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Wide White: April 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wisconsin Green Party virtually nonexistent

After riding high with their anti-war referendums, I thought the Green Party had a lot of energy. I thought they were ready to show the state of Wisconsin that they're serious.

Apparently, they're not.

Here are their statewide and federal candidates.

Governor: BLANK
Lieutenant Governor: BLANK
Attorney General: BLANK
Secretary of State: BLANK
State Treasurer: Winston Sephus Jr.
U.S. Senator: Rae Vogeler
U.S. Congress District 1: BLANK
U.S. Congress District 2: BLANK
U.S. Congress District 3: BLANK
U.S. Congress District 4: BLANK
U.S. Congress District 5: Bob Levis
U.S. Congress District 6: BLANK
U.S. Congress District 7: Mike Miles
U.S. Congress District 8: BLANK

According to their website, the Wisconsin Green Party is "working to build a democratic society in which human needs and the health of our planet matter more than corporate profits."

They also say, "Our party runs and supports candidates at the city, county, state and national levels."


Despite having plenty to run on - especially regarding the war - they haven't put up a real statewide candidate. The only reason they put up a candidate for treasurer is so they can get 5% (they'll probably get more like 7%) and remain recognized as a party in the state.

They also have plenty to run on at the Congressional level.

District 1 has Paul Ryan, who is 100% polar opposite of the Greens. The Democrats have 4 people running against him. No Green candidate.

District 2 has Tammy Baldwin. I can't blame them for not opposing her. She might be left of them.

District 3 has Ron Kind, who has consistently lost support in all four re-election bids. He's gone from 72% support to 56% support. Democrats are mad about his stance on the war. Republicans are mad about his stance on social issues. Yet, despite his unpopularity - especially with the Greens and other "progressive" liberals - there's no candidate.

District 4 has Gwen Moore, who, like Baldwin, is so left she's basically a Greenocrat.

District 5 is Jim Sensenbrenner, a staunch conservative who has 2 Democratic opponents and who has probably never agreed with the Green Party. It's a good seat for them to run a candidate.

District 6 is Tom Petri's district. He's the state's second-most senior incumbent who would be tough to beat, but then, he's also a moderate who, like Kind, may have a tough time energizing his base. No Green candidate.

District 7 is Dave Obey's district. It's the largest in the state, and Obey has held office for 37 years. It's tough to campaign in, and he's considered untouchable by many, though two Republicans are running against him (another just dropped out of the race). He's not much different from Moore and Baldwin. Yet, despite this, the Greens have a candidate, Mike Miles, running against him. Go figure. Not exactly the district you'd expect them to target.

District 8 is an open seat, currently held by Mark Green. Three Republicans and four Democrats are vying for the seat. It's a 50/50 district that will likely be very tough. Mark Green was able to get 70% of the vote in the district, but no one in this race will be able to come close to Green's popularity. So why no Green Party candidate?

Bottom line is, the Green Party isn't a serious party at this point. Their decision to target the 5th Congressional District is smart.

However, they have no reason to target the 7th. They should really be targeting the 3rd and the 8th - with possibility in the 1st and 6th - in addition to running someone for Gov./Lieut. Gov. Of those races, I feel their best shot would be in the 3rd, where they have organization, especially in La Crosse, and where the incumbent is being hounded from liberals for his stance on the war.

But don't expect to see anyone step forward anytime soon. The Greens aren't for real.


They'd have to do what?!?

I read this story because I love birds of prey. They're just fascinating, and a story about one nesting in a populated area intrigued me.
She's back. Bird watchers have noted the return of an osprey that created a stir last year while nesting with her chicks near the top of a light pole at Irondale High School's football field.
The nest was moved to a platform atop a pole near the athletic field, and experts determined that it was high enough above the lights to remain safe and that athletic events and an artificial-turf installation project wouldn't disturb the birds.
Then I read this:
Disturbing nesting migratory birds, such as ospreys, violates federal law. If the birds had been stressed, the school could have been forced to delay the artificial-turf project or halt some sporting events until the birds left the nest in the fall.
So, a bird moves into your area - a heavily populated area (Twin Cities metro) - and you have to halt what you're doing so you don't disturb the peace for the bird? It's not like there wasn't anywhere else for the bird to go.

But this makes the story even more incredulous:
In 1984, efforts were made to restore a nesting osprey population to the Twin Cities. The project has been successful, with the osprey population growing to 47 nests in 20 years.
So, they're intentionally bringing osprey to a heavily populated area with around 2 million people. Then, when the osprey actually come like they're supposed to, those 2 million people have to stop doing what they're doing?

Why am I confused?

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Why I live in a small town

It's not as bad being a single guy living in a town of 1104 as a lot of people make it out to be.

