device or instrumentality intended, designed or adapted for use in breaking into any depository designed for the safekeeping of any valuables or into any building or room, with intent to use such device or instrumentality to break into a depository, building or room, and to steal therefrom, is guilty of a Class I felony.

Burglarious? Are you kidding me?

In related news, a member of McDonaldland was recently convicted of possession of hamburglarious tools.

Magnum Consults Mr. Furley's Ghost on Medicare Policy

Rather than hang myself, I decided to take a peek at the latest "Dave's Digest" from future ex-congressional candidate Dave Magnum. The portion where he "paid tribute" to the great Tom Metcalfe caught my eye. He says:
"Last year I had the honor of presenting Tom with one of his many lifetime achievement awards. It was clear then as it is now that as a moderate Tom was far more interested in the merits of an issue than political labels. He just wanted to get things done. His desire to do the right thing and his lack of partisanship only enhanced the respect he earned from people on both sides of the political aisle. Tom was a class act and will be sadly missed."

Gee, do you catch the subtle message there?

Residents of South Central Wisconsin remember his 2004 campaign, which featured an unsettling commercial of him staring longingly at a picture his deceased wife thinking about health care policy. The obvious question now becomes:

Is there anybody no longer living that Dave Magnum won't invoke to make himself look better?

Don't be surprised if he announces Pat Tillman has been named his campaign manager.

This is Why Scalia's the Best

Peter had this article a while back, but I pulled this passage out to show why my love of Antonin Scalia is undying and unconditional:
Noting that the Senate confirmed his high courtnomination by a 98-0 vote, Scalia said, "You could not get a judge with my views confirmed to the Court of Appeals today."He said code words such as "mainstream" and "moderate"are now used to describe liberal judicial nominees."What is a moderate interpretation of (theConstitution)? Halfway between what it says and halfway between what you want it to say?" he said.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Power Law Theory and the Homeless

For decades, the strategy to deal with homelessness in America has been to manage the problem, rather than fixing the problem. So says author Malcolm Gladwell in his New Yorker essay “Million Dollar Murray,” which details the complexity of dealing with the homeless population and the hopelessness of our current state and federal policies.

Gladwell is a refreshing read, as he’s a liberal who actually gets it. He makes reasoned arguments, and when he addresses a conservative position on a particular issue, his argument actually represents an actual conservative position, rather than an easily disposable lefty fantasy. Needless to say, arguments from people that use reason should be taken much more seriously than those who use hysterics and hyperbole.

Gladwell’s theory is essentially this: while Americans generally view the “homeless” as a unitary group with similar characteristics, statistics show that the most extreme cases, or the “chronically homeless,” make up only ten percent of the homeless population. Gladwell cites studies to support his theory that the homeless follow a “power law” distribution, meaning about ten percent of the homeless are far and away the most costly to society, due to the constant medical attention they need for mental disorders and substance abuse.

As an example, Gladwell uses “Murray,” an alcoholic homeless man in Reno who the police had to pull out of casinos on a regular basis. Local authorities estimate that Murray needed over a million dollars’ worth of medical care before he finally died. The tab for his medical care is either picked up by taxpayers or via private insurance payers through higher premiums.

One homeless service program in Boston tracked the medical expenses of 119 chronically homeless people. Their study showed that over five years, 33 people died and seven were sent to nursing homes, but that group of 119 people accounted for 18,834 emergency room visits, with a minimum cost of $1,000 per visit. While 90% of individuals are homeless for only a few days or weeks, it is the remaining 10% of the most severe homeless that are overburdening our social service system.

Gladwell proposes that instead of merely managing the homeless problem, it would be in our best interest to expend the resources necessary to solve the problem. He argues that our system of soup kitchens and shelters only allows the homeless to remain homeless, thereby providing a disincentive for people to straighten their lives out. Gladwell’s solution means identifying the chronically homeless and doing whatever it takes to help them, including providing stable housing, substance abuse services, and career counseling.

There are good conservative arguments against this type of approach. For instance, government would be going out of their way to help people that either don’t want help or don’t deserve it. Some families work extra jobs to make ends meet, and government would be picking up the tab to provide a new life for people who have shown no personal responsibility or initiative.

On the other hand, government will be paying for these people one way or another. It appears that spending money up front to help people with severe problems could be much less costly than our current system of paying their substantial medical bills on the back end. If it was necessary to shift resources away from the current soup kitchen-shelter system to fund such a re-prioritization, then that may be a worthwhile endeavor.

American government has a strong egalitarian streak which forces it to treat individuals the same no regardless of individual circumstance. This causes a lot of people to be partially dependent on government to maintain their way of life. It may be time to challenge this way of thinking and provide a few people with a lot of help.

200th Post - Fast Food Notes

I'm up to 200 posts now, with most people still waiting for the first good one. Basically, I'm just procrastinating writing a really long post I have in mind. A couple points on fast food:

Whoever thought of putting mayonnaise on a cheesburger deserves to be written into my will. Of course, that change to my will will have to be made quickly if I keep eating cheeseburgers with mayonnaise on them.

Why does McDonald's even bother selling salads? Have you ever seen anyone order one? Essentially, you have to pay more for your food to subsidize the presence of salads, so McDonald's will seem more health conscious. There's no way salads are pulling their own weight.

If I ever become homeless (and if I had to make a living by blogging, I would be), the first place I would look for spare change is under the drive-through window. I swear I drop coins about every other time I pick up drive-through food. Somewhere, there's some guy that's been following me around that just bought a three bedroom in Shorewood Hills.

One of my doctor friends told me that it's not bad to pig out on fast food, since once you consume a certain amount of fat at one sitting, your body can't process any more fat and just expels it. Heartened, I decided to test this theory about five times a week, with no noticeable weight loss results yet.

For some reason, my wife likes eating her french fries with tartar sauce (she's a closet Euro, which explains why she voted for Kerry). I am being generous if I estimate that they remember to put her side of tartar sauce in the bag 30% of the time. I would be less surprised to see a map to bin Laden's cave than I would if they'd remember the tartar sauce.

The death penalty is still illegal in Wisconsin, yet McDonald's is still allowed to sell McGriddle breakfast sandwiches. Where is the consistency?

Pure Coincidence?

Back in January, I posted this:

Besides showing that drug use is alive and well among the left wing, let's assume Feingold gets his way and Bush is impeached. That would leave us with this:



Suck on it, Democrats!

On March 25th, this editorial cartoon appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:



Pure coincidence? I concede, it's a pretty obvious point. But I am reasonably well read at the Journal-Sentinel, and it seems suspect that the one editorial cartoonist to make this point would be in Milwaukee.

If the Journal-Sentinel wants me to start writing their editorials for them, I'd be happy to. Don't be surprised if you see Eugene Kane come out in support of Mark Green in the next couple of days...

Winning the Senate, One Lap Dance at a Time

Some lefties are taking shots at Republicans for contributions made by an individual named Ambrose Schwartz to some GOP campaigns. Schwartz, you see, owns the 4 Mile Gentleman's Club, which is a strip joint.

Schwartz, however, has given money to both Democrats and Republicans. It's pretty clear that he's a member of the Wisconsin Tavern League and likely gives through his conduit. That means the Tavern League holds on to his money and sends it to candidates that they support. He may have given money to legislators that he had never even heard of.

And when a campaign receives a check, it can't possibly take the time to look up the background of every contributor. If you do have the time to research every donor, you're not running a very good campaign. Plus, the name "4 Mile" wouldn't immediately signal "strip club" to me. It's not like it's the "Bear Chest" in Beloit or "Beansnappers," which everyone agrees sounds dirty, but nobody can figure out why.

