Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, April 18, 2009
If The Packers Complain About The Tax Burden, Perhaps Wisconsin Will Fix It
Forget the tea parties: if there's one thing that will galvanize the drive for tax reform in Wisconsin, it will be complaining Packers:
    The states without income tax, I felt, always had an advantage in recruiting free agent players. Teams in Florida, Tennessee and Texas used the fact that their states had no income tax to show players how much more they would take home than teams in high income tax states (like Wisconsin). In some cases, agents actually showed me data from other teams showing how much more the player would make over the life of the same contract in one of those states. In recruiting players for Green Bay, I would always hear from agents how much more a player would make from, say, the Buccaneers or Texans compared to the 6.6-percent state income tax that Wisconsin would take from Packer players.
If taxes are keeping the Packers from the Super Bowl, the people will rise against Jim Doyle and the Wisconsin Legislature faster than you can say "Rick Santelli."

Because Mocking Others Makes Me Feel Better About Myself
Look at this hipster.

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Media Lauds Intrusive Police Action
You know, the media tends to really get down on surveillance in pursuit of terrorism. However, have you noticed how any intrusive police actions that infringe upon private citizens are okay if it falls under behavior that the media dislikes, such as driving after a couple beers?

Here's the story:
    Police in St. Charles County are drawing a new weapon in their fight to stop drunk drivers — blood testing.

    On Thursday night, about two dozen officers from several area police departments are holding what they're calling a "no refusal" checkpoint to catch impaired drivers.

    From 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., police will stop all drivers at a busy intersection near Interstate 70, the city's Main Street corridor and the Ameristar Casino. If those arrested on suspicion of driving drunk refuse an officer's request for a breath test, police plan to get on-the-spot court orders for blood tests from a nearby on-call prosecutor and circuit judge.

    Though the approach has already been tested in at least three other states, police say this style of checkpoint combining the "no refusal" element may be the first of its kind in Missouri. Police and advocates for tougher enforcement hope the effort adds muscle to a criminal justice system that often fails to keep drunk drivers off the roads.
Checkpoints, prosecutors and judges waiting on speed dial to issue warrants based only on refusal to submit to search, what isn't to like if you're pro-statist in pursuit of trivial goals or a pro-statist eager to just erode civil liberties because you can?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Book Report: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)
If you take the classic British totalitarian works like 1984 and A Brave New World with the Existentialist preoccupation with unsavory protagonists, you have A Clockwork Orange. In a future England whose government and language appear heavily influenced by the Soviets, a young malcreant and his mates (droogs in the cant) spend their evenings committing crimes and ultra-violence for fun and for money. When Alex, the self-styled leader and your humble narrator is caught, he serves time in an overcrowded prison until he is offered an opportunity for early release through a program that brainwashes criminals into avoiding violent acts. When he's returned to the street, he is at the mercy of those he victimized and his former droogs until some of the opposition party want to use him for their purposes of bringing down the totalitarian government.

One would hope that not too many readers identify closely with the narrator, a thief, thug, rapist, and murderer; however, Burgess uses the language of the narrator to lure the reader in. When you first start, the nadsat lingo one out of the book, but after a while, the reader understands the argot and this understanding has to act as the only bridge, one hopes, between the reader and the sociopathic I speaking.

It's a short book--180 pages, like they used to write paperback fiction--and a decent enough read that really does carry the flavor of 1960s science fiction, perhaps even British science fiction. Its intersection of Orwell and Sartre, though, have given it its classic status.

Books mentioned in this review:


Monday, April 13, 2009
Dueling Precocities
VodkaPundit tries to start something:
    After strapping the boy into his car seat, I got in myself and checked to see if the next song on the iPod was inappropriate. "Son, would you like to hear a really good song?"


    "It's Earth, Wind & Fire, and it's really funky."

    Pressed play and watched his face as "Shining Star" started to play way too loud.

    Preston sat, listened, judged, pronounced: "It's not funky enough."
Last night, I offered to sing "You Are My Sunshine" (first verse only) to our two-year-old, and he declined. He wanted to hear the "Hi, Hi, Hi" song.

"I don't know that song," I said.

"'Minne the Moocher'," he said clearly.

Top that, Martini Boy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009
An Easter Message
You want to get men into church? This ain't the way:
    On the Sunday before Easter, the Rev. Tom Skiles bounded onto a stage in the gym of Simpson Elementary School here.

    Spirit of St. Louis Church's praise band had just finished four chest-thumping Christian rock tunes, complete with light show, and Skiles' flock of about 100 was settling into the metal folding chairs lined up in front of the stage.

    "This is an awesome time of year, and I'm really pumped about what's about to happen," Skiles said. The pastor, 36, his head shaved, was dressed in jeans and blazer over a red T-shirt and spoke into his headset microphone.

    What's about to happen at SOS Church is a connection between the torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the spinal cranks, head butts and anaconda chokes of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As Skiles spoke, a large screen behind him projected the red UFC logo on a chain-link background, a reference to the cage in which UFC fighters do battle.

    The church rents space each Sunday from the school, and on Easter the gym will be outfitted with an octagonal ring where Skiles will begin a four-week preaching theme based on the hugely popular sport of extreme fighting, or mixed martial arts. MMA, as fans know it, combines a variety of fighting techniques, from punching to kicking to elbowing to choking.
This is:
    The Barna Group, a Christian research organization, has shown in surveys over the last decade that women attend church in much greater numbers than men.
Call it the "Surf City" strategy: tell the guys that there are two girls for every boy, and you'll find a lot more boys interested in going. Why churches and universities don't play this up, I don't understand.

Well, except for the universities. That would be objectivating the girls.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."