I went to the bank 45 minutes ago and needed to make a small change to my account. The lady I talked to couldn't do it at the moment, so she offered to stop by my office later to have me sign the paperwork.

Sure enough, she just walked in, I signed the papers, and everything was taken care of.

Nothing like having a literal personal checking account!

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Amazing shot

Amazing shot cited as self-defense

Police bullet lodged in gunman's weapon

A highly improbable shot left an officer's bullet in the cylinder of a gunman's revolver, and police say it's a pretty clear sign that the officers who shot the man faced a deadly threat.

"Physically, it is impossible to conclude anything other than the fact the suspect was pointing directly at the officers," Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said Wednesday, adding, "I've not seen anything quite like that in my 24 years."
In the Tuesday shooting, police again found themselves facing a life and death situation.
The officers ordered the man to drop the gun. Instead, police said, he squared up against them. "The officers returned fire in response to that deadly threat," Kimerer said.

Both officers, armed with Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handguns, fired. One fired four shots; the second, three shots.

One of those bullets ended up in the gunman's gun -- jammed into the cylinder of his revolver. The department released photos Wednesday showing the cracked brass of a bullet shoved out of the rear of one chamber.

Fire medics arrived but were unable to revive the man.


Air America is tanking fast

I'm okay with this.
Air America loses NYC flagship

The struggling liberal network Air America Radio will lose its flagship station in New York City this summer, according to the industry publication Mediaweek.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity had the highest-rated radio talk shows in the New York City market from January through March, according to the Drudge Report.
After WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C., recorded a mere fraction of a rating point in the spring with syndicated shows from the likes of lefty talkers Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo and Stephanie Miller, Arbitron couldn't detect a measurable listenership for the station in the summer quarter, the Washington Post said.

The news came on the heels of the network asking its listeners to send in money, a financial scandal involving money siphoned from a Boys & Girls Club in New York City, a California radio station pleading for advertisers to sponsor the programming claiming it could not get a single ad, and a host apologizing for what some thought were threats against President Bush's life.


Another reason not to watch TV

As if Barbara Walters, Star Jones, and that Meredith lady weren't enough, "The View" has sunk to a new low.
Actress Rosie O'Donnell, the award-winning former talk show host, is reportedly set to return to daytime TV as the replacement for Meredith Vieira on The View.
I saw O'Donnell interviewed recently. Rarely have I seen someone so full of herself.

It's sad.

And I was enjoying "The View" so much! [thick sarcasm]


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Another blow to United Council

United Council - an organization that's supposed to represent University of Wisconsin System students - just lost another battle, and may lose funding from another school.
In a 14-5-2 vote, Senate passed a bill that established a special May 10 election, a date that some said was too close to finals week and didn't provide enough time for students to be educated on the issues.
Despite the cost of the election and the short notice, the senators overwhelmingly felt that they needed to give students an opportunity to get out of UC now rather than wait till next semester and give UC a chance to convince senators otherwise.

Good for them.

This last part was very telling.
Newly elected United Council President Guillermo Cuautle, who attended the meeting along with Vice President Kiley Williams, said that while he had hoped Senate would have taken students' busy schedules into consideration, he wasn't surprised at the outcome of the vote.

"A lot of feedback that I've been getting from students from Eau Claire has been about how our staff is not responding to students needs," he said. "We were expecting the outcome.
Considering that UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stout left in the last few years and this year UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls have left, yeah, I'd agree with that.

Now let's hope the students at UW-Eau Claire have the smarts to get out of UC while they can.


Are you a RINO?

I've had enough of the term "RINO." You know, "Republican In Name Only."

It's juvenile, and I've had enough of hearing people use it.

I'm one of the more conservative people I know. I've actually used the term before. So why not use it anymore?

Because, I've realized that I don't own the term "Republican." I know what I think a Republican is and should be. I know that Olympia Snowe - a liberal U.S. Senator from Maine - doesn't fit my idea of a Republican. However, the Republican Party of Maine seems to support her. They're the ones who are responsible for nominating her and ultimately giving her their stamp of approval in the general election. Who am I to say that the entire Republican Party of Maine isn't Republican in practice? Do I disagree with them? Absolutely! But that doesn't mean that they're not Republican.

I guess my view started changing when I talked to a staunch conservative Republican from Arizona who fully supports John McCain. And he's not the only conservative from Arizona to say that. McCain is untouchable in Arizona. Neither party can get away with criticizing him. And conservative Republicans there love him.

So, why should I be so arrogant as to call McCain a "Republican In Name Only?" If that's the case, why can't a "real" Republican seem to beat him in Arizona? Why doesn't a "real" Republican even try?

