My new column is up at the WPRI site. It attempts to explain why the number of female Republican legislators has plummeted in the past five years.
Today, long time State Senator Roger Breske announced he was retiring from the State Legislature to take over as Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads. Breske, who had served in the Legislature for 18 years, was a quintessential Northern Wisconsin Democrat. While he was a consistent vote for Democratic efforts to raise taxes, he was fiercely protective of his constitutents’ rights to property and gun ownership. He has been praised on this very blog for his plain-spoken opposition to a statewide smoking ban. He was also pro-life and conservative on a variety other social issues.
Yet despite his steadfast adherance to personal conviction, Breske’s legacy will be tainted by a single vote, taken on March 4th of 2003.
If there’s any group that Breske calls his own, it is tavern owners. The Senator is a legend in the taverns of the 12th Senate District – it’s the one place where everyone knows his name, and he claims to have grown up in a bar. It is this support for bar owners that forged his virulent opposition to the smoking ban.
One thing that threatens small family-owned bars in Northern Wisconsin is the competition wrought by Indian casinos. When casinos grow in the north woods, it drains money out of taverns, as people often choose to spend their money gambling.
In 2003, Governor Jim Doyle unilaterally negotiated several gaming compacts that allowed greatly expanded gambling in perpetuity. The compacts could never be revisited, unless the Indian tribes agreed to do so. In exchange, the state treasury got a slightly higher cut of the casino revenues.
Naturally, such an arrangement would be a blow to northern tavern owners. When the Legislature considered a bill to add legislative oversight to approval of gaming compacts (a concept Doyle supported as Attorney General), Breske voted for it. After Doyle vetoed the bill, it headed back to the State Senate, where it appeared the votes were there to override Doyle’s veto.
Quickly, it became apparent that Breske might be the deciding vote on whether to override the governor’s veto. He anguished over his decision for days, hiding from his Senate colleagues. When he left his office, he was hounded by reporters wondering whether he was going to side with his most beloved constituent group – the tavern owners – or if he was going to switch his vote and side with Doyle.
When Breske finally announced he was inserting a knife into the back of his district tavern owners and siding with the Governor, rumors abound that he had struck some kind of deal with Doyle. Breske is, after all, 70 years old, and seemed to welcome the idea of a less stressful job within the Doyle administration. After his vote on the gaming compacts, some speculated it was only a matter of time that he would take advantage of his deal with Doyle. And now that day may have arrived.
The 12th Senate District is a Republican district that Democrats were able to hold because of Breske’s personal popularity. With Roger gone, it could be a GOP pickup in the fall. Unfortunately, despite his hard work on behalf of his constituents, it will always appear that he was willing to sell them out for political gain.
UPDATE: Here’s a March 4, 2003 account of Breske’s travails, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (sorry, no link:)
Senate Republicans were counting on Sen. Roger Breske (D-Eland), in particular, to join them in voting to override the veto. Breske, former president of the Wisconsin Tavern League, had said earlier Monday that he would vote to override Doyle and seek legislation to legalize video poker in taverns.
But when Breske changed his mind late in the day, the Senate abruptly adjourned on a party-line vote. Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer (R-West Bend) explained the delay by saying GOP senators had concerns they wanted Doyle to address before they voted. But Senate Minority Leader Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said it was clear that Republicans called off the vote because they lacked the necessary two-thirds majority to override.
Breske had told a number of tribal members early Monday that he would vote to override the veto. When asked later why he changed his mind, Breske said he tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a deal between Doyle and the Tavern League that would avoid giving Doyle the political embarrassment of a veto override. Although the league ultimately rejected the agreement, the fact that Doyle was willing to compromise on some issues prompted Breske to reverse his position.
Breske said Doyle had agreed not to object to having tougher drunken driving language removed from his budget bill. To avoid losing federal aid, Doyle proposed that the state lower the blood-alcohol level from 0.10 to 0.08 for evi-dence of drunken driving.
