Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

Category: Miscellaneous (page 2 of 2)

Congress: Asking the Probing Questions

In case you were under the impression that Congress isn\’t hard at work, a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report demonstrates otherwise. According to the new GAO study conducted at the request of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), condom manufacturers have been inadequately labeling their products, giving people a false sense of security when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases. You know, for all those people that read the condom boxes when they\’re conspicuously buried under a pile of gum, soda, and shoe polish up at the cash register.

So sayeth your federal government:

FDA reviewed studies on the relationship between use of male latex condoms and STDs and determined that existing condom labeling did not provide complete information about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of certain STDs.


Among other things, FDA noted that condoms provide less protection against HPV, which can have multiple routes of transmission, than against certain other STDs. However, FDA found that condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can be effective in reducing the risk of transmission. Based on its review, FDA found limitations in existing condom labeling and identified several areas in which improved labeling would help provide reasonable assurance of condoms’ safety and effectiveness.

What the report fails to point out, however, is that condoms can lead to a greatly increased likelihood of your friends hi-fiving you. Seriously – who out there believes that sexual contact of any kind, condoms or not, doesn\’t contain some risk of STD transmittal? If there are people that believe that, they are likely to be the same people that don\’t use condoms because they might get an STD by using one.

I can save the federal government the millions of dollars it likely cost to conduct this nine month study. Here\’s my suggested alternative warning label:


Politics and Pigskin

While many Wisconsin residents have taken the occasion of Brett Favre\’s retirement to mourn privately, several Wisconsin politicians have used the news as a reason to get a quick press hit. As is the case with politicians, their attempts to assuage the electorate after a traumatic incident are often awkward and histrionic.

For instance, Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway inexplicably decided to chime in with this nugget:

“The retirement of Brett Favre signals the end of an era for sports fans in Milwaukee County and all across Wisconsin. I’m sure this was a difficult decision to make. As a football player at the University of Arkansas, I can somewhat relate to what Favre has gone through during more than a decade and a half with the Packers. While playing football can be very exciting and enriching, it is also challenging and exhausting, both physically and emotionally.”

Yes, Lee Holloway\’s college days at Arkansas have shown him exactly what it\’s like to be the most popular player in the most popular sport in America. In related news, my years of playing the role of Brett Favre in Madden video games has taught me what it\’s like to have the pressure of an entire state on your shoulders every minute of the day. And how to throw the deep corner route while eating an oatmeal cream pie.

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold\’s statement is pretty boiler plate, until he ends by dropping the hammer:

\”He is without a doubt the greatest quarterback ever to play the game.”

The debate is now over, so sayeth Russ Feingold. In other news, Feingold was immediately fined by the NFL for mentioning Favre\’s name in a press release within 30 days of his retirement. Clearly, a public endorsement of Favre by an independent interest like Russ Feingold is something we need to crack down on.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker jumped into the fray with this odd quote:

“Brett, thanks for 160 wins, 253 consecutive starts, 442 touchdown passes, 61,655 passing yards and a million great memories. Thanks for making us proud to be Packer fans!”

Hey! Did you know Scott Walker\’s office has the internet! It\’s true! They can look up all kinds of football statistics with it!

And finally, the sad tale of State Senator Alberta Darling, who adjourned the legislative session yesterday in honor of the wrong Packer quarterback:

It was no surprise a state senator rose today to adjourn in honor of all the depressed Green Bay Packers fans and the quarterback who won\’t be returning next year.

What was a surprise was Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) referring to today\’s retirement of Bart Starr, not Brett Favre.

Perhaps it was Mike Ellis wearing the same suit he\’s been wearing in the Senate since 1972 that threw Darling off. In order to play it off, Darling immediately adjourned in honor of Don Majikowski, Lynn Dickey, Blair Kiel, Ty Detmer, and Mark Brunell.

Upgrades in Process

As many of you may have noticed, last week\’s post on Jeri Ryan brought our servers crashing down.  Links from some popular national blogs sent an avalanche of readers here and melted down our server.