Because, he's a Republican. Republicans have a majority in the U.S. Senate because there are Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter and John McCain. I often disagree with them. But the Republican parties in their states continue to support them.

So, until I'm willing to actually challenge any of them to prove their status as Republicans is bunk, I'm not using the term "RINO."

Oh, if you think someone is a RINO, do what Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer's consituents in Wisconsin's 20th Senate District did to her. She ticked off the Republicans in her district enough that she lost in the 2004 primary 80%-20%.

If you want to call someone a RINO, do what now-20th District Republican Senator Glenn Grothman did: prove it.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tire slashers sentenced

Remember those Democrats who slashed the tires on vans Republicans in Milwaukee were going to use to get voters to the polls on election day in 2004?

They're going to jail.
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- A congresswoman's son and three Democratic campaign workers were sentenced Wednesday to four to six months in jail for slashing tires outside a Bush-Cheney campaign office on Election Day 2004.
The state Republican Party had rented more than 100 vehicles to give rides to voters and poll monitors on November 2, 2004. The cars were parked outside a GOP campaign office when the tires were punctured. The vandalism left the drivers scrambling for new vehicles.

Among those sentenced Wednesday were Sowande A. Omokunde, the son of Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, and Michael Pratt, the son of former acting Milwaukee Mayor Marvin Pratt.

"I love my son very much. I'm very proud of him," Moore said. "He's accepted responsibility."
I feel bad for those "represented" by her.

As far as the verdicts go, I think they were fair. Four to six months is adequate time to think about what they've done, and they get work release. For a non-violent crime, but one that affected one of the most sacred rites we have, I think justice was served.

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Don't rely too much on the GPS

You just might drive into a river.



Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Just think of all of those college kids who won't be able to keep up with their friends two doors down from them in the dorms. What are they going to do now?

They might actually have to walk 15 feet down the hall!!
Texas College Bans

(AP) Del Mar College students now have to use computers outside the school's system if they want to visit the popular Web site

The community college has blocked the site in response to complaints about sluggish Internet speed on campus computers.

An investigation found that heavy traffic at was eating up too much bandwidth, said August Alfonso, the school's chief of information and technology. Forty percent of daily Internet traffic at the college involved the site, he said.
This kid has a good point.
"We pay for school and the resources that are used," said Zeke Santos, 20. "It's our choice, we're the ones paying for our classes. If we pass or fail, it's up to us."
However, those same kids who say, "I'm paying for it," often blame the school for their academic failure.

As for me, if you want to track me down, you won't be able to find me on MySpace. You'll have to go back to the stone age of email.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Hello Madison

Have any of you Wisconsin bloggers noticed how many people from the "State of WI Dept. of Administration" visit your blogs? They especially like to go to "The Great Divide," presumably hoping there will be more information that wasn't there the last time they went there. Or maybe they're actually trying to change things. Who knows. Maybe one of them can clue us in?

In any event, does the high amount of traffic from the "State of WI Dept. of Administration" ever make you wonder what they do all day? I mean, it's our tax dollars paying them to be there. What are we paying them to do?


My brother just can't forgive

Okay, so that's a bit or a harsh way to put it.

I had a post from a few weeks ago called "I'll forgive the Chicks," in which the crux of my argument was this:
I'm not willing to throw a stone at the Dixie Chicks when the truth is, I probably would have said the same thing about a leader I didn't likef.
My brother sent me an email today, and for the sake of giving equal time to what he had to say, here's the bulk of it.
Hey bro, I couldn't help but remember your blog about the dixie chicks when I was watching CMT. If you haven't seen or heard the dixie chicks latest song, I'm not ready to make nice, you should listen to it. It is garbage, and while I may have been inclined to agree with your blog to a certain extent, I don't after hearing that song. They don't deserve to be forgiven. They are pure white trash, and will remain as such unless they decide to get "ready to make nice." Just figured I'd let you know what I was thinking when I saw that today.


You can surf the web at work

This is sad.
Judge: Web-Surfing Worker Can't Be Fired

NEW YORK (AP) -- Saying surfing the web is equivalent to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone, an administrative law judge has suggested that only a reprimand is appropriate as punishment for a city worker accused of failing to heed warnings to stay off the Internet.

Administrative Law Judge John Spooner reached his decision in the case of Toquir Choudhri, a 14-year veteran of the Department of Education who had been accused of ignoring supervisors who told him to stop browsing the Internet at work.

The ruling came after Mayor Michael Bloomberg fired a worker in the city's legislative office in Albany earlier this year after he saw the man playing a game of solitaire on his computer.

In his decision, Spooner wrote: "It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work."

He added: "For this reason, city agencies permit workers to use a telephone for personal calls, so long as this does not interfere with their overall work performance. Many agencies apply the same standard to the use of the Internet for personal purposes."