“We worked all day, trying to cut a deal,” Breske said. “I thought it was workable, and they (the Tavern League) should have accepted it, but they didn’t.”
Last week, Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins followed your Milwaukee Brewers around the country during their acrid road trip. The losing streak is chronicled in this excellent article, which includes a bizarre picture of Bob Uecker, shirtless and wearing uncomfortably small shorts:
I’ve often made mention of how much I screwed off in college. My freshman year, the only real research I conducted was a detailed survey of the stores most likely to sell my roommate beer. (He had a fake ID, I did not.)
Given my current occupation, I got a kick out of this Virginia Tech report card I found from the second semester of my freshman year in 1992:
Check out the grade for “Intro to Government and Politics.” Yep… that’s not a misprint.
There actually is somewhat of an explanation. Virginia Tech had what they called the “freshman rule.” Basically, your first year, you could take six credit hours and “freshman rule” them, meaning the grade would show up on your transcript, but the actual grades wouldn’t be factored into your GPA. Thus, the zero points I got for Intro to Government didn’t count against my otherwise stellar 2.15 grade point average. Basically, the class was too early in the morning, and I wasn’t doing well in it anyway, so I just stopped going – knowing I could just freshman rule it. Not knowing, of course, that Government and Politics would one day become my profession.
Incidentally, following this semester, I dropped out of school for a semester and moved to Brookfield to build houses with my uncle. I was completely broke and my father (justifiably) refused to send me any more money, given the grades I was getting. It was at this point that I voted for the first time, for Russ Feingold and Bill Clinton.
During my recent trip to Seattle, one of the pressing local issues in the news dealt with the city council’s recent decision to eliminate public toilets in the downtown area. As could be predicted, the public toilets have become havens for drug use, crime, and prostitution. And as I quickly found out, downtown Seattle is replete with people willing to take advantage of the opportunity.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the toilets have cost taxpayers about $4.3 million since they were installed in 2004. The money came from a tax on wastewater rates that cost the average single family household about $2.59 per year on an annual sewer bill of $465.
It should surprise no one that these bathrooms would be mistreated in this way. In fact, it was completely predictable. As they say, “no one washes a rental car.” Sure, the intent was good – people do need to use the bathroom while downtown. But you slap the word “public” on anything, and it’s going to be ruined by people looking to take advantage of the taxpayers.
Had the city given the $4.3 million to a private company to build and maintain their own toilets, with whatever security rules they wished, you would probably still be able to go to the bathroom in downtown Seattle. As it is, you better hit the fish market prepared to hold it.
Well, here I am at the airport again. After three days of looking at nothing but unfamiliar faces, it’ll be nice to be home. Just another four-hour flight ahead of me, then an hour drive from Mitchell Airport back home in Madison. Rumor has it my son just got his first professional haircut, so I’m anxious to see how he’s doing with the 2-year old ladies given his new look.
I gave my speech to the big Washington Policy Center health care convention yesterday, and I think it went pretty well. They were interested in hearing about the now-defunct Healthy Wisconsin universal government health plan, since a similar bill is being considered in the Washington Legislature. About a half hour before I gave my speech, I tried to practice it in my room, and I couldn’t do it. I was having panic attacks, because I just couldn’t spit anything out. Surprisingly, hitting myself in the head repeatedly and swearing wasn’t having any effect.
When speech time came, I was introduced by author Grace-Marie Turner (an extraordinarily nice woman), who told the crowd of 320 that I was some kind of TV star, because my WPRI bio mentions the little monthly “Here and Now” segments that I do. Basically, she set the bar really high for the crowd, which freaked me out even more. I think the key to being a good public speaker isn’t necessarily what you say, but actually believing you’re worthy of people paying $90 to see you speak. I’m certainly not there yet. Now, if they wanted me to talk about the Brewers for a half hour, I could have put on a show – although at points, it may have been profane.
