Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why I'm Voting Against the Death Penalty

I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone how to vote on anything, and I would hope nobody would listen to me if I did. What I can do, however, is tell you how I’m voting and what my reasons are, and if my arguments are persuasive, so be it.

Everyone knows that this November, voters will be asked to vote on an advisory referendum on whether to institute the death penalty in Wisconsin. I will be voting no, and here’s why:

Nobody has had reason to complain about the court system over the past few decades than conservatives. Almost monthly, some court kicks out an opinion that leaves the public completely perplexed. One needs to look no further than last week, when Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled against the NSA's wiretapping program, forgoing the pesky "legal" grounds and instead launching a partisan attack against the Bush administration. In recent years, courts have inexplicably held the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional and held the appalling McCain-Feingold law to be constitutional. Andrea Yates confessed to drowning her five children in a bathtub, yet her conviction was overturned. Does Roe v. Wade ring a bell?

Yet somehow, when it comes time to kill someone, many conservatives are willing to close their eyes, plug their ears, and invest all their faith in the apparent evenhandedness of the court system. This is just foolish. I recognize that there are different courts and varying situations, but the bottom line is, real people run the courts, and real people are not infallible. People have grudges, biases, and aspirations, and judges can make determinations on admissability of evidence, witness selection, and other motions that can determine the outcomes of cases.

George Will once said that some people believe government acts as a scalpel and some believe government acts as a sledgehammer. There is no power a government holds that should be taken more seriously than the ability to kill its own citizens. Government can do many of the big things - protect our country, build highways, and provide a basic safety net for its people. But anyone skeptical of government should question the competence with which it wields the power of putting its own citizens to death.

I also don’t believe the death penalty serves as a deterrent for violent crime. In order to determine whether it does, one would have to round up all the people who are thinking about committing violent crimes and ask them if they’re being deterred by the threat of the death penalty in their states. Those that believe the death penalty deters crime believe that 1) The prospective perpetrator thinks they’re going to be caught, and 2) Base their choice of state residence on the assumption that they will be apprehended and prosecuted.

Does anyone actually believe that a child molester/killer would say to himself, “boy, I’d really like to molest and kill little kids in Wisconsin, but they just instituted the death penalty, so I could be in some trouble when they inevitably catch me?” I’d like to see a poll of people on death row and whether they even knew their state had the death penalty. Does your typical murderer even know the difference between state and federal governments? If they know anything, they probably remember the feds putting people like Timothy McVeigh to death, and assume that could happen to them. If you took a poll of the educated general public, I bet you’d get about a 50/50 response on whether Wisconsin currently utilizes the death penalty. I'm just guessing the Child Molester's Manual doesn't have a chapter on civics.

Death penalty supporters claim that the number of innocent people put to death is overstated. I have no doubt that the overwhelming number of people that receive the death penalty are guilty - of this, I don't think there's any reasonable debate. The disagreement comes in the value placed on the few innocent individuals that are put to death.

Death penalty supporters argue, amazingly in my opinion, that there may have been some innocent people put to death, but that the net deterrent effect of capital punishment makes society safer in general. In other words, the ends justify the means. Seeing as how I don't believe society actually is safer, I steadfastly disagree with this line of thinking.

I don't believe that there can ever be such a thing as "collateral damage" in the application of the death penalty. If one out of 100 people put to death is innocent, that is too many to justify giving the government that kind of power. I sincerely doubt that the families of the wrongfully convicted take solace in the theory that their loved one's unjust death will somehow make society safer down the road.

Of course, being against the death penalty means having to take some pretty tough positions. Every time I hear about someone raping and murdering a little girl, my first gut instinct is to want the bastard dead, without a trial and painfully, if possible. And while it may be satisfying to the victim's family to have the perpetrator killed, in the end, it really doesn't change anything.

In the midst of the debate on the death penalty, we here in Wisconsin have the "fortune" of dealing with the Steven Avery murder case. What people have forgotten is that Steven Avery himself actually serves as both a case for and against the death penalty.

As you may recall, Avery was found guilty of a rape for which he famously served 18 years in prison. When DNA evidence determined he was not guilty, he was released. Soon thereafter, he was charged with raping and murdering a young female photographer.

As abhorrent an individual as Avery is, think back to his original charge. What if that had been a murder charge? He may have been dead for a decade before he was exonerated. That, to me, seems like a good reason why we may not want to put people to death. And what is the argument for the death penalty that Avery represents? Well, he's a bastard that deserves to rot in hell. While there's merit to both positions, on balance, I think the former is more compelling.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my Catholic faith also plays a part in my opinion. Without a doubt, many Catholics believe that favoring the death penalty is compatible with their faith, and I'm certainly not in a position to be handing out Catholic gold stars. But I do believe that adherance to Catholicism means adhering to a devotion to life, from conception to death, as difficult as that sometimes may be.

Many times, you'll hear people discount one's views if they're based in religion, as if organized religion is one of Kevin Barrett's conspiratorial hallucinations. It's always entertaining to see that the same people who ridicule religous beliefs with regard to abortion and gay marriage are the first ones to trot out religious opposition to the death penalty to support their positions. I, however, will never apologize for my faith and whether that faith influences my opinions.

There are people who I admire greatly that I disagree with on this issue. Of course, they're not bloodthirsty or overly vengeful, nor are they lacking true religious conviction. What they are, however, is wrong about the true effects of capital punishment. Rectifying killing by killing doesn't make anyone safer, it only further erodes the respect for all types of life that our society is severely lacking these days.

For more information on the death penalty referendum in November, go to the No Death Penalty Wisconsin page. While I can't vouch for everything they will post, it's a good start.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Think I Feel it Kicking

A friend of mine told me his wife was playing in a "moms" soccer league, meaning you had to be a mother to play. She is proposing that each participant be forced to submit to a uterus screening, because she thinks some teams are sneaking in childless ringers.

The funny thing is, for the purposes of the league, you are considered a "mother" if you are currently pregnant. Isn't that just waiting for a court challenge? Shouldn't the league rule be that you only become a "mother" at the time of viability? If you're considered a mother while you're pregnant, doesn't that imply that you have a child? If you have a freezer full of frozen embryos in your basement, does that count? And where is NARAL to ruin these women's fun?

Women's rec league soccer - ground zero for the abortion battle in the new milennium. Who knew?

Fine Dining

I know what you're thinking - "It's been a while since I've been camping, so I haven't been able to eat any s'mores lately." Well, my friend, problem solved - just have a little cookout at home, as I did tonight. Check it out:


Oh, yeah. And check out the Better Homes and Gardens quality photography. I'll probably find raccoons in my kitchen tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I'm trying to work on a pretty involved post, but right now it really sucks. It'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Packer Preseason Game Three: The Bengals

I'm tired and beleagured, so rather than do a full post about the Packer game tonight, I'll post a partial transcript of a chat I had during the game with a friend of mine, Lorenzo Lamas.

York: Good God
Lamas: The only thing that could be worse is if Favre's DNA matches Jon Benet Ramsey...

York: Ahmad Carroll defending...
York: 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.

York: If they wouldn't have beaten the Seahawks 2nd team in the last game of the year, they'd have Reggie Bush right now.
York: Suzy Kolber makes me want to stab my eyes.

York: Enough love for Carson Palmer. He's not playing Hezbollah, for God's sake.

York: Is there a video of a human birth or something on that I would be more comfortable watching?

Lamas: Favre's looking for a loophole in his "I'm coming back" statement.
Lamas: "Uh... I meant coming back to pick up my stuff."

York: Theismann: Mike McCarthy has to be "concerned a little bit."
York: Much like David Koresh might be a little concerned about what that burning smell might be.