As for the propriety of receiving contributions from strippers themselves, I would argue women that can pick a dollar bill up without using their hands have more dignity than the teachers' union, and nobody seems to care about their contributions.

This is in stark contrast to the Doyle administration, where the whoring takes place after the contribution has been received.

More Gay Marriage Juvenilia

Last week, I hammered away at UW Milwaukee Professor Amanda Seligman (who would have guessed such rock solid reasoning could be found at the UW?) for her incomprehensible editorial in favor of gay marriage. In it, she stated that she now regrets her heterosexual marriage because gays are legally excluded from taking part in marriage, or some such nonsense.

Today, the Journal Sentinel tries to even the score with an equally bad editorial by Mark Fielding Sevelis that makes the case against gay marriage. I'm generally on this guy's side, but it really is a meandering, disjointed mess. Apparently, gay marriage is bad because this guy was in some gay bowling gang in high school or something. I will refrain from making a joke about how they had the most polished balls in the bowling league (although I guess I just did).

Are the community columnists at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel picked at random? Do you get a free column with the purchase of a honey glazed ham at Pick n' Save?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Walker Pulls Out; Doyle Hairpiece Quivers

Wow - from Wispolitics.com:

-- Republican Scott Walker plans to withdraw from the governor's race and plans to throw his support behind GOP rival Mark Green, according to a top GOP source. See more in the right-hand column at www.wispolitics.com

The original Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article is here.

Let's see - the chair of the national Republican Party, Ken Mehlman, tours the state on Thursday, and Walker drops out on Friday - think a discussion was had between Walker and the big shots? The GOP is desperate to have a Republican Governor in Wisconsin in 2008 to help organize support for whomever might be their presidential nominee. It only made sense that they thought Walker was in the way of a strong Green challenge to Doyle.

Walker was a good candidate and will move on to higher office in some capacity. Best of luck to him. Hopefully, the party will take care of him in his next endeavor in exchange for gracefully bowing out now. Here's his statement.

The aggressive tactics he started a few weeks ago signaled that he was in need of a Hail-Mary. He must have looked at his polling and tried to take one more big shot, and when those fell flat, it was probably the end.

And while this is bad news for Walker, it is great news for Republicans. In fact, Walker and Jim Doyle are the big losers today. Doyle is now looking squarely down the barrel of a multi-million dollar Green war chest and sagging approval ratings that rival Billy Packer's. The cannons can turn on him now, as opposed to September. Not even the fundraising prowess of his toupee can get him out of this.

Now we can get on to discussing the issues that the public is really interested in - like whether Green's campaign manager likes Limp Bizkit or not. Or whether he once went to a Bucks game.

Happy Weekend

Normally, I'd try to post something for the weekend, but Duke and Gonzaga taking a flamethrower to my NCAA bracket has me dispirited. I actually fell to my knees and wept as Gonzaga melted down.

So everyone have a good weekend.

Love,

Denny-o

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Will the Real Jim Jay Bullock Please Stand Up?



I'll take Jay Bullock for the block, Whoopi...

Pretty sure he's never heard that one before.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wisconsin's Crazy Colleges - Who Needs the UW?

You're awake at 2 AM, and occasionally flip away from Showtime during the "uninteresting" parts of what you're watching (otherwise known as the parts with "dialogue.") In between ads for 1-900-HOT-LOVE (my home number, coincidentally), you see an opportunity to advance your education. Maybe it's DeVry, maybe it's ITT Tech, maybe it's a cosmetology college. Now you feel like a sucker after you wasted six years of college, knowing that you could have an exciting career in audio/visual production in, like, 36 minutes.

Believe it or not, these schools are actually regulated by the state. Every year the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board releases its Directory of Private Postsecondary Schools, which provides a complete list of schools you normally don't think anyone actually attends. As funny as some of them are, they are essential to getting people to work and provide great services to people with jobs who are looking to further their education. They include cosmetology schools, technology schools, auto repair, graphic design, accounting, health care training, and other necessary professional training.

That doesn't mean, however, that some of them aren't funny. Here are the schools, the writeups they provide in the directory, and my smartass comments:

Institute of Equine Therasage (p. 68)

The Institute of Equine Therasage is a 60-hour equine sports massage therapy certification program. This specialized course provides the education needed to help horses compete at their full potential. Our concept of what preventative maintenance massage therapy should be revolves around the horse as a whole. We have combined many unique methods of hands-on stretches, touch therapy, massage, and exercise mechanics with in-depth anatomy to create an outstanding program.

I had to think about this one for a second before I realized that it was you giving the horse the massage and not the other way around. I mean, seriously - the dropout rate in Milwaukee public schools is 50%, but we have schools to teach me how to massage horses? Isn't this why Al-Qaeda hates us?

Unfortunately, I had them in my Sweet 16.

John Robert Powers (p. 82)

John Robert Powers is committed to providing professional training for persons aspiring to explore or enter a career in film, television, print or runway modeling... Integral to the educational process at John Robert Powers is an emphasis on growing the character, maturity, and integrity needed for the demands of a career in the performing arts.

Yeah, if there's anything actors and models are known for it is the "character," "maturity," and "integrity" with which the deal with the "demands" of their careers. Some sample classes:

Week one: The proper way to hit your assistant in the face with a cell phone
Week two: Why is Robert Downey, Jr. in my house?
Week three: Lab work on Colin Farrell's STDs
Week four: Convincing denials about why your nose is bleeding

Bottom line: You have a better chance of making it on TV by running onto the field and dropping a deuce on second base at a Brewer game than by attending John Robert Powers.

Sister Rosalind Gefre School of Professional Massage (p. 146)

Sister Rosalind Gefre Schools and Clinics of Professional Massage is based on Christian principles and seeks to work in harmony with God's plan for spiritual, psychological, and physical well being. Our mission is to promote the healing of the body, mind, and spirit through touch following Jesus' example.

My favorite one. Ah, the soothing touch of the Hand of God. Who can forget the Biblical passage when Jesus turned water into wine, turned bread into fish, and provided deep muscle massages for the poor?

I seem to recall the legendary Biblical story when the small, coughing poor child tugs on Jesus' leg and says:

"Jesus, my father is a leper. And my brother has no legs. And I have this terrible stiffness in my neck that could use a little work. Can you help us?"

Martin's College of Cosmetology (p. 92)

The purpose of Martin's College of Cosmetology is to educate, motivate, and mold students into successful, happy professionals in the fields of cosmetology and massage therapy. The Massage Therapy program at Martin's provides students with the skills and confidence needed to become competent massage therapists.

Because you wouldn't want to walk into a massage and see the masseuse cowering in the corner, shaking, because he's lost his confidence. And you can see they really aim high here - their goal is to promote "competent" therapists. What do you have to do to fail? Perform a massage with ranch dressing?

Midwest College of Oriental Medicine (p. 93)

Are you allowed to say "oriental" anymore? Isn't this considered racist now? Isn't it hard to perform acupucture with a white hood on?

Midwest Power Yoga School (p. 96)

The mission of the Midwest Power Yoga School is to help each student broaden her/his knowledge of yoga and to like his/her personal yoga practice and life outlook to a new level. The Midwest Power Yoga Teacher Certificate program will give individuals the tools, hands-on experience, and confidence needed to teach a dynamic and challenging (physically and mentally) power vinyasa yoga class teaching in the tradition of Baron Baptiste.

"Mentally challenging" power yoga? Are they asking you to recite the Pythagorean Theorem while you wrap your leg around your head? When Ivy League researchers working on the mystery of cold fusion get stumped, do they call the Midwest Power Yoga School for tips?

Milwaukee School of Massage (p. 102)

The mission of the Milwaukee School of Massage is to prepare students for a satisfying and sustaining career in massage and to make the health and spiritual benefits of massage available to a wider audience.

