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Wide White: May 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Can Google do that?

I got a hit on this blog today from someone in Mountain View, California (that's where Google's headquarters are), who was doing a Google search on something.

It made me wonder, can Google Google "Google"?

Can you tell my mind isn't really on politics right now?

(By the way, a Google search on "Google" gets 1.86 billion hits. FYI.)

Why men vote Republican

Okay, obviously not all men, but more men vote Republican than Democrat...

H/T to Pat for this one.

The JPG didn't upload very well, but you get the point.

If you don't, here are the characters, left to right, top to bottom.


Bo Derek
Janine Turner
Laura Bush
Peggy Noonan
Laura Ingraham
Michelle Malkin
Ann Coulter
Monica Crowley
Debbie Schlussel


Barbra Streisand
Helen Thomas
Hillary Clinton
Teresa Kerry
Madeleine Albright
Janet Reno
Andrea Dworkin
Nancy Pelosi
Susan Estrich

Reagan quote #12

I'm still mulling over this one, but I think I generally agree with it.
History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'll side with the cowboys

I was just reading a story about a battle in Montana over what to do with bison, and was struck by the heading under one section of the story:
Nothing against those who want to preserve nature. I'm one of them (though I'm certainly no "tree-hugger").

However, if it comes down to that, um, I'll go with the cowboys....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Google "racist nazi"...

...and you'll come up with this.

No, I wasn't googling "racist nazi." I got a hit on my site from someone who did though, which was pretty surprising to me.

I don't want to know why they were googling it, and more than that, I don't want to know why my blog is #3 out of 7,540,000 sites.

May many more stations follow

If only there were a few more Beautiful-less stations.
English radio station bans James Blunt songs

LONDON (AFP) - An English radio station said it has banned songs by British crooner James Blunt from its airwaves after listeners said they were fed up with hearing "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover".

Chris Cotton, programme controller of local radio Essex FM in southern England, said: "We don't have anything against James Blunt and we're pleased he has been so successful, but we really need a break."
"Often this can be out of step with the audience's tastes, which results in songs being overplayed," [no kidding] he said. "We're happy to stand up to this pressure and follow the strong message listeners have given us. We encourage other radio stations to take the same step."
I encourage other radio stations to listen to Chris Cotton. He has a cool name, and he makes sense. And he stood up to James Blunt.


I can ski...

...but I now need a new back.

I went skiing this weekend for the first time since...well, before high school. So, in effect, it might as well have been the first time ever.

I got up out of the water on the third try and didn't do too badly. I face-planted once in choppy waters. But then, that was partly because I refused to stay inside the wake. It's too easy to just sit and go straight. You have to cut in and out. That's just part of the fun.

Of course, when you're inexperienced AND you're cutting in and out, you're bound to fall.

I decided to go a second time before we left. The skis fit okay. I have size 14 feet, but was able to fit into the skis on the biggest setting. However, one ski wouldn't go on straight. I promptly fell trying to straighten it out while skiing in glassy water. I was frustrated enough with myself and the ski at this point that I was unable to get up out of the water on the next two tries. I finally calmed down and got out of the water just fine. I was mad at myself (and the ski, though it was probably never the ski's fault), so I went around the lake a second time.

Bad idea. I only did it to prove a point to myself that I could go around without falling. I proved my point.

My back also proved a point. It had been a little sore anyway, and it really, really hurt the last time around. I'm pretty sure I strained something, because I couldn't fall asleep last night for the longest time thanks to the pain, and it still hurts today.

Oh well. Hey, I proved my point to myself!

I also have yet to perfect the landing. Rather than gliding to a stop, I tend to glide to a plunge. I let go of the rope, glide 20 feet, and bail. I don't wait to sink. I bail. The first time I bailed head-first. The next few times, I just sort of sat down with a thud.

Hmm...I'll just have to work on that next time. Guess I'm not much for performing. I'm more in the business of entertaining those unfortunate enough to have to watch.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Reagan quote #11

If you don't get the humor in this, I'm sorry. Maybe you'd have to sit through a cabinet meeting sometime to understand.
I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.

Too nice to blog

I was going to post something substantial, but instead I decided to settle with a post about how I'm not going to post anything.

Probably won't have anything tomorrow either.

It's just too nice outside for posting. (And I've been working all day and slept 4 hours last night, so I'm going to ditch out of the office.)

But thanks for stopping by!

Ah, why not...I'll leave you with a Reagan quote.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What color are my pants?

I was reminded today of a bet that my mom decided to wager with me when I was about 11. The bet was over the answer to that question.

Being 11 years old, I obviously didn't buy my own pants, and one day my mom presented me with a new (to me) pair of dress pants.

They were purple.

She said they were blue.

Now, no self-respecting 11-year-old would dare walk into church (or anywhere) with purple pants on. Not unless he were receiving money in exchange for wearing those pants.

No, the money wasn't technically mine yet, but I knew it would be. See, my mom was so sure those pants were blue that she bet me $5 that I couldn't get two people to agree that they were purple. If two people agreed they were purple, I could also get rid of the pants.

Just one hang-up: when I asked my friends at church what color they were, I couldn't give them any options and couldn't tell them what color I happened to think they were. I just had to ask the simple question, "What color are my pants?"

That afternoon I was $5 richer and (thankfully) one pair of pants poorer.

How to start a mega-church

You can find out here. And he hits the nail on the head.

How did he record that message and keep a straight face?

I called my former cell carrier to pay my last bill since they took down my online account.

They didn't recognize my phone number since the account is closed, so had to go to a live operator. I got this recorded message:

"Thank you for holding. We are currently experiencing a large volume of calls. Your call is important to us and will be answered by the next available representative. Please stay on the line. We appreciate your patience."

I know that's word-for-word because I had to wait on hold long enough to hear it more than 5 times.

Excuse me, but, of all phrases they could have recorded they say, "We are currently experiencing a large volume of calls?" Um, I'm currently experiencing a small volume of patience, because I'm currently experiencing a large volume of workload, and currently experiencing your voice isn't helping things. Experiencing a large volume of jokes from you would at least make the time go by a little faster.

I then experienced being put on hold again because I needed to be transferred to financial services since she couldn't experience pulling up a closed account.

How about I experience not paying the bill? If it's a closed account, would they experience ever noticing?

I'm currently experiencing good grief.

(Final time experienced on phone: 14:30. I guess I've had worse.... It's still a stupid "thank you for holding" message.)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

We're not "Americans" in Michigan public schools

I thought this was a joke when I read the headline.

It's not.
the Michigan Department of Education is attempting to ban the "America" and "American" from our public schools.

H/T: Peter.

Who are we to point the finger?

I have an A&E show on right now. I have no idea what it is or what it's called.

It's about a bunch of guys in Iraq. Video and pictures of a group that became best friends together. Interviews with probably 5 guys.

Six of them were killed in an explosion. An IED. It's heartbreaking to watch them talk about losing their best friends.

But what really hit me was the comment from one guy who said, "The first thing I did was go to my room and start throwing things. Then I went back up on the roof, and I just wanted to shoot anything. If it wasn't wearing desert camos, it was going down."

And we whine over here when they beat up a prisoner because it's unethical and it's (insert your phrase about how horrifying it is here).

Mistreating prisoners is wrong. But think of what we're asking of these 18- to 20-something-year-olds. Think of what they're going through over there. This is war. It's real. Try to picture all of those emotions.

You'd throw in a punch at that prisoner too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Reagan quote #9

Stuff like this is why Reagan won the Cold War.
How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

4001 since 04/01

I didn't start keeping track of stats till April 1st, and I promptly switched counters 11 days later, but whatever. I'll go with what I've got.

Most people denote blog visit milestones that end in at least three zeros.

Not me. There are a few reasons.

First, visitor #4,000 was from Rhode Island. Sorry, but your state is too small to be recognized.

Second, the even numbers with lots of zeros get way too much attention. Why not pick a number next to it that never gets any attention?

Third (and most importantly), the 4001st visitor was my mom. Gotta respect the mom.

Thanks Mom! (And the people who gave me 4,000 hits before her visit.)

Getting nasty...

...politically, that is.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A candidate for the California state Assembly says voters should pick him because his opponent — a heart transplant recipient — could die in office.

"Can you imagine the costs to taxpayers for a special election when poor health renders him unable to fulfill the duties of office?" former Modesto City Councilman Bill Conrad wrote in a mailing to voters. "Republicans deserve a strong candidate ...."