York: Samkon with the catch!
Lamas: Gado has worse hands than a high school sophomore at his first prom.
York: Where he’s from, the only thing you can catch is malaria.
Lamas: chuckle

York: I see the season starts on the 5th anniversary of 9/11. I'm sure that will be done tastefully.
Lamas: "It'll bring the house down"
York: “ARE YOU READY FOR AL-QAEDA!”

York: Theismann: “Favre and Rodgers are totally different quarterbacks.” As in: Favre is the only three time MVP in league history, and Rodgers has a mustache.

Lamas: Rodgers had to be the only QB who has ever been cut from Packer fantasy camp.

York: Tirico just pointed out that Cory (who is black) and Aaron Rodgers (who is white) are unrelated. Actually, I think that’s wrong – I think they’re married.
York: They saw the constitutional amendment coming and eloped.
Lamas: Aaron Rodgers left the Packers today, citing the team's lack of domestic partner benefits. Esera Tuaolo was unavailable for comment.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Terrorist Surveillance Program Unveils Killer Dessert Recipe

Washington, D.C. - The FBI announced today that through its warrantless wiretapping program, it has uncovered an explosive peach cobbler recipe. "It's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted," said Special Agent Demond McDuffie, his mouth stuffed full of cobbler. "And to think, if we had to get a warrant, this vital piece of information would have remained an underground terrorist secret," said McDuffie.

The secret cobbler recipe was said to have come from a phone call originating from terrorist Mahmoud Al-Alim of Conway, South Carolina to his mother in Afghanistan. "The first part of the call, he was kind of mumbling something unintelligible about poisoning the water supply of Atlanta, or some crazy nonsense," said Agent McDuffie. "But his use of ginger in his cobbler recipe is the work of a madman - a mad genius," said McDuffie.

Upon learning of the recipe theft, Al-Alim immediately contacted the ACLU, who filed a lawsuit on his behalf. "This delicious recipe has been passed through centuries of Al-Alims, and the federal government has no business stealing it," said ACLU spokesman Jarvis VanLandingham. In response to the lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a warrant must be granted before the government can listen in on any conversations regarding fruit-filled pastries. If a court is not available, the government must get permission from the '80s band Warrant.

The FBI released some of the transcripts of Al-Alim's overseas conversations, including this one to his superiors from last month:

Al-Alim: "Hey, is Abdul Qadeer there?"

Qadeer: "That's me."

Al-Alim: "Sorry, you sounded like someone else."

Qadeer: "I've actually had a little cold lately, can't shake it. Little phlegmy."

Al-Alim: "Anyway, I've been meaning to talk to you about my job title."

Qadeer: "Tell me, brother, what's the problem?"

Al-Alim: "I was thinking we could spice my official job title up a little. I think "suicide bomber" is a little passe'."

Qadeer: "You are doing the work of Allah, my friend - I think the job title fits."

Al-Alim: "I think it could be jazzed up a little. You could call me the 'crafty bomber' or the 'shifty bomber.' I think that adds a little pizzazz. "

Qadeer: "Call yourself whatever you want, as long as you're willing to strap a bomb to your chest and walk into a bus station."

Al-Alim: "Yeah, that's kind of the thing - I'm not real big on the whole 'suicide' thing. I mean, everyone is doing the whole lame 'blow myself up' routine - I think it's kind of played out. I mean, the feds are totally looking for suicide bombers. They aren't looking for bombers not willing to give their life to their cause. It will completely throw them off the scent."

Qadeer: "You're not going back on your pledge to give your life for the cause, are you?"

Al-Alim: "Of course not - It's just that I won tickets to see Celine Dion in Vegas next month through a radio contest."

Qadeer: "Here's what I'll do - you stay a suicide bomber, but I'll up your dental insurance benefit."

Al-Alim: "Okay, sounds good."

Qadeer: "I have to go - I have a coupon for Qdoba that runs out today. Although I never know whether to go to Qdoba or Chipotle - they're kind of the same thing. Praise be Allah."

Al-Alim: "Praise be Allah...(click)"

Al-Alim: ....hey, wait a minute!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Sports Guy's Wisconsin Trip

ESPN's funniest writer, Bill Simmons (AKA "The Sports Guy") made a trip to Wisconsin to take in a Packer game and two Brewer games last weekend. Fortunately, he kept a top-notch diary of his weekend. It includes this passage, from his drive up to Lambeau from Milwaukee:
We've passed at least 10 signs for cheese-related stores or foods so far. You have to hand it to Wisconsin: The people here have listened to every health-related study from the past 25 years -- watch out for fried foods, butter and cheese, beware of heavy beer, make sure you eat enough vegetables and fruit, try to exercise as much as possible -- and basically said, "You know what? If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I love Wisconsin.

Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What Planet Is This Woman From?

Everyone knows that women's magazines market themselves to a certain woman who doesn't exist - a woman who lives in the big city, wears a new designer outfit every day, and drinks martinis for lunch. However, this article in Jane Magazine shows how out of touch they really are.

Let me set the scene for you:

A 29 year-old not-horrible looking "virgin" wants to have sex before her 30th birthday. So she starts a blog and gets a magazine to run stories about it. Riiiiight.

So this alleged virgin apparently needs "help" from a national magazine to reach her goal of having sex before she turns 30. Is there anyone alive that believes this? The reality is, if she really wanted to, this chick could walk into the Argus Bar at 5:00 PM and join the Non-Virgin Club before the ice melted in her drink. If it got to be 11:59 on the night before her 30th birthday and she was still a virgin, the crowd of hairy-palmed men outside her apartment would look like Woodstock.

But apparently, she is living in some fabricated world where every woman writes a relationship column about finding men. When basically, all you really need to find a man is a pulse, two eyes, a full set of teeth, and about 4 minutes. I mean, who does this woman think she is, me? If given the choice of having sex with me or being thrown off the top of the Sears Tower, most women would go buy a helmet and a life insurance policy.

Fortunately, I found the only woman on Earth that can tolerate me and married her. In all honesty, though, I had a national magazine help me find her, too. I got her out of a mail order ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune.

(I just earned myself a couple nights' worth of sleeping on the couch with that joke - hope you enjoyed it)

Things That Would Be Nice

I'm not particularly opposed to domestic partner benefits, but I have some questions about today's story about a UW researcher who supposedly is leaving because the university won't offer benefits to his boyfriend. The story that appeared essentially reads as a UW press release, and doesn't provide some obvious information that it should. So here are some things that it would have been nice if the story included.

It would have been nice if the story included information about Rob Carpick's salary, which is currently $90,000. What will he be making at his new job? Isn't that relevant to why he's leaving? If he's getting a $100,000 raise at Penn, isn't that somewhat relevant?

It would have been nice if the story explained why, in a time when most Wisconsin residents are struggling with health care costs, we should be concerned about the boyfriend of a guy making $90,000 who's not willing to pay for health care. In fact, his boyfriend, Carlos Chan, is healthy and able to work, and actually already gets health care from the UW! The catch is, he actually has to work there, but he does so "reluctantly." Note to Carlos - if you don't want to work there, I want my tax money back. Oh, and incidentally, Carlos was working in the same department as Carpick - gee, I wonder how he got that job? They take a self described "cook," and give him a job as an "Instructional Specialist" in the engineering department. I'm sure that's a pure coincidence.

It would have been nice if the story recognized that often times, people leave the UW for reasons other than what they publicly state. Remember Luoluo Hong? She was the UW employee who left for the University of Arizona, and at the time claimed she was leaving because the UW doesn't provide domestic partner benefits (she is straight), and because the state doesn't provide the UW with enough money (although Arizona provides even less). As we found out later, Hong actually left because Paul Barrows was playing grab ass and making work an untenable situation for her. So obviously, when she told the UW-Madison she was leaving, they had her cook up this cockamamie story about why she was leaving, which of course the press at the time swallowed whole (I, however, did not.)

