Sunday, October 31, 2010

If You Have More Important Things to Do than Vote

If you are too busy to vote on Tuesday, here are some more urgent things you might want to do with your time:

Tour the State Capitol while it still looks nice (and the public restrooms are still supplied with toilet paper).  If Scott Walker gets to author the state budget, building maintenance will likely suffer.

Renew your driver's license.  Again, Walker's budgets will likely include more furloughs for state employees and a reduction in services.

Make that doctor's appointment you've been putting off.  If Ron Johnson has his way, fewer Americans will have access to affordable health care.

Visit a state park.  If Milwaukee County's parks are any indication, Walker will slash the budget for trail grooming and other park maintenance.

Carry your side-arm (peacefully) in a public place. Have you not noticed that gun rights have actually been expanded over the past two years?  Expect a roll-back with law-and-order Republicans in charge.

Step up your job hunt.  All those jobs that Ron Johnson plans to create will be in China.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Were They Too Cheap to Get a Babysitter?

A Fond du Lac man may face charges (once jurisdiction is determined) after a home video showed his young children in the room during a bondage party in an unidentified hotel room.

What part of "consenting adults" does this man not understand?  Perhaps he thought the kids were too young to notice (or care) what was going on, or that they would sleep right through it.  However, the sound of whipping has to be distressing to a toddler, no matter its target.

If the "dominatrices" in the video were professionals, they should lose their livelihoods over this. I can't think of an appropriate punishment for the father involved, for fear that he might enjoy it.

I happen to know some responsible parents who enjoy bondage from time to time, and I think they would agree with me on this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

America's Puritan Legacy

Jack Craver's comment on another post got me thinking about the issue of circumcision in America. He pointed out that, for much of the 20th century, there was no real scientific evidence for the health benefits of circumcision, and yet the vast majority of American parents had their baby boys circumcised based on the popular perception that it was healthier.

I agree that there was a certain amount of group-think going on. However, I think there was another factor that contributed to the overwhelming popularity of circumcision in this country as opposed to Europe -- Americans' puritanical attitude about the human body.  An intact foreskin requires more time and attention for personal hygiene.  American parents are squeamish about touching their children's genitals or encouraging their children to touch themselves. Circumcision allows for quicker and less intimate washing.

Now that studies have shown a major health benefit to circumcision (significantly decreased risk of HIV transmission), American parents can once again feel justified in imposing their puritanical preferences on their baby boys.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Will Henry Sanders Be the Next Dane County Executive?

This is pure speculation on my part, based on no inside knowledge.

Henry Sanders is a bright, charismatic and ambitious young politician.  Last month, I found myself wondering what office he would pursue next, since he did not become the Democratic Party's nominee for Lieutenant Governor.  He lives in Waunakee, so Mayor of Madison is out.

I found myself idly wondering if he might challenge Kathleen Falk for Dane County Executive in 2013.  But then I thought I remembered that she endorsed him for LG, and even co-hosted a fundraiser for him at the Brink Lounge over the summer.  He doesn't seem like a back-stabber to me, so I couldn't imagine him running against Falk after she supported his LG bid.

Now, however, I find myself wondering if she is stepping down to make room for him to run for her job in 2011, while he still has some positive name recognition from his recent campaign.

I don't think Falk will run for Herb Kohl's Senate seat in 2012, even assuming Russ Feingold holds onto his in 2010.  I suspect she will find a lucrative job in the private sector (perhaps as a bicycle industry lobbyist).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Chance for Greater Understanding

"Yes, they have the right to do that. But that doesn't mean they SHOULD."

Do you agree with the above statement?  Does your (dis)agreement depend upon whether it refers to (A) the proposed Islamic community center a couple blocks from Ground Zero or (B) the five men who wore holstered guns into Culver's?

If your opinion is not consistent, you have the opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of the other side and try to understand the visceral emotions that cause Americans to disregard the Constitution in order to impose their preferences on the mainstream.

For the record, I disagree with that statement in each case, as well as in the case of the idiot Nazis who march in Skokie, Illinois.  In the Illinois Nazis' case, it would be accurate to say "They have the right to do that, but I would prefer that they didn't."

However, I do not get to impose my preferences on everyone else. Living in a free society means putting up with crap you don't like at some point, to ensure that everyone has the same freedoms that you do. Deciding that the preferences of a local majority should trump the rights of minorities subverts our Constitution.

Beware the tyranny of the thin-skinned.  You may agree with them on one particular issue, but sooner or later, they'll take offense to something you want to do.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Illiterate Clown Wins Brazillian Election

The ultimate political outsider was elected to Brazil's Congress.

Maybe it's time for Art Paul Schlosser to run for office.  This is not meant to imply that Schlosser is illiterate; just that he is a colorful character who is the antithesis of a career politician.

Couldn't Have Happened to a Nicer Guy

Vick leaves with rib and chest injuries

If dogs could read, they would be laughing.