Conrad faces Tom Berryhill in the GOP primary for the 25th Assembly District. The primary is June 6.

The mailer says in bold red letters, "Tom Berryhill doesn't have the HEART for State Assembly," and suggests that he might not survive the two-year term if elected because he had a heart transplant five years ago.
But then, it is California.

Two letters. Different opinions. Same consituent. Oops!

Unfortunately for Congressman Ron Kind, he wrote two letters to the same constituent on both sides of an issue.

A banker who believes credit unions have an unfair advantage over banks wrote Ron Kind, expressing his support for a bill that would tax credit unions who have over $250 million in assets to level the playing field with banks, who are already taxed.

The first letter addresses the banker's concerns as Kind intended to respond.

To read it, click the picture and print the screen.

Or just read my summary. (emphasis mine)

Dear _____,


As you know, [goes on for a six-line paragraph defining HR 2317.]

Please be assured that I hold small community banks in the highest regard. I believe these banks play an integral role in their communities, bringing opportunities that would otherwise not be available, especially in the many rural communities of western Wisconsin. When considering legislation, I always make sure to consider how a proposed bill would affect all of my constituents.


So basically we have no idea where he stands on the issue, though we have a two-paragraph summary, one of which explains a bill the banker already knew about. However, he does "hold small community banks in the highest regard" and finds them essential to rural communities.

That's good to know. But look at what he tells the same constituent in an email the next day! This letter shows Kind's feelings about credit unions when he's writing to a constituent who [he thinks] supports credit unions.

Again, if you don't want to print or try to read the JPEG, I've copied most of it. (emphasis mine)

Dear _____

As our nation continues to struggle to regain a solid financial footing, I write to commend the great work you do to aid this goal.

Credit unions are of great importance to their members and this country. Instead of focusing on maximizing profits [like those dirty rotten banks], credit unions exist to meet the financial needs of their members. Some members of Congress argue that credit unions should be taxed in the same manner as other depository institutions. Reasons for this argument include a desire to rely more heavily on market forces and to increase revenues.

I believe that advocates of a credit union tax fail to appreciate the uniqueness of credit unions. Like The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), I believe that taxing credit unions could create pressure to eliminate valuable services given to their customers and increase the costs of credit to those without other sources, thereby hurting low-income families. Please be assured that I am opposed to taxation of credit unions.

[More details further explaining his opposition to taxing credit unions.]

As a strong advocate for the important role of credit unions in this country, I hope you will not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of help on this or any other issue. I look forward to working with you in the future.


Well, that's a different tone! He holds small community banks "in the highest regard," but he is also "opposed to taxation of credit unions" because those same small banks are "focusing on maximizing profits."

Let's go play a game of politics with Ron Kind!

Something doesn't smell right.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Update on the WI Green Party

I noted a month ago that the Green Party cannot be taken seriously.

Maybe they're trying to change that.

In addition to Winston Sephus, Jr., and Rae Vogeler, the Wisconsin Green Party has another statewide candidate in Michael LaForest.

Michael is running for Secretary of State.

Wow, that'll bring about revolution. Never mind that no one really pays attention to the Secretary of State or Treasurer's races. At least they have someone up for U.S. Senate. But what about Governor? What about the House, especially in the 3rd and 8th Districts?

The filing deadline isn't until July 11th though. Anything could happen....

Who are you most like?

I'm okay with being like this guy. (Minus the "assassination victim" part.)

H/T: Billiam.

Blog for a living

What? How do I get in on this deal?
Veteran politicians more familiar with turntables and typewriters are enlisting twentysomething computer whiz kids to help them brave the digital world of blogs, podcasts and the Web as they look to connect directly with voters.
Consider Ari Rabin-Havt, 27, who blogs for a living as a staffer to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., 66. Rabin-Havt's duties include watching the blogosphere for what's being said about his boss and others, and helping manage the blog and other Web-based activities for Reid.
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat who is considering a presidential run, recently added a professional blogger to his staff.
Although on second thought, would this fit in with my goal of being a productive member of society? Hmm...I suppose it's possible...I'll have to think about that.

Partisan "corruption" attacks not working for the Dems

The finding of $90,000 in Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson's refrigerator (by the way, am I the only one who noticed that his first and last name are former President Clinton's first and middle name?) has ramifications far greater than Jefferson's re-election bid in Louisiana.
The Jefferson probe has been a perennial thorn in the side of House Democrats who are pinning their election-year hopes on painting Republicans as a party of corruption. The steady flow of ever more colorful revelations in the Jefferson case has drained some of the energy out of Democrats’ argument that Republicans suffer from a “culture of corruption.”
It's frustrating that each Party is trying to paint the other Party as being something evil. We love to whine about "Democrats are this" and "Republicans are that," but our country isn't a parliamentary system where we elect parties. We elect individuals who belong to parties.

In any case, for what it's worth, it's a point well-made that the only politicians involved in scandals who are stepping down are Republicans.
Nonetheless, the only member to have stepped down this Congress because of an indictment is a Republican, former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (Calif.), who is serving prison time. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the former majority leader who was admonished three times by the ethics committee and is fighting a Texas indictment, has announced his intention to leave Congress before the end of this term.
The American people aren't stupid. Jack Abramoff was in with Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid as badly or worse than he was with any Republican. Perhaps the only Senator to be more tainted with tribal money than Reid was Republican John McCain, who receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from Indian gambling interests. However, McCain is somehow "untouchable" by virtue of his "independence."


Political corruption is not a party issue. It's an individual issue. Neither party is better or worse than the other when it comes to corruption and accepting bribes, and I think most Americans seem to understand that. The only ones who don't are those (on both sides) who are partisan enough to make corruption a partisan issue.

Hillary wants ethanol too

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday called for cutting U.S. dependence on foreign oil in half by nearly 8 million barrels a day by the year 2025 - a goal she said can be met with more ethanol-based fuel and a $50 billion research fund.
And where will she get that $50 billion for the research?
Clinton called for the creation of a $50 billion "Strategic Energy Fund" paid for by increased profits of the big oil companies.
The "increased profits of the big oil companies"??? How are they going to measure what counts as "excess" (because if the profits have gone up, they must be deemed to be "excess")? Are they going to increase the taxes on those profits? Are they going to just confiscate those profits? Sorry, but her "plan" is a little too vague for me.

However, there is a possibility of an ulterior motive.
Ethanol is popular in corn-producing states, especially Iowa, which holds the first caucus of the presidential primary.
Of course. Always a political reason.

Why stop after three?

I don't know how to convert these units of measure, but I do know that it's a lot of alcohol!
Driver Has 18 Times Legal Alcohol Limit

VILNIUS, Lithuania - Lithuanian police were so astonished when they pulled over a truck driver and his breathalyzer test registered 18 times the legal alcohol limit, they thought their testing device must be broken. It wasn't.

Police said Tuesday 41-year-old Vidmantas Sungaila registered 7.27 grams per liter of alcohol in his blood repeatedly on different devices when he was pulled over for driving his truck down the center of a two-lane highway 60 miles from the capital, Vilnius on Saturday.

Lithuania's legal limit is 0.4 grams per liter.
"He was of high spirits and grinning the whole time he was questioned."
Sungaila...told police he had been drinking the night before and tried to freshen up by downing a pint of beer for breakfast.
I'll bet it was that breakfast beer that put him over the legal limit.

Reagan quote #8

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”
Especially if they're Jelly Bellys.

2-0 in softball

Yep. Recovered from an 0-4 deficit to win 5-4. And I even avoided colliding with anyone.

In other sports news, my beloved St. Louis Cardinals may have suffered a loss to the Giants tonight, but they still dominate their division and have the best record in the National League.

Interestingly, Barry Bonds says he hopes Albert Pujols - who already has 22 home runs in 44 games, coming close to Bonds' 2001 record-breaking year when he had a pace of 22 in 43 games - breaks his own record.
"I love it!" Bonds said Monday of Pujols' success so far. "I hope he shatters it."
Interesting. Maybe he wants the attention on his supposed steroid use lifted. Or maybe he doesn't care about the single-season record since he's on the verge of breaking the all-time record (though he'll probably have to play next year to do it).