It would have been nice if the article mentioned that Carpick's new employer, Penn, is a private university, and therefore can offer whatever kind of benefits it wants. Obviously, things are different at a public school like UW-Madison, where public taxpayer dollars are involved. Also, since Penn is private, there may be certain research that is allowed that wouldn't be allowed with public dollars. Plus, Penn is an Ivy League school, which certainly confers status to researchers - are we to believe that had nothing to do with his leaving?

It would have been nice if the newspaper didn't show in its headline that it is so blatantly in this guy's corner ("Promising UW researcher leaving over domestic partner benefits.") Obviously, this isn't the writer's fault, since each paper writes its own headlines. But when was the last time you saw a newspaper refer to someone as a "promising pro-life advocate," or a "promising gun rights supporter?" To newspapers, anyone willing to rip Republicans obviously shows "promise."

I'm not buying this guy's story at all. It may have been inconvenient for his partner to have to pay for his own health care, but is it really enough to leave a tenured job that pays you $90k to move to the east coast? It looks like the UW bent over backwards to help him out - even giving his partner a meaningless job in his department just so he could collect benefits. Plus, the UW has a history of fabricating reasons why its faculty is leaving. It would be nice if someone actually researched the story, rather than regurgitating what the UW tells them to. Ryan Foley is actually a really good reporter, but he's better than this.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Must See Clip of the Day

If this doesn't inspire you, then you are a heartless bastard. Enjoy!

Oh, and Dwyane Wade might want to go ahead and get the paperwork ready for the restraining order against me.

Faces of Diversity

Ladies and gentlemen... your 2006 Wisconsin Democratic candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senate, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Senate!







State Senate Insider Information

I know a lot of people read my blog to get reasoned, objective analyses of Wisconsin political issues. That is why I am proud to offer this erudite and insightful tidbit:

Jamie Aulik is a real douchebag.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Women Out of Their League

The topic du jour for all the good government groups these days is the famed Candidate Survey from the "nonpartisan" League of Women Voters, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and Common Cause.

Keep in mind, that none of these groups are actually "nonpartisan." Two of them have actually lobbied against the gay marriage constitutional amendment. Just check out the League of Women Voters' website, which includes "nonpartisan" positions supporting universal health care, supporting gun control, opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge, and on and on. It's essentially just the Moveon.org talking points charading as nonpartisanship. By the way, how often do you see the print media refer to Wisconsin Right to Life as "nonpartisan?" (technically, they are).

The League of Women Voters actually includes their support for abortion in the "Representative Democracy" portion of their website. This shows they have a sense of humor, since the unlimited right to abortion was mandated by the Supreme Court, the least representative branch of government conceivable.

Apparently willing to support anything with the words "reform" on it, the League has waded into the complicated area of campaign finance reform. This is the focus of the biased Wisconsin candidate survey they distributed, which more than half of state candidates rightfully ignored. The survey is full of ridiculously slanted questions such as: "Do you support and would you vote for bipartisan, comprehensive campaign finance reform that would reduce special interest influence..."

What's a candidate supposed to say? "No, I want to increase special interest influence?" Actually the question relates to voluntary spending limits, which would actually increase special interest influence by pushing campaign spending out into the shady independent groups like the one Xoff runs. How's McCain-Feingold working out? Good thing there's no special interest influence in Washington anymore. No candidate in their right mind would actually turn this garbage in.

Despite the obvious flaws in the survey and the cheerleading done for it by the statewide media, there was one question in particular that piqued my interest. Question #4 on the survey reads:


4. YES OR NO: Do you support and would you vote for legislative measures making electoral competitiveness a legal or constitutional standard that must be applied by the Legislature and the courts in establishing state legislative and congressional district boundaries?
Clearly, they are dissatisfied with the current makeup of the State Legislature and think there's a better way to draw legislative districts. They think that the districts are rigged by the incumbent lawmakers that redraw them every decade. They think that somehow, the state Constitution should be rewritten to make "electoral competitiveness" the standard when drawing new districts.

So making all the districts in the state competitive sounds like a good idea, right? Then, more races will be contested, and democracy will flourish, correct? There's only one problem with this theory: The Voting Rights Act.

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed the right to vote for all citizens. The Act was a response to Southern separatists, who responded to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by making it more difficult for blacks to vote.

For the past 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has continued to mold the meaning of the Civil Rights Act. One of the problems encountered by the courts has been that of "vote dilution," used by segregationists to lessen the influence of black voters. These segregationist lawmakers would gerrymander districts to make sure only a sliver of black voters were present in each district, which guaranteed no minorities could be elected to office, and would "dilute" the efficacy of minority votes.

To address this nefarious tactic, the courts have ruled that wherever possible, minority representation must be present. The goal in redistricting has to be keeping minority voters together as a community. To that end, where there are majority-minority populations, there must be an opportunity to elect a minority to office. Of course, minorities, especially African-Americans, disproportionately vote for Democrats. Thus, in heavily black areas of Milwaukee, you find a lot of black Democrats that hold office. Here's a map of downtown Milwaukee Assembly districts:


Of the inner city Milwaukee districts, look at the solid block that are represented by African Americans or other minorities: the 16th (Leon Young), 18th (Tamara Grigsby), 10th (Polly Williams), 17th (Barbara Toles), 8th (Pedro Colon), and 11th (Jason Fields). Additionally, these districts are represented by African-Americans Spencer Coggs and Lena Taylor in the State Senate. Of course, all of these minority representatives are Democrats, and represent heavily Democratic districts.

Now try to imagine drawing a map where each of these districts are "electorally competitive." Think of how you could take these 90% Democratic districts and gerrymander them so they are each 50% Republican. You would essentially have about ten to fifteen districts made up primarily of the suburbs that pick off just a little sliver of inner city Milwaukee. The effect of this type of gerrymandering? Vote dilution.

Trying to make these districs "electorally competitive" would fracture the African-American community into little sections, where it would be increasingly more difficult to elect black representatives. I'm not willing to say that any of the current African-American representatives couldn't be elected in majority white districts, but Wisconsin has yet to elect a minority in any district without a strong minority presence (Bob Turner from Racine, for instance). So the end result of the League of Women Voters' plan to equalize districts would actually be to end minority representation in the state.

Not only would this be unlawful (as determined by the courts) it wouldn't pass the test of public decency. Of course, what the League really wants to do is make heavily Republican districts more competitive. But in order to do that, you have to move the Republicans somewhere, and they would have to go into districts that cause problems with equal rights case law. Since Republicans continue to pick up seats in both state houses, they figure something must be wrong with the process of drawing districts - it's obviously rigged.

This is just another example of interest groups not thinking through the implications of their policy positions. Who ever thought the League of Women Voters would advocate undermining the Voting Rights Act?

Side note: Boo, York! Write the funny stuff!

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Supplemental Info:

Here's a good article by Jason Stein of the Wisconsin State Journal discussing the dwindling relevance of the League of Women Voters and their newfound political advocacy.

Watch Neil Heinen's head explode when he finds out how few candidates actually fill out the survey. Calm down, Neil - more people will read this post than will read the LWV survey results.

Phil Brinkman of the Wisconsin State Journal can't believe that Mark Green didn't fill out his survey. I can't believe this article wasn't on the editorial page, where it belonged.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Green Promises to Please You Like Your Man Can't

(Green Bay) - In a stunning development, gubernatorial candidate Mark Green today vowed to take care of voters in a way that is impossible by their current man. "I know you've had your heart broken, baby," whispered Green. "I don't want you to sit alone on election day, thinking you could have had it better all along," added Green.