But when I actually started talking, for some reason, it actually went smoother than when I practiced it beforehand. I threw in some so-so jokes, although I have to humbly admit that they’re probably better jokes than one normally hears at a convention of free market health advocates. Make the bar low enough, and I can usually leap it. I even got applause for one line, which I completely didn’t expect. After the speech, it was bizarre – I couldn’t walk ten feet without someone coming up to talk to me about health care. This was flattering, but I’m terrible at meeting new people, and it kind of weirded me out when I realized that people were actually kind of angling to come up and talk to me. After a half hour, I went up to my room and put on a baseball hat and glasses, hoping nobody would recognize me. Seemed to work well enough. There’s a good movie to be made about some delusional guy who thinks he’s famous because he gives speeches at think tank conventions.
After the speech, I stuck around for a couple more speeches, then snuck back to my room. For some reason, the internet connection and TV in my room wouldn’t work. So my big evening in Seattle consisted of going to the Tukwila Cinema to see Iron Man (awesome), and reading a book in the hotel bar. I just sat and read and drank beer until the words got blurry and I couldn’t really understand what it meant anymore. But strangely, throughout the night, the book got a lot thinner.
Sitting next to me at the bar was a couple who it seemed were just getting to know each other. Both divorced, both with kids. It didn’t occur to me how difficult it would be to start dating again when you’re divorced with children. Just so many trap doors to fall into. As if dating itself isn’t hard enough – dating with kids involved is like playing dodgeball with land mines. You could just hear the weariness in their voices as they tried to circumvent any topics that might evoke some horrible memory of their past marriage. Then I ate a club sandwich.
This morning, I got up and went to a little known local restaurant known as Denny’s for breakfast. It shocked me to see that the French Toast Slam is now almost eight bucks. As if there aren’t enough reasons to hate ethanol, the fact that the Moons Over My Hammy now costs as much as my mortgage payment should be the final straw.
I had some time before my flight to do some more sightseeing, so I wandered around the UW (the other one) campus for a couple hours. Their campus is beautiful – the walkways are bathed in dark evergreens. It’s another dreary, rainy day, but it would almost seem like I’d be getting cheated if it were any other way. Today is election day for their student government, so the kids were out handing out fliers like crazy. I actually walked right past Lorenzo Romar, the men’s basketball coach. I stopped by the bookstore and bought T-shirts for myself and a friend of mine. They actually sell anti-George W. Bush paraphernalia in their university bookstore.
I got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare, which was a good thing, since security took a while. I went through the whole bizarre ritual of taking off your shoes and belt and pants, then having to put them all back on after the metal detector. (Oh, wait – you don’t have to take your pants off?) This whole kabuki dance is a sight to behold – dozens of people simultaneously putting their belts and shoes back on. It’s like the end of some horrible group one-night stand gone bad.
I browsed around the magazines in one of the gift shops, and wondered, as I always do, exactly who buys Penthouse to take on a plane with them? Who on Earth can’t do without porn for a whole two-hour flight? (Four hours, MAYBE.) But just as I was pondering how someone could logistically view a money shot on a crowded flight, I looked over at the register, and sure enough – there was a guy walking out of the store with a magazine promising “100 Naked Beauties.” He was clutching it to his chest, trying to obscure its contents, but you could tell. I guess these days, you should almost give the guy credit. At least he was embarrassed about buying porn in an airport gift shop – that almost counts as chivalry in 2008.
So that leaves me here, sitting in the airport, plane delayed. A couple Brewer hats sprinkle the crowd, so you can tell where this plane is headed without even looking at the board. They just called for pre-boarding for people with “special needs.” There’s a guy wearing a Cubs hat in front of me and I refrain from joking to him that he should board now.
I hopped right off the plane today and headed to downtown Seattle to see the sights. I was reluctant to go see the place where the people throw fish around, but a friend of mine insisted that was the place to be, so I decided I could handle being “touristy” and I went. After I saw all the markets, I just walked around downtown checking out restaurants and stores. Here are some fotografias:
And, of course, no journey to Seattle would be complete without my quest to see the house Kurt Cobain killed himself in. Yes, I am aware of how lame this is. But I just had to do it.