On another note, a song that I decided roughly a year and a half ago I liked as a wedding slow dance song (and I don't even want a dance, but whatever) just came on my WMP, which is my cue that I need to go to bed.... (No, I don't know many guys who give a rip what they dance to at their wedding, or what else goes on at their wedding, but I heard it and...well, it just seemed like it would fit. Guess I'll have to wait and see....)

Monday, May 22, 2006

American economy surges, birders to thank

According to the Coulee Region Audubon Society, .3% of Americans are employed thanks to birdwatching. Additionally, a full 17% of Americans are birders.
With the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act set to expire in 2005, Congressman Kind's work to get the act reauthorized ahead of schedule sends a very positive message to the nearly 50-million birders in the United States that this is a program that works and deserves to be expanded. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, American birders spent more than $40 billion [yes, that's billion with a "b," or 10% of the federal budget deficit] on Bird Watching in 2001 alone, and birdwatching has created more than 850,000 jobs for American workers. Congress recently approved $4 million for the program in the 2005 omnibus spending bill.
How do you become a birder? I like looking at birds. Am I a birder?

Ah, if it means fueling the economy, I'll call myself a birder!

Huge parade float

A friend sent this to me from a parade she was at over the weekend.

Paul Nelson is running in Wisconsin's Third District against Democrat Ron Kind.

I'm loving that float! If you look really closely, you can even see a speaker mounted on top towards the back. Must have been cranking out some sweet tunes....

Wonder how much that thing cost?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Scott Southworth's story hits CNN

I posted this story two weeks ago.

Last week I started getting hits on my blog from people looking for the story. Many of the Google searches included "Glenn Beck." I figured he must have covered the story on his radio show or something. Since I have him linked on the blog, people would come up with my post in the search.

The Glenn Beck story just appeared on CNN. I think Beck has a TV show too, or maybe he's just does an occasional story for CNN. Either way, it's great to finally be able to put a face to Southworth. I was just talking to one of my county coordinators yesterday who described Southworth as "one of my best friends," which makes it even more strange to see the story on national television. (Southworth is a Republican District Attorney in Juneau County, so a number of conservative activists in that area know him.)

I'm really looking forward to meeting the guy. He's definitely a hero. I saw Tommy Thompson speak yesterday. I met Ken Mehlman the day before. I don't idolize them. Granted, I don't idolize Southworth either. He's just another human being who did what he thought was right. He did what he felt God was calling him to do. But I look up to him a whole lot more than I do either one of them.

I don't like calling a fellow human an "idol" because I'd hate to be called that myself. That' s a position reserved for God. But Southworth is most definitely a hero.

I love the British...

...because they hate the French!
French are rudest, most boring people on earth: British poll

LONDON (AFP) - The French have been voted the world's most unfriendly nation by a landslide in a new British poll published. They were also voted the most boring and most ungenerous.

A decisive 46 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed by travellers' website Where Are You Now (WAYN) said the French were the most unfriendly nation people on the planet, British newspapers reported.

The Germans have no to reason to celebrate the damning verdict. They came second on all three counts.

WAYN's French founder, Jerome Touze, told the papers he had been stunned by the thumping condemnation of his compatriots and sought to blame it on Gallic love-struck sulking.

"I had no idea that the French would emerge as such an unfriendly country," he said. ...
To add insult to injury, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph put the boot in on Saturday by saying in an editorial that the French stank.

"The French may like to think that Chanel No 5 is their scent but we all know that garlic and stale Gitanes are much more representative."

This makes me really like the Brits!

How stupid is New Orleans?

They just re-elected Ray Nagin. Are you serious?

Even Bush played nice with him.
The president called to congratulate Nagin and said he would rather finish rebuilding with the mayor because the two men had weathered Hurricane Katrina together....
If I were Bush, I'd rather have Nagin too. It gives Bush someone on whom to blame the incompetence of the handling of New Orleans. (And honestly, Nagin should be shouldering most of the blame.)

Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu likely would have used his podium as mayor to rip into the President and run for higher office.

UPDATE: Nagin says that he'll "bet anyone in this room a buck" that New Orleans will have 300,000 people by the end of the year.

A buck? That's all the confidence he has? I'll fork over a dollar!

UPDATE II: CNN is on in the background (I go off the deep end every once in a while), and Nagin was asked why clean-up operations have been so messy and slow. He responded by saying that government isn't very efficient. No kidding! Did it take Katrina for him to realize that?

WI and MN Congressional delegations' schizophrenia

Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have 4 Democrat and 4 Republican members of Congress. Normall their votes are split with at least 3 of 4 party members agreeing and an occasional cross over.

I can't tell what happened with this vote on H.R. 5386: Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007. The description of the bill is, "On Passage: H R 5386 Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes."

So why did everyone in Wisconsin except Republican Paul Ryan vote "Nay" while everyone from Minnesota but Democrat Betty McCollum vote "Aye"?

I'm probably the only person in the United States who noticed that, but it's pretty rare that Jim Sensenbrenner is one of just 21 Republicans joining 107 Democrats.

WisPolitics straw poll round-up

You can find the results for the straw poll here.

Or, you can read them here.
357 total ballots cast

**Who is your choice in the GOP primary for attorney general?
_ Paul Bucher, 88 votes
_ JB Van Hollen, 228 votes
No response, 41

**Who is your choice to run against Herb Kohl for the U.S. Senate?
_ Marc Gumz, 3
_ Robert Gerald Lorge, 20
_ Tim Michels, 76
_ Dave Redick, 2
_ Tommy Thompson, 241
_ Write In, 6
No response, 9

**Which possible 2008 presidential candidate do you currently favor?
_ George Allen, 61
_ Sam Brownback, 11
_ Bill Frist, 8
_ Newt Gingrich, 53
_ Rudy Giuliani, 60
_ Chuck Hagel, 1
_ Mike Huckabee, 2
_ John McCain, 37
_ George Pataki, 4
_ Condi Rice, 50
_ Mitt Romney, 40
_ Tom Tancredo, 8
_ Write In, 7
No response, 15
Here are the Presidential results in order, top to bottom.

_ George Allen, 61
_ Rudy Giuliani, 60
_ Newt Gingrich, 53
_ Condi Rice, 50
_ Mitt Romney, 40
_ John McCain, 37
No response, 15
_ Sam Brownback, 11
_ Bill Frist, 8
_ Tom Tancredo, 8
_ Write In, 7
_ George Pataki, 4
_ Mike Huckabee, 2
_ Chuck Hagel, 1

Frankly, they're downright disappointing. The options are just bad. Allen is a good guy, but a Senator can't win. Giuliani is no conservative. Gingrich can't keep his personal life straight, even if I do think he's brilliant politically. Condi...she's not running (she won the straw poll last year). I've already talked about Romney, and he probably only did well because he had been slated to speak Friday night, so people researched him. McCain isn't much better (or worse) than Giuliani. Brownback is usually good, but went turncoat on immigration. Frist has done a pitiful job as the Senate majority leader, shows no true leadership, offers no real ideas and innovation, and seems to drift with the political winds. Tancredo was my pick, only because he's a reliable conservative who's been leading the charge on immigration literally for years, but he has no realistic chance, being that he's a Congressman (same boat as Allen, possibly even worse for a Congressman). Pataki is similar to Giuliani without at least having the same 9/11 leadership experience. Huckabee is the only governor other than Pataki, and seems to be a reliable conservative, but he's from Arkansas, and a Republican from Arkansas will likely be unable to win nationwide. That leaves Chuck Hagel, who (in addition to being a Senator) may be right on immigration, but is generally moderate.

Not good. Would Pawlenty please step up?!?

I thought this statement regarding the AG race was interesting.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin and attorney general candidates Paul Bucher and Van Hollen, in a letter to WisPolitics earlier in the week, requested that an AG question be excluded from the WisPolitics straw poll because of an agreement between the competing attorney general campaigns to discourage straw polls and a convention endorsement vote. The letter was distributed to convention-goers. declined the request.
Apparently there weren't too many people interested in boycotting the poll, considering the 316 votes in the AG race.

Personally, I feel strongly that they should have gone ahead with endorsement. I normally wouldn't say that. Normally I'd rather see things play out into a primary and let everyone in the party decide. However, our stupid September primary is so late that it becomes nearly impossible to run an effective campaign against an incumbent. I really don't want to see Bucher and Van Hollen rip each other apart. Bucher is a no-nonsense tough guy. Van Hollen is a personable nice guy. Both have excellent resumes that are very different. Both have very good arguments for being the better candidate. It's going to be a dogfight, and I don't want to see all of their resources gone for whoever wins the primary. Our saving grace is the fact that the Democrats have a primary too.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The best and worst of the convention

Having had a four-hour drive to think it over, here are my final thoughts.

