Another Downside of Smoking Bans…

March 28 2007 by Christian | Category: Legislation, Smoking | 1 Comment »

…You might start to realize that the people you\’ve been drinking with actually stink.

From our friends in Scotland:

\"\" A PUB regular has been barred from his favourite Dunfermline boozer  for indiscriminate wind breaking.

Management at the bar say Stewart Laidlaw \”revels\” in his bouts of flatulence and other punters have almost been sick after exposure to the foul smells.

Mr Laidlaw (35), who is furious at the ban by Thirsty Kirsty\’s, is thought to be the first person in West Fife to be barred for breaking wind.

The James Street pub\’s owner says the stench has become unbearable since Scotland\’s smoking ban came in last year but suspects drinkers could have been breathing in the waft for years before without noticing it.

Is there any question this is the next thing to be banned in our bars and restaurants?  Think of the employees!

Incidentally, this is more reporting than any state newspaper has done on a real issue in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

Your Viewing Conflict for Tonight

March 28 2007 by Christian | Category: Campaign Finance Reform | 1 Comment »

I apologize for presenting you with this tough choice, but you may have to put off watching American Idol tonight in order to watch this debate on campaign finance reform.  Since FEC vs. Wisconsin Right to Life is slated for oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 25th, this debate is timely – especially since WRTL counsel James Bopp will actually be arguing the case before the Court.

The Cigarette Tax Paradox

March 28 2007 by Christian | Category: Smoking, Taxes | 2 Comments »

I was talking with one of my guys in the Capitol the other day, and he mentioned that his office was getting a lot of calls opposing Governor Doyle\’s proposed $1.25 cigarette tax increase.  Apparently, some stores are passing out cards with their cigarettes that say \”call your legislator and oppose the increased cigarette tax.\”  (Someone call the good government groups – someone is trying to influence legislation without their consent!)

There\’s a more interesting angle, though.  He said that 90% of the people that call to attack Doyle\’s tax increase suggest something else to tax.  They say, \”why don\’t you tax the rich,\” or \”try taxing alcohol more,\” or suggest taxing porn or fast food.

So here you have a group of people who have been targeted to pay a new politically popular tax suggesting other people should pay a higher tax that they deem politically popular.  They\’ve bought into the whole notion that you should tax people based on how much we like them.  They think we should tax people that the public dislikes – without realizing that they are those people.

Idol Live Blog

March 28 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I figured since I\’m watching American Idol tonight, I might as well live blog it. Following the show, I plan on drowning myself by immersing my head in mayonnaise.

It\’s Gwen Stefani night, and I\’m not sure what that really means. They are doing her songs, or songs that Gwen likes, or songs that she\’s heard, or songs that have words, or something. Her video intro says her abs are world famous or something. Great, I can\’t wait to rush out and buy a No Doubt CD now – I hear she has killer abs.

Lakisha starts by singing a Donna Summer song, while hiding a roast beef sandwich in her cleavage. In the meantime, her high heels file a lawsuit against her for violating the Geneva Convention on torture.

Chris Sligh appears to be singing a completely different song than the band is playing.

Gina sings her song really well, which is disappointing because it sets her inevitable Playboy appearance back at least one week. May of 2008. Bank on it.

A commercial for \”Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader\” promises to show a contestant that \”makes show history.\” The show has been on three weeks. I\’m serious.

Sanjaya remains the George Mason of this year\’s Idol competition. I have gained a new kind of grudging respect for him – he knows how bad he is, and he\’s set out to be spectacularly bad. I actually didn\’t hear any of what he sang, as I was crying my eyes out.

These anti-marijuana ads are actually pretty awesome, and I imagine they\’d be even better if you were high.

Wait…was Haley just on?

Phil Stacey appears to have stolen my mother\’s hat. He does a Police song, second of the night. What is the theme here again? Anyway, we\’re all happy that he took time out from hanging with Frodo and Bilbo to sing us a song. Despite his surprisingly good performance, he still just generally sucks and I don\’t care to have him on my television anymore. He\’s in the Navy – shouldn\’t he be in Iraq?

Melinda\’s once-endearing \”aw shucks\” demeanor has now turned me against her, and I hope she not only gets voted off, but also is attacked by a jaguar on stage. She is also dressed like she\’s late for her shift at the Wonka Chocolate Factory. They\’re trying to pack 10 of these songs into an hour, which means they\’re all like 8 seconds long.

Think Randy Jackson\’s real dog gets jealous when he calls everyone else \”dog?\”

Magic 98 promises to play \”all my favorites\” like Cheryl Crow. How did they know?

Blake absolutely murders \”Love Song\” by the Cure, which sends Robert Smith spinning in his grave. I just can\’t divorce that song from the Cure. He\’s sometimes pretty good, but his only shortcoming (that he can\’t sing) also happens to be a pretty important shortcoming in a singing competition. Simon calls him the \”strongest guy in the competition,\” and I think he has to be talking about how many pushups Blake can do.