Distinctive features of the Milwaukee School of Massage are...

- Unique and fluid curriculum design. We teach the anatomy in bite-size pieces. For instance, we will teach the cranial and facial bones, then the muscles that provide facial expression and mastication. This is then followed with the instruction in face massage. The face massage sequence competency is then satisfied by performing the sequence on the instructor. The physiology is taught in tandem with the massage or protocol it influences. An example is the circulatory, respiratory, and lymph systems are taught prior to instruction of the lymph massage.


- Introduction to a broad variety of bodywork therapies such as Foot Reflexology, Orthobionomy, Reiki, Benevolent Touch, Neuromuscular Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Myofacial Therapy, Infant Massage, Chair Massage and Lymph Massage, and Swedish Massage Therapy.

Jesus Christ, lady - I just want a massage. If I'm tense and I hear talk of "mastication," I think I'd just rather have a brownie and ride it out.

And what's with "infant massage?" I'd like to hear my wife pitch this one to me - "Um, honey - little Kabeer is awfully stressed out these days - he's really been feeling guilty that his poops haven't been inadequately solid. He could really use some 'me time.'"

St. Croix Culinary Institute (p. 149)

The mission of St. Croix Culinary Institute is to provide in-depth, intense course of classical culinary preparation. Our curriculum is based on the tenets of classical French cuisine and is designed to prepare candidates to become chefs and pastry chefs for the culinary world...
The course is demanding and hands-on.


Imagine that - a cooking school that is "hands on." Is there some other part of the body other schools teach their chefs to use? Have I been eating croissants rolled with someone's feet all this time and just not known? That reminds of a joke about how one chef made donut holes... never mind.

Also, it's good to see that they state clearly that they intend to prepare students to become chefs. You mean you don't go to culinary school to become a motor scooter mechanic?

Adelman Travel Academy (p. 1)

Yes, you too can learn how to purchase your own lucrative state contracts with campaign contributions.

Hypnosis & Wellness Training Center (p. 63)

First class: Introduction to hypnotism
Second class: Why is my wallet empty?
Third class: When do classes start again?
Fourth class: Why is my wallet empty?

NASCAR Technical Institute (p. 110)

NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) is owned by Universal Technical Institute, Inc., and was founded in 1999 following completion of an agreement with NASCAR to provide quality entry-level technicians to NASCAR and related automotive industry companies.

I see some cross promotional potential here: Can't they team NASCAR school up with the Professional Institute of Dental Assisting? If you're looking for people that need free dental work, doesn't the NASCAR community immediately come to mind?

Alignment Yoga (p. 2)

Alignment Yoga's Advanced Studies Program offers a comprehensive training in the practice of Hatha Yoga. Yoga is a study of body, mind and spirit, and the Advanced Studies Program provides a well-rounded exploration of all aspects. Guest lecturers from India share the richness of yoga's spiritual underpinnings, while readings are selected to challenge and expand our understanding of yoga and the world around us.

I hear they take this India theme pretty far. In fact, as a class requirement, you have to steal the job of an American worker for a week and fix Dell computers over the phone for 38 cents an hour.

Wisconsin Institute of Natural Wellness (p. 175)

Wisconsin Institute of Natural Wellness (WINW) in Racine, Wisconsin, is a non-profit organization offering Professional Certification in Massage Therapy... We are committed to providing quality, professional education in massage therapy and an overview of other modalities of complimentary healthcare in order to insure that graduates will offer effective, compassionate and ethical treatment to those seeking holistic wellness.

What is "ethical treatment" of those seeking holistic wellness? Does this mean you can't shock their nipples, shave their head, cake their face with mascara and force them to date a monkey? Should PETA get involved?

Wick Insurance Services (p. 176)

It is the goal of Wick Insurance Services to work with students, in teaching the necessary material to enable the student to be ready to take and pass the required state insurance exam. The school works in a friendly classroom environment, equipped with visual aids such as overhead projectors and easel presentations.

I clearly remember having the following conversation with my Dad when deciding to go to college:

Dad: "So, Dennis - is it going to be Dartmouth or Brown?"

Me: "Who did you say had more easels again?"

And finally, the grandaddy of them all:

Wisconsin School of Chainsaw Carving (p. 179)

The purpose of the Wisconsin School of Chainsaw Carving is to teach students professional techniques and methods of carving in order for them to do high-quality chainsaw sculptures. Our goal is to raise the standard of chainsaw sculptures from one of a crude art form to one of a refined piece of art.

Who cares if their summary doesn't make a damn bit of sense? How great is this school? In fact, you can check out their website at www.chainsawcarvingschool.com. I was all set to make fun of the school, but it's actually something that Wisconsin should be proud of. It's the only chainsaw carving school currently in the U.S. - take that, Arkansas!

Their website boasts that they provide "In depth Chainsaw Carving Training for the career oriented student." Somehow, I don't think the words "career" and "chainsaw carving" probably belong in the same sentence.

But they seem like a really nice family with a good organization. Check out the course catalog here. I would think the schedule of classes would look something like this:

Cutting Wood with a Chainsaw 101
Cutting Wood with a Chainsaw 102
Cutting Wood with a Chainsaw 103
Cutting Wood with a Chainsaw 203 (Doctoral Level)

Who needs the UW System? Shouldn't we stop bragging about stem cells and start telling the world that we can turn logs into bear sculpures?

"Essential Manilow"

I'm sorry - I just had to see if I could type those two words together without laughing. I was unsuccesful.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Totally Gay Editorial

After taking a rest from break dancing practice today, I wandered onto the internet and read this editorial, entitled "My Gay Marriage," by Amanda Seligman. At first, I thought I had wandered on to the website of some support group for crazy people, but further checking verified that it was, in fact, printed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

I can't remember the Journal Sentinel editorial page containing a column so unhinged. Can you imagine the chances of a column this ridiculously incoherent being printed if it was someone writing to the MJS in favor of, say, concealed carry or the death penalty?

The editorial begins:

I am a woman married to a man, and I am starting to get embarrassed about it.
As official spokesman for heterosexual marriage, Amanda, let me be the first to say - you embarrass us, too. It continues:

When I got married seven years ago, there were two things that I wanted for my wedding. First, I wanted kids there. Second, I wanted my wedding to be one that counted no less, and no more than, the unions that gay men and lesbian women celebrate with their partners.

I gave serious thought to not getting legally married, even though I knew that my fiancé was the person I wanted to grow old with. I did not want to participate in an institution that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.
As a white woman, I would never be willing to join a club that rejected people of color. How could I, in good conscience, marry a man when I would be unable to marry my partner if it turned out I loved a woman instead?

What? First of all, you know she's lying because there isn't a woman in America that wants children to be at her wedding. They cry, they poop, and they disrupt. And where was she going to get these children? Just go around to the orphanges and round them up?

So she clearly doesn't like the fact that gay marriage already appears to be illegal. And she wants to keep her options open in case she gets all Ann Heche on us and decides she wants to play for the other team. And she thinks that heterosexual marriage is... somehow... invalid... because gay marriage is invalid? Whatever semantic gymnastics she thinks she has to go through to make herself seem more tolerant, than so be it.

I hope she takes a similar stand with regard to suffrage and refuses to vote because felons aren't allowed to vote in Wisconsin. Fight the power, Mandy.

This is an extreme argument, even for gay rights proponents. The most extreme argument you generally hear is that the constitutional amendment is mean spirited because gay marriage is already illegal in Wisconsin. In fact, I believe a bill has been introduced in the state legislature to go the other way and legalize same sex marriages - I would love for John Gard to bring that bill up for a vote and watch it go down by a 94-5 vote. Amanda Seligman would be on the short end of that one - even the gay Teletubby would be like, "that honky's crazy."