In response, we have now upgraded our server.  The site should run a little more quickly and more reliably.  Also, we are planning some new features both here and at – so keep an eye out for those.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

Dying to Name a School

The controversy in Madison surrounding the naming of a new school after Hmong leader General Vang Pao has been beaten to death locally, but it can provide some important lessons for the future for the rest of the state.

First of all, there really isn\’t anyone in this whole charade to root for. Sure, the gutless Madison school board was unwilling to stand up to the Hmong community when they were pushing for a school to be named after a questionable (and living) general. However, some citizens opposed naming the school after Vang because he had been involved in (gasp!) a military conflict.  One parent went so far as to say that if you named the school after a military leader, then you couldn\’t teach children not to fight in school (As has been the case, apparently, with kids who attend schools named \”Washington,\” \”Lincoln,\” \”Kennedy,\” etc.)

The facts are well known: Madison is building a new elementary school on the far west side. When soliciting names for the school, the school district received 41 suggestions, ranging from Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson to Gaylord Nelson to Ronald Reagan. Amid much lobbying from the Hmong community in Madison, including Hmong board member Shwaw Vang, the Madison School Board unanimously approved naming the school after General Vang Pao, who led Hmong soldiers in defense of the United States in the Vietnam War.

There\’s a problem, however. Vang Pao had been accused of some questionable activities in his past, including allegations of drug running. And since he is still living, it opened up the door for him to do something else to embarrass the school district – which is exactly what happened, when he was arrested in California on charges of building a militia to violently overthrow the government of Laos.

The lesson here is clear: Don\’t name buildings after living people. They screw up. Sometimes spectacularly.

There are ways of getting around this that may be acceptable. In recent years, the state opened the Risser Justice Building in Madison. In that case, the building is named after the Risser Family, who have had a father and son both serve in the Legislature. (Fred Risser was first elected in 1956, and still serves in the Senate. There\’s a decent chance that the 26th Senate District will be represented by Fred Risser\’s cryogenically frozen brain for the next 200 years).

By naming it after a family, you can deflect the actions of a bad actor – such as if Fred Risser were caught in bed with a giraffe (which, incidentally, would only be slightly less embarrassing than Tommy Thompson\’s presidential campaign – and Thompson has had state buildings named after him).

It takes a person\’s death for us to properly put them in the context of our history. That should be the standard by which we hand out building names.

Furthermore, for new schools, it makes sense to name them after the neighborhood in which they are built. That way, something as simple as naming a school doesn\’t turn into the \”racial grievance Olympics\” every time one is built. If the school board is compelled to honor a minority when naming a school, there are some civil rights titans that remain underappreciated (Thurgood Marshall, for instance).

The Madison School Board has made the right decision to rename the west side school.  Let\’s hope they get it right this time.

R.I.P., David Halberstam

When my wife e-mailed me to tell me famous author David Halberstam had died, I kind of had the reaction that many people do when a septuagenarian passes away.  I thought it was too bad, but probably about time – thinking he had died of an illness or old age.  But when I realized he died in a car crash, I instantly felt worse.  Who knows if he had another book in him or not?

I have to confess, most of Halberstam\’s books I read were his sports books: \”Summer of \’49,\” \”Teammates,\” \”Playing for Keeps,\” and so on.  You almost feel honored that a man of such intellect stoops to write sports books that dopes like me can understand.  I did read his account of the Vietnam War, \”The Best and the Brightest,\” written based on much of his Pulitzer-Prize winning reporting on Vietnam.  His reporting as to the inner workings of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations before government records were readily available should be the gold standard of investigative reporting.

Don Imus’ New Job

Who knew that during his suspension, Don Imus would start writing for Australian newspapers?

Lesbian Accused of Chainsaw Murder

The trial in South Dakota of a deaf, black lesbian accused of murdering a rival and dismembering her with a chainsaw has shocked the rural midwestern US state.

Daphne Wright, 43, could become the first woman sent to death row in South Dakota, which has not executed a prisoner in more than 60 years.