The house is in an upscale lakefront neighborhood that’s difficult to navigate, so I’m sure I looked like an idiot tourist driving around slowly. I’m pretty sure the neighbors have had it with morbid people like me. But I sucked it up and finally found the house, which, as you may expect, has high fences around the yard to block gawkers like me. Right next to the house, though, is a park that serves as a de facto vigil spot, where people still leave daily flowers on a bench:
There’s the top of the house. I think.
The evening wrapped up with a steak at Matt’s in the Market, although the appeal of eating in a fancy restaurant is somewhat lessened when you’re eating by yourself. I tried to explain to my waiter that I was in from out of town on business, but it was pretty clear he was ushering me out of there as soon as possible. I think the guy eating alone in the corner was depressing the rest of the customers.
Tonight will be comprised of getting my speech ready for tomorrow – a rockin’ time, for sure. And there’s a Taco Bell right next to the hotel, so the chances of a late night Grilled Stuft Burrito currently stand at 105%. I may even try to eat $10 worth of Taco Bell, a feat I still maintain is humanly impossible.
So here I am at the airport, waiting for my flight to Seattle. I’m headed out there for a big health care conference sponsored by the Washington Policy Center. My boss asked me if I wanted to go, and I said “sure,” thinking I’d really like to see Seattle. Then the WPC called me and asked if I had any materials to go with the presentation I had been giving. “The WHAT?” I inquired. So it appears I will be giving a speech on health care to 300 people tomorrow, and I still have no idea what I’m going to say. I guess I’ll figure it out on the plane.
This actually is my first real “business” trip, so I’m pretty excited. I almost feel like a real businessman with a real job. From now on, when I see all those commercials meant to appeal to business travelers, I’ll feel like they’re talking to me. Then, I’ll be able to say things like “why, yes – as a business traveler, I do appreciate having that extra pillow in my hotel room,” and “how does the movie “Midget Lingerie Party” show up on my corporate card?”
Of course, I have about an hour to kill here, since I got to Mitchell Airport early enough. They say you need to be here 90 minutes ahead of time, but that’s a total airline scam. It’s just a ploy on behalf of the airlines to make sure they don’t get a last minute crush of people screaming at their employees about how they have to get on their flight or the world will end. My wife is super-cautious about getting to airports early. Anything less than four hours before departure time is unacceptable. Which is especially fun when you have kids to entertain in the airport before the flight.
I actually do like the weird vibe in airports. I especially enjoy sitting here and watching the flights arrive. People walk off the plane, all with the same completely disoriented look on their face. Before 9/11, they used to lock in on the person there to pick them up, but now they have to wait until the baggage claim to have their big reunion. I always loved seeing the pure joy in peoples’ faces as they recognized someone they hadn’t seen in a while, then rushed into their embrace. Perhaps this is because nobody is ever really all that excited to see me. Except my dentist, who knows that when he sees me, he’ll be able to afford another wing on his office.
Before I came to sit down, I ran to the bathroom. It’s always a weird sight to see pilots in the bathroom taking a whizz. You tend to put pilots up on a superhuman pedestal – almost like they’re invincible. But there they are, taking dead aim at the urinal cakes next to you. It’s unnerving to realize that pilots are just regular human beings. I mean, what if this guy just found out his 15 year-old daughter knew Roger Clemens? What if just this morning he found out his wife had been finding comfort in the arms of Charlie Villanueva during his flights? I’d feel a lot better about things if my pilot was eating gravel and urinating glass shards. I want a real bad ass flying my plane.
So now I get to sit here and wait, surveying the crowd. If there’s any inviolate rule in boarding a plane, it is this: There is always some semi-attractive member of the opposite sex waiting for the plane that you decide it wouldn’t be too bad to sit next to. Not “supermodel hot,” but “airport hot.” Of course, you are all old and gross and married, but let’s be honest – it would certainly make the flight moderately more tolerable, right? Upon surveying this crowd, it appears the only candidate happens to have a six year-old boy in tow. That immediately disqualifies her from sitting within five rows of me.