Green's promise to please voters "one by one" is an unusual tactic for a gubernatorial campaign. It is believed that the last time this strategy was used was in 1902, where Iowa's future Governor Farley McBain vowed to "rattle the wooden teeth" out of rural voters.

Green's campaign, however, said this strategy had been thoroughly poll tested before they rolled it out today. "Our polling says that 54% of Wisconsin voters are sobbing to themselves quietly by the phone, petting their cats, waiting for the right man to come by," said Campaign Manager Mark Graul.

"I can give you what you need better than your current man," Green growled at his press conference before ripping off his shirt. "You and me have a lot in common. Maybe you should just sit down while I give you a back rub and a Courvoisier and ginger ale. See, there you go. What's that? You want a footrub, too? I can do that - because your man can't please you like this. He just doesn't understand you like I do. Come here and sit on my lap and tell me all about it while I wipe your tears away. That's it. Nice and slow. How about you and me head off to the voting booth together. It'll be nice and quiet there."

"I went to his campaign headquarters for a conference he was holding on the Alternative Minimum Tax," said Susan Doucette, 29, of Allouez. "Before I know it, he's pulling out his love oils and putting 'Slow Jams of 1989' on," she said. "I mean, I love 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn' as much as anyone, but I think it was a bit much," said Doucette.

Governor Jim Doyle, clearly feeling the heat, responded by buying everyone in the state flowers and promised to do the dishes more often.

Shower Thoughts

Here's a secret from the "Too Much Information" file: I think about a lot of my blog topics in the shower. But yesterday, I actually thought about showering while in the shower. And these are some questions I have:

1. Do you actually wash your feet while you're in the shower, or do you just figure that the soap will make its way down there eventually?

2. Have you ever been in the shower for so long that you actually forget whether you shampooed or not?

3. If I just bought a huge 50 gallon water heater, why can't it hold enough hot water for two hot showers in the morning?

4. Question for wives/girlfriends: How long does your husband have to be in the shower before you suspect that something nefarious is going on in there?

5. If we pooled together all the money women waste on conditioner, we could eradicate hunger in Africa. Or buy every man in Wisconsin a plasma TV, which I think is really what the children of Africa would prefer deep down in their hearts.

Fellini's "Otto e Mezzo (8 1/2)"

I had seen Federico Fellini’s “8 ½” a couple of times before I watched it this weekend, but my appreciation for its brilliance only grows with each viewing. There’s so much going on in the movie, yet it all seems to make sense. Somehow, a surreal movie ends up being starkly realistic.

Movie critics accentuate the theme of the movie that deals with moviemaking. In fact, a large part of the movie serves as a poison pen to the early ‘60s Italian press, who had begun to skewer Fellini’s work. Yet it’s bursting with ideas and statements about things like Catholicism, fear of aging, relations with women, and the pressure of expectations. Amid all of these themes, Fellini manages to weave in strands of absurdity to lampoon contemporary Italian cinema.

The movie follows filmmaker Guido Anselmi through the process of trying to somehow make an autobiographical film, which inexplicably takes place on a spaceship. Guido is burdened by the expectations brought on by making the movie, and his incompetence in dealing with the women in his life paralyzes him throughout the process.

There are many movies that make you feel good about being one of the guys, but I don’t know if there is a better movie about being a man than 8 ½. There’s a brilliant scene where all the women in Guido’s life come back to haunt him and he struggles to deal with them all at once. Fellini meant the film to be autobiographical, which exposes a lot of the serious issues he had going on at the time. But many of them are problems that are still alive and relevant today.

There’s a good chance most viewers would watch the movie and not know what in the hell they just saw. But for me, it has both the style and substance to be one of my favorites. If you can find a copy for cheap or at the library, be sure to give it a chance.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Duke Boys Evade Lautenschlager for 132nd Straight Episode

(Shullsburg) - Local serial lawbreakers Bo and Luke Duke remain free tonight, after evading Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager for the 132nd straight week. According to published reports, the Duke Boys are free to roam, as their DNA has been tied up in the state crime lab, which has a significant backlog under the Attorney General.

In this week's episode, the Duke Boys tore through the rural countryside in the General Lee with Lautenschlager's car in hot pursuit. The Boys finally crossed into Illinois, while Lautenschlager shook her fist at them as her car squealed to a halt at the border. In week 67, Lautenschlager was unable to personally pursue the Duke Boys, as Cooter had secretly removed the starter wire while fixing the AG's state car. Cletus received the state contract after donating $5,000 (confederate) to Jim Doyle's campaign.

It is widely believed that the Duke Boys were getting close to exposing Lautenschlager's bootleg moonshine operation when the most recent pursuit commenced. The Attorney General has often been seen sampling some of her own product while careening around Hazzard County roads. In the last episode, Lautenschlager's car jumped a bridge that was out, plummeted off a 50 foot cliff, and drove through a wall of fire, while her car sustained no damage.

Lautenschlager's democratic primary opponent, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, today announced her own plan to tackle the moonshine problem. Falk believes that we should first let everyone in the state get hooked on moonshine, then create a massive new government program to treat everyone for thir addiction. "In order for treatment to be effective for the most number of people, we must first make sure there are enough criminals selling moonshine," said Falk, while cuddling a baby squirrel. Falk also cited a need to catch the Duke Boys because of the hazardous emissions being produced by the General Lee.

The Duke Boys have been cooperative, vowing to provide DNA samples to every sexy lady that they can find.

This post was narrated by Waylon Jennings.

Taking the Ladies for a "Spin"

As I was having a couple beers with one of my buddies the other night, a particularly pretty girl walked by our table. As she got closer, I noticed that she had a grisly scar on her arm, which prompted me to say, "I'd bet that's the kind of girlfriend you can get at the outlet mall, marked with an 'irregular' sticker."

He laughed and said that she may likely have suffered some hail or flood damage, which prompted me to come up with a revolutionary idea:

What men need is a Carfax for Girlfriends (Girlfax). It's easy - for $19.95 you type in her GIN (girlfriend identification number), and receive a full history - guys she's dated, length of her relationships, previous photos, etc. That way, you can have an accurate picture of the time and financial investment that you, as a prospective customer, are about to make in this girl.

It makes perfect sense - before you drop a couple thousand bones on a car, you want to know whether it was salvaged from Hurricane Katrina, right? Well, before you spend that kind of money on a girl, you want to see whether her tattooed ex-con boyfriend is going to give you a lead salad. It's crucial to know whether she's going to hit the three month expiration date and go completely crazy on you.

Trust me - getting a full picture of her history is more important than just tapping her bumper a few times.

Lest you deem this post unnecessarily crass, a friend pointed out that women thought of this first.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NFL Criticized for Lack of Eskimo Head Coaches

New York - Stinging from criticism that it doesn't employ enough Eskimo football coaches, the NFL today instituted a policy that requires each team to give an Eskimo a token, insulting job interview each time a position opens up. "The new NFL is all about diversity," said new commissioner Roger Goodell

The hapless Kansas City Chiefs, who haven't been to the Super Bowl since 1970, took the first step towards diversity in firing new head coach Herm Edwards and replacing him with Keelut Tekkeitsertok from Ninilchik, Alaska. Edwards had routinely taken the New York Jets to the playoffs during his tenure as head coach, while Tekkeitsertok is known as a decent ice fisherman.

In the Chiefs' first practice, Tekkeitsertok demonstrated a new move seldom seen in the modern NFL, which involved taking a harpoon and driving it through the heart of a defensive lineman. "Revolutionary," said Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, who has himself been killing fantasy teams for nearly a decade.