Spooner dispensed the lightest possible punishment on Choudhri, a reprimand, after a search of Choudhri's computer files revealed he had visited several news and travel sites.
Honestly, I don't disagree with the judge's opinion that surfing the web is no different than reading a newspaper. But if the employer bars the employee from doing it, the employee shouldn't do it. Period. No matter what a judge thinks is its equivalent.

The employer has the discretion to allow smoking breaks while barring surfing the web. Do I agree with that kind of judgment from an employer? Nope.

But I'm not the employer. I'm the employee.

Too bad the judicial system doesn't understand that concept.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Nagin remains incompetent

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is running for re-election, and will likely face a run-off against either Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu or Ron Forman, unless he can get 50%.

He has a quote in this article today that speaks for itself in showing why he must be replaced.
"I did the tough things. I fussed. I cussed. I got on the president, the governor, got things moving," Nagin said Friday.
So, his last words to voters before they go to the polls is, "I got on other people [to do the job I was incapable of doing]!"


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Down with the President!?

This is from three days ago, so it's not exactly "new news." I found it intriguing though, especially in light of the post I left yesterday about the CIA reading blogs.
Bush death threat tied to PU student

A Purdue University graduate student was arrested and charged with threatening to kill President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Vikram Buddhi allegedly posted the detailed and threatening messages on an online message board.

Buddhi has been studying industrial engineering at the university, having moved temporarily from India to his new home in West Lafayette 10 years ago on a student visa. He was originally hired as a teaching assistant in the math department but was removed from that position and is now a teaching assistant in the industrial engineering department.
Buddhi told investigators he posted the message, along with other derogatory messages aimed at the president, but Martin said Buddhi’s actions should be covered by the First Amendment since Buddhi would have never actually carried out his threats.

In the various messages posted, Buddhi urged the Web site’s readers to bomb the United States and for them to rape American and British women and mutilate them, according to court documents. Other messages called for the killing of all Republicans.
Buddhi allegedly posted his messages on a Yahoo finance board dedicated to Sirius Satellite radio, a site that receives 2 million to 3 million hits a day, Martin said. A concerned citizen contacted the Secret Service office in Dallas to report that a subject was posting threatening messages about Bush, according to the criminal complaint filed in Hammond’s federal court and unsealed Monday.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Smile. The CIA is reading you!

According to the Washington Times, the CIA is reading blogs.
"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times.
"Have we got coups out of it? Close to it," Mr. Naquin said. "But certainly we've had more insight than we've ever had before."
A Defense Department official said Chinese military bloggers have become a valuable source of intelligence on Beijing's secret military buildup. For example, China built its first Yuan-class attack submarine at an underground factory that was unknown to U.S. intelligence until a photo of the submarine appeared on the Internet in 2004.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dale Schultz: "Extreme Republican"?!?

Considering how moderate a lot of Republicans think Dale Schultz is - and I certainly wouldn't call him an extreme right winger - I found this really funny!
Ron Kind defends us against the irresponsible special tax favors for the rich proposed by Republican extremists like Dave Schultz. Support Ron Kind for Congress with this bumper sticker.
Okay, so they screwed up and said "Dave Schultz." It's still pretty funny.

Just goes to show that it's all a matter of perspective.


McClellan out, Rove down

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan is resigning his post, and Karl Rove is giving up his position as chief policy aide.

It's good to see continued shakeup. The Bush administration as had the worst PR since Gerald Ford.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wealthy Cheney

All I've heard about Cheney lately is how he got some $1.8 million back from the IRS this year. Never mind that the only reason he did is that he overpaid. (No, the IRS is not paying the Cheneys extra money.)

However, much less reported is the fact that it seems the Cheneys actually gave $7 million to charity last year.


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What am I?

Wow. I'm clueless as to how it arrived at these results. I'm pretty sure this means I can get along with anyone but a Nazi.

Is that a good thing?

You scored as Republican.

















What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with



Monday, April 17, 2006

Goth is ugly - in more ways than one

I have a friend who went from being a punk goth Kerry supporter to being a "normal" (jeans/polo/no black hair and makeup - my general sense of normalcy) Bush supporter. His reason? "I quit listening to bands and started looking at the issues."

In any event, I don't suppose this tells us anything we didn't know. That doesn't make it any less sad.
"Goth" youths more likely to self-harm: study

LONDON (Reuters) - Young people who adopt the "Goth" lifestyle of dark clothes and introspective music are more likely to commit self-harm or attempt suicide than other youngsters, according to a study on Friday.

"Although only fairly small numbers of young people identify themselves as belonging to the Goth subculture, rates of self-harm and attempted suicide are very high among this group," said Robert Young, lead researcher of the Glasgow University study.