Waiting for a flight watching the people also gives me a chance to play America’s favorite new games: “Daughter or Lover,” and “Gay or European?” Of course, after I make my guess, I’ll never know the answer, so the only real prize is the giggling I get to do quietly to myself.
Well, time to board my 4-hour flight. I’m not sure if it qualifies, but maybe I’ll try to join the mile-high club while flying solo. That should kill about 30 seconds. Sadly, they make you pay 8 bucks to connect to the wireless internet here at the airport, so I’ll have to wait until I get to my hotel room to post this.
Before today, the easiest way to make $5,000 was to spend an hour with Eliot Spitzer. But now, NASA has created a new program to pay you five grand per month for you to… lie in bed (Spitzer-free.)
Here’s the deal:
Need a break from the working, walking, and standing required by the demanding and stressful life you lead?
Well, pack your bags for Houston because NASA wants to pay you $17,000 to stay in bed for 90 straight days.
The bed-rest experiment, to take place in the Human Test Subject Facility of Johnson Space Center, is designed to allow scientists to study some of the effects of microgravity on the human body. We read on the Bed Rest Study website:
Participants will spend 90 days lying in bed, (except for limited times for specific tests) with their body slightly tilted downward (head down, feet up). Every day, they will be awake for 16 hours and lights out (asleep) for 8 hours.
Here’s the important question: Do I get credit for time already served? If so, I’d be a millionaire.
“Sheila, Take a Bow”
“There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”
“Girlfriend in a Coma”
And, of course, “How Soon is Now?”
And, as a bonus, here’s Morrissey’s “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get,” “Suedehead,” “You’re the One For Me, Fatty,” and “Tomorrow.” (“All I ask of you is one thing that you’ll never do – just put your arms around me.”) No payment necessary.
In my previous post about Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws, I referred to Wisconsin’s lenient statute with regard to DUI penalties. While the NCSL chart listed all drunk driving offenses in Wisconsin as civil violations, this isn’t entirely accurate. Just to be clear, here is the actual criminal penalty statute for drunk driving in Wisconsin:
(am) Any person violating s. 346.63 (1) The drunk driving law)
346.65 (2)(am)1. (First Conviction)
1. Shall forfeit not less than $150 nor more than $300, except as provided in subds. 2. to 5. and par. (f).
346.65 (2)(am)2. (Second Conviction)
2. Except as provided in pars. (bm) and (f), shall be fined not less than $350 nor more than $1,100 and imprisoned for not less than 5 days nor more than 6 months if the number of convictions under ss. 940.09 (1) and 940.25 in the person’s lifetime, plus the total number of suspensions, revocations, and other convictions counted under s. 343.307 (1) within a 10-year period, equals 2, except that suspensions, revocations, or convictions arising out of the same incident or occurrence shall be counted as one.
346.65 (2)(am)3. (Third Conviction)
3. Except as provided in pars. (cm), (f), and (g), shall be fined not less than $600 nor more than $2,000 and imprisoned for not less than 30 days nor more than one year in the county jail if the number of convictions under ss. 940.09 (1) and 940.25 in the person’s lifetime, plus the total number of suspensions, revocations, and other convictions counted under s. 343.307 (1), equals 3, except that suspensions, revocations, or convictions arising out of the same incident or occurrence shall be counted as one.
346.65 (2)(am)4. (Fourth Conviction)
4. Except as provided in pars. (f) and (g), shall be fined not less than $600 nor more than $2,000 and imprisoned for not less than 60 days nor more than one year in the county jail if the number of convictions under ss. 940.09 (1) and 940.25 in the person’s lifetime, plus the total number of suspensions, revocations and other convictions counted under s. 343.307 (1), equals 4, except that suspensions, revocations or convictions arising out of the same incident or occurrence shall be counted as one.