My favorite part, though, is when she caps the whole column off with this statement:

Did I make a moral mistake in getting married to the man I love? I am starting to wonder if perhaps I did.

It might come as a surprise to her that her husband is now drafting up a document titled "My Gay Divorce Papers."

Side Note: A friend of mine said, "If I were married to this woman, you would be reading 'My Gay Suicide Note.'"

Save Money - for $7.7 Million

I read this article with amusement, as it describes how much the state is paying Silver Oak Solutions to find ways to save money (like the $27.6 million computer program Silver Oak/CGI-AMS recommended that has never worked).

It reminds me of the day I finally agreed to meet with a financial advisor, at the request of my wife. After shelling out $150 for his services, I looked at my wife and told her "the first piece of money saving advice any financial advisor should give you is: never hire a financial advisor."

Lazy Liberalism at Work

I was reading some past articles from the Wisconsin State Journal and ran into this editorial from Susan Lampert Smith from March 11th. It attempts to describe what Wisconsin's abortion law would be if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.

It begins in typical fashion, comparing Wisconsin to North Dakota, then this paragraph appears:
On Wednesday at the state Capitol, Rep. Terese Berceau introduced a bill to take Wisconsin's old abortion law off the books. The Madison Democrat's bill stands about the same chances as an ice cream cone in the Dakota Badlands in August. Republicans control both houses of the Legislature and, for the most part, Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin own them.
This is a common canard often used by the lazy left - that somehow since most legislators are pro-life, that they are somehow "owned" by the pro-life groups. Madison's repository of hot air, Neil Heinen, has made the same charge on one of his gag-inducing editorials. People that have even a cursory knowledge of the legislature, however, know better.

Pro-Life Wisconsin is a group that only supports candidates that are 100% pro-life. That means they're pro-life without any exceptions. Not for rape or incest, not for the life of the mother, not even if the baby is likely to look like me.

According to Pro-Life Wisconsin's numbers, 23 Assembly members received the endorsement of the Pro-Life Wisconsin Victory Fund Political Action Committee in 2004. Add that to senators who have been endorsed in the past (Grothman, Kapanke, Leibham, Reynolds, Kedzie, Fitzgerald, Lazich - Zien's was revoked), and that gives you 30 total legislators who have been endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin. Thirty out of 132 legislators (or, 22% of all legislators) apparently is enough to "own" the Legislature.

Wisconsin Right to Life is slightly different. They endorse a lot more people, as they accept exceptions for abortions. But they, like Pro-Life Wisconsin, don't give much money during campaigns. They are good for lists and votes, not money. In fact, candidates actually have to pay them to use their list to mail literature, because their membership is such a good target audience. If you have a legislator that is already pro-life, they will pay for the records so they can tell the pro-lifers in district that they agree with them. If you were going to make a list of the top 50 groups that "own" legislators based on campaign contributions, WRTL might not even crack that list.

Imagine that - a group that tries to keep their members involved in the political process. Aren't all the lefties for more public participation? Or are they only for public participation as dictated by editorial boards all over the state?

In any event, you can't swing a cat in Madison without hitting some sloppy liberal who makes that charge that somehow the Legislature is "owned" by the pro-life groups (I tried, and I took three out with my cat). You would just expect a little more intellect from someone who is given a column in the local paper.

I actually tried to keep a straight face when writing that last sentence, really.

NEWS ALERT: Jenkinswatch 2006

Since I couldn't go to the Blogger Summit, I have relied on everyone else's accounts of what happened to get the feel of the crowd. My favorite line from a summary, though, was this from James Wigderson:
Apparently the aforemention Journal Sentinel spokesperson was Mandy Jenkins, their experiment in blogging. She should complain about her photograph in the newspaper.
My male readers don't need a translation for that - but for the one or two women that put down the crack pipe long enough to stumble to this site, it politely means:

She's hot.

So I had to investigate (incidentally, I consider this "journalism," which probably proves the point she was trying to make at the summit.)

I came up with this picture from her Kent State days, (entitled mandygigglymess.jpg). So I hope that does it for ya, James.

That is, of course, unless she is this Mandy Jenkins, A.K.A. "Miss Rodeo Arizona 2004."

UPDATE: A reason she may have rubbed the audience the wrong way - according to this post, she was up until 3 AM that morning boozing for St. Patrick's Day. A mere 8 hours later, she had to be sober and at a meeting with a roomful of bloggers.

Plus, her boyfriend sounds like my kind of guy - giving her phone number to crazy people? Solid.

For Sale: One Anonymous Blogger

Spivak and Bice believe they have hit on something with this Newsday report on bloggers trying to get into the print media. I have one message for bloggers who have the audacity to try to move into the mainstream media:

Go for it, homeys.

Hey, I like blogging as much as anyone, but I'd write for anyone at anytime that wants to pay me. I don't care if it's writing for the back of soup cans - I'm game. I'd even drop the whole anonymity schtick. Pay me, and you can have my name, address, social security number and explicit personal information on all the women who refused to date me over the years.

The following would appear on my resume:

-Unable to cook for self, once ate five frozen pizzas in three days while wife was away on business.

-Universally loved by dogs

-Author of 189 blog posts, over 5 of which are good.

-Can play Radiohead's "Karma Police" on the guitar, but not all at once.

-Good with magnets.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dennis Pork Found Dead



In unexpected news that spread shock waves through all eight members of the Wisconsin blogosphere, famous blogger Dennis Pork was found dead this evening after celebrating his 2005 "Blog of the Year" award from Wispolitics.com. Pork, who was known for having addictions to alcohol and Carmex, partied through the night with loose female puppets and Michael Irvin before being found early this morning.

Pork had just finished giving his acceptance speech, in which he said:

Hello everyone and thank you. This is Dennis Pork, the alter ego of the guy whose hand is currently up my rear end. In fact I think this violates the gay marriage ban, and I’m calling the cops.

Thank you all for attending this Blog Conference. I’m glad all of your parents could give you a ride down here for this momentous event. I mean, a blogging conference – I haven’t seen this many white people excited since the last Fleetwood Mac reunion.

In all seriousness, though, thanks to Wispolitics for the award and for all the support I have gotten from the blogosphere while getting my blog up and running. Special thanks to Charlie Sykes, Bill Christofferson and Jessica McBride for exposing my blog to their audiences. And special thanks to the guys who have been doing this a lot longer and better than I have – the true pioneers of the Cheddarsphere.

If I had one challenge for blogs in Wisconsin, though, it is to try to push yourselves to do more and more of your own writing. You all have a lot of talent – and I want to know more about what you think and what you feel. With all due respect, if I want to know what Charlie thinks about something, I’ll go visit his site. Send me to sites I wouldn’t normally visit – touch on topics that I may not know about. Most importantly, keep writing and get your friends to start a blog. The more voices in the Wisconsin marketplace of ideas, the better.

I can’t wait to read what the bloggers have to say about this conference. And for the record, if you are blogging about a conference about blogging, send me your e-mail address so I can send you a picture ofwhat a naked woman looks like. I hear those are available on the internet now. Again, thank you for the award and for the great work that everyone here does.

"This is a tragedy of epic proportions," said famous blogger Jessica McBride, adding, "In the end, though, it was clearly the mainstream media (MSM) that killed Dennis." Conference participant Ed Garvey tearfully said, "who is going to be around to point out the indisputable fact that I have my head up my ass?"

The cause of death is officially being listed as death by overdose, but police are still looking for the whereabouts of a Mr. Owen Robinson of West Bend, Wisconsin. Word is, he has been impossible to track down these last couple of weeks, appearing on television, radio, in the newspaper, and as Epstein in the "Welcome Back Kotter" reunion that aired last Friday.