Coolest politician: Frank Lasee. Why? 'Cause the guy is a hardcore conservative who actually means what he says and he introduced himself to me. Mostly the second part, but roughly 40% the first.

Uncoolest politician: Marcus Gumz. I don't think you can be called a politician if you haven't held elective office. But does it count if your daughter is a state assemblywoman? The guy has no teeth, is 80, and always wears a cowboy hat. You can also always count on him to run for statewide office and nominate himself. But hey, I guarantee there are more activists who know his name than mine, for what it's worth.

Worst drink: JB Van Hollen's punch. If JB's campaign rested on his punch, it would be bland and watered down. Which is pretty much the opposite of JB's personality. Still, bad punch.

Best drink: no one had root beer, so no one gets this award. (Although the coffee in the hotel room was pretty good.)

Worst food: The flat chips that looked like potato chips but were made of chocolate, or something like that, in John Gard's room. He had some great food, but I definitely could have gone without the chip things.

Best food: McCormack's crackers. Very basic. Very cheap. The crackers were still in the box, with a few laid out on the table. However, I'm a sucker for crackers. Which probably means that I'm also basic and cheap. Hmm....

Best prediction: Tommy Thompson saying that the Packers will win the Super Bowl if Green is governor. This is only the best prediction because literally 40 minutes before he said that, I thought, "The Packers went from a pitiful excuse for a football team to Super Bowl champs under Thompson. He should make the same analogy for Green and blame their failure on Doyle." He didn't go so far as to blame Doyle, but he was close.

Worst prediction: Chris thinking someone could get me to crack for a Leinie's. When you're trying to get someone to spill the beans on something that they're pretty hard-pressed to say, get to know the subject first. Or, find the one blogger who the subject has told. (I can't wait to see Chris's witch hunt start...)

Best establishment near the Paper Valley Hotel: Jimmy John's. Anyone who hasn't had one of their subs is missing out on greatness. I eat there whenever I decide I'm okay with spending $7 on a meal. Best subs on the planet!

Worst establishment near the Paper Valley Hotel: the cigar bar. I don't remember the name of it, but it was the first time I'd ever been in a cigar bar and is probably the last. It's one of the few establishments in which you can smoke in Appleton though, which is the reason my compadres went there. Because they make most of their income on cigars and not liquor, you can smoke. They have liquor, but apparently the no-smoking ban only applies to those who make the majority of their income on certain products. Stupid, big, expansive government.

Best thing about Appleton: you can park in a ramp for $1. How great is that?

Worst thing about Appleton: the parking ramp is $2 between 9 PM and 1 AM. Guess when I parked?

That's about it for my pointless observations. Most of them are fairly meaningless, and don't say much about what I actually thought about anyone or anything that was said. But hey, it was a fairly lackluster convention.

Lackluster convention = lackluster "best and worst" list.

Bounty for a name

Sean tells me that Chris has a bounty of two cases of Leiny's if he can get the name of the offending state rep.

Hmm...I don't drink, so two cases of Leiny's don't intrigue me. Sorry Chris. You can't blame a man for trying though.

UPDATE: I realized on my way home from the convention that I should have explained myself. I live in Wisconsin. It's the state of beer. Minnesota is the state of hockey. Wisconsin is the state of beer. I recognize this, so saying, "I don't drink," isn't the best way to make friends with most people.

No, I don't have anything against drinking. I don't think it's wrong. As a Christian I do think getting drunk is wrong. I could go on about the facets of why I think what I think about drinking, but it's pointless.

Suffice it to say, I don't drink. I don't like the fact that there's all of this pressure around it, and once you've started drinking, there's pressure to get plastered. Or maybe that was just in college. In any case, I don't like being a puppet of what society says you should do. I'm not anti-society. I just don't like doing things just because everyone else does it.

I also have relatives who are alcoholics and have seen the destructive effects it can have, and I just don't want anything to do with it. There you go. That's my reason.

And yes, Billiam, I like bratwurst.

Bucher silly string

In the AG race, Paul Bucher gave his speech before JB Van Hollen.

Interestingly, after JB Van Hollen's speech was over and everyone was applauding, two Bucher supporters - a boy around 11 years old and a girl who looked to be in high school - ran back and forth in the back squirting silly string on everyone. They then went up to an older Bucher guy (not sure of his official role) to confirm that everything went as planned with the silly string.

I'm not sure if they were trying to make it look like it was Van Hollen's campaign, since silly string is really annoying, or if they were trying to rain on Van Hollen's parade, or what.

Very strange.

Last thoughts before I leave the convention

I have nothing to say about the speeches. Nothing really stood out to me. As I thought, the rumor about Tommy not showing up wasn't true. Tommy also didn't announce, which I also thought. I wouldn't put it past him to announce separately sometime over the next month, but honestly, I still don't think he will. He's past that point. Now he's just loving the attention.

In another shot to McCormack's campaign for Congress, Thompson did say that "we need John Gard in Congress." If McCormack has a prayer, it's going to be through a huge grassroots effort, which appears to be her plan.

Other than that, nothing really stood out. More or less a non-eventful convention.

Endorsement votes will be coming, but I don't expect any endorsement for AG. Both candidates asked their supporters to vote "no endorsement." It could turn out otherwise, but I don't think it will. So, I'm leaving before it gets to that.

Ken Mehlman speaks, doesn't mention McCormick

I forgot to mention Ken Mehlman. He's the Chairman of the Republican National Committee and was the featured speaker last night. (Mitt Romney had to cancel, which didn't upset me. I wouldn't have minded hearing from him, but I doubt he'd have changed my mind.)

The first half of Mehlman's speech was pretty much RNC talking points. Of course, considering he's the Chair of the RNC, I suppose the whole thing was RNC talking points.

In any event, he did do a very good job of more or less vilifying the left...remind us of what happens when Democrats take control. He's a very good speaker and very, very smart. I sat in on his press conference after the speech as well, and he did a great job of handling questions.

He did take a shot at Terry McCormick, who's running for Congress in the 8th. Everyone sees John Gard as the clear favorite, and rightfully so. He has support from the state party, he has the most funds, and he's the Assembly majority leader.

However, McCormick is also an assemblyperson. You'd think that would give her campaign at least a little bit of recognition.

Nope. Mehlman talked about how we need to get "people like John Gard" into office. Didn't even mention McCormick. I don't fault Mehlman. He's just saying what the state party has been saying. They want Gard to be the only candidate. They want everyone to support him. They don't want a primary battle.

I can't fault them. Our primary is way too late, so at this point, endorsement is nice since it clears the field. If I were in the state party, I'd probably want to be solidly behind just one candidate too. I don't live in the 8th, so I'm not taking sides in the race. Still, I can't imagine McCormick's supporters were too happy with Mehlman. If they're ticked at anyone, it should be the state party, not Mehlman. The state party is who's really responsible for Mehlman's mindset that Gard is the candidate.

Whatever. Like I said, it didn't really trip my trigger, but I have a friend involved in the McCormick race, and I know it irked him. Either way, I don't see McCormick being able to pull it off. Gard has run a very good race. He actually spoke here at the convention this morning and is a very good public speaker. He's also a very good legislator.

Irked or not, McCormick probably won't be able to pull it off (state party or no state party).

UPDATE: I forgot to mention another comment that Mehlman made that I really liked. He talked about how more people watched the State of the Union Address on Fox News than on ABC, CBS, or NBC, and how it's proof that the mainstream network news is losing its grip. Of course, he went on with the reasons.... The comment that stood out to me though was on the warrantless wiretapping. He made the comment that in World War II, what would have happened if the media had released the fact that we'd deciphered Japanese and Germand codes? That would be assinine! It was a great point. Once our methods are out, the enemy finds another route. You probably don't have to worry about the government listening in anyway because that method is becoming useless as the enemy finds other routes of communication.

Not cool....

Wisconsin bloggers

I've finally been able to meet some other Wisconsin bloggers. Being in Winnesota, I wind up a bit out of the loop.