Jordin Sparks overcomes her obvious porn star name to give a decent performance of some Gwen Stefani song. If her last name was spelled \”Sparxx,\” there\’s a 98% chance you would have gotten to know her during your bachelor party. It appears that her shirt has been made out of a Pizza Hut tablecloth. The background signers suck – she should really turn around and yell at them. She\’s my favorite on the show (mainly because I remember her dad playing in the NFL), and she will become the first 8 foot tall woman to win this competition.

I really like Chris Richardson, even though he does sometimes seem like he\’s a counselor at Justin Timberlake Summer Camp. Stefani kills him in the intro video, which leads me to think of a cool strategy – when you meet the \”big star\” earlier in the week, you should purposely do terrible so they rip you in their intro. Then when you give your performance, everyone will be pleasantly surprised and think you worked hard to bring your \”A game.\” It\’s like a presidential contender trying to downplay their chances in a primary, so they can declare victory when they come in third place or something.

For some reason, the show ends at 8:08, which means I had to push off my scheduled 8:00 inebriation by 8 minutes.

It has become apparent to me that the show is now Sanjaya-proof, so I\’m betting Haley gets the boot. It\’s becoming pretty clear that in three weeks you\’ll have a better chance of seeing a sasquatch riding a unicycle down your street than you will of seeing a white girl on the show.

If I Can\’t Change Your Mind

March 27 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I can\’t tell you how happy I was to find this clip on YouTube. One of my favorite songs ever off my favorite album ever. The music and video are about a second off, but you get the picture.

Down With the Ship

March 27 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

\"\"

I was amused by reading Jeff Van Gundy’s recent proposal to allow all NBA teams into the draft lottery. Why? Because he thinks the current lottery rewards losing, and that teams may tank near the end of the year to have a better chance at a good pick.

And guess what team he played last night that prompted his remarks? Wait for it…

The Bucks!

Obviously, the Bucks\’ recent near-pornographic level of play set Van Gundy off. I was a little distraught when the Bucks fired Terry Stotts – I mean, what better way to end up with a good pick than to allow Stotts to continue to drive the team into the ground? After he was fired, the Bucks won two straight games, much to my chagrin.

Realizing that they were scuttling a chance to help the team long-term, they immediately kicked the season into “Titanic” mode. Bogut and Villanueva out for the season with mystery injuries. Mo Williams follows them to the DL with a “respiratory infection?” Jared Reiner getting big minutes last night, while Dan Gadzuric (making $6 million per year) doesn’t even get into the game? Damir Markota can play a little point guard, can’t he? Why risk Earl Boykins’ health?

Are the Bucks justified in tanking the season? Of course they are. Sure, they may be defrauding ticket holders of their money for the rest of the year, but isn’t it worth it if it makes them better in the long run? Bill Simmons at ESPN.com has a couple columns discussing this phenomenon with regard to his beloved Celtics – whether it’s ever appropriate to root against your favorite team. And in this case, I agree with him that it certainly is.

And it’s not like every other bottom-feeder isn’t doing the same thing. Ray Allen just disclosed that he’s been playing hurt all year and he’s shutting it down. Before you know it, Michael Redd is going to go on the DL to try to cure his baldness. Pau Gasol is going to sit out due to a sprained beard.

If the Bucks lose every game for the rest of the year and that nets them Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Brandan Wright, or Jeff Green, that would be just fine with me (Joakim Noah is a fraud).

Dancing on a Volcano

March 27 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

My latest column on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race is up at WPRI. Check it out.

India Has Got it Backwards…

March 27 2007 by Christian | Category: Smoking | 0 Comments »

Recently the Associated Press reported that a court in New Delhi has banned cigarette smoking and cell phone usage while driving a vehicle. They assume that these acts distract people from driving safely. So if we\’re going to ban distractions behind the wheel, shouldn\’t we ban radios, passengers, eating and even roadside advertising? In the interim, the fines in New Delhi should at least measure up to the danger of the crime. The fine for smoking a cigarette while driving in New Delhi is $32 which is pretty steep in India. For running a red light, a mere $13. I don\’t know about you, but I\’d rather see a driver smoking than running red lights…

See You Soon, Sis

March 25 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
As I mentioned in the State Journal story about me, I have a younger sister who is being deployed to Iraq. As luck would have it, she spent a week at Ft. McCoy before being shipped out this week, so I was able to drive up and see her for a couple hours on Saturday night. I picked her up at the base and we went to dinner at the Foxhole in Sparta, about 15 minutes away. She opted to eat with me rather than watching her beloved Kansas Jayhawks play their NCAA tournament game against UCLA (she\’s a KU grad).