Pork will be remembered in a service held tomorrow at TGI Friday's, where he will be slathered in barbeque sauce and guests will be able to partake in eating his ribs. Only contributions of cole slaw are being accepted.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Paucity of Blogging

As is the case with any red-blooded American, my life screeches to a halt during the NCAA tournament. By Monday, I may have forgotten that I am married with a kid. So that explains the lack of blogging over the past couple of days (although me blogging about not blogging counts as blogging, doesn't it? Someone get Descartes on the phone - blogito ergo sum).

So everyone have fun this weekend at the Wispolitics Blog Summit. Finally, a chance for bloggers to talk about blogging. I will not be in attendance for obvious reasons - most notably, I am so fat, I need to be lifted out of my house with a crane.

Oh, and I lost the MKEOnline.com Blog of the Week to MU Cerebellum. Congrats, ladies. I am now officially the Paul Giamatti of the blogosphere.

UPDATE: For those of you looking for a head start on Saturday's Blog Summit, check out this excellent article by Jennifer Peterson on the legalities of blogging. SPOILER ALERT- blogging is legal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh, Hell No!

I wasn't going to write a post tonight, as I spent a large chunk of time going through some of my old junk looking for some test scores from a few years back (I'm trying to settle a bet with a co-worker on who scored higher on a particular standardized test). In doing so, I ran across some stuff from high school I had written, and it is all beyond horrific. So, in order to make sure I can never show my face in public again, I thought I'd share a letter I wrote to a girl that broke up with me after my junior year of high school (a long, long, long time ago).

Let me set the scene: I was set up with this girl by a mutual friend, and we went out for about a month. Little did I know, she was actually sticking around to get closer to my friend Dave, with whom we double dated on occasion. Finally, she broke it to me (after I spent a ton of cash for us to go to prom), and I reacted in true 16 year old fashion, thinking my life was over. So I wrote this letter to her, that I thankfully never sent. Take note of the masterful use of the sports metaphor.

Melanie,

Ever since I began playing sports years ago, people have always praised me for how hard I played and, if I happened to lose, what a good sport I was. I've lost.

However, this can't simply be compared to a crummy game. In sports, you just pick yourself up, regroup, and give it your best try the next time out. But in my situation, I've lost a lot more. I've lost you, as well as a part of myself. Just like I needed my brain to think or my lungs to breathe, I needed you. The day you leave, it will probably have been months since you talked to me, and you will have forgotten this whole relationship totally. That day will be the saddest of my life (editor's note - it wasn't.)

I know you don't like me to talk that way, but it's true. That's the only way I can truly express the way I feel about you. I would list all the great things about you, but my limited vocabulary just wouldn't do you justice. From the first time we went out, you took hold of my thoughts for good. Every dream and aspiration I had from that point on was in your hands. I made the foolish mistake of falling in love with you, so now I can't get them back. Whether you want to or not, you'll always have my thoughts.

Anyway, I set myself up for this, so now I just have to eat it. Regardless of what I think of myself, I always thought I could enhance your life and make it even more wonderful than it was before. I guess we'll never find out. It's too bad you let your attraction to Dave get in the way. It blinded you to the fact that Dave doesn't love you and I do (and always will). (Editor's note - I don't). I would do things for you that Dave never could. From this point on, my friendship with Dave will deteriorate quickly (Editor's note - it didn't: he was one of my groomsmen a decade later). I wish it wouldn't be like that, but I know it will.

I'm not mad at you for not feeling the same way about me as I do about you. If not liking me was a crime, the entire female gender would be in prison. It's a good thing you told me about all the guys who you've chosen to not talk to for months at a time, now that I've fallen into that category.

I didn't lay a finger on you any time we went out. (Editor's note: My ability to take hints wasn't very sharp at age 16.) That doesn't mean much, just that I liked you for who you had inside, not just because of your extraordinary beauty.

Well, this letter's getting too long. Don't even this begins to sum up everything I feel. You can pass this off as musty garbage, or you can look at the words for what they really mean. Anyway, I realize I've lost. In the future, when you've totally forgotten about me, I hope you find someone else who loves you half as much as I do. Then you'll be a happy woman for a very long time.

P.S. - Stay away from the sharp cheddar cheese.

So there you have it - the ramblings of a 16 year old madman. I admit, I was cringing in pain while typing it out. So it only makes sense to share it with the world, right? I figure everyone has times like that during their high school years, I just can't believe I wrote it out and saved it.

I actually never drank a single drop of alcohol in high school. In retrospect, I should have.

I am now going to puke my guts out.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Damn You, Tax Code!

A quote from Jim Pugh of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce today in a Milwaukee Journal story about the Wisconsin Taxpayer Protection Amendment:

"Our tax code in Wisconsin is depriving our families of their dreams," said Pugh.

So our tax code is the reason a Jessica Alba/Dennis York/Natalie Portman sandwich hasn't happened yet?

I'd be playing point guard for the Bucks right now if not for the Chapter 20 appropriation schedule in the state statutes?

The tax code is pure evil.

TPA and Schools: The Rich Get Richer

I know everyone’s excited about another of my smarmy “here’s how much I know about the TPA” posts, but I saw something I thought deserved comment. So grab some NoDoz and Mountain Dew (the crack cocaine of soft drinks) and try to stay awake.

The guiding principle behind the current school financing formula is equalization (which, ironically is why it is called the “equalization formula.” I, personally,would be much more comfortable with something like the "Harriet Tubman Memorial Formula"). In essence, the formula separates school districts into “rich” (high property value) districts and “poor” (low property value) districts. The state then gives state tax money to the poor school districts, since they have a lower property tax base from which to fund their district budgets. They give a lot less money to the rich districts, which are left to fund their budgets almost entirely from the property tax. Broadly speaking, this is supposed to provide a level playing field for the children of Wisconsin by equalizing the spending between rich and poor districts.

The TPA makes an interesting change, however, that disequalizes this balance. The amendment caps school district revenue at a set percentage, but considers only property taxes as revenue – not state school equalization aids. Since rich school districts use the property tax more heavily than the poor districts, this allowable inflationary increase will benefit the rich districts much more than the poor districts, since the allowable increase won’t be applied to revenue provided by the state.

Let me put this in language that a dope like me can actually understand. Let’s say you have two school districts of similar enrollments, but one has high property values and per pupil spending, and gets a low amount of state aid. The other is on the low end of property values, spends less per pupil, and gets a ton of state aid. Then let’s apply a 3% TPA revenue cap to these districts. It would look something like this:

District A (Poor)

Total Students: 912
Spending/Student: $9,276
State Aid: $7,279,812
Property Tax Levy: $2,059,675
Percent State Aid: 77.9%
3% Levy Increase: $61,790

District B (Rich)

Total Students: 943
Spending/Student: $10,197
State Aid: $2,810,149
Property Tax Levy: $9,008,765
Percent State Aid: 23.8%
3% Levy Increase: $270,263

Incidentally, these are real examples from two real districts. District A is the Iowa-Grant school district, and District B is the Glendale-River Hills school district.

So, as you can see, the wealthy district will be able to spend more than the poor district since the 3% increase applies to a larger portion of their budget. And year after year, this will compound to make the inequities greater and greater.

Granted, as the state increases school aids, District A will get a larger percentage of that aid. However, if the state is also subject to a 3% revenue cap, there’s no way it will be able to use all of that revenue to spend on schools, and will likely never be able to meet the amount needed to make this an even funding swap.