So far I've met Kevin at Lakeshore Laments, Sean from The American Mind, Owen from Boots and Sabers, and Brian from Fraley's Dailytakes. One of the guys from GOP3 is also here, though I've met him before.

Owen really is who got me into blogging in the first place. I found his blog through a Google search of the 2004 U.S. Senate primary candidates. His insight was great and I've been reading him ever since. He also was the first "big" blog to link me, and continues to give me a lot of the traffic I have here.

It's nice to finally put a face to some of these guys. More than that, it's nice to feel a little bit more "in the loop" of the blogosphere than I was before I got here.

UPDATE: lest I forget, Jenna from Right off the Shore is also here. I already knew here pretty well, so I didn't even think to mention her. My bad!

State Convention

I'm at the Republican Party of Wisconsin State Convention in Appleton at the Paper Valley Radisson.

It's been so-so, overall. I'm hoping for thunder and lightning this afternoon. (In other words, I'm hoping Tommy Thompson announces he's running for Senate.) However, that's likely not going to happen. I've even heard rumors that he's going to no-show. I have my doubts as to the truth of those rumors, but you never know....

Props go to Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner for talking about pretty much nothing but illegal immigration. He actually compared hiring illegal immigrants and paying them their small salaries in cash to nineteenth century slavery. I can't say I'd personally go that far, but I do love the fact that he doesn't mince words on the issue. I got to meet him too, which was an honor. (I've got to thank AG candidate JB Van Hollen for introducing me to him.)

Tom Petri was rather lackluster. He's not much of a public speaker. He made a comment about how we need to keep our focus on making sure the Democrats don't gain control, talknig about the "what if" of having a "Chairman Kerry" on a given committee or a "Chairman Kennedy." I think he was trying to deflect criticism over the fact that he's in a very safe Republican district and is hardly a conservative. I think his conservative rating is something like 60%. In any event, a lot of people got up to stretch during his speech.

The afternoon should be good. We'll get to hear from Mark Green, Paul Bucher, JB Van Hollen, and hopefully Tommy Thompson.

I'll post more later.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yahoo! goes multi-cultural

I suppose it makes sense that Yahoo would want to go multi-cultural. I mean, the internet is available to everyone, so from a business perspective, it makes sense to market to everyone.

However, I found this photo interesting. When I went to sign in to get my email today, I found this picture next to the "sign in" box. It was part of a big ad that read, "Sort work messages for your 'Later' file".

I have a few thoughts on this.

First, they must be trying to encourage the notion that Muslim women can be in the professional world checking email at work too.

Second, they must assume that these Muslims live in the desert. I can't figure out what else that would be in the background.

Third, they must not be very good at profiling their ads toward geographic regions of the country.

I think the first thought is the most accurate. It's another example how giant companies like Yahoo! are showing their "diversity" (their definition, anyway, which excludes those deemed too "conservative" or "radical" for their tastes) by normalizing something that for most Americans isn't "normal."

I wonder what marketing guru came up with the idea? I wonder what his/her major in college was? I wonder how old he/she was? I wonder how much he/she makes? I wonder if he/she would be offended by me calling him/her "him" or "her" because it shows that I recognize that there is such a thing as gender.

Hmm... I wonder...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why are you anti-______?

I drove for quite a few hours today, which gave me the chance to listen to some CD's. Not music. Sermons.

I guess most people don't listen to sermons as they're traveling, but there are some that are worth listening to. Like pretty much anything from John MacArthur.

A friend from church lent me an entire library of 54 CD's of sermons. With all of the driving I'm doing, they've been great!

The one I listened to today was so good I listened to it twice. I had to make sure I had it down pat. It's by John MacArthur, and it's titled, "The Deadly Dangers of Moralism."

I had no clue what that was going to mean, so I popped the CD in and started listening. He quickly started talking about politics, which got my attention. I always like to hear the perspective of Christians I look up to on politics.

He talked about the danger of "cultural morality." It's the practice of trying to make our society moral through political and social action. We're against homosexuality, so we form a political coalition against it. The same goes for abortion, euthanasia, and a whole host of issues. The problem is we get so caught up in making sure we win on the issue that we forget about Christ. Christ is elminated from the equation completely.

The causes are worthy. However, we cannot expect God to look favorably on America simply because we ban nude beaches or abortion or gay marriage.

MacArthur went so far as to associate the Christian right with the pharisees of the New Testament. I think he's right. Many in the "Christian right" really aren't doing what they're doing because they want to honor Christ. They want to live up to their moral standard. These people see a photo of a half-naked woman and turn away because it violates their morals. It has nothing to do with the fact that it's sin that they're turning from. They're turning away from something that would compromise their moral high ground.

I'm not going to re-preach the sermon, because I can't. I will say that it caused me to re-think why I believe what I believe politically. It made me re-think how I advocate for the causes in which I believe. It made me wonder, "Do I abhor sin? Is sin actually sinful to me? Is sin exceedingly sinful? Is sin bad? Or is this 'sin' thing really just anything that falls below my moral compass that makes me better than those without the same moral compass as mine?"

That's what it made me think. Hopefully that thinking goes past the brain and into my heart.

Oh, and one other thing. Once the sermon got done the second time and I'd finished calling and talking to my dad about it, I turned on the radio and one of the first songs was the new Todd Agnew song, "My Jesus." I wasn't crazy about the song the first time I heard it. The tune wasn't that great. However, the more I listened to the words, the more I realized that Todd Agnew didn't write the song for a good melody. I dont think he was worried about that too much. He was trying to get a message across.

There certainly couldn't have been a much better song to fit the thoughts that were going through my head. Here are the lyrics.

Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?

'Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

'Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side
Or fall down and worship at His holy feet

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part?
Sometimes I doubt we'd recognize Him

'Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

'Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet would stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despised the proud
I think He'd prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
You see I'm tired of living for success and popularity
I want to be like my Jesus but I'm not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
'Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like my Jesus

How old am I?

One thing I don't like about blogs is the anonymity. It's a blessing and a curse, I guess. You can say whatever you want and no one will know who is saying it.

Of course, I use my real name here. I'm not a fan of anonymity. Nothing against those who remain anonymous. Some can't because of their jobs, and I understand that. But generally, if you're going to have an opinion, I'd prefer to see you take responsibility for that opinion. Stand up for it. Be held accountable for it.

Still, there are people who may just read a post or two. They've never seen a picture of me (which is probably just as well...). I believe I posted my age once, either in a post or in a comment. But many have not seen that. What do they think?

Who do they think I am? How old do they think I am? Are there people who are friendly on the blog and whose blog I read that I wouldn't actually hang out with in person because we're completely different?

It's the problem that I have with the internet. There's too much that's unknown. It's great for keeping in touch with people we know. There are people ranging from family to friends from church to friends in politics who I keep in touch with like this. They know who I am. But others don't.

Which makes me wonder...who do they think I am? And how old do they think I am?

How old do you think I am?

(By the way, I promise to answer that question once the guesses are in...)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When rabbits quit reproducing... know the world is coming to an end!
Last Male Purebred Rabbit Species Dies

EPHRATA, Wash. - The last male purebred Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit has died, leaving just two females in a captive breeding program created to try to save the endangered species from extinction.

The tiny rabbits are only found in Douglas County in north-central Washington. None are believed to exist in the wild, which means the two females — Lolo and Bryn — are the only known purebred pygmy rabbits left in existence.
Um, aren't rabbits supposed to be the most fertile living mammal or something? And even if they aren't, how will life on earth change with the death of one breed of rabbits?

Somehow I have a feeling that this guy and I aren't on the same page:
"This is a population that has existed since before the last Ice Age in Eastern Washington. The loss is something we can never calculate," said Jon Marvel, executive director of the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project, which works to protect pygmy rabbit populations across the West. "Any time we lose a species it diminishes us all."
I guess I beg to differ.

And this proves that when humans intervene, they rarely succeed:
Biologists captured 16 rabbits in a remote area of Douglas County in 2001 to start the captive breeding program. The last of those rabbits, Ely, died March 30 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, said Dave Hays, an endangered species biologist who oversees the program for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
16 captured and all of them died with just two offspring? Ouch. Pretty rough success rate.

And here's what's even worse. Apparently this particular breed of rabbit - though not hardy enough to reproduce itself - is so vital to the world that if only part of it can be saved, that's better than nothing!
"The whole reason for the inner-crossing was to make sure we kept that genetic line going," said Chris Warren, a biologist overseeing the pygmy rabbit recovery effort for the federal agency. "Right now, we want at least 75 percent Columbia Basin ancestry in those animals."
Are you serious?