346.65 (2)(am)5. (Fifth Conviction and Beyond)
5. Except as provided in pars. (f) and (g), is guilty of a Class H felony and shall be fined not less than $600 and imprisoned for not less than 6 months if the number of convictions under ss. 940.09 (1) and 940.25 in the person’s lifetime, plus the total number of suspensions, revocations and other convictions counted under s. 343.307 (1), equals 5 or more, except that suspensions, revocations or convictions arising out of the same incident or occurrence shall be counted as one.
346.65(2)(f) (If a Minor Is In the Car)
(f) If there was a minor passenger under 16 years of age in the motor vehicle at the time of the violation that gave rise to the conviction under s. 346.63 (1), the applicable minimum and maximum forfeitures, fines, or imprisonment under par. (am) for the conviction are doubled. An offense under s. 346.63 (1) that subjects a person to a penalty under par. (am) 3., 4., or 5. when there is a minor passenger under 16 years of age in the motor vehicle is a felony and the place of imprisonment shall be determined under s. 973.02
Lawmakers in Wisconsin now appear serious about getting tough on drunk driving in Wisconsin, following the death of 39 year-old Jennifer Bukosky, her unborn child and 10-year old daughter at the hands of three-time convicted drunk driver Mark Benson. Even Governor Jim Doyle has proposed making a third drunk driving offense a felony. Other lawmakers have proposed confiscating offenders’ cars after a third offense, as well as sending drunk drivers directly to prison (Benson killed Bukosky and her children during a period before he was supposed to report to jail after his third conviction.)
When crafting a tougher new law, the sensible thing for legislators to do is to see what other states have done to crack down on drunk driving. The National Conference of State Legislatures has provided a chart that details every state’s criminal drunk driving statute. When you look over the list, Wisconsin stands out in how light we are on drunk driving offenders. In the overwhelming majority of states, first non-accident offenses are at least a misdemeanor (although, admittedly, “misdemeanor” means different things in different states.) Exceptions from first-time misdemeanors include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and New Hampshire – although subsequent offenses usually ratchet up the penalties in those states.
Generally, it is the third, fourth, and fifth offense (usually within a period of a few years) that moves the offense up to a felony in most states. Yet in Wisconsin, the first non-injury offense is a civil conviction. Injury-related DUI offenses constitute either a Class D or Class F felony. Second through fourth offenses are criminal misdemeanors that carry time in the county jail, with a fifth offense moving up to the felony level. (And, as we hear about at least once a year in Wisconsin, if you lose your license, you can always drive your tractor to the liquor store.)
For a full list of Wisconsin’s criminal drunk driving penalties, click here.
(In addition to being a civil conviction, Wisconsin law is even lighter on drivers with blood alcohol content between .08 and .1. For a summary of the .08 law, click here.)
While higher criminal penalties are one way other states go after repeat drunk drivers, they aren’t necessarily the only option.
25 states have opted for mandatory ignition interlock systems for some drunk drivers. Wisconsin is one of 20 states that allows ignition interlock devices to be installed “at judicial discretion,” which is weaker than some states that make the interlock devices mandatory in some or all cases. Several studies show drunk driving recidivism rates drop between 50 and 95 percent when ignition interlock devices are utilized. While some fear that these devices are too easy to circumvent (such as by having someone else blow into the tube for them), newer technology is arriving that makes that more difficult. For instance, some new devices include breath pulse codes, hum-tone recognition, and “blow-and-suck patterns.”
From the NCSL report on ignition interlock systems:
Four states have taken the lead on ignition interlocks by making them mandatory for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders. New Mexico was the first state, with a law passed in 2005, to require ignition interlocks for all offenders. The state has seen a 28 percent decline in alcohol-related fatalities since the new law went into effect.