The current statutory revenue limits take into account total revenues when capping how much revenue a school district can take in. Revenue limits are set by statute and give a district a flat dollar per-pupil amount that they can raise in revenue (say, $210 per pupil, for example). Then the state sets how much they will give districts (say, $140 per pupil, or two-thirds of the allowable increase) and the district is allowed to make up the remaining $70 per pupil via the property tax. In this system, all the revenues a school district collects factor into the revenue cap.

In fact, the legislature can't even apply a percentage cap to total district revenue or spending, as a flat percentage would allow big spending districts to increase revenue more than low spending districts. A 3% cap means more money to a district that spends $10,000 per student than one than spends $7,000 per student. And the system does not allow richer school districts' spending to grow faster than the poorer districts'. The TPA would have to feature a flat per-dollar increase for districts statewide, which is essentially what current law allows (and that hasn't been revoked in over a decade.)

The current funding formula that features state aid, statutory revenue caps, and the QEO is hanging by a thread. The Wisconsin Supreme Court barely upheld the formula in a challenge a few years ago, and this new system could cause significant legal problems if it disequalizes the current system.

This isn’t a criticism of the concept of capping school property taxes, just a suggestion how the TPA could be changed to make it both equitable and constitutional (and yes, you can actually end up with an “unconstitutional” constitutional amendment if two provisions conflict). The TPA can cap school revenue, but it has to count state aid as revenue in order to remain consistent with the spirit of equalization.

I’m sure the public will have this all understood by the time they go to the ballot box. Just as soon as they pick the next "American Idol."

UPDATE: The actual language from the Wisconsin Constitution (Article 10, Section 3) governing equality of school districts is:

District schools; tuition; sectarian instruction; released time. Section 3. [As amended April 1972] The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein; but the legislature by law may, for the purpose of religious instruction outside the district schools, authorize the release of students during regular school hours.

Still Rockin' the Mic Like a Vandal

Thankfully, the Washington Post has read my mind and decided to let the world know what Vanilla Ice has been up to the last few years. Here are a few excerpts from this unbelievable online chat, with my comments attached:

Minneapolis, Minn.: Yo Vanilla -- do you still rock the mic like a vandal?

Vanilla Ice: Oh, of course, that'll never stop. A lot of people don't remember anything since Ice Ice Baby, but I've got 3 records out since then and they're all successes -- but not commercially. All three records are platinum and the latest is called "Platinum Underground" because I can still have a fan base without radio and MTV, because that's not the only way. There's sat radio and Internet.

"All successes, but not commercially." Isn't this like saying the Scott McCallum gubernatorial campaign was a big success because he managed not to expose himself on the campaign trail?

Silver Spring, Md.: What are you currently up to?

Vanilla Ice: I've been really busy, playing over 100 shows per year for the past year. Just got back from Russia and played huge stadiums over there -- 35,000 people a show. They're out of that iron claw thing now, so any American act that plays there is really huge. I played Estonia, all these places that all just got their independence, the whole Baltic region. Oslo, Norway, Amsterdam, and all through Europe, Finland and also played three shows in London and all were huge successes.

Hard hitting question. Let the record show from Ice's own website that in Europe he played places with names like "Club Prive," "Essential Club," "Studio 51," and "Tiger Tiger." In Russia, he played at "Club Marakesh" and at the "Diskoteka" Dance Festival, where, of course, he was one of many acts. Chances 35,000 Russians were in "Club Marakesh:" zero. Can we send him back to France to pollute the music scene there?

Additionally, the fact that he named five Eastern European countries officially makes Vanilla Ice more knowledgeable about international politics than Russ Feingold.

Falls Church, Va.: Who are your primary musical influences? And what's in your iPod right now? What do you think of the state of music today -- would you agree that we lack the innovators who defined the music of the '90s?

Vanilla Ice: My influences are more like underground stuff. Definitely hip hop and funk -- Funkadelic, Rick James, Parliament -- and when those movies came out like "Breaking" with Turbo and Ozone sweeping the floor -- I was heavy into breakdancing back in the day. I never thought anything would come from it. Egyptian Lover came next... pop-locking instead of just breakdancing. I just stuck with it through that whole phase and started battling my high school friends across town and I entered some talent contests on a dare and some talent scouts were in the audience and then went on tour with Iced Tea, EPMD -- the Stop the Violence tour. But after I signed with SPK, pretty much everyone knows the story from there.
Ah, yes - the legendary breakdancing battles on the mean streets of whatever suburb he's from. Isn't it this whole "I'm old school" crap that got him in trouble with black people in the first place? And he considers Parliament and Rick James "underground?" And did he just refer to Ice-T as "Iced Tea?"

I'm sure the blacks he knew growing up (both of them) appreciated his mad break dancing skillz. In fact, if any brother beat him to an inch of within his life for stealing his culture, there's not a jury in America that would convict him.

Clayton, N.C.: Ice - What are your critics saying now? How did you deal with them then versus how do you deal with them now?

Play that funky music...whiteboy!!!

Vanilla Ice: I just kind of shoot the finger to the critics. I don't give a sh-- what a critic says. To me a critic is some loser who has no idea... someone with an opinion. We all have opinions. No offense, but what makes them dictate what is cool and what is not. What gives them the pass to say that their opinion on music or movies or anything is what should be cool and what shouldn't. I don't think it should be up to one person.

I get great reviews from the critics, but based on how two-faced I've seen em be in the past -- the same ones that write good reviews write bad ones, too. Not everyone agrees on music. Some people like rap, some like country -- it's all an opinion. F the critics.

"I get great reviews from the critics." Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the critics. His last seven albums, in reverse order: One star, one star, one and a half stars, two stars, two stars, two stars, one star. There are fewer stars on his resume than there are on "Celebrity Fit Club."

From a review of his album "Platinum Underground:"

The descriptions of how poor this album is from start to finish could result in a thesis-length review. The whole concept behind this record should have been aborted during the early sessions.

"Great" reviews. In the same way that herpes is "great."

Washington, D.C.: I think I saw on IMDB that you're married with two kids? How old are they? Do your wife and kids go with you on the road? Do they lead a pretty normal life, go to regular schools and stuff? How do they all deal with your celebrity status?

Vanilla Ice: Yes, it's true and they do go on the road with me every now and then. But it's kind of rough out there... and some of my fans are harder edged... body pierced tattoo folks. My sound has changed. It's still hiphop, but it's more of like a rock/hip-hop show. It's high energy, stage diving, pyrotechnics, girls showing their breasts. It's crazy party atmosphere. My kids are immune to it and they love it, but they try to live as normal of a life as they can. They're in private school and when they come on the road we homeschool then. We try to make it as normal as we can.
Where do you start with this? What level of hell does your soul inhabit if you show your breasts at a Vanilla Ice concert?

And let me get this straight - you're a little kid, you're homeschooled, and your Dad is Vanilla Ice. Does Guinness keep a record for "child with least friends," or "most socially inadequate teenager?" His son is going to be the Tiger Woods of datelessness.

Is Vanilla a big Tom Reynolds fan? During the budget, did Reynolds cave in to the powerful Washed Up Rapper lobby when he proposed the home school tax credit? Are Kid 'n Play going to start lobbying for more SAGE money?
Jefferson City, Mo.: How did the name "Vanilla Ice" originate? Why is the name so focused on your whiteness? Was it a toss-up between "Vanilla Ice" and "Marshmallow Ghost?"
Translation: I am extremely high, and thought "Marshmallow Ghost" was hilarious. I thought I would send it to you to insult you, figuring you are so dumb, you wouldn't know I was insulting you. And I was right. Kudos to you, Mr. Ice. I am smarter high than you are sober. I must go now, as a giant purple crocodile is about to eat my earlobes.