And while I'd think even a private organization would be crazy to devote money to this when people all over the world are starving and in need, it's absolutely despicable and ludicrous and outrageous and preposterous and [insert adjective here...I could go on for a while] that we have a federal agency overseeing this.

Next time you file your taxes, thank Uncle Sam that we still have Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits. Well, 75% Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits anyway.

Good grief.

Time to get married...

...not for me. Really Mom, I'd have told you who she was (and hopefully introduced you two) before asking her. (Without Mom's blessing, I wouldn't even consider buying a ring.)

But if you live in Black Jack, MO, and you're not married and you're living together with at least one child (did you catch all that?), you'd better get married.
Mo. Town Denies Unmarried Couple Permit

BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.
The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.
First, since when was a town named "Black Jack" known for its high moral standards? Interesting...

Second, the ordinance was probably adopted to stop large parties such as college fraternity houses from happening, not because of a moral high road.

Third, have you ever heard of a place where you needed an "occupancy permit"? Weird.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Watch how you spread the gospel...

...or the World Council of Churches and Vatican may disapprove.
...the Vatican and the World Council of Churches are partnering to create a “code of conduct” which would apply to Christian evangelistic efforts aimed at converting people from other faiths. ... The document could take at least three years to research and draft.
To assist them in formulating this “code of conduct” on evangelism, the Vatican and the World Council of Churches have invited members of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim religions to participate in the conference.

...the biggest challenge the conference organizers will face in their effort to implement this “code of conduct” is the fact that no Pentecostal or Evangelical groups will be taking part; and these two groups are the most fervent evangelistically and make up the fastest growing segment of Christianity. However, ...Rev. Ucko hopes that contacts can be made with these “most zealous groups to try to find a common voice.”
Um, pardon me but...aren't Christians supposed to be zealous? This "Rev. Ucko" character (sweet name though) says it like it's a bad thing.

H/T: my friend Ben via email.

Softball champs

Well, we're tied for first in the league anyway.

Our first game was last night. We played the defending champs and won 7-4. One of my best friends plays on the other team, which made it even better...

It was nice to know I can still play. Baseball is my favorite sport. Period. I love it! But it's been a while.

I bought a glove the other day to replace the one my little brother apparently lost last year. It seemed to work. Considering the three batters who flied out to me, I'd say it's working.

However, a fourth batter didn't fly out to me. He flied out to the guy in right-center. And it hurt.

I played left-center. A fly ball was hit to dead center. The right-center fielder and I both ran full speed for it. I called for it a few steps before getting there. He probably called it too. I couldn't hear him and he probably couldn't hear me. But either way, I positioned slightly behind him in case he didn't back out and still went for it.

He went for it.

I've been limping on my right leg all day. My upper leg - whatever that bone is called...the fibia? something like that - collided with his upper leg. We were both running so hard I thought it was his knee that hit me. Thankfully it was the second to last out of the game, so I pretty much just said that it didn't hurt so we could get it over with.

It hurt. Still does. But hey, it's proof...Joey is back in his game!

I should add a sidenote here. It's my philosophy on ball hogs. There are only two sports where it's okay to be a ball hog.

If you said "basketball," you're wrong. It's never good to be a ball hog in basketball. Even if you're Kobe Bryant.

The two sports are volleyball and baseball.

There's nothing worse than watching a baseball fall between two fielders because they were so nice as to let the other one look at it to. The only thing that compares in worseness (sorry, that word is going to have to work) is watching a volleyball drop between two volleyball players who are also too nice to be a ball hog.

Be a ball hog. You may get a little more beat up if you're playing with other ball hogs, but in the end, you'll probably get more outs (or hit more volleyballs over the net), and your team will be much better off for it.

(By the way, if you read my last post, you're probably wondering why I'm back in less than a day. It's a long story. Suffice it to say that I got a call saying that what I was going to do was cancelled. I got the call 90 miles after I left. So, I'm back.)

UPDATE: I forgot to teammates are threatening to take up a collection for me for cleats. I don't have any. The only tennis shoes I do have just got paint all over them thanks to a project I was working on over the weekend. I'm not terribly concerned, but I guess I do look a bit out of place with tennis shoes that are partially painted red. Whatever....

Eat a monkey

This bear did.

Bears Eat Monkey in Front of Zoo Visitors

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Bears killed and ate a monkey in a Dutch zoo in front of horrified visitors, witnesses and the zoo said Monday.
Now that's funny...

And with that, I'll be gone for a day or so.

Reagan quote #6

This is almost as good as his more famous quote about his age.
“Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

Monday, May 15, 2006

I agreed with Hillary?!? (but she flip-flopped)

She WAS right.
Clinton...criticized young people at a gathering of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. In those remarks, she said young people have a sense of entitlement after growing up in a "culture that has a premium on instant gratification."
This comment was even better.
...young people today "think work is a four-letter word," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said....
She's right. Many in our generation have little or no work ethic.

Then she caved to her daughter.
"I said, 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to convey the impression that you don't work hard,'" Clinton said Sunday....

The senator said that her daughter, Chelsea, phoned to complain after learning about the comments. The 26-year-old was hired in 2003 by McKinsey & Co. as a consultant, reportedly for a six-figure salary. She received a master's degree from Oxford University after graduating from Stanford University in 2001.
Hmm...does this mean we can bring back the flip-flop jokes when she runs in '08?

Design your own baby

You can now choose your child's gender. Unbelievable.

What really made me sad was this woman.
"This treatment has allowed us to realise our dream," said 36-year-old Vatkin, who recently gave birth to her fourth child, a pre-selected girl.

"We were desperate to have another girl and our daughter really wanted a sister," said Vatkin, who also has a six-year-old daughter and two boys, aged four and two, with her husband Shawn, an oil company owner.

"It was important for us to balance our family," added the resident of British Columbia.
A balanced family? Wow. As if a boy would create imbalance. What ever happened to God having control over the gender and you being happy with what He gave you?

Why the UW System is failing

I figured out why the University of Wisconsin System is doing so badly. Their approval ratings are in the dumps. Tuition has been skyrocketing with no improvements. Education standards are low. Ex-cons are working as professors on the taxpayer's dime.

And I figured out why.

The president of the UW Board of Regents is named Kevin Reilly.

The president of NBC entertainment is Kevin Reilly.

When the president of your board of regents has the same name as a network president who just oversaw its worst ratings year ever, you're going to have problems.

Trust me. It's a scientific fact.

Civilians in the military?

I'm still trying to figure out what Senator Joe Biden meant here. In reference to the story in my last post about the Guard going to the border, he said:
"We have stretched these men and women so thin, so thin, because of the bad mistakes done by the civilians in the military here, that I wonder how they're going to be able to do it," Biden said, also on ABC.
What? I'm confused. Who are these civilians? It could possibly be targeting Bush, but who else? The generals making the bulk of the decisions in the military aren't civilians. He could be talking about people like Donald Rumsfeld and others in the Department of Defense. They may be civilians, but are they in the military?

I have no military experience, which makes me a bit confused as to what he means.

Of course, Biden has no military experience either. He's been a U.S. Senator for 34 years - more than half his life. You have to be 30 to be a U.S. Senator. He was elected at the age of 29, but turned 30 just one month and 14 days before being sworn in. Previous to his career in the Senate he was a lawyer for 4 years.

I'm guessing he's not a military expert either.

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The Guard isn't the answer

President Bush is holding a rare live news conference at 7 PM Central tonight. It will be broadcast on network television across the country. It's reported that he's going to call for thousands of troops from the National Guard to help reinforce the border.

I'm pretty sure this is a bad idea.

I say "I'm pretty sure" and not "I know" because I want to hear more details from Bush. If this is just a fix for a few months while additional Border Patrolmen are trained, I'm not quite as against the idea. However, I have a feeling it's just a political gimmick intended to rally support from those who want serious law enforcement. If it is a gimmick, the Guard will be sent back once the hype has died down and nothing will ever change.