The Scottish team described Goths as being a subgenre of Punk "with a dark and sinister aesthetic, with aficionados conspicuous by their range of distinctive clothing and makeup and tastes in music."

Shock rockers such as Marilyn Manson are said to be popular amongst Goths and the subculture has often attracted suspicion and criticism from the media.

Two U.S. students who massacred 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 were said to have been fascinated by the Goth image.
Although other subcultures were associated with self harm, such as Punk, the link was strongest with Goths.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that 53 percent of those who were linked to the Goth subculture reported self-harm and 47 percent had attempted suicide.

Even adjusting for other factors, such as alcohol abuse and previous depression, Goth identification was the strongest predictor of self harm or suicide attempts, the report said.


Another public university prof gone mad

And the double standard from our educators continues...
Abortion display destroyed

400 crosses removed; NKU prof investigated

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - A professor at Northern Kentucky University said she invited students in one of her classes to destroy an anti-abortion display on campus Wednesday evening.

NKU police are investigating the incident, in which 400 crosses were removed from the ground near University Center and thrown in trash cans. The crosses, meant to represent a cemetery for aborted fetuses, had been temporarily erected last weekend by a student Right to Life group with permission from NKU officials.
Sally Jacobsen, a longtime professor in NKU's literature and language department, said the display was dismantled by about nine students in one of her graduate-level classes.

"I did, outside of class during the break, invite students to express their freedom-of-speech rights to destroy the display if they wished to," Jacobsen said.
Excuse me? Freedom of speech? Is that only reserved for the pro-choice crowd?
Asked whether she participated in pulling up the crosses, the professor said, "I have no comment."
Pulling up the crosses was similar to citizens taking down Nazi displays on Fountain Square, she said.
Still don't think she's crazy?
"Any violence perpetrated against that silly display was minor compared to how I felt when I saw it. Some of my students felt the same way, just outraged," Jacobsen said.

NKU President James Votruba said..."I don't buy the claim that this is an act of freedom of speech, to destroy property."
Jacobsen is a tenured professor who has been at NKU since 1980.
The Right to Life organization formed last month in response to activity by faculty members on the other side of the issue.

The faculty group is called Educators for Reproductive Freedom. So far, it has held two lunchtime discussions on campus with speakers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.

The group's purpose is to learn more about laws and pending legislation that affect women's reproductive rights, said philosophy professor Nancy Hancock, one of the organizers.

Pro-life students got wind of the meetings and passed out literature near the doors. They also quickly elected officers, wrote a constitution and mounted the cross display.

Hancock said she considered the student activity an overreaction.
Oh, so now students are to be discouraged from activism, but faculty members should be encouraged?



Sunday, April 16, 2006

The IRS is satisfied

I finally filed my taxes. It's late, I'm tired, but they're done.

In the past, I've always filed my taxes on my own, on paper, and sent them in snail-mail.

This year, I did something I've never done before: I e-filed. On top of that, I filed them through eSmart Tax. I did it because I didn't want the hassle. Last year, I worked in two states 2,000 miles apart. I'm sure I could have figured everything out, but it was much easier to just punch the numbers in to the computer and let it figure out the rest.

Total cost: just under $35. ($10 for the federal and one state return, $15 for the other state return.)

Total refund: $144. But then, I didn't have either employer withhold federal taxes this time around.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

I'm a socially moderate capitalist, huh?

For those who think I'm a right-wing nut job, here are the results from a political test I just took.
You are a Social Moderate (43% permissive)
and an...
Economic Conservative (68% permissive)
You are best described as a: Capitalist
You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.
Capitalist...I'm okay with that. Not sure what formula they used to get their numbers. I did answer with more "Agree" or "Disagree" answers than I did with the word "Strongly" attached, for what it's worth.


Pawlenty for President?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty may be in the hunt for 2008.

I've been saying this for a long time, as have others.

However, I'm not so keen on this idea.
Republican lawmaker buys ""
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said he plunked down the $12 on his own, to foil Internet "squatters" who buy up domain names that may be valuable in the future. "I wasn't asked to do it, I wasn't told to do it," he said Friday.

But it comes in a week where Pawlenty and Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who's a leading 2008 presidential contender, made several joint appearances in Minnesota and stoked speculation of a possible 2008 partnership.

Garofalo, who was elected to the state House in 2004, is a young computer engineer who volunteered as a technology adviser in Pawlenty's 2002 run.