I actually went to his website, vanillaice.com, to listen to sound clips. I can now honestly say that after listening to two clips, I think I am sterile.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Boo Barry: Stealing Milwaukee's Heart and Soul

Let's be honest with ourselves, for just a moment: if you're a sports fan that craves championships, Milwaukee isn't your town.

Recent college graduates weren't born when Harvey's Wallbangers made the World Series in 1982. The Brewers haven't even had a winning season in 13 years. The Bucks last won the NBA World Championship in 1971, despite a finals appearance from Kareem and Co. three years later. Marquette's national championship came 15 years before Indian tribes figured out they were offended by the word "Warriors," and it has been another 15 years since then. The Packers' 1996 Super Bowl victory counts as a partial victory, but everyone has to admit the franchise loses a little of its down home charm if it's considered a "Milwaukee" team.

Despite this bleary record of athletic accomplishment, Wisconsin sports fans remain a loyal and perenially optimistic bunch. Brewer fever has hit once again, simply because the team managed a record last year that landed them 19 games behind their division leader. The Bucks have a legitimate shot to sneak into the playoffs. And despite the Packers' nosedive, it's almost certain that there are still plenty of people naming their dogs things like "Fuzzy," "Lambeau," and "Cleditus."

When one looks at the pantheon of sports accomplishment, however, Milwaukee holds something that no other city has.

755.

That's right. Milwaukee has the Home Run King. Choke on it, New York. Pucker up, Chicago.

Sure, Hank Aaron played a chunk of his career in Atlanta after the Braves moved, but all total, he spent 65% of his career in Milwaukee. He brought Milwaukee a 1957 World Series Championship. More importantly, he owns an Arby's in Germantown. Plus, it was as a pot-bellied Milwaukee Brewer in 1976 that The Hammer hit the home run that has graced the record books for over 30 years.

But now, like a freight train moving at a mile an hour, the slow motion scandal everyone has feared is approaching. Soon, Barry Bonds will pass Babe Ruth in all time home runs, and will likely catch Aaron. And with that record, he will not only steal the most honored record in sports history, he will walk off with the heart and soul of Milwaukee's sports tradition.

Milwaukee fans are used to injustice, and we forgive nearly everything. We spent our tax money on a new stadium after the team threatened to move, only to see the additional revenue from the stadium go to line the pockets of ownership. We took it when Gary Sheffield purposely tanked plays in the field to try to get traded, only to go on to a Hall of Fame level career elsewhere. We watched in horror for a decade as Sal Bando euthanized the organization with Kevorkian-like precision. We had to grimace while "Crap Iron" (Phil Garner) managed the Astros to the World Series last year. We even let our children play in the same streets on which John Jaha was allowed to drive. And yet we always return, always hoping, always optimistic.

Yet when Barry Bonds, through the aid of steroids, overtakes Hank Aaron as the all time home run leader, he will take with him a central piece of Milwaukee's cultural identity. The Sports Illustrated article published last week that copiously detailed Bonds' steroid use virtually guarantees that some action will be taken against Bonds to prevent his further hijacking of the record books. Even if only some of it is true, it's more than enough to cast Bonds into the pit of "permanently scorned athletes" where he belongs. Hell, we went to war with Saddam with less evidence.

Aaron has actually commented on the theft of his record, when he said:

"I think if Barry doesn't do it (next) year, I think there's a good chance he'll do it (the following) year," said Aaron, looking ahead to 2007, though Bonds' contract is through 2006. "Records are made to be broken, and I want you to understand that. Barry has been a tremendously gifted player. We can't sit here and accuse him of anything. He hasn't been found guilty of nothing. We talk about it and talk about it, and that's all I can say."
This quote is emblematic of why the ouright theft of this record is so horrifying. Throughout his playing career and into retirement, Hank Aaron has exuded class and exemplified professionalism. From his early days in Alabama when he swung the bat cross-handed until he broke Ruth's record amid racist death threats, Aaron has always been a rock solid example of integrity in the public eye. Even now, when he knows full well that Bonds is going to mug him at gunpoint, he takes the high road.

In stark contrast, Bonds continues to lower the bar for public (and private) behavior by an athlete. The Sports Illustrated article details Bonds' abuse of women, philandering, tax evasion, lying to investigators, and of course, the rampant use of steroids. In fact, Bonds has said that all the criticism he has gotten lately is a racist plot, since Mark McGwire hasn't been subjected to the same scrutiny. Apparently he's unaware that the man he's about to permanently damage, Hank Aaron, is in fact, black.

To take Bonds' word that he never knew he was using steroids is to ask people to believe the unbelievable. At the age when other athletes' bodies are breaking down, Bonds' numbers took off at record levels. For instance:

Aaron never hit more than 47 home runs (he hit over 40 eight times in 23 years). Bonds only hit 40 HRs three times before age 35, and has averaged 51.6 HR per year since turning 35.

Bonds averaged 15.7 AB per HR before age 35, and 8.2 AB per HR after age 35.

Aaron averaged 17.4 AB per HR before age 35 and improved to 14.2 AB per HR after 35 (The all-time record for a career is Mark McGwire at 10.61 AB per HR.)

Bonds averaged 31.8 HR per year before age 35 (14 years) and 51.6 HR per year after age 35 (not counting last season, when he played only 14 games). Aaron averaged 34 HR per year before he age 35, and dropped to 30.6 HR per year after age 35.

For Aaron, 32.5% of his total HRs came after age 35 (7 years) For Bonds, 37.1% of his total HRs came after age 35 (and counting).

For Milwaukee fans, we simply cannot allow this injustice to stand. On Wednesday, May 3rd, Barry Bonds will step into the batter's box at Miller Park. I demand that when this occurs, Bud Selig requires Bonds to wear a ski mask when playing, as a symbol for the record-jacking Bonds is about to do to our city. I would hope that Milwaukee fans would have enough class to heap as much abuse on Bonds as possible. The fans that don't have strong feelings about this are the same people that wouldn't mind having Michael Jackson come into their home to babysit their kids.

If anyone knows Milwaukee sports history, it is Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball. It has been rumored that he is looking at taking action against Bonds in light of the recent Sports Illustrated article. Bonds apologists cry that Selig shouldn't take action against just Bonds, since steroids were rampant in the 1990s and the league had no rule against them. Steroids, however, were illegal at the time, and are about to tarnish the most prestigious record in all of pro sports. While Bonds' records to this point will have to stand in order to maintain the continuity of the record books, there's no reason Selig couldn't pull the plug on Bonds' career before this travesty takes place.

My Dad boasts with pride of his days as a kid growing up in Milwaukee, when he and friends would sneak into County Stadium, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man that would one day become the greatest home run hitter of all time. What Barry Bonds doesn't realize is that when he steps into the batter's box, he's not facing a pitcher. He's facing Babe Ruth. He's facing Hank Aaron. And he's facing my Dad's childhood. And that I take personally.


SIDE NOTE: I started writing this a couple weeks before the Sports Illustrated article came out. So now I'm kicking myself that I didn't post it earlier, because it would have made me look like a genius if I essentially predicted what was in the article. Damn you, procrastination!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Charlie Sykes - King of the RINOS

Milwaukee (AP) - Charlie Sykes received a blistering rebuke today from "true" conservatives, upset at his recent column indicating a tolerance for gay marriage. "It's clear that Charlie's a RINO, as he's obviously whored himself out to the pro-homo-testicle lobby," said editor of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest and part time resident of Planet Earth Bob Dohnal.

"It is impermissible for anyone that calls themself a conservative to disagree with right-wing values in any way, so Charlie's membership is now revoked," said Dohnal, who called for Charlie to be recalled from his talk show position. "I don't care how many poorly punctuated, gramatically-challenged e-mails written in all lower case that I have to send out to my list of 300 names, we will get Sykes for his endorsement of this hedonistic lifestyle," said Dohnal.