Despite the Chiefs' new commitment to diversity, not everyone is satisfied with the hiring. "It's a complete smokescreen to judge how we are doing as a nation by how many minorities get head football coaching jobs," said outspoken conservative The A&W Root Beer Bear. "We don't need more Eskimo NFL head coaches - we need more Eskimo doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, and CEOs," said the Bear.

During the Chiefs' first game of the week, Tekkeitsertok not only coached, but provided the halftime entertainment by clubbing a baby seal to death at midfield while the crowd cheered wildly. He reportedly will be paid four pelts per year for the next three years.

UPDATE: Right on cue, the NFL gets its diversity report card.

I Always Say: Safety First!

Readers of this blog are well aware of my tireless advocacy for women's rights. Well, I have finally found a cause that I can get behind. From today's news:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli woman's breast implants saved her life when she was wounded in a Hizbollah rocket attack during Israel's war with the Lebanese group, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

Doctors found shrapnel embedded in the silicone implants, just inches from the 24-year-old's heart. "She was saved from death," said a spokesman for Nahariya Hospital in northern Israel. The woman has been released from hospital.
Seeing as how I am all about safety, I am now lobbying the State Legislature to make these mandatory. It's a dangerous world out there - I want to make sure Wisconsin's women are "equipped" to deal with imminent danger. I'll set up my own nonprofit organization (The Institute for Thorax Safety), raise money, and come up with some sham medical evidence to "support" my claims.

The next headline you'll see:

Breast Implant Mandate Goes Into Effect: Worker Productivity Down 70%

Wait...what was I talking about again?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

YOU'VE GOT SNAKES!

In what may be the greatest movie marketing ploy of all time, the promoters of "Snakes on a Motherf***ing Plane" have set up a website where you can send a friend a personal message from Samuel L. Jackson. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on this link imploring me to take "My Homeboy Neil" to the "best movie of all time." I have been informed that the "Neil" reference is supposed to be "Neil Heinen," who is, by the way, the first person I would choose to see the movie with.

So send your loved ones a Snake-gram today. They will probably never speak to you again, but that might actually be a good thing.

Tips for a More Restful Workplace

I had a couple beers with a friend of mine tonight, and he told me this story of a guy he used to work with:

The guy was an alcoholic, and would usually stay up all night drinking. When he got to work, he would shut his office door and sprinkle some change on the floor near the door. He'd then lay on the floor and pass out on top of the change with his head up against the door. Then, if someone came into his office, the door would knock him in the head and wake him up, and he'd pretend that he was on the floor picking the change up. And he'd have an excuse for being somewhat disoriented, from being bumped in the head by the door.

I am walking down to the patent office tomorrow to trademark that maneuver. That is, if I'm awake.

Teachers' Union: Spending Money on Education is Bad

The beauty of Mark Green's new plan to require school districts to spend 70% of all their funds in the classroom is that it now forces the teachers' unions to argue why we need more administration. Take, for instance, this release from AFT-WI, which makes this amazing statement:
“…there is no significant positive correlation between the percentage of funds that districts spend on instruction and the percentage of students who score proficient or higher on state reading or math tests.”

WHAT? So what in the name of Lucifer's beard are we spending all that money on teachers for? If they truly believe that the amount of money we spend on instruction doesn't have anything to do with student proficiency, then I propose cutting the number of teachers in half. Think they'd be making the same argument then? They honestly believe that a district that spends 70% of its funds on administration wouldn't affect student performance?

Of course, their rhetoric is all a sham - if Green's plan went into effect, it would actually force school districts to either hire more teachers or pay the ones that they have more. Both things would be good for their members. But they are so invested in the candidacy of Jim Doyle they have to twist themselves into pretzels to oppose this program which would be beneficial to their own dues-paying members.

I anxiously await them arguing that money for instruction doesn't make any difference to students when they have their hand out during the next budget. And I welcome the public debate on why we can't possibly spend less than 35% of school district budgets on things that have nothing to do with educating kids.

Chicken Wing Night

It took me about 60 seconds to destroy this plate. I think my daughter is going to have nightmares about witnessing that eating display. But hey, Chicken Wing Night is a sacred ritual in the York household.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Important Media Announcement

I just thought it was important to announce that I won't be guest hosting or otherwise appearing on anyone's radio or TV show, ever.

So be sure to tune in.

My Hot Date

While Rick was out taking in some socially responsible fare, I snuck out tonight to see "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

For those of you who are childless, be warned that your "movie nights" come to a screeching halt upon the birth of your kid. So when there's a movie I really want to see, I generally have to go by myself. That's how pathetic my life is - I can't even get a date with my wife.

So I went alone and paid the eight bucks, and I treated myself to some soda and popcorn. I figured if I spent enough money, there'd be chance I would be able to get some action with myself later that night. Then I realized that's what got Pee Wee Herman in trouble.

I love that they ask you whether you want butter flavoring on your popcorn. Well, duh. I usually challenge the manhood of the awkward teen behind the counter, saying something snide like "If I walk out of that theater alive, there wasn't enough butter on the popcorn." They always appreciate that. One day, I actually bought a new shirt at Land's End, put it on, and went to a movie that night. When I got home, I realized the shirt had been soaked with butter from stray kernels, and was completely ruined. It remains unwearable to this day, although I'm hanging on to it in case butter flavoring stains make a big comeback.

As for the movie? It was okay.

Next up: SNAKES ON A MOTHERF***'IN PLANE!

Packer Notes: Preseason Game One

I'm not going to write a whole post about the first preseason game like I did last year, but I do have some thoughts about the Packer-Charger preseason game on Saturday night.

I tend to overreact to bad Packer performances, but I'm not even remotely discouraged after that game. A lot of new faces have to work their way in, and I imagine that takes a while. If that game happens in week 8, you should check the Monday obituaries for a pig sock puppet cardiac arrest.

Remember when Al Harris was threatening to hold out for more money? Mike McCarthy might want to do just the opposite - ban him from the organization until he gives the Packers back 20% of his current salary.

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.

Even though Greg Jennings dropped a couple of balls, you can see why everyone's so excited about him. I would imagine getting yourself open and in the right spot is 90% of playing wide receiver in the NFL, and he showed he can do that. Now, he just needs to get over his nerves and catch the ball, which he'll do.

I like the Journal Sentinel's Packer writers, but I think the state Journal's Jason Wilde is far and away the best Packer reporter in the state. The game ended at midnight local time, and he gives us almost a full page of entertaining and insightful stories mere hours later.

In that vein, I thought Rich Gannon did an excellent job as the color guy for the Packer TV network. I don't know what network he'll be working for during the regular season, but they'll be getting a guy that knows his stuff and offers accurate, worthwhile observations.

I could live another 100 years and never figure out why teams use their punters as placeholders. It is a mortal lock that at some point there will be a muffed long snap and the punter will run around holding the ball over his head as confused as a beaver at a raffle (I don't even know what that means). Why not always have your backup QB do the holding? Hell, even have the third stringer do it. Then, if the long snap is fumbled, they actually have the ability to make something happen.

I guess I did end up writing a whole post. My bad.

JS Editorial Board: "Enhancing" Discourse

This editorial today from the Journal Sentinel is the typical, tired old stuff you generally see from editorial boards. Campaigns are too negative, "moderate" people who don't really stand for anything are somehow smarter than everyone else, and if you discuss something in a coffee house, it is likely four times more insightful than if you said it anywhere else.

The editorial bemoans "negative" campaigning (how dare Republicans point out that Jim Doyle is critical of Wal-Mart at the same time he accepts a $1,000 contribution from their political action committee!), and says that people are "fed up" with all the partisan bickering. So fed up, in fact, that more and more people vote in each successive election. In fact, much of the "negative" points the campaigns make are points originally reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel themselves. Certainly nobody has their finger on the pulse of regular Milwaukeeans like the Journal Sentinel editorial board.