Since then, three more states-Arizona, Illinois and Louisiana-have passed similar laws that mandate an ignition interlock for every convicted drunk driver. Oregon and Washington require ignition interlocks for all offenders who want to have their driving privileges reinstated. Colorado, Kansas and New Hampshire make them mandatory for repeat offenders and those convicted of so-called “high BAC” offenses. Sixteen states require them in some circumstances, while 20 states and the District of Columbia allow interlocks at the discretion of the courts.
Five states at some point have employed either special license plates for drunk drivers, or required a sticker be affixed to their license plate. The effectiveness of these programs seems to be mixed, as Oregon let their pilot program lapse without reauthorizing it, and Iowa repealed the law altogether. According to NCSL, five states considered new license plate laws in their 2008 sessions.
27 states have passed laws creating enhanced penalties for driving drunk with children in the car. (In 2003, one Louisiana woman was found passed out in her car with five children, ages 4 to 9, in the car with her.) 16 states have increased the penalties for refusing chemical blood alcohol tests.
A new Wisconsin law could employ any number of these strategies. But it must be done right, and it has to pass the common sense test to which it will undoubtedly be subjected to by the public.
Quite often, well-intentioned legislation goes bad. Such a case exists in Massachusetts, where a well-meaning law meant to broaden the standard for rape has now turned into a national punchline.
Under the new legislation, it would be a felony to have sex with someone under false pretenses. In other words, you could go to jail for lying to someone in order to get them to have sex with you.
The bill states:
Whoever has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person having obtained that person’s consent by the use of fraud, concealment or artifice, and who thereby intentionally deceived such person so that a reasonable person would not have consented but for the deception, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or any term of years. As used in this statute, ‘fraud’ or ‘artifice’ shall not be construed to mean a promise of future consideration.
The bill was meant to correct legitimate instances of deception such as the time a sleepy Massachusetts woman had sex with her boyfriend’s brother, thinking it was actually her boyfriend. In another case, a medical technician pretending to be a doctor conducted a full pelvic exam on a woman after telling her he was licensed to give the exam. (Perhaps the fact that the “doctor” was eating a ham sandwich during the exam might have been a tip-off.)
But think about how broad this language actually is. Lying for sex? Is there really any other way? If women really knew what we were like, there’d be no chance any male would get any action. Every guy has some bogus story about what a good job we have, how we spent time on a Greenpeace boat, how this is our real hair, or some such nonsense. Every man pads the resume a little, hoping to cash in before reality sets in. (Although saying the words “I’m a blogger” might be the most effective birth control known to man.)
Even if there’s not overt lying going on, there are implied lies. Suppose your girlfriend cheats on you with Roger Clemens. And suppose, had you known about the affair, you never would have slept with her again. But she doesn’t tell you about the affair, and you continue to have your monthly sexual encounter. Your girlfriend could actually be guilty of rape, since she concealed information that would have kept you from having sex with her.
The list goes on. Tell a girl you will always love her? Get an orange jumpsuit. Cougar looking to score a younger guy at the bar tonight? Better be honest about your age, or you’ll be making license plates soon, sweetie. Telling a man he’s a great lover to keep the love train going? (Never a problem in my case, incidentally.) Get ready for the big house. Tell a girl you work with she looks like Pam from “The Office?” Well, no worries there, since she’ll probably opt not to talk to you ever again.
(As long as we’re handing out sentences, the words “I can’t wait to see the ‘Sex and the City Movie’ out of any guy’s mouth should be punishable by death.)
In 1975, a man named Marty Evans was sued by a woman claiming he lied to get her in the sack, and it went all the way to the New York Supreme Court. In his decision in People v. Evans, Justice Edward Greenfield said:
“So bachelors, and other men on the make, fear not. It is still not illegal to feed a girl a line, to continue the attempt [to obtain sex], not to take no for a final answer, at least not the first time. . . . [A] male [will] make promises that will not be kept, . . . indulge in exaggeration and hyperbole, or to assure any trusting female that, as in the ancient fairy tale, the ugly frog is really the handsome prince.Every man is free under the law, to be a gentleman or a cad.”