Welcome to the WPRI Blog!

In an attempt to make your one stop shop for free market talk, we have decided to set up a multi-contributor blog. Often times, our authors want the chance to comment on things that may not have the depth of a full column or research paper, so this blog will give them the chance to do that – and maybe have a little fun in the process. Hopefully, this can turn into a forum to facilitate discussion on current topics between our contributors and readers.

So check back regularly, and enjoy!

Random Weekly Observations I

Here’s some stuff that didn’t necessarily fit in a column:

Remember getting candy bars at halloween that are packaged as “fun size” but are actually half the size of regular candy bars? Exactly what is so fun about getting half a Three Musketeers? This is absolutely the way the Legislature should pitch its smaller increases in school aids in this budget, though. Now! School aids in a new, fun-sized package! Everyone will love it!

Feast your eyes on this beauty of a press release from Planned Parenthood. It contains this unspeakably obnoxious statement:

Without access to birth control, the average woman would have between 12 and 15 children in her lifetime.

Of course, that number has to refer to the number of children women would have if they maintained their current behavior with birth control available. Do they honestly think that after the 8th kid, a woman wouldn’t say, “You know, maybe this whole consequence-free sex thing isn’t working out for me”?

Fashion tip: If you are an ugly woman and bleach your hair blonde, you will be an ugly woman with blonde hair. If you are a pretty woman and bleach your hair blonde, you will be a pretty woman with blonde hair.

Accordingly, if you are an ugly man and grow a beard, you will be an ugly man with a beard. If you are a good looking man with a beard, you are most likely Lorenzo Lamas, and don’t need my fashion tips.

If they ever make stem cells in jellybean form, I will likely live to be 500 years old. Like Yoda or Papa Smurf.

I was stopped at a stoplight the other day, and saw four cars in a row with Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers still on (remember them?) Enough, people – you don’t like Bush, we get it. Having one of these stickers still on your car virtually guarantees that I will drive within 3 inches of your bumper.

Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager’s comical attempt to personally prosecute North Woods Shooter Chai Vang has sparked more ideas for character rehabilitation for the AG. It has been announced that Lautenschlager will re-open the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial later this month. Lautenschlager also has plans to exhume the skeleton of Jeffery Dahmer to collect on some old parking tickets.

A few weeks ago at a public hearing on school choice, a State Senator tried to resurrect the term “Afro American.” Does this make me a “Mullet American?”

Dane County Supervisor Rob Fyrst announced yesterday that he will run for the one office all children aspire to, State Treasurer. People declaring their candidacy for treasurer a year and a half before the election is a sure sign that the end is nigh. My suggestion: Rob adopts the motto “Fyrst Blood” and shows up all of his events wearing a Rambo-type headband and a big buck knife with a compass in the handle. He could stand on the podium and mow down the press corps with an uzi to show that he means business. “Nobody is going to screw with the unclaimed property program on my watch!”

On the Coalition for American Families website, the group claims that it “will not waiver in its support of policies that help every family thrive.” Maybe they need to not “waver” in support of buying a spell checker for their computer. I would argue bad spelling is a significant threat to America’s families.

The whole “no blood for oil” line seems to be holding up well, considering oil is now at record high prices. If we really did go to war for oil, I would expect not to have to put my gas on layaway. Next up – Bush invades Iowa for their ethanol.

The Federalist Papers, seminal documents in American history, were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. You think John Jay ever felt inferior being lumped in with those heavyweights? Isn’t he kind of like the member of Destiny’s Child that nobody can ever name? (Next to Beyonce’ and Kelly Rowland, of course) Jay did end up as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but he clearly didn’t look as good as Beyonce in a skirt.

Any CD store that doesn’t make you feel like a complete moron for buying a Pearl Jam CD probably isn’t worth a damn.

Co-worker: “I think Michael Jackson is going to get off.”

Me: “Isn’t that why he’s in trouble?”

(Please, hold your applause)

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