Pawlenty's national prospects have been touted since not long after that, with Republican insiders noting his wit, on-camera charisma and affability. Pawlenty would provide several key contrasts to McCain -- he's nearly 30 years younger, is a governor rather than a Washington lawmaker, has proven popular with the party's religious base, and represents an entirely different region of the country.
He [Garofalo] also purchased the domain names "" and ""
I don't like McCain. I don't hate him, but I don't like him.

Having said that, Pawlenty's name on the ticket would at least make me consider helping McCain in a general election.

I'm still holding out hope that Pawlenty runs for the top seat though. The fact that a Pawlenty insider is the one buying the "for president" domains gives me even more hope.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

My muscly little bros

My brothers wanted me to talk about them on the blog. Actually, they want a story about themselves. (You know, the whole, "Big brother has a 'website,' that would be really cool to be on it" thing.)

So, here goes.

Troy (left) wants everyone to know about his huge muscles. Shane (right) is just laughing at Troy, and doesn't seem to care too much about anything but getting me off this computer and into the living room to play Rook (great game, by the way).

So, I think I'm going to do that. But Troy, you got your story. You have big muscles and now the 13 people who read this will know. Congratulations.

NOTE: I'm obviously visiting my family for two days, so blogging will be light, if at all. (They have dial-up. Grr...)


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Bryce!

Happy 9th Birthday buddy!

I hope being 9 is as fun as being 8 was.


Our kids are idiots

If you listen to the students - girls, no less - at Padua High School, we would end women's suffrage.

By no means do I endorse everything on this website. But, a friend showed me this clip, and I had to share it.

If you don't want to watch it, here's the gist of it: Guy goes to a Catholic Prep High School - very nice school, supposedly very smart kids. Guy goes around with a microphone and camera asking girls (and a few guys) to sign a petition to "end women's suffrage." He then repeats numerous times as they're signing, "You're supporting ending women's suffrage," "You're a true American," and other phrases to communicate that idea. And he's laughing half of the time as he's saying it.

The girls sign away - all but one, that is.

While it's really funny, it's also a reflection of how little kids really know about history.

It also shows that signatures on a petition really don't mean much.


You spaz! You're such a joey!!!

The BBC thinks it's newsworthy that Tiger Woods used the word "spaz."

So what did Tiger Woods mean when he said: "I was so in control from tee to green, the best I've played for years... But as soon as I got on the green I was a spaz."

He was describing a poor performance. A flawed performance. An impaired performance. Many e-mails to the Ouch! website on Tuesday were from people wanting to point out that spaz means something different in America. "It just means idiot," one reader wrote. Idiot with an etymological nod towards spasticity though?

Is the fact that a nation has lost sight of the origins of the word a good or bad thing? Is it harmful or is it genuinely meaningless now?

ADAPT is America's biggest grassroots disability rights organisation. I rang round some of their members and found out that they didn't even know about the Woods story as it wasn't reported as widely over there. But they did have views on the s-word.

Wow. Since when did we get a new s-word?

I do like the British take on my name though.
In the UK, the words spaz and spastic seem to pack a bigger punch. I think we can firmly place the blame at the door of Blue Peter for this.

Never was its potency or currency so big as when the programme featured Joey Deacon in the early 1980s, believing the story of a 60-year-old man with cerebral palsy overcoming the odds would touch the hearts of under-12s.

Oh, how wrong. It unleashed a monster. Spaz, spastic, spacker, joey, spazmo - all became familiar phrases that year and were still being used years later by gurning children in the playground. Spaz became synonymous with useless incompetence - the type you see in disabled people portrayed badly on TV.

Joey even got a mention in a Human League song and on Minder.
Silly Brits.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Next time, you'd better beat it

Across the street, that is.
Woman, 82, Gets Ticket for Slow Crossing

LOS ANGELES - An 82-year-old woman received a $114 ticket for taking too long to cross a street. Mayvis Coyle said she began shuffling with her cane across Foothill Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley when the light was green, but was unable to make it to the other side before it turned red.

She said the motorcycle officer who ticketed her on Feb. 15 told her she was obstructing traffic.

"I think it's completely outrageous," said Coyle, who described herself as a Cherokee medicine woman. "He treated me like a 6-year-old, like I don't know what I'm doing."


Sykes is right

Sykes correctly called out this person as an ethanol supporter. I suppose that pretty much goes without saying, but it's still true.

Also, I imagine some of you are put off by my comment calling this person a "pretty good conservative." I should note that that's simply been my impression, from what I know of this person. I'm simply relaying what I believed, based on what I've known. I'm not trying to make an argument that this person IS a conservative.

Sorry, but I've been too busy working to try to analyze who's a "true conservative" and who's not. On top of that, I work with many of those who are considered "RINOs" by the Stormtroopers. While I'd love to chime in on the issue, it's just not something I can do.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

The great divide

I'll be on the road tomorrow (Monday), so don't expect to hear anything from me.