The Border Patrol needs to be doubled. Period. That's the only viable solution to the current shortage of manpower. I completely agree with Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel.
Hagel said the bill under debate in the Senate that he helped write would double the 12,000-strong Border Patrol force over the next five years. "That's the way to fix it, not further stretching the National Guard," he said on ABC's "This Week."
Taking people who have put in multiple tours to Iraq and tearing them from their families again just to win political points is stupid. I hope that's not what Bush is doing, but I'll have to wait until tonight to be sure.


If I really were a socialist...

...or a communist or some kind of dictator who didn't believe in the free market, I'd ban the use of good songs in commercials.

"I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash is just a great song. I didn't know much of Johnny Cash's work until I saw "Walk the Line," but I really like some of his stuff now. The best song has to be "I've Been Everywhere."

See, I'm a geography nut. I love to travel. I love to just look at maps. It's probably somewhat abnormal to enjoy just looking at maps. Conversations can be interesting.

Friend: "What's up?"

Me: "Not much."

Friend: "What are you reading?"

Me: "Oh, I'm not reading."

Friend: "But you're holding a book."

Me: "Yeah, no, it's a map."

Friend: "???"

Regardless, this song is perfect for people like me. Who else but Johnny Cash would actually write a song where most of it was simply listing geographic locations? 92 of them, to be exact. And they include "Minnesota," "Devil's Lake," and "Fond du Lac." I didn't even know anyone outside of Wisconsin had heard of Devil's Lake or Fondy, much less written them into a hit song!

Then some stupid company went and made a commercial using the song. The company is so stupid that I don't even know who it was. You know your commercial is ineffective when someone who doesn't watch TV that much actually remembers something from your commercial, and that one thing is a song that probably has nothing to do with your company.

Yet this ineffective commercial tried to ruin a great song.

I'm still in rehab over this. I'm getting to the point where I can enjoy the song again, but the stupid commercial is still in the back of my head. I'm told that I'll need another two months of rehab before the commercial is gone and I can enjoy the song for the sake of the song.

So if I were a dictator like Fidel Castro or Kim Jung Il (both excellent dictator names, by the way...I mean, how many other people do you know with those names?), my first move would be to ban the use of any popular song in a commercial. I would have the sole discretion over what wouldn't qualify as "popular." That list may include artists such as Lindsay Lohan, 50 Cent, Eminem, and Hillary Duff. Because when you're a dictator, it doesn't matter how popular it is to everyone else. All that matters is what you think.

If I were a dictator....

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What makes movies so predictable

It's true.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Well, it's official...I'm a socialist

That's according to the guy running for governor as a Libertarian. He's had a comment dialogue going with me for over a month. Here's an example of his political finesse:
I said your Ideas were socialist, but if that is an attack on you, then grow a thicker skin.
Funny thing is, I never even accused him of attacking me. I'm not a fan of political correctness, and I'd prefer that politicians just tell it like it is more often. Still, this is probably going a bit too far.

You can read the entire dialogue between us here. I've tried to respect him and take his candidacy seriously, but it's becoming increasingly difficult.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thank you Rae!

Rae Vogeler is running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. She's also a Green Party candidate.

I probably agree with Democrats more often than I do the Green Party. A few weeks ago I even wrote a post called "Wisconsin Green Party virtually nonexistent."

So I found it odd when I started getting hits on my blog from Vogeler's website. I went to her site to investigate.

Turns out her home page has a section called "The Buzz on Rae." I don't know if this thing is powered by a Google search that looks for any page linking to Vogeler's site or what. I wouldn't think her campaign would intentionally put my post up there. Regardless, my post is currently the 7th story on the buzz on Rae.

Either there isn't much of a buzz or there's something about "they [the Green Party] haven't put up a real statewide candidate" that Vogeler's campaign likes.

Either way, thanks for the few extra hits! I'll take whatever I can get....

UPDATE: I've also had a few hits from people searching for some guy named "Winston Sephus." Turns out that Winston Sephus Jr. is running for treasurer with the Green Party and I referenced him in that post. Hey, if I had a name like "Winston Sephus," I'd run for office too. I mean, that's a sweet name!

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Old post revived

I came across a post today that I wrote two and a half months ago and had forgotten about. At the time, hardly anyone was reading my blog. Well, hardly anyone still reads it, but that "hardly anyone" is a little bigger now than it was then.

I had to laugh at myself in reading the post. I think you have to laugh at yourself sometimes. Reading things that you've written in the past - even if it's only two and a half months ago - provide a good opportunity to laugh.

The post was called "State of the Campus." (Kind of like the State of the Union address, but for the nation's campuses.) On the heels of a ridiculous story that you can read by going to the post, I was imagining what the University of Washington Student Senate would say if they were giving a State of the Campus address.
"Our campuses are the most tolerant places on earth. We not only have banned guns everywhere, thus showing our intolerance of those who would like an automatic means of rape prevention, but we have also banned remembering and commemorating those who used guns to allow us to still have a campus. In fact, we're simply embarassed by them. We really wish our grandparents and great grandparents had simply surrendered to the Japanese when they attacked Pearl Harbor. Afterall, Hawaii was just another territory we annexed from aboriginal peoples. Or maybe we got it from Great Britain. We can't remember."
I'm such a dork...

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Who looks out of place in this picture?


If you said "the guy on the left," you're thinking what I'm thinking.

That's Dave Zien, a state senator from Eau Claire. The guy is a character for sure. Regardless of what you think of his policy, you have to love the fact that he's just himself all the time. Always in blue jeans. Rarely in a necktie (this picture surprises me). The leather vest is standard. Rides his Harley everywhere, all the time.

In fact, I saw him at the Chippewa County Lincoln Day Dinner - an event where everyone is dressed up - wearing exactly what he's wearing in that picture, except instead of a necktie and collared shirt, he had a t-shirt with a drawing of what was supposed to be Jesus on a motorcycle and read, "Jesus would have rode a Harley."

Not exactly my tastes, but that's Dave Zien for ya.

H/T: JB Van Hollen's May 12 "Journal" email update.


My car did it!

In my post earlier today on my license plate, I made mention of resisting the temptation to flirt.

This got me thinking about something that I've actually considered for a while.

Why is it that when we're in a vehicle, we assume that everything done in the vehicle is actually done by the vehicle, not us.

We honk at people we'd never actually criticize - much less yell at - in public.

After an accident: "Well, my car just started skidding and it wouldn't stop."

Guys who would never so much as talk to a random girl in the mall will slow down, do a wink and nod, and keep going.

Why? Because the car did it.

This is wrong. It was this realization that helped me quit speeding. (Okay, I still go 5 over sometimes, but is that really speeding?) Realizing that what I did in my car was still me - not the Jeep - is why I don't flirt with random girls as we're passing each other.

My old car had a ton of bumper stickers on it. It was an 18-year-old thing that took me till I was 20 to get over. However, I never put a Christian sticker on the car. I didn't want anyone to see me do something and then say, "He just did that, and he calls himself a Christian? Would Jesus cut someone off like that, or weave in and out of traffic?"

Then it hit me: people should see Christ in me, even if I'm driving and all they see is my car. I'm controlling the car. What the car does, I'm telling it to do.

I still don't have a Christian bumper sticker on my car. I'd rather people already see Christ in me by the way I live than for me to have to shout, "If you couldn't tell already, I'm a Christian." (Nothing against Christian bumper stickers...that's just my philosophy.)

But I am more conscious of how I drive. Why? Because the car doesn't do it. I do it. What the car does, I'm doing, and what the car is doing should be above reproach.

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Reagan quote

This is good to know. It is also sadly true.
“Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards. If you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.”
Please do yourself a favor and never buy a book by a disgraced politician. Chances are more of it was written by the guy whose name is underneath the politician's name. Like, "(font 180) MISTAKES, HURDLES, VICTORY (font 400) A memoir by Patrick Kennedy (font 8) with Spencer Adams"

Not worth your time.

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The license plate

Here's my license plate in all its glory.

Yes, it's real. I couldn't believe it was available. I just got it about six months ago.

The funny thing about it is I have no plans to run for office, now or in the future. My boss likes to call it "anarchy," as if I'll run against him or something.

I was at a stop light in Roseville, MN, a week ago and noticed that the two girls behind me - both probably somewhere around 18-20 - were laughing and pointing at the back of my car. I couldn't figure it out. The only bumper stickers I have are on the window and are for political candidates. They're not funny. Then it hit me: the license plate. One girl actually pulled out her digital camera and took a picture. Though the temptation to use the power of the license plate to flirt was strong, I somehow managed to withstand it. However, leave no doubt: the license plate has powers.