Of course, should this bill actually become law, there are fiscal implications, as well. For instance, it might be expensive to turn the State of Montana into a prison big enough to house the entire male population of the United States. Then again, the entire human race may be eradicated within a decade due to the end of procreation.
(Via the Volokh Conspiracy.)
Think about the thing you care for the most. Now forget about your new HDTV and think about the thing you care about the second most. That’s right – your family. In the event something went terribly wrong, wouldn’t you like to have “family insurance,” just like you have homeowners insurance on your flat screen? Of course you would. Read on to find out how your government can help.
With a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the statewide ballot in 2006, the issue of state government’s role in the institution of marriage was at front and center in Wisconsin. Some questioned why government has a role at all in marriage, which they argued is solely a religious institution.
The bottom line is that government does have its greasy fingers in your marriage. State law dictates how marriages are formed, how those marriages may be dissolved, and how the whole mess is sorted out when things go bad. In fact, Wisconsin state law even prevents someone who is divorced from being remarried within 6 months of their divorce, presumably to protect people from the horrors of marrying you.
Yet, there’s one area where government doesn’t help marriages nearly enough, which is why I’d like to propose a new law strengthening our households. Think about what we do to insure ourselves against catastrophic events when they happen to individuals we love: We have a backup plan. The President has a Vice President. The Packers have assistant coaches. Ronald McDonald has Grimace. That is why I am proposing the groundbreaking “Vice Wife” law.
In the event something horrible happens to your spouse, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to have a backup at the ready to assume those duties? If your wife were to be pummeled to death by a kangaroo at the zoo, would she really want you to suffer, alone and miserable, while having to take care of the rest of your family duties? I know your wife, and I think not. Who would take care of the kids while you spent all your time in court suing the kangaroo? The law would work like this: A husband could direct one single woman to be his Vice Wife, eligible to take over marital duties should his “primary” wife die horribly and unexpectedly.
The rules are as follows:
- The Vice Wife has to agree to serve in this capacity – obviously, the husband can’t just pick anyone, regardless of how appealing that might be. (I’d love to see Katherine Heigl’s face when she gets the call explaining she has to make me pancakes every morning.)
- The husband may not have any physical contact with the VW while his primary wife is still alive. Any funny business with the Vice Wife is punishable by having to serve as the Brewers’ closer for the remainder of the season.
- For taking part in the Vice Wife program, the VW gets to pay her taxes on May 15th instead of April 15th. She also gets one small free Wendy’s Frosty per month.
- If you actually cause the death of your wife, you forfeit the ability to take part in the program. (Chances are, your Vice Wife will be assigned to you by the Wisconsin penal system.) If your Vice Wife is significantly hotter than your regular wife (as determined by me), you are presumed guilty in any and all circumstances where your wife dies of unnatural causes.
Now, I realize the Legislature is out of session until next January. But once lawmakers read this proposal, chances are they’re going to want to call a special session and bring everyone back into town to get this done. I imagine there will be a lot of lights on in the Capitol late into the night finalizing the legal language on this groundbreaking new law. Of course, the only people that would oppose such a law are “pro-wife” groups, but they’re always nagging us to do things and we’ve all tuned them out anyway. They can usually be dismissed with a wave and a grunt. After all, this proposal is meant to strengthen the family by restoring order in a time of crisis. Who would oppose such a thing? Selfish, unreasonable wives, that’s who.
Of course, this program could work for women, too. Certainly my wife will need a warm body to hold the couch down to the floor and make sure all the oatmeal cream pies get eaten in the (now extremely likely) event of my demise.
So here’s the plan of action, fatty: put down that gyro, print this column out, rush home, and explain the new plan to your wife. It is likely she will immediately recognize that this proposal is what’s best for keeping your family strong in a time of crisis. However, just in case she is too excited about this plan, you might want to make sure you have a sturdy protective cover over your lower abdomen and are wearing a football helmet.