However, I do want to leave one thought. I won't interject my comments for now, as I don't have time.

There is a huge divide among Wisconsin Republicans. There are Southeast Republicans, and there are Rest of the State Republicans. I happen to live among those in the Rest of the State category, so I get to hear some of the griping about the Southeast Republicans.

Here's a recent comment from a representative - and one who I believe is not only very intelligent, but is a pretty good conservative. It should be noted that these comments were made in a public address to other members of the Republican Party.

First, this person called Southeast Republicans "nutso."

Then, this representative declared, "There are three parties in this state. There are normal Republicans, normal Democrats, and Charlie Sykes Stormtroopers. He says jump, they ask 'how high?'"

I don't have the audio from the event to physically prove these comments were made, so don't ask for them. All I have is the text message I saved in my cell phone with the transcript. But this underscores something very interesting about the dynamics of the Republican Party at the state capitol.

I'd comment further, but I must leave...for Madison....


Friday, April 07, 2006

Immigration? Who cares...

The Senate immigration bill was just killed - or tabled at the least.

My response: who cares?

I don't care too much what we do with the illegal aliens already here. There are 12 million of them. Who really believes we can go on a manhunt, round them all up, and send them back?

But here's my real beef. Even if we are able to round them up and send them back, how are we supposed to prevent them from coming back unless we have real border security???

Our immigration problem starts with border security. What good is it to send back 12 million people who will be able to just cross again?

Once we've secured out borders, we can begin to talk about those who are here illegally. Until then, I'm not interested in talking about it.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'll forgive the Chicks

The Dixie Chicks have been unofficially banned from country music. There are only a few markets who have continued playing them - Minneapolis is one of them - and only six major markets playing their new single, "Not Ready to Make Nice."

After the resentment a few years ago when the Chicks' lead singer, Natalie Maines, said, "I'm ashamed President Bush is from Texas," I never thought I'd say this.

We've gone way too far with this whole thing.

Here's why I say that. Imagine that Russ Feingold becomes the President. And let's say that 5 years from now, I'm a big celebrity. If 55% of the United States and 65% of the world doesn't like Feingold, and I don't like him either, it would be really, really easy for me to get up in front of a crowd in London and say, "I'm ashamed that Russ Feingold is from Wisconsin."

I don't think celebrities should use their platform like they do, and I still don't like what the Chicks said. But then, I never did care for their music anyway.

The fact is, they have an opinion, and Natalie made the poor decision to say what she said. We all make poor decisions like that.

I'm not willing to throw a stone at the Dixie Chicks when the truth is, I probably would have said the same thing about a leader I didn't like.

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UC is out the door at RF

For those who haven't heard of United Council, they're an organization funded by UW-System students' tuition dollars to lobby for student causes at the capital.

What they really do is set up left-wing rallies and fight against lower taxes (such as TABOR and TPA) because, of course, this will result in higher tuition. (Never mind the fact that they've been useless as tuition has gone up 50% under Jim Doyle, and they haven't screamed bloody murder about him.) They also pass numerous meaningless resolutions.

They are currently opposing legislation to end same-day registration, something most states don't have anyway.

My alma mater, UW-River Falls, just voted them out, 662-294. My only regret is that it didn't happen while I was a student there.

Other schools that have left UC over the last few years: UW-Stout, UW-Platteville (just a few weeks ago), and UW-Oshkosh.

There are sure to be more to come, as many of the students opposing UC at UW-RF - including those who led and organized the opposition - are moderates and liberals.

They recognize that UC is simply ineffective, and it's about time the state legislature (or whoever has the power - I'm assuming it's them) recognize that and remove the requirement for every school to hold a vote every two years.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quirky governor candidate

If you're looking for an alternative for governor in Wisconsin, here's an interesting guy.

Check out his "Past Work Experience," listed in his Candidate Bio.
Farm Worker in Fruit Orchards : 1983-85
Worked during the summer
Fast Food Chicken Restaurant Cook 1985-1986
Spent some time in San Antonio, Texas
Self-Employed Painting Contractor : During this time I had up to 6 employees.
Furniture Delivery Driver Helper 1994-1998
Cab Driver 1998
Package Delivery Driver 1998
Swift Transportation Inc. 1998-2000
Truck Driver

Currently I am employed at Paper Transport Inc. as a Truck Driver, and they are always looking for more hard working people. If you're interested in employment check out their website.
Let's highlight a few points:
1. "Spent some time in San Antonio, Texas." YES!! He's got my vote! (Expertise on immigration issues?)
2. "If you're interested in employment check out their website." Need a job? Great! This guy can help!
3. The blank space. What did he do from 1986 to 1994? Spend time in San Antonio and paint?