Oh, and the picture above is of the front plate. The back plate has a frame that says, "You know you want to!"

Hey, can anyone who doesn't already know what I drive tell what vehicle I have based on the picture? When I looked at the picture, I noticed one characteristic that I thought might be a dead giveaway, but I'm curious to see if anyone is actually knows their vehicles well enough to get it.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Do it!!!

You know you want to!

Okay, so I'm not exactly running for anything, now or anytime in the foreseeable future. But it does go with my license plate!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

What's in a song?

I've read a few posts on various songs recently that have triggered some thoughts.

I love music. I play guitar. I sing. I listen to music. I'm not real restrictive regarding genres. I like a lot of different styles, though there are some - rap, heavy metal, hip-hop - I don't like. However, I grew up on country. My mom wasn't the biggest fan, but my dad liked it. Every year he'd record tapes of songs off the radio and while he was on his 45-minute drive to work, he'd go through the tapes he'd recorded and find songs he liked. By Christmas, he'd have a tape of favorites made.

Those songs have created some long-lasting memories. The older I get, the more I understand the lyrics. Songs I once laughed at I now understand. Songs I once sung without any thought I now chuckle at, understanding what they mean.

I just heard a song that brought back memories. The song means a whole lot more to me at age 21 than it ever did at age 11. It really defines why I still like country music (some of it, that is...there's plenty of junk too). The artist, Jeff Carson, looks like a total country hick. But that's what's great about music. I don't care if Jeff Carson looks like a bigger hick than Alan Jackson. I don't have to watch Jeff Carson sing the song. A song is a lot bigger than the person singing it anyway. The person singing it is just conveying the message.

The song came across on my Windows Media Player, which was set to "shuffle," and I thought I'd share it, since I don't know anyone else outside of my family who knows the song.

Artist: Jeff Carson
Song: The Car

Boy, I'd love to have that car, I whispered to my Dad.
I've always heard a Mustang flies.
We could fix it up and make it new again.
All it needs is just a little time.
Dad is hardly ever home since Mama passed away.
He's always working overtime.
I know that he cannot afford to buy that car,
Even though he'd love to make it mine.

It's not the car that I'm needing,
Just the chance to be with him.
I know that once these days roll past us,
They will never come again.
So little time and we spend way too much apart.
There would always be a part of us together in that car.

I finally let go of that dream, the time we could have shared.
It was a distant memory
Until last fall a call came saying Dad was gone,
Could I come quick; he left a note for me.
Buried Dad right next to Mom up on Crowley's Ridge,
And there I said my last goodbye.
I opened up the note and found a set of keys.
"Here's your car, son, I hope it flies.

It's not the car that you're needing,
But it's my chance to be with you.
I hope you understand I always did
The best that I could do.
So little time and we spent way too much apart
And there will always be a part of us together in that car.
There will always be a part of us together in that car."

The song that followed it happened to be another that my dad used to play. (Although the lyrics, "Everywhere I look/It’s lovers that I see/It seems like everyone’s in love/Everyone but me" just didn't hit me like "The Car" did.)

It was songs like this that made me shed my high school days of "country isn't cool, therefore I don't like it." There are too many memories associated with it. There are too many lyrics that I haven't forgotten and never will. Here in Winnesota, I don't have this luxury, but when I do get to see my siblings, being able to sing these songs with them is something I enjoy too much. Their harmony on these songs is so fun to be a part of.

And there are songs like "The Car" that I just can't give up.

(In the time that I've been writing this in between projects at work, two other songs that I grew up on - including one that for a long time I called "my favorite song" - have come on. It's been nice to be 10 years old again.)


I'd like to thank the Dane County Democrats...

...for being so good as to support Peg Lautenschlager.

Lautenschlager's big claim to fame - other than suing the federal government to release Plan B, suing cranberry farmers, suing...well, a lot of other innocent people - is her conviction for drunk driving. Not just any old drunk driving. Drunk driving in a state-owned vehicle. While being the sitting Wisconsin Attorney General.

I thought Dane County would be solidly behind their own County Executive, Kathleen Falk, who - despite no previous law enforcement experience - is challenging Lautenschlager in the Democratic primary.

I guess I was wrong.
Lukewarm reception

Party faithful ask Falk why she's taking on AG

Members of the Dane County Democratic Party didn't turn cartwheels for Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk the same way they did for Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager when she spoke to the group six months ago.

And even though Falk addressed why she is running for Wisconsin attorney general during her 15-minute stump speech before Wednesday night's membership meeting - "Democrats around the state encouraged me to run because this office is just too important to lose" - a number of audience members politely challenged her decision to force a primary in the race.

Richard Russell told Falk she made a good case to run against the Republican candidates but not against an incumbent attorney general who essentially stands for the same things.
Falk responded that the party's strongest candidate needs to go up against the Republicans and the primary will determine who that person is.

Second, she said, there needs to be leadership in the attorney general's office on issues of the environment as well as economic and social justice.

Third, she said, was "the practical reality of the vulnerability of my friend and your friend and why Democratic leaders all across the state urged me to run."
Afterward, Russell called Falk's response "kind of wishy-washy."

"Basically what she said was that Peg's drunk driving problems would be an electoral liability. I think she needs to hang out at the State Street Halloween party," Russell said, chuckling. "Being drunk in Wisconsin is not that big a problem."
"Being drunk" may not be a problem to most people in Wisconsin, but "drunk driving" is.

If Lautenschlager wins the primary, I can't imagine she'd win the general. Wisconsinites would be crazy to elect her. But then, I've seen stranger things.

Also, "issues of the environment" and "economic and social justice" issues are NOT number one on the list of priorities in the AG's office. I'm all for prosecuting white collar crime. I'm all for prosecuting crime in general. But I'd rather see the meth dealers in Western Wisconsin put away where they can't ruin another life than see a cranberry farmer prosecuted for supposedly violating a watershed requirement.

But, maybe that's just me.

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If it hadn't been for who?

I just had a song come on my media player that has a really good catchy tune. Everyone knows it and does this little barn dance jig to it when they hear it.

Then I started thinking about it some more. (I know, I need to turn off the brain every once in a while....)
If it hadn't been for Cotton-Eye Joe
I'd been married long time ago
Where did you come from where did you go
Where did you come from Cotton-Eye Joe
How messed up do you have to be to a) write those lyrics and b) sing them 13 times over?

Although, considering how successful the song was and the fact that it's on my computer, who's the messed up one here?

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What do you get when you cross...

...a polar bear and a grizzly bear?

Probably the meanest creature on the face of the earth.

Or this.

DNA Tests Confirm Bear Was a Hybrid

IQALUIT, Nunavut - Northern hunters, scientists and people with vivid imaginations have discussed the possibility for years.

But Roger Kuptana, an Inuvialuit guide from Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, was the first to suspect it had actually happened when he proposed that a strange-looking bear shot last month by an American sports hunter might be half polar bear, half grizzly.

Territorial officials seized the creature after noticing its white fur was scattered with brown patches and that it had the long claws and humped back of a grizzly. Now a DNA test has confirmed that it is indeed a hybrid — possibly the first documented in the wild.
Polar bears and grizzlies have been successfully paired in zoos before — Stirling could not speculate why — and their offspring are fertile.

Of course, being that their offspring are fertile, you know what that means. Let the evolutionary games begin! 10,000 years from now someone's going to dig up a polar bear or grizzly bear. They're going to be like,

"Dude, Fredo. Check out that sweet skeleton in the ground. Wonder what that monster was."?

"You know Tayla, it totally takes after the grizzlar."

"Yeah dude, you're smashingly on."


They'd then declare the excavation site - I mean gravesite - a Global Heritage World Preservation National Conservation Wildlife Ecosystem Park, or something like that.

(Are "Fredo" and "Tayla" futuristic names? Hmm.... How could we possibly know?)


Reagan quote

Insert "Iran" for "Russia" and this could be applicable to today.

“My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.”

(Said during a radio microphone test, 1984.)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Baseball people have found me...

...and they're from Canada!

Those who know me know that I absolutely love baseball. I've played it, umped it, and coached it, which is why I would do something so pointless as posting the location of a lone viewer who happened to stumble across the Wide World of White, for no other reason than that fact that this individual works for a baseball team.

Now, if it were only the St. Louis Cardinals....