Incidentally, while the Journal Sentinel wrings its hands about negative campaigning, "the public" is out fathering illegitimate children and shooting each other - things that actually contribute to the degradation of our culture. I'm still waiting for a murder case where the gunman admits he was driven to violence by a Jim Doyle press release on stem cell research.

They also suggest a "middle ground" on abortion, but concede that they don't know what it is. How I feel for all those poor people who have to be subjected to an actual debate on a controversial issue. Here's my suggestion for a middle ground - pro-lifers will stop pointing out that abortion kills a living being when abortionists stop performing them. There - truce!

Their evidence that campaigning has gotten too negative? An off-color comment made off the air during an Attorney General's debate. If Paul Bucher hadn"t mentioned it, nobody would ever have known it happened, since it occurred during a commercial break. Do they really think there were ever "good old days" when candidates always liked each other? Oh, and they haven't been shy about reporting on that exchange, which runs counter to their assertion that the public's fragile psyche must be shielded from such untoward behavior.

So after I read their little high-minded pitch on how political debate "coarsens" society, I read down to the advertising directly below the editorial. The ads read, in this order:

Enhance Pleasure Tonight!
All natural sexual enhancement. TRY YOUR FREE SAMPLE TODAY !!
http://www.revivexxx.com
Look absolutely AMAZING on your wedding day!
Try the only once-a-day diet pill created for people like you who have more important things to worry...
http://www.soloslim.com
$21,000 A WEEK From Home!
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www.happyjoyousfree.net
Want to stop hair loss?
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Restorationhair.com

Now the Journal Sentinel knows what they are talking about in coffee shops - your grumpy wiener. My special thanks to the Journal Sentinel for contributing advertising for sham diet pills to the public debate in the name of some quick cash.

So, obviously, when political candidates try to make their case to voters to earn their vote, it "coarsens" society. But when some disreputable hair plug company or "lazyforcash.com" wants to make their pitch and pay the Journal Sentinel to do it, suddenly it becomes a vital display of speech.

Oh, and here's my super secret free tip that absolutely drives the women wild. Get a JOB.

UPDATE: It looks like Xoff and I came to much the same conclusion. He says:
The news media has given up its responsibility to dig into issues and present the facts. Their main function these days seems to be "He said, he said" reporting, where the back-and-forth is dutifully reported, but no effort is made to find out who's right. That kind of coverage, of course, encourages the inflammatory statements and news releases.

That, in turn, gives the editorial writers something to complain about.
Well said. Isn't it ironic that the one thing that can bring the left and the right together is ridiculing an editorial that says the left and the right can come together?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bucher Endorsed by National Society of People Who Suck

Milwaukee - Following a lively debate between Republican Attorney General candidates in which it was revealed that Paul Bucher sucks, a nationwide organization of sucky people has enthusiastically endorsed his candidacy.

For months it was believed by insiders that Bucher sucked, but opponent J.B. Van Hollen made the charge during today's debate. While Bucher steadfastly denied the accusation, he did it in a way that really sucked.

"We are proud to have Paul Bucher as a member of our group," said official sucky spokesman Terrell Owens. "We always knew Bucher had suck-ulent tendencies, but it's great of him to come out of the closet and embrace his true self," said Owens.

A review of Bucher's finance reports shows that three months ago, he received a $1,000 contribution from SuckPac, the league's donor arm. The contribution, however, was sent to Bucher in jars of pennies. "We suck - what else would you expect?" said Madison Channel 3 News Director Neil Heinen, before going on an incomprehensible and uninformed half hour rant.

Conversely, the National Organization of People Who Don't Suck withheld its endorsement for Van Hollen. "While we're leaning Van Hollen right now, he has shown the ability to suck on occasion," said Organization President Dwyane Wade. "We reserve endorsements for people who show excellence in not sucking," said Wade.

Following the heated debate, both candidates shook hands and agreed that Lindsay Lohan was hotter when she was fat.

The Politics of Shirt Tucking

There are pretty much three types of guys in the world:

There are skinny guys, who generally are either on heroin or still dating. There are fat guys, who really can't do anything about being fat. Like my buddy Roast Beef - he's a big guy, but I wouldn't ever want him to lose weight, because he is who he is.

Then there are the denialists. These are the guys who were probably athletic and skinny at one time, and can't believe what's been happening to their midsections. They may still think they're athletic, but the last grand slam they witnessed in person was at Denny's at 3 AM.

The denialists have a few choices when getting dressed for work in the morning. Obviously, their first option would be to wear a shirt that you don't have to tuck in. Unfortunately, those jobs are all taken by people who still eat at Denny's at 3 AM.

The second option is the defiant option: Tuck your shirt in as tightly as possible, and show off that belly. This option has some significant benefits - you can wear clothes that fit you correctly, and people can see that you're comfortable with yourself. The downside, however, is that you may attract crowds of children thinking you are Grimace.

The third option is where it gets tricky. This is for the guys that think they can fool people into thinking they're not gaining weight. This is the time-tested "leave as much slack around the midsection of the shirt" strategy to try to fool people into thinking that the extra bulge there is actually fabric and not chimichangas. This is for fat guys who are "out of the closet," but don't realize it yet.

This is a high-risk strategy. While you may think you are fooling people, you also may look like you're wearing a circus tent. You have to buy shirts that are too big to even out the puffiness. You stand in front of the mirror emulating various poses that might arise during the day, and how your abdominal structure might hold up. "Here's me lifting a cup of coffee. Here's me surfing the internet. Here's me trying to get my coworkers fired," etc. Getting just the right amount of bulge there may be accompanied by a finger poke to the belly button, just so you can secretly know how much of that protrusion is actually you.

Option four is for experienced dressers only. It's the "I'm going to hike my pants up to my nipples" look favored at VFWs and municipal golf courses. This is not recommended for any of you at home. Or anywhere, for that matter. That means you, Dad.

As for me, I try to draw as much attention away from my gut as possible, which is why I refuse to wear pants in public. Nobody will notice you're putting on weight, but it gets kind of hard to find a seat at Applebee's.

Then again, there's always exercise. Yeah, right.

Fun With the Kid, Summer Edition

My daughter has a little stuffed bunny she calls "Hop-Hop" that she takes everywhere with her. A few weeks ago, she told me that Hop-Hop was a boy, which surprised me. Yesterday, she announced that she was changing her mind and that Hop-Hop was now a girl.

What are the rules on this? Should I allow just arbitrarily changing the sex of her toys? Do I have to pay for Hop-Hop's hormone therapy? Has my daughter become an advocate for the transgender community without even knowing it?

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

Last weekend, I decided to take her to the bank to show her how they run all the coins from our piggy bank through the machine. My wife and I always bet on how much is in the piggy bank - I bet $78, and my wife bet $73. My daughter said "One-oh-two," which I didn't even understand, because she can just barely count to twenty.

So we got to the bank, and they ran the change through the machine. Total: $102.43.

True story - I have the receipt to show it.

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

I made the decision a while ago that I would expose my daughter to the music I like, and if she likes it, all the better. For those of you that are not yet parents, this turned out to be a good idea. If you stick to children's music, you will spend your life suffering through things like this.

Now, my daughter actually knows and requests songs that are good songs. So for all of you looking to groove this summer, here are my daughter's top five requested songs, with links to the videos.

1. The Smiths - Sheila, Take a Bow
2. Beatles - I've Just Seen a Face
3. Ramones - Sheena is a Punk Rocker
4. Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes
5. R.E.M. - All the Way to Reno

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

I know everyone gets tired of my bragging about my kid - so for those that are, here's your money back:

New Poll: 100% of British Air Passengers Support Wiretapping

Or whatever it took to prevent today's terrorist plot to blow up planes headed for the U.S.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Minimum Markup Mischief

This afternoon, Governor Doyle announced that he would be directing the state not to enforce the minimum markup law on gasoline "blended" with ethanol. As you know, the minimum markup law mandates that "motor vehicle fuel" be sold at the pump at a certain price above what it cost the retailer, which automatically makes it more expensive for the consumer.