Oh well. You need guys like Roy Leyendecker to lighten the political load.

Oh, one last blurb from his website. His first organization under "current memberships I presently hold:"
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
Who new a group that specific existed?

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Sorry ladies

The outlook for you in India is pretty bleak.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A textbook used at schools in the Indian state of Rajasthan compares housewives to donkeys, and suggests the animals make better companions as they complain less and are more loyal to their "masters," The Times of India reported Tuesday.

"A donkey is like a housewife ... In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master," the newspaper reported, quoting a Hindi-language primer meant for 14-year-olds.

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"An absolute battlefield"

Fox News correspondent Greg Burke just called a community in Paris "an absolute battlefield."

Jacque Chirac just signed a new labor law allowing employers to fire employees under the age of 25 during their first two years of employment.

There is some good out of all of this. I think the French have found some new candidates for their dismal shot put program.


Can you say VOTER ID!?!

A co-worker of mine just voted. Great, right?

Not great.

She got back laughing. When asked, "How did it go?" she responded, "They failed."

Here's why:

She just moved here from MN two months ago. However, she still has a MN driver's license. So, she needed to prove her WI residency with a piece of mail.

This is the postmark of the piece of mail she used.

For those who don't know, you have to be a resident of the state of Wisconsin for at least 10 days before you can vote.

The postmark is from FIVE DAYS AGO!!!

Good grief.


Want to live longer?

Then go to church.

A new study estimates that regular churchgoers live an extra 1.8-3.1 years.

Who'd have thunk? Must be all of that "your body is a temple" stuff.

Oh, but the same study says it's going to cost you. $7,000 for every extra year, they say. I have yet to figure out where they got that number. Must be the average cost of tithing for those extra years. Must be nice to be able to tithe that much....

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Congressman Tom DeLay

Tom Delay is resigning his seat.
Former House Leader DeLay Won't Seek Re-Election to Congress

In interviews today with The Galveston County Daily News and Time magazine, DeLay said his decision was best for his district.

He says the decision is based on troubling internal polling numbers.

DeLay was indicted last year by a Travis County grand jury on charges of conspiracy and money laundering. A judge dismissed some counts. But the Sugar Land Republican still faces a charge of money laundering —- a first-degree felony.

DeLay has denied any wrongdoing, but the charges cost him his majority leader post.

The charges stem from accusations that DeLay funneled illegal corporate donations to Republican candidates for the Texas House during 2002 campaigns. The Republicans went on to win control of the Legislature. They pushed through a DeLay-engineered redistricting plan that helped Texas send more Republicans to Congress in 2004.
Good move.


Should the party endorse?

Some of you like to maintain the status of "independent," so this may not interest you.

For others who submit to the two party system and get involved in the primary, this issue is huge.

It's the issue of whether or not to endorse.

Bob Dohnal has a column over at Wisconsin Conservative Digest arguing against the endorsement process.

He's specifically referring to Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District race throughout most of the article. I don't have much input specific to that race. That being said, I do think his argument is very solid.

Here's my argument: with a primary that doesn't come until September, endorsement has unfortunately become the most effective means of clearing the field of all but one candidate.

I'd much rather let the primary play itself out. I don't like the endorsement process. But the fact is Wisconsin's primary isn't in April or May like it should be, and it's virtually impossible to beat an incumbent (or a strong opponent in an open seat) in just six weeks. Just ask Tim Michels.

I think it's generally best if those working within the party are united behind one candidate as early as possible. That's why Scott Walker's decision to exit the race for governor was the right move. It's why I'd like to see either Paul Bucher or JB Van Hollen exit the attorney general's race, and it's why I wish either Gard or McCormick would step out of the Eighth Congressional District race and stay in the Assembly.

Regardless of what you think about the party endorsing - and I have mixed feelings, but lean towards being against it - the fact remains that the party is ultimately grassroots. If the delegates at a caucus choose to endorse, that's their prerogative. There's nothing illegal about endorsing. It may not help the "democracy" of the political process, but if the delegates are willing to sacrifice that in exchange for a (relatively) united front, there's not much anyone on the outside looking in can do.

In the end, the problem isn't in whether or not the party endorses a candidate in the primary. The problem is that the primary is too late. The party is simply attempting to fix the problem of the late primary with the next best solution: endorsement.

It's a sad substitute for the democracy of a true primary.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fun with gerrymandering

If you can't see the map, click on it and a larger image will open.

Notice Congressional districts 17 (light green, in the west, along the Mississippi River), 11 (blue, snaking from Chicago to central IL), and 15 (yellow, east), just for starters.

Something just doesn't make sense about this kind of ridiculous gerrymandering.