\"\"Before coming to Wisconsin, she had spent a month training in Texas. She was upbeat, but I could see she was tired and missed her husband, who she married in October of last year. She\’s being sent to do physical therapy for detainees near the Iraq-Kuwait border. I asked her how many detainees actually need physical therapy as opposed to actual medical care. \”Apparently a lot of them hurt their shoulders throwing rocks at us,\” she joked.

While at Fort McCoy, all the female soldiers have to take pregnancy tests before they\’re deployed. If you\’re pregnant, they won\’t send you. Three of the women in her unit showed up positive on this recent round of tests. And she\’s pretty sure that they are intentional – given that those women had been away from their husbands and boyfriends for a month.

She said the area where she\’s going has a lot of British soldiers. She\’s crossing her fingers that Prince Harry pulls a back muscle and needs some physical therapy. She said that some detainees have been known to walk off, but they always return – since if they\’re in U.S. custody they eat well and get medical care.

She said the food she\’d been eating for the last month was terrible. She noticed the warranty on the coffee maker in the barracks at Ft. McCoy ran out in 1969. She said the rules are obviously strict, but she had considered bending a couple to be able to talk to her husband more often. \”What are they going to do to punish me, send me to Iraq?\” she said.

By writing this post, I don\’t mean to imply that my sister is more important than any other soldier going to serve in Iraq – I just happened to have a blog. But I will miss her a lot. I know sometimes it takes situations like this to truly appreciate someone, but for me that\’s not the case – I have always appreciated how great she is.

So hurry home, sis – we miss you already.

\"\"
And don\’t ask what I\’m doing in this picture. I have no idea.

An Expensive Affair

March 23 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 0 Comments »

I\’ve said in the past that I actually do genuinely feel sorry for gays and lesbians, as their potential pool of lovers is so much smaller. Which makes this story all the more sad. Even though this woman got scammed, I empathize with her. Although the Dukes of Hazzard scene is priceless.

Cable Study Media Wrap-Up

March 23 2007 by Christian | Category: Legislation, Reports | 1 Comment »

Yesterday, WPRI released my study on cable competition.  Articles on the study appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the Racine Journal Times (same AP story, complete with entertaining reader comments).  I also appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, which can be heard here.  Fox 6 news in Milwaukee also ran a report on the issue.

New Strategy for Israel

March 21 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Some of you may remember my post about perennial Madison mayoral candidate and noted crazy person Will Sandstrom at the old blog. Well, someone sent me his blog, complete with a 33,000 word post – so make yourself a sandwich, sit down, and enjoy! Oh, and keep in mind – 2.6% of voters in Madison voted for this guy.

I have a broader question, though. Why is it that all crazy people are against the Jews? You never hear any lunatics sing the praises of Israel before they start pouring thousand island dressing down their pants. For some reason, once you become completely unhinged, it\’s always some \”Zionist plot.\”

What I think the national Jewish groups need to do is to begin to reach out to America\’s crazy people to turn the tide back in their favor. A little PR couldn\’t hurt. Just think – with a couple thousand mini-bottles of Wild Turkey, they can have America\’s street people yelling pro-Israel slogans on our street corners.

Saving Me From Myself

March 20 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

So for Christmas last year, I got my wife a year long \”wine of the month\” membership at Barriques. It\’s actually great – they do a really good job picking out wines, although the downside is that you have to go to the store and pick them up once a month.

I was working late tonight, and remembered that I needed to pick up the wine before I came home. I went straight from work to Barriques, and it looked like they were closing. I went in and asked if I could just pick up my wine, even though the register was closed. The girl there said that was fine, then corrected herself.

\”It\’s after 9:00 – I can\’t let you walk out of here with it.\”

I looked at my watch and noticed it was 9:03. And I couldn\’t leave with a bottle of wine I purchased in December of 2006.

So thank you, state law, for saving me from the convenience of picking up my wine. We are all much safer now that I have to make an extra trip out to Barriques to get it. Lord knows the damage I could do with that corked bottle in the back seat of my car on the way home.

Keeping Tabs on SXSW

March 19 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX, remains one of the great events that I have yet to attend. And it\’s killing me, as my hipster cred is eroding with every year I fail to make the trip.

Anyway, my friend Stephen Thompson, now online music editor at NPR, spent the last few days down at SXSW keeping a blog of the events. Good reading.

Baron von Fathead Strikes Again

March 17 2007 by Christian | Category: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

I filmed another \”End Insight\” commentary for the \”Here and Now\” show this week. A little better than last week, I think – but I\’m still no Stone Phillips. They say the camera adds ten pounds, so they must have been filming me with five cameras. ( a joke stolen from The Sports Guy at ESPN)

The \”what it the world did he just say?\” look on Frederica\’s face when I finish is classic. I think this pretty much sums it up:

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