The idea behind the law is that it protects small gas stations from competition from large retailers, who can afford to sell gas cheaper. Instead, all the law guarantees is that you will be paying about 30 cents per gallon more than you would otherwise. A bill eliminating the law was unfortunately defeated this session in the State Legislature. Ethanol producers believe that the law shouldn't apply to ethanol, despite state law requiring a 9.18% markup on "motor vehicle fuel," which pretty clearly applies to ethanol.

I actually support Doyle if he's serious about getting rid of minimum markup. This is a good move for him, as it will likely win support from a lot of people who were harshly critical of the bill mandating 10% ethanol in gas sold statewide that was defeated this session. However, despite my own personal support for Doyle's suspension of the law today, his actions raise some significant questions.

If Doyle asserts, as he did today, that the Governor has the ability to capriciously and unilaterally "refuse to enforce" the minimum markup law, why did he wait until now to do it? If he could have done this all along, why have we been paying 30 cents per gallon extra for the last couple of years while he did nothing? If he could really do this, what took so long?

This is made all the more appalling by Doyle's anti-oil company rhetoric this year. During the same time that he has been setting up phony petition websites and calling for limits on oil company profits, he "allowed" a law that mandated these profits to continue to stand. If Doyle truly has the ability to suspend enforcement of the law on August 8th, why didn't he have the ability to suspend it on January 1? If he could have ordered the suspension then, isn't it reasonable to ask him why he decided to let gas cost so much this summer? How much extra did you pay because Doyle was slow to act?

And assuming, again, that Doyle can just "suspend" statutes, why did he only choose to refuse enforcement of this statute when the ethanol industry came calling? Why wasn't it worth suspending when you were paying a lot for gas, but it was worth ignoring when the ethanol boys complained?

The other explanation, of course, is that Doyle actually doesn't have the authority to suspend enforcement of the statute. This would be entirely consistent with some of Doyle's previous actions to ignore the Legislature and the laws it passes. Apparently, Doyle doesn't agree that the Legislaure should have any say in whether he wants to turn Wisconsin in "Vegas East" when he negotiates casino compacts with the Indian tribes. He doesn't think there are any limits on the use of his expansive veto authority, which he used to transfer $400 million in the budget to a purpose for which the Legislature never intended. And he even tried to unilaterally raise the state's minimum wage by directing the Department of Workforce Development to do so. The first two examples, incidentally, are positions Doyle changed once he took office.

Once Doyle asserts that he can just suspend laws that are passed by the Legislature, what's next? Can he suspend enforcement of school district property tax caps when the teachers' union needs a favor? When Mark Green is elected governor, can I call him up and ask him to suspend laws that would inhibit my burgeoning pimpin' business? (Public stock available soon.)

What the effect of this law "suspension" will be isn't exactly clear. Presumably, Doyle rushed his press release out in response to this article to cash in on good press. The release first says that minimum markup will be lifted for "ethanol based fuel," which one could presume is E-85 (85%) ethanol fuel. But in the same sentence, he mentions there won't be any enforcement on "ethanol blended fuel," which would indicate E-10, or 10% ethanol, fuel.

If E-10 is indeed included in the exemption, this constitutes a massive policy change. Gas stations all over the state would be crazy not to carry E-10, as they now would get the benefit of not having to comply with the minimum markup law on their gas. So while the Legislature killed a bill mandating all the state's gas be E-10, this change may have the effect of doing just that. All the gas in Southeast Wisconsin is already 10% ethanol due to the non-attainment status imposed by the EPA. So if Doyle wants to exempt ethanol "blended" fuel, the entire Milwaukee area is immediately exempt.

I suspect Doyle waited until now to "suspend" this statute because nobody actually believes he has the authority to do so. It's just too bad he decided to make this bold move to mollify a group of ethanol producers and not Wisconsin's citizens, who have been paying artificially high prices for years.

UPDATE: I realize my argument hinges on the fact that ethanol is covered by the minimum markup law. So, for clarification:

"Motor vehicle fuel" is defined in statute as "gasoline or diesel fuel."

"Gasoline" is defined as (my emphasis):

"gasoline, casing head or natural gasoline, benzol, benzine, naphtha, and any blend stock or additive that is sold for blending with gasoline other than products typically sold in containers of less than 5 gallons. "Gasoline " includes a liquid prepared, advertised, offered for sale, sold for use as, or used in the generation of power for the propulsion of a motor vehicle, including a product obtained by blending together any one or more products of petroleum, with or without another product, and regardless of the original character of the petroleum products blended, if the product obtained by the blending is capable of use in the generation of power for the propulsion of a motor vehicle. "Gasoline " also includes transmix. " Gasoline " does not include diesel fuel, commercial or industrial naphthas or solvents manufactured, imported, received, stored, distributed or sold for exclusive use other than as a fuel for a motor vehicle.

So it seems perfectly reasonable that the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection would think minimum markup applies to ethanol. That is, until Doyle needed a press release saying otherwise.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pimpled Teenage Virgins Fight for More Contraception

Verona - Pimpled area teen Josh Miller today expressed his support for the federal Family Planning Waiver program, which provides free birth control to all girls over the age of 15. "My parents won't even let me watch Cinemax, so I'll be damned if I'm going to blow it when a girl wants to come to my 'pants party,'" said Miller.

Miller has joined with other homely virgins in advocating for increased government-sponsored birth control. A group of horny teenage boys showed up at the Capitol this week to testify against a bill that would raise the minimum age for free taxpayer birth control for girls from 15 to 18. "The State Legislature can't possibly understand the turmoil in my pants," said Alejandro Rivera, 15, of Mt. Horeb. "It's hard enough to get a girl to charm my trouser snake as it is, without Glenn Grothman screwing things up," he said. Rivera said he hasn't been this disappointed since he witnessed the appalling lack of nudity in "National Lampoon's Dorm Daze," appearing on Showtime this month.

Miller conceded that he thought he had a sexual experience when playing "Tomb Raider" on his XBox, but he wasn't sure. In his spare time, he enjoys thinking about sex, talking about sex, and coming up with new phrases to describe sex that he hopes will catch on in his high school. "It's just a matter of time before 'pound the pootie' catches fire," said Miller.

Miller said his ultimate goal is to one day become an anonymous part time political blogger. "Those guys get loads of tail," he said. Miller believes that one day he will be able to score a supermodel or a movie star, or if he's really lucky, a local TV anchor. As for now, he noted, he can't even score a tomboy who is secretly in love with him but who helps him try to get a date with a popular girl, only to have him eventually realize that he should have been with his tomboy friend all along. "I think that was in a movie my parents liked," he said.

Miller said he believes he is close to finally losing his virginity, and the absence of burth control makes that nearly impossible. "Tom McDuffie said I could borrow his van, and I've got my 'Smooth Booty Jamz' mix CD all ready to go," said Miller. "Now all I need is a fine lady with low self-esteem," he added.

New Hezbollah Smurf Vows Death to Azrael

Update: I Stand With the Bunnies


Last week, I bemoaned the fact that a bunny rabbit had dug a giant hole and set up shop in my front yard. Well, as I was mowing the lawn yesterday, I was surprised by a couple new residents in my front yard (see photo). I figured there were baby bunnies in the hole, but didn't realize they'd come so soon.