Dohnal cited a rock-solid scientific poll he conducted on his website that showed that 98% of people in Wisconsin had never been married to a gay person. (The poll has a margin of error of 100%.) More importantly, 100% of the 4,765 votes originating from Dohnal's basement were opposed to gay marriage.

Real conservatives ripped Sykes for turning his back on the rock solid traditional conservative values of family, religion, and a belief that God sent Hurricane Katrina to punish us for Ryan Seacrest. "I don't think Charlie has thought about how badly his position will split Republicans in Southeastern Wisconsin," said state employee J.J. Blonien. "Even by Sykes' standards, this is a cave-in of truly pathetic proportions," said Blonien, who also serves as translator for State Senator Tom Reynolds, as Reynolds speaks in tongues.

"It's almost like he has his own opinion," said a sobbing, inconsolable Peter DiGaudio, who promised he would now begin referring to the talk show host as Charlie Sykes (RINO-White Swallow). "No more hat tips for him," said DiGaudio.

The York Blog has learned that Sykes' invitation to the 2006 Homo-Fascism Conference has been revoked. Instead, organizer Ralph Ovadal has scheduled a special seminar, entitled "Charlie Sykes: Modern Day Caligula?" This will be followed by break out discussion sessions entitled "Hello, Police? There's a Man in My Neighbor's Butt," "Daddy, Why Can't I Go to Real School," and "We Respect the Rights of All Citizens... to Burn Down a Homo's House." Following the conference, attendees will head over to La Cage for the Limbo contest.

"Dohnal? That fu**er's nuts," said Ovadal.

Your #1 Stop for Expectant Mothers

For those that don't know the ins and outs of running a blog, you can kind of figure out where the visitors to your blog are coming from, and how they found you.

But I was surprised when I read that someone found my blog by typing "Where can I find free abortions in Wisconsin" into the Google search engine (see the results here.)

Maybe I'm a tightwad, but if I had to make a list of services that I wouldn't want to skimp on, abortion is probably high on the list. Can you imagine the customer service at a free abortion clinic? You might actually leave the clinic with an extra baby in your uterus. Do they pay the abortionists in Skittles? Do they line the operating table in toilet paper they stole from McDonald's?

So whoever the person in West Salem is that's looking for a free abortion, take some free advice from me - put in the extra shift at Arby's this weekend and go somewhere that doesn't double as a tattoo parlor. Or, better yet, take care of the baby you've created. Last time I checked, "not being a selfish idiot" is still free. Being responsible don't cost nothin'.

Contest

**Belle** nominated me for some contest or something. So, if you want, go vote here.

Authorized and paid for by Citizens for York, Bootsy Collins, treasurer.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My Favorite New Blogger

Take a few minutes today and stop by Bruce Dierbeck's website for some good observational stuff. He actually nailed a couple things I have actually been thinking about posting on:

First, read his post on going to get a haircut. I myself have run into a similar problem where I get my hair cut. My "stylist" recently graduated from whatever made up hair cutting school she attends, so now it costs me more to have her cut my hair (I'm like those morbidly obese old women who spend a hundred bucks on a hairstyle, only to look like a morbidly obese woman with an expensive hairstyle. It's not going to land you the cover of Vogue, ladies.) I'm sure it's really tough to move up to the next stylist level - a lot of classwork, some lab time, research on the cultural significance of sideburns, etc. In fact, I see a lot of cosmetology scholarly work cited in Supreme Court opinions.

So, anyway, I should probably switch women who cut my hair. But I just don't have the heart to do it. I would feel like I'm cheating on my girl. I already switched once, and the woman I left stares daggers at me when I walk around with my current one. And it's not like I can pretend I'm just there to fix the plumbing or anything - I am, after all, wearing a big sheet around me and my hair is wet. No plausible deniability there. And to add injury to insult, she has to watch this go on at her place of work. She has to sit there, three chairs away, and watch the customer that got away get a fantastic haircut, and willingly pay more for it. I think I would be more comfortable if George Clooney moved into my house to give my wife around the clock footrubs.

So I just don't know what to do. It seriously is worth the higher price to me just to not have to leave my current stylist and deal with all the drama. I just can't risk being the only male in a place full of so may pairs of scissors when there's so much tension in the air. Maybe I should just suck it up, Hugh Grant-style, admit my mistake, and throw myself on the mercy of my original cutter. I just don't know if I can do it. After we've been through so much.

SIDE NOTE: You can tell at the classy places that the traditional hair washing ritual is much more of a hair wash/massage combo. And it feels great. So good, in fact, that I try to think about something else to make sure I don't actually enjoy it. It just doesn't feel right to love another woman rubbing your head that much. Does that make me a good husband or an absolute moron?

Secondly, check out Bruce's post on parrots. This confounds me. Wake up, people! THERE'S AN ANIMAL THAT TALKS!

Seriously, if some farmer woke up one morning and discovered that one of his goats could talk, the world would grind to a halt. It would dominate the news (and if the goat knew the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway, Greta van Susteren's head would explode like the Nazis at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark.") I would have trouble getting out of bed, thinking the apocalypse was upon us.

But here we have an animal that lives among us that talks, and nobody seems to care. We all go on living our daily lives pretending as if parrots don't even exist. I pass people on the street all the time, and you can just tell that there seems to be an understanding between humans that we're just not supposed to talk about it. Every now and then, if you make eye contact with someone you don't know, you get the subtle "I know about parrots" head nod, indicating that deep, deep down, they are dying to talk it out.

Unfortunately, I think this will all end badly. Soon, you'll see a parrot go in and shoot up a McDonald's as a cry for attention.

My Cranky Plea

I'm sick, so I need sleep. I'm going to leave everyone with this thought:

I realize "blogger law" has about the same weight as "international law," but can we all just agree now and forever that we won't use the word "Nazi" to describe members of the opposite party? I know everyone wants to make it known how strongly they disagree with certain people and policies, and it's easy to think of the most abhorrent example that you can. But that is a loaded term that has meaning, and you're really just demeaning yourself in the process.

And "brownshirts" is not an acceptable substitute.

Some fun that York guy is, huh?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Iron Sheik Vows to Kill Ethanol Mandate



Iran (AP) - Internationally renowned wrestler The Iron Sheik today expressed disappointment in the Wisconsin Legislature for considering a new law mandating the use of ethanol in their gasoline. The Sheik vowed to reverse pile drive any legislator that votes for the bill, which would cut into his unstoppable worldwide oil monopoly.

Anyone who wants to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil will have to deal with my 24 inch pythons," said the Sheik, noting that he applied a sleeper hold to Governor Jim Doyle during his recent mideast visit. The Sheik lifted Doyle's limp arm twice, but on the third try, Doyle pointed and shook his finger in anger, breaking the hold and winning the admiration of the Lovely Elizabeth.

In related news, President George W. Bush today ordered the invasion of Iowa, when he found out there were large supplies of ethanol available. When questioned about the attack, Bush said that Iowa governor Tom Vilsack posed an immediate threat to the Midwestern region. Upon hearing the news, Illinois immediately turned over thousands of potentially toxic Michael Bolton records to the U.S. military.

Fortunately, no dentists were killed in the invasion, as there are none in Iowa.

The invasion was immediately denounced by the WWF UN, comprised of racist stereotypes such as Rowdy Roddy Piper of Scotland, Nickolai Volkoff of Russia, Tito Santana of Mexico, Abdullah the Butcher from the Sudan, and Mr. Fuji from Japan.

Following the interview, the Sheik passed along a check to give to Wisconsin senators Russ Decker and Judy Robson, as a portion of their profits.

Special thanks for the reader idea for this - awesome!