During dinner on Saturday night, we were treated to a full-on National Geographic special when some big black birds caught wind of the new baby bunnies and tried to carry them away. One bird picked a bunny up by the back of its neck and carried it for a few feet before it wriggled away. Immediately, the mother bunny launched herself at the birds, scaring them all off. Then, she rustled up the other kids and sat on them, guarding them from the evil winged intruders.

During the whole episide, my daughter sat by the window yelling "go away mean birds!" I realize it's nature and all, but I'm not sure I want to see the theory of evolution played out when I'm trying to eat my chicken stir-fry. I fully expect to wake up tomorrow morning to see some cheetahs tearing apart a gazelle on my front lawn.

And I stand firmly with the bunnies in defending themselves. In fact, I threw them some bread crumbs to show a little solidarity - I might have to supply them with some poison birdseed or something. There will be no peace deal brokered here.

Later, the mother breast fed all the kids out on the lawn, which I think violated about 13 city codes.

UPDATE: Even more drama ensued on Sunday night, when I went into the basement and realized one of the bunnies had fallen into a window well and couldn't get out. So my wife and I constructed a ramp to help him climb back up onto the lawn. The Worldwide Bunny Association should build a statue of me at their headquarters.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Doyle Announces Opposition to Skinny Chicks

Madison - In his boldest pander yet, Governor Jim Doyle today announced that he prefers women with "a little meat on their bones." "For too long we have ignored the needs of the Big 'n Sexy Women in our society," said Doyle, adding "if we can just get the women of Wisconsin to put down their crullers long enough to go vote, we can make real progress in the struggle for equal rights for the full-bootied."

Doyle's announcement sent shock waves through the political world, as Doyle's wife Jessica is known for her diminuitive figure. "We've been dealing with her bad habit of eating a sensible, balanced diet for a while now," said Doyle. The Governor mentioned his new proposal to change the name of his wife's program from "Where in Wisconsin is Jessica Doyle?" to "Where in Wisconsin is Jessica Doyle Inhaling a Plate of Fried Cheese Curds?"

Doyle's olive branch to the Chunky Vixen community has drawn nationwide rave reviews. Jerome Henton of the More to Love Institute in Independence, Kansas believes Doyle's pander is groundbreaking. "I've never seen a candidate reach out and touch chubby women in this way before, but it's usually because they're covered in ranch dressing," said Henton.

Doyle has recently become known for his over the top pandering. He has told voters that he can help bring down gas prices, when in fact there is nothing he can do to affect the market. He has also promised cures for sick people that are at least a decade away, and proposed a committee to look at ways to keep down health care costs. The committee's report, of course, is due on December 1st - right after the November gubernatorial election.

Doyle's gubernatorial opponent, Congressman Mark Green, immediately jumped on Doyle's blatant pandering. "Sure, we all occasionally enjoy a full figured woman," said Green. "But even women that are skinny like men who don't like skinny women, because no woman actually thinks they're skinny," he said, adding "Liking fatties shows sensitivity."

Following his announcement, a poll was taken that showed Doyle's positives had jumped to 45% among Wisconsin women. The same poll showed that 35% of Wisconsin women disapprove of the job Doyle is doing, while 20% were too lazy to get off their fat asses and answer the phone.

i like it when the brewers swing the bats fast


i like it when the brewers swing fast and i like it when they run around the bases and make lots of points. run brewers run! they should do the trades that make them be able to throw the balls really fast and catch the balls with their nonthrowing hands. ned yost should make them hit the balls really far and he should tell them to make the plays that make them win.

it makes me sad when turnbow throws the ball outside of the zone. i think jenkins should swing with his eyes open so he can hit the ball fast. i frown when my sausage doesnt win. go brewers.

Big Hitter, the Holy Father

Someone please tell me what the Holy Father has to do with this golf ball being auctioned off on eBay. I'm not exactly sure what Pope Benedict has to do with this guy's golf ball, but I give the guy credit - it's one hell of a sell job.

The summary isn't exactly clear on how the Pope works his way into this guy's pitch. Did his holiness actually get a hole in one? From what I can tell, this guy happened to get a hole in one on the day that Bishop Ratzinger was picked to be Pope, and he shares a birthday with Ratzinger. It makes perfect sense! In fact, I keep some Holy nose hair clippings from April 19th of 2005 in a glass case above my velvet Christ paintings.

I also enjoy his pitch that he's going to "donate" the proceeds of his sale. To what? His holy crack habit?

Finally, the picture of the golf ball on the red velvet placemat is a fantastic touch. Makes it look very papal. And the pictures of Ratzinger, the golf course, and the ball together are priceless... as if we needed a visual to buy his story. OH! I SEE IT NOW! Honey, where's my checkbook?

Given that he is infallible, I would expect at least one U.S. Open Championship from the Holy Father. Incidentally, when I play golf, it really is a spiritual experience - I say the Lord's name pretty much nonstop for four hours.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Area Homosexual Announces Plans to Remain in Closet

Madison - In a stunning announcement, local homosexual Pat Cleveland today announced that he would be remaining in the closet. Cleveland has been urged by his friends and family to "come out" since last week, when former *N'SYNC member Lance Bass rocked the world with the unexpected announcement that he was, in fact, gay.

"I have a job that I have to keep," said Cleveland at a press conference. "I'm not a millionaire singer who never has to work again," he said. Cleveland announced that the sexuality of his partner, Lance Fontana, would also remain a secret. "Lance would kill me if the guys down at the wastewater treatment plant knew he was gay," said Cleveland. Fontana was unavailable for comment, as he was at ACE Hardware purchasing rat poison.

A local gay and lesbian group, Gays Touching Wisconsin, criticized Cleveland's decision, saying that he shouldn't be ashamed of keeping his sexual preference a secret. The group has been trying to institute a statewide social policy known as "gay until further notice," in which everyone in Wisconsin is presumed gay until they come out and declare their heterosexuality. "We're really hoping Kathleen Falk forgets to file the paperwork, because that is one good looking man," said GTW spokesman Corky Rockwell.

Cleveland said he will be relieved to go back to work with his personal secret intact. He said he and Fontana will be happy to return to the normal world, where their relationship poses a fatal threat to otherwise healthy heterosexual marriages.

Wabbit Season


For some reason, a bunny rabbit has taken up residence full time in my front yard. He decided to dig a giant hole right in the middle of the yard and just sits there all day guarding it. He has refused my repeated requests to pay rent.

I realize that he's just a bunny, but it's a little strange having him always there. I think he might just be sizing me up for the attack, Holy Grail-style. I see him watching me, judging me. I think he's ready to pounce when he gets the chance. He could just be a lookout for another gang of malcontent bunnies that will all jump me when I'm carrying a lot of cash.

Get the Tissues Out

In an interview in last week's Onion A.V. Club, comedian Rob Corddry mentioned a little known "song" called "Nancy Grows Up" by '50s performance artist Tony Schwartz. Schwartz recorded his daughter from birth to her teenage years and spliced it all into a two minute file that is really moving. You can hear the file here, or click here for a more web-friendly version.

And thanks to Recidivism for posting the file.

TIME Gets Stem Cells Right

Rarely does a week go by that I'm not embarrassed to be a TIME Magazine subscriber. Generally, their cover stories break into four categories:

1. Why Bush is ruining the world
2. Here's a disease/environmental disaster that is going to kill you
3. There's a new movie/gadget that you should see or buy (which we generally have a business interest in seeing succeed)
4. Why Bush is ruining the world

However, I was pleased to see their cover story on stem cells when my TIME came in the mail today. I thought it was balanced and accurately reflected the arguments both sides. If anything, I think it gives a little more space to the pro-lifers.

A nice little respite before next week's edition, where we will find out why Bush is standing by and doing nothing while innocent Lebanese citizens are being killed. I mean, really - it's like he's flying the bombing missions himself.